DISCON Conference: Blockchain beyond the hype

A lot of people associate Blockchain with a bubble of ridiculous ICO’s (Initial Coin Offerings – the blockchain equivalent of IPOs), scammers and the general hype around cryptocurrencies. However, there’s so much more to the actual technology itself. I was very lucky to have been invited to the DISCON Conference that looks beyond all of this hype, all of those “trending” or even “scandalous” topics and talks about the real technology. I’ve really enjoyed it and I think you would too, so let me tell you more about this event.

The venues where the conference took place – for your visualisation 🙂

The conference span across 2 days: August 3rd and 4th – and had 2 venues in Boulder, Colorado. There were 2 talks running at the same time, and the venues had lounge zones with different stands and booths. There was also Discon after dark, which included awesome workshops, areas and post-talk activities. Alright, now that you can visualise the event better, let me tell you more about the content 🙂

 

Distributed Consensus installation by Alt Ethos

I was able to attend some talks on Friday and the topics varied a lot: from blockchain governance to its use in the entertainment industry. To be honest, I was torn between which talk to attend a few times and moved a lot between the two venues. The talks were very interesting and insightful and as the organisers have promised, nobody was talking about how to do an ICO. In fact, the title of Kevin Owocki’s talk was literally “Why you probably shouldn’t do an ICO”!

 

Personally, I loved the entertainment industry angle. It was very refreshing to see how that industry can be disrupted – allowing creators to be compensated in a fairer manner. In fact, one of the after dark areas I got to see was an Ujo Music Creators Lounge – it was awesome to listen to some live music and a very fun way to engage the audience with the brand! I haven’t heard of Ujo Music before and I immediately looked them up: they use blockchain technology to create a transparent and a decentralised database of rights and right owners – to enable automatic royalty payments with cryptocurrency. A very cool concept, I’m very excited to see how ideas like this one disrupt the power dynamics that we are accustomed to.

The day finished on a very strong note and with my all-time favourite topic: User Experience. It was a panel discussion about Blockchain and UX. The panellists were honestly saying that there’s a lot that needs to happen to make this technology more user-friendly and to enable mass adoption.

Some examples of CryptoKitties

A very funny example was that if you want to get a CryptoKitty (a unique collectable token that is literally a digital kitten), you first need to create an account with MetaMask → then create an account somewhere else to buy cryptocurrency → then send your cryptocurrency to your MetaMask wallet and only after that you can go and select your cat. Figuring out all of those things can be a nightmare and a very lengthy process. For example, Coinbase does 15 thousand checks with you – so buying your first cryptocurrency may literally take days. And users nowadays don’t like switching platforms, so only super dedicated people will end up getting their kittens. As you can see, this is far from user-friendly and very far from mass adoption!

I think the reason that I’m so drawn to this technology is that it’s built by rebels. By people who don’t want to accept things as they are. These people want to disrupt the world and change the power dynamics in different industries. And that’s why I really enjoyed DISCON, because it was seeing beyond the hype, beyond all of the get-rich-fast-and-flee schemes – it was for those rebels who want to change the world.

I’m really looking forward to the next DISCON event! Will you guys join me?

In the meantime, here’s my YouTube playlist of videos about Blockchain!

<the blonde>

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