Notes from EthDenver 2023

I spent most of last week in Denver attending EthDenver 2023, one of the biggest Ethereum-centric conferences in North America. This was my first EthDenver event (first of many I hope) and I wasn’t sure what to expect given the roller coaster that almost seems a constant in this domain. That said, the five days I spent there were a great way to get a glimpse into various projects and themes in play in that ecosystem. This post covers some of the projects and ideas I saw there.

A multi-chain future

I attended Axelar’s mini-summit on interoperability which was very interesting. The tl;dr of various panel discussions was that while we might have our L1 or L2 chains of choice, we are living in a multi-chain world, and interesting applications will appear in a lot of different chains. That said, at least so far, Ethereum remains the main chain of choice acting as a hub with spokes out to various other chains. There were also some interesting discussions on the safety of bridges that connect various chains and which have been in the news a number of times for getting hacked. I am not sure knowledgable about a lot of the chains that were mentioned but found the discussions fascinating and would like some time to explore Axelar, Polkadot and Cosmos.

The Social Web3

I ended up attending various sessions on Web3 based social platforms, and there were a lot of those around. The ones I did find most interesting included Huddle01 (Web3 based Zoom), (Web3 based Discord), and Dispatch, a company building NFT based shopping tools as well as “engagement NFTs” that encode interactive experiences like polls etc. More interesting though was learning about a number of emerging protocols for Web3 based communication like DMTP, XMTP and Lens. I am really curious about Lens as it comes from the company behind the successful Aave protocol and has some very interesting primitives, like using NFTs to define user connections which I do think is kinda interesting.

Incentive Design and Economics

Thanks to my friend Mike Mccoy at the CryptoEconLab, I was able to attend their day long mini-summit on cryptoeconomics. I’d say I understood maybe 40% of the ideas shared here, but the talks were very good. I specially enjoyed the session on Protocol Gas Dynamics and MEV, Quadratic Funding by GitCoin and on NFT Auction Design by Tarun Chitra. You can find all the talks at the event on their YouTube channel

Miscellaneous Thoughts

  • There were a lot of sessions on privacy and zero-knowledge proofs. Not surprising since privacy is a big deal these days and ZK technology seems a promising space.
  • There were more new wallet startups I saw at the event than I was expecting. MetaMask remains the big name there and their announcement about Snaps, their extension framework, was awesome, but it was interesting to see a number of wallet providers focusing on user experience.
  • Unity’s announcement about their partnerships with a number of major Web3 platforms happened around EthDenver. Hopefully this results in some compelling Web3 games and not just standard games with Web3 bolted on
  • Filecoin’s Virtual Machine is interesting
  • Everything runs on Telegram. My Telegram friend list went from a dozen or so contacts to a whole lot more.

All in all, EthDenver was intense but very educational. Definitely looking forward to the next one 👋

Author: Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a Principal Engineer at Comcast Labs where he is currently working on a variety of topics including Machine Learning, Affective Computing, and Blockchain applications. Arpit has also worked extensively on Android and iOS applications, Virtual Reality apps as well as with web technologies like JavaScript, HTML and Ruby on Rails. He also spent a couple of years in the User Experience team as a Creative Technologist.

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