NFT.NYC 2022 Diary by Benyamin Ahmed

NFT.NYC 2022 Diary by Benyamin Ahmed, Work in Fintech Chief Evangelist

Day 1: Sunday 19th June, 2022

The conference doesn't officially start until Tuesday but we decided to come early in order to explore New York. My first time in NYC and the US. When I launched Weird Whales a year ago, I had no idea that my life would take such a turn.

I was closely watching the market and I knew a sell-out would yield some good pocket money but the additional benefits: huge media coverage, collaboration opportunities, speaking engagements and a global network of friends was a pleasant surprise and far more valuable than any ETH that I accumulated.

New York was the perfect place to stroll and reflect on what an amazing year it had been.

Day 2: Monday 20th June, 2022

I had an early start at 0830, filming with Dan Sickles. Dan is an award-winning director and was one of my early supporters. He is currently working on I’m New Here, a feature film about NFTs and crypto art containing a superstar NFT cast including Claire Silver, Pascal Boyart and Justin Aversano. I felt privileged to be on the same team, I truly believe that they are part of a movement that will redefine human civilization.

Dan Sickles & Benyamin Ahmed
Dan Sickles & Benyamin Ahmed

I also bumped into Scott Sornetta on the way out, one of the developers of the first blockchain and mentioned by name in the Bitcoin whitepaper.

In the evening we attended the VIP dinner at the Marriott Marquis where the Work in Fintech crew met in person for the first time. The VIP dinner was also great opportunity to make new friends.

I started working closely with Work in Fintech after I first featured on their podcast nearly a year ago.

Day 3: Tuesday 21st June, 2022

Conference kicks off.

Amazing start to the day to see my picture in Times Square.

We headed off to the iconic Radio City Music Hall where we listened to the opening speeches and insightful comments from Ryan Wyatt of Polygon Studios, Ivan Soto-Wright of MoonPay and David Pakman.

One thing I was constantly on the lookout for was not only content at the talks but also delivery. Watching these industry superstars delivering their talks was a valuable learning experience. The successful speakers delivered using a mix of industry insights, interactivity: getting the crowd to participate seemed key to maintaining attention and interjecting with comedy.

Inspired, I headed off to the Edison Ballroom where I was scheduled to deliver my talk.

I’m often asked if I get nervous at these talks. I think I’ve gotten past the nervous phase, I enjoy public speaking and can just zone-out when on stage and focus on my delivery.

In the evening we had dinner with Cameron Moulene and the Non-Fungible Films Executive Pass holders at The Grill, the best restaurant I have ever visited.

Non Fungible Films teams up with Hollywood
Non Fungible Films teams up with Hollywood

The Non-Fungible Films Executive Pass holders dined at some of the best restaurants, got dropped merch bags with Ledgers and NFF swag and also got invites to a party at The Marquee with 3LAU.

Day 4: Wednesday 22nd June, 2022

Cooltopia day!

Cooltopia was one of the side events I eagerly wanted to attend and it did not disappoint. Cool Cats did an amazing job creating a fun, immersive experience. An excellent example of a digital first brand making a presence in the physical world, a concept that all marketeers need to understand, known as ‘phygital’.

Cooltopia was packed with lots of fun events both physical and mental. It felt like an early iteration of a modern amusement park, I can only imagine how wild this will be in ten to twenty years with the adoption of AR/VR.

The family orientated fun day was also a respite from some of the other events that were geared towards adults only. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to ApeFest or other events hosted at clubs due to US age restrictions.

The lack of children in attendance at NFT.NYC was also worrying. I spoke to at least one family that said price was a concern with tickets costing hundreds of dollars. Perhaps, conferences need to start adjusting pricing for families as I believe many children would benefit hugely from the talks and experience.

In the evening, I had the opportunity to catch-up with the NFHeroes family.

Day 5: Thursday 23rd June, 2022

Final day of talks.

The SWAG that I distributed starts making its way around the city.

My friend Shaman from NFHeroes spoke about the inevitable breakthrough of NFTs into Hollywood.

Stopped at the Marriot Marquis and had lunch with Eugene Capon.

After lunch, I had the pleasure of meeting Brad Levy, CEO at Symphony. Brad is a futurist and open to exploring all aspects of web3, metaverse and crypto.

I also bumped into William Entriken, lead author of ERC721, we joked that by a stroke of luck, he happened to be in the same place as the youngest ERC721 developer.

We discussed the Work In Fintech sponsorship scheme and how it was the world’s first B2B NFT. He was really impressed and supportive.

Before we left for NYC, my dad explained the concept of serendipity and how conferences were a great opportunity to increase your surface area of ‘luck’. Sahil Bloom refers to this as ‘Engineered Serendipity’.

“Some of what we call "luck" is actually the macro result of thousands of micro actions. Your daily habits can put you in a position where "luck" is more likely to strike.

It's possible to increase your serendipity surface area and engineer your own luck.”

This is one of the main benefits of conference attendance in addition to the talks, parties, side events, food and opportunity to explore a new city.

At the closing pool party, I met some more Weird Whales fans.

To wrap up, it seemed fitting to thank NFT.NYC founder Jodee for organising such a brilliant event.

Day 6: Friday 24th June, 2022

Time to head home.

We had an amazing stay at The Knickerbocker and the trip was a success. New relationships formed and old solidified. There was little talk over the past few days around floor prices, portfolio values and bear markets.

Everyone that I met was truly into it for the tech and culture, like adventurous travellers that had discovered a new land, we were all excited and desperate to continue exploring.

I felt truly blessed to be working in such an amazing industry at such a critical point in its history.

The bear might have entered but the crypto revolution is far from over. I’m excited by the prospects that it will be something that consumes me for the rest of my life.

Want to learn more about fintech and web3 start-ups?

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