Miami Art Week 2022: NFTs and Web-3 Deepen Their Roots

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Art Basel, now 20-years of age,  has made itself a home for digital art and the broader crypto communities; the  made their way into a festival that focused mostly on contemporary and fine art. 

Web3, NFTs, and the Metaverse took over the many of the convention halls, art spaces, and music venues in the city of Miami –there was even an NFT wedding.

Here’s a look at what went down at Art Basel 2022, the bedrock of the Miami Art Week, in which thousands of artists, brands, content creators and digital fashion houses gathered to support the digital landscape, and of course, display their artwork —some in NFTs and some in physical form. 

Number of Attendees in Art Basel Doubles

Nearly 80,000 attendees participated —which is double the amount compared to 2021—, including Miami’s crypto-friendly mayor, Francis Suarez, who attended Keith Grossman’s dinner to celebrate his exit from Time Magazine to become president of crypto payment service MoonPay.

Mayor Suarez also had a few words for the over 100 attendees at the dinner:

“When we’re creating, there are going to be car crashes. But it’s wonderful to have a network of people who are here supporting you, have incredible knowledge of this nascent technology, and are going to pave the way for the future.”

There were a large number of Web3-related events hosted in Art Basel, which fortunately met with a high number of crypto enthusiasts, showing a positive sign of high morale in the community despite the crypto winter. 

TIMEPieces, a web3 community and initiative by TIME Magazine, set up a gallery of physical artwork by some of their supported artists at Art Basel. The gallery of over 100 photographers was curated by John Knopf, an Emmy-nominated photographer and NFT enthusiast.

Digital fashion also had a role in Art Basel with the Metaverse Fashion Week brunch, hosted by Megan Kaspar, director of crypto investment firm Firstlight and founder of Fashion house Red DAO.

Metaverse Fashion Week brunch

What Made Art Basel Different This Year?

Simple: eccentric NFTs and degenerate holders who made their fortunes buying and selling overpriced Bored Apes were not the main center of attention.

Compared to last year, we can now fully see the larger collision and acceptance of the two worlds: the digital and the traditional world of art, both blended in a single cultural conversation and space. And what reinforced this acceptance was the much more professional tone of the web3 and NFT related events. 

Instead, deals were getting done. Alo Yoga, the athleisure wear brand, set up a facility with all the comforts where the biggest names of the Web2 and Web3 industries were making business.

Overall, interest wasn’t shifted heavily towards the latest NFT projects and artwork showcased in the galleries, but more towards the utility of  NFTs and the current state of Web3, and what’s currently the roadmap for the industry.

NFTs have expanded their range of utility rather than just representing ownership of Apes and pixelated punks. We can now see them in action IRL as real-world apartments being sold as NFTs, organizers and promoters tokenizing tickets, NFTs in healthcare —the list goes on, and it’s all thanks to the immutable technology of blockchain.

The Gateway: A Web3 Metropolis

Talking about MoonPay, the company also powered The Gateway 2022 edition —the first-ever Web3 metropolis hosted by NFT Now and Mana Common. The 5-day event took over 12 buildings and 2 city blocks in Downtown Miami to host leading NFT artists, collectors, influencers, and Web3 builders gathered to support and discuss the current state and future of all things crypto. 

The Gateway’s speakers line-up was a mix of artists, influencers, executives and web3 developers, including Roger Dickerman, founder of ARTIFEX, and Raf Grassetti, Studio Art Director at Sony SMS, known for developing the video game series God of War. 

“Without Royalties, We Rely on Institutions”

The Gateway panel not only focused on the logistics and utility part of NFTs in real life, but also on how it can bring new opportunities for visionary artists to launch their projects through NFT royalties. 

Joining The Gateway panel was Julie Pacino, a filmmaker who financed $1 million for her film —I Live Here Now— using an NFT project called “Keepers of the Inn,” consisting of 3,356 photos taken during the rehearsal process. This allowed Pacino to finally launch her film, which was a raw representation of the realities of the Colombian city of Medellin across 16 communes.

Further, royalties were talked about as a way for artists to better connect with their audience and defend their work. Aussie NFT artist Betty, Founder of NFT project Deadfellaz, sat with Matt Medved, co-founder, and CEO of NFT Now. She stated that without royalties, artists would have to rely again on institutions.

“It takes our power away which disproportionately affects marginalized creators. I’m here to protect those people and champion those people.”

Rug Radio Drops NFT Collection for Its Beloved Community

Rug Radio, a decentralized social media platform with the motto “own the narrative” made its presence known in the event, hosting a party and dropping a few announcements for its community, with Rug Radio’s founder Farokh unveiled a new PFP collection with art by NFT content creator Cory Van Lew.

When asked what inspired him to launch the collection, Farokh said: “for me, this is just to give something to our holders. I’d like to think that people are proud to be part of our community.” 

DCentral 2022 Takes Over Miami Art Week With Ten Discussion Panels

DCentral, one of the largest Web3 events hosted in Miami, had to book double the capacity to account for over 10,000 attendees compared to last year’s. 

The event took place on November 29 during the Miami Art Week, with ten talks and panels to cover multiple stages, including Web3, NFTs, DeFi, and digital fashion. To say that the speaker line-up this year was interesting is an understatement. It included Web3 executives, NFT artists, crypto influencers and even rappers, NBA players and UFC fighters.


DCentral’s speaker line-up 2022.

One of the major announcements came from American record producer Timbaland with his upcoming NFT project TimboLand.

Final Thoughts: Despite Market Downturn, NFT Morale Is High

The current events surrounding the crypto market have made investors, retailers, and the general audience loses trust and faith in the industry. Still, the morale remains high, as proven by double the number of attendees across the three events.

This year was filled with speakers of all backgrounds: executives, artists, content creators, musicians, and fashion designers exploring and supporting the next roadmap for the Web3 industry. But what really set the tone higher is the professional tone set by NFT and Web3 organizers with multiple stages talking about the future of the industry, instead of overpriced and hyped-up projects taking over the stage. 

Overall, we could say that NFTs have reached a maturity point, evolving into something much more useful, and, therefore more valuable than just extravagant pieces of art.

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