1,500 speakers, 15,000 attendees and an agenda 56 pages long (see the PDF) – NFT.NYC was huge this past week and included a badge pick-up line stretching halfway around a Manhattan city block for much of the day on Monday.
There were no government types on stage, but the palpable momentum exhibited on and off-stage spoke to the importance of the NFT space to 20- and 30-somethings across the world – especially the United States – given the anecdotally-observed demographics of the show.
More observations about NFT.NYC:
Sprawl – This show was sprawling like an open bazaar sprinkled among mainly hotel venues in midtown Manhattan as well as Radio City Music Hall. It felt a bit out of control, somewhat uncurated but on the other hand, there is a sense that it captures the rollicking frenzy of the NFT space. Will Crypto Winter crush this in a year? There’s plenty to scoff at or admire. No doubt there’s a ton of revenue being collected by organizers from both ticket and sponsorship sales, too.
Zealotry – NFTs feel like religion to some. People *believe* in NFTs as it apparently reflects who they are and what they care about today. Even if NFTs are literally a lot about PFPs today, they are connecting to a new manifestation of (self-sovereign) identity.
No One’s Talking Regulation – This show was all about projects and building and making money. There was very little relating to the rule of law other than a legal track which mostly concentrated on intellectual property (related to the omni-present ownership theme). A Tax panel on the last day drew a modest audience along with a group of impassioned accountants on stage, but one got the sense attendees aren’t worrying too much about taxes even though they probably should.
Ownership – Today’s NFTs could be seen as a Trojan horse on who owns and controls the official record/data – the state or the citizen? – and how ownership (and privacy) transforms. Still to come are “real world” use cases of NFTs beyond the collectible space or early projects in ticketing or real estate. For example, let’s see the New York State database of titles for property ownership put on the blockchain to help improve the efficiency of buying and selling of a home.
Distribution – People own their digital collectible NFTs. Call it part of the metaverse or Web3, people want to own some of their stuff rather than having only an Instagram account owned by a big, tech brother, intermediary But, make no mistake, the Web 2 Instagram account is there for distribution of one’s Web 3 persona and collections. And this all links to…
Community – There’s the overarching Web3 community that came together for NFT.NYC and within it are the many segments of developing Web3 communities whether digital natives such as CryptoPunks or Bored Apes or your favorite contemporary celebrities. This “community” secret sauce within NFTs is hard to qualify or quantify, but it’s there.
Number Go Up – No doubt there’s a trading angle with NFTs as many have profited hugely or created a nice living trading NFTs. Again – how will Crypto Winter dull or propel these interests? Defenders say, “Keep building” with unflappable belief of inevitable success.
Very Very Early – The NFT space feels very “early” which is saying something given the size of the show. It’s bigger than the recent and more mature Consensus cryptocurrency conference that just took place in Austin. Organizers in New York tried to make the case of NFT’s increasing scope with content which reached beyond collectibles with discussions about Fashion and Art transformation. But, PFPs and digital collectibles still rule.