Art Basel Miami 2022 is officially in full swing, which means The Gateway 2022 has also gone live. In collaboration with Mana Common and MoonPay, nft now officially kicked off The Gateway: A Web3 Metropolis in the heart of downtown Miami, and it’s already become one of Web3’s most important events of 2022. Top names from our planned programming include panels from Instagram, MoonPay, Christie’s, and many more.
Day one was a doozy. Attendees flooded the Dupont building to catch one of the many insightful panels taking place that day. Predictably, a panel led by Gary Vaynerchuk — arguably the original internet-age influencer — in conversation with nft now co-founder Matt Medved saw a packed house, full of people eager to hear the web guru’s thoughts and perspective on all things Web3.
Other highlights at the Dupont building included a panel hosted by Porsche regarding their plans to embark on an extensive Web3-focused campaign into the near future and beyond, a panel hosted by members of FaZe Clan on the role of interoperability in the future of gaming, and a bombshell announcement from Rug Radio’s Farokh at a panel to close the day.
NOTE: This is Thursday’s live update. See the latest Art Basel & Gateway updates below.
As part of Rug Radio’s ever-expanding foothold into Web3 media, Farokh announced the upcoming release of a PFP collection aiming to capture the “many faces of Web3.” The collection’s art was prepared by noted NFT artist Cory Van Lew, who will also have pieces on display at The Gateway’s Christie’s showcase throughout the week.
Nike x RTFKT reveal their Cryptokicks smart footwear line
While market conditions and unconscionable events have sent the blockchain industry into a difficult phase, RTFKT, during their panel at nft now x Mana Common’s The Gateway, exhibited precisely why building a quality project/product is a long-play, not a short-cut to success. Working from this point, RTFKT Co-Founders Steven Vasilev and Chris Le gave the collective NFT community something to think about by providing a sneak peek into their forthcoming Cryptokicks smart footwear line.
During The Gateway panel “Merging Worlds: Fashion, Lore, and Empowering Creators,” Vasilev and Le took the stage with influential Web3 builder and Rug Radio founder Farokh Sarmad to have an informal conversation about what transpired within RTFKT. Considering the young company was acquired by Nike nearly one year earlier, the collective NFT community has kept the metaverse fashion house in its sights as a champion of Web3.
Vasilev and Le made it clear that RTFKT will venture far beyond the current scope of digital wearables. In speaking on connecting RTFKT IP going forward, Le said that projects from the company’s past will continue to influence lore and storytelling going forward. “This is the storytelling phase of RTFKT. This is probably a stretch, but I really believe we’re going to crush the Marvel Cinematic Universe down the road,” said Le. “We’re going deep and we have really great story writers. We’re making sure all plot holes are filled because we’re trying to set the tone and environment for our community to come in and add to the story.”
Following several successful NFT auctions, Christie’s announced the launch of Christie’s 3.0 in September of 2022. It’s a new on-chain auction platform where users can discover and bid on exclusive drops that are curated by Christie’s. “All transactions, including post-sale processing, will be automated and on-chain,” Nicole Sales Giles, Christie’s Director of Digital Art Sales, said to nft now at the time.
Today, Lydia Chen, Senior Project Coordinator for Digital Art Sales & NFTs at Christie’s, joined a panel with Surreal Artist Ayla El-Moussa, artist Rhymezlikedimez, and Richerd Chen, Co-Founder of the NFT smart contract developer Manifold, to dive deeper into Christie’s journey into Web3, and what it means for artists and collectors.
In a panel at The Gateway: A Web3 Metropolis hosted by moderator Matt Medved, CEO and Co-Founder at nft now, Chen began the discussion by noting that Christie’s NFT auctions have been an effective way of onboarding traditional art collectors to Web3 and opening their eyes to crypto art. She noted that the auction house has physical works of the digital art on display, and collectors see it and fall in love. It resonates with them, but “they have no idea what the blockchain or NFTs are,” Chen said, noting that they ultimately join Web3 because of their desire to have the piece on display.
El-Moussa echoed these sentiments, noting how digital auction houses for NFTs also provide a way for collectors who are digitally native to feel comfortable collecting art and given digital artists like herself a way to finally earn a living from their work. “What I find so special about it is that Christies 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,” she said.
Rhymezlikedimez reinforced these statements and the impact of Christie’s auctions, noting that the work tremendously helps digital artists who didn’t have a revenue stream.
MoonPay’s Web3 Passport and “the mom test”
Making a first crypto purchase can seem daunting to new users recently onboarded in the NFT space. But platforms like MoonPay make it easier for even the most unseasoned blockchain enthusiasts to buy and sell crypto, lowering the barrier of entry into the NFT space. And in 2022, that barrier has been significantly lowered compared earlier years.
But it seems crypto trading isn’t the only thing MoonPay has its sights set on, as the company’s CEO Ivan Soto-Wright explained during a fireside chat with nft now Co-Founder & CEO Matt Medved. During the panel at The Gateway, Soto-Wright spoke about his view on the future of both the NFT space and his growing company.
“We see ourselves as building the next American Express,” said Soto-Wright. “Right now, we’re trying to build a private company that is iconic. […] Obviously, there’s a lot of maturing we need to do inside MoonPay. We’re going to do what’s right for the company. We’re going to focus on growth.” As part of this growth, MoonPay today launched its own NFT project called the “Web3 Passport”. Billed as a sort of SoulBound Token, MoonPay’s passport will grant holders guaranteed access to exclusive experiences and products from the MoonPay partners and other leading brands and creators.
Yet, with the future of identity, access, brand loyalty, and more on the horizon for MoonPay, Soto-Wright is not discounting the amount of work it will take to achieve his company’s goal of mass crypto and NFT adoption. “My goal is crypto needs to pass the mom test,” Soto-Wright said during the panel. “My mom currently still hasn’t used OpenSea yet. So until she is successfully able to make a purchase, we still have work to do.”
Web3’s evolving legal landscape
The fall of FTX has reignited conversations about regulation in Web3 and caused regulatory bodies and enforcement agencies globally to pay closer attention to the world of blockchain. Amidst this backdrop, legal experts gathered to discuss Web3’s evolving legal landscape. In a panel discussion at nft now and Mana Common’s The Gateway: A Web3 Metropolis, Amy Madison Luo, Partner at Digital, and Shekinah Apedo, General Counsel at Deadfellaz were joined by moderator Mark Jansen, Partner at Fenwick, to discuss what the future holds.
Madison began by noting that, contrary to popular belief, the crypto space isn’t actually any more plagued by bad actors. “There are bad actors in every industry, and with new technologies people try and take advantage of that. That’s nothing new […] but as we move through the technology, we are seeing these bad actors get found out. So I’m actually really bullish.”
Madison also spoke about the difficulty in classifying NFTs under the current securities definitions and guidelines, since blockchain technology just doesn’t fit into the conventional, 20th-century categories of securitization. “When it comes to classifying things as a security or not, you can’t just slap a name on something and assume laws won’t affect it,” Madison said. “You need to look at the facts and circumstances underlying that thing you’re creating.”
In the wake of the FTX crash, many “regulators who work on Capitol Hill are using [FTX] to justify why the [Web3] space should be heavily regulated […] but we do have a lot of legislators who are pro-crypto,” said Shekinah Apedo, General Counsel at Deadfellaz, during the panel. “One of the most important things is to make sure you have your due diligence in order […] trademarks, IPs, etc.”
Apedo also stressed that while creator royalties are an increasingly popular subject in Web3, and could become a more successful component of strategizing growth, they can’t carry you all the way. “There have been a lot of conversations about creator royalties, but that can not be your primary business strategy.” The growing consensus is that users of NFTs should self-educate, and familiarize themselves with the legal framework of NFTs to protect themselves, because regulations, done rashly or carefully, are on their way. “The regulation is going to happen, no matter what,” said Mark Jansen, Partner at Fenwick. “It’s just a question of when.”
Instagram digital collectibles take center stage
Ed Dowling, Product Lead and Creator of Blockchain Products at Instagram, spoke in a panel at nft now and Mana Common’s The Gateway: A Web3 Metropolis. There, he detailed Instagram’s journey into Web3. Also on the panel were Amber Vittoria, an influential Artist and Poet, and Micah Johnson, Creator of Aku Dream, who discussed how the platform is helping NFTs secure mainstream adoption.
Vittoria kicked off the conversation by noting how Instagram gave her a place to show her art on her own terms and grow her personal brand. “I really feel like Instagram circumvented the traditional gatekeepers that were agents of representation for artists and allowed artists to advocate for themselves and create contacts directly,” she said.
Johnson echoed this sentiment and noted that, thanks to Instagram’s NFT features, creators can now do far more than just grow their brands or show their art — they can earn a living. “People who were supporting my work with a heart can now buy it. It’s so great to see Instagram supporting creators in this way,” he said.
Panel moderator Matt Medved, Co-founder and CEO at nft now, was quick to note the significance of Vittoria and Johnson’s assertions. “You know when a technology has gone mainstream when you stop talking about the technology and start talking about how it changes people’s lives,” he said.
Notably, this impact isn’t just a happy side effect. Rather, it’s the whole point.
When discussing why Instagram decided to roll out features that let creators sell NFTs on the platform, Dowling noted that this artist empowerment was at the top of mind. Specifically, he stated that the platform entered the space because it “wanted to make creative expression accessible to people.” He continued by noting that empowering creators continues to be the company’s primary focal point. “It’s incredible to have launched NFTs with a small group of artists, but, naturally, we want to bring that to everyone. So a really big focus for us is on how we can enable any creator to have access to these tools and drop on Instagram,” he said.
Beyond Basel throws a nightly music and art festival
Starting at 7:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, Beyond Basel will kick off a three-day festival touting the most cutting-edge visual and musical artists working together in tandem. Hosted by Trippy Labs in partnership with FaZe Clan, MoonPay, and Samsung U.S., each festival date will offer attendees the chance to participate in a one-of-a-kind festival experience, providing nine hours of live music and art each day.
Among the star-studded list of artists and musicians set to take the stage is Japanese artist Mari Asada, better known as marimosphere, whose live VR art show looks to give audiences a night to remember as her set rolls around at 12:30 a.m. late into the night.
Collectibles featuring Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Queen, and more launching at Art Basel
Newly curated NFT marketplace Nifter is taking to Art Basel Miami to unveil a massive staggered launch of NFT collectibles, available for purchase on its website at an undisclosed date. Headlining this crop of digital collectibles are pieces featuring the likes of Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Queen, Muhammad Ali, Stan Lee, and many more
Each collectible scheduled for release has been certified for authenticity by Topps, Iconic Authenticated, and Upperdeck Signatures. Pricing is set to range from $500 all the way to $50,000 for the rarest NFTs. Nifter will host a slew of art and music NFTs on the platform, with pieces by renowned street artist Uncuttart and Grammy nominee Melky Jean among the most notable NFT drops during the week.
This is developing coverage of The Gateway on Thursday, December 1, so be sure to check in for more updates.