The NFT Gathering Recap

SoggyApplePie and I have the privilege to be POAP Ambassadors. This dream come true allows us to make friends, travel the world, and share on-chain memories with incredible people along the way. Over the last several months Soggy and I have attended several blockchain events. While at an event, we gift POAPs (Proof of Attendance Protocol) NFTs to everyone we can.

We‘ve recently returned from an incredible trip to Banff, Alberta Canada for The NFT Gathering. Let’s recap the experience and what we’ve learned along the way.

https://poap.gallery/event/38068

Day 0: Meeting the Speakers

The First Table

The day before the event was to start, all the speakers met for dinner at Three Bears in Banff. For many, this was our first time meeting the others and finding out about their projects. We took our seats, and started talking to the people next to us. The first person we met was Airwalk, and after chatting briefly we learned he was hosting the event. He was kind, genuine, and his team had a vision for this event that had me very excited. Nothing large, flashy, and exhausting. Instead, a chance for an intimate gathering where we would make connections and learn (spoiler, they accomplished their mission). Beside Airwalk, I met my next friend. She introduced herself simply as “Airwalk’s mom”. You can immediately sense where Airwalk gets it from. I could tell we were about to attend something special. Going around the table, we then got to meet Mason and Meg, a powerful team of social media creators, and the world traveller, Maanz. About midway through the dinner, we played musical chairs. Every other person was asked to stand up, and move to a different spot.

The Second Table

The person I sat beside next was Jdubbs. A man who loves his children, talks about them fondly, and goes out of his way to provide them with every opportunity he can. We talked about his commitment to getting his daughters to dance recitals, and his son to football games, and the potential of a sweet-sixteen car. Through our conversation, it became quite clear Jdubbs days and energy were entirely dedicated to his family. I go to this detail because I want to take the moment and highlight how special and selfless a person like this is. Inspired by Mason’s good taste, I was now a few Moscow mules deep, and surrounded by laughter. Next, I made more friends in the form of a group conversation. Bored Becky, a talented ape and branding champion. MamaBucks and her Husband BigBucks, a power couple of buidlers. And Tyler, a thoughtful and down to earth leader who listens to learn.

A Conversation I’ll Remember

This deserves to be segmented off, and could be a whole write up on its own. Not for the information said during, but for the way I left feeling. I was as enthusiastic as a child, and equally as destructive. Having dedicated every available moment of my life to the blockchain space over the last few years, I have developed strong opinions bordering on idealistic delusion of grandeur. Not for myself, but for the way the space should behave if it wishes to be sustainable and altruistic. A chance for humanity to reset with a new paradigm. However, this belief, along with the effects of social media’s algorithms have caused me to land in a bubble. While talking with Tyler and Bored Becky I was made quite clear of this. My opinions were not necessarily that of the majority, and there is no “right answer” to anything at the moment. Conversationally, I was a bull in a china shop.

Lesson: When you are fired up, don’t talk about the negative. It will affect your word choice, tone, and causes you to risk looking at things through a single lens. So off I went, sharing my opinion on a project. Not only was I critical, I was also wrong. The what in this case is not important, but the why is. I was looking at it through the wrong lens, affected by my bubble and beliefs. We proceeded to have an excellent debate on both sides. I’ve thought about this conversation quite a bit since then. The bubbles social media is creating are dangerous, and it’s important we are aware of the effects an echo chamber can have on us. I can’t risk my opinions getting the better of me, so I’ll be putting more effort into diversifying the way I receive information moving forward for a more holistic view.

The First Day

Vibes on Arrival

Upon arriving at the Castle in the Mountains, we entered the registration area, and learned that we were at the wrong event. The Cult Gathering was happening in the conference area of the hotel. We were directed to another location within the hotel for The NFT Gathering, a separate event running in tandem. What an opportunity this was! The Cult Gathering is a special event highlighting community building, marketing, and branding expertise. Professionals from around the world were descending on the location, and this meant Soggy and I had the opportunity to meet even more people!

We make our way to the appropriate registration desk, and before even being able to finish our sentence the hosts are saying “SoggyApplePie and Oops! here are your swag bags and name tags”. Wow! I had never been to an event where I was greeted by name. Over the next two days I would learn how special this TNG team really was. Through all the talks, troubleshooting, and traveling around from location to location, it became abundantly clear that they cared.

I then put on my Pikachu onesie, entered the event room, and dabbled in my favourite part of every event (distributing POAPs). Roaming from aisle to aisle, I delivered people stickers with Soggy’s artwork on the front, and a unique claim code printed on the back of each one. The receiver can scan the QR code, or manually input the code to receive a free NFT as a symbol of them being at the event. A shared on-chain memory, amongst the attendees. It was a small room, but there was big energy. I remember feeling a sense of relief. At small events, the vibe is crucial, because you will see these same people the whole way through. The NFT Gathering’s vibes made me feel comfortable and welcome. Soggy and I had never spoke at an event before and were nervous. That feeling went away nearly immediately upon meeting the rest of the attendees. There was no need to be nervous around our new friends.

Day One Itinerary

The event began with some informal yet informational talks by Mason, Meg, and Kyle. We learned about social media, the power of reach, and tricks of the content creation trade. The speakers were knowledgeable and you could tell. They spoke with clarity, purpose, and a strong understanding of their areas of expertise. More importantly though, you could tell they enjoyed what they were doing, and helping others along the way. They wanted to push you outside of your comfort zone so you could grow, and I can attest that they were successful.

Now that we were excited and itching to create some content, the TNG team took us for a hike. As events go, this was a unique opportunity I had yet to experience. This gave us the chance to talk amongst each other quite naturally. We reached a beautiful vantage point, and our friends from before took the opportunity to push us out of our comfort zone yet again. Led by Kyle, we split into groups of three, and recorded sixty second videos interviewing one another. It was here that I met Raad and Eric. We recorded our videos, all of which were too long because we were excited to ask each other questions and learn. We took a group photo then travelled back to the hotel for another talk. Bored Becky and MamaBuck led a discussion on women in web3. We discussed how we can empower a more holistic space, celebrate creation, and we learned of the journeys that brought them here.

We then migrated as a group to the main room for a Keynote talk with Andy, Tyler, and Airwalk. This keynote was excellent. They spoke exceptionally well, shared their stories, and their thoughts of the space were quite interesting. Since they were coming from a social media and marketing background, this was a realm I understand very little about. I learned a lot, primarily about their own tenacity and dedication to learn, which in an industry that evolves every day is critical to success. They had both thrown themselves out there whole heartedly and the world had picked them up and brought them to where they are supposed to be. It’s always special to see instances when the Law of Attraction has taken effect, and I believe they were examples of that. I also had the privilege of sitting beside Airwalk’s Mom again. We shared another wonderful conversation about life, beliefs, and standing your ground for the right things.

Rose & Crown

After the talks, we gathered and migrated into town to get some food and drinks. It was here we had the pleasure of offering a ride to Lara, who happened to be the artist behind the TNG POAPs we had been receiving throughout the event. We arrived at the Rose and Crown, and sat at a table with three others. That dinner we talked a lot about the various uses for tokens outside of trading/speculation/profit and it was really fun to brainstorm different usecases that could be applied as businesses look to leverage verifiable ownership moving forward. Then we drifted over to another table and spent some time hanging out with the Chris, NFT Panda, and the rest of the TNG team. It was fun how much time we were able to spend with the team and they became our friends. NFT Panda, Soggy and I became quite close over the event, essentially hanging out during every intermission in the itinerary. He keeps a solid stash of Dad’s oatmeal cookies on hand and is happy to help anyone that needs it. Something else I found very cool, was that he was onboarded to the space through his work with the TNG event team. What a way to enter!

Rundle Lounge

We made our way back to the hotel, and once there we went to the Rundle lounge. Filled with couches and comfy chairs, it was a great way to end the night. Soggy and I spent the evening deep in conversation, and staying much longer than expected. It was here that we met 4 traveling friends on behalf of Elk Finance, and Katelyn. While sitting there, Katelyn even purchased their first NFT, and we had a little celebration! It was fun to share what we were working on. We talked quite a bit about free distribution, and opening up opportunities for people to learn at low risk. There is a whole wide world out there for the utility of blockchain technology outside of money, just waiting to be untapped. The conversations at Rundle made us feel much more comfortable for the next day and our coming talk, knowing that what we were about to share was an exciting new concept for some.

The Second Day

Day Two Itinerary

For day two, I wore my Pikachu onesie for the entirety of the day 💛⚡️

We arrived bright and early on the second day, where the first talk was with the bored founders (Airwalk, Big Bucks, and Bored Becky) discussing their experience so far in the space.

After that, Soggy and I were up. Led by Chris, we had a discussion around free distribution, onboarding, education, and the importance of focusing on the other value propositions of blockchain outside of profit. Creation, on-chain memories, gamification, in-class reward systems (1)(2), verifiable ownership, credentials, and much more. We love what we do, and we love sharing that with others. Chris, Soggy and I left that talk with big smiles of optimism on our faces. What would we be doing 5 years from now? Exactly what were doing now — giving things away and educating people along the way. It was heart warming to see that some eyes had been opened. For some it was their first introduction into a new world where the mission and vision are different than what they were used to.

Tip’em
Flip’em
Give’m away
End up with more by the end of the day

After the talk, everyone was given a POAP for attending. We claimed, and found a heartwarming description as icing on the cake. Thank you Chris!

I’m sure you felt the passion from this panel. SoggyApplePie & Irrelephantoops, the duo making NFTz something more than a quick cash grab, instead a way to meet people, create memories, immortalize the memories, and create a unique community. This POAP proves you’re now part of that community.

After our talk, Mason and Tanim were next, discussing the markets, the bulls, and the bears. Followed after that we had a talk about building communities with Dadcipher and discussed community on platforms like Discord. Remembering that sometimes the audience is different than the market you expected. Each community is like an ecosystem and there are certain things that will thrive there and others that wont.

After the talks we went for a hike similar to the first day. This time we went a little farther, and came towards a long bridge with a view of the mountains on the other side. People took pictures, we talked more. It was during this walk that I met Andrew. He was very enthusiastic about creating, art, expression, and he loved the intricacy of words. Language is an art form, and through our walk we discussed ways of combining the creative arts, with the art of language. He showed me some projects he had been working on and some of his goals for helping people with those projects. It was really enjoyable to talk to someone who radiated enthusiasm like Andrew was that day. We also had another friend join us for the second half of the walk as we continued talking. FYIM Art, another incredible artist, who also liked taking the path less traveled. Give them a fork in the road, they will go straight through the middle onto their own path. They are working on pieces with unbelievable intricacy.

Rundle Intermission

We arrived back at Rundle where there was space to relax, and lounged around with the team before the next adventure. Here, I spent some time with Katelyn and Teaghan and we took a deep dive into a topic from Soggy and I’s talk. During the talk I had shared the story of my best friend Mr. G who is an elementary school teacher. He has been using a cryptocurrency called Banano as an in-class rewards system for the last three years with massive success. It’s completely free, and it’s been incredible to watch him develop out this program over the years.

Katelyn, Teaghan, Soggy and I were discussing the possibilities of using this same system but in other settings, such as corporate rewards, or as allowance within a family. There are lots of places rewards systems are used and this is an instant, free option for testing it out that educates the users on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency simultaneously. Mr. G is pioneering on-chain positive reinforcement tactics that double as educating the next generation on the currencies they will inevitably be using. I couldn’t be more excited about it. It was very nice to talk to other people who were as well!

Gondola Ride & Mountain Top

Next up for the day was a Gondola ride to the top of the mountain, where we would hang out for the next few hours as a group. We arrived, and waited in live to get tickets. Then, a surprise that led to a whole lot more. It was here we met Teddy. Andrew and Teddy surprised Soggy and I by saying they had purchased our tickets for the Gondola! A Gondola fits four people, so off we went. On the way up, we got another chance to introduce ourselves to each other. We learned that Teddy is passionately dedicating his time and energy to helping others and leading policy changes. The two have a goal of supporting first nation’s women through art, among many other special intentions. We reached the top of the mountain, and proceeded to walk along an awe-inspiring boardwalk along the top of the mountain, way high in the sky. Teddy and I had a great conversation about believing in equity, but not in freedom. We continued our way along the path towards the peak of the mountain. At the top I made some more friends Sloan and Daviejones. Sloan and I talked about attending our first crypto events, our experience so far, and what future events we were hoping to attend. I was one of the last to leave the peak, so me and my Pikachu onesie ran back down the mountain to the group prior to dinner.

Sky Lounge

There was a restaurant at the top of the mountain, where the group intended to eat together. When we arrived, we were again split into groups of four. Andrew, Teddy, Soggy and I sat together. We ordered a whole collection of different foods (flavours) and some great conversations. After dinner the four of us rode the Gondola back down. Sharing more stories and even some photography tips on the way down. We parted ways in the parking lot then Soggy and I ventured back to the castle. Soggy and I have really fond memories of our time spent with these two throughout the day, and given their enthusiasm I’ll be looking forward to seeing them at future events as we continue to travel and spread POAP joy. It’s these kind of friendships that make going to events like TNG so special.

Rundle Round 2

Upon returning to the castle, we migrated to Rundle to wind down the night. We grabbed a seat next to Brecky and her daughter where we hung out for the next few hours talking about life, projects, and everything else. They intend to build a physical studio space for virtual 3D creation, which sounds fun! I expect they will be painting dragons shortly. Brecky’s daughter is also an incredible subway surfer player, and was able to have a full conversation with me explaining their project with detail, while not missing a beat or looking away from her game. I watched in amazement. Later on we were joined by Dadcipher and a few others and the conversations continued, largely focused on showcasing art to one another.

There were some other groups I also wanted to see before the end of the night was over. The first one I hung out with was three friends who had taken a roadtrip together to Banff for the event. The CryptoBroskis and I filmed a TikTok video, then sat down in Rundle and talked for a long time about different things like events, community building, and what brought them here to this event in particular. They were fun to hang out with, and another group I expect to see at future events which is nice! Always nice to make more friends that you’ll see again in the event circuit.

Afterwards I went and hung out with Eric again. He was sitting with two friends winding down at the end of the night and it was a great opportunity for one last chat and goodbye before Soggy and I would be leaving. The four of us talked quite a bit. I learned that the one, Bella, was entirely new to crypto. They had been attending the Cult Gathering that was going on in tandem, not our NFT Gathering event. We took the opportunity to onboard Bella with a wallet and sent a couple of transactions back and forth to learn. We then saw Meg, Mason, and Airwalk one final time, said our goodbyes and we were on our way.

At the end of the night we drove off happy knowing that we had just attended one exceptional event. As always, these are amazing experiences and we are ready and for the next one!

Where In The World Will Oops & Soggy Go Next?

Soggy and I will be looking forward to making friends, sharing on-chain memories, and experiencing the first ever 🐈‍⬛VeeCon. We look forward to seeing you there! As always, lots of love and thank yous go out to POAP.

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