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Toronto is missing out on one of the biggest economic development opportunities right now

Wired published a great article last week talking about “the 10,000 faces that launched an NFT revolution.” What they are of course talking about are the CryptoPunk NFTs that I think most people would agree are one of the “OGs” of NFT art. Initially minted in 2017, they are usually credited with starting the NFT craze that we are all living through today. CryptoPunk #7523, for example, sold for $11.75 million. I think this is the most expensive CryptoPunk in the world. Either way, it is one of the most expensive NFTs out there.

But as I was reading through the article I was reminded of something. Toronto is doing an awful job celebrating the fact that an immense out of crypto innovation has and continues to come out of Toronto. CryptoPunks, which is Larva Labs, was started by two guys from Toronto who met at the University of Toronto. I know that it is still early days for crypto and web3, but why are we not telling this story to the rest of the world and using it to continue to attract the smartest and most ambitious people to our great city?

This is a missed economic development opportunity. And the door won’t be open forever. If any of our city leaders are reading this post (which is unlikely), I would encourage you to give this some serious thought and take action.

On a related note, the above article is great evidence for Chris Dixon’s argument that, “what the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in ten years.” Larva Labs was started by two software developers who worked during the day and used their evenings and weekends for new passion projects. CryptoPunks wasn’t their first initiative, but it has obviously come to define them. Smart people need room to play and experiment. Often that happens after hours.

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