Daily Highlights & Impressions of NEARCON 2022: Day Zero

This year’s NEARCON, the NEAR ecosystem conference, is taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, from September 11-14. The success of last year’s flagship event compelled me to attend this year and witness everything firsthand. Here I am, surrounded by 2,000+ brilliant minds exploring blockchain and Web3, and jotting down inspiring moments to share with you.

NEARCON is more than just talks and workshops about Web3. Besides discussions on the future of finance, NFTs, governance, sustainability, gaming, developer tools – all of which are crucial elements of the Web3 future we are building together – the conference offers a fantastic opportunity to network with the rapidly growing NEAR community and ecosystem, which is a leading smart contract blockchain platform. NEARCON showcases over 700 NEAR-based projects – just imagine!

Another highlight of the event is a hackathon, which invites 300+ hackers to work together to create a multi-chain open web future. Building on NEAR, teams of hackers will create an MVP focused on DeFi apps, blockchain solutions for green tech and the environment, decentralizing the NEAR protocol, Web3 job market solutions, the transition from Web2 to Web, and utility built on NFTs, among other things. The judging panel consists of CEO of NEAR Foundation Marieke Flament, Co-Founder of NEAR Protocol Illia Polosukhin, CTO of Roketo Vasilisa Versus, and CEO of Kikimora Labs Taras Dovgal.

Registration Party

The opening day experience consisted of grabbing a conference pass and a swag bag with a water bottle, T-shirt, and notepad all branded with NEARCON 2022, listening to the fantastic Jazz DAO DJs, and enjoying Choro da Musa, an ensemble performing a popular Brazilian music style. By the way, the performances were streamed by DAO Records in a dedicated metaverse space.

I didn’t see a boring IT conference where people wandered from booth to booth. Instead, a variety of activities were arranged so that attendees could relax, have fun, and network. They introduced themselves, added you to Telegram, and took selfies with you in order to remember you. There were even some people who placed QR codes on their phone screensavers that link to their LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. Even though I only attended part of the party, I have more than dozens of new Telegram chats.

At the conference site, there is a Beer Truck that sells beer for NEAR tokens. Seeing a real-world cryptocurrency use case is extremely exciting for attendees.

It was also fun to see a carousel and a Ferris wheel nearby – along with jugglers, stilt walkers, and a trampoline arranged by SWEAT (a cryptocurrency you mint through movement). The atmosphere was one of fun and joy, reminiscent of childhood.

Taras Dovgal, Co-Founder of Kikimora Labs & NearPay & CEO of Roketo, shared his impressions when I approached him to comment on the event:

“The NEARCON conference is an exciting event. Since last year’s conference, the NEAR ecosystem has grown 10x. The number of projects, the size of the projects, and the scale of the projects have all increased. All of this makes me more optimistic about the future of NEAR.” 

“We were beaconed by NEARCON. It’s a really neat event that brought our remote team together from Kazakhstan, Georgia, Poland, Bali, and Portugal. We were doubly excited because some of us had never met offline,” Vasilisa Versus, Chief Technology Officer at Roketo, echoed Taras’ positive impression of the conference. 

My excitement grew as I looked forward to the second day with speakers from NEAR Foundation, Ref Finance, Orderly Network, INC4, PembRock Finance, Stader Labs, and Aurora Labs, among others, discussing topics such as Building Beyond the Hype, the NEAR DeFi ecosystem. It was thrilling to see these creative forces unite and form a productive synergy for the future of Web3.

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