Friday, December 2, 2022

Devcon3 Shakedowns? Attendees Being Harassed By Police, Taxis

Devcon3 Shakedowns? Attendees Being Harassed By Police, Taxis

Ethereum’s much-anticipated Devcon3 meetup in Cancun, Mexico, has been marred by several attendees describing violent encounters with locals. These incidents have created an air of frustration and a sense of increased caution for the event’s international guests. 

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Scheduled to run between November 1st and November 4th, the Ethereum community’s flagship conference hasn’t officially begun yet, though Ethereum developers and enthusiasts have been arriving in droves for several days now to settle in before the event.

And, much to the chagrin of the conference’s participants, a handful of attendees have already had dangerous run-ins with locals.

Local corruption is costing some Devcon3-goers.

For example, on October 29th Ethereum developer Julien Bouteloup was shaken down by corrupt Mexican police officers a few miles outside of Cancun’s airport, accused of speeding 91km/h in a 90km/h speed zone.

Per Bouteloup’s Medium post describing the incident:

“It was impossible as my Waze was showing 81km/h and all cars were passing me. But [the cop] asked me for my driving license and told me that they were going to confiscate it and I will need to go to the federal police station on Monday, which meant that I had to leave the car there.”

“I felt a brief moment of panic and then he asked me if I had money to pay the [bribe] … ‘You can leave now if you give me 5000 pesos ($260 USD).'”

“I told him that I had only 500 pesos. He started arguing while showing me his hand resting on his gun.”

Yikes. Luckily, Bouteloup was able to get away after handing over 500 pesos and haggling with the officers for a bit longer. But the incident is a stark reminder that the authorities in Cancun are often their own law. Some Devcon3 attendees are finding this out the hard way.

Indeed, Bouteloup estimated on Twitter that four conference-goers had already been inappropriately arrested.

When asked by another Twitter user to explain his opinion on the shakedowns, Bouteloup thought it came down to basic targeting.

“[There was] no real reason.They were stopping foreigners and asking them money or they will confiscate driving license & send them to federal police.”

Festy Team’s Feisty Taxi Ride to Devcon3

Ireland-based crypto payments start-up Festy just had their own threatening encounter in Cancun.

Like Bouteloup, the Festy team took to Medium to warn other Devcon3 attendees to avoid the pitfalls they experienced when attempting to use Uber over local taxi drivers.

“In a fit of rage, the taxi driver shouted at my female colleague warning that ‘things would get messy’ for us if we didn’t take a regular taxi. He then ran towards a random parked car on the street and warned us he would ‘kick the shit out this guy if it turns out to be an Uber.'”

“Please be careful during the conference. The airport is only the first experience we had of Cancun. Imagine if alcohol had been involved during this incident. It terrifies me to think of scenarios that may have played out.”

“If you are travelling by Uber, you must state clearly that your friend is picking you up.”

Pretty unfortunate stuff, especially since this year’s conference is set to be a smashing success on the conceptual side of things.

How about you? Do you think Cancun was a less-than-ideal location for Devcon3? Let us know where you stand in the comments below.

Images via YouTube, NBC News

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