From Thursday, March 8th to Saturday, March 10th, the Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) was organized by Asseth in Paris, at the CNAM school. To be honest, I didn’t think I would attend at first, because I had the impression that it would be a small conference between French people. But then a student of our online course asked me if I would be there, so I checked it again and boy was I mistaken. What a cool line-up. A good portion of the Ethereum Foundation, Consensys and other key factions of the community were announced. Even Vitalik Buterin himself was announced at the last minute. I was in Switzerland at this time, testing out coliving and the digital nomad lifestyle, and I had planned to go back to Belgium on March 10th, but at the last minute, I packed up, booked a hotel in Paris and I was on my way.
The set up was very accessible, in the heart of Paris. The CNAM school was a weird venue for this kind of venue, with 5 rooms scattered in hard-to-find spots, and for most of them, equipped with really inconfortable wooden benches, 1900-style. But I guess it was cheap to book, and it probably participated in the very cheap ticket (only 240€ for 3 days). The food was really nice too.
In terms of schedule, it was a mess. A lot of very interesting sessions, but time slots were completely out of sync, with no break time between sessions to move from one room to the other. So once you were in a room, either you stayed there, or you took the chance to take another session halfway through. Most topics are already pretty complex, so if you miss the beginning and try to piece things together, it’s very frustrating. And the schedule itself kept changing on a regular basis too, with only a Google spreadsheet to refer too. So definitely some room for improvement in terms of planning.
In terms of content, two main themes stood out:
- “There’s too much drama, too much antagonism, too much feud in this community, especially between the permissioned/private/consortium guys and the rest of the rest of the community. Let’s bury the hatchet and love each other, singing kumbaya around the campfire.” (I’ll come back to that in a minute)
- “Plasma is awesome, it will solve all our problems, and if you already knew that, wait until you see Plasma Cash (Vitalik Buterin, 2018)”
I didn’t know much about Plasma as a scalability solution so I loved the opportunity to learn more. And Vitalik’s presentation about Plasma Cash (for which the room was super packed by the way), was really interesting, although to be honest, I didn’t understand everything.
As for the “let’s love each other” gimmick, I have to say that it bothered me a little. Especially in this kind of conference, when you see all the amazing research happening, the size of the challenges before us, how under-staffed most of these projects are, and then you hear a bunch of bank-employed centralized blockchain devs complaining that they are not loved. I understand the strategy of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, trying to get their share of this cake, not leaving everything to the IBM’s of this world and training as many Solidity developers as possible for the day when all of this plane-without-wings hype will inevitably collapse. But really I don’t see how they can expect the full support of the rest of the community when there are so many missed opportunities and so much wasted talent. Sorry Bob Summerwill.
On another note, these community events are always a fantastic opportunity to discover some amazing tools, developments and projects, so here are a few that I added to my to-check list:
- TrueBit, another scalability solution to increase the throughput of Ethereum
- MyCrypto, which looks like a rebranding of MyEtherWallet
- Space Decentral, an attempt at creating a Decentralized Autonomous Space Agency to fund space exploration projects, which I really hope could collaborate with SpaceX some day to combine the amazing vision and expertise of this amazing company with the funding of Earthians (instead of relying on crazy governments and corporations)
- The Fathom Network, whose goals are very similar to what we would like to develop inside ChainSkills, but with a much more ambitious implementation
- Circles, a Universal Basic Income implementation on the blockchain, with very radical ideas like one currency per user, and a trust-based network
- ENSNow, a way to create .eth subdomains to easily receive Ether without having to remember your wallet address, in 2 seconds. For example, you can send some Ether to chainskills.wantsome.eth in Mist, Metamask or any other Ethereum wallet that supports ENS domains if you want to help us fund the development of more ChainSkills courses (completely random example of course 😉 )
Overall it was a really awesome event and I strongly encourage you to have a look at all the videos of the livestreams on Asseth’s Youtube channel.