DENVER — While Colorado pushes to be the hub of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, the 5th annual ETHDenver event welcomed more than 12,000 people from 100 different countries this year, which is the highest attendance in the event has experienced.

“This line took like three hours yesterday,” Bobby Miller said as he was waiting in a line that wrapped around the former Denver Sports Castle building, where the event was held.

By now, at least in passing, you may have heard of the terms “cryptocurrency,” a decentralized digital currency, and “blockchain,” a peer-to-peer network online ledger that supports major cryptocurrencies.

Those topics were the basis of the event, where industry leaders would share their insights of the future of cryptocurrency and people would compete to create the next big thing.

“In simple terms, it’s the world’s largest blockchain technology, software development competition,” ETHDenver Founder and Executive Steward John Paller said. “So teams come from all over the world to build these next-generation applications, protocols, currencies, whatever it might be, that have different use cases around things like social impact, mobile phones, decentralized finance, digital communities.”

The contestants are competing for over $1.5 million in prizes and bounties and $2 million in investment capital, Paller said.

It’s an event CEO of Chain Safe Systems, Aiden Hyman, has attended for the last five years.

“The point here is to empower people to be more financially literate, to be in control of their finances, and to honestly be in control of their entire digital footprint,” Hyman said. “Without events like this, we really wouldn’t have the community we have and our company wouldn’t be where it is today.”

It’s people like Hyman that Gov. Jared Polis hopes to continue attracting to Denver.

Polis, who spoke at the event Friday, is pushing hard to make sure Colorado is the first digital currency state in the union.

It’s a vision that Paller shares.

“We could be a destination of choice for this innovation to work here, live here, invest here, build here, and really experience the future. Governor Polis is the founder of the Blockchain Caucus in Congress,” Paller said.

Polis also signed Colorado’s first blockchain-related law known as the “Colorado Digital Token Act.”

For those who have yet to consider life in a digital currency world, your time may be running out.

The governor recently shared his vision with CNBC, stating that paying for drivers licenses and state taxes with cryptocurrencies may be an option as early as this summer.

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