Ethereum Denver: State of the Community
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“History doesn’t repeat itself…but it often rhymes.” - Not Mark Twain
That’s a pithy observation, isn’t it? While reports of Twain as its originator have been greatly exaggerated (there’s no evidence he ever said this), it does seem to jibe nicely with our understanding of how events unfold over time.
This is especially true in our modern world, where things change at a breakneck pace and it seems that the only constant is human nature. Add blockchain technology to the equation, and it’s an even crazier change of pace.
Change is something this humble community has adapted to over the past four years. Our once tiny and super-niche group is now comprised of nearly 1800 humans who are excited about the future, and a giant related group of many more Colorado-based decentralization freaks, enthusiasts, and tire-kickers.
In other words, shit’s gettin cray.
With that in mind, I figured it would be a good time to touch base and talk about where we are, and where we’re headed:
1.) The Colorado community has grown exponentially over the past year.
Back in the day, there were a handful of blockchain-related meetups in our fair Centennial State (namely, the Denver Bitcoin Society and this group). Fast-forward to 2018, and there are around two dozen.
Many of us gather at this united slack for the state’s broader blockchain community: https://slackpass.io/coloradoblockchain
These groups offer a great complement (and contrast) to our own programming at Ethereum Denver. Many of them are listed here: https://coloradoblockchain.com/
2.) Due diligence is more important than ever.
With a larger community brings more potential bad actors. Beware hype-driven ICO offers, big egos, outright scams, and self-proclaimed blockchain experts. Do your own research, and be your own expert. Don’t get sucked in by FOMO or hype. Caveat Emptor.
3.) Bear markets are for BUIDLing.
One of the cooler things I’ve seen over the past year has been a large turnout for our most recent meetup. Historically, attendance has tended to have a direct correlation with crypto prices. But in the midst of a brutal and protracted bear market, it’s encouraging to see that people are overlooking the price hype and focusing on the tech.
Plenty of blockchain building is happening in Denver/Boulder. If you’re considering a crazy jump into the industry from whatever your current focus is, don’t let price action dissuade you. The space is growing fast, and this region happens to have a lot of options. A few recommendations for job-seekers:
Check out KJ Technical…they’re steadfast community supporters, and always seem to have a few blockchain-related positions open: http://kjtechnical.com/
Check out Ideas By Nature. They have an opening for Lead Project Manager, and they specialize in blockchain-related projects: https://www.ideasbynature.com/careers-gigs?gh_jid=4074829002. (Full Disclosure: IBN is our monthly sponsor, as well as being fucking rad).
4.) Get ready for more Ethereum content.
There’s a funny outcome of getting into blockchain tech: the more you get involved, the more it takes over your life…and the less time you have for everything else.
This has been the case with your humble organizers. I think I can safely speak for myself, as well as Sasha Shtern (now spearheading the Governor’s Blockchain Council) and Coury Ditch (hard at work on bringing functional programming to the blockchain), when I say “this shit really sucks you in.”
A knock-on effect of this has been that we don’t have as much time to plan and organize meetups. This leads to relatively fewer events, as well as oversights such as venue conflicts that led to the cancellation of the most recent planned event.
This might be okay for your average ukulele meetup, but not Ethereum Denver; we’re here to change the world (and have fun along the way).
With that in mind, we’ll be working even closer with John Paller (the visionary behind the ETHDENVER hackathon) and other community members to improve your experience over the coming year. This will likely lead to niche events - for example, smart contract workshops - as well as an increased frequency of Ethereum Denver events. Want to see more of something? Let us know.
5.) Now more than ever, the decentralization movement depends on sharp, skeptical, creative, entrepreneurial, and independent minds.
The fake-Twain rhyming-history analogy fits nicely if you consider the parallels between the internet and blockchain technology.
At the advent of the dot-com era, people gathered around the technology with unbridled optimism that it could make humanity freer, less divided, and more prosperous. In 2018 we can look back on that time as an era of innocence. In fact, now the general zeitgeist is plagued by pessimism and a general dread for the future. (The founder of Wired Magazine digs into this phenomenon here: https://www.wired.com/story/wired25-louis-rossetto-tech-militant-optimism/.))
It also sounds a lot like the current blockchain revolution. We’re quite the optimistic bunch, but are we as naive as our cypherpunk predecessors in thinking that the technology will unambiguously improve the world?
I would respond with a big emphatic “NO.” Why? Because many of the things that made the internet a shitty place stem from the very same centralization that blockchain tech aims to disintermediate. We can learn from the mistakes of the past, temper our enthusiasm with realism, and build a brighter future. But it can’t happen without more talent. What can you bring to the table?
There’s a thriving blockchain community out there. Join the Colorado Blockchain slack, and check the multitude of other blockchain meetups at https://coloradoblockchain.com/.
Watch out for scammers and bad actors.
Contrary to price action, things are developing at a more rapid pace than ever before. Now’s a great time to get involved.
Expect more from this community in the coming year.
Optimism is the new black.
Get involved…it’s the perfect antidote to cynicism!
Kent // Ethereum Denver
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