scroll down

'Birdo' heads Stateside for Consensus

A first-time delegate attends Consensus, one of the world's most renowned blockchain conferences, where multiple communities in Web3 are brought together in one big crypto melting pot.

Alex Bird
Polkadot Ecosystem Success Manager @ Parity Technologies
June 19, 2024
5 Min Read

I'd never been to a "BIG" crypto conference where booths are the main attraction. My previous experience had been mainly ecosystem events like Polkadot Decoded and the legendary Amsterdot, where presentations, meet-ups and culture are the focus. Not quite knowing what Consensus was going to be like I arrived early on the first day in a wave of other crypto nerds eagerly streaming in the door through the metal detectors (God bless Texas).

Looking at the event signage it wasn't overly clear where any of the booths were (or even where I was!) and so I just followed everyone else through the main doors, winging it. Well, it was pretty easy to find the Polkadot booth as it was RIGHT at the main entrance, standing out with the bright pink color scheme and newly updated graphics supplied by the Distractive team.

In a sea of black, grey and boring color schemes, the Polkadot booth would have been seen by every one of the 13,000-odd people that attended Consensus. The placement of the booth combined with Polkadot's PINK really stood out from the crowd, not to mention that over the booth was a massive banner which could be seen from anywhere in the conference hall.

Consensus ran for three days and was hosted in Austin, Texas (not Dallas where I originally booked my flight to, oops). Overall it was a great mix of industry professionals, builders and people interested in crypto. To begin with, it was quieter in the conference hall as the first day was reserved for industry professionals, however we still had great attendance at the booth.

Many individuals came by to understand what has been happening on Polkadot and what to expect for the rest of the year. The Distractive team did an amazing job with the booth design which can be see in this video recap of the event.

Birdo at Consensus Birdo meets Polkadot-sponsored Indy500 driver Conor Daly and Parity's COO Chrissy Hill

Walking upstairs from the main conference hall, I stumbled upon a huge hackathon which spanned the three days of the conference, hosting 500 hackers from top universities and US companies. The Polkadot Events Bounty sponsored the hackathon, with support from Easy A and the blockspace DevRel team from WebZero. This was the first ever Polkadot-sponsored hackathon as part of Consensus.

The DevRel team lead by Sacha Lansky (WebZero) and comprised of talented ecosystem agents including Daniel Artamendi (WebZero), Peter White (R0gue) and Luke Schoen, were there on the ground day-in, day-out, helping individuals and projects with every aspect of Polkadot. The team also ran a mainstage workshop where different ecosystem teams gave presentations on how to build on the Polkadot tech stack.

It was great to have the likes of Bill Laboon (W3F) and Alisa Orlov (JUST Open Source) helping out on the judging and also providing support to the teams. Overall we had more than 20 teams building using Polkadot who are continuing to build post-hackathon with some really interesting projects!

Coming back to the main event, it was great to see Chrissy Hill and Fabi Gompf up on the main stage to talk about decentralization and the roles that the Web3 Foundation and Parity play in the Polkadot ecosystem. Then John Linden from Mythical Games announced his company is partnering with Pudgy Penguins to bring an exciting new game to their Polkadot parachain in 2025!

At the Polkadot booth, the second and third day were crazy busy with a queue of attendees wanting to speak to people. I met with a wide range of folk, from Web2 devs looking to get into Polkadot to Web3 leads at large payment companies, all interested in understanding or working with Polkadot 👀 At the booth we also had an excellent entourage from The Web3 Foundation, Distractive, Parity, Talisman, Exiled Racers, Unique and many more ecosystem teams.