“Painful, But It’s a Great Time To Build” Said the NFT​.​NYC Crowd

YugaLabsDoodlesBoneysAkus, and Deadfellaz are just a few of the buzzed-about NFT collections making waves last week at NFT.NYC, the biggest non-fungible token event.

The timing was less than auspicious. The crypto market is unraveling, transactions for NFTs are doing a deep dip, and NFT skeptics cry that the emperor has no clothes. Bitcoin and Etherium have both lost more than 70 percent of their value since November.

Doomsayers be damned. The NFT party rocked on in NYC last week. Invite-by-token parties, club scenes, lavish diners, NFT merch, 1,500 speakers, and 15,000 artists and creators made NFT.NYC feel like a NY-style Mardi Gras. Now in its fourth year, the three-day event took place in locations all over the city. The conference panels felt like an EST meeting (remember those?) meets Studio 54 (remember it?) meets ComiCon (yes, there were many festooned folks). The vibe was to encourage creators to double down and keep doing what it takes to build a strong, more inclusive Web 3.0 world. The zeitgeist was to put the sword through the heart of FAMGA (Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon), who were nowhere in sight, and build a new decentralized, creator-based pie where all avatars are created equal.

Lior Cole, a twenty one year old model and aspiring NFT, maker wrote to tell me that “The NFT winter on the horizon only added fuel to the excitement, giving innovators and investors even more incentive to build and get involved early with anticipated future growth.” One reporter from ArtNet who attended a good number of sessions found them commercial, content-free, haphazardly curated, and poorly attended. The “Art” room, he says, never broke much above 10 percent capacity in a 1,000-seat auditorium. Attendees paid between $599 and $1,999 for tickets.

Some NFU (Notably F*** Up) Tidbits Included:

  • CryptoPunks announced it was hiring Noah Davis from Christie’s auction house to be the collection’s brand lead. (Davis is the guy that sold the $68 million dollar Beeple NFT.)
  • Grammy Award winner and “Be Happy” guy Pharrell Williams became the Chief Brand Manager for Doodles, a series of pastel-colored NFTs. And yes, he’s got a Doodles album to make NFT owners even happier.
  • CryptoPunks announced it was hiring Noah Davis from Christie’s auction house to be the collection’s brand lead. (Davis is the guy that sold the $68 million dollar Beeple NFT.)
  • Grammy Award winner and “Be Happy” guy Pharrell Williams became the Chief Brand Manager for Doodles, a series of pastel-colored NFTs. And yes, he’s got a Doodles album to make NFT owners even happier.
  • Mastercard sponsored Belle Block, a community focused on educating and empowering women and non-binary individuals to benefit from Web3 technology and crypto. Maggie Love of SheFi, Candace Stewart of HerHouse, Cynthia Huang of Blu3DAO, and Deana Burke of Boys Club acted as ambassadors.
  • MetaAngels launched a lovely series of NFTs to invite women to go full hog on Web 3.0’s momentum.
  • Samsung 837, its flagship location in the Meatpacking District, and Samsung 837X in Decentraland threw nonstop events. Samsung, now a patron of the arts, hosted a Fabricant fashion show that supported women and NFTs, and talked about making its own metaverse.
  • Neopets’ aging but famous virtual world for kids was resurrected as Neopets Meta. It previewed what its virtual world will look like and gave away lots of stickers and stuffed animals. 
  • The mother of all happenings was for The Bored Ape Yacht Club. The Ape Fest featured Future, QuestLove, Eminem, LCD Soundsystem, Amy Schumer and others. Watch a smidgeon of it
  • Best marketing stunt? Bobby Hundreds, a streetwear idol, went full out meme by staging a God Hates NFT mob to explore the relationship between NFT skeptics and zealots.
  • Bella Hadid, the 25 year old model, launched her NFT platform named CY-B3LLA, calling NFTs a “vessel for communication.” Using geo-based minting, collectors will get access to “real-life locations and events all around the world, where Bella can and will meet holders.

Get a look at more events that mattered at NFT Now. Watch the viral Tik Tok song about Crypto Bros. Watch this weirdly telling YouTube recap of NFT.NYC with a focus more on debauchery than on NFT creation.

Suffering FOMO or simply happy to read the second-day news? Me, considering that Roe v. Wade was overturned by the courts that same Friday, I had that sinking “while Rome burns” sensation.

NFTS and Events

Of particular importance to our group is the role NFTs will play at events. The entertainment and live event industries are eagerly launching NFT strategies to diversify their revenue streams and monetize their IP in new ways. In doing so, they give fans another way to engage. Live Nation’s Live Stubs provides fans with NFTs as part of their event ticket purchases. Like collecting ticket stubs without the physical clutter. 

Also look at NFT.Kred, a company that’s creating an NFT marketplace for brands. Case studies on the site show how you can hold an NFT in your wallet that will also give you access to an in-person event once that NFT ticket is scanned. Your ticket becomes a commemorative souvenir but also provides an opportunity to extend engagement with attendees and fans, VIP access, discounted merch and other fan club perks. 

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