This whole story started probably one year ago when I used to manage a French crypto media. I was attending ETHCC in july 2021, the annual Ethereum convention in Paris where I met Mia, one of the PR in charge of the event. Long story short she introduced me to the magic and hectic world of DAOs. A couple of months later, COMMIT was growing in my mind. Like the unstoppable voice of Shia Laboeuf internally screaming “Do it”, I resign myself to dropping down my traditional news media to launch CommitDAO, which will be the unwanted child between Bankless and Vice.
What’s the best place on earth to learn and grow a DAO, if not in a dedicated convention to the underlying subject? After EthDenver in february I’m back to Denver in the middle of Burger Land. I could have talked about this city for hours but it would probably be irrelevant. But seriously what the actual fuck Murica’? I haven’t seen that many crackheads, junkies and hobos in my entire life, and I used to live in Paris for the past 5 years. I was sold Denver as an economic miracle thanks to the weed industry and winter sports, but damn it, parts of this city looks like scenes from The Walking Dead.
There’s always a special feeling when you visit a place for the second or third time, that feeling that lets you think you know the place but you still have a lot more to explore. And that’s exactly what happened with MCON. I have no other description to say that this is the best summer camp I have ever done in my entire life.
Take a school, put 800 degens and let the magic happen.
Honestly this is a pretty basic convention, on one hand you have talks on a mainstage, which is actually a former auditorium, and on other hand panels such as “how to create a DAO” or “How to manage a community” and technical ones like “future of consent and decentralized identity” or “Unconquerable Product Ownership from the Back to the Front”. Not for the faint-hearted.
I’ve been pretty amazed by the organization of such an amateur event. Basically, it’s like waking up late, going to conferences in the morning and chill in the afternoon until after-work. Definitely felt like a toddler in preschool with extra steps: going to school in the morning, lunch, nap, side activities, and sleep. If you didn’t get it, extras are weed and beers.
Speaking of weed, some DAOs got it the right way. In most conventions you have side events and MCON doesn’t depart from it. Some of them were pretty chill like a tie-dye session with GM tees, dodgeball competition or simply after-work drinks. And others are spicier! I’ve been invited to a “Get baked and paint” event a few blocks away from the main venue. Let’s be honest this isn’t the first time I go to an event and end up high as a kite during a convention. Thanks to Devconnect and EthAmsterdam it’s pretty easy to find a nice spot to roll your blunt and relax with a coffee in Europe.
If you are not familiar with the use of recreational drugs, it’s nothing different from getting your teeth removed and getting some pain killers. Anyway, I’ve been heading to this small party at the back of something looking like a dirty bar. Outside, a table with huge bags of bud, weed candies and a bunch of dudes rolling their joints. Then Kevin Owocki, founder of Gitcoin showed up with its painting and a joint. I knew at this particular moment I entered the matrix. Couldn’t be more accurate when I entered the place, lots of stoned and high degens, quietly painting at their table and eating pizza. Tell me it’s not a day camp for Web3 peeps.
Apparently these artworks should be uploaded in a metaverse and act as a gallery but so far none of my research led to something. Well they probably forgot what was the aim of all this too. I don’t know if the weed in the US is that much stronger than the one we can find in legal coffeeshops in Amsterdam or those THC candies were loaded like talibans, but I had one of a hella trip. This candy manufacturer should probably consider selling its products on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.
Besides smoking weed and attending panels, I could really feel a positive and kindly energy vibing in this convention. This is something sometimes missing in massive events, where people are mostly here to do business or shill their bloody project, or shit JPEGs collection, which is especially a huge pain in the ass. Definitely not talking about Solana Breakpoint.
I was also genuinely impressed by the quality of speakers and contributors during this camp. Even if most of them were gravitating around DAOs, I do remember (even with a clouded mind) the appearance of Ameen, founder of Spankchain, probably because it was on the last day and he was in good company. But he delivered a deep speech about libertarian economy, freedom and privacy, which are the pillars of the crypto industry. The man was particularly angry after the Tornado Cash unprecedented shitshow orchastrated by the US government.
In my view, what we’re doing here is building hope. With our DAOs, NFTs, and zkSnarks magic, we are building towards what we believe is a better way of doing things. We are building a cultural shift towards embedding our values of privacy, sovereignty, and censorship-resistance into our running code. Together, with each and every one of our projects, we are creating narratives that other people can identify with, be inspired by, imagine themselves as part of, and ultimately join in.Ameen
If you’ve lived in a cave during the past month, you should be aware that the American authorities shut down Tornado Cash, their github (which is the property of Microsoft) and arrested in Amsterdam on August 10th Alexey Pertsev one of the main developer of the protocol on the suspicion of “involvement in concealing criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering through the mixing of cryptocurrencies through the decentralized Ethereum mixing service Tornado Cash.”
Was it the proper message to conclude MCON? I guess it will stay in mind for a long time. Whether you agree with the man or strongly think Tornado Cash was only used for money laundering, in the end it’s only about freedom. Freedom to use any software, freedom of speech, freedom of money, well you got the point. What amazed me the most, is that hive mind, this collective short-lived society built for a couple of days that aims for decentralization. It might sound contradictory knowing a hive is controlled by one entity, its queen (if you skip biology classes) but in the meantime every bee has its own dedicated task to achieve to make it work and act independently from other bees. Looks like modern communism, but we are not even close to it!
Are these guys living in a modern utopian society, where everybody is nice to each other, with a unique goal to slay Moloch, fund public goods and live happily forever. Doubt. Even if lots of them look like hippies or 40 year old retired skaters, most aren’t philanthropists or crypto-millionaires. Here for the tech you said? Nevertheless, we can grant them the benefit of being more involved than 99.99% of the plebs in the development of ReFi.