DENVER — ETHDenver, the world's largest cryptocurrency and blockchain festival in the world, launched its first day of main events at the National Western Complex in Denver Thursday.
By now, you've probably heard of cryptocurrency. It's essentially a digital currency that isn't reliant on any government or central bank. The infrastructure that supports it is blockchain, which is basically a decentralized online ledger.
More and more people are becoming interested in the crypto space, and the numbers show it.
A record breaking 30,000-plus registrations for ETHDenver's sixth year, typically hosted at Downtown's Sport's Castle, prompted a new venue this year — the National Western Complex.
"We'll have more people this year than the first five years combined," John Paller, ETHDenver's founder, told Denver7 Thursday. "They're coming here from over 110 countries."
The event is primarily a four-day gathering of cryptocurrency enthusiasts, leaders and company owners in the blockchain world who network, interact and learn about the next cutting edge ideas that all aim to build more blockchain products and services.
This year around, the increasing interest in cryptocurrency has attracted a higher volume of a certain crowd unseen in years past.
"Probably half of the people that are here are in this crypto-curious bucket, where they're not really sure where they fit in. They're not really sure what they might want to build, but it's like, they're curious. This is part of the reason why we don't charge for people to come," Paller said.
More than 30% of participants are from Colorado, and the event is expected to generate between $30 million and $50 million for the local economy.
It's no coincidence that Colorado is the home base for ETHDenver each year. Governor Jared Polis, a speaker at the event, has actively pushed for a crypto-friendly Colorado in an effort attract more blockchain businesses and leaders to the state.
In fact, Colorado is the first state in the nation to accept cryptocurrency as payment for state taxes, which began in September 2022.
So far, only 11 payments using cryptocurrency, totaling about $20,000, have been received by the Department of Revenue. That figure is expected to increase if and when the state becomes more flexible with the various ways cryptocurrencies can be sent to the state.