How Conferences Shape the Blockchain Industry
I still remember the 1st bitcoin conference I ever attended, and it just so happened to be one I co-organized as well. It was a cold, rainy winter day in London — pretty much like any other winter night in London — the year was 2013, the date was November 30. There weren’t many blockchain conferences back then, and DECENT was just an idea.
How quickly time passes.
Conferences have changed a lot since then, as has the industry. But I honestly can say that DECENT, as a company, wouldn’t be where it is today without the evolution of conferences and events in the blockchain industry, and more importantly — the network of people you meet there.
To begin with, our entire China team might not exist today if it weren’t for blockchain events. I met our first two colleagues, China GM Xiaomin Wang and Head of Business Development in China James Xu, at events in China back in 2014 and 2016.
At the time, blockchain was very new, and the majority of the conversation revolving around blockchain was about Bitcoin. Conversation topics have definitely changed, but the importance of networking remains crucial as ever.
These early events have led to China being, arguably, the leading blockchain market in the world today, and they are the reason DECENT has focused so intently on growing awareness and partnerships throughout the region.
Xiaomin, like most people back in 2014, knew she was on the ground floor of something much bigger and was more and more intrigued by the idea of blockchain the more she learned about it.
Xiaomin didn’t join DECENT that first day I met her. In fact, she didn’t join the team until almost 2 years later. But over those 2 years, she constantly attended blockchain events and conferences and got to witness the growth of interest, ideas and people first hand.
Her knowledge and fascination with the technology, coupled with meeting some of the industry leaders, were what finally convinced her to join the team, and eventually build our China team to where it is today.
Just as important as the people you meet, are the ideas behind the growth and the fragmentation into niche segments over time. In the beginning, there was only Bitcoin. But over time, you see the diversity of blockchain topics and areas of interest transform into more niche events and conferences. Conferences on finding investors, academic conferences, purpose-driven events, or chain-specific hackathons are a few examples.
We are also seeing the diversification of industries in these conferences. Finance, banking, or healthcare are just a few of the most frequent blockchain use-cases being supported at conferences around the world almost every week.
Getting inspired by the ideas of people in the community is what led my team and I to have created DECENT the way it is today. Originally, we were solely focused on the publishing industry. But through the attendance and participation of these events and conferences, we got a chance to meet hundreds of people who raved about the quality and potential of the technology we developed, DCore. So, in a way, DCore would not exist today if it wasn’t for events.
Seeing our company’s involvement at conferences grow over time has also been tremendously rewarding. In the beginning, we would attend with just a booth — trying to talk to as many people as we could about DECENT. As time went by, I was invited to speak and participate in panel discussions and, quite rapidly, DECENT was becoming recognized in the field.
This led to us meeting the founders of projects like ALAX or 3IPK. We hosted our own conferences as well and most recently we have become much more involved in hackathons. In fact, we were involved with two hackathons simultaneously just last month — one in Wyoming and one in Shanghai. It’s been very rewarding to have sponsored events like these.
For example, our advisor Daniel Riddell asked the Wyoming audience how many of them have heard of DECENT before, and only a handful of people raised their hands. But by the end of the 3-day event, we had more than 100 visitors to our table, 5 teams competing in our DCore blockchain challenge, and several big name companies approach us for possible cooperation.
This just goes to show that if you continuously put in the hard work, and dedicate your time and energy to the people at conferences and events, anything is possible and growth will happen. I can’t wait to see our involvement grow with more conferences and events in the future, and I hope to meet some of you along the way.