Ethereum

Thousands of Ethereum coders work and party in Denver

Thousands of Ethereum coders work and party in Denver

ETHDenver 2022 attracts thousands of Ethereum enthusiasts

MacKenzie Sigalos | CNBC

DENVER — A few blocks from the Colorado state capital, in downtown Denver, is a place called the Sports Castle. The six-story building is a modernized Chrysler car showroom, originally built in 1927, where instead of stairs, wide ramps wrap the perimeter of each floor. The degenerate grunge aesthetic is deliberate and fits perfectly with the ethos of ETHDenver, an annual two-week event attracting some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the Ethereum ecosystem.

“It’s like we’ve broken into an abandoned warehouse,” said John Paller, who first started ETHDenver in 2017. “It fits the vibe of this sort of emerging permissionlessness, where it’s almost like, ‘Yeah, we’re kinda building a revolution, and you don’t even know it.'”

Five years later, and the cat is definitely out of the bag. Paller tells CNBC that more than 20,000 people registered to attend this year — and he estimates more than 13,000 descended on Denver for the official rally, along with more than 350 ancillary events. The organizers of ETHDenver claim that it is now the largest and oldest Ethereum event in history.

Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world by market capitalization after bitcoin, and it’s known for its smart contracts, which are essentially programmable pieces of code that could one day replace intermediaries like banks and lawyers. in certain types of business transactions.

Paller tells CNBC that the hackers are known as BUIDLers — an intentional misspelling of the word “builders” in a sort of homage to the bitcoin, HODL, or “hang on for life” meme.

“We prefer BUIDL over HODL,” Paller said. “This philosophy is very much ingrained in the community.”

The meme-off may seem silly, but it’s at the heart of what separates these two very different groups of people.

Bitcoiners tend to move slower in development, prioritizing security and decentralization above all else, while Ethereum programmers tend to be more cavalier. While they don’t necessarily break things as they go, they move quickly and tinker aggressively.

Ethereum serves as the primary building block for all sorts of crypto projects, like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi), and web3, a still somewhat amorphous buzzword for a third-generation internet. decentralized and built using blockchain technology. Most NFTs and 74% of DeFi appsor dApps, running on Ethereum, according to the State of The dApps website.

The network is also about to spend years moving from a proof-of-work mining model to a consensus mechanism called proof-of-stake. The makeover will move Ethereum to a less energy intensive mining process and, according to network founder Vitalik Buterincould increase the speed by more than 7,000 times to reach 100,000 transactions per second.

ETHDenver 2022 was held at the “Castle” in downtown Denver

MacKenzie Sigalos | CNBC

The ETHDenver vibe

ETHDenver 2022 attracts thousands of Ethereum enthusiasts

MacKenzie Sigalos | CNBC

But the speakers and panels aren’t ETHDenver’s main draw. Basically, it’s a hackathon. Think of the thousands of developers from around the world converging on Denver, working sleepless nights for days, teaming up to build projects from scratch — and collectively battling for the $1.5 million in total bounties on offer. Although hackathons are nothing new, many in the blockchain community consider ETHDenver to be the premier destination for Ethereum developers.

“It’s really tech meets Mr. Robot, meets Burning Man festival, meets Celebration of Life,” said Dani Osorio, chief content officer for ETHDenver, who has spent the past few years working in infrastructure relations. and developers. “So you have this very laid-back, collegial, collaborative energy that’s very joyful.”

“This is not a conference where you sit and listen, and you wear a suit and act like someone you’re not. You can be yourself and you can be part of building that future. in any way you deem appropriate,” Paller said. “It’s choosing your own adventure.”

One of the hackathon judges is Christine Perry, a former Department of Defense contractor who got into crypto because she wanted to see what was under the hood of tokens. She explains that ETHDenver is where developers come to learn what’s been built and what’s yet to be built, then work together to make it possible.

“When I found Ethereum, I was like, ‘This is it. This is the blockchain that’s really going to bring change, because there’s a lot of developers here, there’s a lot of people tinkering,'” said Perry, who before getting into blockchain, made the Guinness Book of World Records — twice — for group skydiving events.

“ETHDenver is a place of advancement for the space. Because after that, everyone goes back to the drawing board. They’ve already made their partnerships, and they’re just continuing to push the project or the ecosystem.”

ETHDenver 2022 was held at the “Castle” in downtown Denver

MacKenzie Sigalos | CNBC

But the ETHDenver scene isn’t just for developers. As technology has matured, subcultures have also evolved.

Parts of the summit looked more commercial than before, according to longtime ETHDenver enthusiasts. Companies don’t shy away from buying products at bargain prices, and networking for the purpose of recruiting talent – ​​and money – is definitely a thing. The organizers who allocated the space in the castle apparently gave more priority than in previous years to company stands.

“It’s a group of hackers who develop and build projects, mixed with investors, but the investors are not like investment bankers, they’re also hackers who made a lot of money in crypto back then. It’s so awesome,” said Keatly Haldeman, CEO of Dequency, a recently launched web3 music sync licensing platform.

Ethereum’s sub-tribes also include artists like NFT star Emily Yang, better known as Pplpleasr, as well as humanitarians like Kweku Mandela (Nelson Mandela’s grandson) and Princess Sarah Culberson of Sierra Leone , who spoke about the use cases of crypto in emerging economies. .

But no matter what sub-tribe they were part of, the party didn’t end on Wednesday. The buses left for a group ski trip to Breckenridge on Thursday morning.