Last week I was able to attend ETHDenver and learn about the current state of the Ethereum ecosystem. Some of the highlights include building on the ethereum network, community governance, and regenerative crypto economics.
First, a bit about ETHDenver. This event began back in 2017 as a group of people who were interested in the ethereum ecosystem and has earned the reputation of being the largest ETH event. Last year they had 2500 people in attendance virtually due to covid, this year over 15,000 people signed up. ETHDenver is completely free to attend and subsidized by sponsors and ‘Bufficorn’ NFT sales. They also created the SporkDAO and all attendees and contributors received Spork making them members of the DAO. EthDenver created an investment fund focused on developing winners of the hackathon. Finally, the organization and Colorado state leaders made a convincing case for Denver to be a future crypto hub in the future.
Building Layer 2 Applications
ETHDenver’s first and largest focus was building. The event kicked off with a hackathon called the “Buidlathon” in which teams competed for bounties by building Dapp’s on the ethereum network. Bounties came from many different sponsors including the state of Colorado, challegened contestants to solve specific problems such as integration, solution development, ect. Over 180 projects were submitted, here are the winners of all bounties.
DAO’s & Community Governance
This is a broad category so I‘ve broken this section into Governance and Regulation.
- Vitalik Buterin spoke at the conference and one point he made was ‘figuring out community governance may be one of the biggest questions of the century.’ Community governance is very difficult and an entirely different mindset to most web2 corporations top down leadership. Due to the focus on governance, there is a race to build tools that allow DAO’s to operate effectively and efficiently without a centralized authority. There are many issues at play and it will be interesting/necessary for the community to develop better parameters for community governance.
- The state of Colorado put their best foot forward and had Governor Polis, Colorado’s security commissioner and many other Colorado leaders speak. They all echoed Colorado’s desire to be a crypto hub and the Delaware of DAO’s. Recently Wyoming created the DAO LLC and has been influential in making policy regarding cryptocurrency. The DAO LLC is a bit of a contradiction however, while there can be unlimited members there has to be at least one control person for the DAO and for that reason it isn’t as decentralized as it sounds though it provides limited liability for its members. The state of Colorado believe’s they are uniquely positioned to build on top of the states Co-Op laws in order to create more decentralization and equal opportunity amongst members.
- Colorado’s security commissioner, Tung Chang, spoke on crypto regulations. Chang was the ethereum foundation's first general counsel and very familiar with the space. She encouraged DAO’s to identify who will be held accountable should there be legal scrutiny. The question becomes how do you have a central figure in the DAO? She points out that there is a stigma in the crypto industry of scams and that the community should work to improve the legitimacy.
Regenerative Crypto Economics
The theme of one entire day at ETHDenver was Regenerative Crypto Economics (RCE). The goal of RCE is to build systems that “1. Satisfy human needs 2. Create positive sum externalities (and are net positive) 3. Create balance (and find equilibrium).” Many web 3 leaders have collaborated to create and support the “Greenpilled” book and podcast to encourage coordination of web 3 participants to build, fund and use public goods. One example of a web 3 project doing this is Gitcoin. Gitcoin helps develop open source web3 projects by educating, connecting and funding. To date they have funded over 52 million dollars worth of public goods. Quadratic funding is also an interesting solution to help alleviate the tragedy of the commons, in case you are not familiar.
- Proof of Stake
- It would hardly be an ETH event without talking about the state of the transition to POS. Researchers from the Ethereum foundation have a goal of having the move done by June or July of 2022. One researcher stated ‘if we haven't got this done by July, then something catastrophic has come up.’ Another researcher pointed out that by their estimation the transition will reduce gas fee’s by 99.98% and make the blockchain more secure and scalable.
- Digital Identity
- Vitalik spoke about the importance of digital identity and zero knowledge technology. He postulates that digital identity will allow more possibilities and. Furthermore, Colorado invited contestants to offer solutions to digital citizenship with a goal of making Colorado the first digital state within 5-10 years.
** In conclusion, the ETH Denver highlighted building/network utilization, community governance, and regenerative crypto economics/non-zero sum opportunities. I can’t help but point out that this community is hell bent on creating positive sum outcomes and worth paying attention to. I kept this brief, if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach me at [email protected].**