Embracing the Decentralized Journey: A Tale of Exploration in Oman

Coverage of World Digital Mining Summit 2024 Event

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My Experience at the The World Digital Mining Summit (WDMS) 2024

Hello World! 👋 🌎

I want to begin by giving some insight about a side of blockchain that is rarely talked about. The in-person side. I have passively been in the blockchain space for 6-7 years but over the last 3-4 I have taken a much more active approach. This means that I have studied blockchain as if I was in school for it. Diving down Youtube rabbit holes, creating content, launching a small business around blockchain, making friends in the blockchain space, and what I think is most important….actually investing in going to live events. Live events force me to dedicate all my senses towards learning from and connecting with like minded people. This can be tough in other industries but is surprisingly easy to do in blockchain. I have directly messaged many founders on X and have received responses more often than not. I have even met three of the four founders of Handshake in person. So I encourage anyone that is passively interested in this space to take the plunge. Join X spaces talks, go to a convention, set up an HNS Rings meetup, call one of your like minded ‘internet friends’ and see where it takes you. That’s how I got to Oman. I met with Andrew Lee (an HNS Co-founder) and Margie Feng (Bitmain marketer) for lunch in Los Angeles. I was invited to go to Oman by Margie and I didn’t bother hesitating. I just went. I have never been to the Middle East and it’s one of the furthest possible places to fly to from California. But I went and I’m glad I did. Now I’ll share the story with you.

After about 24 combined hours of flying and layovers on Qatar airlines (amazing airline), I landed in the city of Muscat. I was dazed and a little confused but also very ready for the coming days of the World Digital Mining Summit. Scanning the agenda to prepare myself.

Conference Agenda WDMS 2024 Conference Agenda

I got into a taxi at 11:45pm and made my way to the extremely luxurious W Hotel resort. I checked in with the Bitmain team who gave me my badge along with a very cool welcome package of a backpack, Chinese tea set, and T-shirt.

Conference Badge WDMS 2024 Conference Badge

The next morning I ‘badged up’ and realized that my hotel room had an ocean view. Naturally, I headed down to check it out. But not before running into one of the most well recognized Handshake directors, Michael (.Boss/) Michelini. We had a delicious breakfast and walked the boardwalk to soak in the view. We took this selfie and enjoyed our long overdue first in-person encounter.

Alex and Mike Alex and Mike

Next, we got straight to work. The conference itself was at the same resort we were staying at. People were still flying in from all over the world but there was still a sizable presence there to hear the POW influencers talk about their experiences in the growing mining-blockchain space. We heard from Layla Mining, a Filecoin representative, and others before Michael took the stage dawning his HNS lapel pin (Shoutout Erwin Groen) to talk about POW and Handshake. He also touched on another project he is working on called LoapPipe which is an evolution of Purse.io designed to make a better, on-chain marketplace to compete with Amazon.

Mike's Presentation Mike’s Presentation

I managed to grab the microphone near the end to remind the audience how much of an opportunity Handshake is for prospective miners given its decentralized nature and availability of the HS3 Bitmain miner. That lead me to gift a TLD to a fellow attendee at my table.

HNS Direcors HNS Directors Meetup

Despite the conference taking place during Ramadan, lunch was provided, and again, Delicious.
The most notable speaker to me (besides Michael) after lunch was a team from El Salvador called My First Bitcoin. They have set up a decentralized education channel for children complete with a textbook titled Bitcoin Diploma, seen below.

Bitcoin Diploma Bitcoin Diploma Book

They have ‘nodes’ all around the world in growing numbers. Node operators have been educated in the teaching style of My First Bitcoin and share the knowledge with locals in their region. It’s worth mentioning that this book has become part of the teaching curriculum for all elementary school students in El Salvador.

HOW. COOL. IS. THAT?!?

Dinner seemed to come quick on day 1 after some booth hopping. Most booths were about mining as one would imagine. You could learn about the hardware itself, mining hosting services, hashrates, etc. I’ve never mined personally but I have to say I got the itch seeing all these cool machines and passionate people.

Bitmain Miner Bitmain Miner

After dinner there was a rooftop style party complete with a sushi bar, live music, drinks, socializing, and a heck of a view.

Hotel Venue Hotel Venue in Oman

I was on the other side of the world with an opposite time zone to adjust to so I got some much needed sleep and geared up for day 2.
Breakfast was again with Michael and some newly made friends. Each person was from a different country at the table and I was the only one from the western hemisphere. That didn’t matter because we all spoke blockchain quite fluently. Pretty freaking cool. No topic was untouched from the geopolitical situation in Russia and how it was impacting business. Then we transitioned to the Kaspa protocol and how this POW chain is able to make blocks every SECOND. Next it was breaking down how it makes sense to set up a mining operation in Ethiopia. Lastly, what the day had in store for us.

Restaurant Food was amazing!

Day 2 was an elaborate one. The conference was now officially in full swing with almost all attendees packed into one room. We heard talks and presentations from all over the space including the CEO of Tether, Paolo Ardoino, Margie Feng, and members of the sales team at Bitmain. They unveiled the technical specifications and pricing for the newly launched Bitcoin Miners S21 Pro!

Conference Stage Conference Panel Discussion

It was surreal to see such a diverse room of people unify around one common passion for technology. This is why I came.
After a bit more networking and quick lunch, Michael and I decided to record a little content together about my Handshake Origin Story. I did my best to not talk about myself too much but explain how life helped me connect the dots that would eventually lead me to Handshake in hopes that others can connect their own dots.. You can see the video recording here.

By the time that we finished up our recording, the main part of the conference was coming to a close. Everyone prepared for one final dinner on the beach with live music and tons of food. This is where my favorite picture of the event was taken with Michael & Margie. We laughed, ate a bunch of dessert, and said our goodbyes.

Mike, Margie, and Alex Mike, Margie, and Alex

Back at my room I had a lot to do with little time and even less brain power. This included packing, showering, jotting down notes for this article, and a little bit more sleep. I needed to leave the hotel by 2:30 am to make it to the airport for my flight. The ride to the airport was as smooth as the one from it two days earlier and everything was on time. I boarded my 1.5 hour flight to Qatar before taking the nearly 16 hour flight home to Los Angeles where I needed to immediately drive 2 more hours to make it to a dear friend’s wedding.

Qatar Airlines Going back home via Qatar Airlines

I’m happy to say that my luck streak continued and I arrived just in time, after stopping by a Starbucks to get much needed caffeine and change into my suit.

Alex Suited up Getting Suited up for the wedding

In closing, I feel much more connected to the blockchain space and have a renewed respect and understanding of the mining ecosystem. I am more bullish on Handshake than ever before and even have some new chains to study up on.

Alex Recap My trip to Oman Recap

I look forward to my next blockchain event and hope to see some of you readers there! Keep building my friends! 🤝

References

[1] HydroMining Wins the Desert
[2] Oman to Host Innovative Hydro-Mining Summit Amidst Desert Landscape
[3] Tech Titans BITMAIN, Exahertz, and Moonwalk Systems Ignite a Blockchain Revolution in Oman
[4] HandyCon X Post