By Riley Kaminer and Nancy Dahlberg
Later this month, Miami’s NFT community is hoping to prove that it can withstand – and look beyond – the crypto winter with the upcoming Miami NFT Week conference. The three-day event aims to convene around 5,000 digital asset minnows and whales alike in an attempt to capture the same enthusiasm it had last year.
Co-founders Erik LaPaglia, Ted Lucas and Gianni D’Alerta [pictured above] are organizing this event at Mana Wynwood Convention Center. The trio has planned a packed agenda featuring around 200 experts covering NFTs, DeFi, and Blockchain technology through workshops, panels, pitch competitions, creative installations, immersive art, performances, and more.
Miami NFT Week has four main pillars: culture, metaverse, enterprise, and web3. Major names that will grace the mainstage include City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, singer-songwriter Timbaland, two-time NBA star Baron Davis, CEO Lin Dai, financier Anthony Scaramucci, Web3 Creator Swan Sit, Decentral founder and Ethereum co-founder Anthony De lorio, VC Magdalena ”Mags” Kala of Double Down, and The Miami Ape LLC co-founder Laura Rodriguez, who was inspired to start her company after last year’s Miami NFT Week. “We strive to offer a welcoming environment for all crypto enthusiasts – natives, newcomers and curious individuals alike,” LaPaglia said.
The organizers shared that Miami NFT Week focuses on diversity, inclusivity, and education in the NFT and Web3 space. Lucas, philanthropist and CEO of Slip N Slide Records, said that he is particularly looking forward to is hearing from speakers who have transitioned over from the entertainment and sports industry to the NFT space, such as Davis, Timbaland and Metta Sandiford-Artest.
Focus areas include youth and LatAm
“But what is really important to me is pushing to get more Miami locals to attend the conference,” Lucas said. To that end, Miami MFT Week has given out 100 tickets to the youth over at iTech and Turner Tech, as well as free passes to students at Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College and Florida International University.
“Educating the younger generation on what’s happening in the Web3 space will be valuable information for them to incorporate in their future careers. It’ll be exciting to not only give them the opportunity to do so but also to network and ask questions with some of the speakers on the future of NFTs,” Lucas said.
Miami NFT Week is also hosting a group from NFT Kids featured in NFTKidsMagazine, the first-ever NFT publication for digital kid artists founded by 13 year old NFT artist and photographer Gemeidon. The kids, ranging from 7-15 years old, will have a booth and some will speak on panels over the weekend. Miami NFT will also host a buildathon. It’s free to join – and with $25,000+ in prizes.
Latin America will be a particular focus of this year’s event, with five panel discussions devoted to the region’s growing crypto community. D’Alerta told Refresh Miami that this focus on our neighbors to the south stems from a gap in the market.
“My partners and I didn’t see people from Latin America and the Caribbean – the people that we see every day, that live here and visit here – included in other web3 events. Those people were not being represented. So we wanted to increase the Latin conversation because that’s what Miami is.”
‘Now’s the time that real people build’
D’Alerta also acknowledged that the so-called crypto winter has led to a slowdown in the NFT market. But he remains excited about the opportunity that these digital assets present, especially when it comes to applications beyond the worlds of art and speculative finance.
“I personally am really excited about the opportunities for intellectual property, for branding, for loyalty, for gaming, for sports, for music, even literature,” he said, naming just a few potential applications of NFT technology.
Echoing a similar line of thinking OneOf CEO Lin Dai took in a recent interview with Refresh Miami, D’Alerta said that eventually we’ll move the conversation away from ‘NFTs’ and more towards what this technology actually does. “Soon we won’t be discussing NFTs, like we don’t discuss mp3s – it’s just music. NFTs will be seen as a digital asset of some sort: a membership, loyalty point, or artwork. Not a JPEG.”
“Now’s the time that real people build,” D’Alerta said of the opportunity that can come out of a down market such as this. “Now’s the time that the stars will start coming out and new ideas will start coming out. And then we may have another boom.”
You heard it here first. Now you will have to see it to believe it: in person in Wynwood starting on March 31st.
WHAT: Miami NFT Week 2023
WHEN: March 31st to April 2nd
WHERE: Mana Wynwood Convention Center (318 NW 23rd St)
WHO: NFT experts and enthusiasts alike, from Miami to the metaverse
HOW: Buy tickets and learn more by visiting their website.
SCENES FROM 2022 MIAMI NFT WEEK
Pictured at top of post: Miami NFT Week co-founders, left to right, Ted Lucas, Erik LaPaglia and Gianni D’Alerta.
READ MORE ON REFRESH MIAMI:
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