Cryptoraves: The future of underground raving?

‘You’ve been invited to join our next crypto-rave.’ You click on the link sent by the crypto-rave network and get sent to the website of the next event. In the centre of the page there is a button that says ‘mine’, you press it and sit back. After a couple of hours you get a message that you’ve unlocked your new raver identity. Your new name is Eva Black and your character even has a personality. After six more hours of making your computer available to a crypto mining pool, you unlock your ticket and receive the secret location for the rave. 

You take the bus to an outskirt and find yourself in-between buildings that look like they’ve been left by their owners a long time ago. You walk through an alley and see a big red circle, illuminating the darkness. As you get closer you see people queuing in front of a door. This must be it. Mesmerized you get closer and see people wearing masks, there’s a guy in front of you who turns around and stares at you with one cat eye lens. Behind you, a girl that looks like she just stepped out of the Matrix, lights her cigarette. You wonder if they all have a new identity just like you. 

At the door the bouncer asks your name. You mention Eva Black is here, he nods you in. Inside you see even more people that have dressed up in most unique ways. You walk the hallway and pass some rooms filled with colors and lights. You stop at one room that catches your attention. People are dancing. Not the ordinary style, but they’re learning Butoh: a Japanese theatre dance, where the dancers perform the dance of the death and disease, to gain insight. You move on to the next room where people are meditating. To end up in a room blasting techno. 

Welcome, to the crypto-rave.

Photo: Liaizon Wakest

With increased control and fading privacy, the underground rave scene is suffering all over the world. With the help of blockchain, organizations Omsk Social Club and !Mediengruppe Bitnik are reviving the underground rave scene with a new form of rave: the crypto-rave. Cadence Culture speaks with Omsk Social Club, about this new rave-revival.

In the past, word on where a rave took place went through word-of-mouth communication. They were random, private, difficult to find and accessible only to those within the network of people, but this also made it very exciting. Today, we live in an environment where everything is controlled, privacy is fading in a rapid pace and social media is the new communication channel for these events. Often this ends with police showing up to shut it all down. This has put pressure on creative scenes like the underground scene and its raves to survive.

Luckily, the scene has always been a resistance, coming up with new ways to keep on raving. Omsk Social Club, is one of those initiatives that has found a new way of reviving the rave scene.

Photo: Mike Tsolis, Cryptorave 9, Athens, Omsk Social Club and !MedienGruppe Bitniks

They do so, by making use of new technology called Blockchain. This is a digital space, a ledger or register that keeps track of all the transactions in digital currencies like for example Bitcoin.

In contrast to the banking system, this digital space and digital money is not owned by any middleman like a bank. This system is becoming the future of money, as people don’t want their money to be controlled by banks or other people.

People don’t want their raves to be controlled either. Omsk has used this technology as an inspiration for setting up a new form of rave: the crypto-rave.

So how does a crypto-rave work? 

As mentioned, digital money is not owned by any middleman. Instead, a network of computers around the world keeps track of who owns what. Anyone can become a part of one of these open networks. You can even use your computer power to validate transactions that happen here, and add them to the Blockchain. This process is called mining, and you can be rewarded for it in new cryptocurrency and transaction fees, to pay for your computer power.

Photo: Mike Tsolis, Cryptorave 9, Athens, Omsk Social Club and !MedienGruppe Bitniks

But what does this have to do with raving?

So in order to gain access to these raves, you need to engage in this crypto-mining. I can see you thinking: ‘Do I need to be super smart for that?’ No, mining is not difficult and anyone with a computer and an internet connection could do it.

The organiser of the rave sends you a link, you press mine, and you are now renting out your computer power to them for a limited amount of time, for which the crypto-rave organiser earns the rewards to fund the event – in this case the cryptocurrency Monero. So instead of giving ten euros for a ticket, you are essentially paying them with your electricity, along with the other people who want to attend the rave.

The benefit of integrating this technology with a rave is that it has funded them to set up private raves, giving new life to underground scenes. The organization can keep its identity and location hidden and the event is only open to those who are deemed trustworthy. Visitors get encrypted invites, which makes it hard for outsiders to get access.

In total you need to mine for 11 hours, in order to get access to a ticket, location, line-up, and a raver identity.

Photo: Mike Tsolis, Cryptorave 9, Athens, Omsk Social Club and !MedienGruppe Bitniks

Wait, raver identity? Yes, it goes further than just a rave. This event is truly underground in every sense. Omsk Social Club & !Mediengruppe Bitnik integrate Real Game Play and Live Action Role Play into their raves which allows them to create an alternate dimension. 

The raver gets another identity for the night which allows them to step outside of themselves for a night, but it also makes it even more anonymous. ‘This new identity is theirs for the evening, in order to play it they must naturally research it, body it, dress it and enjoy it.’ Omsk says

Photo: Mike Tsolis, Cryptorave 9, Athens, Omsk Social Club and !MedienGruppe Bitniks

Together with this new identity, art, creative technology, techno music and other things that the raver might consume, they want to create an alternate reality for the visitor to be able to step outside of their own world for a weekend.

‘’People connect to unknown others either on the dancefloor, memetically matching tempos and limbs or in toilet cubicles or sitting in the grass watching the sun come up. Bodies act as if they had known each other for years, perhaps they have. Possession is always there, who or what has possessed these rave users is questionable and blurred; is it drugs? other spirits? or their own minds?’’ Omsk says.

Photo: Mike Tsolis, Cryptorave 9, Athens, Omsk Social Club and !MedienGruppe Bitniks

So far there have been ten crypto-raves all around the world, from Basel to Zurich to Barcelona, Athens, to the San Francisco Bay area, Moscow and Berlin.

When asked if something happens at a crypto-rave that would never happen at a normal rave, Omsk ends with ‘’Yes, but we can’t tell you. You have to come.’’

Stay up to date about when and where the #11th Crypto-rave takes place and get mining!

Photo’s by Mike Tsolis.