Crypto hits the main stage at Web Summit in front of record crowds – Cointelegraph

Web Summit attracted over 71,000 attendees to Lisbon for the renowned technology summit, with cryptocurrency and blockchain taking a more central role in 2022.
Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon has established itself as the spiritual home of one of the world’s largest technology events. Web Summit has called the Altice Arena home since 2016 and attracted a staggering 71,000 people in the latest edition of the conference.
The effect of the event on the city was palpable. An estimated 540,000 people call Portugal’s captivating, hilly capital home and the influx of attendees from around the globe made for a busy week on its smaller cobbled streets and busier roads.
It is not surprising that the event is a focal point for the city, which continues to establish itself as a tech hub in Europe. Web Summit continues to play a role to that end, with Lisbon rated as an Alpha-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
Global industry leaders from a wide range of sectors were joined by prominent politicians, celebrities, actors and sportspeople that are at the intersection of tech and their respective spheres of influence. Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska delivered a keynote speech on opening night as the country continues to battle against Russia’s invasion.
The cryptocurrency space was also top of mind on opening night as Binance founder and CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao brought the ecosystem to the fore in front of a packed house at the Altice Arena.
CZ unpacked Binance’s $500 billion investment into Twitter, his long-term view of the growing value of cryptocurrencies and the growth of blockchain-powered Web3 capabilities. It was the first time a figure from the crypto space spoke during the event’s opening ceremony, signaling cryptocurrency and blockchain’s growing influence in the global technology ecosystem.
A dedicated Crypto section of the Web Summit app guided attendees to the various stages around the expansive Altice Arena grounds, with the stadium and five massive marquees housing exhibitors and presentations from the world’s foremost technology companies and emerging start-ups.
Related: The Sandbox co-founder explains how the metaverse has evolved for brands: Web Summit 2022
Some of the most prominent projects from the cryptocurrency and Web3 space were in attendance. Yuga Labs CEO Nicole Muniz was on hand to give an inside look at the explosion in popularity of the Bored Ape Yacht Club on the mainstage inside the Altice Arena:
Cointelegraph also took the stage alongside another prominent metaverse platform as chief operations officer and co-founder Sebastien Borget delved into the history and future of The Sandbox in a wide-ranging conversation on the Content Makers stage.
Devin Finzer, CEO and co-founder of OpenSea, the world’s largest nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace, also weighed in on the popularity of NFTs and the importance of their influence on creator economies. Finzer stressed that NFTs are a generic tool attracting a different market segment away from people interested in traditional cryptocurrencies:
Web3 and NFTs have already become well-ingrained in the world of sports. Cointelegraph sat down for a one-on-one interview with Jorge Urrutia del Pozo, Dapper Labs’ vice president of Football, to unpack their involvement with Spain’s LaLiga and the recently launched Golazos video collectible platform.
Having built the hugely popular NBA Top Shots platform, which produces NFTs of video highlights from America’s top basketball league, Dapper Labs is looking to drive further adoption of blockchain-powered Web3 collectibles through the world’s most loved sport:
Another major player bridging blockchain technology and sport featured prominently at Web Summit. Socios.com CEO Alexandre Dreyfus took to the main stage inside the Altice Arena alongside former Italian footballer Alessandro Del Piero to unpack blockchain’s influence on fandom in modern sports.
Cointelegraph caught up with Dreyfus after the panel discussion, who highlighted the main reason behind Socios’ creation of fan-powered tokens ecosystems to bring together teams and their supporters:
Web3 gaming was another topic of interest on the Content Makers stage. Cointelegraph moderated another panel featuring Bozena Rezab of Gamee and William Quigley of WAX, who explored the promise and the difficulty of building Web3 games built on play-to-earn mechanics.
Rezab stressed that developers or studios building Web3 games should be more focused on creating good experiences and driving value and avoid adopting blockchain technology for novelty’s sake. The Gamee co-founder highlighted the importance of thinking about the distribution of value and how to best use the technology:
Web Summit also provided the platform for projects to announce new offerings. Interlay used the conference to announce the launch of a suite of decentralized applications (DApps) to power Bitcoin (BTC). Decentralized finance (DeFi) offerings allowing users to lend, trade, borrow against and earn yield on BTC holdings.
Cointelegraph’s editor-in-chief Kristina Lucrezia Cornèr hosted a number of panel discussions focused on the emergence of Web3 tech hubs around the world as well as a round table discussion on how to pitch startups and projects for coverage to top-tier journalists.
Cointelegraph CEO Wes Kaplan also hit the stage to moderate a discussion around monetizing media and how news companies grapple with this complex topic. 
Web Summit well and truly brings the world of tech together for one of the biggest events on the global calendar. 2022’s conference proved that the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem has established itself as a growing player in a space dominated by the likes of Google and Apple and will continue to do so as Web3 adoption gathers speed.

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