Sunday, January 16

Cities enter crypto modernity at the pace of blockchain and NFTs


The last weeks are signifying a strengthening of the link between cities and the Blockchain. Cities enter Blockchain and Blockchain enters cities. The main protagonists of recent urban encounters have been the NFTs, projecting music, painting and other arts around the points where they took place. Some already have plans to place representations of their most distinctive architecture in the metaverse. But what is really surprising is this succession of festive face-to-face meetings between professionals who are deeply immersed in virtualization.

Cities, Blockchain and NFTs

The NYC.NFT event put the Big Apple at the foot of tokens and avatar collections. The NFTs were the protagonists. It seemed that every project in the city, especially if it was an artistic project, spoke the language of the NFTs. Even Quentin Tarantino and his Pulp Fiction spoke this language for the first time in New York. It is true that, to understand the impact of the event on the city as a whole, whiskey can be accepted as a cultural project.

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Shortly after, in Lisbon, the Solana Breakpoint took place. An event that follows others, which are leading the Portuguese capital to become the European capital of the crypto ecosystem, displacing precocious Riga. Perhaps this explains the exodus of innovative companies and talented Spanish professionals in this field to settle around the mouth of the Tagus. While there they run, here they are still wondering if they give prior appointment to the issue of pushing blockchain and cryptocurrencies, beyond the umpteenth version of rules against fraud and money laundering. Currently, investment in decentralized finance in the Iberian Peninsula speaks Portuguese.

The city seeks its space in the metaverse

The most recent urban event has been in Miami: Art Basel Miami, which has raised such expectations that some chroniclers compare the signs collected there with intense processes of enthusiastic crypto and NFT evangelization. Avalanche has called a great festive event for next spring in Barcelona.

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In these meetings, they talk, of course, about projects. Of future. But, in this framework, investment and work. Even at parties, they talk about the work that is coming. And it is the city that serves that environment, that immerses itself in the blockchain ecosystem, and that seeks a place in the metaverse. In addition, the meetings between professionals and companies after the events last for weeks, in the same city. Meetings in search of collaborations. It is paradoxical, but Airbnb is preferred to Zoom. Even when the pandemic doesn’t just go away. The quasi-religious sentiment, which permeates these encounters, is undoubtedly a sign of faith in the blockchain ecosystem. But like all religious sentiment it needs the fervent contagion of contact. Perhaps, the face-to-face meeting allows a greater focus on the objectives, without distractions. It is dedication to the project in soul and body.

Citizens of the world

These are preferences for meeting in cities by citizens of the world. Professionals who live mainly on the web, who develop their work routines anywhere, because the place no longer matters. Many have been telecommuting forever. They do not know any other way of working, or any other space that is not their home. For this reason, they have the opportunity to flesh out their professional network in these meetings, to establish those strong ties that derive from the colonization of informal relationships in formal-professional relationships. As Rheingold pointed out a quarter of a century ago: virtual communities need to feed on periodic encounters.

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Cities are not immune to these flows. Its inhabitants end up talking about cryptocurrencies and metaverse, if they did not do it before. It is permeated with crypto modernity. The city is covered with a halo of the future making itself present. These are cities that institutionally turn in support of these events around the different concretions of blockchain production. Cities turned towards the future. Those who are not afraid to look into the future. This, despite the misgivings of their respective national governments regarding cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance. There is a kind of overtaking of the governments of the big cities over the governments of their countries.

NFTs for tourist consumption

a overtaking that can reach its point of tension at the moment in which large cities launch, not only their own NFTs for tourist consumption, but their own currencies, as has already happened in Miami or New York.

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It is surprising how in these events, the potential competition between actors becomes collaboration. The cities that host them have become a kind of network, which facilitates the tour of meetings and collaborations. Cities that are competing with other cities and with other territorial-administrative entities. Cities that compete to become this festive and face-to-face setting for professionals in the deepest of virtualizations. And it is that one thing is the parties in the digital world and another very different the melee parties.

Picture of Vicente Zambrano González, from the Barcelona City Council website

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