My experience in Devcon Bogota 2022
In this article I’ll share how was the incredible experience at Devcon Bogota 2022.
Devcon is the worldwide conference of the Ethereum community. Devcon is an intensive introduction to new Ethereum explorers, a global family reunion for those already part of the ecosystem, and a source of energy and creativity for everyone.
It is convened each year to educate and empower the community to build and use decentralized systems.
It’s a conference for builders of all kinds: developers, designers, researchers, customer implementers, test engineers, infrastructure operators, community organizers, social economists, artists, and more.
For me it was pure magic. Words are not enough to describe this incredible experience.
Thanks to the full support received by Source Meridian, this experience was possible for me.
Besides all the new people I met from the community and the ecosystem, besides from meeting many of the peers, mentors and professors of the Ethereum Developer Program, it was realizing the way forward to consolidate myself as a Blockchain Developer.
Preamble to Devcon
I finished the Ethereum Developer Program on September 13th, 2022. It was just 3 intense months where I felt like a university student again, with the rush of the homework deliveries, courses & practices to accomplish on time, and the final project we had to build in 2 weeks.
Our folks at Platzi got us special price Developer tickets for Devcon from the Ethereum Foundation and I thought “I want to be there; I want to be a part of it”. I asked for support from Source Meridian, the company where I have the privilege of working since 2019, and they supported me in everything; As usual, it was a high class support: unbeatable accommodation, plane tickets, travel expenses, taxis, everything.
I woke up 10 minutes before zero hour and experience it with ETH Global…
On the Monday before Devcon I attended a full day event in Spanish at ETH Latam.
It is difficult to select the best presentation, but one that impacted me the most was JJ Campuzano’s “What is Ethereum? History and future, from 2013 to 2030, the evolution of a planetary network of human coordination”.
Another talk that I really liked was the interview with Vitalik Buterin. The interviewer asked him, “What can you tell us to confirm that Vitalik is a human and not a reptilian?” After looking a little embarrassed, Vitalik replied, “I’m not a computer, I’m not a superhuman, I’m a normal person. You all can do a lot in our ecosystem, anything is possible in our community.“
He claimed to be a real, normal human being who makes mistakes.
The ETH Latam Hackathon
There was an ETH Latam Hackathon the full weekend before the Devcon.
Some of my colleagues from the Ethereum Developer Program of Platzi participated as Developers and collaborators and I was able to know first-hand their experiences, which encouraged me to participate in the next events of this type.
Knowledge and Community
I was able to clarify some doubts I had, especially with ZK-rollup (Zero Knowledge off-chains, such as StarkNet), Layer 2 (L2 off-chains, such as Optimism, Arbitrum and zkSync), Side Chain (e.g. Polygon, Ronin or Gnosis), Danksharding and EIP 4844.
I could see the quantity and quality of the projects, highlighting those of Push.org (to send notifications between users via Wallets) and Lit Protocol (file encryption in IPFS, among other interesting features).
It was very exciting to meet the people of ETH Caracas.
Presentations and Talks
World-class presentations, by the hand of protagonists creators of Ethereum protocols such as Vitalik Buterin, Dankrad Feist, the team behind The Merge, the Oracles (Chain Link, Consensys / Infura, among others), the Wallets (Metamask, Ambire, and imToken), the DAO ( Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), such as MakerDao, creators of the DAI coin, DEX (Decentralized Exchanges, such as Lido), Smart Contracts security companies and protocols (such as OpenZeppelin), the Ethereum Foundation, the ETH Hubs (ETH Global, ETH Latam, ETH Buenos Aires, ETH Bogotá, ETH Medellín, ETH Caracas, ETH Peru, ETH Ecuador, etc.), among many other members of the ecosystem.
Subtraction is about avoiding to give much power to institutions or groups of people, as happens in the world of companies and governments. “Subtracting does not mean doing less, it means subtracting your power in order to achieve more education, communication, coordination and research.”
Another talk at the opening was that of Vitalik Buterin “Ethereum in 30 Minutes“. He explained conceptual and technical aspects of the Blockchain, the new PoS (Proof of Stake) consensus mechanism, the flow of transactions, the structure of blocks, Merkle Trees, high-level languages, and the next steps after The Merge.
The archive of Talks and Workshops can be accessed through the address:
The workshops were awesome.
I remember one in particular, the “DAO Governance Design Jam” about the dynamics of decision-making in a DAO, in which we had the opportunity to share with @LayerOne, contributor at MakerDAO SES, who shared real-life experiences in a decentralized autonomous organization.
I had the opportunity to attend workshops on the new way to reach consensus through PoS (Proof of Stake), where I could understand among other things the concept of MEV (Maximal Extractable Value), which refers to the maximum value that can be extracted from the production of blocks above the reward of these, and standard gas tariffs including, excluding and changing the order of transactions in a block. It is a way for PoS validators or participants to prioritize the blocks they are going to process, maximizing their profits.
In the workshop “Demystifying Ethereum Assembly” we learned how to embed Assembly in Solidity (the programming language to create Smart Contracts on the Ethereum EVM). Although it is a little more difficult to understand and implement, this way of programming saves GAS fees, which are a topic of great debate in the Ethereum community due to the high operating costs; a high point in the adoption of this Blockchain.
In the workshop “Hunting and Monitoring for On-Chain Attacks“, we learned how to dissect a real-world chain attack, classifying each step the attacker can take into four distinct stages (financing, preparation, exploitation and money laundering) and went through the development of a heuristic/ML approach to identify these attacks using the Forta network.
In the workshop “Build a DApp on Optimism: How to Conquer L2 Bridging“, we learned how to easily create a DApp that leverages Truffle’s L2 Bridge Box, which helps you quickly set up a DApp to handle all the complexities that come with the L2 bridge. These bridges allow to offload to the Mainnet (L1) of expensive operations, performing the calculations and updating the status of the L1 only with the results, and leaving the computation and detail of the results in the L2.
Finally, one of the most spectacular Workshops was “Danksharding + Data Availability Sampling (DAS) Workshop“, where I was very close to Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), Dankrad Feist (creator of Danksharding) and the team behind this developing technology.
Danksharding is basically a proposal to be able to increase the amount of data that can be stored on the Blockchain, so that it can be used as the databases of our times. This is because the cost of storage in Ethereum is expensive, which limits its use and size.
There were a lot of side events to the Devcon Bogota 2022.
I had the opportunity to go to several, including the Chain.Link Workshop on NFT Dinamicos at the Platzi offices, the Platzi and NEAR event at the Hilton Hotel, the Open Zeppelin meeting at the Hyatt Grand Bogotá
And the great Rave parties of ETH Global, Reserve and Zulu at the best Bogotá’s party sites.
As Platzi students we had the opportunity to meet the mentors, teachers and representatives of the Latin America’s largest e-learning platform who led the Ethereum Developer Program, as well as all the Ethereum Foundation folks.
SWAG: the gifts
Devcon and the place of SWAGs. These are gifts given by service providers, sponsors, or people who promote their projects. The gifts are mostly flannels, caps, sweaters, coffee cups, among others. I had to buy a bigger suitcase so I could bring everything they gave me.
One of my favorites was the ENS SWAG for having my domain name “carlosjramirez.eth”. The gift consisted of an ID card with my avatar and the experience of an NFC device that generates a POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol) when bringing the smartphone closer to the ID card. The POAP carries the message “I met carlosjramirez.eth at Devcon 6“.
POAPs are used as proof that you were in a place, attended an event, or met someone.
Another interesting SWAG was the “ETHER Coffee: Devcon Bogotá Special Blend” they gave us as Devcon’s registration souvenir. A great detail without a doubt.
The Closing Ceremony
“Ethereum is not just a technology, Ethereum is a community, it is a movement, and just like all movements, all communities, we have values. And one of those values is civil liberties, civil rights.“
Kurt Opssahl spoke about “Privacy and Free Expression” and the importance of expanding the Ethereum developer community, of staying united, of continuing to develop applications and protocols to strengthen the decentralized paradigm, the union and to be able to counteract the censorship actions of the system against the movement.
He highlighted the Tornado Cash case. One of the programmers, Alexey Pertsev, was arrested in the Netherlands and is in jail without formal charges or trial date. Accused by OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) in August 2022 of money laundering for the nature of the Dapp he developed alongside Roman Semenov and Roman Storm, and his role in laundering more than $455 million in cryptocurrencies stolen by the North Korea-linked Lazarus Group hacking organization.
According to Chainalysis’ blog: “Tornado Cash can be a practical solution for legitimate users seeking financial privacy, such as those who wish to donate to political causes without making details public or those who wish to keep information about their wealth private. But it’s also attractive to cybercriminals looking to launder money. The Treasury press release announcing the Tornado Cash sanctions specifically noted Tornado Cash’s role in laundering more than $455 million in cryptocurrency stolen from Axie Infinity’s Ronin Bridge protocol by North Korea-affiliated hacking organization Lazarus Group, and its receipt of funds stolen from Harmony Bridge and Nomad Bridge in June and August of this year. Since 2019, almost 30% of the funds sent through it have been linked to illicit actors, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been one of its main beneficiaries.”
Are we “Melos”?
The biggest surprise was the end, when Skylar said “well, with this we concluded the Devcon, so thank you for everything and now, let’s go back to building“. Everything seemed like an emotionless ending, when suddenly someone said “hello, eh, I have a question … are we Melos?” (it means “Are we good?“) and began the spectacular closing with a Colombian Barranquilla’s Carnival style party.
The Devcon’s closing party
The closing party of the Devcon Bogotá 2022 lasted hours, people did not stop dancing in a phenomenal music mash-up.
It was amazing the high energy in the event.
Networking was awesome. At lunches we had the opportunity to meet many developers and owners of projects and protocols, as well as investors.
After the presentations, talks and workshops, the most important part of Devcon is networking, meeting people, making contacts, sharing experiences, and making community.
Some of the projects I networked with: