With each year, it just keeps getting better and better. The blockchain journey has been and continues to be one of questioning, debating, problem-solving, discovering, building, breaking, rebuilding, deconstructing, constructing and reflecting. This year, Devcon 4 seemed to focus on the key ideas of examining the implications of what we’re building and assuming that we know nothing. But, maybe, just maybe, some of us have had a glimpse of what the future can be; ought to be. Talks and presentations ranged from scalability to society and systems. The event drew in an impressive, international crowd of blockchain tech enthusiasts, experts and companies that spread across the four levels of the neofunctionalist Prague Congress Centre.
The OmiseGO team was there for all four days. If you were there, you probably saw us at our booth explaining to people what the OMG Network is all about. Many of us attended talks and presentations or gave talks. A few even found time to meditate in the meditation room after long days of back-to-back meetings with other projects.
If you’ve never been to a Devcon, this is to let you know that there are a ton of meetups, events, games and parties happening before, during and after the main conference, organized by a different projects in the blockchain space. It can be overwhelming, but participating in these supplementary events is also a great way to make stronger connections with other people and projects, explore ideas in different ways and maybe even have a little fun. Some highlights from our team:
But first, a hackathon
A few team members headed to Prague a few days prior to Devcon 4. We were at the Status hackathon that took place on 26–28 October 2018 where we provided an overview of Plasma, Plasma MVP and Plasma Cash. This was briefly mentioned in our October community update here.
Future of Layer 2 Meetup
Our team also attended the Layer 2 Scalability meetup where various projects discussed the different scalability approaches per use case (e.g., Plasma, payment channels), the differences between ‘Plasma Flavors’ as well as the need for more collaborative research across projects.
Holding our breath at Devcon 4
For all developers out there, you know what we mean. After months and months of research, development and iteration, the day came when we finally had to let go a little.
With our friends from Hoard, we shared the first live proof of concept (PoC) built on OmiseGO’s internal OMG testnet at Devcon 4, a game demo called Plasma Dog. Transactions generated by collecting assets within the game are viewable at http://quest.omg.network. We wanted lots of people to play at once in order to load-test the network, so we organized a competition with Hoard for conference attendees to play for swag.
On the last day of Devcon 4, Kelvin and David gave talks on “The State of Plasma”, taking the audience on a journey; traveling back to the past, coming to the present and looking to the future of plasma. If you’ve never heard of plasma, check LearnPlasma. Get involved.
A conversation with Stewart Brand
Althea and Wendell, both early members of the OMG team as well as being active in the wider Ethereum community, joined Stewart Brand (http://sb.longnow.org/SB_homepage/Home.html) for the final keynote (https://slideslive.com/38911677/a-conversation-with-stewart-brand). Rather than a formal presentation, this was an unscripted conversation between Ethereum enthusiasts — two established and one (Stewart) newly minted.
Stewart has had a long and storied career. He was a founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, the Global Business Network and the Long Now Foundation. He is the (often unattributed) source of some of the tech world’s favorite sayings: “Information wants to be free,” and “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” He has witnessed and influenced the growth of many social and technological movements; and been involved in many initiatives that are relevant to both Ethereum and OMG, from organizing the first Hackers Conference to running one of the earliest online forums to writing about informal economies.
On seeking widespread adoption for new technology, he had this to say:
“There is so much ingenuity. It takes a lot of skill to be poor, to manage poverty, to manage yourself out of poverty. These are very able people, and they’ll take any tool that helps them get up in the world. If you can generate tools and make them accessible, and then get invited in…
Get invited, and then watch it be transformed by the locals into local business, into whatever it is that works for their culture and their situation. When it works, it can fly fast like cell phones did, and I think potentially blockchain, if it really, really can deliver value, in an easily leverageable way, people will grab it as they grabbed cell phones. And if it doesn’t, they won’t.”
We found Stewart’s perspective both humbling and encouraging, and we’re really thrilled to welcome him as a new member of the Ethereum community!
Devcon 4 did not disappoint and was fulfilling to say the least. A big congrats to the organizer and community!