As one of the industry’s largest and longest running conferences/hackathons, ETHDenver is always a movie. But this year’s event was an absolute blockbuster. The collective brain power at this year’s #BUIDLATHON was off the charts.
If one thing was made abundantly clear this year, it’s this: web3 is driven by pure, unadulterated passion. The current market conditions might scare some away, but as we saw at ETHDenver, the real builders remain. Less hype, more long-term solutions. Here’s a recap of who we saw, what we did, and our biggest takeaways that have us excited for the rest of the year and beyond.
Hackathons always have a special energy, but ETHDenver feels straight up nuclear. Not only did we get to take part in the core event (more on that later), we also got to meet up with some incredible builders who were busy just, ya know, changing the game. Here are a few web3 friends we met up with.
Tradeport wants to make trading, discovering, collecting and researching NFTs easier, more secure, and overall just a nicer experience. Their platform is a cross-chain trading tool that aggregates NFTs from all marketplaces, giving users a port-load of features—features that their team (fellow degens) need and use as traders themselves. We love it when projects drink their own kool-aid.
Tradeport uses Pinata to host their metadata, in a similar way that OpenSea uses us for their collections. Needless to say, it was super cool meeting up with members of their team and hear more about what they’ve got in the pipeline. We won’t give anything away but…make sure you stay in the loop.
Some projects want to change the world. Some projects want to create a safer tomorrow. And some projects just want to spread immaculate vibes in the form of cute flightless birds.
Pudgy Penguins is a brand fostering creativity, freedom and community through content, merchandise and digital collectables. And before you say “Oh, these are just a bunch of silly JPEGs,” don’t. With IRL partnerships that have gotten them on retail shelves around the world, and a media wing (also flightless) that crushes most “serious” brands, Pudgy Penguins is a prime example of what NFTs can really do. Especially when the community is tight.
A few other friends we met up with that we sadly have no pictures with:
Disco - We really, really dig what Disco is doing to help people protect and own their identity. They say “Control what you share.” Yeah. Kindred spirits.
Unlock Protocol - Always good to see these folks. They’re doing incredible things for anyone looking to create memberships. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that we’re proud to support. If you haven’t seen it yet, check the membership NFT guide we created together.
Dispatch - A potential game-changer for mainstream adoption, Dispatch creates an on-chain connection between businesses and wallets. Nuff said. DYOR and get excited.
Diagonal - We love any project that supports business-building. Diagonal lets you create crypto-based subscriptions so you can get paid, for real. Big player to watch.
The parties and workshops are cool. But at its core, ETHDenver is a heads-down, hardcore hackathon. Pinata started at a hackathon (ETHBerlin - what up), so it really runs deep. You know we had to get in on the action.
Representing Pinata, the incredible team of Marge, Paige, Kelly and Brooke hacked together to create MyPinataCloud, a web3 curated mood board that lets you create your digital personality, your way.
We may be biased, but MyPinataCloud is a killer idea, especially for any creators already using the all-powerful IPFS. The concept behind MyPinataCloud is to let anyone share content with their most loyal community members and allow for conversion and monetization. They'd be able to use their publicly pinned IPFS content via Pinata, their premium unlockable/token-gated content (like what we enable with Submarine), and of course, NFTs. Beast.
Although MyPinataCloud didn’t take home the grand prize, our gal-group of builders had a blast. As with most hackathons, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Lessons were definitely learned. Here’s how Paige summed it up:
Let your vision be flexible. At first we all had different perceived ideas of how our app would work. This initial misalignment allowed us to pull the strengths from each idea and combine them to make a product none of us imagined by ourselves.
Solid advice for any builder.
We left ETHDenver feeling full, inspired and grateful to be in such a cool space at such a cool time. It’s always hard bullet-pointing a multi-day, multifaceted festival like ETHDenver, but here are a few of the biggest takeaways from our team members who were on the ground:
- ZK is hot. New developers would be smart to get familiar.
- Blockchain gaming is coming back with a vengeance.
- Identity matters. (Hey, Disco)
- The biggest and most successful projects will be easy to use.
- Community ain’t floofy. It’s as real as it gets.
That last one point is important for any project trying to make an impact. Community—that c-word that has buzzed along with web3 since the beginning—is incredibly real. The ETH community in particular is so tight-knit, so passionate, and so focused on building that we just can’t imagine a world where their impact isn’t eventually felt around the world. The verticals that people are working on continue to change and evolve.
We can’t wait to see what crazy, beautiful things happen in 2023. Until next year, builders.
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.