Summary: This is the first in a series of articles about my experience at DevConnect Istanbul, one of the biggest Web3 conferences of the year put on by the Ethereum Foundation. Every year, blockchain conferences are a mecca of the cryptocurrency industry, with established companies, new startups, and general enthusiasts coming together to network, attend speaking ...
Every year, blockchain conferences are a mecca of the cryptocurrency industry, with established companies, new startups, and general enthusiasts coming together to network, attend speaking events, and facilitate the growth and use of their projects. DevConnect, the developer-focused conference put on by the Ethereum Foundation, is no different and might be the biggest builder-oriented conference of the year.
The EF rotates between hosting Devcon and DevConnect, with the former being a more conference-style event and the ladder a series of community-organized meetups. Practically, this means that DevConnect is made up of a co-working space, where people gather during off periods, and events dispersed throughout the city hosted by various protocols and companies. The events formally kicked off today with the co-working space opening at the Istanbul Congress Center, a 7-story building with something going on almost every floor. On floor -5, the conference center was transformed into an Istanbul-themed working space fit with Turkish ice cream, coffee, and free snacks. Almost everyone can be found at one point or another building their piece of the Web3 pie.
Today, the main events were the Ethereum Staking Gathering, Battle of the L2s, and EthGünü. At the Staking Gathering, several prominent validators and liquid staking protocols took the stage to discuss the values of liquid staking, how re-staking could bring even more demand to the service, and the pros and cons of increasing the maximum balance from 32 ETH to something much higher for validators.
At the Battle of the L2s, there was representation from almost every major rollup or protocol building using their tech stack. In one of the first talks of the day, Kalman Lajko from ZkSync spoke about their vision for a hyperchain ecosystem, where L3s can seamlessly bridge assets between one another and achieve desired security properties by ultimately settling down to the Ethereum mainnet. Ultimately, Hyperchains hope to be the zero knowledge-powered version of the appchain vision pursued by Arbitrum Orbit. Using layered proof aggregation, it becomes possible to have fast messaging in a scalable environment without massive consensus overhead. Unfortunately, creating one of these chains is still a difficult and technically complex process, as evidenced by the subsequent demo in which the Lambda Class team showed the process of spinning up the testing environment.
Later in the day, Matt Pearring, Head of Product at Offchain Labs, spoke at length about Arbitrum Orbit, their solution to allow anyone to create an L3 that can settle to an Arbitrum Layer 2. Thanks to their use of optimistic fraud-proof technology instead of relying on the technically more complex, though more secure, zero-knowledge proofs. Arbitrum Orbit offers numerous ways for users to create their app chain and customize almost every feature, including the data availability layer, virtual machine, and tokenomics. Additionally, thanks to Arbitrum Stylus, developers can write smart contracts in Rust, C, or C++ while still being compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine, significantly increasing the number of devs who can natively code Arbitrum dApps.
EthGünü was arguably the biggest event of the day and was put on by the Turkish Ethereum community. There, leaders like Vitalik Buterin and Aya Miyaguchi, the executive director of the Ethereum Foundation, spoke about their vision for how Ethereum can continue to be an infinite garden of possibilities and gave educational overviews of Ethereum and its goals. Most of the event took place in Turkish and brought the Turkish-native Ethereum community together in a way that had not been done before.
Overall, the first day of DevConnect was filled with information about infrastructure, Ethereum scaling via Layer 3s, and education for the Turkish community. The next few days promise more interesting speaking events, announcements, and opportunities in Web3.
By Lincoln Murr