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Prepping for Ethereum DevCon5 (part 2: Predicting DevCon5)

Me speaking at WindingTree hackathon prior to DevCon4

In the pervious post, I looked back the history of the past three DevCon events. What stood out the most for me personally are the following three points.

  • DevCon tech trends change every year.
  • There have been only a handful of Japanese speakers and some participants.
  • Many people came to the last event even without DevCon ticket.

Based on these, I would like to predict some trends for the upcoming DevCon5.

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Technology trends

It is likely that MakerDAO and Defi trends will continue until autumn, though what I expect to see more is push towards the use of cross chains.

Now that Cosmos Hub has launched and Polkadot is expecting to launch in the third quarter, these two groups are pushing their technologies a lot. Back in ETHcc in Paris, there was a whole track dedicated to “Web3” technologies and that was in fact mostly talks about Polkadot and Substrate, the building block of Polkadot.

The best you can do about these trends will be that you should be aware of what’s going on with other communities. DevCon5 would be a great event to show the presence of Blockchain to outside of the bubble. Would be nice some big Japanese media (such as NHK) talks about crypto events in general.

As a person who wears another hat of ENS(Ethereum Name Service), I am very keen to find out how these new services will enable interoperable communication across different chains.

I’ve recently wrote a blog post (as ENS) about a need for interoperable name service standard.

If you are Dapp/Wallet/Exhchange operators keen on these topics, ENS has recently announced application for its upcoming ENS workshop which will happen during DevCon5 so you should apply for that.

Increasing Local speakers

Yoichi Hirai presenting at DevCon2

This is more of my hope rather than prediction. In previous events, there weren’t anything special to feature local speakers but that would be a huge missed opportunity to increase the adoption of blockchain to the local communities. I hope we have at least dozens of Japanese speakers at DevCon5. Even though there are lots of Blockchain related activities happening, Japanese Blockchain news are relatively limited (Kudos for https://weekinjapancrypto.substack.com/ to promote Japanese crypto news).

For those Japanese who don’t feel comfortable presenting in English, it would be great if we provide some support. If budget allows, full translation service would be idea. It would be nice if it allocates some slot for talks in Japanese but at least help speakers to have English subtitles on their slide.

Prior to become active in Ethereum community, I have been active member of Ruby programming language community. Ruby is invented by a Japanese developer, Yukihiro Matsumoto and their core developers are mostly Japanese and cross language communication with developers outside of Japan have been their big challenges. rubykaigi.org , their annual developer conference reflected this unique nature and they have been having good mixture of international speakers and domestic speakers (Though the last I attended their event was several years ago). Would be nice if there are any Rubyist interested in Blockchain space could lend hands on running DevCon5 event.

Ruby Kaigi is a big Ruby conference in Japan which has a good mix of Japanese and foreign speakers.

Eating your own dog-food (try blockchain at your event)

Since ETHBerlin hackathon, “Eat your own dog food” movement has become more prominent incorporating some sort of blockchain services at your own event.

Given the increasing number of people who struggle to purchase DevCon tickets, there would be a huge opportunity organising side events of your own. As much as I want to say “Kickback is the best”, Burner Wallet by Austin Griffith is killing it right now. BurnerWallet allows any noobs to receive USD pegged token (aka xDAI deployed on POA network) and spend on events buying drinks and food. It is the best tool to introduce noobs into crypto at events right now (if the event organisers can afford to airdrop tokens to participants as it does not solve fiat on boarding ).

For “Proof fo attendance”, there is the exact service called poap.xyz (Proof Of Attendance protocol). Poap emits ERC721 compatible event tokens at conferences and Hackathons. In the past, the Poap members had to ask around the ETH address of participants one by one but we can easily integrate POAP into Kickback so that they can airdrop tokens to all attendance of Kickback. They are also working on a system which allows self check-in of people who can be on the wifi hotspot of the event (solving the problem of someone posting event QR code into social media).

One of the caveats of using any blockchain services at events is the unstable wifi network, I would say. You may think Japan has high speed internet everywhere. It is true for local Japanese as they tend to have mobile contract which has ubiquitous connectivity even at underground. On the contrary, wifi at shops are relatively poor and Starbucks is probably the only place where you are more likely to be able to connect to wifi (though I remember that some Starbucks asked you to put email address which they send activation code which is a total UX failure). If you design your solution to have internet connection on time, visitors who didn’t buy SIM card at airports may suffer. In fact, when I used Burner Wallet at ETHDenver, they had food stand outside of the hackathon venues and my choice of food stands were limited to the ones which were within the wifi range of the venue.

As a workaround, it would be super interesting if someone can have mesh network at events. Japan is known for gadget and hardware. Any Japanese companies want to try out?

The second obstacles using blockchain related projects (especially for Kickback) is dealing with people who have no Ether. Both Burner Wallets and Poap airdrop tokens with the expense of the operator but it may be a bit too costly to keep doing at larger scale events.

At EthDenver hackathon, they collected ETH using a blockchain based ticketing service similar to Kickback (called Taiga Market) then air dropped some to the hackathon participants. You could apply similar system by taking money from participants upfront using normal ticketing service (eg: EventBrite) but not sure if this is legal as once can claim that it is providing an exchange service. Would be nice to hear some legal advice on this point.

Summary

I have written the past and future of DevCon in the last two blog posts.

As compared to the previous DevCon events, many projects have already launched their product on Mainnet. It will be a great chance for any companies participating at DevCon5 to demonstrate what they can offer right now (rather than in the next few years). One of the ways to do so is organise events to promote your service, but organising events in Japan may be a bit challenging. In the next post, we will guide you through how to prep for that.

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