“Crypto is Culture” is one of the main themes behind the ETHBarcelona Conference. The community-led event is gearing up for its second edition at one of the most important civic centers in the world, with a promise of highlighting Ethereum and crypto beyond its market value.
Education, social impact, art, price, and Zero-Knowledge (ZK) technology are some subjects that will be present during the three-day event from July 5 to 7. We sat down with the team behind ETHBarcelona to discuss their vision, running an event amidst a bear market, and why conferences still have value. This is what they told us.
Q: Conferences are a big part of anything that wants a place in today’s culture, but what’s different about ETHBarcelona; what’s at the event’s core? And maybe you can tell us more about what inspired its creation.
ETHBarcelona Team: What sets EthBarcelona apart from most web3 projects is our unique focus on culture, values, public goods, and social impact, rather than solely prioritizing, it’s the only ETH event largely focused on social impact, which is also why we had about 40 percent of female attendees which is quite rare in Web3 events. The reason being the kind of focus this event has thats different from other ETH events.
The idea for EthBarcelona and event organization actually originated back at Devcon V in Osaka, back in 2019.
During those early days, when the local places would close early, I would receive numerous messages asking for plans and suggestions on where to go. That’s when I had the idea to create a group, and thus Blockravers was born. It started with coordinating gatherings of around 20-30 people, and soon it gained traction worldwide, leading us to organize parties.
The popularity of Blockravers caught the attention of companies who began inviting us to their events, offering us free tickets. We became known as the curators of good vibes! This trend continued during Devcon in Colombia, and at EthDenver, we even rented a party house, which remained open every day for people to come and go.
To ensure a sense of accountability and respect for shared spaces, we introduced a vouching system. In order to enter the party house, individuals needed to be vouched for by someone else. This system helped us maintain order in public spaces with limited resources. Those who caused damage, harassed others, or exhibited racist or homophobic behavior were expelled from the group, and the person who vouched for them also received a yellow card. Two yellow cards would result in expulsion as well.
The vouching system extended to Zuzalu, where we rented a house and required people to be vouched for before entering. We even developed an application that initially used Venezuelan Bolivares’ serial numbers as unique identifiers for self-issued identities. As we distributed over 153 Venezuelan banknotes, more Zuzalu residents wanted to participate, leading us to allow anyone with a banknote to register and build trust. The serial numbers, along with a photo, became a way of saying, “This is me,” helping us establish a network of trust.
As we continued experimenting with the system, we implemented a rule that attendees needed at least three vouches to attend the next party. Our work with identity, reputation, and vouching systems started with parties, but the concept extends far beyond that. It can be applied to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), governance, verification, and more. Token distribution within any community can benefit from this approach as well. We could reward actual humans who genuinely engage with us, contribute to the community, and have been part of the Blockravers journey. They are the ones who bring the vibes and make this community vibrant!
So, our journey began with parties, but the potential for identity, reputation, and vouching systems reaches far and wide. It aligns perfectly with our focus on building a strong community and making a positive impact.
Q: What are the challenges of running a community-driven event in 2023? And from your perspective, has the bear market impacted people’s interest in the nascent industry? Is it true that people build more during these price drawdowns?
ETHBarcelona Team: Running a community-driven event in 2023 presents several challenges that organizers need to navigate.
One of the key challenges is the issue of budget constraints. As mentioned, budget has always been a challenge, but despite that, we managed to pull off a highly successful event last year. Additionally, the bear market has further exacerbated the funding challenge. During a bear market, where cryptocurrency prices are generally in a downward trend, securing financial support becomes more difficult. But, we are grateful to our sponsors who have stepped in to support the event. Their involvement highlights the continued interest and belief in the nascent industry, despite the market conditions.
One positive outcome however is the increased interest in the hackathon event. The bear market has not stopped builders from participating and showcasing their skills and innovations. In fact, it is often during price drawdowns that people tend to focus more on building and developing new ideas. This may be due to a combination of factors, such as lower market speculation and the opportunity to explore new avenues of growth and development.
From my perspective, the bear market does impact people’s interest in the nascent industry, but not necessarily in a negative way. While it may discourage some investors and speculators, it tends to attract individuals who are genuinely passionate about building and creating value in
Web3. These individuals are driven by their belief in the technology’s long-term potential rather than short-term market fluctuations. The bear market has not deterred builders, and if anything, it has fostered a stronger focus on development and innovation within the nascent industry.
Q: With most conversations happening online, do you think conferences are still relevant? As crypto is said to be the bridge between the digital and physical spaces, how does ETHBarcelona embody this idea?
ETHBarcelona Team: Oh, absolutely! While online conversations have become the norm especially in the Web3 world, conferences like ETHBarcelona are the ultimate proof that physical events still have their charm and relevance. You see, attending a conference like ETHBarcelona is like stepping into a whole different world—it’s like a festival for Web3 enthusiasts!
First of all, picture this: a bustling gathering of brilliant minds, passionate developers, and crypto-curious individuals from all corners of the globe all with the goal of driving impact using this technology. It’s a vibrant melting pot where ideas collide and friendships are forged. You can’t replicate that level of energy and personal connection in a virtual setting!
We’re taking the best of both worlds and merging them seamlessly. While the event is firmly rooted in physical interactions, it doesn’t shy away from leveraging technology to enhance the experience. Attendees get to enjoy captivating presentations, engaging workshops, and hands-on activities, all designed to deepen their understanding of Ethereum and blockchain technology.
ETHBarcelona is providing attendees with an exquisite NFT (non-fungible token) ticket. It’s like owning a little piece of digital art that grants you access to this event. Not only does this embrace the digital aspect of crypto, but it also creates a tangible, collectible experience for participants.
Q: How will ETHBarcelona address the negative narrative surrounding cryptocurrencies, such as bankruptcies and company collapses? What should be the dominant narrative in the industry beyond these issues?
ETHBarcelona Team: I often am asked this question but to be very honest It is important to note that negative narratives are found in all industries, not solely within the web3 world. The current bear run affects not only the web3 industry but has also affected the tech ecosystem, which has been influenced by factors such as AI disruption, market uncertainty caused by ongoing conflicts, and other diverse elements. But sometimes it feels like people outside of the Web3 ecosystem have a tendency to beat this ecosystem more.
Regardless of whatever happens outside, our focus is on shifting the narrative towards one of resilience, creativity, and boundless possibilities. We firmly believe in highlighting the accomplishments of entrepreneurs, startups, and visionaries who are pushing the boundaries of what is achievable.
Our emphasis extends beyond mere profit generation—it encompasses the social impact that can be derived from crypto on finance, governance, supply chain management, and culture. Last year we took pride in showcasing projects like Ukraine DAO, which exemplifies how cryptocurrencies can serve as a powerful tool for positive change. This year we have amazing speakers from projects like Worldcoin, Giveth, ReFi DAO and many others!
By showcasing the remarkable potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, we aim to inspire confidence, foster innovation, and drive positive change in the industry as a whole.
Q: What can attendees expect from ETHBarcelona? How does “Crypto is Culture” relate to financial services, cryptocurrencies, and Ethereum? How do you go from finance to web3 to culture? And what’s the component that allows for this transformation?
ETHBarcelona Team: Our event is designed to provide valuable insights, networking opportunities, and a deeper understanding of the intersection between culture, financial services, cryptocurrencies, and the Ethereum ecosystem.
The theme “Crypto is Culture” encapsulates the idea that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have transcended their purely financial aspects and become intertwined with various aspects of our culture. This includes art, music, literature, social movements, and more. At ETHBarcelona, we explore the cultural impact and potential of the crypto industry, shedding light on its transformative power and the diverse perspectives it brings to the table.
Moreover, ETHBarcelona sheds light on the role of Ethereum and web3 technologies in enabling the creator economy. By leveraging blockchain, artists, content creators, and cultural innovators can tokenize their work, establish ownership rights, and directly monetize their creations. This empowers creators with new revenue streams, facilitates peer-to-peer transactions, and promotes the growth of a vibrant cultural ecosystem.
Cover image from ETHBarcelona, chart from Tradingview