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Photographs, clockwise from top-left: Doodles, Kaya Yurieff, Chris Hershman/Blokhaus.
Photographs, clockwise from top-left: Doodles, Kaya Yurieff, Chris Hershman/Blokhaus.

In Austin, a Coronation for Crypto, a Celebration of Doodles, and Confusion for Nicolas Cage

The first in-person South by Southwest since 2019 brought in smaller crowds but maximum crypto hype.

March 17, 2022 10:05 AM PDT

South by Southwest, the annual tech and arts festival in Austin, Tex., kicked off this year against the backdrop of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, record inflation, skyrocketing gas prices and a two-year pandemic hangover. It also coincided with a sudden dip in the price of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens.

But all the bad news didn’t stop people from lining up around the block to get into a Doodles pop-up. Doodles, a collection of 10,000 pastel-colored NFTs that sold out within a few minutes of their release last fall, were to SXSW 2022 what the launch of Twitter or Foursquare was in festivals past: an occasion for true believers to show their unfettered excitement about something most people have never heard of and don’t understand.

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