The difference now, of course, is that no one needs to be convinced that crypto is a good deal. It’s already a trillion dollar industry that has spawned dozens of huge companies, created dynastic wealth for early adopters, and attracted many of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest minds.
And when I looked past the decadence in New York City, I could see strands of Web3 starting to weave into things that real people might want.
On Monday night, for example, I went to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to attend a party hosted by Friends With Benefits, a new kind of leaderless crypto club known as a “decentralized autonomous organization” or DAO. At present, DAOs – which have been described as “group conversations with bank accounts” – are mostly an experimental toy. But optimists believe they could one day be a way for businesses and communities to organize themselves.
Instead of selling normal tickets to the party – which included a performance by Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot – Friends With Benefits asked attendees to scan their crypto wallets at the door. If you had at least $ FWB five – the group membership tokens, which cost around $ 140 each at party time – you’ve entered. To bring one plus one, you had to have $ 75 FWB, or about $ 10,000. (There was a way to skip the line altogether: to win an auction for the party’s official NFT, although it ultimately sold for over $ 50,000, making it a bad choice for the self-conscious raver. budget.)
All of this velvet-rope exclusivity may seem at odds with claims by crypto enthusiasts that Web3 is a democratizing force that will expand access to financial services, level the playing field, and eliminate old middlemen. And I sometimes wondered if the children of Web3 were trying to demolish the old social hierarchy, to replace it with a new, symbolic one where they were at the top.
But the arrangement seemed to work for everyone – at least until around midnight, when the hall filled up and the $ FWB token holders stuck on the sidewalk could no longer enter.
“I paid $ 600 to go to this party,” one man in line muttered. “Well, at least the token could go up. “