CoinDesk Korea's annual blockchain conference DAXPO(Digital Asset Expo) wound down its second day at the Paradise Hotel Busan on Nov. 16.
DAXPO 2021 is a gathering of South Korea's blockchain industry leaders, innovators, and lawmakers.
The first day of the event focused on regulations, custody and staking services, crypto taxes, and CBDCs.
The second day, however, was devoted entirely to NFTs.
Kim Tae-kwon, editor in chief of the NFT art magazine Digitally Yours, kicked off the event with his opening address.
Kim described NFTs as something that "blurs the border between collection and artistry."
"The technology behind NFTs may be new, but it appeals to a very fundamental, primordial human instinct: the desire to own something," Kim said.
Kim likened NFT collectors to people who collect brand-name luxury products like Chanel handbags. Trying to pick apart the “practicality” or “usefulness” of such behavior is pointless, Kim said.
DAXPO 2021 also featured three discussion sessions. The first focused on the complex relationship between NFTs and fine art.
During the first session, Ground X CEO Jason Han emphasized the importance of the NFT market's user community.
"I've never seen such an active community, irrespective of which industry," Han said.
"Right now, the NFT industry is something to observe and study. It's too early for anyone to say with certainty that NFTs are this or that."
The second session explored the world of digital art. This session was graced with the presence of Mr. Misang, whose NFT "Modern Life is Rubbish" fetched over $294,000 in Ether.
Mr. Misang, who has never publically revealed his face, participated via his personal avatar.
"This isn't just some character or profile pic," Mr. Misang said. "The avatar you see right now on the screen represents me in the digital world."
The third session focused on the role of NFTS in games.
Kim Jae-seok, CEO of Planetarium, a blockchain based ecosystem for community-powered games, said that major game companies are starting to adopt the "GameFi"(Game+Finance) model.
"Pretty soon, the play-to-earn system will become a fundamental business model within the gaming industry," Kim said.
The fourth session picked the brains of Jun Byeon, director of Coinplug's NFT platform Metapie, and Hyun Oh, CEO and founder of Angel League, a trading platform for unlisted stocks and securities.
Byeon disregarded the need to define NFTs.
"Some view NFTs as art, others approach them as tradable assets. As far as we're concerned, that delineation is irrelevant. What matters is that NFTs aren't going away anytime soon, and will increase in both relevance and usage in the future."
Oh stressed the need for regulatory clarity.
"The way governments approach NFTs will largely determine how the industry evolves, and we have to adapt accordingly."
The fifth and final session navigated key issues in the NFT world, including communities, technology, and NFTs' relation to finance.
Yoo Min-ho, CSO of wallet service D'Cent, said that all the technology in the world can't compensate for a a lack of community.
"The lifeforce of an NFT platform is its community. Without that, you have nothing, no matter how good the art is," Yoo said.
DAXPO 2021 also featured two demonstrations.
Digital artist Joo Jae-bum put his skills on show in real time for the audience. To demonstrate how pixel art is created, Joo drew a seagull (because Busan is a harbor city) and Younghee, that creepy giant doll from Netflix sensation "Squid Game."
Although it took Joo a few minutes to draw his recreations, they were eerily similar. Joo's recreation of Younghee will soon be up for auction as an NFT on OpenSea.
The second demonstration provided a glimpse of what creating art is like within a VR setting.
Professor and webtoon artist Kwon Hyuk-ju of Kongju National University donned an Oculus device on stage.
"Now, I can't see you, but you can see me, and I'll probably look a bit silly, but pay attention to what I"m seeing on the screen," Kwon said.
The VR world he saw was presented to the audience in real time on a large screen. Kwon then "drew" and created art within the virtual space.
"Take this as a preview of how art will be created in the future," Kwon said.
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