Well, I’m back in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Since completing my computer science degree in June, I have devoted a good deal of time to cultivating my understanding and my skills around cryptocurrencies and blockchain. I completed a 2-day “Programming Blockchain” seminar put on by Jimmy Song in Denver. And I’ve been dipping into meetups related to cryptocurrencies and decentralized apps, where energy is always high and I always learn something. (I’m on the waitlist to see Zooko, of z-cash, speak tomorrow.)
This August 3rd-4th I’m looking forward to attending DISCON, a conference all about digital currencies and the distributed web. Hosted at the Boulder Theater, DISCON (for “DIStributed CONsensus) looks like it will feature a whole range of interesting presenters. I’m excited to hear from them and spend some time discussing with others the latest ideas in this space.
There is so much junk in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications– exaggerated claims, bad ideas, fradulaunt ICOs, and a contingent of “get rich quick” thinkers that fail to appreciate the compelling parts of these technologies.
I met several people recently that attended CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference in New York– the biggest conference in this space– who espoused feelings of disappointment after the event. They speculated that conference organizers were getting greedy and aspiring to produce impressive revenue figures rather than quality content, noting that they charged some speakers to present.
But the event organizers for DISCON– a small, earnest, and dedicated crew– are aiming to create an event will elevate conversation “beyond the hype.” They promise attendees will not be not be pitched products and ICOs by presenters. And unlike other pay-to-present conferences, they promise to review presentations “independent of sponsorship arrangements.” So that’s promising.
My dear Jared Polis is one of the keynote speakers, which I’m quite excited about. Polis is an entrepreneur turned congressman, now running for Governor of Colorado. (Go Jared Go!) He has been called one of the most tech savvy (and worst dressed) members of congress, and has continually defended and advocated for Bitcoin on capitol hill against any charges that it should be made illegal. I remember reading an article back in 2014 about Polis challenging a senator’s request that the Treasury Department ban bitcoin by requesting that they also ban US dollars, since they too allow users to participate in illicit activity.
Besides the presentations, I am also excited to meet people at the conference. There are so many smart, enthusiastic people in the crypto world. I appreciate the dilerabte efforts that the conference organizers are undertaking to make the event inclusive and diverse.
I also appreciate their efforts to carry the conference beyond the technical talks within its walls to engage with the Boulder community at large. For instance, there will be high-tech art exhibited across Boulder as part of the conference. And the organizers say they are pursuing partnerships with local bars to get them to accept Litecoin during the event, in order to “move us closer to mass adoption and increase awareness of Digital Currency.”
I anticipate DISCON to be educational and exciting, and I can’t wait to attend!