From ZKPs to the future of music/Web3: What we learned at DevCon

Last week, several Water & Music community members attended DevCon in Bogotá, Colombia to take the pulse on the cutting edge of global Ethereum development.

For the uninitiated: DevCon is one of the largest Ethereum developer conferences in the world, featuring advanced talks and workshops from a global slate of Web3 developers, DAO leaders, academic researchers, designers, and other Ethereum-native practitioners. This year’s DevCon was the first since 2019 due to the pandemic, and certainly the most expansive to date in terms of size and programming, with 200+ hours of talks and 6,000+ attendees from 130+ countries.

Key conference tracks this year included but were not limited to Developer Infrastructure, Governance & Coordination, Opportunity & Global Impact, Layer 2s, Cryptoeconomics, and UX & Design; there were also several side summits allowed attendees to dive deeper into specific niches within Web3, such as Schelling Point (DAOs and public-goods funding) and the Web3 App Summit (more product-focused Web3 developer discussions). And, of course, there were the parties. Several organizations and communities in music, culture, and Web3, including Sona, Seed Club, Mochi, and Serotonin, pulled up and staged memorable dinners, showcases, and raves throughout the evenings, providing the social glue for attendees beyond the walls of the Agora Bogotá Convention Center.

To reflect on the experience, 12 community members and staff at Water & Music came together to write a collaborative recap of key takeaways, highlights, and concerns from DevCon. We asked each member to share three to five bullet points in their own voice, with as much or as little detail as they saw fit. The points could be technical and/or non-technical; referring to specific talks or workshops, and/or commenting on the general atmosphere or vibe of the event.

All of us have a distinct lens on Web3 driven by on-the-ground experiences in music and culture — perspectives that understandably were not as highly represented at the official conference. So, our primary goal with this recap is to connect the dots between the more technical, cutting-edge discussions taking place among Ethereum developers, and what artists and the music industry can expect (and how they can best prepare) in terms of potential upcoming changes to music/Web3 apps and use cases.

You can read each member’s takeaways by scrolling down below, organized in alphabetical order by last name. You’ll notice a few throughlines across our contributions. Many of us are walking away from DevCon thinking about:

You’ll also find many fun tidbits and recommendations for how to make the most of the conference experience outside of original programming.

Ultimately, we all left with many new connections, research agendas, and product ideas, and look forward to future gatherings of W&M members at other Web3 and music events around the world. 🙂

Andres Botero

Andres (a.k.a. Colombo) spends a lot of time thinking about the articulation of Web3 innovation technology and intellectual property and its potential impact on artist development. As a W&M contributor, he co-led our splits protocol research project (which he presented on at DevCon), served as a core contributor to our Spanish translation efforts around our Web3 research, and helps out frequently across several other season-agnostic projects.

Alec D’Alelio

Alec is in charge of ecosystem & integrations at Mochi — a coordination game protocol for DAOs, remote teams, and Web3 communities, in which players set goals relative to the organization, form teams, stake ether, and share insights to achieve their goals. He is also a founding member of BeetsDAO and Campfire, two organizations pushing the boundaries of web3 music. In his free time, he writes songs and produces music, and is currently preparing to release his debut collection on

Nicole d’Avis

Nicole is co-creator at Seed Club, a Web3 accelerator and the leading network for DAO builders, with alumni including Water & Music, Refraction, Cabin, Boys Club and Krause House. Prior to Seed Club, she ran the Open Music Initiative, a network exploring blockchain and the music industry, and Berklee College of Music’s Creative Entrepreneurship Institute.

Alex Flores

Alex leads tech and strategy at Water & Music.

Dan Fowler

As director of open-source projects at HIFI Labs, Dan leads neume, a project that aims to index all Web3 music activity. He previously led strategy at ICE, JAAK, and PRS for Music. As a W&M contributor, he’s written on music NFT metadata and a “post-royalties” music industry, and contributed to v1 of our music NFT contract template.

Nick George

Nick George is an event producer, experimental musician, filmmaker, and sushi chef currently working for the Web3 marketing company Serotonin.

Cherie Hu

Cherie is the founder and publisher of Water & Music.

And now for a characteristically lengthy answer from me 😉 I spent most of my time at DevCon hanging with music/Web3 folks at side events and coffee chats, and the handful of official talks I attended were mostly on the governance/coordination and UX/design tracks. From the vantage point of leading Water & Music, I was most interested in sharpening my higher-level mental models for a) what makes an effective DAO today, and b) what are the smoothest and most compelling interfaces and participant journeys we can build for cultural professionals (and everyday people) in Web3.

My takeaways:

Clearer frameworks and language for “DAO strategy”

Stubborn DAO problems

Localization as a necessary Web3 strategy

The need for more culture-first perspectives in Web3 dev discussions

Marcus Martinez

Marcus is an artist evangelist, creative technologist, and experiential designer. As a W&M contributor, he has been one of the core contributors to our Spanish translation efforts around our Web3 research, and has contributed interviewing, writing, and analysis across our season and season-agnostic projects.

Vaughn McKenzie

Vaughn works on DAO Finance at Butter and writes at Scarce Objects. He previously founded JAAK, a blockchain music rights network.

Rahul Rumalla

Rahul is the Co-Founder of Otterspace, and previously worked at SoundCloud as Head of Integrations and at Paperchain as CTO/Co-Founder. He has been working at the intersection of Web3 and music/community for six years.

Nick Susi

Nick is the Executive Director of Strategy at dotdotdash, an innovation company building future-forward brand experiences at the intersection of culture and technology. Lately, he’s been conducting research about the perceptions and behaviors surround web3 and the metaverse, and has been building IRL events leveraging Web3 technology to augment the experience for attendees. You can read his research about how to onboard communities into Web3 at scale on Complex.


Hi, 👁 am sweetman.eth (sweets), aka the music nft engineer. i am building free & credibly neutral hyperstructures for musicians to leverage web3 🎹. All of my thoughts are CC0 / MIT license / open-source. learn more: 🐇🕳

Tom Vieira

Tom is a smart contract developer, passionate about building products and incentives that provide opportunities for creative and technical talent that might not have an opportunity otherwise. As a W&M contributor, he was one of the core analysts and interviewers for our Season 2 report on music and the metaverse.

Pro tip: The full archive of recordings of DevCon talks and workshops is now available for free on their website.

Some recommended places to start:

ELI5 (“explain like I’m 5”) introductions:


DAOs + public goods

UX and communications