ETHGlobal Hackathon Kicks Off in Tokyo With First Ever Pragma Summit

As previously announced by ETHGlobal, the first-ever Pragma summit kicked off the wider ETHGlobal Tokyo hackathon on Thursday as a “hub for high-quality talks and as a forum of discussion for builders and leaders from the Ethereum ecosystem and beyond.” The event, emceed by Kartik Talwar of ETHGlobal, featured on-stage interviews with Aya Miyaguchi of the Ethereum Foundation, Juan Benet of Protocol Labs, The Network State author and bitcoin proponent Balaji Srinivasan, and Stani Kulechov of Aave Companies. Product announcements were also made by several featured speakers.

First-Ever ‘Pragma’ Summit Lands in Tokyo

On April 13, Ethereum proponents from around the globe converged on Tokyo’s Shibuya ward, at the Digital Garage, to engage in on-stage interviews, product announcements, and networking. The application-only Pragma event is said to be the first ever in-person version of such summits for ETHGlobal, and kicked off the wider ETHGlobal Tokyo hackathon which lasts until Sunday, April 16.

Kartik Talwar, co-founder of ETHGlobal, began the series of interviews by inviting Aya Miyaguchi, the executive director at the Ethereum Foundation, to the stage.

Miyaguchi commented on the general culture in Japan, saying people are very humble and “there are a lot of talented developers, but it’s not embraced enough.” She went on: “At a company … management makes the decisions and they tell developers what to build.” She emphasized:

But the Ethereum way is that you need to include these developers in the idea generation, brainstorming stage.

Miyaguchi noted: “One thing Japan is very good at … They are good at team work.” The executive director says this is a real strength and that Japanese are diligent to learn new things like programming languages, but events like the hackathon and the Ethereum community can “teach or inspire” a new way of openness outside of the traditional cultural constraints.

Juan Benet of Protocol Labs spoke on the creation of IPFS, preserving archives on blockchains, and future possibilities for various blockchain transformations, stating:

My prediction is that most of these chains are going to recombine in super interesting ways … some L1s [layer one] will turn into L2s, some L2s will turn into L1s, and it won’t matter that much in the long term.

He noted that blockchains should be able to scale much more than what people think is possible, noting “scaling laws work” and citing similar structures that already exist.

“Today, we’re reaching for tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of transactions per second on each chain,” Benet noted. “We need to be reaching for billions or trillions of transactions per second. That’s the real benchmark. The moment where you can have something like all of Twitter built onchain … that’s the kind of scalability that we need.”

Stani Kulechov, founder and CEO at Aave, discussed among other topics ways to make products more customizable by users:

If you think about most of the products in the world, you really can’t go and make a pull request. You can’t go and make a pull request to your iPhone or your Android phone and expect something good to happen if your idea’s good and you fix the problem. But what if in the future you can actually build this way? Protocols, products, and algorithms. And it’s possible when you build things in a more open way.

Rounding out the day’s talks was tech entrepreneur, author, and angel investor Balaji Srinivasan, who though unable to join in-person, delivered a politically and philosophically-charged remote presentation on the fall of Western fiat currencies. He also gave an extended Q&A session.

Srinivasan told attendees that Eastern fiat currencies like the Chinese renminbi and Indian rupee may outlast Western currencies like the U.S. dollar.

He also explained why he made his now famous million-dollar bitcoin bets, citing the current global financial chaos, clarifying:

I’ll have an update on the bet also soon … I think it’ll be satisfying of course for everybody. The reason I did that was to draw attention to this crisis.

Product Announcements

Between interviews, attendees of Pragma heard talks and watched presentations on several product announcements. Presentations included Masa ‘Senshi’ Kikuchi of Secured Finance, Lukas Schor of Safe, Harsh Rajat of Push Protocol, and Jason Goldberg of Airstack.

The wider ETHGlobal Tokyo Hackathon will be ongoing through Sunday, April 16. Follow News to receive updates on the event, including thoughts from participating builders and engineers testing new ideas and competing for $375,000 in prizes.

What are your thoughts on the first Ethereum Pragma conference? Let us know in the comments section below.