ETHDenver, perhaps the most important event for developers working on smart contracts and DeFi (decentralized finance) on the Ethereum blockchain, ended last week. I wanted to participate, but I was exhausted after four grueling months of public misconduct.
Thankfully, many people uploaded videos of the event, so I was able to enjoy it as if I was there. Unfortunately, however, many of the posts expressed something of an innocent bewilderment and cynicism towards ETHDenver, which is generally considered to be lame.
ETHDenver’s rough edges may seem silly and chaotic, but they strongly indicate that a true community is drawn together by a shared interest in building something from scratch. Only such a community can survive the current downturn.
It’s also true, to say the least, that many of the attendees are rich enough to not care about other people.
annual silly song
Compared to many crypto conferences, ETHDenver and related events certainly feel a little sloppy and a little odd. For example, Jonathan Mann, aka “The Song a Day Guy,” who participates every year. Every year he writes and plays a tacky, amateurish tune for the event, and every time he gets criticized on Twitter.
hey back off man that’s my man @songadaymann
— notsofast (@notsofast) March 3, 2023
From the very first time I ever posted something I made to the internet, way back in 2006, I’ve gotten hate from people like this. It’s predictable and kinda sad, tbh. swXhbVDFPr
—jonathan @ EthDenver (@songadaymann) March 3, 2023
But it’s not just the silly songs that make ETHDenver offensive to you.
Last year, when I participated, it was held in a renovated parking lot, and most of the toilets were out of order. About a third of the seats had no view of the main stage, and the voices of people talking in the back of the hall drowned out the voices of the speakers. Occasionally, 500 pizzas were delivered to the table on the second floor, creating a line so large that people could not move.
But it was still a great event.
feature, not bug
ETHDenver has the edge and energy of a great punk rock or hip hop gig, unlike most crypto events that the public sees.
With marketing firms and big budgets now dominating crypto events, there is still a “DIY” feel to them. Driven by true spirit, not ROI. Inappropriateness and rough edges are features, not bugs.
The rough edges, sloppiness, and disorganization are certainly disappointing to some, especially those in finance and those who yearn for such dubious labels. So-called institutional investors may not be too reassured by co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s dance about the seriousness of the Ethereum ecosystem.
But that’s the point. Ethereum supporters are definitely not complaining. Like any good punk gig, Jonathan Mann’s opening performance is meant to drive the layman away into the quiet of everyday life.
Then there are the greedy people who embarrassedly invested in scammers in 2021. There is a tacit understanding that if you don’t understand this culture, you won’t understand anything else that goes on here.
And, in an industry where huge amounts of money are being spent, the attitude of not worrying about appearances may be the greatest strength.
As crypto cynic Gabriel Haines put it:
“Do you think I care if you think I’m a disgustingly embarrassing guy? He’s the most powerful man on earth!”
U think I’m cringe?!? Ur selling ur coins because of a song?!?? Good luck to you anon pic.twitter.com/EBoEjSDnxN
— Gabriel Haines | machetes.eth (@gabrielhaines) March 3, 2023
Able to afford large sums of money
Such indifference points to another important fact. That is, many ETHDenver participants need little or no public familiarity or public appeal. Because it’s a vibrant community that knows each other and already works well together.
Furthermore, those who participate in ETHDenver have long been involved in crypto assets, especially Ethereum, and already have substantial assets, either individually or as an organization. Even the bubbles and crashes of 2021 and 2022 are nothing if the Ethereum (ETH) we have is what we got for $2.
In contrast, the sophisticated, over-produced events that have taken the industry by storm in the last three years or so focus on showcasing achievements and achievements to foster short-term excitement.
When entrepreneur Arthur Hayes parked three Lamborghinis at CoinDesk’s Consensus in New York in 2018, it was his punk rock manifestation. But no one got his jokes, and showing off his low IQ has become the norm at many crypto events.
The sophisticated presentation that is now standard at crypto events is almost always a simulation of excitement and success backed by venture capital in hopes of the future rather than realistic current performance. More effort goes into superficial hype than developing what people need. Such efforts may be aimed at creating partnerships and growth. Or maybe you just want to sell worthless tokens to someone.
There’s nothing more embarrassing than asking for funding. Moreover, not only once, but many times, you will be dressed in a suit and entrust yourself to the strategy that the PR department has worked out.
ETHDenver is completely free from such self-deprecating obligations. That’s actually what makes it such a cool event.
｜Translation and editing: Akiko Yamaguchi, Takayuki Masuda
| Image: Danny Nelson/CoinDesk
｜Original: ETHDenver Looks Cringey to You Because Ethereum Has an Actual Community