Holy Fork! Why isn’t ETHBerlin an ETHGlobal event?

Based on real-life stories: the pains and pleasures behind organising events. No community contributors were harmed in the making of this…

Holy Fork! Why isn’t ETHBerlin an ETHGlobal event?

Based on real-life stories: the pains and pleasures behind organising events. No community contributors were harmed in the making of this fork.

We’re writing this article to clarify the following questions/assumptions that came to our attention:

  • “Hey guys why aren’t you on the ETHGlobal page?”
  • “Will ETHBerlin happen before or after ETHBerlinZwei?”
  • “I think ETHBerlinZwei copied ETHBerlin, we must alert ETHGlobal!”
  • “Was there a fight? Tell us the dirt!”
  • “Does ETHBerlin not like ETHGlobal?”

Sorry to disappoint everyone. The truth is, there is absolutely no drama here, never was, never will be. ETHGlobal is of course, super invited to come and participate this year in any way they wish.

We started ETHBerlin naively, thinking it would just be a fun thing to do, not understanding a single thing about hackathons. Back then, in March 2018, Alex connected with ETHGlobal, and the guys were super helpful and provided guidelines.

We were sure Berlin’s community would respond positively, but back then, it was largely siloed as well. We had a lot of work to do, and on top of that we needed to figure out what the hell was a hackathon. Anyways, we kicked it off, and founded the Blockchain Week to bind together this amazing constellation of projects that is our city. And ETHGlobal helped a lot with frequent follow-up calls, visas for hackers, sponsors and so many more things which we are really thankful for.

But ETHBerlin is a rare, rebellious animal. So one day we just called Liam, Josh, Kartik and Ethan and told them:

“We’re forking off, yo”

And they said: “That’s really cool”

This is absolutely how it happened. We can especially recall Liam’s super positive response (s/o). Simply put, at a point we decided there was no need for ETHGlobal to spend time and resources on our shenanigans.

Then why on earth did we fork off? Honestly and mostly, because we’re extra. But in a good way. The ETHGlobal guys were trying to establish all processes, guidelines, models to truly take the franchise to the next level — and wow, they’re succeeding at it.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, we were trying really hard to not fit into the franchise, even though it was already successful. We were completely reengineering, overthinking, fantasising, putting everything that did not breath in the freaking blockchain, thinking how we could reflect the ethos of the city without ending up in prison, and others.

ETHBerlin spontaneously stopped being simply a hackathon, and became a cultural festival where you also happen to hack and be amazing at it.

Yeah sure, there was a sort of conscious uncoupling process that kicked off when in one of the calls, we told the guys that we were thinking of putting all judging. processes on a prediction market (we ended up deprecating that plan in favour of doing only the People’s Choice Award on Olympia by Gnosis, because it was too farfetched). Of course, ETHGlobal had more experience and thought we needed a good, normal, judging process to give everyone equal chances — PMs can reduce the chances of projects being judged by its quality.

Of course, ETHGlobal not only participated at ETHBerlin as judges (and impromptu hackers ;)) and we all had a great time. Very success, so Goerli, many fully homomorphic encrypted, much wow.

Now, hackathons are really hard to organize. If you take it all on yourself you can forget about having a life for at least 3 months prior to the hackathon. They drain you, they spit you out and chew you off. You finish answering 30 emails, look at the window for 10 seconds, and when you look back at your screen, there are 30 new emails waiting for you. You start giving serious thought to considering just packing up and moving your life into a Google spreadsheet. You wake up in the middle of the night and take notes in your phone because a new idea to enhance the experience came in a dream. All while juggling with your full time job and trying hard not to decrease your performance in it.

ETHGlobal sort of has all processes tested and in place, so this really helps ease up all the self-inflicted pain we mentioned before. If you are thinking of hosting a hackathon somewhere, contact them and work with them, it will make your life so much easier. We absolutely recommend this hardworking team. I mean — look at ETHNewYork, such a brilliant event, and almost nobody had meltdowns.

So, what about Zwei?

This happens.

ETHBerlin is a collective of masochists (that’s so Berlin by the way) without any common sense that always play with fire. Honestly, we have been swimming in German bureaucracy for around 7 months now getting the Department of Decentralization entity up and running, that’s how delusional we are.

For Zwei, we’re decentralising the festival processes and features: we take proposals from everyone in the ecosystem to add building blocks to enhance the hackathon, and we make them work. We’re DAOing a part of it, trying to gather as many protocols and chains to make it fully agnostic, and working with the sponsors to create new experiences. Hackers can choose to enjoy the full package, or opt out of features they are not too keen on. We’re basically the libP2P of hackathons.

we have killer marketing too

If you are a sponsor or want to be a sponsor, or you want to give us unsolicited advice, you can put up a proposal, if we like it or think it would really be useful, then we’ll let you use our platform to implement it. But yes, everything needs to be approved. As with any unsolicited advice, we can choose to take it, or reject it. The odds are, that if you took the time to get to know ETHBerlin, DoD and what we do and how we do it — and of course, your proposal’s quality is good and you mean well, we’ll integrate it.

We are looking forward to sharing the building blocks of ETHBerlinZwei. In the meantime, make sure you hold your panties all the time, because when we drop them, your undies will flip.

Over and out (at least for now!)

PS. As an independent, completely grassroots movement, the funding and success of ETHBerlin largely depends on sponsorships. Please consider supporting us! Here is our 2019 manifesto. And you can email joinus@ethberlin.com to get an awesome proposal.

PS2: Yes, ETHBerlin now lasts 5 days, because we partnered with DappCon (the first proposal we approved) to host our conference in their venue. We have a big auditorium running for three days at the Technical University, before you can even step foot into the ball pit. Yes we did it on purpose, otherwise you’d end up spending the whole thing in the freaking ball pit. Apply to speak here.