NFTs: Tools for Art, Advocacy and Activism
New York City was all about NFTs this week as the third edition of NFT.NYC, New York’s non-fungible token conference, took place. It went off with a bang!
The event has come far from its humble origins in 2019 and this year’s featured 600 speakers across three days and six venues throughout the city. Over the course of the event, 15 different NFT-themed billboards were featured in Times Square.
In this episode of “Money Reimagined” Sheila Warren and Michael Casey figure out what to make of the overwhelming display of innovation, creativity and speculative fervor that was unleashed with this event. To do so, they tapped the insightful mind of Sam Ewen, the head of CoinDesk Studios, who explains what this week’s conference represents and how the greater phenomenon of NFTs is sweeping through society.
The discussion explored the driving factors behind the energy that was on display, and it says about the current NFT zeitgeist. The event, which attracted 5,500 registered attendees and many more who turned up for the sideline parties and entertainment, has exploded in size since its last showing in February 2020. Back then, the event was in just one theater housing a modest gathering of early NFT enthusiasts. This year, there were more than 600 speakers appearing in concurrent programming across six venues.
Just as important was the massive amount of promotion underway. There were hundreds of exhibitors with products using NFTs for everything from music rights to wine collecting. Meanwhile, many NFT platforms, flush with cash from this year’s investment boom, put on raging parties with A-list DJs and bands and spectacular digital art installations.
To Ewen, what stood out was the passion of the various NFT communities. He described it as “evangelism,” a force that is helping to grow this space at as rapid a clip as the money that early investors are making.
But he also highlighted the hurdles, including the challenge of “gas fees,” the high transaction costs users incur for trading NFTs, especially on the Ethereum blockchain.
Either way, the conclusion from the discussion is that something big is happening in this sector, something could transform the digital economy as we know it. It’s just that with things moving so fast, it’s very difficult to predict what exactly that change will look like.
This episode was produced and edited by Michele Musso with announcements by Adam B. Levine and additional support by Eleanor Pahl. Our theme song is “Shepard.”