Top Trends at ETHDenver 2022: DAOs, DAOs, Regulation, DeFi, and DAOs
ETHDenver 2022 has come and gone. Ethereum (ETH)’s annual developer conference took to Denver’s Sports Castle to showcase the latest upcoming projects in the ETH ecosystem and to enable community members to network with each other (and spread coronavirus).
Each year tends to focus on different trends and topics, and 2022’s installment was no different. According to attendees speaking with Cryptonews.com, one of the biggest points of discussion were decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), with regulation and industry lobbying also gaining plenty of attention.
Yet it wasn’t only particular issues that generated discussion, but also particular projects and apps. And chief among them were platforms that combined elements of DeFi, NFTs, and DAOs, signaling that Ethereum’s 2022 may be defined by a growing synergy between different areas of the wider crypto ecosystem.
DAOs entering every area of crypto
According to ConsenSys’ Community Lead Matthew Wright, DAOs were the most visible topic at ETHDenver this year. This includes discussion of subjects within the DAO space, including DAO tooling, governance, ethos, and culture.
“I personally attended events for RaidGuild, DAOHaus, SeedClub, Metacartel/ Metacartel Ventures. I also pitched a DAO concept to Metapod which was a DAO consortium aimed at accelerating projects in the space,” he told Cryptonews.com.
Wright also mentions that there were events by Friends With Benefits (FWB) and other DAOs that actually required tokens to attend or book a place. For him, this was an exciting symptom of how crypto (and the wider world) is “entering this metaverse/ meatspace world where you own assets on-chain which grants you IRL [in real life] access to experiences.”
Other interesting experiments witnessed at ETHDenver included a members-only event hosted by RaidGuild, in which participants staked tokens in order to vote for how the beer they would drink would be brewed. This involved determining the flavor and hops used for the beer, as well as other features, with members drinking the finished product later on at the event.
For Wright, such novel experiments highlight the promise of Ethereum’s wider ecosystem, which is giving birth to new and innovative ways of organizing and working.
“There is this deep DAO culture in Ethereum that cannot be duplicated. It is rich in ethos, community rituals, enforced permissions, and intrinsic value that cannot be transferred easily,” he said.
He also notes that ETHDenver gave witness to the fact that the Ethereum ecosystem is home to an increasingly wide variety of DAOs, which can be tailored to the needs of pretty much any community. This is evidenced by the fact that the top 30 finalists of the conference’s hackathon - BUIDLathon - included numerous DAOs, from educational platform AcademyONE to customer service DAO Background Network.
“There is no one way to slice a DAO -- and we're seeing various forms of governance, structure, permissioning, culture, and levels of decentralization stem from the pathos of ‘we need to coordinate better’,” he added.
Regulation and lobbying
Continuing with the overarching theme of DAOs, Harmony One’s Adrian Robinson gave Cryptonews.com his opinion that regulation and lobbying -- as exemplified by Andrew Yang’s Lobby3 -- was the big talking point of ETHDenver.
“When Andrew Yang brought up Lobby3 that was the most significant topic of the entire conference. None of what we are building matters unless we have regulations that make sense,” he said.
For Robinson, lobbying for a more accommodating and understanding regulatory regime should be one of the key objectives for crypto right now, and ETHDenver showed that the Ethereum community is becoming more aware that it needs to do something on this front.
“The idea of creating a whole new division to deal with assets makes sense, as opposed to having the current [US Securities and Exchange Commission] weigh in on everything. Ideally, it is an ‘Assets Exchange Commission’ that will play nice with NFTs, etc. regarding ownership,” he added.
Unsurprisingly for a developer conference, ETHDenver showcased a range of interesting projects that look set to deepen and enrich Ethereum’s ecosystem. Attendees had their own particular favorites, with platforms operating within the NFT, DeFi and DAO subsectors proving common.
“I was a big fan of Bunker.finance,” said Robinson. “They created a way to borrow against your NFTs.”
For Matthew Wright, who works mostly with DAOs in his role at ConsenSys, some of the most interesting projects involve decentralized organization to some extent.
“From Boardroom, Boomerang, Kali DAO (framework), FWB Gatekeeper, Gnosis Zodiac -- we're seeing major innovations in governance frameworks, curation/interfaces, and community engagement,” he said.
Despite his preference for DAOs, Wright also acknowledges a “huge presence” for DeFi 2.0, metaverse platforms, and NFTs at ETHDenver. This includes projects such as yearn.finance, Solace, and Element.fi, the latter of which is a DeFi protocol for fixed yields (it raised USD 32 million in a Series A round from October).
Anyone curious as to the top 30 BUIDLathon projects can check the full list here. It includes a handful of gaming platforms and four projects related to infrastructure and scalability, in addition to the NFT, DeFi, and DAO apps mentioned previously.
Judging by this list, and by ETHDenver as a whole, Ethereum and its ecosystem continues to have more than one eye on the future. It may remain the biggest layer-one blockchain in terms of total value locked in, but it’s hardly resting on its laurels, with the approach of Ethereum 2.0 (or “consensus layer”) likely to make it one of its biggest years on record.
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- DeFi Trends in 2022: Growing Interest, Regulation & New Roles for DAOs, DEXes, NFTs, and Gaming