UNICEF Ventures kicks off the first ever Impact Track at ETHDenver

ETHDenver: the largest gathering of the Ethereum blockchain community

Christina Lomazzo, Blockchain Lead, UNICEF Office of Innovation
Eth Denver entrance sign
19 February 2019

What happens when you bring over 2,000 people interested in blockchain together in middle America? Learning, friendship, buidling, conversations and so much more...

UNICEF Innovation/AngelicaOng

ETHDenver, the largest gathering of the Ethereum blockchain community, took place last weekend. It brought together developers, product managers, artists, educators… all with an interest in blockchain. The event has an ethos of bringing people together who have a common interest, and they did just that.

Over the course of two and a half days, participants had the opportunity to hear from some particularly bright individuals (I wouldn’t dare try and list them because there are too many – you can check out the agenda here). A summary of the talks over the weekend can be found here.

With a dedicated Impact track this year, buidlers and attendees had meaningful conversations about the intersection of blockchain and global challenges. UNICEF Ventures gave a keynote talk on Friday night kicking off the Impact track and also spoke on the impact panel on Saturday, discussing what impact is and how we can all do more (hint: it included more education, funding and mentoring for local communities). Aya Miyaguchi and Chris Fabian talk about UNICEF’s blockchain work and the Impact Track here.

At the same time as the talks, buidlers (teams competing in the hackathon portion) had access to the development teams of a variety of already established blockchain products. Think of it like a book fair, where all of your favourite authors are there, and you can ask them why they included a certain chapter in their book, or if they were rewriting the book, what they would change.

In the end, some teams built completely new projects that will help further the Ethereum ecosystem, while others showed the power of combining a variety of solutions already in existence.

EthDenver Award
UNICEF Innovation/ChristinaLomazzo
Photo of award

This is the video of the final presentations, and here you can find more specifics on the projects.

Impact Track Winners (in no particular order)

  • Welfair
  • zDai
  • Carbos
  • JobSimple
  • Pactful

Open Track Winners (in no particular order)

  • Buffigen
  • Eth Dev Tools
  • Delfi
  • SafeCDP
  • Synchronous Cross-shard Transactions

Recognition Awards

  • Spirit of #BUIDL - Universal Wallet
  • Bufficorn's Best - EthASketch
  • Best Media Headline - JobSimple
  • Best of Ethereum - Eth Dev Tools
  • "Wow" Factor - Buffigen
  • Most Innovative - Delfi
  • Adoption Driver - Open Curator


sketch of an idea on the wall
UNICEF Innovation/ChristinaLomazzo
One project, EthASketch, created physical hardware and software to have smart contracts (ie. codeable logic) make art.

A little more on the event…

People of all ages and all backgrounds attended the event in Denver. The event provided free childcare for parents who wanted to attend and there were workshops for youth who were interested in the blockchain. The line up for the Apprent.io youth workshop was something that the adults were jealous of, learning about CryptoKitties and Bounties.

Apprent.io workshop
UNICEF Innovation/ChristinaLomazzo
Participants of the youth Apprent.io workshop pose for a group photo.

Another highlight for many was a talk by Andreas Antonopolous. While the video of his talk isn’t yet public, Andreas talked about the power of unstoppable code. He had the crowd reflecting on the possibilities, good and bad, of a system that isn’t restricted or owned by a particular group or jurisdiction. While that concept of statelessness/permissionlessness is core to the blockchain community, what Andreas told the crowd was to be prepared for resistance because we’re building something transformational. I would recommend giving his talk a watch once public.

It was inspiring to see what people can do when they come together for a weekend. With more and more new technologies that enable us to connect to people across the world, it makes it even more special when you come together in a physical space. Kudos to the ETHDenver team for creating a great vibe and inclusive environment for so many to gather and have thought-provoking conversations and build awesome solutions. Until next year…