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Reflections on Devcon3, Ethereum’s Biggest Event


The third installment of Devcon, the world’s largest annual Ethereum convention, took place over the last few days in Cancún, Mexico.

The event brought together some of the smartest minds in the cryptocurrency industry in order to facilitate a healthy exchange of ideas. Devcon’s guests were as international as the speakers themselves, travelling from various parts of the world to take part in some truly exciting talks about the role that cryptocurrencies and their supporting technology play in the modern world.

While the event’s focus revolved around Ethereum, Devcon3 served as a perfect opportunity for smaller cryptocurrencies to shine.

The result was an event that varied in its subject matter. Tuning in to the Devcon3 stream at different times would leave you with a very different idea of the event’s focus. However, it was clear that the individual presentations were tied together by common threads of passion, blockchain-based problem solving, and bringing Ethereum safely into the public sector.


This year’s Devcon was the type of event where the audience was just as passionate about the topic of conversation as the people on stage.

The crowd was quick to ask questions, and the speakers were just as happy to continue talking about projects they clearly hold close to their heart.

The cryptocurrency community needs to inspire confidence in order to succeed, and the genuinely passionate speakers and inventors at Devcon – like Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin – delivered in that goal.

Blockchain-based problem solving

The mind of an inventor is centered around creating a more practical way to do things. When given an exciting new tool like blockchain, the industry’s engineers start pitching ways that this tool could be used to solve modern day problems.

At certain points, watching Devcon felt almost like a school science fair with different creations on display. Each speaker presented their pitch for how to make the world a bit more practical, and it made for some genuinely thought-provoking moments.

A perfect example was when the team behind Alice presented on the fourth and final day of the convention. To give a sense of the setting, by the time it was Alice’s turn to present, the audience had already spent multiple days listening to uses for blockchain technology from Mist, Golem and many other project teams.

However, this didn’t deter the Alice team from taking their moment to share their idea with the community.

Even more surprisingly, it didn’t deter the audience from paying attention.

The result was an exciting talk about how blockchain could be used to incentivize people to donate money, by adding much needed transparency to the industry. The Alice team helped demonstrate that uses for a transparent public ledger system are plentiful.

Just when you think you couldn’t possibly hear about another application for blockchain, a handful of other exciting possibilities are just around the corner.

Bringing Ethereum safely into the mainstream

The event’s core theme of making Ethereum a safe, everyday technology could be heard in both the introductory presentation and was echoed throughout most of the convention.

While promoting Ethereum relies on creating public trust, ignoring latent issues with the technology is not an apt shortcut. An exciting aspect of Devcon is that there were some moments of well-meaning skepticism, from both the audience and the event’s speakers.

During the convention, for instance, Vlad Zamfir released the first public draft spec of Casper, a potential solution to the serious issue of scalability that cryptocurrencies face.

Zamfir’s work with Casper is important enough to have earned three separate presentation times at Devcon3, where he went through Casper’s need in the world and how it could, and should, be implemented.

Devcon3 also featured a lot of positive sentiments about how the world might be moving in favor of decentralization.

There are many aspects of the world around us that could be benefited by the elimination of intermediaries. That’s why it’s important to remember that Ethereum is far more than just a currency, it’s also a tool that can be used to disrupt the world as we know it today.

Excited for next year

With the sun having now set on Devcon’s third annual installment, you can be certain that there are many people in the industry impatiently awaiting to see tangible proof of the event’s impact.

The impact of Devcon3 might not be immediate, aside from increased headline exposure, but it could have lasting impact over the next few years. If Devcon3 was successful in any two of its attempts, we should hope that it was in getting the industry to collaborate on finding solutions, and helping the public become aware of the potential of Ethereum and its accomplices.

“Watching history in the making is cool. Writing the future yourself is even cooler… The future is not a place we get to visit. The future is a place we get to create.”

– Mihai Alisie, Ethereum co-founder

P.S. For what it’s worth, on Day 3 someone galloped past the vacant stage in a unicorn riding costume and yelled “Ethereum is a unicorn.”


Image credit: Ethereum


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