Returning after a week in Thailand at the P2E Expo Asia and there are some lessons to carry home. (1) East vs West - the crypto, and blockchain scene here is very different. In fact it's reminiscent of other regions like Africa who are still considered early adopters but aren't moving with the hype - they're focused on making crypto and blockchain work for them to connect people. They're still riding the wave of P2E gaming and trying out all sorts of other models. My thoughts are very clear on this so I won't labour the point. (2) There was very little NFT noise at this event. There were lots of panel discussions about interoperability across games and the but the thinking just hasn't moved on. It's still driven by Hopium and not technical understanding. Only a few got this, including some VCs. (3) VC attitudes are shifting with the market now. Not so interested in tokens or games that are just a slide deck dream. Equity deals are now attractive again, infrastructure and tools a desire, and teams with pedigree and more than just a stock Unity demo are a focus. Tokenomics are more or less ignored in favour of gameplay but this is still the quickest way to generate a return for investors. (4) We are also being fed Western biased news with little to no coverage elsewhere. It's typical of the Silicon Valley mentality but Asia Pac is red hot with capital deal flow, family offices getting involved and projects being funded with much bigger tickets. It's a shame we just follow the same crowd of VC news outlets who only know how to spell 'a16z'. (5) WAGMI? Fuck off. I met people who were hung out to dry and the so-called "community" disappeared when the chips were down and help was needed. I got a sense of disappointment, of being sold on a dream that turned into a nightmare, of learning the hard way and receiving no help. There was maturity here among some of the projects and teams due to their experiences - but they are still here, building but with longer term strategies now. (6) I was impressed with Gala games and their approach to linking music, games, and movies to their creator ecosystem. One to watch. (7) There's the typical shift in marketing and branding away from 'games' to 'metaverse' to follow the en vogue trend which is going to create a lot of confusion for people looking to understand what it really is. (8) Barely anyone looks at the data they generate in their web3 projects which is great news if you have an AI analytics platform like mine lol But honestly, it's a worry that it's not on anyone's mind so early on. It can be the difference between success and failure. Overall, this market is booming for different reasons. While the West is pushing ahead with NFTs and giving them more utility the East are still focused on gaming and accessibility. Nobody is wrong. This space will mature in different ways along different paths and one day they'll meet in the Metaverse. Web3 Metaverse Also interesting just how different attitudes are to NFTs, or "digital collectables" are across regions and regulators. Tencent is halting all NFT sales and trades on its Huanhe platform. Consumers are even being offered refunds, and all secondary sales are stopped also. The platform literally launched 12 months ago but there's been a slowing down of NFT sales to the point a lot of new collections remain unsold. After state media repeatedly highlighted issues around NFT speculation in the country, tech giants including Tencent and Ant Group in June signed a pact to stop. While global mainstream NFTs trade on public blockchains with cryptocurrencies, China’s digital collectables are mostly based on centrally-controlled blockchains and are sold in yuan. Crypto is facing strong regulatory pressure and consumer-facing protection in China but in other regions, it's booming. There's also the lack of real excitement over NFTs in web3 projects - digital collectables are not really interesting for consumers in these areas, for example, the idea of owning your assets is purely driven by Western conversations so far. It is far more lucrative as a tradeable asset for liquidity than real ownership and that points to why there will always be friction in this space and why gamers and consumers in general baulk at the concept. Even juggernauts like BTS have faced a backlash from fans who were told that the parent company, HYBE, was launching an NFT collection and exchange back in January and so far nothing else has emerged. If an army as big as the fanbase of BTS doesn't want NFTs as part of their experience and connection with the band then this should make people sit up and consider that not everyone across the World shares the cheerleading enthusiasm you read about. There are always two sides to every story, and if the is truly supposed to represent an open and borderless digital future then it's time we did a little more research beyond our own physical ones. Metaverse First published here.