Premiere in Berlin: Retrospective on the first NFTBERLIN

Glasstein steht auf einer Spitze, blauer Hintergrund

If you're into NFTs, there was one event you couldn't miss in Berlin this year: NFTBERLIN. In recent years, New York's role model NFT.NYC was the main place to go for NFT enthusiasts. But why get on a plane when you can bring the NFT community together in Berlin? That's what Lili Feyerabend thought and organized the first NFTBERLIN at the end of May. NFT experts and enthusiasts from art, gaming and many other fields met at the Alte Münze. How did it come about? "It all started with a tweet in November 2021 that went viral," says initiator Lili. "As a result, many people contacted me to help organize it, submit their artwork, give a talk, host a workshop, sponsor an event, and so on. The originally experimental idea then turned into a great event and is now slowly developing into an NFT community in Berlin." 

With one tweet to a successful event 

Based on this one tweet, Lili and her team were then able to put together an extensive event within a short period of time. In addition to talks and presentations, interested parties at NFTBERLIN were also able to participate in a hackathon, which was organized together with Encode. The organizers were almost overrun by interested parties: "There were 180 registrations," reports Lili, "but due to limited space, we could only accept less than half of them." In the end, "about 50 hackers crossed the finish line and submitted their projects, including NFT-related applications and creative experiments," Lili continues. 

She is very pleased with the successful launch:

"NFTBERLIN #1, together with the city of Berlin, made a great debut in the world of technology and art." 

The lively interest in the hackathon and the event as a whole clearly reflects how large the Berlin NFT community has become. Part of this ecosystem is nftlab.berlin, an NFT service provider that realizes projects for brands and organizations - starting with the elaboration of use cases and the visual design of the corresponding NFT, to the coding of the smart contract and the building of the corresponding community. Chris Hortsch is the initiator of the Lab and was present at NFTBERLIN at the end of May. From the event, he and his team took away "lots of contacts and insights into the NFT industry." "The event itself was incredibly informal and many of the people I met there I have already met again at other events in Europe," Chris is pleased to say. The general sense of optimism that prevailed at the gathering reminded him of Web2 times around 2004: "Many of the tech giants we take for granted today were small normal startups back then. Maybe NFTBERLIN has the Web3 players of tomorrow on stage here, too."

The metaverse as a playground 

This prediction may show up in other developments as well: The Metaverse currently promises to be a driver of innovation in the use of NFTs. Chris believes that "the ownership of digital assets in the form of NFTs is a kind of opener and first step for the Metaverse as such. However, digital assets that enable NFTs thanks to blockchain technology are definitely the first signs of life of an approaching Metaverse," he is certain. 

The media and creative industries are particularly large application areas for NFTs. At NFTBERLIN, many representatives from this sector met to talk about advantages and application examples. Lili's personal highlight: "The dialogue moderated by Tyler Golato with renowned DJ and artist Richie Hawtin, in which he talks about his creative process and how NFT as a new format influences this process." This talk is just one example of many that shows the versatility of NFTs applications. 

NFT Club Berlin, the club for like-minded people 

Rebekka Revel, Chris Nagy and Dennis Peqas also had the pleasure of being at NFTBERLIN with a booth for the NFT Club Berlin. "It was wonderful to see so many people interested in crypto as well as experts and professionals", the co-founders describe the attendance at the conference. 

The club was founded in late 2021 as a community for NFT artists, developers and the like to find like-minded people and discuss common interests. Since then, a lot has happened within the scene, as Rebekka elaborates:

"Our and the larger Berlin NFT community started to flourish in early 2022, and now there are other organizations involved in NFT exhibitions and everything related to Web3. We are happy to be at the forefront of this cambric explosion.”

The growing NFT community and the ever-expanding Web3 community in Berlin is also having a positive impact on the cultural sector, bringing together galleries and artists, innovators and collectors, and technology and art. The NFT Club Berlin founder-team agrees: "For many galleries it is difficult to fill their spaces, and inviting the Web3 community can also expand their audience. The NFT community can be supported by the cultural sector by creating spaces where people can come together and by giving NFT artists more exposure through exhibitions in galleries."

Berlin: Location for the NFT community

These prospects go hand in hand with the general exciting developments in the field of blockchain and NFTs in Berlin. Berlin also offers the optimal ground for these developments, according to Lili: "Berlin is a creative city. Creativity means taking risks. Berliners live for these bold, fun and vibrant experiences." And even though much has been happening in the decentralized world in Berlin for some time, "an event like NFTBERLIN, which deals with creativity, technology and decentralization, has never existed in the city like this before," Lili further notes. "But that's not a problem for us, because we have the support not only of the international community, but also of the Berlin people."

Chris from nftlab.berlin also sees Berlin as the center for the NFT community:

"Berlin has the charisma and reputation of being a digital startup metropolis, which can certainly help us build a Web3 and NFT metropolis."

Together with his fellow campaigners, he wants to "joint forces to bring the Web3 and NFT community to Berlin so that we are the Web3 and NFT metropolis of tomorrow."

And what's next?

The future should be rosy. The community will not have to do without the NFTBERLIN next year. However, Lili cannot promise much yet:

"The only certain thing at this point is that we want to implement NFTBERLIN #2. 2023 is very likely, but no promise yet." On Twitter, all interested parties will definitely find out first. 

NFT Club Berlin is also planning exciting things for the future, as Rebekka, Chris and Dennis tell us, "We've become a pretty prominent Web3 entity in Germany in a radically short time. There are a few things we need to rework to accommodate our size, for example. We're also rapidly expanding our partnerships and working on our own Web3 products that offer hands-on experience. In short, we're experimenting with what we do best, learning from it, and tweaking it."


Many talks and highlights from NFTBERLIN can be re-watched on YouTube.

A personal review of NFTBERLIN 2022 by Chris Hortsch can be found here.

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Jakob Zwiers Project Manager Innovation T +49 30 46302-413 Jakob.Zwiers@berlin-partner.de