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ETHDenver brings a receptive audience to Polkadot booth

Parity's Natalie Tillack describes a positive experience and a sense of excitement engaging with Polkadot newbies in Denver.

Natalie Tillack
Head of Product Marketing @ Parity Technologies
March 25, 2024
5 Min Read

As a first-time attendee, I was really impressed with ETHDenver. It had a massive presence but still felt accessible since the main event and booths were all housed under one roof. The vibe was grassroots and hippie-esque, aligning well with Ethereum's origins and contrasting with the corporate feel of an event like Consensus.

One thing that rang true from the online buzz was that ETHDenver is no longer just an Ethereum conference; it has expanded to encompass all of Web3. This shift was reflected in the diverse array of projects and platforms represented.

Positive vibes were everywhere. Swag was deluxe, and booths were enormous spectacles incorporating whimsical Alice in Wonderland aesthetics to augmented reality.

This was the first conference for Polkadot since Parity's decentralization of its marketing and sales functions, with Polkadot represented by an ecosystem project spearheaded by Distractive, one of the core contributors to Polkadot's marketing. Unlike in years past when I attended other events as an official Parity delegate, this time I was the sole Parity representative in our group.

Testing Polkadot's new positioning in real time

My role was to field questions about Polkadot's current product offerings, roadmap, ecosystem, key initiatives, all aligned with our current messaging. I aimed to direct attendees to relevant resources, capture leads and developer interest, and engage with the press.

A key goal was testing variations of Polkadot's new positioning with different audience segments. Distractive had drafted narratives framing Polkadot as "the backbone of the free web" or "the cloud/AWS of Web3." In real time, I noticed the high-level "backbone" resonated well with general audiences, while the more technical "Web3 cloud" comparison struck a chord with experienced Web3 builders considering deploying on Polkadot. For visually-oriented folks, placing Polkadot as a Layer-0 protocol helped them contextualize it.

ETHDenver vibes

ETHDenver vibes

Fans were amazed to hear that with the launch of Agile Coretime, Polkadot's auction model for parachain slot allocation (which always presented a high barrier for new teams building on Polkadot) will be eliminated. The new model allows builders to purchase computing time flexibly on-demand or in discounted bulk, reducing costs for younger teams, while preventing fee volatility for larger projects.

Many attendees I spoke to shared how they've been aware of Polkadot's momentum and thriving ecosystem. A few teams even revealed they were in late-stage evaluations to deploy on Polkadot over other platforms.

Composability: it means more with Polkadot

Polkadot's booth embodied the ecosystem spirit, with a circular design featuring lounge seating surrounded by stations for different ecosystem teams. This made it easy to demonstrate Polkadot's core value of composability.

Compared to other platforms, when Polkadot talks about composability or modularity, it's not a simple token transfer. Products, features, or services built on purpose-built chains, each optimized for their individual use case, can be fully integrated by other chains. Referencing the projects showcased at the booth, from games to NFT marketplaces, and demonstrating how they use decentralized identifiers from other chains to build user-friendly logins for their applications, made everyone click.

Overall, it was an energizing experience connecting with ecosystem colleagues new and old. There was a real sense of excitement around the Polkadot brand as we tested our new positioning. I'm certain this won't be my last ETHDenver.