Mila Kunis, Eva Longoria, Spike Lee, and Snoop Dogg were all special guests at a Minneapolis conference promoting non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, as the Next Big Thing.
“Gary is the guy,” claimed one of the guests who waited in line for more than an hour to see Gary Vaynerchuk, the chief guru of the VeeCon Conference, which brought over 6,000 people from all over the world to U.S. Bank Stadium last weekend.
NFTs: curiosity and skepticism
NFTs are generally used to purchase digital art, which can range from simple pictures to animations. They only exist in digital form and may be purchased, sold, and exchanged online. NFTs have sparked both significant curiosity and skepticism, comparable to cryptocurrencies, with which they have certain parallels but also some distinctions.
In March, Dan Ives, a tech analyst at investment company Wedbush Securities, told CBS News’ Moneywatch that “along with a handful of high-profile scams, there has been a black cloud over the NFT market… Some bad actors have clearly taken the bloom off the rose.”
NFT sales have decreased 92 % since September, according to the website NonFungible. Last year, an NFT of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first tweet went for $2.9 million. The highest offer at an auction this past April was $280.
On the other hand, Skeptics were nowhere to be found at U.S. Bank Stadium, where Vaynerchuk, wrapped in a sweatshirt and wearing a backward baseball cap, fit in with the enthusiastic throng. Gary Vee, as he was known to his admirers, gave the keynote presentation, which was more akin to motivational speaker Tony Robbins than Steve Jobs.
The chief guru of the VeeCon Conference
“If one person has a better life because of you, that’s the most intoxicating feeling you can have,” Vaynerchuk added, chewing gum and energizing the audience.
Vaynerchuk, a native of Belarus, acquired his initial capital in the wine industry before becoming an early investment in Facebook and Twitter. According to Forbes, he is one of the world’s top IT influencers. His entry into the NFT industry was supported by the formation of a business, VeeFriends, and VeeCon, in which he hired a roster of high-profile speakers to persuade interested parties of the financial possibility of NFTs.
“The world is full of why. If you want to get something done, you surround yourself with why, not people,” Kevin Smith, the filmmaker of “Clerks” and “Mallrats,” told attendees. Smith stated that he is utilizing NFTs to promote his upcoming horror anthology series, “KillRoy Was Here.”
“There’s never an end to critics. They’re always sniping from the sidelines,” Smith added in an obscenity-laced tirade, scarcely pausing to take a breath. “But I do what I always do. I close my eyes and dive in. Sometimes it works out and you make it big. This seems like a place I want to play in.”
The opportunity shouldn’t be missed
Lee, who has won Oscars for films such as “Do the Right Thing” and “BlacKkKlansman,” does not utilize cryptocurrencies. (He joked backstage that he can’t switch on the TV without his kids’ aid.) However, Lee, 65, is interested in NFTs to the point where he consented to curate a line of NFTs starring Mars Blackmon, the breakout character from his 1986 feature film debut, “She’s Gotta Have It.”
Lee told about another investment opportunity that appeared to be a long shot at first. He was wandering around Martha’s Vineyard looking for a lobster roll when he was called by someone who wanted to demonstrate him a new product. Lee didn’t like what he saw in the trunk of the stranger’s automobile. He walked by.
Crocs turned out to be that product, Lee said.
For those who weren’t sold by the get-rich-quick opportunities, VeeCon provided lots of entertaining diversions. Lee, dressed in purple and standing in front of the audience, talked of his connection with Prince and the time the Minneapolis musician shipped him a guitar.
The scent of cannabis combined with paint fumes from a free-for-all painting tent during the inaugural celebration. Samples of sunflower nuts, beef jerky, and popsicles from labels you won’t find at Trader Joe’s were available.