I arrived in Denver, Colorado, yesterday afternoon, and I plan to attend ETHDenver and all its satellite events. Today was my first day at the venues; Strictly speaking, I was at “BUIDL week,” the event leading up to ETHDenver. The following post is a summary of my impressions.
Let’s start with the most relatable topic: viral infection risk. Today, I learned that the US is pretty chill on this topic compared to my hometown Berlin in Germany.
Before receiving a wrist band, every attendee is run through a supervised antigen self-test. Admission only proceeds if it’s negative. Vaccination isn’t required. Testing procedures are conducted by a company called “APEX Diagnostics.” Despite some dystopic (& unconfirmed) claims on Twitter, I’m expecting the DNA on my swab not to go into the next best genome database.
But speaking of chill COVID measures, I’ve been told that the Colorado government abandoned the mask-wearing mandate some weeks ago.
While I find it awesome to mingle in the crowds like in pre-pandemic times, not wearing masks indoors makes me anxious. I’m just so used to it. Anyways, I came here aware of the risks, and I’m grateful for participating in a conference after now two years of online-only events and social distancing.
ETHDenver has an interesting layout of venues. The event is held in maybe two or three blocks in the capitol hill district of Denver. Although it wasn’t immediately clear to me, it seems that many of the venues are temporarily converted nightclubs and bars. I particularly loved the pub-ish vibe that “Broadway 1134” gave me. Cozy and laid-back.
But, being severely jetlagged, I also got confused about the various buildings. Particularly since every other building not hosting official ETHDenver events is still hosting some different blockchain protocol’s event. That’s why strolling down Denver’s “Broadway,” I suddenly found myself at “AlgoRanch,” a companion event by Algorand.
I realized today that what I appreciate most about conferences is the opportunity to meet and get to know completely random people quickly. Coming from cold-hearted Berlin to a US conference is just so refreshing. Everyone here is so outgoing, friendly, and an ice-breaking expert. I’ve already had some entirely random but meaningful conversations, and I appreciate that!
I haven’t attended any talks yet. I listened with one ear to what was said at 1134 by Foresight Institute, but that’s about it. I’m searching for serious technical talks: Let me know if you have suggestions for the upcoming days.
My first impression of Denver is that it’s completely different from west and east coast cities like NY or SF/LA. Is its climate continental? I’d argue so as I had strolled around downtown yesterday with just a pullover while there’s currently a snow storm jamming the city’s infrastructure.
Speaking of structure: I love the grid US cities have implemented with streets and avenues. Also, cars drive much slower than in Berlin. At least in downtown, it seems that also helps with reducing noise pollution. Cool!
I’m impressed by Denver’s skyscrapers, but in my mind, they don’t add up. This morning, to get a coffee, I saw all the tall buildings but no people around them. How’s that possible? Shouldn’t a 20 story building cause some hefty pedestrian traffic?
That’s all I have for today. I’m planning to do more of these posts during the event. If you have suggestions of other topics, I should cover, please reach out to me. And if you want to meet in person, please also get in touch!