If you only followed NFT NYC from afar on Twitter this week, you might have thought that the whole event was a flop that only embarrassed the public. Even though the week just started on Monday, there were tweets making fun of Apefest, making fun of an NFT date proposal, and saying that NFT NYC had “already failed.”
For those who don’t believe in or are against NFT, the reality is less satisfying: everyone I talked to was optimistic, even though cryptocurrency prices had dropped a lot, and the mood was very upbeat. As Amy Wu of FTX Ventures wrote on Twitter, “Last week, people told me that #NFTNYC would be weird because crypto had died. I’m happy to say that the opposite did happen.”
Many people did show off their JPEGs with pride at lunches, panels, and parties all over the city. Punks, Apes, Cool Cats, and Gutter Cats were embroidered on a lot of caps, hoodies, and denim jackets. There was also talk about NFTs that are useful, NFTs that can be used as tickets to real-world events, and other possible uses that don’t have to do with showing off wealth.
The best unintentional contrast between the hottest NFT collections right now was provided by two different parties.
On Tuesday night, a “kickoff party” for Doodles, which is the 13th best-selling NFT collection ever, was held at the Palladium Theater in Times Square. The event was supposed to start at 7, but people with Doodles had to stay in their seats until 10:05, when the presentation finally began. At that point, Julian Holguin, who used to work for Billboard and is now the CEO of Doodles, walked onto the stage.
Holguin was the one who finished the PowerPoint presentation. One presentation reminded the crowd of what Doodles had already done, with bullet points like “sold out in minutes” and “2,600 ETH in the Doodlebank.” Then Holguin went over everything that Doodles had done to market itself at this year’s SXSW conference, three months before. Even people who loved their Doodles very much were complaining.
The NewFronts in 2011 had the feel of a business meeting
Holguin then showed a pre-recorded video of Doodles founder Alexis Ohanian saying that 776 Ventures had led the company’s first-ever financing round (though Doodles did not disclose the amount raised). He then played a video that Pharrell, the new chief brand officer of Doodles, had already made. The crowd screamed.
After I went to the Doodles event, I went to the Goblintown party in Terminal 5. The difference was like night and day.
For those who don’t know, the Goblintown NFT collection appeared out of nowhere last month, and its floor price quadrupled overnight on June 1 to almost 9 ETH, which was worth $17,000 at the time. Since then, the price of the OpenSea floor has gone down to 3.65 ETH, which is $4,500. The collection is about nihilism and urine, and it says, “no route map No dissent. not useful.”
So, it made sense that the Goblintown party was a bit dirty and laid-back. Inside the party, there were Illuminati triangles, Tarot cards, and a (real) tattoo station. Outside, a truck sold cheeseburgers, and the hosts only spoke in goblin gibberish. During an after-party on the dance floor of Chelsea Music Hall, there were more people in goblin masks, gummy burgers, and “WANTED” signs with Beeple’s face.
No one talked about chief brand officers or marketing activations. Everyone just had fun. For the crypto market right now, it hit the right note. There was a strong sense of community.
Fans of Doodles will respond to all of this by saying that the company is working hard to make the brand more valuable for holders and grow it. After going to the Doodles event, NFT influencer @NFTbark wrote in a thread that “Doodles is a brand that will rule pop culture for years to come.” He loved the presentations and mission statements. In his conclusion, he said that the presentation was so good that a Fortune 500 company would be impressed.