A Few Thoughts Collected on EthDenver
Sunday Hacker Vibe. There’s a saying among music fans that you should “never miss a Sunday show”. When a band does a 3-night run in a city, say, Friday to Sunday, it’s easy to skip the Sunday show. Maybe you have work the next day. Maybe you think the band won’t have the energy to lay it all out on Sunday. But true fans feel Sunday’s shows are the best. They allow for the unexpected, the sincere, the true artistry to come out because the band knows the true fans are there. They are sticking it through to the end.
I had the same sense with EthDenver. The mains speakers were Friday-Saturday. Hackers had been hacking for 10 days, and Sunday was their day to shine. And hacking is the soul, the true magic of EthDenver. It’s about BUIDLing. EthDenver is at it’s best when it’s a hackathon, when it’s driven by the real problems solved by real web3 developers. When you can see the coders working all day and night to come up with the next great thing, then showing it on a Sunday afternoon. And the fans were all there at the end as well. Even Vitalik was in his full Bufficorn suit.
On Sunday, you feel a bit more like a family. You’ve been through a lot together by Sunday. You’ve seen the good presentations and the bad, the great takes and the horrible takes. The good events and not so good. You’ve seen words you love, like “community” and “degen” turned into pure marketing fodder. In other words, you’ve suffered, and the fatigue and the shared suffering and the shared insights all pile into a shared sense of community and of even family.
Nostalgia for the present. EthDenver in many ways still seems in its early childhood, and you know it won’t last. EthDenver is only 4 years old, Ethereum itself is about 8 now. Yet it feels like there will never be another EthDenver with this “homegrown” feel. About 15k people was about as close as one could get to the maximum holding capacity for a somewhat dilapidated building on Broadway, degens run amok, and web2 holdovers feeling very uncomfortable.
We can imagine the next one in shiny convention center with 20k+ in attendance. It won’t be the same.
Maybe there’s a way to capture the vibe of the last week, but I doubt it.
It’s hard to predict where things will go from here. The web3 barbarians really are at the gates, and that IS the vibe of EthDenver. We Web3 barbarians are redefining some of the oldest industries and institutions in finance, in government, in science and research (so-called “de-sci”.) We’re even working on traditional industries like construction, building digital twins for actual bricks and mortar.
There really is no end in sight, but we do know that this child of ours of web3 will grow up. It may be another 10 years until there’s maturity, but it will come. The governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, was there and while not diving head-first into web3, there is a sense that many things government does could be improved by things like decentralized identity and asset tracking and voting. It’s a lot of what government does already, tracking and validating ownership and identity, this just makes it all a lot easier, really.
Reality could be better. The rest of EthDenver was at it’s best with real use cases, with musicians and artists talking about how through web3 they could connect with fans in incredible new ways. Things like musicians being able to become a record distribution company, ticket sales, merchandise creator and marketing agency all at very little cost. Communities will grow around these common interests and fans will feel like they are getting the inside track and bragging rights on getting stuff like tokens that can provide access that nobody else can get.
Decentralizations is ultimately about faster evolution. So it’s hard to predict, but I like our heading.