Hello from ETHDenver Pt 3!
This post was written by one of our long standing staff members who volunteered with ETHDenver, and offers an insider’s view of the recent event. Enjoy!
In February, I was one of the more than 15,000 participants and contributors of ETHDenver 2023, a Community and Innovation Festival that spans over a week at one of the largest gathering spaces in Denver, Colorado.
Compared with other crypto-centric events like NFT.NYC, ETHDenver has a larger technical focus, with #BUIDLers coming from around the world to build their projects on the Ethereum blockchain.
Unlike most attendees, however, I had the unique experience of contributing to the event as a Volunteer Steward and experienced the festival from a slightly different angle.
Working diligently with other Stewards, and with the help of 200+ volunteer Crew members, The Year of the Spork quickly became one for the record books.
The 6th annual event was host to fireside chats, solo presentations, a marathon #BUIDLathon, workshops and panels, and of course a slew of side events hosted by ETHDenver sponsors.
While we (sometimes not so) quietly moved around the event to assist attendees, Spork Whales, and speakers, it became apparent how dedicated this unique community is, making the festival outshine its previous iteration year over year. Having volunteered for last year’s Year of the Buffigwei, I was lucky enough to see many friendly faces I’d previously met in the space.
These same volunteers who stood outside in the surprise blizzard while greeting each and every registrant, and the same staff who’d flit from venue to venue up the block ensuring that each stage and event space could seamlessly pull off their panels and presentations, came back ready to bring it for 2023.
To better fit the growing community, the venue was moved to the sprawling National Western Complex and split into five main tracks: DAOs + Community, Decentralized Finance, Public Goods, Infrastructure, NFTs + Metaverse + Gaming.
The frenetic energy surrounding the wide breadth of topics kept the community buzzing for the 10-day span of the festival, but two of them caught my attention, NEAR Day and the Privacy and Security Takeover.
NEAR Protocol, a bit player at ETHDenver 2022, was front and center this year with an entire day dedicated to talks, keynotes, and workshops encompassing the ecosystem.
Having learned about NEAR last year and interacting with most of these individuals on social media, it was an incredible feeling to be able to step back and listen to them speak about the protocol and the forward-thinking BOS positioning.
Participants in NEAR Day heard about the importance of creating a seamless user experience to drive mass adoption and sustainability in blockchain by focusing on real engagement, strategic long-term planning, and overall impact of development. We were enlightened by a breakdown (and a breakup) with the way newcomers are onboarded into Web3, and of course, the value in a fully decentralized identity.
The concepts delivered by NEAR span the entirety of the Web3 Space and reiterate what it is we’re moving toward.
Notably, we can’t move closer to mass adoption without a strong sense of security and privacy in the space, and the takeover of the Genesis Stage gave speakers an opportunity to impress this importance to the community at large. On March 4th, a series of Privacy Highlights held the stage to cover a wide span of topics from plausible deniability, attempts to encroach on privacy by outside entities, and the role Cypherpunks played in preventing users from being backdoored.
Closing with a keynote from security badass Sherri Davidoff, the founder and CEO of LMG Security, attendees (myself included) were left with a stark visual reminder that privacy is deeply interconnected with unity and security via her interpretation of the Fugio cent.
The beauty of ETHDenver is the ability of like-minded individuals to gather and learn about new technologies while pushing the boundaries of what we think we know and most of the panels and conversations delivered on that. The dynamic pace created by different types of Ethereum developers and community #BUIDLers gathering in one location sparked a sense of renewed optimism and excitement for the future of Ethereum, despite current market dynamics. It reinforced its reputation for being an Innovation Festival for the Community.
- Giraffe Cupcakes is the Community Manager at Mint Gold Dust and has been working with ETH Denver community and events in 2022 and 2023.