Alexandre Tsydenkov (NFT Paris): "We need to highlight those who are driving Web3 forward".
In just two years, NFT Paris has established itself as a major event in the world of NFTs. In an interview, its co-founder, Alexandre Tsydenkov, looks back over the preparations for the 3rd edition (23-24 February) and explains why the conference has just launched its own NFT.
You're preparing the third edition of NFT Paris, which will take place next February. How far have you got with the organisation?
We're making good progress. Organising an event for more than 10,000 people takes time. You have to plan a lot of things, both in terms of the programme and the venue.
Where will this new edition be held?
Like last year, we'll be at the Grand Palais éphémère. We're delighted to be returning to this venue. It's an iconic venue that fits in perfectly with our identity.
Speaking of the programme, what exactly are you planning?
For us, the priority this year is to focus on experiences, whether in art or fashion. There are a lot of really interesting things happening in that area.
Art Blocks has launched a project to make generative art (using computer algorithms to generate a work) much more accessible. People can come and mint (create, editor's note) an NFT for 0.01 ether and it's on the Arbitrum blockchain on which transaction fees are very low.
The aim of this kind of project is to allow everyone to discover this universe. Everyone who buys an NFT can come and paint the physical work in a workshop. We want to bring this kind of experimentation back to the site. I also hope to be able to organise a Virtual Fashion Show with holograms.
Organising events on this scale is expensive. Are the sponsors still there?
Yes, even if it's not easy. I'd say the advantage for us is that we've always worked in a complicated economic context, so we know how to manage events of this scale in this kind of period.
It's better to be at the bottom of the wave, where people know it's going to pick up again. Everyone knows that we can't start from a lower base. And you have to bear in mind that while there may be less money, there are also fewer events overall.
Last year, there were issues with the organization, particularly with very long queues. How can we be sure that this won't happen again this year?
These problems, which we regret, were related to the fact that it was our first time at the Grand Palais Ephémère. We thought people would spend an average of 2 hours at the event, but most of them stayed for the whole day, which is a good sign at the same time! To avoid this from happening again, we will have a larger main stage and bigger dining areas as well.
We are also considering a system with time slots. We cannot guarantee that everything will be perfect, but we are working to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
What is your aim in organising such an event?
To do some good and show the full maturity of the ecosystem. We need to highlight those who are driving Web3 forward, and that's really our aim. Some people don't want to see it, but the world of NFTs has been seen as a world of clowns because of bogus projects, and that has collectively penalised us.
The sector has benefited from a lot of visibility with rockstars like Justin Bieber, while tech was not at all mature. Now we're in the capitulation phase, with articles like the one we saw about the 95% of NFTs being worthless.
Do you get the impression that things have really improved since then?
Not everything is perfect, but there's clearly more maturity. The technology is much more solid. The aim is to show that the ecosystem is building, that things are happening. More and more companies are working on NFTs and Web3 projects. Last year, the Musée d'Orsay was there to discover NFTs, and now they've just launched some. Things are moving forward.
You had a great turnout last year. What's your aim this year? To do at least as well, even if the context isn't easy.
We'll see. We have to be clear about the fact that crypto and web3 aren't for everyone these days. We know where we want to go, but there's still a long way to go.
NFT Paris has just announced the launch of its own collection of NFTs. Why such a project?
We've been working on this collection for almost a year. The project has evolved a lot, but our aim has always been to offer a more gamified experience that would take place over the course of the year. Just because NFT Paris only lasts 2 days doesn't mean the experience has to stop there. NFT Paris is more than an event with stands, it's a community.
Didn't the fact that you'd created an event that brought together collections of NFTs make you want to launch your own?
That's indeed an important point, and what's more we've had the advantage of seeing everything that works and doesn't work. It's also why we opted for a free NFT with a 'freemint'. The aim is to have a non-financial token. Our aim is really to keep the spirit of Web3, while moving away from bad practice and a speculative approach.
Actually, what is this collection going to look like?
These NFTs are an identity card for the NFT Paris universe. There will be unlimited quantities. The only thing that is limited is that there will only be one domain name per person. There will only be one Alexander Tsydenkov, one The Big Whale. Once a name is taken, it's no longer available. But at the same time given the number of possible combinations of letters and numbers, the number of NFTs is virtually infinite.
Which blockchain did you decide to take?
We chose to launch our collection on the Polygon blockchain, mainly because the fees are so low.
How will people be able to access this collection?
There are several things, but it's pretty simple: first you're going to register on our site. Then you connect your wallet. We'll analyse your wallet to see what kind of collector you are. Depending on the NFTs you own, which are more or less rare and linked to event partners, you will receive badges. That's when you can mint your NFT. The mint will be available from 13 October. The first NFTs will be sent out from 18 October.
What are badges for?
They determine your collector level and therefore the number of tokens you will receive and which will enable you to make purchases on our marketplace. They can be spent on a marketplace. There will be prices, discounts on seats, it's also possible to upgrade your seat to VIP mode or then buy works by partner artists.
If, for example, you have the NFT of a media partner of NFT Paris, you'll be considered a "Media Disruptor", and so you'll get X tokens. The more different NFTs you have, the more tokens you'll collect.
How did you make these calculations?
It's a very one-sided approach. Our aim is to highlight our partners and the collections that we feel are unmissable. We have selected around ten collections per category.
What are the categories?
Fashion, photo, media...
What will happen after the mint of the first NFT?
Our idea is to offer a long-term experience, so we've set up "Quests", i.e. missions, to reward the most active members and to value our partners.
On which marketplace will the tokens be usable?
Only on the NFT Paris market place. There will be lots of things available: airpods, hotel nights, tickets for side events.
How much does a project like this cost? How do you set up a project like this?
The hardest thing was to establish a precise vision of what we wanted to do, and in the end we decided on a loyalty programme. It took us a while to find the right formula, but now the idea is to receive tokens at a certain frequency and spend them on a Marketplace. It's a simple vision and we think it will be effective.
What's the budget for a project like this?
It's hard to say, but we've had a lot of support from partners who have an interest in being highlighted at NFT Paris.
How are you going to analyse the wallets?
We're going to use NFT Studio. It's one of our partners. There will be a leaderboard system with all the tokens per wallet. Those with the most tokens will be at the top of the leaderboard. You can also earn points by inviting people to participate. This earns you tokens.
This system is clearly geared towards the crypto ecosystem. Isn't it risky?
We actually had a whole Web2 system with payment by bank card, but we've decided to withdraw it. For the moment, all the people who took tickets for NFT Paris have left Ethereum addresses. We're on a 99% rate, so I think our target audience is Web3 people.
Our goal is for everyone attending NFT Paris to have a digital wallet. You have to have a wallet. Some people won't necessarily agree with that, but for us it's a question of consistency.