Crypto Bigwigs Attend Token2049 Dubai in Droves Despite Raging Floods 

Crypto Bigwigs Attend Token2049 Dubai in Droves Despite Raging Floods 

The annual Token2049 crypto conference in Dubai continued as planned this week, even as heavy rains swept through the United Arab Emirates (UAE), causing massive flooding.

Thousands of attendees were reportedly left stranded after storms dumped more than a year and half’s rain in the city-state of Dubai within 24 hours, flooding major roads, airports, and even hotels.

Some attendees of Token2049, known for its lavish atmosphere, joked about “liquidity” as they shared videos on social media of people negotiating their way through the flooded conference floor.

However, after initial delays for some people, the main stage event of the Token2049 conference, a flagship meeting attended by the who’s who of the cryptocurrency industry, proceeded as planned.

The summit, which was sold out, took place at the five-star hotel resort Madinat Jumeirah from Apr. 18-19, with 10,000 participants from around the world discussing the future of web3 and crypto.

Also read: Dubai-Based Zeebu Hits $1 Billion in Web3 Settlement Transactions

Talking web3 business in Dubai

According to its website, Token2049 “is a global conference series, where the cryptocurrency ecosystem’s decision-makers connect to exchange ideas, network, and shape the industry.”

Token2049 self-describes as “the pre-eminent” meeting place for entrepreneurs, institutions, industry insiders, investors, builders, and those with a strong interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain.

Organizers say previous editions of the conference have been held in “leading digital asset capitals”, but the latest editions are taking place semi-annually in Dubai and Singapore.

The main themes of Token2049 for this year cover a range of topics, including decentralized AI, web3 gaming, DeFi, scaling blockchains, regulation, global macro, and others.

In Dubai, the event hosted high-profile speakers that include Roger Ver, founder of, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, Binance CEO Richard Teng, and Polkadot co-founder Gavin Wood.

Wood unveiled a graypaper outlining the Join-Accumulate Machine (JAM). The JAM protocol would replace Polkadot’s Relay Chain with a “more modular, minimalistic design,” part of an effort to create something similar to Ethereum’s smart contract environment, he said, as reported by Decrypt.

“JAM is permissionless in nature, allowing anyone to deploy code as a service on it for a fee commensurate with the resources this code utilizes and to induce execution of this code through the procurement and allocation of core-time, a metric of resilient and ubiquitous computation, somewhat similar to the purchasing of gas in Ethereum. We already envision a Polkadot-compatible CoreChains service,” the JAM graypaper says.

Telegram gets new features

Speaking in Dubai, Durov, founder of the privacy-focused social media platform Telegram, revealed plans about the future of TON cryptocurrency, the native token of the Telegram ecosystem, according to industry media.

He spoke about how regular Telegram users can use Toncoin, or TON, to pay for ads to Telegram channel administrators and leave tips for them. Income from these tips will be shared with content creators. Some changes became effective on Apr. 19.

Users can also buy and sell stickers in TON as NFTs, Durov said, and creators of the sticker will get 95% of the proceeds. Telegram is also getting mini-apps that allow people to buy content for crypto, as well share TON with other Telegram contacts.

“Imagine if someone owned this sticker as an NFT when it came out a few years ago. I think the price increases with the challenge. What we’ve experienced with again, stickers are very, very popular,” Durov explained.

“For the first time in social media history, you can directly own your username, sell it, put it up for auction, buy multiple usernames, and attach them to your account.”

Ethereum’s scalability issues

Participants at the Token2049 conference in Dubai also discussed Ethereum’s well-documented challenges with scalability as user numbers for the second largest blockchain continue to soar.

Layer 2 solutions, which operate on top of the Ethereum network to help process transactions faster and cheaper, were reportedly a major talking point at the conference.

As reported by, panelists at Token2049 Dubai said  Ethereum’s scalability woes are due to low transaction throughput, which leads to high gas fees and network congestion.

“We’re doing well, but Ethereum is not,” Raj Gokal, co-founder of Solana, mocked, noting that developers and most Ethereum users have turned to his blockchain, which he said is beating Ethereum in transaction volume.

Emin Gun Sirer, founder and CEO of Ava Labs, who said he “spent five hours on what should’ve been a 20-minute landing,” as the Dubai flood waters swelled on the ground, stated:

“We allow other people to launch their own blockchains according to their own rules. This is something that Ethereum is just fundamentally incapable of.”

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin proposed a network redesign in November in a bid to tackle the scaling problems. His strategy focuses on improving staking mechanisms and management.

Crypto Bigwigs Attend Token2049 Dubai in Droves Despite Raging Floods 
Image credits: Token2049

Meme coins, AI and other stuff

Still on blockchain interoperability and scalability, Immutable X focused on building tools to power web3 gaming and presented its innovative layer-2 scaling solution designed specifically for NFTs.

Delegates at the Token2049 conference also reviewed trends in consumer web3 apps, pointing out the growing influence of meme coins. Speakers at a panel on Emerging Trends in Consumer web3 Apps talked about using meme coins to tokenize user attention.

There were also discussions about the role of AI in decentralized computing and data storage, as well as the potential for artificial intelligence to improve data accessibility and query efficiency for web3 applications.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.