After a week of learning, networking and workshops, the FunFair dev team have returned to their day jobs buzzing with ideas and inspiration.
Devcon4 certainly delivered what it promised as Prague played host to thousands of professionals all keen to learn about the latest developments in the Ethereum community. Full of tech start-ups and projects, the sharing of knowledge was at the top of the agenda with the attendees keen to share their learnings of the previous 12 months and visions for the decentralised future.
Those looking for answers around scaling, however, were left somewhat frustrated as despite a detailed and positive speech from Vitalik Buterin that reviewed the work of the Ethereum foundation to date, specific details of when to expect ‘Serenity’ and the solution to scaling issues were unfortunately lacking with a promise it would be happening ‘soon’.
On a positive note, there was a new focus around the end user with UX and UI at the forefront of a number of workshops and talks with an acceptance from the community as a whole that the products and services being developed all needed to refocus their efforts.
From a FunFair Technologies perspective the highlight was unquestionably Jeremy Longley’s well-attended presentation on lessons learned from implementing our own state channels to a live environment. For those who missed the live stream, you can look through Jeremy’s powerpoint here and we’ll share the recorded presentation across our social channels when Devcon release it later this month.
There were a number of promising meetings with potential partners, all working hard to deliver solutions in the blockchain space, with talks taking place with numerous exchanges, wallet providers and other tools that can improve the FunFair casino platform.
We spoke to some of the FunFair team in attendance at the event to find out what their key takeouts were from their time in Prague.
Stefan Kovach CCO:
“The key take outs for me were; take a human centric approach to UI/UX and design in general. Universal ethereum logins is an area we need to keep a close eye on (Alex Van de Sande) and finally that this is not a problem we are facing alone so collaborating with others doing good work in this regards would make a lot of sense (Coinbase, Consensys Usability team).
Mark Ridgwell, Lead Server Developer:
“Lots of people were talking about problems with onboarding ‘normal’ users so it’s clear to see everyone is suffering from similar issues. There also seemed to be a lot of projects promising things “coming soon right now” but not a lot of actual product to back-up those claims.”
Josh Stevens, senior software engineer:
“From FunFair’s perspective, it was clear to see that no one is doing what we are and that there are very few working products out there. It’s a nice position to be way ahead of most other companies in the space. It’s also clear that everyone is struggling with UX/UI and no one has the silver bullet for the onboarding solution. It was also apparent how far away the space is from creating a mainstream wallet and the onus may well fall on FunFair to build our own.”
Will Master, developer:
“It’s still very early days and while there are currently a lot of obstacles to creating usable and scalable dApps, I did find it encouraging that many in the community have identified the same kinds of issues we have (e.g. Augur + Infura, Metamask clunkiness) and people are clearly working hard to solve these problems. One recurring theme which is more pronounced in the blockchain vs general software space seems to be the trade-off between users’ security and usability. I came away still convinced that blockchain tech has a very bright future, but that it could be longer than I’d originally thought before mass adoption becomes possible.”
Paul Jackman, technical director, games:
“There were some great talks there, and it was reassuring to see our issues with onboarding and UX for crypto newbies is shared and being worked on by a great many people. Some of the solutions such as the wondrous mobile app that won a design award (argent) can be learned from. The UX design workshops were unfortunately a little low on usefulness for us, as they were clearly aimed at developers with no UX design experience and those who weren’t as far through the design process as us.
Ethereum 2.0 looks like it at least has some semblance of a firm plan and some momentum which is great. The sharding talks were also more accessible than those at EthCC in March. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for any of this to come to fruition.”
Sam Wright, Marketing Manager
The number of potential partners delivering blockchain tools that we could collaborate with to move our product forwards was very encouraging. Whether they be exchanges, payment solutions, wallets or KYC providers, there were a number of really valuable discussions across the four days which we’ve already started following up on. It was great to see the willingness of the blockchain community and individual projects to work together across the board to push Ethereum forwards, and I’m excited to see FunFair lead in this space. We are one of the few projects out there with a shippable product and this puts us in a great position to tap into the resources out there as a true use case of blockchain technology.
Devcon4 was certainly the biggest and best yet. Well-organised and full of passionate, interested members of the community, it was a privilege to speak to the many who came by our stand throughout the week and see the many who volunteered to talk.
Prague was an exemplary host and we’re already looking forward to the announcement of Devcon5’s location and format. The Ethereum blockchain has its challenged, but there’s no doubt it’s heading in the right direction. Fingers crossed for Serenity in 2019!