In sunny Miami, FTX casts a long shadow
#Web3Weekly: Nov. 13–19, 2022
We staged a crypto conference in Miami on Thursday less than a mile from FTX Arena, which will soon be renamed for obvious reasons. Talk about juxtaposition.
I use the term “we” loosely here to refer to this newsletter’s partner TechCrunch, which you’ve probably noticed has been sponsoring #Web3Weekly recently to promote its conference, dubbed TC Sessions: Crypto. Likewise, the newsletter was a Silver level co-sponsor of the event — and I’m glad to have done it.
The grim topic of FTX’s meltdown and what it means for the broader crypto industry dominated the conference’s panel discussions. But that’s OK. No point in ignoring the elephant in the room. If anything, this was a perfect time for the community to meet the old-fashioned way, comisserate a little, and figure out how to move on.
I think it also helped greatly to have TechCrunch’s journalists hosting most of the panel discussions. They asked appropriately tough questions, and the industry insiders mostly took them in stride, answering as best they could.
In other words, a really healthy conversation. Some highlights:
- Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao made his most extensive public comments to date rearding the collapse of rival FTX. Speaking to the conference’s opening session via a remote video feed, the CEO who goes by his initials CZ said he didn’t know full details of the problems at FTX prior to its meltdown, though some “mental mathematics” him gave a general sense of its competitive position versus Binance.
- Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong was also slated to speak at the conference but canceled shortly beforehand. Harrumph…
- Ava Labs President John Wu estimated it make two to three years for the crypto industry to repair the loss of public faith engendered by the FTX meltdown. Ouch.
- OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer said he sees gaming and the recent inclusion of non-fungible tokens on mainstream platforms like Reddit and Instagram as potential catalysts to drive a revival in the broader NFT market. Monthly industrywide trading volume in NFTs was flat in September but is off 82% from its all-time high set in January, according to Decrypt.
- TechCrunch reporters Anita Ramaswamy and Jacquelyn Melinek chatted onstage about their perspective covering the FTX debacle, including mention of some hilarious Twitter exchanges with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Their conversation isn’t online yet but should be available soon on their podcast Chain Reaction.
- Of course, it wouldn’t have been a TechCrunch event without a startup pitch competition. The web3 gaming data company Moonstream came away victorious in the one at TC Sessions: Crypto.
- The privacy-focused blockchain String had a friendly robot roaming the expo area of the conference. Awww...
That’s it for now. Thanks for spending some time with the newsletter today! If you would like to receive updates like this in your inbox every Sunday, please join our email list here.
As ever, a brief disclaimer: This content is intended for journalistic purposes only, not as investment advice. For the latter, please DYOR and consult appropriate financial pros to make the most suitable choices for your individual needs.
Best wishes for a healthy and productive week ahead.