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[Panel Recap] Challenges of Organizing Web3-Related Events

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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday

With the occurrence of physical and face-to-face events within the crypto community for the first time since the pandemic started, representatives from entities that organized such events have shared the challenges they faced when headlining the conferences. The panelists shared this during the end-of-season roundup at the Events Debriefing of Bitcoin, Beer, and Bitstories in Makati City last November 24. 

The panel includes Luis Buenaventura II, the country manager of Yield Guild Games (YGG), and Jen Bilango of BlockchainSpace (BSPC), the two convenors of the Philippine Web3 Fest; Christopher Star of Web3 PH, which organized the Web3 PH Summit; Harvey Javier of Sparklearn, which headlined the Bicol Blockchain Conference; and Emmy Lou Delfin of the ICT Development Bureau of the DICT for the Global Blockchain Summit. The talk was moderated by the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of BitPinas, Michael Mislos. 

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Michael Mislos (BitPinas), Jen Bilango (BlockchainSpace), Harvey Javier (SparkPoint), Emmy Lou-Delfin (DICT), Christopher Star (Green Token), Luis Buenaventura II (YGG)

“There was a lot of crying, there’s a lot of shouting, there’s a lot of creating; there is a lot of drama inherent in all of this,” Buenaventura humored as he discussed the preparation they went through to successfully hold PH Web3 Fest.

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The Philippine Web3 Festival is a week-long premier event in the country that showcased the Philippine metaverse community, covering GameFi, NFTs, DeFi, content creation, and more. The most recognizable companies and organizations, both locally and abroad, attended the festival from November 14 to 18, 2022. (Read more: Here’s Why You Should Attend PH Web3 Festival )

He mentioned that any event with the size and length of the PH Web3 Fest typically takes around 5-6 months of preparation–the festival was only created within 3 months. Buenaventura noted that “it was the most compressed time you could ever expect.”

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“I am saying with all the love in my heart because we were able to get through it,” he stated.

Bilango, on the other hand, affirmed that organizing the event in a short period of time was definitely tough.

“We were given like less than 3 months, we have four organizations– first time working with each other. Usually, we’ll have like at least 50 or 60 people working on a conference this size and we were like (just) 20 buong team. Then, we also have other projects ongoing so we still have our day-to-day operations. So on paper,  it should not have worked, right? But we put in all of the resources, poured our heart and soul because we knew that it will be the first time that we will represent the Philippines in this scene,” she shared.

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Jen Bilango, BlockchainSpace

Bilango also noted that the event was attended by the “big guys” such as Yat Sui of Animoca Brands, Jeffrey Zirlin of Sky Mavis, and others. (Read more: Jihoz Acknowledges Axie PH Community as Axie Open Manila 2022 Concludes)

“We were also curating such that they will have a good experience of the Philippines because this is the first time we are showcasing Filipino talent in the community. So, we had to make sure that the conference and the agenda is such that people would be really interested to listen in and at the same time with side events that makes a crypto conference a crypto conference,” she stated.

Citing the challenges, Buenaventura highlighted that “it is a testament to the end that the team understood what is at stake.“

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Luis Buenaventura, YGG

“This is the Philippines’ first time to really invite this many people from overseas to come here, they will pay for their tickets, we were not paying for anyone’s tickets to come to the Philippines, even our speakers;’ our speakers have to pay their own way to get here. So for us to show them a crappy conference that is poorly organized and poorly executed, I was like ‘they won’t ever come back’ so to us, this is make or break,” he shared.

He even joked that the preparation for the event “broke some of us:”

“But WAGMI, we made it work. We made it. We’re okay but mentally I’m not,” Buenaventura further humored the discussion. Overall, he concluded that it was a great experience and “we’ll try this again next year.” 

On the other hand, Javier also shared their experience in organizing the Bicol Blockchain Conference (BBC) which is one of the biggest crypto and blockchain-focused events this year outside Metro Manila. BBC was a one-day event held in Legazpi City, Albay which featured panel discussions, side sessions, and networking. (Read more: What to Expect at Bicol Blockchain Conference)

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Havey Javier, Sparkpoint

Javier expressed his delight as they successfully pushed through the event and even shared that back in 2019 all they can do within their province is small meetups. He shared that although they experienced difficulties—including him becoming the logistics person who fetched the speakers–the conference was a wrap.

“We ran the event smoothly, maraming um-attend not just in Albay but all the provinces in Bicol, from CamSur (Camarines Sur), Camarines Norte, Catanduanes;(we had) wide audiences from SMNEs, start ups, government, students–not just in tech but more on the business side–they were very interested in blockchain talaga,” he shared.

Star also shared how they organized Web3PH Summit 2022, its first edition of community-run, web3-related events at Draper Startup House in Makati City, Philippines, from October 28 to 29, 2022. It was a two-day hybrid event that had the participation of web3 industry experts, builders, artists, and entrepreneurs. (Read more: Web3PH Summit 2022 to Debut First Edition of Community-Run, Web3-Related Events)

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He revealed that for them, one of their main challenges was money, as most of their members are volunteers, followed by finding an event partner for the venue. Star shared that they had to search for hotels and places that would fit the number of people they were eyeing, for–which he then expressed his gratitude for the Draper Startup House, where they conducted the summit. Then, he disclosed that their next challenge is that all of their admins are working full time and they had little time to prepare and squeeze the event planning in. 

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Christopher Star, Green Token

After these were resolved, Star expressed his gratitude towards their partners, such as YGG and BlockchainSpace, which showed support for their event.

“We were very lucky to have partners supporting us because otherwise we would have venues but we wouldn’t have any budget for everything else,” he stated.

Consequently, the biggest crypto, blockchain, and web3 events in the country to date are no longer just initiated by private sectors and organizations as the government also had its own this year. The first-ever annual Global Blockchain Summit (GBS) was made possible by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) through the ICT Industry Development Bureau (IIDB). (Read more: Global Blockchain Summit to Happen in Bataan)

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Emmy Delfin, DICT

For their motivation to initiate the event, Delfin stated that the DICT has been supporting and working with the industry for over a decade, then, two years ago, she shared that she was invited to a blockchain conference; after that, in 2021, she disclosed that several companies have contacted their department for support.

“Then, a few months ago several companies actually went to our office and had a meeting with us, particularly AFAB… Bataan has actually (become) a blockchain city because they’ve been hosting emerging tech, blockchain companies.. So we started conceptualizing the conduct of that first ever Global Blockchain Summit and the local government there, the governor, the congressman, the mayor was very excited,” she shared.

She added that the event was conducive as they successfully gathered the key players and stakeholders of the industry in our country—the event also had the participation of international companies and individuals. 

Following this, the event was concluded successfully as local leaders and organizations established the Web3 Alliance and signed a solidarity statement pledging an alliance with the government to further improve and support the blockchain initiatives in the Philippines. (Read more: Local Web3 Leaders Answers Gov’t Call with Solidarity Statement)

This article is published on BitPinas: [Panel Recap] Challenges of Organizing Web3-Related Events

Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.