The Truth about Blockchain Meetups (and how they can help you)

In the past few weeks I have visited five blockchain themed meetups across the Netherlands. Here, I will share my experiences and explain how blockchain meetups can help you — whether you want to learn more about the basics of blockchains or whether you want to promote your favorite blockchain project.

How to search for blockchain meetups

The first thing you might want to do is to search for relevant meetups in your area. Travelling takes time and can be expensive, so finding meetups that are close to you is important. You can use several meetup specific websites such as Eventbrite.com or Meetup.com, which allow you to filter on topic and location. Another option is to explore Facebook events, since some organizers prefer to make use of their social network. I have used both methods and they are both effective. It depends on your preference how you will find your next blockchain meetup.

Blockchain meetups I have attended

In the month of November I visited these five meetups:

Why most blockchain meetups are great for beginners

If you are new to blockchains and their applications, blockchain meetups could potentially be very interesting. Most meetups aim to inform a wider audience, which is great if you are new to the blockchain space. What will certainly help is to do some research before signing up for meetups, in order to find out which speakers will come and which topics they will address. If it wasn’t obvious, titles such as “Ethereum smart contracts for developers” are generally a no-go if you are a beginner.

How I represented the Decred project

If you are thinking about promoting your own blockchain project at these meetups: think again! I made the mistake of showing up unannounced with my roll-up banner. I can guarantee you that the organizers were not amused. After a polite but firm request, I took the banner down. What you can do instead is represent your project. Nobody will ask you to take off your shirt, or to wear something else to cover it. Furthermore, in the discussions you’ll have with others during the drinks, you can bring up your preferred projects as much as you like. I printed several high quality A6 cards that I could distributed if people were genuinely interested.

Experiences from the field

My first meetup was in Amsterdam, on the premises of the Free University (VU). The title “Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies: the Block(chain) is hot!” implied that it was mainly aimed to attract students and other beginners. After the event ended, I positioned myself near the entrance to distribute Decred cards and to talk to those who were interested. One guy recognized the logo and told me he owned some DCR. I told him how easy it is to participate in the PoS process, which is basically free money if you plan on holding your DCR anyway. Several other students were amazed by the coin that solved the governance problem of Bitoin. Others were more skeptical, but many of them didn’t know too much about cryptocurrencies in the first place. In the end a few people where still there, an IOTA enthusiast (who spent around 100 BTC on online poker games back in the days) and a sushi restaurant manager. We talked about the broken fundamentals of our modern society and shared some good stories about our youth and our daily lives.

Conclusion: Go out there, learn more about blockchains, and meet new people!

Overall, it was a great experience to visit all those meetups. I learned new things, talked about interesting blockchain projects, but most importantly: I had a lot of fun. What made it so much fun? Simple: I met great people. From a sushi restaurant manager to a crypto anarchist who travels the world and speaks on blockchain conferences, people are by far the most important aspect of blockchain meetups. Essentially, blockchains allow us to connect with each other without the need for intermediaries or trusted third parties. The blockchain community is the reason why this technology has such a huge impact. It consists of people who realize that our current society is inherently unsustainable, who are able to think beyond existing models of command and control, and who are able to express themselves freely. Many of those people I have met, and I am looking forward to meet thousands, maybe millions more!

I ask questions and search for solutions.