Discover more from SO WHAT? A Web3 Digest for Executives
It’s event season—and Web3 events are like no others
It isn't just about crazy parties
A private yacht party
A-list international DJs debuting new tracks
A dozen hot pink Ferraris
No. This isn’t Gary’s Christmas list. This week, we’re talking about the crazy world of crypto conferences.
It’s good timing since Token 2049, one of the world’s most popular Web3 events, happens this week in Singapore. If you happen to be at the show, do say hi—you might also want to RSVP for the Hong Kong Crypto Night, which Gary is supporting in his capacity as Founding Chair of Web3 Harbour.
See you next time,
What’s going on?
Web3 events are back.
Korea Blockchain Week took place last week, and this week it is Ethereum Singapore and Token 2049. September is a busy month, and other big shows include ETH Global NYC and fellow New York shows Permissionless and Mainnet 2023. Then it’s over to Hong Kong Fintech Week and Singapore FinTech Festival in October, with similar shows in the Philippines and Thailand taking place in November.
But Web3 events aren’t like your regular tech events for a whole lot of reasons, and it’s not just about lavish parties.
1. In Real Life is essential
In an industry that is all about decentralized operations in a virtual world, in real life activities are an even greater accelerant than in other tech sectors. That works in many ways:
Teams and partners can work remotely across all four corners of the world—and Web3 companies are highly distributed—but meeting up means they can build rapport that is only possible in-person.
Engineers that work in decentralized teams come together to hack and create exceptional technologies in person.
Then there’s the serendipity of discussions held face-to-face that can lead to an array of new ideas and projects.
Finally, these events—once limited to insiders—are increasingly becoming the place where enterprise leaders go to learn about blockchain technology and the potential for its application in their business. This is crucial for broader adoption and as a two-way feedback loop that also enables blockchain developers to learn about potential enterprise business use cases.
Yes, there is irony that IRL is SO important to blockchain, but that's just the way it works.
2. Festivals not events
Web3 events turn into festivals. Unlike regular tech events which run for one, two or three days and are centrally organized, a week of activities and side events spring up around notable Web3 events. Not only that but they’re embraced by event organizers.
Token 2049, an event that claims to have attracted over 10,000 delegates last year, includes a link to side events happening around the show on its website. There are more than 400 events across a six-day period that sandwich Token 2049. Many people turn up without a ticket for the show as they focus on networking through side events.
The most lavish side events are those focused on communities and digital stakeholders. That usually takes the form of NFT ownership or DAO membership. A large part of the ‘value’ of these communities comes from these events: both in terms of who the members are and what the IRL activities are. It’s about status and experiences.
ApeFest, for example, is a spin out for those who own a Bored Ape NFT. Its New York-event last year was music-focused and featured rappers Snoop Dogg and Eminem. Its next event, during Hong Kong Fintech Week in November, is billed as “a whole new adventure” with a focus on city exploration and community events.
Web3 events are also noticeably technical in focus. Major shows kick off with a hackathon, or include side events focused on developers building. Token 2049, for example, is foreshadowed by Ethereum Singapore, a three-day show focused on developers, technology and (of course) a hackathon.
Hackathons and company workshops allow infrastructure companies to identify and recruit developers to build in their ecosystem. Indeed, Web3 has its own terminology—“buidl” is a misspelling of build that embodies the spirit of engineering and shopping product. It has even spawned its own event: BUIDL ASIA.
The technical side of events harks back to the origins of Web3. Ethereum, for instance, was created when a group of hackers got together in a house over a period of days. Protocols like Bitcoin evolve similarly with contributors based around the world who often meet around events.
You can expect to find plenty of tech-savvy attendees and developer-focused events at any Web3 event.
Tether says it owns nearly $72.5B in US treasury bills—that more than a host of countries including Spain, Mexico and Australia
Coinbase is closing down its service in India, barely a year after it launched, due to regulatory concerns
Google now allows Web3 games offering NFTs that don’t promote gambling to use its advertising services
Grab, Southeast Asia’s equivalent to Uber, has begun testing a Web3 wallet for NFTs vouchers in Singapore
And finally, speaking of events, Pantera VC Paul Veradittakit has a useful round up from Stanford Blockchain Week
That’s all for this week!
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