T2049 Personal Takeaways

Last week was Token 2049 in Singapore — probably the biggest crypto conference in Asia. Surprisingly, the attendance was larger than last year despite the bear market.


Sharing notes from my anecdotal observations & conversations with people there.

  • Some savvy investors I know are looking to deploy capital at both ends of the curve, not mid-curve. Think Ponzi’s and Cults for example, rather than the next L1/L2.

  • Every bull market is different, and the next one may not be like the previous one. Many retail folks were burnt by alt coins and they won’t be coming back. It takes a while for a new generation to come up again that doesn’t have PTSD or lost money last cycle. The next bull market may not be driven by alt coins, unlike the 2017 / 2021 cycles.

  • NFTs have a good chance of a resurgence in the next crypto cycle, in a different form: because most things in the world are non-fungible (e.g luxury watches) and NFTs are just fun. Shifting the branding away from “NFT” into something different like digital collectibles will be a necessitating factor: still lots of bad PR around NFTs.

  • The traditional art world doesn’t care about NFTs. It’s a very closed, non-transparent space, dominated by old money and mindsets. Don’t expect them to buy our Art Blocks NFTs anytime soon.

  • Every L1/L2 ecosystem needs to think about how to build and support a thriving NFT community. These are people who will actually stay, unlike your airdrop farmers. Solana is a good example: when SOL crashed post-FTX and Sol DeFi died, it was the NFT communities that held strong and showed the world that they loved the chain no matter what happened.

  • Many US-based teams (Example: Metaplex) have no team presence in Asia, but are actively looking to learn more and collaborate with NFT communities in Asia: think Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Thailand etc. Big opportunity for growth in the continent.

  • Sui seems somewhat interesting, even though they had issues with the token. Could be capturing more mindshare than Aptos. Heard there was a lot of activity going on in their hacker houses. It’s on my list to dive in more.

  • On Ordinals:

    • There is a good group of passionate folks building in the space, but it is a really small community. There were <100 ppl attending the conference sessions I was at.

    • Most generative artists are watching and sitting on the sidelines. Existing ordinal artists believe that ppl are interested and other artists will jump in, over time

    • Recursions are very interesting: being able to hack/re-mix other artists’ work.

    • Better dev tooling, establishing “token” standards (too many right now, and not optimized e.g BRC-20), and more partnerships are some of the main challenges

    • I think Ordinals still cooking and will take a while. The people in it are driven not just by a desire to create, but a will to make Bitcoin great again. A very powerful spirit imo. I saw some interesting gen art pieces on Ordinals in the exhibition that are dynamic based on live Bitcoin data (e.g size of mempool). That was quite cool artistically.

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sui has some cool stuff, they launched zkLogin the other day. Will be harder to create die-hard community with token imo but I do think there's some stuff there worth paying attention to.

Seems like something could be cooking on Sui for sure.

Very interesting thanks for the insights. I asked Porteaux and hes very bullish ordinals and bearish brc20s. As is Udi.
Quoting him:

!i’m not a brc-20 believer. it is an inefficient token standard and they may become unstable in upcoming ord protocol upgrades.!

"inscriptions: seem like a good time to buy during the bear market. i like the OG projects ( rocks, bitcoin shrooms, ordinal punks)…. but to be honest i buy very few inscriptions and mostly hold onto my own early mints."

Have heard similar. BRC-20 was released as a joke but somehow it took off even though its highly inefficent. I think there may be a new token standard that replaces it in the future, if people want to trade these semi-fungible objects

thats interesting, I actually think the opposite regarding BRC-20s and inscriptions. Based on volume alone people seem to really prefer BRC-20s as opposed to the inscriptions.

If it becomes unstable with later upgrades, i have sneaking suspicion that someone will either release a new standard or create some fix.

What makes you say Traditional Art world doesn’t care about NFTs? Who then is buying all the high-end pieces ($400k+), Crypto Bros?

Very much so. Crypto-native art collectors mostly. Except for a few, most of the trad art world doesn't even consider our NFTs as art.  

Source: a friend who worked at Sotheby's.