It’s a tough time for the cryptocurrency market right now, but perhaps this week’s NFT Fest Aus – one of Australia’s biggest crypto industry events – is exactly right. what the space needs to help elevate the sentiment.
Stockhead discussed with founder Greg Oakford before the two day conferencewhich kicks off on Wednesday November 23 at St Kilda in Melbourne.
Hi greg. It’s a few days ahead for you and the NFT community in Australia. Is NFT Fest’s timing a bit unfortunate, given the dominant FTX fallout securities?
Yeah it’s funny because the other week when all the FTX stuff was dropping I remember I had just gotten confirmation from a few notable last minute speakers and I felt like I was on top of the world because of that.
My first gut reaction to the FTX news was that it wasn’t going to be that great for the festival. But a week or so later, and it’s very clear to me that the energy around the festival hasn’t slowed down at all. And, you know, we actually sold out most of the tickets the same day a lot of FTX news was revealed.
Do you think it’s because there’s still a lot of interest in the NFT sector, regardless of what else is going on in “crypto”?
Yes, I just think the NFT space in general is a stickier community than maybe the crypto space in general. And I think it’s because there’s a plot of different encounters and interests within the NFT space that drive it – for example, generative art collections, PFPs, game and music NFTs, sports NFTs. This brings a lot of different aspects and use cases of fungible tokens in my opinion.
And so I think it comes at a good time because there has been a lot of bad luck and a lot of noise about crypto in general. We hope NFT Fest brings a ray of sunshine to end what has been quite a tumultuous crypto year, with lots of ups and lots of downs.
Everything you need to know about NFT Fest 2022 🦄
November 23-24 in Melbourne.
120+ speakers, 3 rooms, 2 days. https://t.co/IEoY6ae0W8 for tickets.
Let’s dive 🧵
— NFT Fest Australia | November 23-24 (@NFTFestAus) November 11, 2022
A huge NFT crucible
You have a wide range of speakers and topics on the agenda. You’ve already mentioned some NFT stories, but are there any details about the festival that you think stand out?
All in all, we’re just very excited to facilitate a massive NFT melting pot in some way. There are, for example, great people from across the spectrum of the game, people representing Australia’s biggest leagues and sporting codes, even New Zealand rugby flies over.
Kav Temperley of Eskimo Joe will talk about musical NFTs. And then you have generative artists and traditional art world artists making their way into NFTs, crypto educators and those focusing on business and brand building… it’s just a vibe really interesting to have all these different types of people together.
Conferences can often be reserved for a single slot, but that’s not how it is – we’re throwing everyone into the same facility and I think it’s going to be pretty exciting. I think it will lift people’s spirits in general.
What do you think or hope people will take away from all of this?
Sometimes you attend a conference and make great connections and potential new business connections – and that’s something we look for, for attendees. But also often at conferences, people don’t leave after seeing memorable content.
So we’re a content-driven conference, and our list of speakers says it all. Our fundamental wish for attendees is to not only come away with new connections, but with three to five things they hadn’t learned before and hopefully come across a handful of speakers they didn’t never heard of before and which they found really interesting.
Do you still see a lot of positivity for NFTs in Australia in this current climate?
Yeah, absolutely. Kieran Warwick (co-founder of Illuvium) was actually on one of our Twitter spaces a few weeks ago and said that overall we’re punching above our weight in Australia – well with a lot of things, but in that context too.
Just look at some of the startups and people in the industry here. People like Kieran, DCL Blogger, Betty from Deadfellaz are building the early stages of what seems like a pretty iconic brand. You have a lot of great artists – for example Danielle Weber, who featured “The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, on the red carpet in New York just a few weeks ago.
Then there’s the AO Art Ball – Tennis Australia project in January this year… to me it’s still one of the most underrated NFT projects I’ve seen in my time. There’s a lot of NFT innovation happening here in Australia.
Towards an “internet of scarcity”
What do you say to people who tell you that they don’t really get the NFTs and just see them as crazy expensive jpegs of cartoon monkeys and such?
My response is that I understand that point of view, and I understand people’s concern or confusion about, you know, why is that silly monkey picture or that cartoon animal worth such and such a dollar figure?
I’m old enough to remember the world without the internet. And over the past 25 or 30 years, we’ve all grown up and used an Internet that was synonymous with abundance. It was Napster this, Limewire that – rip this, Google image that. In other words, we’re used to getting things for free and we’re used to copying and pasting everything.
With blockchain, we are now moving over the next two decades into an internet of scarcity, where you can actually create rare digital assets.
Do you think it’s hard for people to understand?
Absolutely. I found it difficult at first – it didn’t happen overnight for me. But I think when you can move your brain from an internet of plenty to an internet of scarcity, and you can create rare digital assets, then I think that’s a real unlock.
And that’s because all of a sudden, you can say, like, okay, Greg has the AO Art Ball, but his buddy doesn’t. His buddy may tell you to right-click and save, but he doesn’t get all the benefits that Greg, as a true holder, gets. And we can verify who the real holder is through blockchain technology.
But that’s my message – it’s about trying to move your brain from the internet as we knew it to a new version that can make it easier to own rare, secure and verifiable digital assets.