Insights and Highlights from DevConnect 2023


Modular Blockchains, Scaling, and User Onboarding. An overview of the teams and talents shaping the crypto landscape at EFDevconnect.

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High Rollers:

As crypto and DeFi keep on evolving, our focus intensifies on modular blockchains, scaling, interoperability, and user onboarding.

This week’s deep dive into alpha at Devconnect has solidified our commitment to invest in modular scaling, where the ‘a la carte’ approach offers a promising experimental ground for innovation.

From discussions with builders to exploring the potential of “based booster rollups,” the optimism in Istanbul is contagious.

Read on to delve into the exciting developments and insights that emerged during this enriching experience at EFDevconnect.


The Rollup

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First of all, a massive thank you to everyone who was kind enough to share brilliant ideas with me and talk about the deep intricacies of this insanely exciting industry we call ‘crypto’

Its always been a massive pleasure to meet builders who are pushing the boundaries across multiple fronts to innovate in the space, like David Mirzadeh from the Taiko team and their “based booster rollups”.

TheRollup and Taiko

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Whether it’s because it feels like were on the edge of a massive bull run, or because people are just genuinely excited about the tech, everyone seemed to be quite optimistic.

Now, to get to the nitty gritty of what I’m most interested in keeping up with after a hectic week filled with alpha at Devconnect ????

While there are tons of verticals in crypto, the key part to being a really good investor and entrepreneur in a burgeoning ecosystem is to identify the *winners* and then place your bets appropriately, with size.

If you do, the upside is massive.

If not, well, a rising tide lifts all boats but you ideally want to be in the top three boats with concentrated size.

As you may have guessed, going forward I’ll be actively investing capital, time, efforts, research and our brand TheRollup on everything to do with modular blockchains, scaling, interop and onboarding new users and developers.

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The ‘a la carte’ menu of modular scaling is so appealing to investors, builders, and developers.

You can “plug-n-play” different parts of the stack, and its kind of like an experiment where teams are experimenting with what sum of the ‘parts’ available could work best.

This is the aspect I’m most looking forward to watching play out, and investing in.

Moreover, all of the builders here Devconnect involved in the modular and scaling space are extremely talented. They are passionate about onboarding new developers, users, and building better UX.

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On the technical side, new DA layers will bring unprecedented decrease in costs on rollups. If you think transactions are cheap now, you’re in for a treat.

Personally, I’m expecting 10x cheaper. I think Celestia is saying 10-15x cheaper than current costs.

Everyone was talking about Celestia and their airdrop, and for good reason.

Switching gears, at Epicweb3 ETH infra day, Firat along with Illia explained how NEAR Protocol DA will be 8000x cheaper than settling to ETH L1.

Illia also agreed that we have not seen anything yet when it comes to the miniscule gas costs of transacting on rollups.

What a pivot that was, well done. Further validation of the modular thesis.

Why is DA important for Rollups

AvailProject will be coming onto mainnet Q1 ’24 likely, and had really good presence in Istanbul. Eigen Layer also had a solid showing and will be on testnet shortly.

I expect to see more DA layers pop up, but these ones have a huge leg up right now.

I’ll be closely monitoring the DA arena for you over the coming year.

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On the tech side, altVMs will play a pivotal role in the progression of bringing new devs, better UX and ‘usability’.

Things like parallel execution, isolation of noisy gas markets, higher security and performance will propel altVMs to the forefront of the modular scaling race.

Of the teams I’ve met here Cartesi, Movement Labs, Fluent, and Fuel Network are the most exciting.

Watch our recent interview with the Cartesi team here

VM Day hosted by Cartesi and Fuel

Each team is going to spearhead the onboarding of new developers into the ecosystem through various initiatives which will be exciting for the space as a whole.

Maybe one or two teams will go to university blockchain clubs with a few boxes of pizza, some beer, and onboarding developers directly into their ecosystem.

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Another niche that was absolutely filled with gigabrains (and big $$$) was the DVT niche. See the comments below for an explainer article.

Teams like Clay Stack, ssv network, diva staking, Puffer Finance, Tenderize, Obol Labs, Chorus One and others were really impressive.

They are working with staking service providers to onboard large amounts of institutional capital while simulatenously providing the solo staker a chance to get access to ETH staking with much less than the 32 ETH required for a full node.

Democratizing ETH staking, more decentralization, more nodes, more censorship resistance.

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Next, the zk space is absolutely blossoming. I saw practical use cases, live testnets, mainnets coming very soon, and a ton of excitement around proof markets, zk Sharding, zk Light Client bridges, zkEVM and more.

Even, zk Oracles.

This space has been developing with some of the brightest minds in the entire world, alongside some pretty large funding.

Teams that first come to mind are =nil Foundation and their zkSharding & interesting zkLLVM, Polygon Miden and the innovative ‘note’ passing system, Kakarot ZkEvm bringing Starknet <> EVM together, Lagrange and their proof building and AVS with Eigenlayer, and of course Scroll for pushing mainnet live and having a seamless experience for users.

Also, MantaNetwork is transitioning from an OP stack based rollup to a zkEVM using Polygon CDK. Something to watch for in Q1. Also, big DA partnership coming.

zkLink is using zk tech to create secure L3s, will pay more attention in Q1.

I’m very excited to learn more about zk technology, even tho most of it goes well over my head. Like 6 feet over, and I’m a tall guy. Lol.

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One of my favorite keynotes was from Neon EVM integrations lead about how Neon is bringing together Solana and EVM.

While there still may be tech concerns and problems needing solved, the integration of these communities is going to be massively helpful for the space to develop.

The hostility is meh, guess I’m feeling diplomatic today, eh?

Seriously though. Really cool project and new launch.

Pay attention, my fren.

The other project I’m consistently impressed with is Union Build who is live on testnet for IBC <> EVM transfers.

Imagine any ERC20 token on Cosmos, Osmosis, Sommelier, or Neutron.

Its coming.

The updates and loyalty program LiFi Protocol is pushing along very smoothly and they are consistently integrating new bridges, also bringing Solana liquidity to EVM via Allbridge.

LiFi has a very unique position in the market because as the interop space grows, they simply grow along with it being a bridge aggregator.

Another cool interop project focused on using intents (solvers, relayers etc) is Across Protocol. I nearly always use Across for L2<>L1 bridging, and they are implementing fascinating tech using a 3rd party, intents driven relayer network of sorts.

Interop is going to 100x as we enter a world of hundreds of rollups.

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The final vertical which Vitalik Buterin was on a panel for is rollup decentralization and infra.

Espresso Systems shared sequencers are in high demand right now, people want to work with them. Good sign for the space.

Also, Witness Chain is focused on building watchtowers to monitor the currently centralized sequencers for any malicious or fraudulent activity.

All of the DA layers mentioned above also play a part in this vertical…as well as altVMs, to a certain extent.

Overall, I’ve never been more bullish on L2s as I am right now. The space is moving at lightspeed with some of the biggest names actively working to push innovation forward in the name of Ethereum.

To wrap this recap up (I have more to write on my newsletter, link in bio & follow @ayyyeandy to read more reflections), I wanted to point towards the importance of hosting Ethereum events in places like Turkey.

First of all, its a beautiful place with incredible views.

Devconnect at Istanbul

Taxis here are so incredibly cheap, as is food outside of the 5-star hotels or restaurants. Its a country plagued with poorly managed fiscal policy which has led to excessive inflation.

The people here were very kind, aside from the occasional attempted hustle, but can you really blame them?

As this was my first , I must say this was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to and I am grateful to everyone who helped make it so!

For me, its time for some rest on the beach somewhere in Portugal. Maybe catch some waves. Think a little bit about the vision forward. Recover a little bit.

Once that’s done, its all gas no brakes. We’re going on a sprint until EOY and into Q1.

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⚠️ DISCLAIMER: Investing in cryptocurrency and DeFi platforms comes with inherent risks including technical risk, human error, platform failure and more. At certain points throughout this post, we might get a commission for promoting certain projects, if this is the case we will always make sure it is clear. We are strictly an educational content platform, nothing we offer is financial advice. We are not professionals or licensed advisors.


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About the author: We help you explore DeFi onchain w/ foolproof education & relevant research to give you an edge. Focused on L2s. Scaling to mass adoption one block at a time????

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