At ETHDenver, a yearly Ethereum event that began in 2017, individuals stood in the freezing midday sun for COVID tests while the temperature was 35 degrees. Although the conference had more than 12,000 attendees, only roughly 8,500 of them were able to register for the event.
DEVELOPERS MEET IN ETHDENVER, AND IT’S ALSO A FULL-ON PARTY
ETHDenver, the Ethereum world’s longest-running conference, had a very local, gritty vibe to it. First and foremost, it’s free. SporkDAO is also taking over the running of the show in order to ensure that the community gets to put on the show. (The name comes from the fact that “a Spork is the most utilitarian tool known to man. #BUIDL is one of the many functions it may perform.”) There was a bufficorn mascot roaming the Denver Sports Castle, a buffalo and unicorn hybrid. Bufficorn Ventures, a community-based venture fund, is also affiliated with the conference.
This year’s ETHDenver combines a developer conference with an all-out party for developers. At the event, teams of developers competed to win more than $1 million in prizes. Industry leaders spoke, and the atmosphere was one of hard work mixed with fun. Because I came on Thursday and left on Sunday, I was unable to see Deadmau5 or Major Lazer.
Amounting to $350 billion, the estimated market value of Ethereum’s entire supply, is an enormous sum of money that has the potential to affect the actual world. If you include the money from venture capitalists, there is considerably more.
Consequently, as the popularity of cryptocurrencies and Web3 (decentralised programmes based on the blockchain) has increased, I’ve gotten intrigued by the community. Cryptocurrency influencers and investors have the strongest incentive to be vocal in the online crypto community.
Nonetheless, I was curious to know who was building things, as their goals are often mirrored in the items they build. I didn’t know what to anticipate or who to expect. Libertarians and anarchists predominated in the early days of internet money, but as bitcoin has gained widespread acceptance, more traditionally minded individuals have joined the fray.
As a result, I decided to attend ETHDenver, as developers are usually more intriguing than investors, plus I enjoy parties.
ETHDenver Conference Keynote Speakers
ETHDenver’s clothes could be a bit self-referential at times. Photo by Chet Strange/Bloomberg / Getty Images through
Attendees had to wait in line for three and a half hours before they could be tested, according to one attendee I spoke to. I waited in the press and speaker queue, which was much shorter, before being led to a table with approximately ten other individuals. We swabbed our own noses as instructed to do an antigen test. We all had a pessimistic outlook. Attendees were required to wear wristbands at all ETHDenver events, and security would check them at the door of each venue.
Security was so rigid on this point that a storey circulated in the press room on Saturday that Andrew Yang had been kicked out of the Denver Sports Castle, the major event space, because he did not have a wristband. A DM to Yang went unanswered, as did an email to a Yang spokeswoman asking for comment.
ETHDENVER’S GOOFINESS IS INHERENT IN THE CULTURE
In the future, I saw him and his crew, which included a person in a Bored Ape Yacht Club hoodie, as they made their way to give a statement about his DAO, Lobby 3. When it comes to creating a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO), the rules are defined in code, and members vote on what happens. For ordinary people, Lobby 3, a political lobby, is meant to help them advocate for more welcoming cryptocurrency policies. Onion’s headline “American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress” was Yang’s inspiration.
In Denver, masks were not required for use indoors, and as a result, very few people did. After the convention, a large number of people became ill with COVID.
ETHDenver has a reputation for being wacky, so most of this narrative will sound that way. Inflatable swans with QR codes appeared on the conference’s walkways on Friday, for example. Onesies were worn by a surprising number of people, including some that looked like unicorns and one that looked like Pikachu but didn’t have its hood up. “BUIDL,” pronounced “biddle,” is a play on the Bitcoin HODL meme, and people are urged to do so. The sponsored booth part of the convention was dubbed the Shill Zone. The plumbing in the restrooms was weak, as evidenced by the frequent breakdowns of the toilets.