In early 2023, the NFT community attended one of the biggest events of the year – NFT Paris. As all collectors know (having been through months of a savage bear market) patience is a virtue. Their patience was tested Thursday and Saturday again, as they were queuing in front of the Grand Palais éphémère, where NFT Paris took place this year.
More than 10,000 attendees gathered over two days. At present, it is the biggest NFT event ever organized in Europe. Last year, the first edition hosted only 1,000 people. A success that can be considered a statement: NFTs are far from dead. Here is our account of the Web3 conference held in France.
NFT Paris 2023: High-quality Speakers with a Backdrop of the Eiffel Tower!
Art is at the heart of NFTs, and the iconic landmark provided a beautiful backdrop for Web3 industry leaders. An impressive list of speakers spoke on the stage set right in front of the Eiffel Tower: Punk 6529, Nicolas Julia (SoRare), Justin Aversano, Betty (Deadfellaz), Erick Calderon (ArtBlocks), Jonathan Perkins (SuperRare), Innamodja (Codegreen). Furthermore, top executives of traditional brands like Camille Kroely (L’Oréal), Tim Walther (Volkswagen), Danielle Barich (Hennessy), and Jeremy Muras (Givenchy), were also present.
With Web3 thought leaders and fans present, some brands used this platform announce new products and partnerships. For example, Luxury brand RTFKT founder Benoît Pagotto unveiled the RTFKT x Ledger collection.
Additionally, founders used the stage to voice their concerns. NFT royalties have been a hot topic, and founder of Animoca Brands, Yat Siu, demonstrated how the removal of royalties on marketplaces is dangerous for the NFT Industry. He compared royalties to the “gas” that fuels the economy of creators. “If you kill the royalties, you kill the very industry that fed you, so it has to be protected”.
It is clear that this second edition of NFT Paris focused on creativity and curation. In fact, NFT Paris Founder Alexandre Tsydenkov explained that the organizers wanted to be aligned with the identity of Paris, and its reputation in arts, luxury, and fashion. Through the event, they wanted to show that the NFT market matured and that we are no anymore in the speculation phase.
France Proves that is at the Center of the NFT Movement
For this local event, France was well represented by The SandBox, Arianee, Ledger, POAP, SoRare, Tezos, and more. This illustrates the central place the country has in the industry today. Moreover, this is a position that France will certainly consolidate in the next few years. The government seems to understand the importance of positioning itself soon in an emerging industry.
The visit of the French First Lady, Brigitte Macron, on Friday, illustrates how seriously France takes Web3. The “Première Dame” took the time to take pictures with the participants. She even sat at the Toms Sachs Rocket Factory installation. There, she was granted a space passport giving her the right to mint an NFT – will she do it?
Two other members of the French government also came to the event. The minister of culture Rima Abdul Malak, and also the Minister Delegate in charge of Digital Transition and Telecommunications, Jean-Noël Barrot. In April of 2022, President Emmanuel Macron said as that he wanted France and Europe to be leaders in the Web3 field. After missing the Internet revolution, Paris doesn’t want to miss the train this time.
Speaking on Paris as a center for NFTs, Betty (CEO of Deadfellaz) said: “I see a few major hubs of activity for NFTs emerging, and Paris is one of them. We have a lot of french Deadfellaz holders and the European community is very strong. NFT Paris was well put together, and very respectful of the speakers. The amount of people there shows that there are reasons to be confident for the NFT market”.
Crypto-art at NFT Paris 2023
France also appears to be a pioneer in the crypto-art movement. Recently, the Centre Georges Pompidou announced the acquisition of the NFTs of 13 artists and will organize in a few months its first NFT exhibition. Additionally, Paris also hosts some of the firsts NFT physical galleries and spaces in the world, like the NFT Factory or the Iham Gallery.
This sentiment carried across to NFT Paris .Grida is the crypto-art curator for the Iham Gallery, which is focused on NFT Art and crypto-art. It is the first NFT Art gallery in Europe. At NFT Paris, she imagined an installation called “Xffel Tower”. It consisted of six screens shaped like the Eiffel Tower.
They displayed the works of a selection of artists (including Yuyu, Agoria, Foodmasku, Sacha Stiles, Pascal Boyart, and Alotta Money). The artwork changed every 30 minutes.
Grida believes that Paris is at the epicenter of the crypto-art movement, and therefore believes that an event like NFT Paris is essential to make this trend stronger. “Community is very important. We introduce each other, we hear from someone new… As a curator, I know the artists as a person first. Then I fell in love with their art. So that’s maybe why I’m able to explain their art world with words, maybe even better than them.”
For her, the success of the event is an illustration of the fact that we are just at the beginning of the NFT revolution. “We have more and more people who are curious or who believe that we are on the right track. Even though the market is like dancing, people here have the same spirit. And we all feel connected with everyone here.”
Major Players Help the Crypto-Art Market
Following on, Grida explains that exhibiting physical displays of digital art is also important. “Here at NFT Paris, you can see very innovative screen displays. How to display artwork in real life is a key question. Every different “-ism”, like modernism, impressionism… started with exhibitions. It constitutes the artistic language through which they introduce their new ideas. We follow this pattern.”
“The screen is like a frame”, she says. “Here you also have the Immersive room, for example. And there’s the metaverse, which is about space as well. You can also display art on giant screens. And artworks can travel instantly, or even duplicate: you can have the same exhibition at the same moment in different galleries. It’s like a spider web.”
YuYu, a Chinese photographer and collage artist, makes self-portraits that he integrates into classical paintings. As an Asian and a member of the queer community, he uses art to protest against the domination of western culture. To him, something special is happening in France. “Paris has a really strong NFT community, like nothing I’ve seen in Europe. That’s why I come here really often. Here, two major companies, Ledger and The Sandbox, and the NFT Factory, which is a hub for artists and the community, help to push the momentum. I live in Berlin, and there is nothing like that there.”
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