- In its 6-year history, EthDenver has established itself as one of the longest running and most successful community-run crypto hackathons and conferences in the U.S.
- DAO Governance and Distributed Validator Technology (DVT) were some of the most talked about topics.
- Account abstraction, roll ups, and ZKPs continue to be major topics of discussion. Read our Devcon recap for more.
- All presentations and talks given on stage: ETHDenver 2023: #YearoftheSpork! – YouTube
What is EthDenver?
For two weeks in February each year, more than 20,000 founders, operators, and builders head to Denver for the annual EthDenver (Ethereum Denver), a crypto conference and festival of sorts for technical workshops, community gathering, and so called ‘Buildathons”. EthDenver, in its 6-year history, has established itself as one of the longest running and most successful community-run crypto hackathons and conferences in the U.S.
As the entire crypto industry grew, so did EthDenver – 2022 and 2023’s conferences had a 5x in attendance from previous years. Most interesting, this makes ETHDenver the only one of its size owned by a DAO, the “SporkDAO”. Becoming a SporkDAO member means participating in the festival. This includes attending ETHDenver, submitting a #BUIDLathon Project, winning a #BUIDLathon, Volunteering for SporkDAO activities, and others.
EthDenver is also a perfect gathering ground to test out crypto use cases in the physical world: Baristas serving coffee at the conferences gather tips in crypto; there were “blockchain arcades” with playable games built on blockchain technology; there was an art gallery that showcased local artists as well as collaborations with NFT artists; and so much more creative experiences and activities that incorporated crypto seamlessly. Despite the latest marco and market slowdown, the excitement around what crypto unlocks and what builders were focused on was palpable.
Given its scale and the density of builders present, topics that garner the most amount of excitement and anticipation emerges quickly and are debated at length. While some of these topics differ from year to year as progress is made, there are also certain solutions, years in the making, that are repeated year to year or at other conferences (ex. Devcon, etc). Some of the most-talked about topics that emerged from the week were: 1) DAO Governance; and 2) Distributed Validator Technology (DVT).
Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) Governance
Though not technically a ‘technical’ topic, DAO governance is arguably just as, if not more important, to perfect and improve upon. Since the inception of DAOs, the topic of “DAO Governance” has gone hand in hand with where on the spectrum of decentralization in which a protocol or network lands on. As these new structures are slowly maturing, the literature and discussion around a DAO’s organization structure, challenges and tooling, governance designs and mechanisms are slowly maturing. All this is to say, decentralization and sound DAO governance go hand in hand. As the industry (and along with it, DAOs) mature, the topic of DAO governance will continue to be front and center
Distributed Validator Technology (DVT)
True to the nature and ethos of crypto, staking, or rather, decentralized staking, was a topic that garnered much excitement. The future of staking is likely going to be mostly decentralized, non-custodial, secure, and with a focus on transparency. One such effort, Distributed Validator Technology (DVT), is leading the path forward in allowing Ethereum Proof of Stake (PoS) Validators to be run across multiple nodes operated by a diverse community or group acting as a single validator. Essentially, a successful DVT implementation means a smaller attack vector, lowers the barrier for staking participation, hedges against machine failure, and most importantly, acts as a decentralizing force on the entire Ethereum network while adding resiliency and reducing risk.
Honorable mentions: account abstraction, roll ups, and ZKPs continue to be major topics of discussion. Read our Devcon recap for more.
About the Author
Katherine Wu is an Advisor and Research Fellow at the Crypto Council. She is a Venture Partner at Archetype, a venture capital firm focused on leading early investments in crypto startups. Prior to Archetype, she was the Senior Lead on the Coinbase Ventures team, where she led and scaled investment initiatives. She is the host of the Cross-Chain Examination Podcast – offering 102-level content on crypto/web3.