Blog Article

Stellar at SXSW 2022


Caroline Young

Publishing date



This past weekend, we were in Austin, Texas celebrating the return of SXSW this year! And SXSW lives up to its reputation – the innovative exhibits, quality speakers, and exciting industry discussions. And who can forget the swag?

The Stellar Development Foundation sponsored the Finance 3.0 Summit, and we were stunned at the turnout; it was a clear and physical reminder of how many people beyond the blockchain and crypto industry are excited to learn more about what this technology is capable of.

We’re recapping what happened during the weekend, so read on below👇

March 11 Highlights

With preparations for the Summit and Stellar Lounge underway, our Developer Relations team kicked off festivities with the Stellar NFT Hackathon. This 48-hour long hybrid hackathon featured two different challenges: the NFT Artist (where you mint an NFT on Stellar) challenge and the NFT Wizard (where you build innovative NFT experiences on Stellar) challenge.

As part of the hackathon, Tyler van der Hoeven (Ecosystem Engineer, SDF) hosted an NFT Workshop, covering the basics of designing an NFT and minting it on Stellar with Javascript. He also shows how to code royalty payments into NFTs to track ownership and rewards and how composable NFTs open up opportunities for developers.

Later that evening, SDF, MoneyGram International, and Techstars hosted a happy hour to share details on a newly-launched startup accelerator program for blockchain-based payment innovation in Latin America. Hilary Jackson (Chief Operating Officer at MGI) and Maelle Gavet (CEO at Techstars) both gave remarks on the importance of providing resources and opportunities for entrepreneurs in under-tapped markets, and we’re thrilled to continue working with both organizations towards creating greater and equitable access to the world’s financial systems.

March 12 Highlights

Finance 3.0 Summit officially kicked off with an exciting first day of panels and hundreds of people attending.

In the first session of the day, Flex Chapman (The Krause House), Jihad Esmail (Forefront), Kinjal Shah (Blockchain Capital), Cooper Turley (Audius) elaborated on why they’re so excited about decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). The strongest benefit to starting a DAO compared to a traditional organization, Cooper says, is that DAOs emphasize contributions at any level will be rewarded – members don’t have to be highly skilled or an early adopter to start building credibility and earning equity.

The panelists also dove deep into best practices on how to structure a DAO specific to their goals. For Kinjal, when considering building or joining a DAO, one should consider three buckets:

  1. Qualitative: How do you value brand/culture? Why is Nike so cool? Why do these institutions have lasting value? And what do we see in the DAO space that has that potential?
  2. Quantitative: How old is the DAO? How many members does it have? What does the revenue/economics look like?
  3. Individual preference: What are you most excited about?

Other speakers explored topics such as NFTs, DeFi, and building diverse organizations in crypto and fintech, including:

  • Willam Quigley (WAX) expressed optimism that the nature of open-source development on decentralized platforms will lead to rapidfire innovation in the realm of NFTs.
  • CEO of Cake DeFi, Julian Hosp, gave a deep-dive on how DeFi transactions work and whether the “duck” test applies to synthetics in regards to securities and regulatory scrutiny.
  • Jessie Blocker (Fireblocks), Talia Klein (BNY Mellon), Flori Marquez (BlockFi), and Jessica Matthews (Fortune) shared their career journeys in the fintech and blockchain space, and how more diverse and innovative organizations will be key to paving a more inclusive future of digital assets.

Meanwhile, in the Stellar Lounge, Sam Conner of Stellar Global interviewed a few folks from the SDF team!

Ben Grossman (Senior Ecosystem Marketing Manager, SDF) chatted with Sam about the importance of evangelizing businesses and projects with the Stellar ecosystem, how are being distributed by SDF to directly invest in companies’ user acquisition.

Sam also interviewed Justin Rice (VP of Ecosystem, SDF) about how much SDF has grown in tandem with the ecosystem, how the ecosystem participates in Protocol Upgrades, and how these upgrades have directly contributed to the innovation on Stellar.

March 13 Highlights

The excitement continues for Day 2 of the Finance 3.0 Summit!

People attended the sessions in droves, listening in on:

  • Building DeFi products on Bitcoin – Tony Cai (Atomic Finance), Dan Held (Kraken), Alyse Killeen, and Anthony Pompliano (The Pomp) make the case for why Bitcoin’s degree of decentralization make it ideal for building the financial tools of the future.
  • How blockchain can be used to help the environment and create social impact. Activist Shen Tong, artist Chris Carnabuci, OnChain Monkey’s founder Amanda Terry, and Axie Infinity founder Jeff Zirlin discuss their unique applications of NFTs, discussing the myriad ways that blockchain can be used to effect positive change

Long-time marketing leaders Liz Current (Estee Lauder), Todd Kaplan (PepsiCo), and Sosti Ropaitis (MediaLinks) discuss navigating large brands from Web2.0 to Web3.0, how the physical world and virtual world will converge with the digitization of assets, and the importance of developing and investing in micro-communities.

Then Managing Editor for Crypto at Bloomberg News, Stacy-Marie Ishmael, moderated a panel between Mastercard’s Sherri Haymond and Bakkt’s Gavin Michael to discuss how reward programs and loyalty points would evolve if taken onto blockchain, and how financial institutions can begin integrating crypto into everyday interactions.

Meanwhile, Tomer Weller (VP Tech Strategy, SDF) joined Sam on the Stellar Global public Discord channel to chat about smart contracts coming to Stellar and Project Jump Cannon.

Louisa Bai (Business Development and Partnerships Manager, SDF) also got the chance to catch up with Sam on how SDF engages with its partners and strategizing around the big question: beyond payments, what else can businesses do with Stellar-issued assets once they’ve on-ramped onto the Stellar network?

The NFT Hackathon also concluded in the afternoon, with well over 200 projects submissions! Taylor McNeil (Developers Advocate, SDF) announced the winners, extending big congratulations to:

  1. GeoStellar: While the blockchain world has been pointedly focused on the metaverse, we're stepping back and finding ways to use NFTs to cultivate in-person, real-world communities and help tackle current issues. GeoStellar is a gamified NFT experience where NFTs are "airdropped" routinely around the world in selected locations. Those selected locations are divided into two categories: monsters and attractions.
  2. Galactic Billboard: Innovative stellar nft transactions and use cases in real time gaming; visit to try out the poc
  3. Hot Potato: Taking inspiration from Reddit’s April Fools, Hot Potato is an NFT contract with a web interface to make it simple for those who aren't familiar with the Stellar Laboratory. The goal is to pass the NFT to as many people as possible and create the longest chain.

And as always, we capped off the evening with a fun happy hour 🥂 With that, Stellar at SXSW is a wrap! Thank you to everyone who came out to the Finance 3.0 Summit and said hi. We reunited with old friends and made so many new friends, and we can’t wait to see you all next year!