By Riley Kaminer
Something about this year’s Art Basel gridlock seems worse than it has in the past. Could we chalk it up to pent up post-pandemic demand? Or could it be one additional chokepoint around Flagler and SE 2nd Ave.?
This one’s worth it though: at least if you’re a web3 enthusiast.
Meander around the blocks surrounding this intersection over the next few days and you will be confronted by a web3 metropolis called the Gateway.
This five-day activation is a collaboration between Moishe Mana’s Mana Common and web3 digital media platform nft now. Digital artists took over 12 buildings across two city blocks in Downtown to share their work and offer a place for collaboration among web3 builders and fans. A handful of traditional brands also got in on the web3 fun, including Porsche, Christie’s, and talent agency WME.
On Tuesday, City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was on the scene to officially open the event by illuminating a sculpture suspended above Flagler that resembled a mix between a chandelier and the ball dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
“I’ve never seen such an amazing NFT exhibition in my life,” said Suarez, sauntering through some futuristic exhibitions in the Alfred DuPont Building.
Suarez made a point to emphasize one Miami web3 success story in particular: MoonPay, which also sponsored the activation. He recalled meeting co-founder and CEO Ivan Soto-Wright for the first time. “I immediately understood his energy, his vision, and his intellect,” said Suarez.
“This isn’t just crypto winter, this is crypto frostbite,” acknowledged Suarez in comments to the audience. That’s why, in Suarez’s opinion, it’s so important to be the home base of someone with “intellect and good common business sense, which has been lacking a lot in this industry.”
“It’s very exciting to know that Ivan is in Miami, and that MoonPay is a Miami company.”
For Suarez, the metaverse offers the potential to be a great equalizer. Recalling a recent event where he put on virtual reality goggles and was transported to a virtual charter school, Suarez asked himself, “How can every single inner city kid in Miami go to Harvard for free?”
His response: “It’s easy. Put on $300 goggles and they can go anywhere in the world at any time and experience things in a tremendous way. And it can be done at scale because it’s inexpensive. That is the gateway to the future.”
In many ways, this future is now. And the future is right here on Flagler Street – with an array of entertainment events at The Gateway as well as international speakers share their insights into the web3 space, including Gary Vaynerchuk, former TIME president Keith A. Grossman who is joining MoonPay as president, and executives from Nike and Christie’s.
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