As Team Blockster entered the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Florida for the Synapse Summit, I reminded my colleagues that our productivity would be measured in proportion to how tired we felt at the end of the event. Ultimately, our fortunes were well-served in the Sunshine State: we were thoroughly exhausted—in the best way possible—by the day’s end.
Having looked forward to attending Synapse for several months, we arrived early, ready to discover, connect, and learn. We swarmed the summit with our batteries charged, in search of compelling stories on the coolest projects and people in crypto. And while the conference was not specifically crypto or blockchain-focused, we wound up having amazing conversations with several standout companies and projects in the space, many of which we will feature on Blockdesk soon. Our favorites included:
The Pelican NFT is Mine
Team Blockster spent the day shuttling between key-note speeches, specialized breakout sessions, and dozens of project/company booths. We kept promising ourselves that we would find some glimmering moments of calm amidst the frenetic buzz of the summit. But that never happened; we like to be where the action is. So inevitably (and immediately) we were drawn into the sprawling exhibition booth of the Tampa Bay DAO (TBD).
When we first encountered the TBD, they were expeditiously guiding summit attendees through the process of minting NFTs. Never one to pass up the opportunity to grab a cool NFT, I complied with the instructions thrust upon me: visit the TBD website, register, download a Solflare wallet, and scan the QR code. Once I completed the assigned tasks, an NFT—I wound up with a kick-ass pelican bitmap design!— was gifted into my wallet.
After my lesson in Solana NFT minting, I huddled with one of the TBD’s founding members, Phung Nguyen, who was kind enough to school me on the history and mission of the Tampa Bay DAO.
Phung explained cheerfully, “The TBD is a collective of entrepreneurs, engineers, developers, and creators. We are a locally-focused organization.”
How did the Tampa Bay DAO come about? Phung reminisces, “We were all hanging out at a coffee shop one day, and we were all crypto enthusiasts, and as we got to chitchatting, we were high on the spirit of collaboration. We sort of looked at each other and said: ‘Why don’t we create a DAO?’”
I wanted to know more about the artist behind the cool NFT that the DAO had just placed into my wallet. Phung explained how one of their primary missions as a DAO was to help local artists “get launched into the NFT space.” And the NFT giveaway was one way they were helping artists get the exposure they deserved. He elaborated:
“As we grow, we want to do more interactive events, and be able to do them on a grander scale; for example, we want to run collaborations as murals, then release the mural art as an NFT, and then fractionalize it so that more people can own a piece of the art”
But was it possible for me—an artist living in Miami—to become involved in the DAO as an NFT creator? Phung explained that their attention is currently focused only on local artists. However, while my present Miami homestead disqualifies me from being a featured TBD artist, Nguyen invited me to come to TBD’s next live event, introduce myself, and discuss with them ways I could become involved with their community in the future.
Upon returning to Miami, I realized I had developed an acute case of FOMO (fear of missing out) with respect to participating in the Tampa Bay DAO. I was ready to get in my car and drive four hours to their next meetup in Tampa, but then I remembered: I don’t have a car–not until the Crypto Gods have my red Lambo ready for me at the nearest dealership.
William Laurent is Blockster’s Editor in Chief. Widely published throughout his career, Will is regularly featured in American Banker, Foundry, and Tech for Good to name a few. He’s advised over 30 Fortune 500 companies across North America and Asia on content strategy, data visualization, and digital/cultural transformation. He is an influential educator, writer, artist, crypto dad, and husband. His artwork and NFTs are sought-after collectibles. Connect with William on DeSo and LinkedIn.