Steven Chen

@stevenchen009

Change the Narrative

The San Francisco Blockchain Week

By Steven Chen, Jonathan Allen and Kevin Huynh

There have been more major blockchain conferences than days in 2018. The surge in crypto prices over the past two years has sparked the interest of many due to the perceived opportunity for quick financial gains. Unfortunately, conferences became platforms for expedient networking and “get rich quick opportunities” in the crypto industry. This perceived financial benefit allowed conferences to charge exorbitant amounts of money simply for “access” to networking opportunities while providing little in the way of actual content to educate general consumers, investors, and developers.

The steady decline in crypto prices since the beginning of this year has been devastating for many. Price depreciation across the board has caused speculators to exit the industry in droves. The silver lining of this is that many of the individuals motivated by short-term profit (mercenaries) have fled the space, leaving a far greater ratio of genuinely passionate missionaries behind.

How and where do we go from here?

Many have entered the space, invested in vaporware, and left feeling scammed or taken advantage of. This series of events necessitates a concerted effort to change the industry’s narrative. It is time to refocus the space on what truly matters: education, development, and blockchain’s potential to disintermediate entrenched yet inefficient institutions, while empowering the individual. The current market has provided a golden opportunity to move forward with a group that is long-term minded and involved for the right reasons. We at Norís and Dekrypt Capital have consistently heard that the blockchain industry desperately needs easier access to high-quality educational content. This means education for both developers as well as consumers, so that the former attains the requisite skills to build the decentralized infrastructure of the future, and the latter gains the knowledge to adopt said infrastructure once built. The state of the blockchain industry is not unlike that of computers in the 90’s, in which it will take both builders and users to move this space forward.

Introducing the San Francisco Blockchain Week

The challenges and opportunities outlined above have been the guiding thesis behind the organization of San Francisco Blockchain Week (SFBW). This is an event for everyone; both the true believers as well as individuals simply interested in learning more at this week-long educational event.

The opening event of this week is the ETHSanFrancisco Hackathon, where over 1000 developers from all backgrounds will compete for a prize at the world’s largest Ethereum hackathon. At the second event, Epicenter, attendees have access to multiple stages filled with industry leaders presenting new perspectives, developments, and educational content. This event is the first of two main events at SFBW, specifically organized around classroom-style workshops. Projects such as Oasis labs, ICON, Kyber Network, Rchain, Zilliqa, Lightning Network, Cosmos, and others will be in attendance for the sole purpose of teaching developers about their platforms. Bring your coding gear and don’t miss this opportunity to work with some of the most interesting projects you’ve heard about but haven’t yet had the chance to engage with!

The final event of SFBW is the Crypto Economic Security Conference (CESC), which is primarily focused on the newest academic developments in the realm of Crypto Economics. Potential speakers submitted research papers to be reviewed by a program committee of leading academics in order to receive a presentation slot at this exclusive event. Anyone interested in learning from top academics and thought leaders such as Emin Gun Sirer, Vitalik Buterin, Joseph Poon, Silvio Micali, Dominic Williams, and many others will not want to miss this event!

Many in the industry are focused on technical issues such as scalability, but issues such as usability are arguably just as important. Much of the week’s content focuses on adoption and will provide meaningful dialogue along with friendly debates on topics ranging from security tokens and regulation to the usefulness of TCRs (Token Curated Registries). Discussions will include perspectives from multiple perspectives as this week attempts to dispel the boring echo chamber often seen during panels.

There will be a noticeable absence of repetitive and meaningless speculation-focused events frequently discussed at conferences past. While many would congregate at previous conferences only to talk over presentations, at SFBW you will want to stay glued to your seat. No more recycled fluff. The time has finally come to provide real, tangible content for the good of the community. Education and adoption are major barriers to moving this industry forward and these will be addressed head-on. SFBW is here to #ChangeTheNarrative. There are only two rules during the week: come to learn and stay curious!

PS: To ease withdrawals from hype and speculation, some social events will begrudgingly be provided. Stay tuned for the Official Guide which includes a list of official happy hours and after parties.

The SFBW supports the future builders of the space: if you are a DEVELOPER or STUDENT, apply here for FREE tickets.

Special thanks to our title sponsors: ICON, CRED, Shyft and Uphold for supporting our cause and helping make this happen!

Bitcoin Conferences: The Complete List for 2018. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bitcoinmarketjournal.com/conferences/

SFBW Major Events

  1. EthSanFrancisco, Oct 5–7 (Palace of Fine Arts)
  2. Epicenter, Oct 8–9 (Hilton Union Square)
  3. CESC, Oct 10–11 (Hilton Union Square)

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