Meet the Miami-based ‘Gatsby of crypto’ who’s making waves in web3
Greg Gopman shares his views on UBI, the web3 winter, Miami as a crypto mecca, and more
By Riley Kaminer
Perhaps there has never been – and will never be – a tech movement as unabashedly extraverted as web3. Gone are the days of the lone programmer toiling away in their parents’ garage. The web3 techie is a social creature, hopping between conferences and invite-only after parties around the world.
Miami-based Greg Gopman is at the center of this vibrant social scene. For the CMO of crypto infrastructure firm ANKR and head of web3 consultancy Mewn, if there’s a crypto party in town, chances are that Gopman organized it.
“I threw the largest party at Bitcoin Miami the last two years,” Gopman told Refresh Miami. “The last one we had was at Eric Schmidt’s house in South Beach. It was a banger, the whole thing: the cops were called, we had 1,000 people waiting in front trying to get in. Insane!”
It’s not all fun and games for Gopman. He has been deep in the crypto game since 2017 and has worked with some of the biggest names in web3, including Ethereum and Kadena.
Miami as crypto’s cultural homeland
Bitcoin Miami holds a special place in Gopman’s heart. “It’s a celebration of Bitcoin. You go pay tribute to Bitcoin. It’s like an homage to the Holy Land – a pilgrimage to the Mecca of crypto.”
Gopman is particularly at home in this tropical Mecca. An Aventura native, he left Florida shortly after graduating from the University of Florida. Gopman spent a decade in Silicon Valley before moving back to Miami in late 2021. Now settled in South Beach, he is more bullish on Miami than ever before.
“Miami is unlike anywhere else in the world,” he said. “Crypto has found a home more so than anywhere else in Miami and New York. New York is the head of finance, so crypto will always be strongly rooted there.”
“But Miami has become the version of the crypto ethos for creativity and inspiration,” Gopman continued. “Miami culture represents crypto probably better than anywhere else in the country, maybe in the world.”
The financial opportunities of crypto cannot be overstated, according to Gopman
Gopman acknowledged the general public’s perennial skepticism about the crypto market: “People on the outside think that it’s a joke.” On the contrary, Gopman actually sees the space as fertile ground for innovation – and the accompanying financial remuneration.
“Crypto is the closest thing to UBI [universal basic income] that the world will ever have,” asserted Gopman, referring to the economic policy that advocates for the government depositing a set amount of money each month to all citizens.
The idea is that by taking part in various web3 communities and becoming an early adopter of different crypto projects, people stand to gain. “It’s an industry built on different incentive mechanisms,” explained Gopman. “You try new things and can get rewarded big when these things really hit.”
Staying warm through crypto winter
Despite the opportunity inherent to this new space, many new investors may be more hesitant to make investments due to the recent crash and subsequent volatility in the market.
Gopman is not concerned because, in his estimation, we’ve been here before. “I think it comes in cycles. Everyone I know who has been in this space since 2017 still has 10 times more money than they did three years ago.”
He noted that it’s impossible to time the market, so it’s best to just buckle in for the ride. “I don’t know if this is the low, and if you might be able to buy Bitcoin at 15k or 10k. Probably not. But I know for sure it’s eventually going to hit a new high and you’re probably going to wish you bought it now.”
Identifying some of the most interesting crypto projects
One way to sidestep the volatility is to invest in projects that focus on the infrastructure underpinning the space. Of course, Gopman noted that ANKR is an exciting opportunity. “People can buy the ANKR token and share in the protocol fees of everything being run on ANKR.” More broadly, Gopman is interested in Layer-1 blockchains with strong sub-net architectures, such as Avalanche and Polygon.
Another major area of interest for Gopman is web3 gaming. “There are going to be some pretty big wins there,” he said – although he hesitated to pick one particular game in the space.
When it comes to vetting a potential web3 initiative, Gopman laid out his top three factors for success: the product’s traction, the narrative around it, and its community.
“You don’t need to have all three,” he said. “Most just have one.” He offered the example of NFT communities, which are often just a semi-structured collection of enthusiasts that are united around their passion for a particular idea.
“In the 80s, magazines were really popular because people felt like they spoke to them,” Gopman explained. “I feel like NFTs are just the newest version of magazine communities.”
And these communities have intrinsic value. “Even with shitcoins – they still are worth 10s of billions of dollars because they have a huge community that believes in them and have a vision for them.”
Gopman is excited to continue playing the role of crypto social secretary, bringing people together around projects. “Throwing events and being a community organizer in the space is great. I can gather people together around new projects, new ideas. I like having the movers and shakers mix and mingle and get value from the parties I throw.”
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