Oxford University Hosts NFT-Focused Conference

Credit: University of Oxford

Last week, Oxford University opened its doors to a group of academics and thought-leaders in Web3 to discuss non-fungible tokens at its annual OxBAT (Oxford Blockchain, Art & Technology) Conference.

The conference is billed as the “the first multi-disciplinary conference on aesthetic, social, and anthropological perspectives on blockchain art.” Several speakers and attendees gathered from around the world to discuss things like the cultural significance of NFTs and how blockchain can be used to create new types of art.

Listed below are a few of the speakers and the subjects they discussed:

  • Ben Gentilli, an artist from Robert Alice creative studio, opened the conference with a talk about the nature of NFT art and the philosophical implications of blockchain.
  • Eva Gentner, an NFT researcher, compared the invention of blockchain to the arrival of the printing press, an event that ushered in a period of growth, change, turbulence, and human flourishing.
  • Kieran Nolan discussed how NFT art recalls the past by frequently using retro video game aesthetics. As examples, he used the prevalence of pixel art in the Web3, NFTs that preserve classic arcade games as 3D models, and the legendary video game company Atari’s entrance into the metaverse.
  • Jeff Davis, the creative officer of Art Blocks, talked about generative art and the connection that occurs between artists and buyers when an NFT is minted.
  • Erick Calderon, the founder of Art Blocks, discussed his view on top collections like CryptoPunks and Bored Apes, why he thinks mortgages will eventually be stored on-chain, and the ongoing debate of digital art vs. traditional art.

Unlike many crypto and Web3 conferences where enthusiastic attendees sport HODL t-shirts and speakers boast about how crypto and NFTs will change the world, the OxBAT discussions tended to be sober and academic in nature — as one might expect from the world-renowned university.

Web3 Enters Universities and Higher Education

The OxBAT Conference at Oxford University is a big deal for NFTs and the university. But Oxford isn’t the only institution of higher learning embracing Web3. Despite the tendency from skeptics to dismiss NFTs as overpriced JPEGS, several prestigious universities have gotten on-board the Web3 train this year. Here are some of our top stories at Rarity Sniper.

A few months, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced the launch of an online course named “Business in the Metaverse Economy.” The program is geared towards technology and business professionals who are interested in learning more about the metaverse and related technologies.

Next, the largest public university in Brazil, The University of São Paulo, is working with Radio Caca to build a research facility in the United States of Mars metaverse. Students and faculty will study 3D design and augmented reality and the educational and psychological effects of the metaverse.

Finally, The University of Tokyo is creating metaverse courses for engineering students. The courses are divided into three tiers and offered to middle school, high school, university students, and adults interesting in switching careers. The courses will be taught in-person and in the metaverse.

Oxford University is one of the oldest and most respected academic institutions in the world, so the fact that its playing host to a conference focused on non-fungible tokens is good news for the nascent technology. At Rarity Sniper, we’ll keep our ears to the ground for any more Web3 news from the iconic university.