Crypto 2.0 Roundup: Ethereum's ÐΞVCON, Vizor's Virtual Reality and a Blockchain University
In this week's Crypto 2.0 roundup, we profile events from Ethereum and Koinify and take a look at how crypto could impact virtual reality.
The crypto 2.0 community has continued its overall emphasis on consumer awareness in the past few weeks, with several high-profile events finding notable projects taking a pause from their ongoing experimentation to provide a greater depth of clarity to the public.
Further, there were signs that the part of the industry most aggressively building on bitcoin's vision is succeeding at this effort. At press time, decentralized social messaging platform Gems had raised more than $500,000 in its ongoing crowdsale, an event that suggests consumer interest in crypto 2.0 projects is high, even as questions about their viability linger.
Ethereum's show of strength
Following a few weeks of publicity that it felt may have led to consumer confusion about its brand and goals, the Ethereum team launched an impressive display of solidarity with its widely publicized first development symposium.
Held from 24th to 28th November, the event sought to showcase the strength of interest in the platform, which has been criticised in the wider bitcoin community for seeking to build its own blockchain in support of what developer Gav Would called its overall "mission" of decentralization.
"Our mission is decentralization" #DEVCON @gavofyork pic.twitter.com/TRYcpbAzXl
— ethereum (@ethereumproject) November 24, 2014
The event, backed by a strong social media presence on Twitter, Vine and YouTube, helped personalise a project that, like many of the more ambitions attempts in the bitcoin space, has sometimes seemed more theoretical than practical.
Meanwhile in Geneva, eight #Ethereum projects are taking shape! #TranspHackGVA pic.twitter.com/DeRE1VN577
— ethereum (@ethereumproject) November 26, 2014
This was succeeded partly through posts introducing the various Ethereum projects in development, including its Mist browser and Whisper secure messaging system.
Additional talks touched on Ethereum's security, blockchain theory and blockchain interoperability. A more detailed recap can be found on the project's official blog, while videos of complete sessions can be viewed on its official YouTube channel.
28/11/14 - #DEVCON 0 concludes - Thank you to all the attendees and everyone who made this unique event possible! pic.twitter.com/n1yDaJIdFt
— ethereum (@ethereumproject) November 29, 2014
2.0 goes to college
The free, three-month course, entitled Blockchain University, will kick off on 17th December with a panel moderated by author and cryptocurrency enthusiast Tim Swanson, and including Koinify CEO Tom Ding, Skuchain founder Sri Sriram and Chain CTO Ryan Smith.
The intent, Ding told CoinDesk, is to encourage developers to think about the larger applications of bitcoin's blockchain and alternative ledgers, without emphasizing their ability to function as a means of exchange.
"People focus too much on the currency part – once they hear about bitcoin, they think the value is not stable, it's volatile, it's this and that, that doesn't matter," he said, adding:
Ultimately, Ding hopes that Blockchain University will help emphasize this distinction, while encouraging developers to think about how ledger technology can be used to build ambitious products and services.
"We wanted to be clear that it is a blockchain program, not bitcoin. I think there is a divergence that's happening," Sriram said. "Blockchain is diverging from bitcoin proper."
Swanson suggested that apart from ideology, however, the course will offer a unique experience to developers interested in the space.
"If you're a software developer, even in Silicon Valley, there are few physical locations you can visit to get hands on practice and feedback in building decentralized applications," he said.
A virtual reality YouTube
Wendell Davis, CEO of bitcoin wallet startup Hive and creator of dogecoin's answer to Counterparty, Dogeparty, has released new details about his forthcoming crypto 2.0-powered virtual reality (VR) project Vizor in an interview with CoinDesk.
While he acknowledged the website might not be impressive without a virtual reality headset, Davis described Vizor as a "YouTube for virtual reality".
"The same way that YouTube is a paradigm for watching and uploading videos, we're doing the same thing for VR, and the idea behind that is that browsers are just now starting to support VR headsets," Davis explained.
Davis asserted that what makes Vizor compelling is it is seeking to appeal to two underserved demographics: those who want to experience great virtual reality content and those that want to build it.
Included in Vizor will be tools that allow users to build VR experiences, including built-in marketplaces for existing content to be purchased and sold.
"The idea is if you want to create an experience – say, you want to make a tunnel that you can go through and at the end you want a creature to be there – if you don't want to make it all from scratch, you can go to the Vizor store, pay with some amount of [the vizor token] to buy that tunnel or texture," he explained.
Davis described Vizor as a long-term passion project that builds off his existing love for flow-based programming and creating graphics.
The Vizor team intends to hold an upcoming presale and crowdsale, with the latter event taking place during January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Vizor hopes to garner $2m from both of its fundraising events.
Images via Ethereum, Blockchain University and Vizor.
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