Berlin Blockchain Week Impressions

Berlin Blockchain Week Impressions


6 min read

Last Thursday, I took a train to Berlin to attend the last days of Berlin Blockchain Week. Manny asked if I would be there because it was in Germany, and I am from Germany. Sadly, I’m from the other end of Germany and had a seven-hour train ride there and didn’t even talk much to Manny in the end. 😩


When I arrived, an old friend told me he was in Berlin too, so I went for breakfast with him. It was nice to catch up and learn about his Kubernetes struggles. It seems like Web2 just doesn’t wanna change. 😂

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The Merge

I hit Berlin right when the Merge happened, so I was late for the merge celebration when I finally arrived at Full Node. But, yeah, people there were generally happy that everything worked.

Finally, we are going to get our ultrasound money! 🦇 Also, we can tell the critics that Ethereum doesn’t use a ridiculous amount of energy anymore. Excellent news for the environment!

Overall there wasn’t much talk about the merge when I got there. Also, I was so dead that I had to nap there first. 😴

DAO Talks

Later I met a few women from Gitcoin, Gnosis, and Radicle that talked about their DAO experiences and problems. It was fascinating to hear how other DAOs operate. Getting a governance process up and running is very hard, even for DAOs that don’t have as many members as D_D. 😮

Sure, we have proposals and everything, but what does that help if nobody understands what they are actually proposing? Most members don’t even know how to write a proposal to start with. This seems to be a prevalent problem in many DAOs. 🤔

It was also good to get insights into how others structured their DAOs. D_D is a community, so the DAO is the members, not much more. But other DAOs, like Gitcoin, Gnosis, and Radicle, are structured around fantastic products. So, while they might be smaller in member numbers, they seem much more professional because of the business incentives behind their missions.

Also, at least Gonsis and Gitcoin have much more experience in the space. So, I think it was a good decision to partner with D_D early on.

These people know their stuff! 💯

Real Talk with Alex

Later, I met Alex, a friend I made on DevConnect in Amsterdam. He already came on Monday so we could talk about this experience of the week and his opinions on some things happening in the crypto space and D_D.

While there is a bear market, there still seems to be some investment money. But there is also too much talk and not enough doing happening in the space now. 😅 Too many companies are pumping money into marketing efforts, getting the word out about the cool new Layer-1 that is super fast, super private, super modular, or super whatever—getting big names into your company to increase credibility easily.

The next issue seems to come from the same direction. Devs want to get their names out and build stuff to show off their skills, which leads to a bunch of incomplete projects lying around, and nobody cares to finish things. 🙄 Newcomers enter the space and just have no idea where to start. Is this a portfolio project? Is this just for a hackathon? Is this an actual project? Who knows! 😵

And I don’t want to say I do it differently! I’m part of that problem; good ideas often just seem reasonable for the first weeks, then they are boring, and I don’t want to pursue them any longer. 😅

C-Base with Protocol Labs

After I got my sleeping place set up, I went to c-base. There was a friendly get-together with some IPFS people. I learned how decentralized storage helps people around the world circumvent censorship issues and that IPFS and Filecoin need to do more for app developers. Seemingly, their focus is big data right now. 🤔

But without going into details, my biggest takeaway was that chains that take a similar approach to proof of work, like Filecoin, could be the future. 😎

Letting “miners” do real, tangible work instead of solving artificial problems gives a chain much better credibility. People understand that storing data costs money, and giving someone tokens to store your data makes sense. They have done something similar with Dropbox or S3 for years already.

No average person understands why solving random hashes or prime numbers is worth paying for. But I guess PoW is more straightforward to implement than proof of space-time. And just so I don’t seem like a fanboy, Arweave and Sia are going similar routes! 🚀

I hope in the future, more people will go “the hard way” and base the value of their chain's native token on useful work. Looking at you here, Fluence! 🤓

Decentralized Breakfast with Fluence

The next day, I went to the decentralized breakfast and talked to a founder of Fluence. They build Web3 native compute, basically AWS Lambda + Step Functions, but decentralized. They use WebAssemby as runtime and have a programming language that allows implementing distribution algorithms for your computation. 🤔

Right now, the whole thing is much too complicated for the average dev, who just wants to use their serverless skills and doesn’t care about the perfect distribution of their computation. 😵 But it seems like a promising supplement to IPFS and Filecoin. First, we get Web3 storage; then, we get computation on top! I’m excited about the future.

I also talked to the head of design from Reach, and a question many companies ask me cropped up again: How can my company leverage Developer DAO?

When I look at the docs and articles many companies write, that’s a very valid question. Many of them don’t quite understand developer relations/marketing yet. So, I will write about that soon. It would be sad if a company doesn’t sponsor D_D just because they don’t know what they get from it! 😎

D_D Dinner with Biconomy

In the evening, I went to a D_D dinner. We ate Syrian food, which was really delicious. Some of the spices reminded me of my mom's cookies on Christmas. 😋

It was nice to meet a few D_D members again. I haven’t seen them since DevConnect in April! Tony, Cami, Nader, Manny, Raz. 💚 Also, a bunch of members I haven’t met before; pretty cool! Interesting projects these people are on. I think one is currently building a Web3 native monitoring service, which is desperately needed right now.

The dinner was sponsored by Biconomy, a company that builds technology to help adopt blockchains. A big issue is that everyone has to pay for all they do on-chain; Biconomy’s tech helps relay the costs of different on-chain actions, so people without a wallet can use your DApp without constantly having to sign or pay for everything they want to do. Cross-chain payments, gasless transactions, and NFT mints, you name it! 💸💸💸

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It was a lovely week, even if I just got two days from it. But it was cool to meet D_D people again and learn so much about the Web3 ecosystem.

The industry is moving fast, and there are always new things to discover. But it’s also exciting to look deeper into existing tech that slowly matures.

On the other hand, it’s also important to talk with the average developer, who probably makes up most of Web3. What do they think about state of the art? Do we have too many incomplete projects? Do companies waste their investment with dumb marketing schemes? Do we really need this fancy new layer-1 or layer-2?

Overall, I feel a bit smarter than before! 🤓