NFT NYC is a gathering that continues to evolve. NFT NYC 2023, in comparison to last year’s event, certainly had a more organized feel to it and instilled a sense of calmness against the frenetic energy of years past. What was on display, given the bear market, was the sparsely populated hallways and meeting rooms – despite a full line-up of qualified panelists and attendees.
NFT NYC 2023 – even against this bearish backdrop and missing key players like the Bored Ape Yacht Club and their hallmark “Apefest” event – confirmed the NFT market is still brimming with innovation and long-term potential.
While industries, such as finance, continue to adopt NFTs and new projects emerge, there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of NFTs and the crypto market as a whole. Nonetheless, investing in this forward-looking market requires a degree of caution.
Innovation and Growth: Topics Du Jour
NFT NYC 2023 featured numerous innovative projects and platforms, such as Adidas’ #ALTSbyadidas ecosystem and Genesis NFT drop, showcasing the impressive growth and creativity within the NFT ecosystem. Nile, for instance, presented interactive virtual worlds, while other projects highlighted AI-generated art. This impressive display of innovation overall emphasized the growing significance and maturity of NFTs throughout the creative and tech industries.
“The sense of community was stronger this year compared to years past,” said Rob Volovets, Client Solutions Executive from BairesDev. “Market headwinds generally cause companies to scale back on innovation and focus on their core competencies. That being said, the energy in the room and the level of optimism that there will be a resurgence and broader use case for NFTs was undeniable by the show’s attendees.”
While there were more empty seats than last year, those in the audience had staying power and showed their support.
Web3…but First Web2.5
Safety was also another hot topic at NFT NYC 2023. Those who have undergone a downturn or a security breach recognize the significance of maintaining privacy.
During the future track panel discussing safer NFT marketplaces, Jordan Calinoff, VP of Strategy for Horizen Labs, said something that really resonated: “We are now entering a phase of Web2.5, where closed-guard marketplaces will allow people and brands to introduce their customer base to the concept of digital assets and the Web3 world.”
Given where traditional Web2 companies are, especially those enterprise players, Jordan added, “In the next 10 years, this shift will fundamentally change the way we think about value and how we trade with each other. This underscores the need for enhanced security and safety measures.”
More Education? Yes Please
The event also featured individuals dedicated to providing education, not just to those currently within the ecosystem.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Elizabeth Sullivan, the author of The Three Little PFPs, a children’s book aimed at introducing the youngest readers and industry explorers to Web3 terminology. I obtained a signed copy of the book from Elizabeth and shared it with my own children, ages nine and eleven. They were excited to learn about the metaverse, bear markets and other concepts covered in the book.
In past years, I noticed a gap in education for individuals who are not actively engaged in NFTs or the broader market. Elizabeth’s book has the potential to educate many people. This includes those who will play a critical role in transforming the industry in the future and shaping the Web3 of tomorrow – but may not yet comprehend that our work extends beyond merely working on a computer.
While the NFT market is still in its toddler phase and is growing into maturity, it is important to recognize what works and what doesn’t. Community has always been a keystone industry component. In a less crowded gathering, the role of community was even more important and evident.
As the industry progresses, it’s possible the insights gained from events each year will lead to better and more rewarding experiences for those in attendance at future events.
For now, the biggest takeaway is that we are firmly operating in Web2.5. We have a long runway to Web3 and we’re still understanding just what that means. The future is bright and the cold winter days are (hopefully) going to be behind us soon.
Next up: Consensus 2023. See you there!