Ethereum Freedom and Parisian Psychedelia: Reflections on EthCC[5]

Key Takeaways

  • The Ethereum Group Convention returned to Paris this week.
  • Vitalik Buterin and different outstanding figures within the Ethereum ecosystem spoke on the occasion.
  • Ethereum followers packed out numerous facet occasions that befell throughout the French capital.

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The Ethereum trustworthy took over Paris for EthCC[5] this week.

EthCC Returns to Paris 

This week, hundreds of builders, degens, and different cryptocurrency fanatics descended on Paris for the fifth version of the Ethereum Group Convention (EthCC), Europe’s greatest Ethereum meet-up. Within the years since EthCC launched, Ethereum has grow to be a sprawling ecosystem holding billions of {dollars} in locked worth. It’s the primary hub for DeFi and NFTs and settles trillions of {dollars} in transactions yearly. Although numerous rivals have had moments within the solar over the previous 12 months, Ethereum continues to be the largest and most widely-used sensible contract community on the planet, and its dominance over the blockchain ecosystem is such that a number of different Ethereum-adjacent networks tagged onto EthCC with their very own facet occasions this week. 

Most crypto convention attendees will admit that the chance to attach with others at spin-off events is as a lot of a draw as the primary ticket, however even with dozens to select from this time round, EthCC itself had loads to maintain Ethereum fanatics occupied. The three-day occasion welcomed audio system from a few of the ecosystem’s high tasks to Maison de la Mutualité, and demand was so excessive that many high business heads had been left ticketless.

The brutal European heatwave left many individuals exhausted nicely earlier than the talks had wrapped up on the primary day, however the convention solely appeared to enhance because it went on. A number of Layer 2 tasks used the event to announce their numerous ZK-Rollup developments, and past the primary stage the venue was filled with the standard array of stalls, their hosts allotting t-shirts, NFTs, and Ethereum-branded macarons to anybody who’d cease by. 

By far the most-attended speak of the week was the one from Vitalik Buterin himself. Opposite to his 2021 presentation on increasing Ethereum past DeFi, Buterin used his 40-minute slot to go deep on what the community’s future will appear to be after the Merge and different main developments. The Ethereum creator defined that the protocol wants to beat just a few hurdles to set itself up for the long run, summarizing the outlook as “short-term ache, long-term acquire.” 

Self-Sovereignty on Ethereum

Prysmatic Labs’ Terence Tsao used his slot to clarify the complexities of the Merge to Proof-of-Stake, and PWN’s Josef Je launched himself as an early Silk Street fanboy turned Ethereum settler. After extolling the advantages of the psychedelics he’d acquired with Bitcoin on the darkish net, he went on to ask viewers members who thought-about themselves a “crypto native.” Most individuals raised their arms, then he introduced an inventory of the standards he thought individuals wanted to satisfy to earn such a title—important crypto asset holdings, common DeFi exercise, and routine crypto use for funds amongst them. In different phrases, he was kind of outlining the self-sovereign, decentralized life-style that Ethereum makes potential. 

Je was a diehard who subscribed to the freedom-first ideology that sucks individuals into the house perpetually, and I wasn’t stunned to listen to the group cheering as quickly as he talked about mind-bending chemical compounds; blockchain may be a comparatively new phenomenon, nevertheless it’s not exhausting to see the parallels it shares with the LSD-fueled counterculture motion of the 60s. 

As for the get together schedule, there was greater than sufficient on provide for these trying to burn the candle at each ends. This was my first Ethereum convention, and I used to be greatly surprised by the variety of ETH devotees I met over the course of the week. It appeared like Ethereum’s native asset was virtually everybody’s heaviest bag, to the extent that conversations not often touched on different ecosystems. This wasn’t the type of cringeworthy maximalist crowd you discover spreading toxicity on Bitcoin Twitter; most of them struck me extra as idealists who gravitated towards Ethereum some time in the past and by no means actually left. 

A whale I bumped into at MakerDAO’s DAIvinity get together informed me he doesn’t look past Ethereum or Layer 2 as a result of dedicating his time elsewhere could be an excessive amount of of a distraction, then he guided me by means of a few of the most precious blue chip NFTs he’d acquired and the quantity of ETH he’d spent on every. “I’m irritated I didn’t seize a Hoodie [Crypto]Punk once they had been solely $200,000 the opposite week,” he sighed, unwittingly stating the staggering returns early birds have loved over the previous few years (ETH was priced at $0.30 when it launched in 2015 and topped $4,800 in late 2021; in the present day it trades nearer to $1,600). The OpenSea baller wasn’t the one one who made it clear his loyalty was to Ethereum. “What do you consider Solana?” one degen requested me at a ConsenSys glad hour. “I hate it, however I’m bullish,” he stated.  

Paris by Evening

One other member of our workforce inadvertently ended up at a celebration that was largely crammed with enterprise capitalists and pretentious cash varieties in designer fits rubbing shoulders with each other; when he bought there, he was greeted by a Palau authorities worker who shilled him the nation’s recently-launched digital ID program. The man defined that it was straightforward to get an ID and alter one’s title to go Binance’s KYC restrictions. We appeared into this earlier than we left Paris to see what we might dig up; our investigation continues to be ongoing. 

Aside from an excellent low-key Polychain-hosted occasion headlined by Justice, the most well liked afterparty ticket on the town was for rAAVE, Aave’s late-night soirée held a stone’s throw from the Sacré-Cœur. I didn’t hear about Justice till after the actual fact however bought into rAAVE as a result of I used to be quick to get to the key passcode that was revealed throughout Stani Kulechov’s Lens Protocol speak; others had much less luck. Inside was a testomony to Aave’s place on the forefront of Ethereumland, with a sea of Aave-branded tees on view each time the lights went up rather than the darkish dancefloor and lasers. Sooner or later, I bought speaking to another person who wrote crypto content material, after which they left me on the dancefloor to scope out some psilocybin from their good friend. Then I spotted it was approaching 02:00 and I needed to be up for my Eurostar again to London 4 hours later. Though I stayed later than meant, at instances rAAVE felt like extra of an upmarket affair within the eighth arrondissement for individuals who suppose clubbing entails bottle service and sparklers than the sweaty throwdown it was making an attempt to be (sorry guys, nevertheless it’s really annoying once you clap in time with home music, and why on earth was there a closed-off VIP space if this was meant to be a celebration?)

For the few days I used to be at EthCC, I heard little speak of crypto costs. ETH got here near $1,600 through the occasion after dipping beneath $900 a month prior, igniting hopes of a potential prolonged Merge rally. However even after days of ETH outperforming the remainder of the market, most individuals appeared extra concerned about speaking about what they had been engaged on or the event updates introduced on the occasion. Perhaps it’s the months-long market stoop (ETH continues to be 66% down from its peak) and widespread “macro” fears, or perhaps it’s the exhaustion everyone seems to be feeling from studying about failed Ponzi schemes and reckless leveraged buying and selling. Both approach, whether or not ETH trades a a number of greater, decrease, or at its present value in July 2023, Ethereumand EthCCwill nonetheless be round. The few thousand believers who flocked to Paris for this week’s convention in all probability aren’t going wherever both. 

Disclosure: On the time of writing, the creator of this piece owned ETH, AAVE, MATIC, and a number of other different cryptocurrencies. 

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