For the entire week of June 20, 2022, NFT.NYC provided a stomping ground for those interested and involved in blockchain-based art, music, film, gaming, sports, fashion, and more. The roster of speakers included everyone from celebrities and CEOs to influential artists and millionaire collectors — but it wasn’t just official programming that drew in crowds, a variety of exciting events and activations took place throughout the week.
NFT.NYC truly acted as a summit for those in Web3 and NFTs to attend and witness the innovation happening within the space. It also served as an opportunity to celebrate. With the current bear market breathing down the community’s neck, the NFT community deserved a little positivity — and an opportunity to party. Considering the celebrations and fanfare that ensued, it might be a bit hard to decipher just what meaningful events took place. But we’re here to help.
If you weren’t in attendance at this year’s NFT.NYC, here’s everything you need to know about one of the largest NFT conferences to ever take place.
1. Web3 brands are becoming more established
Possibly above everything else, it became exceedingly clear at NFT.NYC that Web3 brands are becoming bigger and better than ever. Sure, Bored Ape Yacht Club has long solidified itself as the paramount player when it comes to NFT projects, but BAYC is no longer the sole competitor in the NFT brand race.
While 2021’s NFT.NYC was characterized by ApeFest and GaryVee appearances, 2022’s iteration saw Doodles announcing Pharrell Williams as its Chief Brand Officer, FVCKRENDER’s LVCIDIA getting the NYPD’s attention, Cool Cat’s launching a multi-day activation/party, and more.
From CryptoPunks to Moonbirds, many NFT enthusiasts opted to show off their affiliations. In lieu of techwear and designer clothes, collectors used their owned NFTs as their status symbols, worn prominently on their hoodies, jackets, and hats. But it wasn’t a simple presence that illuminated many blue-chip PFP projects throughout the conference, but their unique activations as well.
2. Crypto prices are down, but community sentiment is up
Around the time of 2022’s NFT.NYC, crypto prices weren’t looking great. With the price of Ethereum alone having fallen from an all-time high of nearly $5,000 in November 2021 to around $1,100 by the time the conference kicked off, NFT trading had understandably taken a nosedive as well.
Yet, while the sentiment surrounding crypto and NFTs had changed, attitudes were still overwhelmingly positive throughout the multi-day conference. Sure, many had lost entire fortunes due to crypto prices tanking, but folks at NFT.NYC weren’t there to talk about day-trading in the first place. Rather, the entire conference seemed to center around the innovation, culture, and community surrounding NFTs.
Talking with attendees and artists alike about the state of the market made it clear that the overall vibe of the NFT space was still happy and hopeful. Sure, prices are in the toilet, but many agreed that a capitulation event would be useful to weed out those only interested in NFTs for their own personal financial gain — not to build out or participate in lasting endeavors.
3. Big NFT events are great until they’re not
Originally launched in 2019, NFT.NYC expanded last year as a result of industry growth. Featuring over 500 speakers across three venues, the 2021 iteration of the conference was hailed as a triumph for the NFT community. Yet now in 2022, the conference was bigger than ever, spanning seven venues and featuring over 1,500 speakers.
Yet, since 2021’s conference, the greater NFT community has been unsure of whether or not NFT.NYC truly has its best interests in mind. With ticket prices ranging from $500 – $2,000, the cost to simply attend the multi-day conference (let alone pay for a hotel and for travel to and from the event) was out of the range for most average joe NFT enthusiasts.
Labeled a money grab by some, while spirits were undoubtedly high at NFT.NYC, the overall infrastructure of the event led to many wondering what it was all for in the first place. With numerous scheduling conflicts and mixups, one prominent NFT collector called ANONYMOUS even moved to boycott the conference in its entirety, citing their displeasure with the “flagrant ignorance” of the whole thing.
4. Hype still matters more than innovation
If there’s one thing that has become apparent within the NFT space over the years, it is that success is proven to breed more success. Anecdotally, once a project (BAYC) or an artist/influencer — like Beeple or GaryVee — gains notoriety, it’s likely that the value of their projects and personal brands from there on out will be valued accordingly.
This is nothing new in the NFT space, and was very much the case at NFT.NYC. While countless attendees clamored to see celebrities, like Spike Lee or Kimbal Musk speak about their general feelings on NFTs, those showcasing their blockchain-based innovation were left with mostly empty rooms.
Once a project begins to take off, a combination of influencer cosigns and FOMO can definitely serve as a call to action for NFT enthusiasts to purchase tokens from said project. This is exactly what we saw happen with Goblintown — a project whose parties were fantastically popular during NFT.NYC — shortly before the conference. Even a fake Snoop Dogg, who was hired to drum up attention for a project called Fair.xyz, made more headlines than a star-studded panel on how NFTs might impact the future of entertainment. Such is the hype cycle of the NFT market.
5. COVID is definitely still a thing
Maybe we’ve gotten bored of interacting with fellow NFT enthusiasts from the comfort of our personal computer screens, but it seemed all were throwing caution to the wind when it came to in-person meetups. From pizza parties to packed-out music events (think sardines in a can), it was clear that social distancing has become an antiquated notion.
Of course, with quarantine in the rearview, it’s clear to see why public health guidelines would be readily dismissed by many conference attendees. Still, COVID-19 is still considered a pandemic. As such, a good few walked away from NFT.NYC with a much less robust sense of smell and taste from when they arrived.