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DeCommas Overview of ETH Denver
March 05, 2024

DeCommas Overview of ETH Denver

We welcome you on a journey through blockchain innovations and new technologies as we highlight what’s happening here at ETH Denver 2024, held in Denver, USA, from February 23 to March 3. So far we’ve seen a lot of insightful discussions, and the diverse representation of projects, like Polygon, Polkadot, and Near Chainlink.

As $BTC rallies to $60k we can’t deny the importance of ETH Denver 2024. It served as a platform where pioneers and experts in the Ethereum ecosystem annually gather to discuss groundbreaking developments and foster innovation. Key topics this year at ETH Denver included AI, Account Abstraction, and more, with builders in the space looking for the best solutions in the web3 area.

At the heart of ETH Denver 2024, DeCommas’ CEO, Saltee, was there to witness and share his observations. We’re highlighting our observations below!

AI x Crypto space

This time we saw and greeted a lot of builders within AI x Crypto space. One of the topics discussed by Shannon Wells from Livepeer was Decentralized AI: Video Infrastructure, Tools and Applications. She spoke about the AI boom and the Livepeer protocol as infrastructure for decentralized videos. One of the topics was the compute-intensive nature of AI training and inference, highlighting the dominance of NVIDIA in providing AI processing hardware. However, with a global GPU shortage and high costs, accessibility to this compute capacity is a challenge for smaller companies and startups.

Taking AI Tools From Standalone to Full Stack from Shannon’s speech

Livepeer tries to resolve this challenge by leveraging its existing global computer network to provide more accessible, affordable, and high-performance AI processing. They’ve created a decentralized network of video transcoding nodes that are cheaper than traditional cloud providers. Now, they’re enhancing the protocol to allow orchestrators to handle tasks beyond transcoding, enabling new possibilities for AI video processing with Web3 technologies. This brings AI x Web3 collaboration even bigger with lots of similar projects.

Another insightful talk was by Harsha, the founder and CEO of Metana, a coding school focused on upskilling individuals and guaranteeing job placement. He confirmed the huge increase of AI x Web3 jobs in the market, for example, during the last year the amount of such positions increased four times on web3 careers. They are offering their own skills program for talents to become a part of this new sphere. Harsha’s comprehensive approach to career development includes practical advice on CV optimization, GitHub management, and utilizing job boards.

Lastly, our acquaintances from imgnAI, who recently raised $1.6 million in a seed funding round led by Hack VC, were also part of the discussion. They were discussing how AI influences the digital landscape, particularly in the context of web3. The new funds they got will be used to enhance imgnAI’s infrastructure capabilities, accelerate product development within Web3, and expand marketing efforts. The platform will also launch a “digital companion” product called “Naifu”, aiming to provide a unique chat-bot with more focus on personification and human thinking design.

Account Abstraction

ERC 4337 became a thing in the Ethereum and web3 community, we can see that at ETH Denver 2024, we see more builders interested in Account Abstraction compared to previous events that we visited, like DeCommas Observations at EthCC 2023.

One of the inspiring keynote was “What’s New in Account Abstraction?” by Dror Tirosh from Ethereum. He emphasized these updates:

  • Overall, within Account Abstraction was achieved around 2 million transactions or user operations per month.
  • Over 700,000 monthly users using Account Abstraction technology in web3 apps.
  • 95% of all user operations were sponsored, indicating preference for sponsor paymasters.
  • 27 wallets and SDKs were released, along with multiple service bundlers and paymasters.
  • More grants for ERC and bundlers focusing on Account Abstraction
  • Future focus on ERC 4337, ERC 7560 (native Account Abstraction), and network support. RIP-7560 is an improvement proposal for Account Abstraction. The main change introduced by this proposal is a modification to the consensus layer protocol, which allows for avoiding dependency on higher-level infrastructure and introduces a new transaction type.

What’s New in Account Abstraction? From Dror Tirosh’s speech

On-chain Identity

Evin McMullen’s presentation at ETH Denver 2024 explored the evolution of on-chain identity, starting with the basic public key addresses of Ethereum’s launch in 2015 and progressing through the introduction of tokens and NFTs. She highlighted the significance of on-chain identity as a signal of intent, reflecting past behaviors and preferences. To bring more clearance — intent is like setting rules for a transaction, letting someone else create it without giving them complete control.

Evin explained how these signals can be leveraged by builders to create personalized experiences, emphasizing the importance of identity beyond existing protocols.Their project — Disco demonstrates futuristic on-chain experience involving NFC-chip embedded fingernails for decentralized contact exchange, showcasing the potential for rich, multifaceted identities in the future.

NFC-chip embedded fingernails from Evin`s speech

Throughout her talk, Evin underscored the role of AI once more in amplifying and interpreting on-chain identities, envisioning a future where personal agents curate experiences and interactions based on verifiable on-chain data. From her speech it’s clear that one of the most promising things for on-chain identity is to simplify user experiences, lower switching costs between apps, and enable innovative interactions like cross-chain vampire attacks. Their vision for a future on-chain identities are dynamic, nuanced, and central to digital interactions, inviting collaboration to shape this evolving landscape.

Layer 2 Updates

Bringing Fully Homomorphic Encryption to the L2 Space.

Kyle Devereaux from Fhenix presented their goal of building on-chain composable private contracts using Solidity. Fhenix, an L2 project, aims to leverage composable on-chain encryption, focusing on privacy in the smart contract space. While projects using zero-knowledge proofs which are popular for privacy, Fhenix sees limitations and believes fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) allows for more complex logic on-chain, beyond point of attestation privacy. They focus on the developer experience, aiming to make it as simple as considering an integer as an encrypted integer. Fhenix provides tools like the FHE library and Fhenix.js for integrating encrypted data into contracts and frontend development.

They simplify the development process by making it easy for developers to create private and secure smart contracts on the blockchain.

FHE enables running operations over ciphertext, preserving privacy, but introduces challenges like conditional logic, gas estimation, and information leakage. Fhenix addresses these with innovative approaches, such as the threshold network for multi-party compute and FHE oracles for necessary decryption. The presentation also covered permissions, which control who can access encrypted data, and showcases the development process with sample contracts. While FHE opens up new possibilities for privacy and composable contracts, there are design constraints and trade-offs to consider, including limited support for data types and performance considerations.

If you are tech savvy enough, learn all the details in this video.

How to Build Modular Bitcoin L2 With BTC Shared Security.

The Lorenzo Protocol team, also known as Liquidstaking, presented their vision for a modular Bitcoin Layer 2 solution. Their CEO and founder, Matt Ye highlighted the limitations of Bitcoin’s current infrastructure, such as slow transaction speeds and high costs, which hinder its ability to support a defi ecosystem. To resolve these challenges, they proposed a modular approach, inspired by Ethereum’s evolution from a monolithic to a modular blockchain. By breaking down the functionality of the Bitcoin network into modular components, such as data storage, execution environments, and asset compatibility, they aim to create a scalable and efficient L2 ecosystem.

Modularity — A proven way to success from Lorenzo’s speech

One key innovation proposed by Lorenzo Protocol is the concept of Bitcoin Shared Security, which acts as a marketplace connecting BTC holders with decentralized systems in need of security. This shared security model allows decentralized systems to leverage Bitcoin’s security while providing BTC holders with additional rewards. The team also introduced the idea of liquid staking, which allows staked BTC to remain liquid, ensuring that users can still access their funds while participating in staking. Overall, Lorenzo Protocol’s goal is to build a robust defi ecosystem on top of Bitcoin, leveraging modular design principles and Bitcoin Shared Security to ensure scalability, security, and interoperability.

GameFi is back on the table!

Gaming is one of the reasons for bringing new users to crypto, showing all of crypto benefits on their favorite gaming experience. ETH Denver this year was a place where people who build these experiences gathered.

ETH Denver

Among this year attendees, we saw speeches from lots of big and promising projects within ETH Denver — Blockchain Arcade event, like:

  • Aavegotchi, which is a defi game where players stake NFT avatars to earn interest. These pixelated ghosts live on Ethereum, with their value based on rarity from traits, staked collateral, and wearables. Players level up through activities like mini-games and governance, exploring the Gotchiverse and Spirit Force Arena.
  • Cellula, a fully on-chain autonomous life simulated strategy game. Players cultivate and evolve unique life forms, employing various strategies to survive and compete.
  • Chibi Clash, a fantasy gaming universe that incorporates the latest in Web3 and AI technologies. Players have the opportunity to become a Warlord and take ownership over a kingdom. Chibi Clash intertwines rich lore empowered by the latest in AI technology, showing another example of Web3 x AI collaboration

You can find the full list of games presented at ETH Denver, check their Blockchain Arcade event.

Restaking Events

Restaking is when you stake assets on one platform and then stake them again on a different one. This method boosts assets’ usefulness and potential for earning rewards. For example, you can stake your ETH in Ethereum to earn rewards. But with restaking, you can also use your staked ETH on other platforms to earn even more rewards. It’s like putting your money to work in more than one place at the same time.

Keynotes organized by IOSG Ventures were the most insightful regarding restaking at ETH Denver. ​IOSG Ventures is a pioneering crypto fund founded in 2017 that invests in the future of Web3. One such event was the Restaking Summit that took place in Denver on March 1st. Among projects representatives at this event were:

  • Eigenlayer Founder and CEO @sreeramkannan shared insights on open innovation and the transformative power of coordination layers.
  • Celestia Co-founder @jadler0 discussed how Data Availability enables restaking solutions.
  • AltLayer Co-founder @jiayaoqi explained how Ethereum is accelerating with Restaked Rollups.

Restaking Summit by IOSG Ventures

DeCommas CEO — Saltee and His Impression of the ETH Denver

  • Chain Abstraction narrative is being actively explored at ETHDenver. Chain Abstraction is a way to allow users easily interact with dApps from any chain using any token, without ever leaving one UI. At ETH Denver there were lots of updates regarding it like modularity will produce a blockchain for every possible combination of tech use cases, Near protocol working on providing chain Abstraction and introducing it to the people on their event.
  • A lot of Restaking projects with EigenLayer leading the way in terms of the most fun side-events. EigenLayer is a protocol designed to make better use of the assets already staked on a blockchain. It’s a practical approach to addressing some of the efficiency issues facing blockchain networks. Among these events were lots of educating speeches like by kydo.eth and Sreeram Kannan, discussing future modularity updates EigenLayer is about to add soon.
  • Arbitrum x Robinhood partnership, announced on February 29th at ETH Denver, was warmly welcomed by the community and sparked a lot of discussions and excitement within attendees. This collaboration simplifies the path to Layer 2s by giving Robinhood Wallet users access to Arbitrum swaps through decentralized exchanges. As part of the collaboration, Robinhood Wallet users can now enjoy the benefits of low transaction costs and fast speeds on Arbitrum’s scaling solutions by accessing Arbitrum’s swap feature, making it easier to use web3 on Robinhood Wallet.
  • One of the unexpected observations for ETH Denver was a noticeable interest among speakers and participants directly to Bitcoin,like, ordinals and L2 narratives, for example Ordinals Mini-Summit with speakers from SandshrewOylDynamics, and Luxor Technology.
  • Everyone’s finally recognizing that the best way to govern is to go on chain governance via Tally.

Closing thoughts

Being at the most significant crypto event while witnessing BTC rise to new bullish levels is a pleasing experience for us and for any other attendee present. So to sum up the ETH Denver experience for us, here are the biggest updates:

  • People’s interest in the Account Abstraction narrative grows rapidly, we are happy to be the part of that direction by providing unique ERC 4337 endpoints.
  • AI x Web3 topic was everywhere this time, new projects upcoming, more people noticing it.
  • GameFi is back on the table, and ETHDenver this year was a place where people who build these projects showed off their best games.
  • Important updates to L2 come from lots of professional teams like Lorenzo and Fhenix, enhancing privacy, bringing composable contracts, and making L2 more scalable.
  • Chain Abstraction is expanding Account Abstraction horizons.
  • Lots of big updates and events, like Arbitrum x Robinhood partnership and EigenLayer talks about the future of restaking.

Who knows what’s in store for the coming year… We’re looking forward to see you at ETH Denver 2025!