The Top 7 Takeaways From My Third Ethereum Denver

Vibes at this year's ETHDenver were different — but also very much the same.

By: Zack Guzman

March 7, 2024

Every year, Ethereum nerds descend upon Denver, Colorado for a magical time. For the third year in a row, I joined the festivities to get a glimpse of the future.

Each year is different, but this was the second year that the event for tens of thousands of attendees was held at the National Western Complex (usually reserved for stock shows – which was oddly fitting, given the newly formed bull market.)

With whiffs of cattle hanging in the air, it wasn’t hard to tease out the most important themes that hit home this year. So, let me save you the research and the travel. After all, I sacrificed my weekend to moderate and speak on four panels last weekend to get some alpha just for you.

Here are seven of the most important takeaways from ETHDenver and why I think $6,000 by the end of the year is entirely possible for crypto’s second-largest coin… 

1. The Layer-2 Wars Are Here

If there is one known weakness for Ethereum, it’s the gas fees. Due to its structure as one of the most secure proof-of-stake chains, it’s also one of the priciest. Case in point: Even minting a single NFT cost nearly $50 as the conference wrapped up.

To alleviate that, people have been building so-called Layer-2 networks. These are essentially a second layer of transactions that sit on-top of Ethereum, and help alleviate some of the traffic that can lead to high usage fees. Polygon had been one of the earliest scaling solutions built, but the space has very quickly gotten quite crowded. So much so, that I actually moderated TWO discussions with Layer-2 projects (one of which is actually a combination of a bunch of Layer-2s called the Superchain.)

Whether Ethereum will need a panoply of Layer-2s remains to be seen. Right before I was done moderating with The Superchain (AKA Coinbase’s Base and Optimism,) someone else was moderating with Starknet and Arbitrum (two other options.) Then I ran to chat with zkSync. Is their tech all different? Yes! Will it matter if no one uses it? No.

2. Onchain Use Cases Are Here

The exciting thing about Layer-2s is that there is already a need for them. Theoretically, nobody wants to pay $30 to send an email. And already, some of these chains are giving users options to cut down the costs to transact significantly. That is leading to some cool onchain implementations.

For example, one of the hottest opportunities in the space is building an onchain alternative to Twitter. It’s called decentralized social – and Farcaster and Lens continue to be two of the leading projects in the space.

3. DePIN Is Hella Hot Right Now

There was a whole side conference dedicated to “Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks” at ETH Denver, referred to as DePIN. Some of the hottest projects have all been focused on decentralized computing – either for AI, or for video.

For example, Akash Network has gotten extremely hot because it’s a platform where anyone can rent out GPUs. As AI gives rise to more cloud computing, Akash is seemingly primed to profit. Other similar projects like Livepeer and RNDR have also seen massive boosts due to the same themes.

4. Bitcoin Is Stealing the NFT Thunder

Coinage’s head writer Andre Beganski has been all over the shift in excitement in NFTs to Bitcoin — and he was earlier than most.

In fact, the fervor over so-called Ordinals is so high that there was a side event and frat house rented out by Bitcoin builders to challenge the idea that NFTs are just an Ethereum thing. Bitcoin transaction volumes continue to rise as more projects port over from ethereum to bitcoin. NFT platform Magic Eden looks to be a big winner for betting on the ecosystem early.

5. No One Grifts Harder Than RFK Jr.

The presidential hopeful gained some ground by hitting up Bitcoin Miami last year and announcing he’d accept donations in Bitcoin. This year, RFK Jr. attended Ethereum Denver to tell me he’s … having his team look into accepting ETH for donations.

Really, Bobby? You couldn’t just have that figured out by the time you got here?


Then, when I asked if his proclamation that he’d be the only presidential candidate to “end the war against all crypto currencies” meant that he’d remove Chair Gary Gensler from the SEC, he also punted. RFK only went as far as saying he’d want someone like pro-crypto option Commissioner Hester Peirce – but didn’t go as far to say he’d commit to actually changing anything if he were elected.

Then, after the press gaggle, RFK. Jr. proceeded to get shouts from protesters in the audience during his fireside chat.

6. Real Co-Ownership Is Next (Not Just Speculation)

I spoke on a panel titled “Are DAOs Dead?” and funnily enough – I don’t think they’ve ever been more alive. Coinage, our community-owned media outlet, is a DAO that has now grown to more than 6,500 members and has now signed a new deal with a leading validator to bring in sustainable revenue.

As I learned at ETH Denver, we were not the only Colorado DAO/Cooperative in attendance. There were plenty others emulating our same model – where NFT holders can join to unlock patronage dividends. An NFT that pays dividends? I thought they were just useless JPEGs.

(You can watch my full panel on how community-owned DAOs could help creators survive an increasingly terrible media landscape below.)


7. ETH to $6,000 by Year End

Putting all the pieces together, it’s not hard to see that the momentum is coming back to Ethereum – and not in a frothy way. The hype was actually relatively muted at ETH Denver this year. It was still way more “build” and way less “when Lambo” – something that wasn’t exactly true in 2022 (pre-Terra and FTX collapses.)

So much attention in the crypto narrative has been on Bitcoin with the approval of Bitcoin ETFs and incredible inflows of billions into the newly-listed funds. But, hidden in the shadows, is the second-largest crypto, and it’s got big things coming.

For one, Ethereum ETF approvals could very well come in May and replicate the same run up that Bitcoin enjoyed to end last year through today. We’ll know whether those get approved in May – but the speculation over it will continue to come. 

On top of that, Ethereum has another major upgrade coming in just a couple of weeks — the so-called EIP-4844 or “Dencun” upgrade — which will significantly cut costs associated with Ethereum’s scaling solutions.

Considering all of these things – the price targets we’re hearing from analysts in the space suddenly look way less crazy. Fundstrat’s Sean Farrell told me to expect ETH to hit a new all-time high this year, and cross $6,000. I’m now expecting the same.

To support our community-owned outlet, own it with us, and unlock exclusive benefits, mint one of our NFTs today!


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