TOKEN 2049—one of the largest annual digital asset events in Asia and Europe—brought together the leading voices and most sensational projects in Web3.
TOKEN2049 London is the second part of the greater annual TOKEN2049 event. Every year, the event is held in both Singapore and London, bringing together a wide variety of Web3 participants from developers, thought leaders, founders and investors.
This year’s Singapore event had a staggering record-breaking attendance of over 7,000 participants, with the London event coming in second with over 2,500 people attending. Held on November 9 and 10, the London event featured a large assortment of speakers from the Web3 industry, with notable attendees such as Stan Kulechov from AAVE, Kathleen Breitman from Tezos and Mo Sheikh from Aptos.
Although Web3 events always bring a spark of excitement with them in the crypto world, the circumstances leading up to TOKEN2049 London could undoubtedly have been better.
Just days before the event kicked off, rumors about the second-largest spot exchange FTX and its potential insolvency started circulating on Twitter and the greater crypto ecosystem. As a result, on November 8, the price of BTC fell over 14% while the price of FTX’s FTT token collapsed from US$22 all the way down to US$2, marking a decrease of roughly 90%. To top it all off, different funds, investors and crypto participants had significant exposure to the exchange either through direct investments or leaving assets on the platform.
However, even with everything going on, the event was still packed with participants eager to network, build and talk about crypto.
TOKEN2049 London brought about a mix of different Web3 protocols and companies. Most notably, this event featured an extensive collection of exchanges, infrastructure and payments-related projects.
Bullish—an institutional cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong that participated as the primary sponsor of the TOKEN2049 London event.
Bitget—a leading cryptocurrency exchange particularly in the area of copy trading. Copy trading allows investors to follow and replicate the strategies of their favorite investors or traders.
SuperEx—a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange that also attended the event featuring branded sports cars outside the venue for participants to enjoy and take pictures with.
Inside, different booths were set up for project team members to show off what they have been working on.
In addition to all the project booths, various speakers and panels were held throughout the TOKEN2049 event.
Some notable panels included the “DEFI: Past, Present, and Future” talk, which featured Stani Kulechov, Julien Bouteloup and Evgeny Gaevoy. The panel centered around the issues and future of DeFi going forward into the coming years. The speakers talked about the transparency behind DeFi and how it can help avoid the issues that occur in traditional finance. This was quite fitting, given what was going on in the background with FTX.
In the discussion, Stani, Founder of AAVE, commented that DeFi allows a group of people to come together collectively and set risk parameters based on a wide variety of public information. This will enable them to make better decisions than centralized financial institutions such as Celcius. Additionally, Julien, Founder of Stake Capital Group, commented that DeFi has only managed to replicate the existing financial infrastructure in TradFi currently. The real goal going forward is to create new unique products and services that are easily accessible and safe to use for the general public.
Another exciting panel during TOKEN2049 was Mo Shaikh and Simon Baksys’s discussion on “Why Web3 Infrastructure is Epic and Powerful”. During the panel, Simon, Google’s GTM and BD Lead for Web3, stated that Google’s mission is to act as the bridge between Web2 and Web3. He mentioned that their focus is now to onboard the first ten million developers rather than focusing entirely on users, a strategy similar to Solana and their efforts to build an active developer ecosystem. Mo, Co-Founder of Aptos, and Simon went on to discuss the Google Cloud x Aptos partnership. The partnership included the following:
- Google as a validator launch partner—Google is now a staked block-producing validator since the Aptos mainnet.
- Aptos data in BigQuery—indexing the entire Aptos chain and exposing that data through their SQL-based warehouse, BigQuery.
- Pay with crypto—a partnership between Google and Coinbase to allow developers and users to pay for transactions using tokens.
- Accelerator program—Google will invest in builders and other Aptos ecosystem projects.
- Google x Aptos Hackathon—starting in 2023, Google will be hosting a hackathon for Aptos, Google and third-party developers to get together and build.
Lastly, another intriguing panel was Jordi Alexander’s talk on “Reflections on the Latest Cycle’s Wild Experiments”. In this presentation, Jordi, CIO at Selini Capital, reflected on the bull market’s various “experimental” projects and their subsequent failures. A figure known for his insights on game theory in Web3, Jordi also talked about his observations on memes and how they were able to coordinate participants collectively during the bull cycle. He references Olympus DAO and their (3,3) campaign and how that coordinated a large number of participants even if the underlying game theory behind (3,3) was inaccurate and not achievable. Jordi concluded his talk with the message that if we couldn’t find common sources of coordination that act for the true benefit of all the participants, then we wouldn’t ever be able to move forward as an industry.
While TOKEN2049 London was packed with things to do, it wouldn’t be a crypto event without the afterparties and side events!
One of the side events was hosted by Animoca Brands to celebrate the opening of their new family office in London. Like TOKEN2049, the Animoca event had a variety of speakers, such as Yat Siu, Chairman of Animoca Brands, who spoke about digital property rights and royalties, as well as a collection of other guest speakers.
VTVL, a token management platform that automates token distribution via smart contracts, also hosted its community event in collaboration with Baboon VC. The event was held at the Boundary Hotel Rooftop for Web3 participants to get together a day before the TOKEN2049 event kicked off. The event featured notable attendees from a16z, Pantera Capital, Animoca Brands, Leadblock and the NEAR Foundation.
While we are now officially in the depths of the bear market, seeing events like TOKEN2049 thrive with thousands of participants flying across the world to get together and talk about Web3 is definitely encouraging. In a way, it proves that the participants that remain in the industry are here for the long haul and that Web3 is here to stay. Furthermore, large Web3 events continue to be scheduled, with DCENTRAL Miami coming up at the end of November and the World Crypto Conference at the beginning of the new year.
At the same time, market turmoil and the collapse of FTX will likely make it harder for projects to raise capital and sustain themselves. Many existing projects and companies that cannot raise funds will need to conserve their remaining runway to stay afloat until market conditions improve. This is especially true for ecosystems hit hard by the FTX insolvency crisis, such as Solana and the different projects being built on it.
As with all bear markets, speculative and experimental projects motivated purely by financial gain and unsustainable tokenomics will be washed away. Stronger projects built on more sustainable models will likely find a way to survive and get more vital for the next bull cycle.
Web3 will likely see substantial exponential growth in the coming years; we just need to stay solvent long enough to witness that future.
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All images courtesy of the author