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EXCLUSIVE: The next wave of disruptors are here. Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival is to become the first major movie fest to accept cryptocurrency.

The well-known Spanish genre festival has entered into a deal with fledgling new tech firm Slate Entertainment Group (SEG) to take on its blockchain based digital ticketing platform Slatix, which uses digital currency called Slate, for the purchase of tickets and festival passes.

According to the festival and SEG, tickets purchased using the Slatix app will have “near-zero transaction fees, will be forgery resistant virtually eliminating fraud, and instantly transferable.” Nate Bolotin from XYZ Films, an SEG advisor, brokered the deal. SEGs suite of products in development include Binge, a blockchain VOD platform; Slate and Slatix. The firm will be in Cannes looking for content to add to Binge.

Blockchain, the technology at the core of digital currencies like Bitcoin, has been hailed by some as a way to decentralize and further democratize internet services and business models. It is a hot topic here in Cannes — and features in the markets NEXT programme — because it offers potential opportunities for content creators and distributors searching for greater transparency over transactions as well as a growing subset of online savvy consumers.

Yesterday, sales and production outfit AMBI announced blockchain-based platform TaTaTu, which aims to reward users for watching content. It said it expects to funnel some of its own titles through the service. Earlier this year, Tribeca premiered psychological thriller Braid, which has been described as the first significant feature film funded through an equity crowdsale using cryptocurrency. The Braid token sale on the Ethereum Blockchain reportedly raised $1.7M in two weeks with Joseph Lubin, blockchain entrepreneur, and founder of ConsenSys, serving as the movies executive producer.

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Sitges Deputy Director Mike Hostench said, “We are tremendously excited to enter the blockchain space at its inception. We have always been known as a film festival that is a leader in technology and in the genre film space including VR, and feel this development is consistent with that tradition. As a festival our responsibility is to support independent filmmakers and we are truly excited to work with the Slate Entertainment Group, who like us, believe in fairness and transparency for content creators and producers.”

SEG CEO Michael Moyal added, “We are truly excited to enter into this partnership with Sitges. They are a leading-edge film festival known for their forward thinking. We believe that one day most ticketing platforms will be powered by blockchain technology. As early adopters of the Slatix ticketing platform and Slate currency, Sitges will be one of the first in the entertainment industry to fully utilize the benefits of this technology.”

Sitges takes place in October in Catalonia. Now in its 51st year, the festival has hosted guests including Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, and festival patron Guillermo del Toro, whose Oscar-winner The Shape Of Water opened the 2017 edition.

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