Current Events Tampa Bay

“The future of NFTs”: A Tampa Bay Innovation Center webinar on Tuesday, May 24 at 11:00 a.m.

Click the image to register for the webinar.

The tl;dr

Please tell me what all these things are!


Ooh. This is a big one. I’ll give you the quick-and-dirty definition and then point you to some layperson-friendly longer explainers.

NFT is short for non-fungible token, which is a one-of-a-kind chunk of digital data stored on a blockchain (a digital ledger that uses math tricks to make it very difficult to alter past entries and is duplicated across the internet to make it very difficult to make fake ledgers) that authenticates a given asset as original and genuine. These qualities make it possible to use NFTs as digital certificates of authenticity and ownership that are hard to tamper with.

In the popular imagination, NFTs are digital pictures of apes, punk rockers, cats, and so on, but they’re actually the certificates of authenticity and ownership of those pictures. Digital pictures can be infinitely copied, but there’s always an originating image, and an NFT can tell you which one is the original and who owns it.

In theory, NFTs give digital artists something that only artists who worked with physical media had — a way to prove that a work was original. Anyone can tell the difference between an original painting and a poster print, and an expert can figure out the difference between an original work and a forgery, but for the first time, it’s possible to know if a digital work — an image, an audio file, a video recording, a program, a database — is an original or a copy. It’s believed that NFTs open up new markets and opportunities for people, especially artists.

This is a big topic, and these explainers can cover it in greater detail:

Tampa Bay Innovation Center

Tampa Bay Innovation Center logo.

Tampa Bay Innovation Center (TBIC) is organizing and hosting the webinar — register for it here.

For nearly 20 years, they’ve been promoting and helping grow the entrepreneurial environment in Tampa Bay and Florida by:

  • Building technology companies
  • Building the innovation community
  • Teaming with innovation partners

They’ve been doing this by

  • Raising awareness for the startup community through educational programming and outreach activities
  • Advising and mentoring innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Connecting company founders with public/private funding
  • Hosting growing companies within a dedicated incubator facility
ARK Innovation Center for tech startup ventures
Artist’s rendering of the ARK Innovation Center

Recently, TBIC has partnered with ARK Investment Management (a.k.a. “ARK Invest”) to build the ARK Innovation Center in St. Pete. This facility is expected to open in July 2023 and will include a 200-person event center, an innovation lab for prototyping, an AR/VR studio, 2 state-of-the-art classrooms, conference rooms, and coworking space.

ARK Invest

Ark Invest - Wikipedia

ARK Invest is an investment management company with a theme: investing in technological innovations that disrupt the status quo, boost productivity and change the way the world works.

ARK was founded in 2014 by Cathie Wood, who was then chief investment officer of global thematic strategies at AllianceBernstein, left after they deemed when managed exchange-traded funds based on disruptive innovation was deemed her idea for actively managed fund on disruptive tech “too risky.”

They made a big splash last year when they moved their offices from New York City to St. Pete.


Disclaimer for

I’m a supporter of the Tampa Bay innovation and entrepreneurial scene and a friend of TBIC, but I’m skeptical of the pie-in-the-sky promises of NFT promoters (more on this topic in a later post). Still, I’ve give this webinar a listen — the speakers know waaaay more about finance than I do, and I’m willing to keep an open mind.

One more time: how do I catch this webinar?

Register here, which will get you an invitation to the Zoom conference where the webinar will take place.