Colombia is an Unexplored Paradise of Talent, Says Cosmoverse Conference Co-Founder
September 2, 2022 — The second edition of Cosmoverse, the largest annual Cosmos Ecosystem conference, is taking place in Medellin, Colombia, on September 26-28, 2022.
Cosmos, a complete technology stack that aims to create an “Internet of Blockchains” by improving interoperability, is building a name for itself as one of the most diverse ecosystems in crypto.
As a Layer 0, Cosmos is providing the tools for projects to launch their own customized blockchain, tailored to their needs – specifically the Cosmos SDK. In addition, the Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol (IBC) allows chains in the ecosystem to communicate seamlessly, removing the need for bridges to transfer assets.
This combination provides a powerful toolkit from which projects can build and expand their own ecosystem, without compromising interoperability.
Hello Juri, please tell us more about yourself and what brought you to the world of crypto in general, and to the Cosmos ecosystem specifically?
I’ve been in crypto for a couple of years now, joining the industry in the deepest bear market. It was a good friend of mine, who’s also now my business partner at Cosmoverse, who introduced me to cryptocurrencies. I set up my first startup in crypto during my university time, and then we decided to move to Lisbon because the crypto community here is absolutely booming.
We met a couple of other friends in Lisbon, we were all interested in Cosmos, and this is actually how Cosmoverse started.
So we can say that Cosmoverse is more of a community coordinated event rather than an official Cosmos ecosystem conference?
Yes, it’s basically us four dudes from the community who are organizing the conference. Initially, we planned it like a rather small event for around 100 people, but then we also talked to some important people at Cosmos, such as Sunny Agarwal, and they said that they will support us. We are very thankful to all these people who supported us because without them it would not be possible.
It all started about six weeks before the Lisbon Blockchain Week when we realized that there will be lots of crypto conferences in town. There was a NEAR conference, an Ethereum conference, and an Aethereum hackathon, and so we said that we had to do something for Cosmos as well, because people were interested in Cosmos, and we personally like the project.
Juri Maibaum, Cosmoverse co-founder
How successful was the inaugural Cosmoverse conference?
We had around 750 people on the ground in Lisbon, and then we streamed the event live, and it was like several thousand people who were watching the entire live stream. So it got quite a lot of traction.
And what, in our view, is even more important is that projects like, for example, Quicksilver or Crescent that are now very important for the Cosmos ecosystem, were actually born at Cosmoverse. We brought all the Cosmos people into one room where they had a chance to talk to each other and start developing things, and because of that we now have more projects in the cosmos ecosystem.
Now, moving into the second year, you are going to host Cosmoverse in Colombia. Why exactly Colombia, which is notorious for its high crime rate and drug cartels, and not any other big country in South America?
I would say that South America was an obvious pick, because most national currencies there, including the Colombian peso, are very inflationary. People are basically escaping the national system of currencies and turning to crypto.
There’s also a lot of talent in South America that is being observed right now, lots of developers are coming from the region these days. All this makes South America a very interesting market with a lot of potential for adoption.
But why Colombia and why Medellin? Yes, it’s true that Medellin has kind of a dark past, so to say. But this is also where the opportunity lies, because a lot of people have a bad image of Medellin. But if nobody goes there, then there’s a lot of unexplored chances, and this is what we really see there.
Actually, Medellin has developed a lot throughout the past couple of years, lots of tech startups are being founded here, and the mayor of the city is very open to new technologies. There’s also a new president in Colombia, who is doing a great job so far and also supports these new initiatives.
So, I would say that Colombia is an unexplored paradise when it comes to emerging talent, and because many people don’t know about this, we want to change that.
Besides, there’s also the Devcon 6 conference taking place in Bogota shortly after us, and some important hackathons in Medellin, so there will be a lot of traction in Colombia. And this is why we chose Medellin, which, in my view, is also one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Many people probably still wonder how safe it would be to travel to Colombia, and specifically to Medellin?
I’ve been to Medellin twice, and my business partner used to live there, and it all was pretty safe. But you also have to keep in mind that Medellin is a large city in South America with about 5 million inhabitants. While I felt it was very safe, like in every other major city you have to be a little bit careful. If you arrive in New York, you also have to look out and watch where your wallet is, where your mobile phone is, because you are in a big city.
Of course, it’s still South America and there are one or two areas that you one hundred percent shouldn’t visit, or be a little bit cautious here and there. Also, the crime rates and murder rates are lower in Medellin compared to most of the American cities. Anyway, while statistically Medellin is a pretty safe city, you have to remember that you’re going to a large city in South America, so just be responsible and don’t do super stupid stuff.
Cosmoverse 2022 will be held at the InterContinental Medellin Hotel
What the upcoming Comoverse 2022 will be like, who will be attending the event and what kind of talks people can expect?
Firstly, we will have lots of various announcements, including a very, very big announcement that will change the future of the Cosmos ecosystem forever, but it’s something I can’t talk too much about now.
And then we also offer workshops — we will have lots of developers on the ground that are coming here to learn about the Cosmos tools. So I think this will be very, very interesting to see.
The attendees will be primarily from South America, but we also expect large numbers of visitors from the US, Europe, and Asia.
Are there any important side events planned aside from the main conference?
Yes, we have around ten side events set in stone already. Delphi Capital will have a nice side event, Loop Finance will host a huge party on the 27th of September, which will also be very interesting to see, and we will host a huge after party on the last day of the conference, which all attendees will be able to attend. We’ve rented a whole club for around 1,000 to 1,500 people for that.
Besides all of that, some of our friends will organize a Juno hackathon on the 1st of October, and this will also be one of the most exciting side events that will take place in Medellin at this time of the year.
On a personal note, what do you think about the broader crypto ecosystem at its current stage of development? What projects excite you most and what role, in your view, will Cosmos play in the future of the crypto industry?
The crypto industry was hit hard in the past couple of months because of macroeconomic factors, but nonetheless we can see that developments are going on.
This makes me very excited about the future of crypto, but more specifically I am excited about the Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol (IBC). IBC is a communication standard that allows blockchains to communicate with each other without relying on bridges. As we have seen recently, bridges tend to be not the most secure technology in the crypto industry, we saw many, many exploits, and IBC is much safer in that regard. This is what I am generally most excited about, and I’d like to see the adoption of IBC throughout the crypto industry.
Elsewhere, maybe it will be a boring answer, but I’m still very excited about Ethereum, because The Merge is around the corner. I believe it will work out and we won’t see big problems — according to the devs, everything should work out pretty fine. And if we combine all of these major projects that are doing such great groundwork, I think there’s nothing that could stop the industry.
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