Meet the person who offered “scrappy” hackers a comfortable bed during ETHDenver

Thousands of developers, hackers, and crypto and blockchain enthusiasts came to Denver, Colorado in the United States for the ETH Denver conference from February 24 to March 5.

With limited availability of lodging in Colorado’s capital, many chose to take refuge from the crowds and cramped spaces in “hacker houses” — where sleeping is optional and networking is the goal.

Jessy, the name behind one such house – Jessy’s Hacker House – hosted four “hacker houses” that hosted 50 participants from the ETHDenver conference and BUIDLWeek – a series of workshops and events, as well as a BUIDLathon that allowed teams to compete for prizes and investments.

Meeting with Cointelegraph at one of their homes on Feb. 28, Jessy and co-host Waylon Jepsen kept busy putting up posters and checking on guests’ comfort.

According to the hacker house host, she was working at a venture capital firm in 2022 during the last ETH Denver conference, when a number of foreign-based people posted on social media that they were looking for a place to stay in the Colorado capital. Like many who attended the 2022 event, Jessy and her houseguests tested positive for COVID-19, but they were still able to network and develop projects.

“The motivation was more like ‘hey, these are cool people — let’s just host them and get to know them,'” Jessy said. “For the longest time, it was a vehicle for me to find my own co-founder and discover what ideas I wanted to join.”

Jessy at one of the hacker houses at ETHDenver 2023

“The magic happens when you have the most relevant people on board […] We transport a diverse group of people. We have people who are very crypto native, we have people from academia doing cryptography and specific research […] You have people who are just 19, 18 year olds — who are freshmen — who are just starting their careers.

The four “hacker houses” scattered throughout the Denver Metropolitan Area were home to more than 50 people and a few visitors during the week of the conference. About 300 tech-savvy individuals requested a place to sleep and networking opportunities at the homes, which were funded by sponsors in the blockchain space and overseen by Jessy and Waylon.

A guest of a hacker at work

While Jessy said there were some financial incentives to participate in the hacker houses — for example, to connect with VCs and potential co-founders — guests could also personally benefit from the experience.

“You’re here to make long-lasting friends,” Jessy said. “I think the only model we really have is to play long-term games with long-term people. Part of the interview process is we select people who we think fit the vibe, are real — real space scrappy.

View of the Rocky Mountains from the roof of the hacker house

Related: Fake Ethereum Denver website linked to notorious phishing wallet

ETH Denver ended on March 5, but other major crypto and wallet-related conferences in the near future include Paris Blockchain Week and Consensus in Austin, Texas. While ETHDenver had not released official attendance numbers at the time of publication, more than 30,000 people reportedly attended registered for the conference.