A palpable excitement filled the Austin, Texas air as South by Southwest returned from a pandemic hiatus. The droves of tech junkies, creatives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders descended upon the capital city, bringing innovation and forward-thinking to thousands and thousands of conference and festival attendees.
SXSW goers navigated over 1000 events within the official SXSW schedule and the surrounding parties, activations, and showcases encompassing the ten-day marathon.
Several themes emerged from the innovative lineup of speakers, meetups, and expos as part of the 2022 conference. Many an entrepreneurial eye focused on the exciting developments and celebrations relating to blockchain technology and NFTs.
The NFT theme of SXSW seemed to evoke a unified mission to showcase the approachability of NFTs and educate newcomers and experts alike that the endless possibilities of digital tokenization will no doubt push us forward.
We rounded up a list of the top NFT happenings that stirred up the metaverse, causing crypto curious and blockchain devotees buzzing well after SXSW’s close.
Blockchain Creative Labs
As a headlining sponsor of SXSW, Fox Entertainment’s NFT studio Blockchain Creative Labs produced several pop-ups and events that made it easy for conference attendees to step into the Metaverse. In addition, the innovative company put NFTs, blockchain and Web3 on full display for Festival-goers at an interactive experience that showcased innovative products allowing a peek into the future of entertainment and content distribution to demonstrate the power of disintermediated bonds between artists and fans.
During opening weekend, BCL unveiled a fan favourite hub for all things Web3. The three-day pop-up featured panels by experts, including thought leaders and executives from WWE, FOX Entertainment, FOX Sports, CoinDesk, Samsung, Eluvio, UTA, FTX, Bento Box Entertainment, Collab.Land, The Female Quotient, IndieFlix, and many more.
BCL collaborated with filmmakers to take their original SXSW premiere posters and immortalize them as one-of-one NFTs sold on the SXSW x BCL NFT marketplace. Films that hopped on the poster NFTs bandwagon were hit SXSW films “Still Working 9 to 5,” “Mama Bears” and “The Pez Outlaw”; “Seriously Red,” starring and executive produced by Rose Byrne; “It Is In Us All”; and “A Lot of Nothing,” co-written and directed by Mo McRae – all of which will be dropped during the SXSW Film Premiere NFT “Countdown-to-Minting” Poster Party.
The mega crypto gurus debuted an extensive gallery of NFTs created by leading content creators along with. BCL also created POAPs (Proof-of-Attendance-Protocols) for a number of SXSW venues and events including
The BCL_RecordBlocks station dropped NFTs of songs from more than 30 official SXSW artists including Grammy Award nominee KT Tunstall, Electra Mustaine, Kovic, and Callie Twisselman, among others.
The SXSW x BCL NFT Ledger drew an excited crowd to experience the infinite, immersive, room-scale, real-time visualization of all SXSW-related data on the blockchain during the ten-day festival that was minted into an NFT.
Dolly Parton’s Dollyverse
Perhaps the most exciting project of Blockchain Creative Labs was the partnership with legendary country music artist Dolly Parton to launch welcometodollyverse.com, an audience-centric Web3 experience that will allow fans to purchase official and certified Dolly NFT collectibles, including limited-edition NFTs of her new album Run, Rose, Run and a limited series of Dolly-inspired NFT artwork.
The album and metaverse debut is inspired by Parton’s new novel that she wrote in collaboration with best-selling writer James Patterson. To promote her novel, album, and “Dollyverse,” Parton made her first-ever appearance at SXSW with a live performance featuring songs from Run, Rose, Run, along with a few of her hits. The entire event was streamed live for free on “Dollyverse” by BCL and Eluvio. In-person attendees at Parton’s performance claimed a free NFT, while fans streaming the event received tokens authenticating their participation.
Together with BCL, Parton was a brilliant example of the exciting possibilities NFTs can offer to artists and entertainers.
PoP Art Walk
Illustrative Space launched PoP Art Walk at SXSW 2022. The expansive art exhibition awarded PoP (Proof of Presence) NFT tokens to fans, audiences, crowds, and day 1’ers who “checked-in” at any art installation, concert, mural, or augmented reality sculpture on the Illustrative Space browser application https://ar.illust.space. Those who PoP’ed at the art installations during SXSW gained an access credential to attend a secret party on the opening weekend of the conference.
NFT marketplace Mint Gold Dust and Illustrative Space are working with non-profit Austin Muralist Collective HOPE Campaign to engage Texas artists, including Kimie Flores, Austin-based mural and tattoo artist, to create 10 unique murals at the SXSW convention center and geo-drop digital artworks throughout Austin. The 10 murals were made available for purchase on Mint Gold Dust’s marketplace following their SXSW arrival. The NFT collection acts as an archive of the ingenious activation and gives the participating artists an opportunity to earn royalties for their work.
It wouldn’t be an NFT focused SXSW without metaverse darling Paris Hilton. The crypto and NFT trendsetter caused a major buzz at an immersive digital experience put on by The Sandbox Game. The NFT collector made a guest DJ appearance at Austin hotspot Green Light Social to celebrate her partnership with the virtual gaming world. The self-proclaimed (and appropriately dubbed) #QueenoftheMetaverse will build her very own #ParisWorld bringing more Paris Hilton charm to the metaverse.
Doodles Pop Up
With prime SXSW real estate right outside the conference headquarters, Doodles, the major NFT collection held one of the most popular pop-ups of the week. Visitors who waiting in the lengthy line to gain entrance were able to get a glimpse of the joyful world of Doodles brought to life in the colourful and highly immersive multi-sensory experience. See Doodles on land, in air, and in space. The pop-up was complete with Doodle-themed snacks, refreshments, entertainment, and interactive fun, putting education about Web3 and the future of media and entertainment at the forefront.
The NFT fun doesn’t even begin to stop there. Countless other events hosted Web3 wonders with discussions and debuts surrounding exciting collections. Even the SXSW featured their own curation of NFT collectibles.
Major Cryptocurrency players like Raj Gokal co-founder of Solana and Sergey Nazarov co-founder of Chainlink each spoke in exciting panel sessions. Sandy Carter of Unstoppable Domains called Lazy Lion founder Ashur up on stage during her crowded featured session to encourage newcomers to come into the new age internet.
The Other Art Fair founder and Saatchi Art gallerist Wayne Change discussed his sold-out The Other Avatars project with artists Mary Lai and Dan Monteavaro.
Sara Baumann, the half Iranian, Texas-based artist and founder of Women and Weapons spoke on a “Women Leading Art in the Metaverse” panel with Diana Mashia, Founder and CEO, Invest in Her Art, Maliha Abidi, Founder, Women Rise NFT, and Talia Bender, President, The Female Quotient.
After a packed schedule full of NFT collaborations, launches, and innovative discussions, we can only be excited for where the NFT world will be this time next year and what NFTs at SXSW will bring in 2023.