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NFT NYC: What Went Down at the Biggest NFT Conference

Inside STRVJul 1, 2022

In the midst of a deep bear market, the NFT community gathered on June 20–23 at the biggest non-fungible event yet.

A lot of people expected sad faces, doubt and a negative atmosphere due to the current market situation. Luckily, the very opposite was true! Despite the huge downturn in the crypto market since the beginning of the year, which now appears to go hand in hand with the stock market, the community still shines with positivity and optimism (check out some photos).

Many attendees of the conference and the community on Twitter claim it’s actually a build market, not a bear market. And I support that opinion. When people believe in the technology behind NFTs and how the blockchain can help with various use cases, the price of Ethereum or Bitcoin doesn’t really matter. The technology is as powerful when the price of ETH is $1 as it would be at $100,000.

Event & Community Great, Organization Not So Much

NFT NYC is one of the few bigger NFT in-person events we’ve been able to have since most COVID lockdowns were lifted, and the interest from the community has been huge. So huge, in fact, that some of the speakers that were supposed to deliver a keynote presentation were merged into panels instead.

The web3 space has a lot to learn about properly organizing events. Huge lines everywhere were a common denominator of the conference as well as the satellite events. FOMO (fear of missing out) also caused some hiccups; people signed up for everything and then rarely showed up. And while it seemed like no one minded these imperfections too much and still enjoyed the events, a bit of professional event management is much needed in the space.

Companies All Over NY Testing Out NFTS

There are countless applications of NFTs present in New York, which proves that nearly every industry wants to explore whether blockchain is a fitting way to progress. Frankly, not all of the paths seem to be the most appealing ones, but only time will tell.

Right now, the most popular space for NFTs seems to be art, but there’s a lot to unpack there; people can find an artistic approach to almost anything. Beyond that, we saw NFTs being applied in gaming, fashion, sports, music and ticketing. And as you can imagine, the city was flooded with investors large and small trying to shape their strategies for the next NFT bull run.

The Biggest Announcements of the Event

Many companies and NFT projects picked NFT NYC as the right time to announce their latest news. Among the most notable ones was the blue-chip NFT project Doodles, which recently launched a sequel called Dooplicator, announcing that Pharrell Williams is now its Chief Brand Officer.

Additionally, Uniswap announced the acquisition of the popular NFT marketplace aggregator Genie.xyz.

Personal Highlights: People, Projects, Presentations

One of the biggest highlights for me was meeting with the team from movie production company Clubhouse Pictures, which is behind movies like “Hunger Games” and “Birds of Prey.” The entertainment industry pros are partnering with the NFT studio Metaversal and entering the web3 space with their new story Omega Runner and, as STRV’s collaborating with them, it was great to hear more about how the story took shape.

Omega Runner debuted in New York with the launch of its first comic book and a celebration event at Sleep No More, one of the most notable shows in the city. The mint date of the Runners is still to be announced.

Another notable moment was when Ryan Wyatt from Polygon Studios gave a presentation on web3 representing a paradigm shift in gaming. He mentioned that the new generation of high-quality games is coming to the blockchain by the end of this year.

Web3 Giving Off “90s Internet” Vibes

Looking at the web3 community through the tech lens, I see room for improvement. Just like its event organization needs work, the community is a bit behind the latest engineering practices.

As many creators enter the space, oftentimes the products or project websites remind me of the state of the internet in the 90s. The best engineering practices are only present on the most prominent projects and, overall, the community needs to catch up as well. But I believe that this is caused by the group of people looking for quick gains, and that it’s also natural for a booming industry — or at least one that was booming until a couple of months ago.

All the Highs and Lows Mean One Thing: Progress

NFT NYC was a great opportunity for satellite events and, in my opinion, they were the best part. It made the experience worth traveling across continents. For the first of its kind to be of this scale was incredible. Almost every popular NFT project organized its own meetup, party, art exhibition or something very special that the world hadn’t seen yet.

The most prominent were, of course, the Ape Fest from Bored Ape Yacht Club and Kevin Rose’s NFT community PROOF, plus their Moonbirds party at the iconic Webster Hall.

Other projects — like Cool Cats, Deadfellaz and Doodles — had their own events and experiences across town. Some of the events were organized solely by the community and allowed only those with NFTs of specific rarities. Even the relatively fresh project Goblintown came to town.

Pro Tip: Focus More on the People, Less on the Conference

After leaving the Big Apple, I realized that I would have been better off not worrying about the conference itself and only focusing on meetings — there were a bunch of super interesting people in town, which I think is the biggest added value of conferences anyway — and picking the best satellite events out there. My advice is: Unless you are a speaker, no need for a conference ticket next year.

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