Polkadot Decoded - What’s it like?
At the end of June, the Polkadot community met in its thousands at Polkadot Decoded’s third edition, hosted in Buenos Aires. It was a unique experience, and through this brief blog, I’ll attempt to transmit what it felt like to be there, including key takeaways and overall impressions.
Different aspects made this event so unique: first, the fantastic organization. ; the organizers meticulously planned up to the last detail, the atmosphere was great, and there were excellent speakers. They delivered an incredible experience that went beyond the main event and extended to both side events: “La Previa” and “Kaos in Bs. As.” The host city also had much to do with the event’s success.**
Buenos Aires: The Crypto Hub
After spending some days in the city, I can confidently state that Buenos Aires has become Latin America’s crypto hub. Being a Polkadot event, many people gushed about the Polkadot ecosystem, its parachains, and solid technical foundations. But what caught my eye was the amount of non-technical people involved in the ecosystem, from lawyers to accountants and economists.
Argentina’s current economic context also played a role in the country’s rapid blockchain adoption and widespread popularity. With extreme inflation rates and strict controls over US dollars, the “perfect storm” was ready for crypto to intervene.
Polkadot Decoded: The Side Events
I have to admit, until the day before the main event, I hadn’t heard anything about the side events, and as expected, there were no tickets left. I had to write directly to its organizers (who are Polkadot community assemblers, too) to get late tickets. @blockya_ and @NachitoEth kindly found a way to get these tickets faster than I expected. I was traveling from Uruguay, so I didn’t want to miss the side events, which provided a more relaxed environment to connect and meet with the community than the main event itself.
A highlight of this side event was Gavin Wood’s presence. He came and interacted with everyone else in the community, just like he was one of us. The Gavin Wood being there was completely surprising and not a common occurrence.
Polkadot’s Main Event
Polkadot Decoded’s main event was an immersive experience. From the moment you went through the entrance, you were completely submerged in the Web3 space. An NFT tunnel showed some incredible digital art from the community. Everything was thoroughly thought out so attendants could experience Web3’s vibrant community, space, and technology. There were many different things to watch and do, from a playroom space, snacks, the main stage with its speakers, and even a techno band.
The event went beyond having some great talks: it had a couple of exciting panels, solid product demos (like a wallet-to-waller messaging protocol), AR/NFT marketplace apps, NFT showcases, and a surprising display in which artist @MiloLockett destroyed his physical art on stage and mint it using @RmrkApp.
As I said, there were so many fantastic talks I won’t go over each one of them and instead share what was most relevant for me (as a tech guy).
Gavin Wood’s thoughts on the ecosystem
Gavin Wood shared his thoughts on Polkadot’s ecosystem and how it was affected by Parity Engineering, Parity Labs, and the Web 3 Foundation’s role. His community-first advocacy was clear: community and ecosystem interests should always come before organizational or personal interests.
“As CEO of Parity, I’m not looking to build another Microsoft or something like it where we have an ultra integrated, super comprehensive vertical product stack.”
“It’s not Parity nor Web3 Foundation’s desire to architect, build, own and run a comprehensive vertically-integrated product stack,” were some of Gavin Wood’s words.
Basically, they are looking to create the foundation and core components that allow a healthy ecosystem, bringing opportunity, flexibility, innovation, decentralization, and long-term success to everyone. It aims to have an open, limitless, and innovative ecosystem.
“Never be afraid to build.” It’s an open space, and Parity Labs is not at all the authority. Parity doesn’t force any official implementations. They’re looking for diversity and rapid innovation that lets users decide which parachains to use. They allow the ecosystem to contribute to foundation standards, propose functionality, etc. Their role is to evangelize, teach, ensure open development, open discussion, and support teams whenever possible.
Wood also presented the most relevant new features of XCM v3 that allow multi-chain operability and splitting applications across multiple shards and parachains. Some of them were expectations and branching, introspection and safe dispatches, assets dispatch, remote locking, assets namespacing, and many bridging features that allow real distributed dApps.
Simple, secure, and reliable communication and assets exchange in the Polkadot ecosystem and within different consensus mechanisms are about to be possible.
He also presented SPREE, something completely new (not sure if it’s part of XCM v4), which can be seen as a non-negotiable bit of functionality in behave of the relay chain, which parachains setups but are not free to make changes. SPREE solves several trust issues in the communication between parachains.
Polkadot governance v2
Gavin Wood introduced the v2 of Polkadot’s governance, an essential subject for the ecosystem since all parachains in the Dotsama ecosystem are upgradable (differing from other ecosystems where you can’t upgrade the dApps).
So the governance protocol’s objective is to be a mechanism that makes collective decisions on how and when a protocol should evolve. Gov v2 is safer and easier, and changes are cheaper to propose, discuss, and implement. Gavin’s talk walked us through each relevant change, main v1 issues, and how v2 solves them.
@SantiBalaguer introduced Square-One, an ecosystem guide, direct support, and tool for DotSama builders. During the guidance, he explained how it works and the main steps. Want to develop DotSama apps? Well, now you know where to start.
What is the Real Opportunity for Society in Web3 Social?
@laureltoniidh from Unfinished Labs continued presenting @dsnp_org and her thoughts on social media, data privacy, and how web3 impacts it, bringing back the ownership and power from central entities to content creators.
Polkadot decoded also has @laureltoniidh in a social media panel. You can review the panel in the video below.
Communities in DotSama
@PolkaHaus co-founder Alex Hatoum kept going with a conversation about DotSama communities, and at the end of his talk, he brought on stage the LATAM community’s ambassadors
Building the ultimate UI/UX experience for Substrate native cross-chain DeFi applications
UX is something critical for speeding up Blockchain adoption and Decoded covered that subject too. @sdeproenca from @ComposableFin talked about how easy it’s to onboard and use their multi-chain DeFi app Composable Finance, which is about to be launched.
Besides these tasks, I also enjoyed the talk that introduced and showcased the architecture and updates of my favorite para chain: Acala, Moonbean, and Subsocial. Acala provides financial functionality to the ecosystem and a solid multiple-collateral, crypto-backed stablecoin, Moonbean allows to launch EVM compatible apps within the Polkadot ecosystem and interoperate with EVM compatible blockchains, and subsocial is basically social media in the web3 era.
TL;DR - Polkadot Decoded 2022
If you missed this year’s Polkadot event, here are some of the highlights:
- The event’s organization and setting were superb. It was a full immersion in the Web3 space. The presence of figures like Gavin Wood in casual environments contributed to the feeling of tight-knit community and togetherness.
- Attendants came from very different fields and industries beyond technology: law and economy, among others.
- This last point is also due to Argentina’s current economic circumstances (high inflation rates, strict control over foreign currency), which contributed to the fast adoption and widespread popularity in the Latin American country.
- Wood stated a pillar behind Polkadot’s philosophy: community and ecosystem interests above organizational or personal interests. They aim to have an open, limitless, and innovative ecosystem where Parity doesn’t dictate implementations or act as the only authority.
- Polkadot´s ecosystem wants to create a free space where everyone can contribute, innovate and convert new users.
- The v3 of XCM will enable simple, secure, and reliable communication and asset exchange in the ecosystem and within different consensus mechanisms.
- Gov v2 was presented. The protocol’s objective is to be a mechanism that makes collective decisions on how and when a protocol should evolve. Gov v2 is safer and easier, and changes are cheaper to propose, discuss, and implement.
That’s all, folks! All talks are listed on Polkadot Decoded´s YouTube channel. If you missed the event and want to get into the ecosystem updates, I strongly recommend you watch them.
See you at the next Polkadot Decoded! And thanks again to everyone involved in the organization.