Barcelona, the bustling metropolis held in balance by relaxing beaches and gorgeous mountains, might very well be the most popular city in which GLOCAL students study. From the city’s stunning architecture to its sunny weather, its rich cultural and historical heritage to its delicious tapas and uproarious fiestas, there is something for everyone in Barcelona! For me, though, the charisma of Barcelona lies in all the great ideas arising from the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
From June 26 – 28, Barcelona hosted the 2022 European Blockchain Convention (EBC). As one of the biggest and most influential blockchain events in Europe, this year’s convention had 50 panels, 150 speakers, and 1,500 attendees. My colleague Evelina and I joined the convention as volunteers, which was a tiring but rewarding experience to top off our GLOCAL semester in Barcelona. Below, we summarize key moments from the convention.
I got the chance to become a volunteer at the convention thanks to the connections I made working on a blockchain-related consultancy project in January, organized through GLOCAL. As a volunteer at the convention, I helped with registration for the VIP networking party, managed the Builder’s Stage panels, and took notes and photos of the panels to provide content for official EBC social media posts. With so much work to do, I did not have much time to listen carefully to the talks, but I did manage to attend some of the panels despite the tight schedule.
One of the most inspiring talks was “Misconceptions About NFTs & Digital Assets,” in which the panelists discussed people’s common concerns about NFTs in the bear market. According to the speakers, NFTs should be viewed as art, rather than as a simple way to make fortune. NFT artists are artists — talented and passionate artists that want to share their artwork with the world — and the only difference is that they use NFT as a format to express their ideas.
Another interesting panel was “Tokenization of Everything,” in which panelists with different professional backgrounds had contrasting opinions about whether everything can be tokenized. One speaker emphasized that since everything can be given value, everything can thus be tokenized. Another speaker countered that this is an oversimplified perspective. Many times, the speaker elaborated, people say that they have tokenized something and tokens have even been released, but this does not mean that tokenization has actually occurred, as data surrounding the tokens has not been taken into account. At the end of the panel, the panelists did not come to a consensus — but I think this is the essence of such panels. People agreed on some issues while debating others, and the discussions remained interesting and functioned perfectly as sparks of inspiration for attendees.
I met so many interesting people with innovative ideas at the convention, and I learned as much from other volunteers as I learned from the speakers themselves. Some people have started their own companies, some are working on preliminary ideas, and some are blockchain instructors at different universities and institutions. Participating in this kind of business convention was humbling, but at the same time, it also showed me possibilities for future career prospects and opportunities!
My European Blockchain Convention experience was amazing! I had the opportunity to connect with a number of startups, established firms, and organizations, and learned about what they are currently trying to achieve and their visions for the future. Furthermore, I met some great people full of creative ideas, both among the attendees and my fellow volunteers. I find it amazing that all of these firms and people are willing to share and discuss their experiences and visions for the future. Finally, I am proud to say that I managed to meet Moises Vela, who previously advised current U.S. president Joe Biden! I hope that in the future I will have the chance to meet these people again and share in their wisdom and experience.
Being part of the GLOCAL program and being able to study in different cities is a truly exciting experience. If you are coming to Barcelona, seize the chance to explore activities that interest you, from dancing to cooking to hiking to learning a new language — among others! Barcelona has a lot to offer, and you will surely be able to find communities to join, courses to take, and activities to partake in, based on your preferences and expertise.