The NFT conference has begun.
Monday morning, I stood in line to receive tickets to a warehouse party thrown by Bored Ape Yacht Club. The tickets were scheduled to be distributed at 11:00 am and I was in line by 10:30 am behind ~200 people. In order to receive a ticket, you had to own an Ape, which costs over 90k.
I don’t own an Ape, but I showed up out of curiosity. Who owns these ludicrously expensive Apes? How is this community managed?
The line barely moved, even past 11 am. Another line had formed on the other side of the door for those who attended the previous BAYC event and had the special privilege of waiting in a shorter line. Pedestrians constantly stopped and asked me, “what is this line for?” I’d respond, “tickets to a Bored Ape Yacht Club warehouse party.” They’d nod and walk away, clearly confused. Professional cameramen swept the ticket line with their gigantic lenses as my partner and I turned away. Non-professional cameramen, ie smartphone owners, did the same, and I’m sure my partner and I were both caught in several Instagram stories.
We left the line early. Blowing off our day just to get into some party seemed counterproductive. But we learned a lot from our 90 minutes in line.
A few folks we talked to didn’t seem to have a grand vision of the on-chain metaverse like we did. They just wanted to flip their NFTs to make money. And who can blame them? If my priority was making money and I didn’t find scouring discord servers and crypto Reddit utterly boring and tiresome, maybe I’d do it too.
The BAYC swag seemed to signal status within the crypto community, akin to wearing a Yellowstone club baseball cap. A BAYC sweatshirt tells people you’re rich (with each ape worth 90k+) and that you get access to special events non-Apes can’t get into.
The BAYC management of its community was disappointing. Yes, by waiting in line for hours and hours you get access to an exclusive party. But do I want to go to a party thrown by a community that doesn’t value my time? Nope, not me.
Later that evening, we went to a party hosted by Friends with Benefits. I applied to the DAO, but since my application was still under review at the time, I showed up as a +1. The party was fun, though it was hard to find friends or meet new people in the dark and loud venue.
People seemed to know each other already, which made me feel a bit left out as a crypto newbie and an FWB wannabe. But I appreciated the symbolism of people knowing each other at this party. This online, NFT-based community is real. Online communities are real communities.
I wish I had more to say about day 1’s events.
I attended a few talks, which were mainly surface-level explanations around why NFTs are important and their various use cases. Most of the sessions I wanted to attend were also ridiculously delayed. But surprisingly, this lack of organization got me pretty excited. It really felt like the beginning, the v0, of something. I can’t wait to see how this community and this conference evolves. And I can’t wait to see what other conferences spring up in the NFT space, like an NFT devs/web3 conference or an NFT artists conference.
My favorite part of today was meeting a few other developers who introduced themselves and joined me in a few sessions. It’s nice meeting folks in the community who just want to learn and connect. Kindred spirits.
That’s all I have for now. I do have other notes like how few women there were, but as a women engineer who’s been in the tech industry for nearly 12 years, I’ve become a bit jaded. I do plan to find a community of women in crypto I can connect and share with, but I’m still finding my legs in this space. Learn, create, then connect.
If you’re a new subscriber, thank you for joining me. Hope it’s useful. And if it’s not, I’m happy to receive feedback. I’m aiming for consistency over quality, so sorry for the rambly sentences.