Token2049 descended on the island state last week — bringing thousands of crypto enthusiasts, builders, anons and more in an event-filled week. Read on to find out what all the buzz is about.
Crypto might be in a bear market — with $2 trillion in value lost since November 2021’s peak — but the demise of the industry has been anything but exaggerated. That was the key message if you were in Singapore last week, where over 7000 movers and shakers and more than 2000 crypto companies descended on the city state from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2. They were there to take part in Asia’s flagship crypto industry event, Token2049 — the first time in Singapore — and its broader Asia Crypto Week, which boasted an incredible number of side events scattered across the city.
None of this dampened enthusiasm for the largest Token2049 gathering ever though. It was business as usual, with an eclectic array of bright-eyed project founders and C-level executives delivering their latest industry musings in insightful panel discussions, while crypto projects filled out the various halls across 3 floors in booths ranging from perfunctory demo desks to striking interactive NFT art galleries, AI-powered humanoid robots and DJ booths, trying to grab the attention (and some affection) of passersby.
Some of the notable speakers in action were Aave’s Stani Kulechov, Mike Novogratz from Galaxy Digital, FTX’s COO Constance Wang, Dan Morehead from Pantera Capital, Justin Sun of Tron and Dr Ben Goertzel from SingularityNet.
With so much to cover in so little time, it was a constant scurry for conference goers up and down the Sands Expo & Convention Center’s escalators into its various cavernous exhibition halls to catch panel talks, connect in meeting rooms, take in all the booths and of course, enjoy the spectacular vista of the Singapore skyline over the glittering Marina bay. It was in fact so difficult at times to get your bearings that the author himself and the CEO of a crypto exchange spent over 20 minutes trying to find their way back to his booth on Day Two!
Here are a few of the many highlights:
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Huge Sponsorship Deals Amidst a Bear Market
When asked on a panel why they decided to sponsor a Formula One team, Bybit’s CEO Ben Zhou explained that — amongst others — they want to show that crypto companies can compete at the highest level at one of the biggest, global sporting events.
OP3N WHALE NFT Exhibition
The exhibition celebrated Singapore’s status of a meeting ground between East and West culture, by showcasing artworks by digital artist Pak who helped garner Sotheby’s first-ever NFT sale, glitch artist XCOPY; Italian artist duo Hackatao; and Asian-American photographer Michael Yamashita and Instagram photography sensation Ryosuke Kosuge.
Web3 Continues To Take Shape
With Web3 taking up the most mindspace in crypto this year other than the bearish market conditions, it was no surprise that it featured very prominently at Token2049. Sam Williams from Arweave spoke on how to tokenize the Permaweb, Axie Infinity’s Aleksander Larsen covered the dawn of Web3 gaming, Hongfei Da laid out its GSO future, while others covered everything from how to invest in it to the role it could play in combating climate change.
For example, DFinity announced that the Internet Computer chain now enables smart contracts to securely make HTTP calls from within the secure blockchain sandbox to external Web 2.0 services, and process a result securely decided by network consensus. This will help DeFi projects be less reliant on centralized oracle services in order to get their hands on external financial data.
Web3 Gaming Plays On
While their traction appeared to be quite subdued this year, NFTs/Gaming remains the vertical most invested in by venture capital (VC ) funds, with numerous Web3 gaming startups present at the conference.
Crypto gaming has been subject to some extreme resistance from traditional gaming and crypto enthusiasts alike, who have slated the vast majority of games for their boring, turn-based gameplay and highly inflationary, unsustainable tokenomics that have seen even the best GameFi projects drop by 90% in value and more since their 2021 launch. So how to fix these systemic flaws?
NFT Ownership Open Doors IRL
With borders open globally and Twitter’s online-only ‘PFP’ flexing a bit stale in 2022, the NFT sector continues to seek unique, fun and engaging ways to help their communities build connections at events, as was seen earlier this year at NYC NFT.
Crypto’s Brain Gain Keeps Going
Through casual conversations with new faces at the event, it’s clear that Web3 and DeFi continue to draw a massive brain gain of TradFi and Web2 talent that are helping to accelerate blockchain innovation even if retail interest is stagnant overall this year. Builders are clearly continuing to build for the future. This includes coming up with solutions to global warming such as carbon-offset tokenized credits and further developing the capabilities of Web3.
Next up for Token2049 is their London edition on Nov. 9 and 10. For most visitors to the Singapore edition though, the island-state’s 2023 edition will be the one they soon circle in their calendars. In one of the world’s biggest and most exciting cultural melting pots, Asia’s biggest crypto event has added a warmly welcomed array of new flavors.