EthCC: Lessons learned towards a recurring international community event

Jerome de Tychey
Oct 23 · 5 min read
Improvised fire alarm group photo

EthCC (Ethereum Community Conference) was born out of the idea that a blockchain conference should be as focused as possible on technology, education, and showcasing the changes that doers are driving. The conference’s price should never deter anyone to come and above all, transparency on the budget should be a strong argument for the respectability of the event.

EthCC 2018 was our first conference after we helped organising EDCON Paris in 2017 (click here for the video recap!). EthCC 2018 lasted 3 days with 4 amphitheaters and 1 workshop room, had 700 attendees, 130 speakers (over 126 live streamed talks!), 50 volunteers and 80 invited students. We had the chance to host the first Council of the Ethereum Magicians as well. Staying true to our values we published a post detailing our budget.

For the 2019 edition we wanted to change the order of magnitude of the event and this is what happened:

  • 3 days of talks and workshops
  • 1100 people, more than 250 speakers from more than countries, 70 volunteers, 130 students.
  • 240 talks & workshops in 5 amphitheaters and 1 workshop room, all the talks live streamed and uploaded raw on the same day and sorted the same week here.
  • 1 Hackathon: EthParis
  • 1 EthMagicians gathering (Happy Birthday!)
  • 30 side events in Paris during the week!

We were overwhelmed by everyone’s enthusiasm to get together, continue building and sharing despite the event being hosted in the coldness of cryptowinter. So many people volunteered, gave constructive feedback or engaged with others helping make the event a great success. From Ethereum France (formerly Asseth) to you all, you deserve our warmest gratitude. Thank you a million times.

Dedication and good will is unfortunately not enough to make such an event happen. We owe the very possibility of hosting EthCC to the generosity of this year’s 23 sponsors. Thanks to them we were able to invite 130 students, pay for the deposit in advance required by our service providers, guarantee a good live stream for people remote, etc. It was amazing to receive such support. Thank you a billion times.

Several positive outcomes emerged from our post-event survey and we are proud that the attendees greatly appreciated the spirit of comradeship and friendly ambiance of the conference. Newcomers felt very welcomed and business oriented participants liked being in close contact to passionate experts. The quality of the speakers and talks were often mentioned in the feedback, shout out to our two best performers on youtube, Sergey Nazarov with more than 2k views of his Decentralized Oracles talk and Vlad Zamfir’s two hour long Theory of Governance passed the 1k mark. On the negative side, the fire alarm impacted some talks on day 2, the wifi was complicated to go around with albeit resilient and the schedule and map were quite hard to use. For the next edition (spoiler alert, yes there will be an EthCC in 2020) we commit on tackling these issues.

My personal highlight from EthCC

What did the budget look like this year?

EthCC2019 Budget

Our approach on the pricing of the tickets:

Based on our first edition, we did our best to forecast the budget and price the tickets appropriately. Basically we took the sum of expected expenses (Venue + Catering + Security + various hidden or unexpected expenses), took a somewhat safe hypothesis of number of attendees and decided to stay at our previous price of 240€ VAT included. It was difficult to tell in advance if we were going to have sponsors therefore perks like the livestream were optional. We weren’t that confident but with enough time, pressure and tremendous support from our sponsors and partners we managed to make it.

What’s with the extra 34k€ ?

You might rightfully ask yourself what we did with all that money. At Ethereum France (the association formerly known as Asseth) our mission is to bring together a dynamic ecosystem by organising events, creating content and encouraging discussions so that everyone can become proficient on the blockchain technology. The extra money is reinvested in supporting other events. Following EthCC, we supported two conferences ETHBerlinZwei and also DevconV both to help out those events and send members of Ethereum France that were having trouble finding and funding their tickets. We created a “best paper” award for MARBLE, an academic conference by Imperial College London and we contributed to the Asseth — Kaiko Prize for Research in Cryptoeconomics that was awarded at Tokenomics2019 led by the ENS and PSL.

Catherine Casamatta presenting Equilibrium Bitcoin Pricing at Tokenomics2019

Congratulations to Stefanos Leonardos and Georgios Piliouras for winning the former with their paper Oceanic Games: Centralization Risks and Incentives in Blockchain Mining” and to William George and Clement Lesaege for winning the later with “A Smart Contract Oracle for Approximating Real-world, Real Number Values”. With our support to those academics initiatives we hope to be able to grow our presence within those institutions, bring more students and researchers to EthCC and our meetups. Finally, the money left was allocated to the full time employment for EthCC related operation for 8 months.

Special kudos to those outstanding helpers ❤

Conclusion

The only possible conclusion is thank you and… see you next year!

Jerome de Tychey

Written by

President of @Ethereum_France #blockchain economist, miner & developper - Director @ConsenSys #Solutions in France- jdetychey.eth Views are my own

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