Oxen in person: events in 2023 and beyond
As y’all are probably already aware, we recently ventured back into the real-world for some of our first in-person events in a few years. Obviously it has been difficult to get out on the worldwide circuit to attend events and meet the community as of late — but these events are important for maintaining our presence and staying connected with the community.
The two conferences we attended last month, Monerotopia and DRAPAC23, were unique, rewarding, and vibrant events. Although it takes a lot of energy, time, and planning to travel to these events, these two conferences have encouraged us to keep putting in the effort to get out on the trail and connect in person.
Here's a brief recap of our time at these conferences and our upcoming plans for future events. We're super excited at the prospect of seeing more of your friendly faces soon!
Monerotopia, Mexico City
Monerotopia was attended by some of the most passionate and energetic privacy advocates in the world. We got the chance to meet some Monero legends, including Justin Berman, Artic Mine, koe, and Andrey Sabelnikov (among many, many more), hear about the latest research in the space, and share the latest information about what we’re up to at the Oxen Labs.
At Monerotopia, both Kee and I gave presentations; Kee on creating a CryptoNote L2, and myself on Session. Overall, there was a lot of enthusiasm for Session at the conference, and we were stoked to see just how many people were already using Session as their daily messaging app. A lot of people already had Session on their device, and we were able to connect and start chatting on the spot. On top of that, we also onboarded quite a lot of people at the conference — and there was a lot of enthusiasm to give it a try.
Admittedly, some of the more hardcore Monero-heads were somewhat sceptical of us (being an alt-coin), but overall there was a lot of support, and we got words of encouragement from a lot of people whose opinions we respect immensely.
Kee took the chance to learn about some of the upcoming changes to Monero, including Jamtis/Seraphis, both via some of the scheduled talks and chatting to the very devs working on its design and implementation. We also had some really insightful conversations about tokenomic models, new staking tech (courtesy of Zano), and swapping technology.
Kee also appeared on a panel discussing Proof of Stake versus Proof of Work. No prizes for guessing which side of the argument Kee took — it was a super heated discussion, and in the end…nobody really agreed, but Kee did a great job of representing the PoS argument on-stage against some heavy-hitting thinkers in the space.
And, last but not least — I recommend checking out this interview that Kee recorded at the conference.
Overall, it was great to connect with the Monero and wider privacy coin community at Monerotopia, and many thanks to Doug and Sunita for organising a great event.
DRAPAC, Chiang Mai
DRAPAC23 was a very different event, with a bigger focus on digital rights and civil society. At DRAPAC, we got to meet some of the folks we have been working with over the last few years to get feedback on our products, spread awareness about what we are doing, and help connect us with some of the users who need Session the most.
At the conference, we learnt a lot about the current needs, challenges, and threats of people living and working in South Asia and Southeast Asia — including in countries like Myanmar and Cambodia.
While we were at DRAPAC, we started a new group for people and organisations in the APAC region who are working on secure and open technology — which will be a great network to help pool resources, gather ideas, and work collaboratively in the future.
We also met up with some potential (and current) partner organisations for the first time, who will be able to help us keep pushing our products forward for the benefit of the tech itself and the users — including with things like funding, localisation, and strategic advice.
One of the biggest takeaways from the conference was that there seems to be much higher use of crypto than we had anticipated. Of course we regularly advocate for crypto for various uses, but it was really heartening to see that the tech is being embraced by a lot of people in the region — and there was quite a bit of interest in Oxen, too.
We were involved in the conference in many ways, including a workshop about cash-like alternatives for the digital age (where we discussed things like decentralised exchanges, fiat onramps, and privacy coins), a workshop for the secure developers group, and a workshop/demo of Session. All of the sessions we ran went really well — and there was a lot of appreciation for our efforts to engage and interact at the event.
What’s coming next
We want to keep attending conferences where it makes sense to do so — and we are currently looking at which events we might be able to attend in the back half of the year. Although it makes for some very long days with very little sleep — there is no denying how much value there is in events like Monerotopia and DRAPAC.
If you are attending, aware of, or organising an event you think we should attend in the back half of this year or in 2024, make sure to let us know! Until then, excited to start seeing more of you out in the real world.
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