Author Topic: Decentralized 2019 Recap  (Read 735 times)

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Online clockwork

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Decentralized 2019 Recap
« on: November 07, 2019, 01:48:55 pm »

Following our positive and successful experience sponsoring Decentralized 2018, where we had a chance to see the size and quality of the conference as well as the recognisability and status of the speakers and attendees, this year we decided to have a much larger presence.

After discussing with the organisers and the community, and keeping in mind the severe brand recognition and brand equity problems prevalent at BitShares, I negotiated an event partnership package that included quite a lot of perks for us and built a budget worker with a MAXIMUM possible spend of 200k USD (110k USD event partnership + 90k USD attendance and promotional costs). The original proposal can be found here:

The idea was to make a big splash and cause a lot of noise at the conference and to use this as a sort of launch platform for subsequent marketing actions as well as provide us with a wealth of marketable material.

Due to the bear-market during Q2 and Q3 of 2019 and the shift in voting power, the worker was voted in and out at various times and underfunded. During that time, I made conscious efforts and spent a lot of time in discussions to reach a compromise with voters in cutting down the worker budget and still getting the partnership to go ahead successfully. I also arranged for BBF to escrow the worker retrospectively which saved us >20% VAT costs paying only a 5% escrow fee instead.

In the end, we managed to pull it off with a total cost of ~ 120-125k USD (some accounting still pending) which is 40% less than originally budgeted. Admittedly some of the "wow" factor was lost compared to my original plan but I still believe it was a great success.


Original proposal was for 25 people to attend including committee members, proxies, worker and community representatives, businesses that have built on BitShares as well as the BBF.
Due to the limited budget (and lack of interest by certain parts of the community) this was eventually cut down to:

BBF: Mrs. Annemieke Dirkes
Proxy/Committee: Dr. Fabian Schuh (xer0c)
Committee member/Witness/UI Team: Mr. Alex Megalokonomos (clockwork - myself)
UI Team/Marketing workec: Dr. Stefan Schiessl
OpenLedger: Ronny Boesing
BitSpark: George Harrap and Bohdan Varshchuk
Everprove: Zoltan Toth and Zoltan Patko Milos Preocanin (Digital Lucifer)
Rossul UI & Russian community: Denis from GrapheneLab

The worker would provide the above with event invites as well as flight/accommodation reimbursement (except for myself, being based in Athens)

On top of that, invites would be provided to:

Core Team: Ryan R. Fox, Nathan Hourt, John Jones, Christopher Sandborn, Michel Santos
Academic Research: Dr. Philip Brown

While the core team worker would cover flights and accommodation for them.

Remaining free invites were given to:
Paul Martello: onceponatime - BEOS Proxy representative
Daniel Schwartz: liondani - witness/long-time community member
Vasilis Bokos: BEOS lawyer - participant in the BitShares-hosted panel discussion at the conference
Cass - long-time community member. BitShares logo creator
Eric Gu: Metaverse

All of which made their own arrangements for accommodation and flights.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, due to unforeseen circumstances, bad weather/cancelled flights and last minute problems (some of them personal/family health related) we had a slew of last minute changes.

Thus, the final attendance was just:

Annemieke Dirkes
Dr. Fabian Schuh
Alex Megalokonomos
Dr. Stefan Schiessl
Ronny Boesing
George Harrap
Bohdan Varshchuk
Paul Martello
Daniel Schwartz
Vasilis Bokos
Eric Gu

The last-minute schedule changes of the participants also led to changes in the speakers nominated by BitShares as follows:

Keynote Address
"Becoming Sufficiently Decentralized"
Dr. Fabian Schuh (Blockchain Projects BV, BitShares Proxy/Committee)
(fill-in for original speaker Ryan R. Fox)
Session Latest Trends in Crypto and Blockchain
"From Smart Contracts to Decentralized Companies"
Dr. Fabian Schuh (Blockchain Projects BV, BitShares Proxy/Committee)
(replacement for "Bridging the Gap: Creating a Financial Smart Contracting Platform to Take Us Into the Future" by Nathan Hourt - BitShares Core Team)

Session Industrial Applications I
"What is BitShares?"
Dr. Stefan Schiessl (Blockchain Projects BV, BitShares UI Team)
(replacement for "Trustless and immutable contract and document certification" by Zoltan Toth - Everprove)

Session Fintech & Tegtech I
"Stablecoins Usage in Remittances"
George Harrap (BitSpark, BitShares Gateway)

Session Latest Trends in Crypto and Blockchain
"A Legally Compliant Blockchain: From Permissioned to Decentralized"
Ronny Boesing (OpenLedger Aps, BitShares Gateway)

Panel Discussion - Regulatory Aspects
Moderator: Annemieke Dirkes (Blockchain Projects BV, BBF)
Aymeric Bruneau (GSX Group, Gibraltar Stock Exchange)
Jonathan Galea (Blockchain Advisory Ltd , BitMalta)
Vassilios P. Bokos (V. Bokos Attorney & Associates, BEOS lawyer, Advisor to the Hellenic Parliament)
Jaguar-Adva Gal (Jaguar Lawyers Firm)

Academic Track
"Incentives for Crypto-Collateralized Digital Assets"
Dr. Philip Brown (University of Colorado, BitShares Research Team)

At this point I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Fabian Schuh and Dr. Stefan Schiessl for stepping up literally at the last minute and preparing presentations within just a few hours while already at the conference, and Dr. Philip Brown to agree to a remote presentation of his paper.

The conference

The actual conference was a huge success and in its 3rd year has really become one of the largest if not the largest blockchain-focused conferences in Europe. As event partners, BitShares branding was EVERYWHERE at the conference overshadowing other  sponsors such as: PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Oracle, Microsoft, Accenture, Eurobank,, Consensys, the Canadian government and a host of others.

Total attendance exceeded 1500 people, while the speakers' list contained many extremely important and influential names in the blockchain world.

The authors of 4 out of the 8 papers cited/referenced in Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin white paper were present: 

Scott Stornetta (The father of blockchain who first described a blockchain in his seminal 1991 paper: "How to time-stamp a digital document")
David Chaum (Renowned cryptographer who first proposed all but one element of the bitcoin protocol in his 1982 paper:  "Computer Systems Established, Maintained, and Trusted by Mutually Suspicious Groups")

as well as other influential figures such as:

Ian Grigg (Financial Cryptographer - Inventor of the Ricardian Contract - original EOS team member),
Dr. Adam Back (hashcash inventor, CEO of Blockstream),
Eva Kaili (Chair of the Science and Technology Options Assessment body of the European Parliament),
Perianne Boring (Founder of the Chamber of Digital Commerce),
Garick Hileman (Head of Research at,
Antony Lewis (Director of Digital Assets at R3/Corda),
Silvio Schembri (Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation of Malta),
Tone Vays (well-known trader and Bitcoin advocate)
and many others.

The BitShares team made a large impression at the conference with the highlight being Dr. Fabian Schuh's keynote speech on the path to decentralisation and discussions on "decentralizing liability" which was a key theme throughout the conference. All other BitShares-hosted talks were well received as well with George Harrap's talk being extensively discussed.

Dr. Philip Brown's presentation showed that his research can provide some unexpected insights and improvements into our bitAsset mechanisms and we should not let the opportunity pass us by.

Outside our own talks, the BitShares team split their time to attend as many of the other speaker's talks as possible and do some heavy networking. We had some excellent discussions with Scott Stornetta, David Chaum, Ian Grigg, Adam Back and others in technical and governance matters while Mrs. Annemieke Dirkes dealt with regulatory, compliance and liability conversations with government officials and advisors.

We also spent a lot of time explaining and showcasing the BitShares platform to attendees at our booth where we found that a large percentage of people had either never heard of BitShares or thought it was a "dead" project. The net effect of our partnership at the conference was that we made a "We're here and still going strong" statement to both crypto influencers AND enthusiasts and definitely gave some more top-of-mind awareness to the BitShares brand.

I believe it is up to us to continue building on this event and market ourselves better in the future, thus ensuring this was not a one-off thing and remaining in people's minds which will help build the BitShares brand and give more weight to everything we do.

After the conference

We are currently waiting for all talks and audiovisual material from the conference to be released by the organisers so we can share the presentations with the community.

There is also a first recap publication by the University of Nicosia available here:

Our status as event partners allows us to use ALL talks (even generic ones not by the BitShares team) as marketable content since we "powered" the conference which should help our social media presence.

I have already posted a (well-received) twitter thread recap after the conference: and plan to post more stuff as material becomes available.

In the meantime, the community can search the #decentralized19 hashtag on twitter to get a glimpse of everything that happened at the conference.

We are also waiting for the production company to provide our very own 5 min. BitShares focused/branded video from the conference which will be a key marketing element.

Finally, now that the conference is over, I will follow-up on taking advantage of our IFF subscription (part of the partnership package - more details here: for further networking and marketing purposes.

Thanks for your support,


P.S. Here are some limited images from the conference. I'll post more as I get them.

Offline xeroc

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Re: Decentralized 2019 Recap
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 01:51:30 pm »
This was a ton of fun!

Thanks for organizing it!
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Online R

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Re: Decentralized 2019 Recap
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2019, 06:08:21 pm »
Excellent work, this is great exposure for Bitshares 👍

Offline pc

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Re: Decentralized 2019 Recap
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 06:28:52 pm »
Thanks for your hard work!
Bitcoin - Perspektive oder Risiko? ISBN 978-3-8442-6568-2

Offline abit

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Re: Decentralized 2019 Recap
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2019, 10:03:38 pm »
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Offline JohnR

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Re: Decentralized 2019 Recap
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2019, 10:32:30 pm »
Great work here. Thanks for organizing and speaking guys.

Offline liondani

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Re: Decentralized 2019 Recap
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 10:30:42 pm »
Was a great conference! Proud to be part of the bitshares community! Well done to all participants. Congrats!
Thanks Alex for your endless contributions. Looking forward to see you all in Cyprus next year ;)