The New York City NFT Conference is the leading annual non-fungible token (NFT) event in North America, and each year it attracts some of the biggest names within blockchain technology to speak about what’s next for this nascent industry. This year will be no different as over 1,000 attendees are expected at the sold out 2019 edition on March 24–25, 2021.
This article will provide a rundown of everything that has been announced from last week’s ETH NYC summit—which was also live streamed—and highlight key topics slated to be discussed during the two days of talks and workshops.
Eth NY Summit Agenda
Last Thursday, dozens of crypto luminaries gathered at Pier 36 by the Hudson River in Manhattan for an intimate gathering of more than 500 people. There were presentations galore, but the focus was squarely on discussions rather than lectures or Q&A sessions. Topics included regulation, security tokens, decentralized finance, privacy coins, governance, and much more. But perhaps most important among all these hot button questions facing this space today was how do you make money off the emerging digital economy? How does one monetize the future?
To answer those burning questions, Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin spoke first before giving way to numerous other speakers including Crypto Kitties creator “CryptoPunk” David Muffett, founder of MakerDAO Rune Christensen, CEO of EOS Dan Larimer, Co Founder CTO of Polygon James Williams, Director of Engineering at Consensys Tom Lee, and many others. It would take us well beyond the scope of this piece if we covered every speaker who graced the stage, so here are just a few highlights of their remarks:
Vitalik Buterin kicked things off with his customary grace, humor, and charm. He began by pointing out that there have been a lot of changes in the past couple years since he first started working on Ethereum and now the entire ecosystem seems very mature compared to when it started five or six years ago. His point being that while they may not seem like major developments to the average person, underlying infrastructure changes can mean big things down the road. He then proceeded to explain why Ethereum needs scalability and noted that it’s something which hasn’t happened yet because developers haven’t had enough time to build tools around it.
Ethereum 2.0 isn’t happening soon, according to Buterin. Speaking later to Bloomberg News, he said: “I don’t think anyone should expect big upgrades to be deployed anytime soon… We’re going through another cycle where we’ll get bigger blocks [larger amounts of data] and eventually higher gas fees and slower performance.” Buterin explained that instead of focusing on improving on existing codebase, protocol designers need to work towards building new features like sharding and state channels. Ultimately, scaling Ethereum requires both research and investment. That’s part of the reason he decided to step away after helping found Civic Inc.—a company focused on developing scalable solutions for blockchains.
Dan Larimer, former Wall Street trader turned crypto evangelist, spent the majority of his presentation talking up Bitcoin SV (BSV), its upcoming upgrade called Bison Trails, and the implications this could have on the broader cryptocurrency market. In fact, he went as far as claiming BSV is the only coin worth owning right now. While I still believe Bitcoin Cash (BCH) holds promise as well given its recent price action, I must admit that BSV looks pretty damn attractive at $300 per BTC. Not sure about you guys, but I am tempted to start buying. And honestly, at least I won’t feel guilty doing so.
Tom Lee, Fundstrat Global Advisors chief strategist, believes that the current bear market is actually good news for investors looking to buy tokens such as BAT, 0XG, OMG, etc., due to lower valuations. According to him, it means less competition and better liquidity. Speaking to CNBC afterwards, he elaborated saying: “What’s really interesting is that these smaller cryptocurrencies have seen extreme volatility over the last 12 months. So if you look back historically, these types of assets typically see extreme volatility during bull markets. These tend to trade at multiples greater than bitcoin itself. So what we’ve seen is that even though the prices are low relative to bitcoin, the valuations are extremely cheap.”
Speaking of cheap, Peter Smith, Chief Investment Officer at Blockchain Capital didn’t waste any time getting straight into it either, noting that there are plenty of opportunities in cryptos priced under $10 apiece. For example, he pointed to Chainlink ($3.83), Orchid ($7.75), Ampere ($8.30), Aave ($11.50), Stasis ($15.00), and Polkadot ($18). “There are multiple ways to allocate capital,” he told CNBC. “You can go long individual projects… You can short them all together…Or you can find a project that provides exposure across several of these use cases.” Smith further added that he thinks this sector has potential for billions in value.
Other notable mentions include Facebook’s Libra, Elon Musk’s Neuralink, Coinbase cofounder Fred Ehrsam, Robinhood’s VP of Investor Relations Mike Volpato, BlockFi managing director Tina Chen, CoinFund partner Brian Armstrong, and Bitmain cofounder Wu Qi.
Blockchain Week kicks off Tuesday morning with a full slate of networking events covering everything from distributed ledgers to supply chain management. From 4PM onwards, join your fellow attendees for cocktail hour followed by refreshments and mingling in the lobby. If you missed out on Monday night’s general reception, stay tuned for our recap post coming early Wednesday afternoon.
If you want to know more about anything mentioned above, please reach out via email, Twitter DM,