nft now's The Gateway

Here’s What Web3’s Biggest Builders Say the Future Holds

BY Eric James Beyer

December 07, 2022

Last week in downtown Miami, nft now and Mana Common’s The Gateway: A Web3 Metropolis brought together the crypto and NFT community during Art Basel. Over the course of five days, attendees viewed phenomenal displays and exhibitions from their favorite artists, caught a sneak peek of what major brands like Porsche and Instagram have in the works for their Web3 plans, and witnessed some excellent musical performances.

nft now also hosted a series of panel talks, where a broad range of NFT community figureheads and leaders offered in-depth views on the state of Web3. It was a busy week full of too many panels for everyone to attend, so we gathered some of the best moments to play you the hits.

Gary Vee, Entrepreneur and Founder of VeeFriends

Gary Vee & Alej Navia on stage at The Gateway.
Gary Vee/nft now

During The Gateway’s opening day of talks, NFT superstar Gary Vee (formally Vaynerchuck) took to the stage with Alejandro Navia, Co-Founder & President of nft now, to discuss the state of the Web3 landscape. Ever candid, Vaynerchuck’s comment’s touched on everything from the need for Web3 projects to focus on longevity in favor of short-term gains to how and why the concept of legacy matters to him. The talk was a much-needed shot of energy to a community that is still reeling from the fall of FTX. Here are some moments from that conversation:

“We’re in an economic correction. We get out of it the same way the internet got out of it. From 2001 to 2004, a lot of websites like Friendster became the previews to the Reddits and the Instagrams [of today]. In the next 36 months, people are going to build meaningful things instead of fast things for fast cash.”

“I’m proud that I’m an actual businessman. Real shit takes time to build. It’s supposed to be hard if you’re trying to live a one percent of a one percent life. Everyone talks about being about ‘that life’ until that life punches you in the fucking mouth.”

“Business success doesn’t mean shit. If I die tomorrow, I’ll trend on Twitter for 24 hours and then the next day everybody will live out their life. I just don’t think being good at making money or being a good entrepreneur enables one to think they’re better than other people. I don’t have my validation in my business success. I have much more validation in what people that actually know me feel about me.”

“I’m genuinely not worried about the [crypto] winter. I think when all the dust settles in 22 years, you’re going to forget about a lot of names that we fuck with today and I’m going to be fucking dominating. But if I don’t, I’m going to be pumped for World of Women or Bored Apes.”

Keith Grossman, President of TIME

Three men sit on a stage talking.
Keith Grossman/nft now

The outgoing president of the legacy media institution graced the stage at the Dupont Building in Miami last week to talk about the evolution of the media in the context of Web3. Grossman, who recently announced he would be leaving Time to join MoonPay as the company’s President of Enterprise in 2023, told the story of how he helped create TIMEPieces, an NFT-focused initiative that earned the company more than $10 million in revenue in 2021 alone. He also touched on the importance of core values in Web3 communities.

“It’s easy today to be up here and talk about the success that TIME has had in the last two years in Web3,” Grossman said of the publication’s impact on the space. “It’s really important to remember in March 2021 when we said we were going to enter Web3 properly, we were ridiculed. But what’s really important is what’s fueling this. Not the market, right? What’s actually fueling Web3? What I saw was people’s digital identities. [Before] 2020, when we were all isolated, our digital personas were nice add-ons to our physical bodies. In 2020, we realized our digital personas are equal to our physical lives.”

“[I told people,] do you understand why a cat with the body of pop tart farting a rainbow just went for 500,000 dollars? Everyone just looked at me like I was crazy.”

“You can either be a greed-based community or you can be a values-based community,” Grossman underscored. “In bull markets, greed-based communities emerge; in bear markets, value-based ones tend to be the ones that survive.”

Farokh, Founder of Rug Radio

RTFKT and Farokh on stage at The Gateway
Farokh/nft now

Twitter Space aficionado Farokh dropped a huge announcement at The Gateway on its opening day of panel talks last week. The founder of Rug Radio, the digitally native Web3 media outlet, Farokh revealed that the project and community would be getting its own PFP collection called “Faces of Web3” with artwork designed by the multi-disciplinary artist Cory Van Lew. Here’s what Farokh had to say about the project:

“In this market, people still want a PFP that represents something as part of their digital identity.”

“One thing that a lot of people have wrong, in my opinion, is [the idea] that decentralization is anarchy. It’s not. In order to properly get to where we want, it’ll take a few years.” 

“We’re constantly doing collaborations and working hard to come up with new shows. The NFT space demands that, in a way. It’s very topical…every day is like a week.”

Cory Van Lew, multidisciplinary artist

Well-known artist Cory Van Lew, who designed the artwork for the Rug Radio PFP collection, appeared on stage with Farokh, offering his thoughts on the purpose and value behind PFP projects in the current market environment.

“The Cory Van Lew and Rug Radio collaboration is a PFP project meant to represent the faces of Web3. In this market, people still want a PFP that represents something as part of their digital identity.”

Gmoney, Web3 Icon, Collector, and Thought Leader

Two men sit on a stage talking to each other. One is wearing a white t-shirt, the other, a black t-shirt.
Gmoney/nft now

The iconic NFT collector and Creative Director of 9dcc made waves on the internet when he revealed his visual identity during Art Basel last week. He also rounded out The Gateway’s week of talks by speaking about the future of Web3 luxury on Saturday with Chris Coleman. Here’s what he had to say:

“What I’ve learned as a founder is that you don’t need to do a drop the way everyone else is. You know, PFPs definitely worked for a time last year, I don’t know if they work going forward. For that reason, I’ve been building slowly and taking my time, because I do think that technology will change.”

“One of the main reasons I have really wanted to connect digital and physical is because we do live in a non-fungible world. Even if we have the same black shirt on, mine could be ripped or have a coffee stain or whatever. That means that it’s probably worth less.”

“When you talk to anyone that’s a teenager or younger, they just get it. They understand digital ownership.”

Betty, CEO and founder of Deadfellaz

A woman in a bright green dress with reddish hair holds a microphone on a stage next to two men wearing black shirts.
Betty/nft now

The CEO and Founder of Deadfellaz is no stranger to controversy. Betty has long been a vocal advocate of creator fees (artist royalties) and arguably helped influence OpenSea’s recent turnaround on a highly-divisive royalties policy proposition. On Saturday, Betty took to the stage with nft now Co-Founder and CEO Matt Medved to discuss what the fight for artist empowerment and rights will look like as Web3 continues to evolve:

“The connectivity of creative work provides people validation for their own existence in many ways.”

“A lot of people have recently [told me] ‘you’re too political. You shouldn’t be political.’ Defi is political. Crypto is political. Everything’s political.”

“There’s no such thing as balance in my opinion. I think it’s a fool’s errand, and I also think trying to please everyone is a fool’s errand.”

“Take [royalties] away, and we have to rely again on institutions. It takes our power away which disproportionally affects marginalized creators. I’m here to protect those people and champion those people.”

“I want a future where creators are self-sovereign over their content.”

Shekinah Apedo, General Counsel at Deadfellaz

Speaking at a panel talk regarding the future of Web3’s legal landscape on Thursday last week with fellow panelists Amy Madison Luo and Mark Jansen, Deadfellaz General Counsel Shekinah Apedo expressed dismay at the lack of legal education among crypto and NFT enthusiasts:

“A thing I’d like to see is more consumers in the NFT landscape taking ownership of their own education…like the differences between copyright and trademark, and people talk about CC0 all the time, but there are six different classifications under that.”

“It kills me when I see projects that don’t have Terms of Service surrounding their IP.”

“There have been a lot of conversations about creator royalties, but that can not be your primary business strategy. One of the most important things is to make sure you have your due diligence in order…trademarks, IPs, etc.”

“We just saw Kraken had over $300,000 in sanctions because they were completing transactions with a sanctioned nation…so when it comes to ‘Know Your Customer’ I’m really interested to see how that evolves.”

Ayla El-Moussa, multidisciplinary artist

Ayla El-Moussa/nft now

When it comes to Web3, Ayla El-Moussa is a woman ahead of her time. The multi-disciplinary artist (who has led the charge for the nude art movement in Web3 over the years) has long operated in a digital medium. El-Moussa, along with Lydia Chen, the Senior Project Coordinator for Digital Art Sales & NFTs at Christie’s, joined a panel at The Gateway last week with artist Rhymezlikedimez, and Richerd Chen, co-founder of the NFT smart contract developer Manifold, to delve deeper into legacy auction house Christie’s journey into Web3, and what it means for artists and collectors.

“What I find so special about it is that Christie’s is creating this bridge […] what’s happening, as someone who hasn’t been able to sell in the real world because most of my work is digital, there’s this beautiful bridge now of having a primary sale with an institution that means so much.”

Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum

Jospeh Lubin and Matt Medved sitting on stage at The Gateway
Jospeh Lubin/ nft now

Joseph Lubin needs little introduction. A co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain in 2015, Lubin’s historical perspectives on the Web3 space are not to be taken lightly. Taking to the stage on Friday last week, Lubin spoke on the future of NFTs and Web3 specifically in relation to the catastrophic downfall of FTX:

“We are now in this creative destruction phase where all the pieces get recombined and people with expertise from the past few years are now figuring out the right things to do.”

“I’m grateful that [the fall of FTX] is going to enable us [to] drive a narrative that really lays out, in stark terms, the value of decentralization.”

“A lot of people have been harmed for millennia by bad centralized systems. You can hide information, you can cheat in so many different ways.”

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