Taking place the week of June 20, NFT NYC 2022 was the largest NFT conference to date, with over 15,000 attendees heading to New York to participate in panel discussions, side events and parties. Despite weakness in global crypto markets, $2 trillion in value wiped out since peak November 2021, top-notch NFT collections have rewarded their communities with impressive pop-up installs and parties featuring the best DJs and musicians.
The main themes of the conference included NFT projects in gaming, metaverse, music, digital art, sports, fashion and collectibles. Leading Ethereum layer two chain Polygon has established its presence in the gaming space, showcasing its upcoming triple-A gaming title Metalcore among other titles. As part of the metaverse theme, Sandbox held its own two-day mini-conference in Gotham Hall, the Sandbox Expo, with panel discussions from industry leaders and performances from Steve Aoki and Tiesto.
The conference served as a meeting point for the collections to highlight the value of their communities and celebrate their accomplishments, doubling down on their commitment to their members by hosting mind-blowing events and experiences in the metaverse and the physical world.
Top NFT projects aspire to dominate cultural consciousness by establishing global media brands spanning consumer products, music, movies, TV, games and other forms of content aimed at rewarding existing NFT holders and welcome newcomers. By creating new media and experiences that community members can interact with, NFT collections follow the playbook of the world’s largest media companies, such as Disney.
The excitement surrounding the conference was not dampened by the price decline in the crypto space. Crypto markets exhibited weakness alongside other risky assets, and NFTs proved sensitive to general market conditions. Among the top collections, BAYC floor price is down 64% YTD from $270,000 to $98,000, CryptoPunks is down 70% YTD from $260,000 $ to $79,000, and Mutant Apes is down 66% year-to-date from $61,000 to $21,000.
“We want to be one of the biggest producers of media entertainment and music in the world,” said Julian Holguin, CEO of Doodles. “This will include IRL experiences, games, consumer products, music, movies, and more.”
NFTs are estimated to have an aggregate market capitalization of around $41 billion. The market capitalization of Disney, a single media company, is valued at $182 billion, or about 4.5 times the value of the entire NFT market. Other media companies serving as models for NFT collections to replicate include Comcast ($178 billion), Sony ($105 billion), and Fox ($17.8 billion), among many others. This shows how early the NFT space is and how the major collections are just beginning to scratch the surface of the total addressable market.
Prospects and implications
While there may be short-term market weakness, the turnout and rapid pace of announcements at the event indicate a strong community base of NFT enthusiasts, supported by projects seeking to create value at long term. Prime NFT collections are also starting to cross the rubicon into popular culture. This vision was instantiated when the Profile Picture Project (“PFP”) Doodles announced that music producer Pharrell Williams was joining the management team as Chief Brand Officer and focusing on the collection approach. when it comes to “music, artwork, consumer products, entertainment and events”. As a first project, Pharrell will produce an official album titled Doodles Records: Volume 1 in partnership with Columbia Records.
Blue chip NFT projects will continue to reward members by hosting “IRL” events and other experiences in the virtual and physical world. At NFT NYC 2022, Cool Cats, PFP’s premier cat-themed collection, launched its flagship Cooltopia event which was an interactive and fun experience in the form of an indoor theme park. This immersive experience was designed as a playful journey that inspires, educates and entertains guests as IRL gamers before they play the digital game. The event is packed with Cool Cats, Cool Pets, and Cooltopia locations, including air, water, fire, and grass areas.
“We want to create multiple touchpoints for Cool Cats holders, with a focus on inclusivity and accessibility,” said Cool Cats co-founder Evan Luza. “Even though we’re in a bear market, it’s a great time to be in Web3 and an even better time to build.”
In sports, the NFT collection, the Chibi Dinos, expanded their ecosystem by partnering with NBA players PJ Washington, Bobby Portis and Terance Mann as brand ambassadors at the conference. Chibi Dinos is launching a play-to-earn game allowing players to predict live NBA games to earn limited-edition HOOP coins and NFTs.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club, the largest NFT collection by market capitalization, had a strong presence at NFT NYC 2022, as the community held its second ApeFest during the conference. The event was exclusively available to holders of the Apes and Mutants BAYC NFT collections and took place at Pier 17 in New York City. ApeFest featured guest appearances and musical performances from Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer, Timbaland, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and others.
These activities undertaken by collections to reward members of their community are intended to support higher price floors, the lowest price at which a unit of a given collection can be purchased, and to encourage wider adoption of NFTs. Cooltopia was widely seen as one of the highlights of the conference, and the average trading price of a Cool Cat increased by 80%, from 3.6 ETH the week before the event to 6.6 ETH next week. Similarly, ApeCoin, the BAYC governance token, rose 52% from $3.37 the week before ApeFest to $5.13 after the event. However, it still remains down 87% from its April high.
By producing media content and building household names, NFT Collections can ironically resemble more traditional media companies such as Disney. Holders of the underlying tokens and NFTs associated with collections capable of establishing enduring consumer brands are expected to capture the benefits of the growth of these fledgling brands.
However, investors still need to be discerning about the projects in which they invest. For example, not all NFTs offer the same degree of investor protection and trading rights, and some rights may not transfer upon resale. Also, with so much hype in the space, it’s important to avoid falling into knockoff projects or stolen NFTs. Just this week, Yuga Labs, creators of BAYC and who also bought the intellectual property rights behind CryptoPunks, the original NFT collection, filed a lawsuit against Ryder Ripps alleging he illegally created identical replicas of collections. popular, siphoning off revenue from their rightful owners.
Investors looking to gain upside exposure to emerging Web3 brands would do well to seek out collections that activate culture, grow their communities, and establish everlasting global consumer brands.