Every year thousands of Ethereum enthusiasts flock to Denver, Colorado, for the annual ETH Denver event. This “Community-Owned Innovation Festival” is the “largest and longest-running #BUIDLathon in the world” and seeks to further blockchain innovation.
Organized by the Spork DAO and represented by their cute and highly functional mascot, this event welcomes developers, crypto traders, DAOs, or anyone interested in Web3 to discuss happenings in the space.
Unlike 2022, which featured multiple locations throughout downtown Denver, 2023’s ETH Denver centralized its venue in the National Western Complex. Yes, a venue that hosts the world’s largest stock show was transformed into a massive 600,000 sq. ft Web3 conference extravaganza. And boy, was it big! For those that couldn’t make it this year, don’t worry. You can still watch many of the events on Youtube here.
Top 10 Takeaways!
So let’s kick this off! The Top 10 Takeaways! is an assortment of recommendations, advice, and thoughts for those reminiscing about 2023 or planning to attend in future years.
1. Plan Ahead
If you are the type of person who loves to plan, ETH Denver is a great spot to flex those planning skills. There are literally hundreds of speakers, events, and side parties. It has vibes of Disneyland planning status, and it is wise to plan or have a rough idea of what you want to see. You will not make all the events, but remember, if you miss a couple, you can watch some online afterward. I am not a huge planner. I like to go where the wind takes me, but being married to a planner is a huge help.
2. Bring a Swag Bag
There are so many company booths and free giveaways that you will literally walk away with bags of stuff. We recommend bringing a bag (or two) to hold your swag and carry the loot you receive.
3. Expect Slow Internet and Data Speeds
For a Web3 conference, you would expect lightning-speed internet, but ironically, you get internet speeds that make dial-up internet look futuristic. This year, signs were posted around the venue stating that the internet was slow. Because of this, phone carrier data speeds were also very slow. Just be ready for it.
4. Get Your Wallet Set
As with the swag, there are also a ton of exclusive events. Many of these events require Non-Fungible Tokens or tokens to verify that you are part of a community to enter. Don’t expect to easily pull these up at the event with the shotty internet. We recommend doing this before your first day and possibly setting up an ETH Denver “burner” wallet not linked to anything else. We personally prefer storing everything in cold storage. Still, at events like these, you may actually use those NFTs that have been in your wallet the whole year. Just be careful about what you click and scan, and never give your keys away! There is a history of scammers trying to trick attendees.
5. Snag your Tag, Register Early!
Snag your entrance pass before the main event begins if at all possible. This is a must! In 2022 my brother and I waited in line for 3 hours. Granted, they were doing COVID tests, so everything took longer, but even this year, the line was massive without the tests. How do I know? We were conducting surveys for over 3 hours in that line! Registration is open every day of BUIDL Week leading up to the main festival. Grab your pass in advance and skips the lines.
6. Do a Round
This year on our first day at the main event, we intentionally wondered around of the complex to get our bearings. The main event had three floors with designated areas or specialties. There were booths, zen zones, maker spaces, and more. Without the help of some friends, we would have missed many of these areas. Doing a round to get a sense of the place helped us a bunch for the remainder of our time.
7. Prepare for the Aftermath
After returning from ETH Denver, attending the after-parties, and talking with so many people, I was exhausted mentally and physically. On top of that, I gotsick with COVID. Yikes! While I did give myself a day to recover when we got back, that wasn’t enough. Try to give yourself a mental break or rest after. Your body, mind, and liver will thank you later.
8. Side Hustle
I personally love the side events. After-parties are daily, but sometimes resetting at a small side event is the best medicine, especially for those who are introverted. We went to our DAO’s small side event with only 12 people. It was refreshing talking and listening to people’s stories and connecting in a more intimate setting.
9. Model the Way
While 20,000 people may give the impression of a massive industry, the Web3 space is still pretty small. At some of these events, I have seen reprehensible acts that don’t set a great example. For example, my partner and I were at a booth, and a company set up a game to play to win merchandise. The merchandise was literally tied to the booth, and someone just walking by decided they wanted to take one without asking or playing. I said something to them, and they kept walking.
Likewise, we heard entire booths had their merchandise stolen overnight. This is a substantial economic boost for the area and the companies. If we want to see our space grow professionally, we have to treat others with respect. Those that don’t are just ruining it. It is great to have fun, but let's not get a herd mentality.
My faorite part about ETH Denver is spending timewith your digital friends in real life (IRL). There is nothing like putting faces to pfps and replacing digital hugs with real ones. Those lucky enough to experience this feeling know how wonderful this is, especially in a bear market. It’s the people that make this space great, it is the people that inspire, and it is the people that will keep bringing me back to ETH Denver.
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The content is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice, a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer of a security, token, NFT, or application to a DAO. This is not investment or legal advice. Please do your own research.