Vitalik and Satoshi Invade Tel-Aviv: Everything You Missed at Blockchain Week
The essentials and some of the inside details from the first BWTLV, including Scaling Bitcoin, Ethereal, D&DD and Starkware Sessions
You’re welcome to enjoy our quick summary of the main events of Tel-Aviv Blockchain Week (and some of the smaller meetups) covering notable content and agendas, attendance and some extra details so you’ll feel like you’ve been there yourself.
1)Blockchain Week Hackathon
2) Collider Ventures Roof Party
The Blockchain Week officially started on Monday evening on Collider Ventures huge balcony which was completely packed. The party was of-course meant for mingling and networking and included some investors from outside of the space who were wondering about investing in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, some of whom even asked me for a price prediction. At this event I got the sense of a maturing industry and a more professional set of players and employees than in previous years.
Tuesday was the much awaited D&DD event, the central event for the local cryptocurrency community, and it was quite inclusive to all streams of the ecosystem. when I arrived the place was packed and popping in the beautiful Urban Garden event grounds.
Along with the many panels about the future of crytpocurrency, and the potential of decentralized finance (De-Fi for short) our own CEO Roei Levav starred in the Liquidity in the age of DeFi panel, talking about Efficient Frontier’s favorite topics.
The highlight of the event, which seemed to draw the most viewers into the building from networking in the hot Tel-Aviv sun was the debate between Udi Werthimer, a Bitcoin activist and developer and Yoni Assia the CEO of the popular trading app Etoro which features many crypo-coins, it was moderated by the long time presenter Adam Meister who memorably quipped “We’ve agreed that Bitcoin is the next Bitcoin, but is Ethereum the next Ethereum?”
Also we must give a notable mention to Efficient Frontier’s one and only Din Rotholz who scored the gig of hosting the DD&D workshop stage.
4) Dev++ & Scaling Bitcoin
Dev++ was a two day educational event preceding Scaling Bitcoin which also took place at the Rosenblatt Auditorium at Tel-Aviv University. It was targeted at software developers interested in increasing their Bitcoin expertise. The first sessions of the first day reviewed the existing technical components of bitcoin: Cryptography, addresses, wallet mechanism, blockchain, block difficulty, proof of work and the mempool.
The later hours introduced new ideas such as Utreexo, a way to make a lighter version of the UTXO set, and re-broadcasting of transactions.
The second day went into more advanced subjects: Signet- a centralized test-net, hardware wallet design, state chains (an invention similar to side-chains which aims to be less centralized) and the scaling solutions of Schnorr Signatures and Lightning. The rest of the day covered Lightning Network issues and technicalities.
The atmosphere was geeky and chatty, with 70 lucky people, mostly developers from abroad engaging in long discussions during the breaks.
Scaling Bitcoin hosted half hour highly academic presentations, mostly offering changes in the Bitcoin protocol and improvements on Lightning Network described in a highly technical and advanced way. The event was sold out and hosted around 200 participants.
Notable presenters included Meni Rosenfeld who founded the Israeli Bitcoin community and is known for his research on Bitcoin mining pools and Bitcoin Core developers (developers who contributed code to the Bitcoin protocol itself) such as James Hilliard, John Newbery, Brian Bishop, Andrew Poelstra, Ruben Somsen, Jimmy Song, and more.
Also in attendance were developers of a prominent cryptocurrency projects who will go unnamed due to the Chatham House Rule of the conference.
5) Coindesk Party
A chance to connect with Coindesks veteran reporters along with free beer drew a crowd ranging from ICO marketers to Bitcoin Maximilsts to the already packed and popular Drama club, close by to the Bitcoin Embassy of Tel-Aviv. The place was buzzing with energy as well as scoops and stories being passed around.
Ethereal Summit was the first of its five iterations to be held outside of the United States. In was held in the Sheva event center which filled with hundreds of startup people, many venture capitalists as well as bank representatives (!).
The day was focused around the idea of decentralized finance as the heart of future usage of the Ethereum smart-contract platform. It showcased a variety of projects that are trying to bring this use case to fruition such as Gnosis, Zerion, Argent and Compund. Many of these new projects are based on using a dollar equivalent named Dai, created by the prominent Etehreum project MakerDAO who were also featured.
The other focus of Ethereal was of course it’s star guests Vitalik Butrin and Joe Lubin the former COO of Ethereum and the CEO of ConsenSys, who were both interview by EToro’s CEO Yoni Assya on the hot topics of Etehreum 2.0 and FaceBook’s Libra. The local audience enjoyed listening to Vitalik’s tale of his visit to Israel in 2013 and meeting with the Israeli Colored Coins and MasterCoin developers as an influence on him in inventing Ethereum.
In contrast to previous years there was a sense of Ethereum and Bitcoin complementing one another rather than competing, along with a theme of “Making Ethereum great again.”
6)Starkware 101 & Starkeware Sessions
The workshop and the sessions were very well planned.
About 100 people (mostly young men, as is still typical in cryptocurrecny related events) bought tickets and showed up with their laptops to the starkware 101 education session. Through the afternoon the developers were given instruction segments followed by work sessions with assistance of the instructors. By the end of the day the participants had experience in using Starkware’s libraries to create a Zero Knowledge Proof.
The next day developers from the cryptocurrency world, students of cryptography and mathematics, along with Starkware employees gathered in the main hall of Tel-Aviv Cinematheque down the street from our office.
The main stage featured discussions on future uses for Starks mathematical technology: Scalability and front running prevention in non-custodial smart contract based exchanges . These use case are being explored by Coinbase exchange as well as by the Ox Ethereum project. Professor Eli Ben-Sasson discussed the topic of how to create incentives for open-source blockchain related development.
Among the speakers were the founders of ICO projects such as Genosis, Tezos, Cosmos, Augur and Ethereum as well as developers from Siacoin.
7) Tezos and Safex Receptions
The Tezos meetup and launch of Tezos Israel was held right after Starkware Sessions. The balcony of the Cinematheque was buzzing with the conversation of the cryptocurrency and mathematics professionals who attended the one day conference.
At the same time the fancy Abraxas bar was hosting the Safex’s launch of their eCommerce platform, after three years in development. This event was rumored to have the best free food and alcohol of the entire Tel-Aviv Blockchain Week but I could not substantiate this clam by the time of publication.
8)The Awakening Closing Party
Blockchain Week’s official closing party was hosted by VC 21 Captial and news site BlockTV and drew hundreds of people to the Dovnov Gallery. A quick panel discussion was followed by an indoor techno rave. In attendance were all the who’s-who of Blockchain Week from Yael Lavie to Jospeh Lubin who ended the Blockchain Week by partying like it was 2017.
This week solidified in our minds the impressive amount of first rate crytpocurrency related ventures existing today in Tel-Aviv and impressed upon us the vibrancy of the local ecosystem, as well as Tel-Aviv’s appeal as a conference destination.
Hope to see you here next year!
This information was published through the courtesy of Efficient Frontier
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