ETHDenver 2024 highlights: Promising future on DeSci, DePIN, and AI

by Esprezzo Team on March 6, 2024

ETHDenver 2024 Cover-1

ETHDenver 2024 witnessed an impressive turnout from the Web3 community. What began as a modest hackathon has become one of the most prominent Web3 conferences. This time, it wasn't just developers immersed in their laptops; the event attracted artists, designers, Web3 enthusiasts, influential politicians, and large and small companies. Even with the recent crypto market ups and downs, the vibe at ETHDenver was buzzing with excitement as the Web3 community rallied together, united in pushing toward the future.

“As founder of Crypto Girls Club, we hosted a female and non-binary only brunch at the Polkadot mansion. We celebrated the achievements and stories of 40 women in the space with a #IamRemarkable workshop hosted by Build on Bitcoin.

I absolutely came out of that experience making deeper connections, a little hacker house family from all over the world, and realizing that ETHDenver is really pulling together a community - not just for builders, but for innovators, creatives, and entrepreneurs."

Zoe, Founder of Crypto Girls Club


While it's impossible to encapsulate everything, here are some of the most notable themes and highlights:

Bitcoin L2s: A scalable future for Bitcoin? 

One of the most exciting trends at ETHDenver this year was the growing excitement around Bitcoin L2s. As the world’s largest and most well-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has long faced scalability challenges that have made it difficult to accommodate its rapidly growing user base. However, Bitcoin L2s change the game. 

Platforms like Lorenzo Protocol are leading the charge. They focus on building modular Bitcoin L2 architecture, essentially making it easy for users to customize their own L2 experience.

By enabling faster and cheaper transactions, Bitcoin L2s could help the cryptocurrency scale to support a much larger user base, making it more accessible to people around the world. This could be particularly transformative in regions lacking traditional financial infrastructure, as Bitcoin L2s provide a more efficient and inclusive alternative.

Bitcoin Ordinals, launched in January 2023, allow users to store data like images and videos directly on Bitcoin's smallest units, called satoshis. This effectively brings NFTs to the Bitcoin blockchain. Many believe Ordinals add value and open up new possibilities for artists and collectors.

Modular blockchains pave the way for a more scalable Web3

Traditionally, blockchains have struggled with scalability as they try to handle everything in a monolithic manner. This year, modular blockchains emerged as a hot topic, aiming to address this issue. These innovative approaches break down blockchains into distinct layers, each focusing on a specific task like security, data storage, or transaction execution. 

Celestia and Eigenlayer are two projects leading the charge in this space. Celestia is building a modular consensus and data availability layer, enabling developers to create custom blockchains while benefiting from their robust security and data availability features. 

Meanwhile, Eigenlayer is tackling the critical issue of data availability head-on by creating a decentralized, secure, and scalable data availability layer. This ensures that data remains accessible and available to applications built on top of blockchain networks, regardless of the state of the underlying blockchain. Eigenlayer is helping to pave the way for more reliable and efficient Web3 apps by solving the data availability problem. 

Unlocking RWAs (Real-World Assets) in Web3

The exploration of tokenizing Real-World Assets (RWAs) like real estate, artworks, or data on blockchains garnered significant attention at ETHDenver. RWAs encompass assets deriving value from outside the blockchain, with tokenization creating digital representations on-chain. Attendees were enthusiastic about the potential to unlock new financing models and markets by migrating real-world asset ownership onto blockchains.

However, discussions highlighted numerous challenges that still need to be addressed: 

  • Developing robust standards and frameworks for securely and accurately tokenizing different asset classes
  • Navigating complex regulatory compliance across jurisdictions
  • Gaining trust from traditional institutions to embrace tokenized asset ownership

Additionally, creating standardized, robust frameworks for accurately tokenizing things like real estate or artwork securely and verifiable is a challenging task. While the potential is compelling, real-world asset tokenization still requires significant refinement from both technical and regulatory standpoints before it can go mainstream. Attendees agreed a lot of work remains, but the premise has immense promise if these challenges can be solved.

Exploring the intersection of AI and Web3

The excitement around AI was undeniable at ETHDenver, with discussions ranging from AI chatbots to creating unique NFT art. Attendees learned about practical AI and machine learning applications in Web3, including decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and using blockchain for data integrity and smart contract security. 

However, it's important to approach the integration of AI with blockchain technology with caution. While AI tools show remarkable progress, there's also a narrative promoting AI-based cryptocurrencies for less impactful purposes.

ETH (re)staking steps into the spotlight

Restaking was a major topic at ETHDenver for a reason. It promises to boost Ethereum’s network efficiency and unlock new use cases for DeFi and NFTs. Restaking lets you leverage your staked ETH to power other apps built on Ethereum. 

It seems to be a game-changer for a few reasons: 

  • Enhanced efficiency: Restaking could reduce congestion, which could mean faster and cheaper transactions for everyone
  • Increased liquidity: Staked ETH being used in various apps also increases the supply of ETH available for use. This means more ETH for trading, lending, and other activities, as well as reducing volatility.
  • Unlocking potential: It opens doors for a new wave of apps to leverage Ethereum’s security without needing to build their own security systems.

However, it’s important to keep the risks in mind. Since your ETH is being used in multiple places, it’s exposed to a wider range of potential risks. For instance, you could lose your investment if something goes wrong with one of the apps using your staked ETH.

DePIN: Tackling Sybil attacks with trust-based badges

Another standout at ETHDenver was Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks (DePIN), a decentralized version of everyday infrastructure, such as cloud storage and computing power. DePIN networks natively integrate with blockchain to reward those providing services like data storage, computing, and energy with crypto incentives.

However, decentralized networks can sometimes encounter a problem called Sybil attacks. This happens when one person creates many fake identities to control the network. DePIN uses a new way to identify and trust users to tackle this. Instead of relying on one authority or complicated codes, DePIN lets users give each other "badges" based on their interactions. These badges help build trust among users and make it harder for bad actors to trick the system.

Privacy tech still needs work

While we're starting to hear more about on-chain privacy, most people agree there's still a lot to do beyond just having the option for Zk-rollups. Projects like Iron Fish are leading the charge here, focusing on making digital cash solutions easy for everyone to use.

But, truth be told –  we still have a long way to go. We need more research and development to make anonymous e-cash and private smart contracts work for everyone. Bottom line? While we're making progress, we all know there's still a lot of teamwork ahead to fully tackle privacy in Web3.

Farcaster and Frames: Redefining social interaction 

Farcaster, a decentralized social platform, stole the spotlight with its potential to revolutionize online communication and collaboration. Farcaster initiated discussions about reshaping social networks with portable identity and relationship data by offering true ownership of digital identities and connections.Farcaster Frames

Examples of Farcaster Frames. Source: Metaversal

Frames is a cornerstone of the Farcaster platform, a standard for creating interactive, authenticated web experiences that seamlessly integrate into any Farcaster client. Essentially, Frames empower Farcaster apps to render rich, composable interfaces, elevating user experiences within the platform.

On-chain data accessibility and speed

At ETHDenver, the conversation around data took a big leap forward. We realized just how important it is for everyone in the blockchain world to access data. Projects like Ocean Protocol lead the way by creating data marketplaces that focus on creating value and ensuring everyone owns their data.

But there are still some challenges to overcome. Even so, there's hope. New solutions are popping up that could make it easier for everyone to get the data they need and use it to build useful new apps.

At ETHDenver, people also discussed how fast and accurate data needs to be. That's where platforms like Dispatch come in. Dispatch helps you stay updated on what's happening in crypto, DeFi, and NFTs. You can get alerts and automated data streams without knowing how to code. It's a great way to save time and stay in the loop about key activities happening on the blockchain.


📌 Want to learn how you can create automated data streams with on-chain data? Read Save time and boost insights with smart contract function alerts

The rise of DeSci 

ETHDenver showcased the rise of decentralized science (DeSci), offering a glimpse into its promising future. Using blockchain tech like tokens and DAOs, DeSci aims to transform scientific collaboration and funding.

Projects like VitaDAO, AthenaDAO, and GenomesDAO are leading the way, solving age-old challenges in research. With smart funding and prediction markets, DeSci could completely revamp traditional research processes.

This shift to decentralized science is crucial, especially as it addresses traditional research's 'valley of death.' DeSci is ushering in a new era of open, community-driven scientific discovery with blockchain.

The demanding role of user experience in Web3

Reflecting on ETHDenver, it became evident that improving UX is crucial for driving the mainstream adoption of Web3. Discussions honed in on the pivotal role of user experience in making Web3 more accessible, emphasizing the need for utility-driven solutions tailored to real user needs.

Simplicity and intuitive design emerged as key factors in overcoming the complexity often associated with Web3. There's a sense of anticipation for UX advancements, especially following Fabian Vogelsteller's presentation on the future of Web3, particularly in gaming. Vogelsteller outlined a vision where new smart contract accounts streamline onboarding, usability, permission management, and account recovery on EVM blockchains. 

Standout ETHDenver side events

Sapor Coffee and concepts

Coffee hangout at Sapor Coffee and Concepts by Esprezzo and Another World

ETHDenver closing party

Esprezzo and Exiled Racers at ETHDenver Closing Party

Across Protocol

Across Protocol booth at ETHDenver. Source: ETHDenver

Story Protocol

Story Protocol’s ETHDenver Web3 mixer. Source: Story Protocol


In addition to the insightful panels and discussions, ETHDenver was alive with an array of high-energy side events: 

  • StarkCity: StarkWare's conference focused on Zk-rollups and scaling solutions
  • Coffee with Esprezzo: Attendees enjoyed free coffee and networking opportunities 
  • ETHDenver Buidl Week: Participants seized the opportunity to kickstart their projects at pre-event hackathons
  • MoveCon: Held alongside ETHDenver, MoveCon brought together builders, founders, and venture capitalists to delve into the Move ecosystem through keynote presentations and networking opportunities 
  • Epic ETH Infra Day: Epic ETH Infra Day in Denver brought together developers and enthusiasts for a one-day technical event focused on Ethereum Infrastructure. 
  • Modular Day: A full day of panels dedicated to Modular blockchains and happy hours 
  • Wormhole’s Club Hologram: An unforgettable day event and night party hosted by Wormhole

Web3’s road ahead

ETHDenver 2024 was an absolute blast, and it's crystal clear that the Web3 community is just getting warmed up. The energy, the innovation, the collaboration – it was all on full display, and we couldn't be more excited for what the future holds.

Collaboration and inclusion are improving, but still have room to grow. Delivering intuitive and empowering user experiences may be key to mainstream adoption. Looking ahead, the spotlight remains on delivering intuitive and empowering user experiences, paving the way for mainstream adoption of blockchain technology. As we reflect on the highlights and takeaways from ETHDenver 2024, one thing's for sure - Web3's rise is coming in hot.

Topics: Events

Esprezzo Team
Esprezzo Team

We're on a mission to make it easier and faster for anyone to use blockchain data to drive decisions and workflow automations. Whether you're a DeFi enthusiast, crypto trader or developer building revolutionary blockchain-based applications, we're here to help you bring your vision to reality.

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