ICYMI: Scootering Through Web3 at NEAR APAC's Vietnam Showcase – NEAR Protocol

ICYMI: Scootering Through Web3 at NEAR APAC’s Vietnam Showcase

September 18, 2023

It was an incredible first-ever NEAR APAC, with the NEAR ecosystem scootering through Saigon over the last two days. Vietnam served as the perfect backdrop for NEAR’s inaugural showcase in Asia-Pacific, with community members, B.O.S. builders, and general Web3 enthusiasts coming together in one of the region’s most dynamic countries.

The event was spearheaded by the NEAR Vietnam Hub with support from the NEAR Foundation, exemplifying strong commitment and collaboration between local and global ecosystem stakeholders.  ICYMI, here are some of the biggest sessions, announcements, and events from NEAR APAC 2023.

ICYMI, here are some of the biggest sessions, announcements, and events from NEAR APAC 2023.

Web3’s bright investment outlook in Asia-Pacific

One of the most encouraging and optimistic sessions was moderated by NEAR’s Head of Finance, David Norris, focusing on the current and future outlook of blockchain investment and development in the region. David was joined by Web3 venture veterans Riccardo Pagano from Outlier Ventures and Whiplus Wang of IVC crypto.

The trio dove into the current state of blockchain investment in APAC, and how Web3 might just ascend to becoming one of the most invested sectors in the region from a venture and infrastructure perspective. Ricardo in particular emphasized that he’s seeing a shift in perception from investors, with Web3 going from a niche technology to its own broad-based sector.

“Even though we’re technically in a bear market, investment in Web3 sub-sectors like gaming is still strong,” added Whiplus. “Games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja were instrumental in onboarding Web2 users onto the smartphone, for example. That’s why investment into blockchain game publishers is increasing — to find that killer game that onboards billions.”

Whiplus also likened successful blockchain startups to a bowl of Pho, with a blend of technical and business elements being integral to a delicious final dish. The panel also touched on technical nuances like ZK rollups and modular blockchains, emphasizing the need to invest in talent and innovation through initiatives like hackathons.

The session encapsulated a forward-looking perspective on Web3’s trajectory. With the bar for founder participation evidently rising, the panel stressed the importance of education in the space. There was unanimous optimism about Southeast Asia’s digital future as potentially outpacing even established tech hubs like Korea and Japan.

NEAR supports B.O.S. and blockchain builders in APAC

Tons of activity also took place in and around the Builder Stage, with the NEAR Foundation and local blockchain organizations teaming up to educate and assist developers, builders, and job seekers in advancing themselves into Web3. Cameron Dennis, CEO of Banyan, led a panel on the stage informing developers on how to upskill from Web2 to Web3.

Local developer advocates from notable projects like the Graph and Khyber network also participated in sessions, workshops, and panels on the Builder Stage designed to upskill local blockchain professionals. There was something for everyone, from a job fair for Web3 newbies to a Greenhouse area connecting founders and projects to VCs for funding.

Exploring everything from dApp architecture to tokenomics, the Builder Stage action was highlighted by an incredible Hackathon, with participants receiving guidance from experts like Oleg Fomenko, founder of SWEAT. On the final night of the festivities, NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin presented awards to the winners on stage in front of a packed main hall.

Pagoda takes the main stage to talk user adoption and FastAuth

Alex Chiocchi, the CPO of Pagoda, showcased FastAuth during his session titled “Unlocking the Power of B.O.S: Product Update for Founders & Developers.” FastAuth aims to redefine the user experience for developers and founders, addressing the longstanding challenges of both onboarding and retaining new Web3 users.

A primary takeaway was how FastAuth’s next release will minimize gas fees when onboarding, thus removing barriers for end-users. The introduction of multiparty compute (MPC) allows proofs from various organizations to be combined, simplifying processes like email recovery. Chiocchi emphasized the potential for users to migrate effortlessly from Web2 logins, hinting at a seamless integration between the two web generations.

Discussing the nuances of retaining users in Web3, Chiocchi stressed that coin incentives alone aren’t sufficient. The “toothbrush test” was highlighted, illustrating that many apps don’t become daily necessities for users. Trust plays a pivotal role, especially with the rise of scams in the decentralized space. 

Side events and after-parties storm the streets of Saigon

NEAR APAC fully embraced the “work hard, play hard” ethos of Vietnam and Asia-Pacific. Even during the event, there were LED dancers, Manga Cosplay, and several massive DJs and party breaks. Not to mention the NEAR APAC Opening Night party at the Intercontinental Hotel, where Illia officially welcomed attendees and kicked things off in an intimate setting.

And in one of the coolest side events in recent NEAR memory, Dap Dap showcased its platform to B.O.S. enthusiasts at the My House meeting venue nestled in one of Saigon’s many cozily-lit alleyways. Dap Dap is the first commercial B.O.S. product and will act as a gateway to hundreds of chains and protocols for users from a single, user-friendly interface.

B.O.S Beats by DAO Records was the grand finale of NEAR APAC, offering a vibrant blend of hip-hop beats from prominent DJs on the decentralized record label. Held at Indika Saigon — and with pizza supplied by Pizza DAO — attendees enjoyed live performances, refreshments, and networking opportunities with the global and APAC NEAR communities. 

NEAR APAC was an incredible Web3 Bánh Mì, layering an eclectic mix of speakers, insights, and events to create something completely unique. The NEAR Foundation would like to thank every cook in the kitchen, especially local partners like the NEAR Vietnam Hub who made sure that the first ever NEAR APAC had the perfect mix of sweet, sour, and spicy.

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