Leaving the Corinthia Hotel, Devcon4's official lodging accommodation, I traverse a twirling bridge to arrive at the Prague Congress Centre, a massive conference space with four floors dedicated to all things Ethereum. A large Blockchains LLC ad greets me as I make my way to the building.
Registration lines are long and easily protrude into the plaza outside the center, to be expected for an event comprised of thousands of attendees. The conference badge, a staple of any convention, is rainbow-colored to match Devcon4's room names (ranging from Spectrum and Prism to Malachite and Rose Quartz). In true blockchain fashion, the badge displays the event's one-word Wi-Fi password: buidl.
Besides your usual convention services like a coat check and a swag booth, the first floor of the annual Ethereum developer conference features a selfie area where attendees can take photos against a backdrop of memes, such as doge and the event's own spin on Nyan Cat, Deva the Devcon4 Unicorn.
Plus, much like the conference's website, which allows individuals to play with meme-inspired images on the landing page, attendees can collect stickers from the event's designated Flair Zone and decorate their badges to their hearts' content.
Although Day 0 is technically not the first day of Devcon4 (the opening keynote takes place on Wednesday, October 31), the day's schedule is packed with programming, with panels for projects like the Ethereum Name Service, Whisper, and Ethereum Mist. First-day speakers include Ethereum heavyweights Vlad Zamfir, Nick Johnson, and Piper Merriam, among others.
If anybody has grown tired after hours of content, they can find snacks galore throughout the conference space for a quick energy boost. Tables of food litter floors one through three of the Prague Congress Centre, whether an attendee wants a simple glass of still water or something heartier like meat and potatoes. Free food is always a welcome addition to any event.
However, I would argue that the core of the annual conference is not its onsite proceedings. Most of the action occurs off campus among Prague's historic streets and architectural beauties. For example, one of Day 0's offsite events is the "Open Hearts & Open Minds" meetup at the National House Smíchov, a community gathering space on the other side of the Czech Republic's longest river, the Vltava. The theme of the gathering is #buidling on the Ethereum platform with a focus on diversity and inclusion.
The rest of Devcon4 is bound to be full of just as much excitement, satellite events, and (of course) free food, but the conference is off to a wonderful start on Day 0. Here's to a successful next few days in the historically renowned capital city.