Recap: Maker a Tour de Force at Blockchain Week New York 2019

May 30, 2019

Blockchain Week New York, which ran from May 10 to May 18, was a huge success. Of course, the Maker team was there to discuss everything from cryptocurrency market fluctuations and the Maker Protocol to inventive blockchain use cases and the growing ecosystem. All in all, our team members participated in seven impactful panel discussions and 12 events and workshops.

We are grateful to the community for turning out and helping us capture a lot of attention, especially in the area of decentralized finance. DeFi was both an exciting and recurring theme, and our contribution as a cultivator of the DeFi ecosystem is now not only known to the cryptocurrency community, but also on the radar of the mainstream media (more on media coverage below).

If you missed seeing us in New York, here’s a recap of just a few of the week’s presentations, panels, and events we hosted or participated in:

Beyond Banks

On May 9, at the Fluidity Summit in Brooklyn, Greg Diprisco, our Head of Business Development, presented “Beyond Banks,” a discussion of how Maker can unbank lenders, and how the Maker protocol can be a great replacement for warehouse credit facilities. The Maker protocol is not subject to the politics of central banks, and its entire balance sheet is only a click away. Watch Greg’s full presentation.

Greg Diprisco, our Head of Business Development, presenting that the Fluidity 2019 Summit.

DAI Hard Cocktails

On May 12, to help kick off the week, over 200 blockchain professionals and enthusiasts attended our launch of a new type of Dappy Hour—Dai Hard Drinks—at Rooftop93 in Manhattan. We teamed up Mosendo, a great partner with an easy-to-use P2P electronic cash system (powered by Depfi), to produce a killer cocktail event. Each guest was provided with 40 Dai, which they used to purchase drinks or to donate to charities. Party-goers were treated to a 360-degree, sky-high view of Manhattan as they networked or danced to our DJ’s tunes. As they exited, they received our Dai Hard swag. For a detailed description of the event, read Drinks Paid in DAI — What Happens When the Bar Only Accepts Crypto?

Maker community member Andrew shows off his new Dai Hard swag.

Guests at the MakerXMosendo Dai Hard Drinks event

Donation flyers were posted throughout the event, making it easy for attendees to learn how to donate Dai to a good cause.

After all the Talk, What has Been Built?

On May 13, Greg Diprisco retook stage again, along with Jen Senhaji from the Business Development Team, to present recent updates to Maker’s ecosystem and product roadmap. Their discussion on the changelog track at Consensus Construct was part of the developer-aimed content of the event. The theme of the 20-minute presentation was “After all the Talk, What has Been Built?” Later, Jen was interviewed by CryptoBriefing about our strategy regarding Dai as a remittance token. Read the article.

Maker’s Greg Diprisco and Jen Senhaji presented updates on Maker’s ecosystem and roadmap to developers during Consensus Construct.

The State of DeFi: Defi-ing Expectations

On May 15, Steven Becker, our President and COO, and Chris Burniske, an investor in Maker and a Partner at Placeholder Capital, examined the current state of DeFi in a panel conversation titled “Defi-ing Expectations.” The Midtown event was hosted by Consensus Invest and moderated by Anna Irrera, a correspondent for Reuters.

Becker, who believes the promise of DeFi is financial inclusion, discussed how DeFi eliminates the “black boxes” of traditional finance structure, introducing the transparency of decentralized digital cash to users. “The most important aspect of growing an economy on-chain is the facilitation of transactions,” he told attendees.  

Burniske spoke of the promise of Maker and DeFi as a way to collapse the cost of financial services and better distribute the remaining profits of the system to the world. “DeFi itself has natural tailwinds … in the utility,” he said. “We can use lessons from the mid- to late-90s in terms of, yes, as people increasingly speculate and invest in the cycle to come, and centralized platforms continue to violate them, they will increasingly use decentralized platforms.”   
The two also discussed scientific governance, risk, regulation, and a lot more. Watch the video of the event.

Steven Becker, Maker’s President and COO, and investor Chris Burniske discuss DeFi during New York Blockchain Week.

On May 17, Jessica Salomon from our Business Development team  presented Maker's collaboration with IKU.Network to a large audience in SoHo. IKU is a decentralized research organization (DRO) with an open source model that allows anyone to send Dai to people researching a drug or looking to cure a disease. IKU contributors determine how to utilize the received Dai. In this Medium post, IKU project lead Michael Kisselgof explains that the organization has successfully “introduced a method of economically aligned R&D that uses multiple layers of weapons grade cryptography — allowing for markets to exist where overhead was previously to high, promoting global exchange of scientific knowledge.” This is particularly meaningful as profit-incentivized big pharma companies don’t always target areas of research that deserve more attention. IKU’s first mission is  to end Alzheimer’s disease.

The Evolution of Money: An Introduction to Stablecoins

On May 18, Mariano Conti, Maker’s Head of Smart Contracts, and Charles St. Louis, one of our top technical consultants, presented “The Evolution of Money: An Introduction to Stablecoins.” The presentation/workshop, sponsored by ETH New York and held in Brooklyn, was a SURGE program event. SURGE is a UNICEF Ventures program that invites youth to learn new skills and explore how the blockchain can play a role in addressing global challenges.

St. Louis and Conti educated students and people new to the industry about the evolution of money, and then introduced the concept of stablecoins. The presentation detailed the different types of stablecoins, how the Dai stablecoin differs from the rest, how Dai is created, and more. The workshop ended with a bounty program for the attendees to earn Dai by completing small tasks, including creating a Maker or Dai meme, writing a short rap verse about using Dai, or making a fun hashtag about the application of Dai.

SURGE program students learn all about stablecoins from Maker team members during New York Blockchain Week.

Can Crypto Help Rebuild Venezuela?  

Also on May 18, a part of the ongoing blockchain community discussion on the economic crisis in Venezuela, our LatAm Community Lead, Mariano Di Pietrantonio, participated in a Consensus panel titled “Can Crypto Help Build Venezuela?” The discussion focused on international remittances and how the food supply chain in small cities can benefit from crypto. The audience offered many differing opinions, all in an effort to present new ideas that could help Venezuela once the dictatorship ends.

Maker in the Spotlight of Blockchain Week News Coverage

As noted earlier, we are part of a movement helping to inspire the growing DeFi ecosystem. And the world is watching. Here are just a few of the articles that featured Maker in Blockchain Week coverage.

The events we host and sponsor, as well as those we attend as presenters and panelists, serve to further educate the Maker community and cryptocurrency enthusiasts at large. From large conferences to small community meet-ups around the globe, people can discover what’s happening in the industry, in their countries, and even in their neighborhoods. Maker frequently presents at forums around the world. Find an event near you.

May 30, 2019