Devcon Shows Ethereum’s ‘World Computer’ Is a Movement, Not a Product

If there’s anywhere in the world where it feels right to believe in magic, it’s Devcon 5 in Osaka, Japan.

The ethereum community faces a daunting task: scale its blockchain ecosystem to securely support the growing demand for mainstream use cases. Thousands of technologists and passionate fans gathered at Devcon this week to grapple with the nitty-gritty, in a venue marked by rainbow signage. Among them sat 16-year-old Shawki Sukkar, a self-taught developer from Aleppo, Syria.

“I’m searching wherever I find an opportunity to learn,” Sukkar, one of the 50 scholarship attendees at Devcon, told CoinDesk. “People look smart here. They have a great mindset.”

Since his father’s factory was destroyed in the Syrian civil war, and his brother’s identity documents were lost along with their source of income, the unbanked Sukkar has taken a keen interest in ethereum-based identity solutions and financial products.

Beyond Sukkar, several attendees told CoinDesk they came to this developers conference, and other smaller ethereum-centric events worldwide, to learn by contributing.

Along those lines, Mariano Conti, the MakerDAO Foundation’s head of smart contracts, gave a presentation about how he lives in Argentina earning only a cryptocurrency salary. He openly acknowledged the risks of relying on an open-source experiment instead of his national currency deposited in a regulated bank. However, Conti said he trusts the ethereum community more than the Argentine government.

Conti’s statement garnered resounding applause from the audience, including several people who also use cryptocurrency as a survival tool. This type of testing ground, with participants who give feedback directly to technologists at Devcon, is a boon for the network.

Beyond that, however, the event is a key venue for determining the network’s priorities for the year ahead.

“Lots of narratives make a lot of sense,” ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin told CoinDesk when…

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