From Honduras to Japan 🇯🇵

Some of the Devcon 5 Scholars with Vitalik – Credits to Coogan for this amazing photo 🙇🏻

The Ethereum Foundation started a Scholars program in which they pick community leaders with different profiles and cultures from all around the globe with the goal to empower them so they can bring all the knowledge, contacts and skill into their local communities. This year I had the honor to be selected as Scholar from Honduras and had my first experience at a big Ethereum conference.

In this post, I will share my experience during Devcon, some tips and some of my favorites talks.

TL;DR: Devcon 5 was a blast! I totally recommend you to apply for next year's scholarship and enjoy Devcon 6 at Argentina 😜 (Not confirmed yet) #DevconBA2020! Go to the bottom for the recommended talks.

Pre-Devcon

Ethereum Foundation and ConsenSys were in charge of the scholarship program. In order to earn our “right” to be a Scholar, we had to complete certain tasks which included research, create blog posts, complete ConsenSys Academy courses, taking calls, etc. We used the Bounties Network to complete our tasks in a gamification way and received as prize UNICEF’s BST Token, part of the Boost For Good Initiative, for every 5 BST tokens we’ve earned, we could send 3 nutritional bars (RUTF — ready to use therapeutic food) to children in need. The top 10 hunters received a small recognition during the event.

Eth Scholars Bounties Network

Arriving

Traveling was hard, most of the scholars had difficulties with their visas and flights, but gladly most of them were able to make it (some even traveled for over 24 hours!) This is a reflection on how some of us are some spoiled and think taking a flight for a conference is easy (I had tourist visa for the USA so was able to make it in fewer stops).

Language card which says you’re a tourist and looking for the hotel.

Cultural shock is big when you don’t understand anything about the country, lucky for us the scholarship team prepared us with cards, tips, and documents filled with information in case of an emergency.

Scholars created a telegram group where we were in constant contact, many of us gathered at the airport and were able to counter the shock and made it safely to the hotel. The Ethereum Foundation gave SIM cards to every participant, with this we were ready for the first day at Devcon!

Credits To Hasib for the Picture 😎

Devcon V

The agenda was packed with simultaneous conferences, workshops, and lightning talks. You could simply not do it all. You need to solve what I call the Devcon Trilemma.

The Devcon Trilemma

During a certain period of time, you have to pick one of the three, you can’t hunt for rare swag, go to a talk and do networking at the same time. Depending on your personal goals you have to play with these activities, in the end, the Devcon experience will be good or bad depending on your choices!

Cristian Espinoza, Oscar Fonseca & Raul Jordan. The only Hondurans at Devcon 5

I’m personally a swag collector, so I tried to find rare swag, also working on DeFi so maximized my time for all talks and workshops focused on that theme. The rest of the time I spent it looking and talking with people I knew from Crypto Twitter, I even got to talk with Hudson, Anthony Sassano, and pet Kabochan!

Hudson, Antony Sassano & Kabochan (The original Doge!)

Another of the perks of being a Devcon Scholar is that we had special workshops designed for us. And a lot of people talked with us and treated us really well once they knew we were scholars!

OFFDevcon & Community Events

Devcon brings together the greatest minds on the space, it would be logical that there would be more activities to do for networking and learning outside the main event. That’s were OFFDevcon cames in place, a community initiative to promote the other blockchain events during the week and offer an alternative for people that don’t have a ticket.

Some of the events at OFFDevcon Site

Besides OFFDevcon, there were multiple community initiatives like Osaka Blockchain Week, Ethereum Jesus Events Calendar. I personally couldn’t experience many of these events since most of them took place in a zone 50 mins apart from the main conference and I had scholars task to do so I missed most of them.

This resumes my experience at Devcon, but wait… There is more!

Rise of the Typhoogees

A big typhoon formed during the week of Devcon and was in a direct path to Tokyo, it was so big that the winds arrived at Osaka the day next to Devcon. All the flights got canceled and I was stuck at Osaka for over an additional week with other Scholars.

I was so focused on Devcon that I missed the opportunity to hang out with most of the Scholars, being stranded in Osaka allowed me to take a break and enjoy food, travel, do tourism with my fellow scholars it allowed me to connect and make a better relationship. I learned what they were doing at their hometowns and everyone is AMAZING I understand why they were picked to be Scholars!

Swag and conferences come and go, but relationships don’t. So my final and most important advice is to enjoy Devcon and make new friends!

Thanks to everyone involved in the Devcon Scholars program Robby, Maggie, Coogan, Simona, Susie, Aya and everyone that made it possible I’m sure you changed many lives with it and this won’t be the last time you hear about the Devcon 5 Scholars! 🦄😎

Recommended Talks and Panels

If you couldn’t go to Devcon and don’t want to miss all the action I suggest reading the Osaka edition of Week in Ethereum and watching the streams at the following link:

You might need the agenda to check the order of the talks:

Now, here is the list of my favorite talks and panels in no particular order:

** The workshops and some talks are not live yet, I’ll update the list as soon as they are released **

Day 1 ( Not live yet)

  • ethers.js: A Complete, Tiny and Simple Ethereum Library in JavaScript — Richard Moore
  • Building Synthetic Derivatives on Ethereum — Allison Lu, Regina Cai
  • MakerDAO Oracles: The Backbone of Decentralized Finance — Niklas Kunkel

Day 2

  • Devcon Welcome — Aya Miyaguchi (Must Watch)
  • Keynote Address — Vitalik Buterin
  • Eth 1.x Explained — Hudson Jameson
  • The Use of Utility Token Staking Rewards to Encourage User Ownership — Peter Zeitz, Will Warren
  • Creating TypeSafe Dapps with TypeScript and TypeChain — Chris Kaczor
  • What’s Next for DeFi? — Rune Christensen (Must Watch)
  • Living on Defi: How I Survive Argentina’s 50% Inflation — Mariano Conti (Must Watch)

Day 3

  • Legal Troubleshooting for DeFi Projects — Jacek Czarnecki
  • PANEL: Stablecoins — Rune Christensen, Victor Rortvedt, Dan Robinson, Eva Beylin
  • Competing With Non-Crypto Products Without Losing Crypto’s Philosophies — Taylor Monahan
  • Money and Debt and Digital Contracts — Brewster Kahle (Must Watch)
  • The Optimistic Virtual Machine: an Ov(m)erview — Karl Floersch (Recommended)
  • When 1 Million Eth Devs? — Joseph Lubin (Must Watch)
  • The Future History of the Open Internet — Kevin Owocki (Must Watch)
  • Beyond Burners — How to Make Web3 Feel Like Web2 — James Duncan (Recommended)
  • RadicalXChange — Audrey Tang (Recommended)
  • State of the ENS 2019 — Nick Johnson

Day 4 (Most of them not live yet)

  • PANEL: Community Interoperability — Vitalik Buterin, Terry Culver, Josh Swihart, Jae Kwon

If you liked this post, click on the👏 bellow so other people can see it on Medium. Say hello or send any comments on Twitter to @crisgarner.

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Blockchain Development @CryptexFinance 👨‍💻, Devcon V Scholar ⛓️ @Ethereum, Founder @affogatoco☕.

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Crisgarner

Crisgarner

Blockchain Development @CryptexFinance 👨‍💻, Devcon V Scholar ⛓️ @Ethereum, Founder @affogatoco☕.

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