In an exclusive interview, Awosika Israel Ayodeji, founder of Web3bridge, delves into the genesis and significance of the Web3 Lagos Conference—an immersive 3-day event designed to catalyze the growth of blockchain technology in Nigeria and Africa. With a focus on technical workshops, insightful sessions, and fostering inclusive dialogues, the conference has quickly emerged as a pivotal platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and exploration of cutting-edge trends in the Web3 space.
Read the Interview below:
Can you share with us the inspiration behind starting the Web3 Lagos Conference and what impact it has had on the blockchain community in Nigeria and Africa so far?
In late 2021, I announced plans to host a conference, but we were not ready and had to cancel. In 2022, I was scheduled to speak at the Ethereum Community Conference (ETHCC) in Paris, but my visa was denied. This made me realize the need to host a conference in Nigeria to bring the community together and allow people like me to participate in the growth of Ethereum and blockchain without being hindered by visa restrictions.
As the founder of Web3bridge, what were your main goals in establishing this conference, and how have they evolved since the inaugural event?
The goal was to replicate the success of ETHCC, which I first attended. I wanted to bring the community together and ensure that we were discussing high-level technical topics, rather than running an event where people only came to talk about cryptocurrency and speculate on prices. The inaugural event was even bigger than I had imagined, not in terms of the number of attendees, but in terms of the quality of the topics, speakers, and post-event feedback.
The Web3 Lagos Conference is known for its technical workshops and sessions. Could you provide a sneak peek into some of the exciting topics that attendees can look forward to this year?
This year we will be running over 15 developer focused workshops, and other workshops covering all areas of the Web3 ecosystem for newbies and those who are already established in the ecosystem. We will touch on account abstraction, smart contract audit, getting into blockchain, finding and securing jobs. We will be having a 60-minutes Q&A session with the founder of Ethereum, we will also be having an African focus web3 session. We are also having two sessions for Web3 startups this year.
With the blockchain and Web3 landscape rapidly evolving, how does the conference adapt to ensure attendees receive up-to-date insights and knowledge about the latest trends?
All the speakers at the conference are active participants in the blockchain ecosystem and will be sharing relevant, up-to-date information and value. In addition to the formal interactions, we will be exploring evening side events to foster robust conversations and interactions.
Collaboration is key in the tech industry. How has the Web3 Lagos Conference facilitated connections and partnerships within the blockchain community in Nigeria and across Africa?
We are collaborating with some truly amazing teams, projects, and individuals for this conference. The team at AyaHQ (https://www.ayahq.com) has been our most amazing collaborator for this conference, as they are running the first ever Ayathion, which is the hackathon for the conference. They have been very helpful in inviting high-level speakers and individuals. Additionally, other blockchain communities in Nigeria and Africa have been very helpful, including the University blockchain clubs, Web3 Afrika, Guild Audit, Stackshift, ETHAccra, ETHCameroon, and Consonance club. Web3 Lagos has received sponsorship from Ethos (Metacartel), IQ wiki, Ethereum ecosystem support, Starkware, Base, Onboard by Nestcoin, Polytope Labs, Alphaday, Blockops, INTMAX, Coinex, QuillAudit, Streameth
Can you walk us through the highlights of the 3-day conference? What can attendees expect from the technical workshops, sessions, and the final day of keynote and panel discussions?
Day 1& 2 are the workshop sessions, the comprehensive schedule is available on the event website (https://event.web3bridge.com/). The goal of the first two days of the conference is to help attendees learn and master the most recent relevant topics in Web3, regardless of their role in the ecosystem or their level of experience. The last day will feature keynote speeches from speakers around the world on a variety of topics.
Building a thriving blockchain ecosystem requires bringing various stakeholders together. How does the Web3 Lagos Conference foster dialogue between developers, investors, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts?
The conference will bring together startup founders and coaches, developers, product managers, designers, content & marketing experts, and others from diverse backgrounds. Unlike traditional conferences where attendees merely sit and listen, this conference will foster enhanced networking between all attendees and speakers to promote high-level stakeholder engagement.
In what ways has the conference contributed to creating awareness and promoting blockchain education among individuals who may be new to this technology?
The inaugural edition of the conference attracted over a hundred attendees who had no prior knowledge of blockchain technology. However, they gained so much knowledge about the technology that they are now contributors to the field. This year, we have seen registration from university lecturers and others who are just hearing about blockchain for the first time and are curious to learn more.
Africa has shown increasing interest in blockchain technology. How does the Web3 Lagos Conference contribute to positioning the continent as a hub for innovation in the blockchain and Web3 space?
To date, we have received applications from leading figures in the global blockchain ecosystem, who are coming from over seven European countries and the United States. We believe that they are coming to learn about our ecosystem and make sound deductions about it. Additionally, seeing that other Africans are coming and the engagements we are already having, we are confident that the positive outcomes of the Web3 Lagos Conference will be taken to the next level in other blockchain communities in Africa.
Diversity and inclusion are important aspects of any tech community. How does the conference ensure that underrepresented groups have a voice and presence at the event?
This is of the utmost importance to us, and we have continued to garner support for these groups, especially. Last year, we featured women working in web3, and our program has received more applications from these groups to learn web3 technologies. This year, we have gone a step further by creating inclusive programs tailored to meet the growing needs of these groups.
The blockchain space is known for its rapid shifts and disruptions. How does the Web3 Lagos Conference adapt its content and format to stay relevant amidst these changes?
The discussions and workshops held during the conference, as well as the topics presented by the speakers, reflected the changes and disruptions that are currently taking place in the blockchain ecosystem.
Could you share some success stories or examples of projects or collaborations that were initiated or nurtured through connections made at previous editions of the conference?
Last year, the hackathon spawned many teams that are now building various projects that are beneficial to the ecosystem. I believe that these projects, when launched, will create more value and solidify the conference’s reputation as a launchpad for future developments.
With the ongoing pandemic, many events have shifted to virtual formats. How has the Web3 Lagos Conference navigated these challenges while still maintaining its engagement and impact?
It is true that we have not been immune to the effects of the economic downturn, but we have been able to carve out a niche for ourselves. We believe in organic growth, which has always been part of our ethos, and this sets us apart from the crowd. I must say that we are a community-first organization, and we have the support of the community at large in achieving our goals.
As the conference continues to grow, what future developments or expansions are you excited about for the Web3 Lagos Conference?
We anticipate covering more ground and developments in the field of Ethereum development, while also contributing to the 100 million developers for Ethereum initiative that gave rise to Web3Bridge. The conference will continue to feature thought leaders within the industry, as well as individuals from the web2 space. We are confident that the conference will be the largest event in West Africa focused on Ethereum and blockchain development.
Yes. Can you stipulate numbers of countries where you have received applications so far?
Applications have been received from over seven African countries, seven European countries, the United States of America, and one country in Asia.
Lastly, what message would you like to convey to individuals who are considering attending the Web3 Lagos Conference this year, and how do you envision the event’s role in shaping the future of the blockchain industry in Africa?
The blockchain space is often associated with hype and excitement, but our focus is on bringing together builders, doers, and enthusiasts. I am confident that the conversations at this event will increase passion for contribution in the ecosystem. My advice to everyone attending the conference is to not get caught up in the hype, but to connect, network, and contribute where and when appropriate.