Contrast is what keeps life interesting. The same can be said for web3. Coming off the bright, feel good party that was NFTNYC 2022, ETHBerlin³ was a celebration of Ethereum’s cyberpunk roots, adopting the city’s anarchist nature through a search for inclusivity and independence. More than just a hackathon, ETHBerlin is a cultural festival, an educational event, and a platform to bring people together.
Pinata has a very special connection to ETH Berlin: it’s our birthplace.
Kyle and Matt established what was known then as Pinata Overlay as the event’s first winner back in 2018. After the hackathon took a two year hiatus, we were excited to jet over to Deutchland and take part in ETHBerlin³ to see how far it has come, meet up with customers, and get inspired by the new developments being built in this incredible city that never, ever rests.
Know this: ETHBerlin is not for the faint of heart. It’s a proper hackathon, with freedom fighters disguised as developers (happily) working through the night to create solutions that can (and sometimes do) hack the system. The event organizers empowered teams in a way that’s uniquely ETHBerlin, handing out hacker survival kits complete with toiletries, eye masks, and of course, a customized copy of blockchain’s New Testament: the Ethereum yellow paper.
We decided to up the ante by offering a bounty—a $1000 grant to any hackathon team who used the Pinata API or the Submarine API as part of their project. We saw some incredible use cases, including projects that leveraged the portability of IPFS for content ownership, but in the end, there could only be one winner of the grant. And that winner was OpenQ.
OpenQ offers a way to create bite-sized decentralized coding tutorial videos that solve real GitHub issues. Their goal was to offer better discoverability of coding content focused on actual issues and payments. They used Pinata’s API to upload video content and stream it on their platform, providing users the ability to own their content.
Hackathons are truly special, with so many teams coming together over the course of 48 or 72 hours to build something with real utility. We love to see it. Congrats to OpenQ, and congrats to the overall hackathon winner, rsociety. They hacked the hackathon, and we can’t be mad at that. Check out a few more of the notable projects here.
One of our favorite parts of attending these events around the world is running into our awesome customers, and learning how people are using the platform. These are the moments that make the 13 hour flight (and the extreme jet lag to follow) completely worth it. Here are a couple of the projects whose teams we got to chat with during the event.
Interface is a web3 social media app that takes your NFTs, on-chain transactions and activity with protocols, contracts and platforms, and turns it all into a human friendly social feed. It basically takes what Etherscan and makes it fun and readable for your friends and whoever you wanna keep up with. Interface uses our dedicated gateways to host and stream images and other forms of media. In a world where personal connection tends to be a bit complicated, Interface is creating an interesting way for people to stay connected.
CurateDAO is a community owned database that incentivizes content discovery and curation. They use Pinata as a database, allowing for structured web3 data to be stored and queried. Individual content curation takes a long time. As a “curate-to-earn” protocol, the community is incentivized to quickly pinpoint content that aligns with the question or request that it’s meant to provide a solution for. Pretty cool stuff, and another example of how creators can use Pinata for use cases beyond NFTs and storage.
In addition to Interface and CurateDAO, we met with several individual Pinata users with some pretty incredible projects in the works. Many who we have the pleasure of engaging with in our Discord community on a regular basis. Ain’t nothing better than meeting our creators IRL.
Community is always a major theme of ETHBerlin. One of the highlights was the opportunity to talk about the need for token gating and how it can provide real utility to communities, and solve many of the issues creators are having.
Steve, our Head of Community, gave an awesome talk on Submarining, including how it can give developers the security needed to store files for apps and marketplaces without the risk of data being exposed. Steve went into detail about our no-code solution Submarine.me, as well as how developers can use the Submarine API to create custom solutions.
Further reading >> Submarining: What It Is & Why You Need It
It’s always inspiring and refreshing to see the teams and companies that are coming together from hackathons. Even in the current crypto climate, attendance was huge, and people have not slowed down building. Not at all.
The growth, future and potential of web3 is especially apparent in a city like Berlin where there are tons of thoughtful creators building amazing things, right under people's noses. Just how we like it.
paragraph — The first thing the music industry needs is more exposure. For artists, listeners and yeah, the labels. Even with the use cases mentioned above, the majority of the music industry still sees NFTs as a novelty rather than a legitimate way to run a business. We see a future where the experience is built and monetized on the blockchain, with labels taking part of the experience, as well.
Second, there needs to be a big jump in user experience. Listeners know what to expect with Spotify and Apple Music: a smooth, intuitive experience that lets them listen to Lil Nas X with just a few clicks. Web3 platforms aren’t quite there. Music NFTs and related premium content require extra steps that most people don’t yet have an appetite for.
paragraph — Musician Daniel Allan spent months building a relationship with the NFT community and raised 50 ETH to fund his new album, Overstimulated. Companies like Audius and artists like Vérité's, who raised $90,000 in an NFT launch, are at the forefront of exploring new ways to get paid. Avenged Sevenfold launched an NFT collection called "Deathbats Club" with 10,000 items that grants holders access to benefits such as meet and greets at shows, lifetime free tickets, limited edition merchandise, and more.
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QUOTE — Everyone is obsessed with making money and seeking alpha, which does a disservice to what [NFTs] can actually do. We have been instructing many bands that NFTs are a ticket for access to an exclusive club.” - M. Shadows, Avenged Sevenfold’s lead singer.