Each of the past 3 years, I have considered attending ETH Denver; however, each time, whether due to fear of catching COVID or family obligations, I decided not to go. Each of those years, I would hear the stories from those who were there and immediately go into a state of FOMO. This year, however (thanks to the wonderful people I work with at Galaxis), it was my time. So, I joined SporkDAO, minted my ticket, and went off!
Below, I’m sharing some of the lessons I learned, both good and bad, along with some helpful tips in the hopes that they will help those who are ready to take the leap in 2024. Please note that when I talk about “Ethereum” in the lessons below, you can take this to mean “crypto” in general. While Ethereum was the main focus of the event, there were undoubtedly many other blockchains in attendance, all with their part to play in the industry's future.
1. Ethereum is NOT dead.
It is very much alive. Possibly more than ever. Maybe this doesn’t resonate with everyone, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to talk to family and friends about what I do for a living. With the highly publicized scams and centralized exchange failures, the public perception of the crypto industry feels like it’s at an all-time low.
So walking into “Spork Castle” (previously known as the National Western Complex) just north of the trendy RiNo district of Denver was like a breath of fresh rainbows. Everywhere I looked, there were colourful displays, thousands of friendly people, and stages with engaging speakers. Everyone was focused on building the infrastructure that would become the foundation of web3 for years to come. The optimism in the building was infectious. I knew at that moment that Ethereum was not going away quietly.
Helpful Tip #1: Due to the sheer number of people attending (a record-breaking 30,000 + this year), head to the venue the night before to register for the event. I waited until the first morning and stood in line for 90 minutes to get my lanyard which gives access to Spork Castle.
2. People are ready to collaborate.
There’s nothing like a bear market to make people willing to listen to what you have to say, and this year was no exception. Not only is the number of attendees growing, but the number of potential collaborators is as well. Between new layer 1s, layer 2s, (and layer 3s?), there is increased competition and ample surface area for builders to construct their applications, NFT creators to park their collections, or game developers to launch their next MMORPG.
Helpful Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone, even if you think you have nothing to say. Everyone is there to connect and brainstorm, and the worst thing that can happen is just some friendly conversation and mutual awareness.
3. Ethereum is diversifying.
One day, we will all look back and laugh at the fact that there was an “Ethereum Conference.” It might be more like what an “Internet Conference” would sound like today. Although I wasn’t around in 2018 (ETH Denver’s first year), I can safely assume that most attendees looked similar and/or had similar interests (computer science, finance, etc).
Now, however, with the emergence of NFTs as digital collectibles and in-game assets, there is a new segment emerging, full of life and creative, artistic energy that feels different from the blockchain/DeFi/Infrastructure crowd. It’s wildly refreshing and hopefully a sign of things to come. Ethereum, being a general-purpose blockchain, can support any use case we can come up with, and I can’t wait to see what group emerges next.
Helpful Tip #3: Just because your business or project happens to be in one area, for example, DeFi, don’t hesitate to cross over into other areas of the ecosystem, like NFTs. The synergies become apparent as soon as you start up a conversation.
4. Be prepared.
Just like in any other situation, being prepared is crucial. Here are some other items to consider before making your first trip to ETH Denver.
- Book your hotel early: By the time I decided to go, very few hotels were available close to the event. Also, ETH Denver receives discounted rates from participating hotels, but again, those need to be booked well in advance.
- Rent a car: If you end up in my situation (about a 15-minute drive from the venue), I recommend renting a car. If you are there for multiple days, Ubers can add up fast, especially if you make numerous daily trips. A car rental gives you more flexibility and can save you money throughout your stay. Parking at the event was $40 for 5 days.
- Drink lots of water: Due to Denver’s climate and altitude, drinking about twice as much water as you would at home will be necessary. Without this, you will dehydrate quickly and be more susceptible to altitude sickness.
- Plan your schedule, but be flexible: Check out the program on the ETH Denver website before you leave, and highlight the speakers and events that look the most interesting. Make a plan that makes sense based on the venue's layout, but leave yourself plenty of free time if you find other interesting things while you are there or if you need to get away from the action in the “Zen Zone”.
The Galaxis Digital Collectible Toolkit is an open-source, no-code, out-of-the-box suite for creating unstoppable communities. It provides creators with all the benefits of smart contract technology in one easy-to-understand, non-technical user interface, allowing them to design, deploy and add community perks to a collection of digital collectibles and/or membership cards along with a safe space for members to interact and trade value.
We are currently looking for existing communities to join our beta program where they can receive exclusive early access as well as ongoing support to launch their community on the Galaxis platform. For more information, please reach out on our website, in Discord, or on Twitter.
Written by Randy Hobbs
Edited by Orsolya Szlahotka-Godri
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