Recap from Quantum Miami: Fewer Buzzwords, More Building – Grit Daily

Published on January 30, 2023

It was my first conference in 2023, and while there were noticeably fewer people in attendance compared to events over the past few years, Quantum Miami did what they set out to do: they built a bridge between those in Web3 and mainstream players. And by the way, I am not complaining. Fewer people who want to do more makes for a better conference, in my humble opinion.

This particular event provided those that had the gumption and that “stick with it” attitude to show up, learn and connect. These are the tenets that make Web3 what it is, after all.

It’s Been Awhile

There hasn’t been a time like this in over two decades. We are at a crossroads, just like we were in 1997 when the Internet was still a scary word. Events like Quantum offer those in the space who are serious about growth and the future a valuable way to spark engagement.

Over the course of the event, I had the opportunity to speak with a good number of industry leaders. One such person was Gianfranco Lopane, President of the only Nasdaq-listed metaverse company, Habytat, who simply goes by ‘G.” When I asked G about the overall sentiment, he noted that while there were “10% of the people that used to be here” while, at the same time, he noted that this event is a “great opportunity to connect with builders in the space.”

It is no secret that crypto investors lost money the past few years, especially on the heels of a tumultuous 2022. Therefore, the willingness to pay for and attend conferences is at an all time low. And even with that, as G noted, “builders are building.”

Let’s Move Past the Buzzwords

Web3, like the metaverse, have unfortunately become buzzwords. And when you have bad actors, it only causes further doubt and skepticism. But the original Internet – Web1, made it and this industry will do so as well.

The biggest takeaway for me was, if you have a real product, with a real use case, you will be heard.

Wild, Wild West

G noted that while the metaverse, overall, has been “cartoon-y,” those days are coming to a (thankful) end with companies like his. Habytat offers ‘homesteading,’ and land – very similar to the days of America’s Wild West.

In order to build something sustainable, it can’t be 1000’s or even 100’s of dollars; it needs to be ‘free’ (or come with a nominal fee, such as America did with its Western lands) as the power the audience comes to build and evangelize is extremely valuable.

And although the data rich users entering the metaverse are an important part of the community Habytat is building, don’t worry about privacy; Habytat as a solution for that. And they take privacy very seriously and have made it a cornerstone of their business model.

Web2 Issues and Web3 Solutions

Web2, overall, has an issue with privacy – they don’t have any. Anyone can find out anything at any time. In fact, we can’t have a conversation with our friends about a brand without that brand marketing to our own phones and feeds. Sometimes it feels like our phones have an eerie sense of who we are more than we do. That is done by design. The time has come for Web2 to marry Web3. Or, as G says, Web5 (Web2 + Web3 = Web5).

Similar to G, when I asked Lin Dai, co-founder and CEO of OneOf what he felt about the vibe of the Quantum event, he noted the following, “Everyone that showed up, give yourself a round of applause. You are committed to spending your time to show up, to learn about new projects and collaborate.”

Everything that happened last year caused a huge drop in consumer confidence. It is akin to 2017 when the ICO went out of flavor. However as Lin noted, post 2017 is when his company  signed with companies such as Warner, Uber, etc.

These down markets, these trying times, are when legacies are built. (Read that again).

NFTs Are Growing Up

Lin also indicated that he hopes the phrase “NFT” won’t be used as much.There are a lot of solid use cases; people are working hard on their ideas right now. But the buzzword is a point of contention and it is holding the mass adoption back. Once a phrase or word is tainted, it is difficult to regain confidence. We don’t see finance executives promoting CDO’s, even if there are products that are similar in nature. The industry had to divorce itself from the term as it was a poison.

Non Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) have legs that go beyond that of the art world and they are certainly more than cartoons. There are companies actively working on NFTs for car titles, music rights, legal documents and other use cases that will benefit the consumer and creator in an array of ways.

We touched upon the recent Porsche NFT debacle and Lin saw the company, despite the backlash, to be “brave.” They were an early luxury brand to drop and mint NFTs. And it was far from a screaming success, but that doesn’t mean it was a total failure. Marketers, including Porsche itself, can use this as a learning experience.

Giddy Up

Heading back to the Quantum event, another company that struck me as interesting, innovative and engaging was Giddy. Back in the Wild West, a cactus-laden themed company with a cowboy schtick lures you in, as they should. They are doing some extremely cool and useful things.

“Own your keys, own your earnings” is the slogan the company uses. I had the pleasure of speaking with Ethan Parker, COO and co-founder, who sat with me while I downloaded the app and helped me set up a wallet. Giddy, a self-custody yet recoverable crypto wallet, allows you, the user, to control your money at all times.

Given the recent custody issues (ahem, FTX), this is a company to keep on one’s radar. They are engaging, excited about the future and definitely had that gumption to keep showing up that I referred to earlier.

Onto the Next

In conclusion, this event is one that is worthwhile, filled with smart people and is for those that are seeking to boost their products beyond the hype. I was elated to meet people that were all ready to embrace the future in a meaningful way and who recognize the reality of where we are today.

Next up, at least for me and my team, is the eighth annual European Blockchain Convention, which will be held in Barcelona on February 15-17, 2023. Looking forward to meeting more builders and those who are excited to show up. #WAGMI

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Kelly Ferraro is an events columnist at Grit Daily. She is partner and co-founder of River North Communications, touting over two decades of experience as a corporate communications professional. Having previously worked at Bank of America and Guggenheim Securities, she is well-equipped to design and implement media campaigns that align with business objectives. Kelly began her career at a hedge fund, developing a love for numbers as they told a company’s true story. She is also passionate about the blockchain evolution and believes transparency is the key to widespread adoption.

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