Brock Pierce delivered the opening remarks for Block-Con LA by stating “blockchain has made it possible to make money more easily by building open-source projects on your own than it is to work towards increasing someone else’s bottom line.” And he clearly was not the only attendee at the convention who recognized this potential. Thousands of blockchain enthusiasts representing hundreds of open-source blockchain projects churned through Santa Monica’s Museum of Flying October 10-11. Virtually every high-profile blockchain group attended the event, which featured speakers from entrepreneurial collectives such as Adam Draper of Boost VC and Rouven Heck of ConsenSys, innovators such as Hudson Jameson of Oaken Innovations and Brian Hoffman of OpenBazaar, and accomplished business support professionals such as blockchain consultant Tone Vays and angel investor Jason Calacanis.
One question emerged throughout the large-scale blockchain event in the west coast’s largest city: is blockchain starting to evolve past it’s “anything goes,” Wild West phase? Many speakers reiterated a cautious set of similar rules and guidelines, which may indicate that industry standards are forming around some of the technology’s more controversial features. For example, Vinny Lingham, of identity verification platform Civic, warned against investing in any token offering that advertised a guaranteed profit or return across platforms such as CoinMarketCap, Facebook, or reddit, a point that was well-received by the audience. In his speech, Blockchain Lab’s Ismail Malik emphasized the importance for every project to present a transparent, well-thought-out roadmap for its future development, which provides a standard by which to hold a team accountable for its progress as well as gives a set of similar information that investors can use to compare projects and their potential future returns on investment. Attorney Nancy Wojtas of Cooley LLP warned that no one should offer or participate in a pre-token offering made available to the general public before a project has deployed a minimum viable product in an open-sourced format. These sentiments echoed through conversations at the event, as entrepreneurs and investors challenged each other while pitching their ideas for how to leverage token offering technology. This demonstrated that a consensus is forming around the adoption of those standards among the community at large.
One of Block-Con’s most interesting phenomena came in the form of collaboration that took place away from the event altogether. The event’s official after party was immensely popular, providing an atmosphere for teams to comfortably mingle in a less formal setting while simultaneously serving as a hotbed for investment deals, partnership agreements, and spirited karaoke. It will be exciting to see what manifests from these types of experiences where individuals enter as strangers and leave as family, ready to collaborate and overcome the future’s unknown obstacles.
The event highlighted the decentralized nature of the blockchain ecosystem as demonstrated by the attendance of individuals from across the country and even the globe. Many attendees also celebrated a larger female presence at Block-Con than other blockchain events, perhaps signifying advancement towards gender equality throughout our community. The future looks bright from Los Angeles, as we all anticipate the progress that will be displayed at next year’s Block-Con.