In brief

  • The Ethereum Foundation announced today that, rather than hold an online Devcon, it would not hold the event this year.
  • The foundation will work toward a large event in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2021.
  • Ethereum advocates in Argentina had lobbied for the event to be held there.

The Ethereum Foundation today revealed that it will not be holding its annual event, Devcon, in 2020 and will instead hold Devcon VI in Bogotá, Colombia, at some point in 2021.

According to the blog announcement, the Ethereum Foundation explored 10 cities before settling on the Colombian capital. It says it chose Bogotá based on "a strong demand for an event in South America" and the city's ability to provide a venue and accommodations for several thousand attendees.

According to a source with knowledge of the selection process, Buenos Aires was also heavily considered. Argentina's history of economic crises has helped foster a vibrant crypto community there, with OpenZeppelin, Nomic Labs and Decentraland all based in the country. Plus, it already had experience hosting the ETH Buenos Aires hackathon in 2018 and community members had been actively pushing for Devcon to land there.

Golem project advisor and ETHBerlin organizer María Paula Fernández told Decrypt that while she's lived in Germany too long to represent the Ethereum community in her native Argentina, "I’m really happy that South America is getting representation." She suggested that the inflationary aspects that make crypto appealing may have also made it difficult to find an appropriate venue in Buenos Aires. "Essentially, venues are very expensive and charge in USD, as with the crazy inflation, one cannot expect them to work in [Argentine pesos]."

For Ethereum community members, the fact that there will be a Devcon at all should be some relief. The event has grown from a small gathering in a Berlin office in 2014 to an affair that regularly gathers 3,000+ attendees and serves as a prized launching pad for the latest Ethereum protocol changes and products.

Previous Devcons were held in Osaka, Prague, Cancún, and London. Devcon 2021 will be the first to be held in South America. 

The Ethereum Foundation, which for the past several years has used the Ethereal Summit in May to announce Devcon's location and build excitement for the event, had been mum about the event's status since a March 30 blog post that noted event updates would be put on hold as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Other blockchain and crypto conferences moved online. New York Blockchain Week's two biggest events—Consensus: Distributed and ConsenSys' Ethereal Summit—replaced exhibition halls and glad-handing with Zoom rooms and green screens. Rather than moving Devcon online this year or delivering a "least bad contingency or substitute option" it will work to "super-size our ongoing efforts" toward Devcon VI in Bogotá.