On Tuesday, January 30, nearly 500 crypto-crazed attendees gathered at San Francisco’s first ever NEO Devcon. The energy was electric. You could feel it as soon as you walked in. Developers and entrepreneurs from all over the world huddled in small groups chatting about their projects with the excitement that comes from being ready to change the world. Investors were there too, out to find the next unicorn. Everyone felt like they were moments away from hearing about the Next Big Thing.
The group of developers that work on NEO in the West is called City of Zion. I am one of those developers. I was there to meet my cohorts in person for the first time and to release the white paper for Thor Token, a blockchain solution for the gig economy I recently helped launch.
The night before the conference started, I hosted City of Zion at a San Francisco bar called ABV to talk about the code, community, and protocol-drama we’ve had since starting the group six months ago. It was amazing to finally see the faces behind some of City of Zion’s projects like NEX, Moonlight, NEO Auth, and Hash Puppies. I not only got to see the vast potential of these projects, but to meet the very people Thor Token will likely be partnering with going forward.
The conference had a great speaker line-up. From hearing Da Hongfei’s new vision for NEO to Stanford professor Dan Boneh’s presentation on bulletproofs, the hits kept coming. I helped host the hackathon at the Github office on the first day. The room was packed full of developers excited to install their own NEO nodes to privately test smart contracts they wanted to build. One excited developer raised his hand and asked, “Where is Docker running?” “Locally on your machine!” I told him. He beamed when he realized he had just spun up his own private NEO blockchain.
I spent the rest of the time manning our booth and handing out hard copies of our white paper. The response to Thor Token was incredibly positive, and the rest of the community was as excited to hear about our company as we were to hear about theirs. One project that caught my eye was Bluzelle, a decentralized database service that offers dApps an elegant storage solution. I spoke with Neeraj Murarka, the CTO of Bluzelle, and he explained how they aim to be as simple for developers to use as Firebase. Thor Token will need decentralized storage to store the user records that we provide to healthcare companies, and I may have already met my man.
The conference was quite the experience, and a one-of-a-kind chance to meet the crypto-heads kicking down the door to the decentralized future. It was amazing to have my hopes confirmed for the community surrounding me and Thor Token, and to know I’ll be in good company in my quest to make blockchain mainstream. The first NEO Devcon in the States was a hit — and I won’t be surprised if next year’s Devcon is 100 times the size.
— Matt Moravec