NFT Expoverse Los Angeles: Day 1
Article by Angie Kibiloski
NFT Expoverse Los Angeles began today, July 29th, 2022, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, kicking off a 3-day event focused on everything NFT related. If you’re interested in any aspect of Blockchain, crypto, Web3, or the broad spectrum of NFT applications, there’s likely a panel of speakers talking about it on one of the days. This article will touch on a few of the most interesting panel discussions that I sat and listened to on Day 1, all geared towards creators in the space. I may go into more depth on several of these panels after the show wraps up, and perhaps others I won’t have space to mention right now. First, though, a little bit on NFTs in general, for those who may be new to the space.
At the moment, 90% of the population doesn’t understand the full potential of NFTs, and due to some extravagant, headline-making art sales, has a narrow (and potentially negative) view of what they are. Yes, the most prevalent use-case of NFTs at the moment is digital collectibles, but that’s just where the technology began, and what the culture chose as a launch point. NFTs, and Web3 in general, are all about true ownership, and a persistent proof of that ownership. Right now, this means ownership of digital art or gaming assets, but in the future, it will mean concert tickets, a car title, membership to a club, etc. You might say, “Ownership of those things can already be proven with digital receipts, why does it have to be an NFT?” Simply put, every action taken against a particular asset is stored on the Blockchain, added to the metadata of that asset. It acts like a digital log of that specific asset (not just any version of that asset), and because “Blockchain is forever” it can’t be deleted or counterfeited. For items that can be bought and sold multiple times, that metadata acts as a “chain of custody” for every person who has held that specific iteration of an asset. It’s also public, so every transaction is open to be viewed by anyone who cares to look, creating transparency between all parties. I’ll save the deep dives for another time, but Web3 and NFTs are the future, and I promise that future holds more than just insanely expensive monkey jpegs.
Let’s get back to the main event, and Day 1 of NFT Expoverse. There were several panels I attended that talked about creators, and what they can do to be successful in the NFT space, either as individuals or as large companies. Three such panels were “How Creators Can Build and Transition Their Audiences Into Web3”, “Best Practices for Creators and Brands in the New Creative Economy”, and “Diving into Digital Collectibles.” Starting with large companies, like Disney or FIFA, who already have fanbases, they might use NFTs to reward brand loyalty, and bring more value to a purchase. They don’t need to work very hard to get their projects seen by people, since they already have massive reach, but they run into the issue of convincing their non-NFT-savvy audiences of the benefits of owning their digital merch.
Their other challenge is to on-board new users into the NFT market while there still hasn’t been mass adoption of crypto and decentralized payment options. Companies like this will likely need to ease their customers into Web3 with one foot still in Web2. This means, skip the wallet creation and crypto exchanges, and let them buy NFTs with fiat currency (USD/Euro/etc.) using their credit cards, on marketplace websites that make purchasing easy and familiar. This “Web2.5” middle ground sacrifices a bit of the decentralization and anonymity that Web3 veterans appreciate, and exchanges it for a more convenient, smooth path to mass adoption for new users.
On the flip side of things, individual creators, or newer companies without a vast reach, run into a different set of challenges. Until they’ve established themselves in the NFT market as reputable creators, they’ll need to build their “fanbases” from the ground up, treating their projects like start-ups. This means engaging with other creators on socials, getting the word out about their work, building communities, and gaining trust about what their project will be offering even before releasing it for purchase. Many smaller creators struggle with growing their communities, and this can make or break a project’s success.
One thing that can help boost community excitement about a project, and gain more potential buyers, is added utility to an NFT. This is true for small creators and large companies alike. Utility simply means what else you get with the ownership of an asset, aside from simply owning that asset. DAO governance is a popular benefit for small projects, as well as free airdropped NFTs in the future, or 1st access to a new project before the public can buy. Another thing that will drive users to a project will be cross-chain interoperability, or the ability to move an asset between the various Blockchains (there are several if you didn’t know), instead of it being tied to the chain it was created on. At the moment, this technology isn’t there in a convenient way, but this will be key for the future, especially in regards to the Metaverse(s). The future of the Metaverse will have to wait for another day, because there is so much to say.
I’d love to talk at length about these creator-centric panels, as well as the other panels I attended today, on AI in the Metaverse, the next step in social media to monetize engagement, and making Blockchain usage more efficient and eco-friendly, but I’ll leave it at that for now. NFT Expoverse Los Angeles began on a high note, and this was only Day 1. Come back here in the next few days for more coverage of the event. In the meantime, visit https://nftexpoverse.com to see a full list of exhibitors and speakers for all 3 days of the event.