Last week I traveled down a digital rabbit hole, and emerged five days later enlightened, energized, educated, enervated, and in dire need of a nap…
NFT.NYC attendance in 2019, its first year, was 500. In 2020 that number rose to 1,500. By 2021 more than 5,000 were in attendance, and last week more than 15,000 attendees descended on New York City for the main fair’s offerings, and literally hundreds of satellite events. For Tuesday morning’s Times Square NFT takeover, an estimated 500 yoga practitioners – which equals the inaugural year’s attendance – did their Downward Doge as crowds looked on with equal measures of bafflement and bemusement.
Two main components of NFT.NYC brought me to New York City in an I need to check this out frame of mind:
1) The nearly 2,000 talks and panels featuring some of the brightest tech and creative minds of our times
2) Connecting with other NFT owners who are holders in projects which are sparking and playing architect to Web3’s
Many of these projects are going to change the world via disruptions to, and circumventing of the current gate-kept strangle hold (by centralized governments and big business) over access, opportunity, equity, capital, and education. A significant number of creators, projects and project holders seek to shift away from a status quo which is making the planet ever more divided.
The past three months, and indeed looking back further to late Fall 2021, have seen Crypto currencies and NFT project prices plummet, in some cases more than 80%. A few even more spectacular failures (such as the Luna/Terra ecosystem) have resulted in the loss of 99.99% of value in a matter of a days – making billions upon billions of capital disappear in a flash of digital smoke. These public failures have caused many mainstream press outlets to gleefully reiterate their take on crypto and NFTs being akin to a Tulip Craze led by Mr. Ponzi himself. The problem with this sound bite’s hot take is that it plays well on cable news outlets, but it ignores the fundamentals of the revolution which is inherent to NFTs and crypto currencies: blockchain smart contracts and ledgers. These technological advances are creating the foundation stones upon which good projects, run by earnest founders and communities, can be empowered to make very real and tangible improvements in the day to day lives of billions of people on this planet who are born with little hope, and even less opportunity.
I won’t go granular on my many attended panels and talks. Suffice it to say I learned about myriad topics of interest, from how NFTs will revolutionize film, fine art, finance, social and community building, education, philanthropy.
One great panel was given by a neighbor in Hudson, Richard Zimmerman, who is executive director of Orangutan Outreach. He gave a talk about the impact, support and donations his RedApes.org charity has received via his connection to the Bored Apes Yacht Club NFT project, which dropped in early 2021. The help has allowed critical habitat in Borneo to be reclaimed for Orangutan’s – one of our planet’s most endangered and “most like us” species.
Checking in on panels and projects which are Women and LGBTQIA led provided the opportunity to meet some real movers and shakers in a space where until recently a crypto bro optics seems to be entrenched. Breaking through this digital glass ceiling to empower our planet’s women and the LGBTQIA community is a major need that is being met via the innovators and influencers who are making a difference. We’re proud to support and hold NFTs in projects such as World of Women, MyBFF, Boss Beauties, Crypto Chicks, Women & Weapons, Meta Angels, Not Your Bro, The Women Collective and many, many others. Some highlight perks of being a holder included experiencing two amazing women perform in small venues for a good cause: Kesha and Madonna. That type of curated community access is an exciting aspect of Web3’s community-based projects!
After Madonna called a wrap on the week Friday Morning around 2am, I fell face down in my hotel, sleepwalked as I packed, and snoozed on the train back to Hudson. It was an incredible week where – despite the challenges of the last 6 months – the core believers still believe, and the good work which will help to change our planet for the better is just getting under way. I’m looking forward to NFT.NYC 2023. If I’m recovered enough by then…