Nonfungible tokens (otherwise known as NFTs) burst onto the tech scene in early 2021. In recent months, however, the high valuations of these assets have begun to diminish. Is this a temporary dip — or did we place too much hope on this shiny new object? Austin tech experts Tiana Laurence (author of "Blockchain for Dummies" and "NFTs for Dummies") and Whurley (founder of Strangeworks and numerous other startups) engage with SXSW Chief Programming Officer Hugh Forrest in a lively discussion about what is real and what is hype.

Featured Panelists
  • Tiana Laurence

    Tiana is the CEO of GoodMatch, an app that enables users to discover nonprofits that support causes they care about in a fun, meaningful, and measurable way. She is also the Director of the Austin Founder Institute. She is passionate about ensuring underrepresented founders have a voice in the future of technology. Tiana is an author of three books, Blockchain for Dummies, Introduction to Blockchain Technology, and NFT for Dummies. She also teaches Fintech at Santa Clara University and she was a 2016 A-LIST honoree as one of the founders behind Factom.

  • William Hurley

    whurley is founder and CEO of Strangeworks, a quantum computing startup that makes the power of quantum computing easily accessible and available to all. He is an Eisenhower Fellow, Innovator in Residence for the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Chairman of the Quantum Computing Standards Workgroup at the IEEE, the first Ambassador to CERN and Society, a regular contributor to TechCrunch on the topic of Quantum Computing, and the co-author of "Quantum Computing For Babies”. Prior to starting Strangeworks he was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs [NYSE: GS]. He came to Goldman Sachs via the acquisition of his second startup, Honest Dollar. Prior to Honest Dollar whurley founded Chaotic Moon Studios which was acquired by Accenture [NYSE: ACN].

  • Hugh Forrest, Moderator

    Hugh Forrest is Chief Programming Officer for SXSW. He oversees content for the SXSW Conference, as well as the Music Festival, Film Festival, and EDU aspects of the program. Hugh was named “Austinite of the Year” in 2012 by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and in 2014, he and other SXSW Directors were named Austin Entrepreneurs of the Year by Ernst & Young. He recently received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Kenyon College, his alma mater.

Safety Protocols

The Austin Chamber is committed to protecting the safety of our members, our guests, our staff, and their families. We appreciate your help in keeping everyone safe as we navigate the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will no longer be asking about vaccine or testing status at our events. However, we ask that you please be polite and do a self-assessment prior to attendance. If you are not feeling well, please stay home. We appreciate your understanding as we try to make all our events a safe space to gather.

We will be adhering to Austin Public Health’s Risk-Based Chart in our recommendations for masking at our events. We ask you to follow this guidance when coming to our events. For more information on the current stages and the advice from APH, please visit

Hosted by

Pivotal Partners

Foundation Partners

Corporate Partners

Terms & Conditions

Please contact for table reservations or sponsorship opportunities.

Cancellation Policy
The Austin Chamber of Commerce must maintain a cancellation policy for events in order to properly plan for catering, venue expenses, and marketing efforts. Unless stated otherwise, Chamber reservations must be canceled 5 business days prior to the event to be eligible for a refund. All refunds will be issued 10 days after the event. No refunds will be issued for nonattendance. You are welcome to send another member of your staff in your place.