VeeCon, the First-Ever Paid NFT Conference, Held in Minneapolis

Celebrities and non-fungible token (NFT) fans gathered in Minneapolis last week for VeeCon, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s first ever NFT ticketed conference.

NFTs are internet collectibles and digital assets. The unique data assigned to each NFT facilitates verification of ownership and any subsequent token transfer. Consumers can purchase NFTs with cryptocurrencies, rather than traditional currency, and the blockchain records purchase data. Decentralized blockchains are immutable, so transactions are permanent and visible to everyone.

Vaynerchuk argues that this technology will eventually become mainstream due to its ability to verify ownership efficiently and digitally.

“We’re all going to interact with NFTs because it’s going to be our plane tickets,” Vaynerchuk said ahead of the May 19-22 conference at US Bank Stadium. “These will be our receipts, these will be our tickets to US Bank Stadium, these will be our membership cards. Right now we use plastic, QR codes and email confirmations for a lot of things. I think blockchain will eat because it’s a better technology.”

To access the conference, participants had to have a VeeFriends NFT. VeeFriends are Vaynerchuk’s hand-drawn creations. Each artwork is an animal that represents a quality that Vaynerchuk admires, including empathy, curiosity, and respect. In addition to being digital collectibles, NFTs give holders access to three years of the in-person conference, VeeCon.

Keynotes, Q&As, and informational panels included entrepreneurs, influencers, artists, and celebrities. Snoop Dogg, Spike Lee and Mila Kunis were just a few of the notables in attendance. VeeFriends holders came from all over the world, with approximately 80% of participants coming from outside the state of Minnesota.

Maha Abouelenein, a resident of Wayzata and CEO of media organization Digital & Savvy, helped shine a light on local businesses. Minnesota brands and startups were represented at an invitation-only event outside the stadium last Thursday night. Abouelenein also coordinated a press luncheon at Minneapolis staple, Fhima. The restaurant recently opened the city’s first NFT gallery.

Despite concerns about Web3’s longevity due to the recent cryptocurrency crash, Vaynerchuk argued that the conference was held at the perfect time. During his Thursday press lunch, Vaynerchuk claimed that dismissing NFTs as a trend due to the recent market correction would be a common mistake that has historically happened with big tech like the internet and social media.

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