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What's It Like to Attend a Blockchain Conference? A look Inside Devcon

Summary: Recently, I had the honor of attending the Ethereum Foundation’s Devcon Conference in Bogotá, Colombia, as one of 50 Devcon Scholars. Let’s dive into what a blockchain conference is like and the value that it provides to investors, builders, and founders in the blockchain and Web3 industry. The cryptocurrency industry is unlike any other to ...

Recently, I had the honor of attending the Ethereum Foundation’s Devcon Conference in Bogotá, Colombia, as one of 50 Devcon Scholars. Let’s dive into what a blockchain conference is like and the value that it provides to investors, builders, and founders in the blockchain and Web3 industry.

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The cryptocurrency industry is unlike any other to date with its lack of a true geographical hub, worldwide interest, and relatively younger demographic. Consequently, at least once a month there are large cryptocurrency conferences hosted around the world, each with a different focus, and provide blockchain enthusiasts with the opportunity to network and interact with some like-minded peers and learn from leaders in the space. 

The most recent major conference to take place was Devcon, the Ethereum Foundation’s annual conference focusing on all things related to the Ethereum ecosystem. The conference took place during the week of October 9-16, and has been called by many the best blockchain conference of the year. 

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At the conference, experts and leaders in several different Web3 sectors, such as Layer 2s, DeFi, institutions, infrastructure, and more converged in one location to share insights, form partnerships, and continue building the future of the internet. During the day, the Agora Conference center acted as the hub of blockchain activity in the city, and there were always several presentations going on at the same time, each with a different theme that was emphasized throughout the week. Some of these themes included Opportunity & Global Impact, UX & Design, Layer 2s, Crypto-Economics, and Developer Infrastructure, among others. No matter one’s interest or area of expertise, there were relevant and interesting presentations from experts in their respective fields.

Along with the main Devcon conference, which took place from October 9-14, other independent conferences were organized throughout the week and highlighted important sectors of Web3. For example, Schelling Point, a conference focused on regenerative finance, public goods, and global impact, took place a few days before Devcon. Additionally, Polygon, Near, and Avalanche each had side events catering to their specific blockchains, all of which were free to attend. 

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At night, there were always several different afterparties and events taking place, most of which were free to attend and easy to acquire tickets. For example, Aave hosted their famous rAave event, where they source popular DJs and create a rave-style environment for Devcon attendees. Additionally, other organizations like Aribtrum, OpenSea, Chainlink, and Quantstamp held their own after parties and happy hours, where people could enjoy free food and drinks as well as connecting with peers in their industry.

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In my opinion, the best part about in-person blockchain conferences like Devcon is the controlled chaos experienced at all sorts of events. At any given time, you have the chance to run into someone who could become a future business partner, friend, or even co-founder. Everyone is in the same place for the same reason: to learn more about blockchain and find business opportunities. This environment is ripe with opportunity, and walking out of a blockchain conference without at least a few dozen new connections is nearly impossible.

For investors who may not be working full-time in Web3 yet still want to learn and continue to dive into this world, conferences offer the chance to learn more from the presentations, talk to people who work in the space, and gain a greater understanding of different projects, what they’re doing, and if they are worth an investment. Additionally, it is possible to meet exciting new projects which may not even have a token or coin yet, and provides the opportunity to become close with founders early in a project’s life cycle. 

For developers, conferences provide several unique opportunities. For example, there was an ETHBogotá hackathon event in the days leading up to Devcon, where developers could find a team, create an app, and potentially win thousands in prize money. There is also the chance to find lucrative job opportunities with startups, as well as get your name and face in front of your dream employer’s recruiters and leaders. 

Arguably, conferences offer the most to founders or those looking for partnerships in the space. It feels like almost every other person is working on a personal project either as a side hobby or for their full-time job, and the talent and cooperation opportunities available at conferences are more abundant than anywhere else.

Overall, conferences like Devcon are fantastic, and should be attended by anyone who has the financial means to go and wants to dive deeper into the Web3 space. For those who have financial restrictions preventing them from attending, there are fantastic programs like the Devcon Scholars program, which covers the flight, travel, and attendance of the conference. The experience of the chaotic randomness and passion found at blockchain conferences is unlike anything else, and I highly recommend attending to fully experience the cryptocurrency community.

By Lincoln Murr

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