New York. It’s a bit like the orchestra of titanic : Their world is collapsing, but these people keep on partying. “NFT.NYC”, the annual high mass dedicated to non-fungible tokens, was packed this year: nearly 15,000 collectors, influencers, artists and industry professionals gathered in Manhattan from June 20-23 for three days of roundtables, events and celebratory events. evenings . In 2019 there were only 500. “We wanted to give a voice to the community with this event”, explains Jodee Rich, one of the co-founders of the event, who doesn’t hesitate to describe it as: “NFT Super Bowl” : With prices ranging between 600 and 850 dollars (570 and 810 €), the tickets are certainly almost as expensive as the seats of the famous American football final. The spectacle here was made up of many, many discussion groups hosted in multiple locations around the city by an army of 1,500 speakers from across the industry.
“The market decline is a very good thing”
However, such an influx is not without surprise. Indeed, the 2022 edition of “NFT.NYC” is held in the midst of an unprecedented crisis called “crypto winter” : For several months, the price of the major cryptocurrencies used to exchange the famous tokens has collapsed and the NFT market is at its lowest. According to analysis site CryptoSlam! Since April, the sales volume has fallen by 150% and the average price of an NFT by 65%. In the various meeting rooms, however, the participants show a bold optimism: “The market decline is a very good thing”, for example, explains Sach Chandaria, an investor participating in a roundtable discussion on the theme of “generative art” (one of the categories of crypto art). “We are going to get rid of so much rubbish. Now, be creative! † he preaches on stage to a conquered audience.
Announcing the NFT.NYC stock market on billboards in Time Square, New York, June 21, 2022.
The ceremony of the “NFT Awards”, one of the highlights of the event, also gave the feeling of an industry in need of good news, eager to set its sights on a necessarily brighter future: Takashi Murakami, awarded in the category “Best traditional artist turned NFT artist,” he enjoyed his triumph on Twitter just days after apologizing to investors for the collapse in the prices of his digital collections.
The many festive evenings organized in the margins of the event were intended to dispel the idea that the market situation could hurt collectors. Yuga Labs, the young start-up behind the “Bored Ape Yacht Club” series, that of the now famous cartoon monkeys, wanted to hit hard with its “ApeFest”: during a concert given in New York harbor, guarded by a large inflatable Depicting “Bored Ape,” rappers Snoop Dogg and Eminem unveiled their new monkey avatars there in a music video that has been viewed more than 12 million times on YouTube. However, Yuga Labs is the company that has suffered the most since the start of the crisis as the cryptocurrency (the “ApeCoin”) lost 65% of its value in just one month.
When economic questions were on everyone’s lips, they eventually overshadowed the discussions that touch the content of these digital works: The main hall of the Marriott Marquis hotel where the sober “Art” conferences were held seemed desperately empty all the time. rarely more than 100 participants out of 1,000 scheduled. The event was somewhere else: at Samsung, Gucci or the Nickelodeon kids’ TV channel launching in NFTs. The “Business” roundtables are the ones that drew the most people, especially around the utility that tokens can represent for brand communications and, soon, for real estate, insurance, or editorial. We also talked about how the companies that produce the most traded art collectibles can open up to other markets: “We want to be able to offer stuffed animals, toys or vinyl, even cartoons and video games”, enthusiastically testifies Evan Luza, one of the co-founders of the series “Cool Cats”.