What is different this year about NFTNYC? I had attended the same conference in November of 2021 and was wowed. The following month I went to NFTBZL in Miami. This past spring I attended and spoke at NFTLA, and NFT Miami and recently was a guest Veecon.
So, what is different about June 20-23rd in New York?
For one thing, the lack of big-name celebrities. The strategy of co-founders Jodee Rich and Cameron Bale is to give the 99% a spotlight.
Instead of the usual characters, like Mark Cuban, scrolling through the names of the 1500 confirmed speakers one would be hard pressed to recognize any names. Deepak Chopra stands out, and Rug Radio’s Farokh.
Big names are a draw, but as we saw in Web2, focusing only on them leaves emerging artists and, if there is such a thing, middle class of the NFT world, waving from the back of the room for any attention at these events. The already rich get richer. The organizers of NFTNYC want to change that. They want to feature the artists, the small start-up founders who make up the majority of Web3.
At Veecon this past May it was celebrity city. I was told Snoop offered to appear at NFTNYC, but for a fee of $500,000.00. Mr. Rich and Bale said “no thanks.”
Many of the larger PFP groups, like BAYC and influential NFT artists, are hosting satellite events at the same time. Fewocious is having another paint party. He's also planning a Pride month event with “The Stonewall Inn”; the birthplace of the gay civil rights movement. It's a big month ahead.
NFTNYC will spread out among 10 stages including Radio City Music Hall, The Palladium Times Square, The Town Hall, The Edison Hotel and Ballroom, The Margaritaville Hotel, and The Marriott Marquis Hotel Times Square. They completed a "buy out" of Times Square Billboards, which alone is a 2 million dollar spend, and are expecting 15,000 attendees from over 100 countries. Rather than projecting exclusivity, NFTNYC is even allowing non-attendees who are hosting events to list them on their website.
There are of course challenging downsides beyond scheduling so many people and events. Crypto and much of the stock market is in a dip, and some say headed for an extended bottoming out bear market. Many NFT projects are on hold, or scaled back. Also, Covid is a consideration as a new wave moves through locations around the globe, including New York City.
Despite all this, the general feeling amongst the NFT space is optimism. Those who recall the dotcom bubble burst, and crypto dip in 2017 know that everything runs in cycles.
All in all, as The New York Times was quoted as saying last November, "it feels like the Woodstock 69 of 2022". More reporting to come.