NFT.NYC 2022

Hey y’all, so I just got back from NFT.NYC and want to debrief while it’s still fresh! The highlights of the week, pretty much agreed to by all, are the IRL (in real life) events for all the groups you’ve been participating in virtually. Maybe because it’s not super cool to even use your real name or profile pic in the Web 3 space, meeting people live and in the flesh is even more important and fulfilling. True confession, this year’s event came at a tough time for me, since I had just started a new data analytics job. I was able to register successfully for some of the IRL events of the projects I participate in, but not all. In some cases, I entered raffles and was not successful (NB – It was interesting to see the different approaches taken by the communities for event organization, and IMO gave a good indication of actual community dynamics). Since I had just bought the dip for a few projects, acquiring their NFTs only days before the conference, in some cases I was too late to register (World of Women – I missed Madonna! 😭) or wasn’t aware. I missed arguably the best event of the conference, hosted by the stunningly creative Truth Labs (Live tattoos. Enough said.) In one case, I became aware of the project and bought the NFT only while I was there (Some of my favorite NFT art at 1989 Sisters). However, all was not lost and I met some fantastic folks. Here are some highlights.

Tuttle Tribe

It’s always awesome to do an IRL Tuttle Tribe Monday, and though I love our usual Miami vibes the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn made an acceptable substitute 😉. If you’re looking for a breezy rooftop to chill out, with stunning skyline views, this is your place. Oh, did I mention that there was a pool on the roof, and a gorgeous water tower with after hours parties. Say what?! But I’m getting ahead of myself – as always, in line with the remit of Web 3 Equity, that of gender equality in the space, we started the night with education. I chose the communities group, because I think this is one of the most essential elements of a blockchain token project and also the one for which there is no playbook. Basically, don’t be afraid to experiment with different outreach channels, connect like crazy, find your peeps. Tuttle Tribe is my biggest collection, I love these ladies (both the real ones and the virtual ones). 

Flower Girls

The heart of the Flower Girls is the beautiful, fanciful art of Varvara Alay, and this community attracts both art lovers and artists alike. Their IRL event was at the luscious Crosby Street Hotel, in the lower level which felt like the homey living quarters for a countryside estate. So beautiful, and so comfortable at the same time. This was a +1 event, so I was able to meet not only some fellow Flower Gals but their Flower Dudes also.  

The community has a creative strategy for encouraging members to HODL their tokens, while not speaking in these terms directly but by a whimsical ‘garden and seed’ strategy. The longer you hold your token, the more seeds will appear in your seed purse. I had been vaguely aware of these elements, but a new friend showed me that the seed purse was actually already in my wallet, with some lovely seeds to boot! I’m still figuring out exactly what utility the seeds have, but in the meantime I’m enjoying them! Some have Flower Girls inside, can you find them?

Meta Angels

My new friend who showed me how to find my Flower Girls’ seed purse was actually a wonderful woman to whom I had loaned my extra Meta Angel. This is the only NFT community that I’m aware of that has this feature. It’s a great way for folks to experience what the group is all about while an angel is visiting their crypto wallet (you can redeem it whenever you’re ready, there’s no specified time limit). This is fitting with the giving and sharing spirit of the project. 

The IRL NFT.NYC event was a breakfast held at Luminary / Glass Ceiling, yet another fun rooftop venue located in the Nomad neighborhood of Manhattan. The event was held in partnership with several communities focusing on Web 3 education including Zen Academy and Curious Addys. 

The Conference

Okay, here we go. I have to say that the conference itself was a bit overwhelming. It felt like 4-5 conferences in one, with so many concurrent sessions, many of which were in different buildings from the mothership at the Marriot Marquis. Personally, although I enjoy the occasional visit to NYC, I find Times Square a bit jarring. I would typically avoid it, but the Marriot is smack dab in the middle. By the last day, I chose to limit myself to the sessions at home base, just to keep from dealing with the street scene. Also, I will say that the quality of the sessions wasn’t really what I had come to expect from the various blockchain events that I’ve been fortunate to attend this past year in my home city of Miami. That said, there were some nice takeaways that I’ll try to summarize, mostly from the developer side:

Patrick Collins provides some serious Solidity educational material on Youtube for free, along with a Github repository with all the code and resources. I haven’t taken the course but he’s a pretty dynamic speaker so it’s worth a try. Here’s the link to his channel.

Once you’re on a roll with Solidity, you’ll want to write efficient code. Frank Poncelet gave a talk on strategies programming strategies for minimizing gas. I haven’t been able to locate a version of the talk but if you’re interested we can talk about what I have in my notes. Here’s his twitter. He’s also working on a new ERC721 standard, dubbed ERC721F (F for Frank). Here’s his github.

Civic is a company working on a functional way to have a digital identity that can be used across Web 3 so that you can link wallets, see all your NFTs from different blockchains in one place, all while preserving ‘privacy.’ I’m not sure what is meant by that. I’ve got some homework here. They are also active in bot protection / prevention, which can be a major issue for NFT drops. 

Unique is building an NFT ecosystem on Polkadot, a proof-of-stake chain. In an interesting move they bought Cryptopunk #3042 and are giving away fractional ownership pieces if you would like to meander on over to their website and connect your wallet. Reading their FAQs I’m not completely sure if they know how it’s all going to go down, but if you like to experiment, you’ll probably learn something (maybe use an otherwise empty wallet).

And finally, one of the meatier talks was given by Morgan McKenney, CEO of Provenance Blockchain Foundation. Provenance is an ecosystem powered by blockchain that is designed specifically for the needs of financial services. I’ve got a lot of homework here. Of particular interest was the work of a company called Figure, which has built a network of applications designed for each stage of a mortgage asset from creation and maintenance through final settlement. Presumably this could be linked to more efficient records of property ownership that could also reside on the blockchain, to replace the antiquated title system we have now. In other words, transactions could be much faster if we actually knew who owns what. If this sounds interesting you can check them out.

So to sum it up, this was my first year at NFT.NYC and next year I would probably do things differently, forgoing the conference itself and focusing on the satellite events. It’s not that the conference had no value, but there is always a value vs. time and money trade off and IMO it’s just not there. Plus a bonus will be missing the madness of Times Square 😉