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Top takeaways from the decentralization panel at Consensus

June 17, 2024 in Decentralization, Consensus
Avatarby Polkadot

Consensus by Coindesk 2024: a blockbuster success

From May 29 to 31st, thousands of blockchain, finance, and crypto professionals descended upon Austin, Texas for the Consensus by Coindesk event. Polkadot took center stage as a sponsor with a standout booth, appearances from brand sponsor Conor Daly, and a variety of decentralized projects that kept the booth buzzing. 

While the booth activity, side events, and networking convos were a highlight for many, other draws were the talks and panel discussions held by industry leaders. One standout of Thursday's agenda was John Linden, CEO of Mythical Games, who announced a new partnership with Pudgy Penguins and the development of a new game, slated for 2025.

Watch the presentation

Key takeaways from Polkadot leaders 

On Friday, the spotlight was on Polkadot’s ecosystem leaders Fabian Gompf, CEO of Web3 Foundation, and Chrissy Hill, Chief Legal Officer (and interim COO) at Parity Technologies, with host David Wachsman, CEO of Wachsman. In a fireside-style chat titled, “Decentralization in Action: Going Beyond the Nodes,” the panel broke down pivotal governance changes in the Polkadot ecosystem and discussed Polkadot’s commitment to true decentralization, leading the way for the entire industry.

Watch the fireside chat

Here are some key takeaways from the talk:

Polkadot is radically changing, while remaining true to its ethos

When asked about Polkadot’s origin story, Gompf reminded listeners that from the earliest days of the network, a shared ethos of decentralization was Polkadot’s guiding light. Fast forward to today, decentralization remains at the heart of the sophisticated technology and ever-evolving ecosystem.

“It’s taking a bold stance on interoperability and scalability, on governance, and on the technical freedom developers can have.” - Gompf, highlighting Polkadot’s core ethos since its early days.

Since the Polkadot Whitepaper was released in 2016, the network has continued to grow and evolve, driven by a commitment to decentralized innovation. To improve the network and developer experience, new developments like Async Backing, Elastic Scaling, and Gavin Wood’s recent release of the JAM Gray Paper have been announced. These efforts from the engineering and product minds behind Polkadot are designed to make the technology more scalable, interoperable, and ultimately, easier for new builders to harness.

But Polkadot’s goals for decentralization go beyond its tech. 

Decentralization: not just a buzzword for Polkadot

While Polkadot boasts a strong stance on decentralization for its tech, this core value goes beyond the nodes. The extent of Polkadot’s commitment to decentralization was most recently exercised across Parity Technologies, the company that held most of the responsibilities for the network’s engineering, product, and go-to-market functions. In October 2023, the decision was made to sunset its go-to-market function.  Controversial? You bet. But there's a measured rationale behind this move.

Hill candidly admitted that while the change was difficult and sparked many conversations, the impetus to relinquish Polkadot’s go-to-market function to decentralized contributors was to empower the community to take the reins.

This bold idea was made possible through the launch of OpenGov, an open, on-chain governance structure that enables full community participation, collaboration, and ownership of the network. 

Empowering Polkadot’s future through decentralization

The full decentralization of Polkadot through OpenGov gives a megaphone to diverse voices and ensures that Polkadot’s journey is powered by collective wisdom.

“It is a commitment to achieving empowerment of many different voices, diverse voices within a community, and I think it’s a natural human tendency to want to keep that in one place and keep it centralized, but actually– it’s much more powerful, much more inclusive, and ultimately it’s much more successful to the longevity of the tech.” —Chrissy Hill, Chief Legal Officer, and interim COO, Parity Technologies

In short, Polkadot’s leaders have a clear message: the future is decentralized, inclusive, and powered by the community. And if the buzz at Consensus is any indication, the Polkadot community is well on its way to making that future a reality.

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