2023: The year Comms Plans had to Pivot

2023 was the year of recovery and healing for the Web3 and crypto industry, which suffered the collapses of FTX, Celsius and Terra, Luna. We saw trials, feuds, lawsuits, rumours, exploits, hacks, fines, and everything in between — here’s my non-exhaustive list of key things that happened for crypto in 2023: 

TLDR for 2023 in Crypto: A Recap

  • Shanghai Upgrade: A major leap forward
  • SEC vs… crypto: Legal battles that kept us on the edge
  • The rise of L2s: Layer 2 solutions gaining prominence
  • AI takes over: Technological advancements reshaping industries
  • Bad guys locked away: SBF found guilty, Do Kwon & Su Zhu arrested & charged
  • Goodbye CZ: Farewell to a prominent figure in the crypto space
  • Fewer token launches: Quiet building happening at hackathons instead
  • More FUD: Fear, uncertainty, and doubt casting shadows on the credibility of crypto
  • A possible BTC spot-ETF: Is the next bull on the rise?
  • Challenges in the media landscape: Journo lay-offs and media company acquisitions
  • Friend.tech’s rise and fall: A testament to Crypto X’s influence
  • Crypto integration by institutions: Paypal and the introduction of USD Stable Coin via Venmo
  • Banking upheavals: The demise of Signature and Silicon Valley Bank serves as a significant communication to the crypto sphere

YAP Global’s Year of Growth

Pressure develops character, which is why 2023 has been one of my favourite years at YAP Global. It marked significant growth for our team, with several promotions and new people joining – it has been rewarding to witness our team develop during this bear market. As a leader, it was also a great year of personal and professional development.

This year, the emphasis on knowledge-sharing within the YAP Global team was inspiring. We had hour-long training sessions, including PR101s and Crypto101s, with industry experts, which elevated our collective understanding. We also saw the introduction of Journo 101’s sessions, where we got to hear directly from Blockworks’ Bessie Liu and Molly Zuckerman and CoinDesk’s Margaux Nijkerk on improving our storytelling and pitching. During these sessions, the YAP Global team got greater insight into how newsrooms decide what stories to run so we can better improve the story angles we bring them. 

Our newfound knowledge translated seamlessly into our PR  work. YAP Global proudly contributed to building the brands of top-tier industry players, such as Lido Finance, =nil; Foundation, Flowdesk, Neutron, Zeal, ENS Labs (Ethereum Name Service), ETHCC [6], Cosmoverse Istanbul and many more.

Chateau De YAP

A pivotal moment for our team was our offsite in a charming chateau in France, fostering camaraderie and sparking insightful Web3 discussions. You can read more about it here. 

Our global team gathered to brainstorm and set goals and strategies on how we will achieve them for 2023/24. Workshops and activities focused on deepening the team’s understanding of Web3 and PR, served to elevate the quality and standards we went to deliver for our clients. We were also fortunate to have ENS’s core developer Makoto Inoue run a session on the history of Ethereum

This offsite worked better than we’d hoped, with 95% of team members reporting a feeling of deeper connection with their colleagues, according to an internal team survey.

Launching Marketing Services

Extending our service offering to marketing has always been a natural next step for YAP Global. It was just a matter of when. The quiet crypto market this year allowed us to focus on building high-quality marketing services from a position of strength. 

We have seen that a fully comprehensive communication plan includes both PR and marketing. I often see crypto projects only utilizing one or the other, but a strategy combining both is the most effective way to generate awareness and reach. 

Read more about the launch of our marketing services here.

We were honoured to be the PR partners of ETHCC [6] for the fourth consecutive year and decided to announce that we were branching out into marketing on stage during my talk! You can watch it here. 

PR Partners and Events

This year we had the honour of being the PR partners of key crypto community conferences, including EthCC[6], BuidlAsia Seoul and Cosmoverse Istanbul 

ETHCC[6]: PR Partner

This year our entire team attended ETHCC in Paris and for some members, this was their very first crypto conference and what a way to be initiated in the web3 space! ETHCC[6] was busy, inspiring and everything in between. We managed the press room and facilitated on-the-ground press interviews as well as the media build-up and wrap-up coverage. 

This all culminated in:

  • 6 media sponsors
  • 78 journalists in attendance
  • 340 pieces of earned media coverage for the conference and its speakers. 
  • Being asked to be the media partner next year! Look out Brussels, here we come. 

Cosmoverse Istanbul: PR Partner

In October, six Yappers jetted off to Istanbul to ensure that Cosmoverse got as much coverage and engagement from the media as possible. This involved extensive research to identify and invite both local Turkish and international media. Despite challenges such as the niche interest in the Cosmos ecosystem and the difficulties posed by a bear market, we successfully facilitated considerate media attendance and coverage. We managed to secure over 100 pieces of coverage and received positive feedback from both the conference organising team and the media.

Discussions are already underway for continued collaboration next year.

BUIDL Asia Seoul: PR Partner

In June, two team members descended on Seoul to take BUIDL Asia to the next level. From managing the media room to setting up on-the-ground interviews and attending talks, which all cumulated into great coverage for the conference. Including: 

  • 38 pieces of earned media coverage across global and local publications 
  • We’re pleased to share that YAP Global will return to Seoul very soon as PR partner for BUIDL Asia 2024 from 27 – 28 March!

Contextualised Events

As part of our pursuit of constant elevation, we separated our Contextualised events series into two brands – Contextualised Connect and Contextualised Conversations. Contextualised Connect is an event series where we host networking sessions around crypto conferences and Contextualised Conversations are events with panel discussions around trending narratives with industry leaders. These distinct sub-brands created more focused, tailored experiences for our audiences. 

This year, we hosted five Contextualised events: Cape Town, Paris, and Istanbul, and two Conversations in Austin and Singapore. 

In Austin on 27 April, we hosted a Contextualised Conversations event on “Zero-Knowledge in 2023: The Path Forward”. It included keynotes from =nil; Foundation and Mina Foundation, followed by a panel discussion on the future of zero-knowledge proofs. Speakers included Mikhail Komarov (=nil; Foundation), Evan Shapiro (Mina Protocol), Alex Pruden (Aleo), and Haichen Shen (Scroll). Thanks to sponsors =nil; Foundation and Mina Foundation for their support.

See panel recordings below: 

  1. On-demand Zk-Proofs for Ethereum | Mikhail Komarov | Contextualised Austin 2023
  2. Latest on Mina (April 27 2023) | Evan Shapiro | Contextualised Austin 2023
  3. ZK in 2023: The Path Forward | Contextualised Austin 2023

Contextualised Conversations Singapore was on 14 September and focused on Institutional Staking, DeFi, and Real-World Asset Adoption in Asia. The event, led by me, featured panels on Institutional Grade Staking, DeFi Adoption in Asia, and Real World Assets. Speakers included Isidoros Passadis (Lido DAO), Andrew Vranjes (Blockdaemon), Lila Garcia (Ledger) and Andrew Rummer (Digital Frontier). The day concluded with networking and drinks sponsored by ACJR Network, with special thanks to lead sponsor Lido Finance and co-sponsor ZKX, as well as recognition for ACJR and KryptoSeoul as Community Partners.

Catch up on panels below:

  1. Real World Assets The Future is On Chain Contextualised Conversations Singapore 2023
  2. Lido Keynote | Contextualised Conversations SG 23
  3. Real World Assets The Future is On Chain Contextualised Conversations Singapore 2023
  4. DeFi Adoption and Innovation Shaping Asia’s Financial Future Contextualised Conversations SG 23

Our Voice 

YAP Cast S3, The Story of Money

This year we successfully released the third season of ‘The Story of Money’ by YAP Cast. The podcast focuses on looking into the history of money and understanding where money is heading through the lens of crypto and decentralised finance (DeFi). 

This season featured some of the industry’s best, including Dr Paul Dylan Ennis, a Lecturer and Professor at University College Dublin (UCD), on crypto’s cultural and technological aspects, Sheila Warren, the CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation (CCI), on Money and Innovation, as well as special episodes recorded at EthCC[6] including Jane Ma co-Founder and Co-Project lead of zkLend and David Bachelier, the Asia-Pacific CEO of Flowdesk.

Listen to the full season here HERE.

The Context

This month, we published our 100th edition of The Context. When we launched The Context at the start of 2022, the only constant in crypto was the difficulty of breaking through the noise to keep up with all the top stories. We realised we spend every day absorbing news about the industry from crypto trade outlets, mainstream publications, and Twitter (X). We wanted to put our understanding of crypto narratives to good use. The Context is designed to help our audience digest the top crypto stories of the week so they can keep up with the space without getting too lost in the noise.

The YAP Global editorial team, driven by editors Jeff Benson and Jeremy Wagstaff, has done a terrific job of capturing the crypto industry’s dynamism and complexities. We went from the Terra/Luna and FTX collapse to BlackRock’s impending ETF. We’ve captured the market swings and the technological progress, and we will continue to do so.

Subscribe and Read The Context HERE.

Beyond Business: Milestones and Celebrations

Not all milestones were business-related. Four engagements, two weddings, and two pregnancies (one being mine) marked a year of joy and celebration.

As we look ahead, the YAP Global team is poised for the next chapter. With gratitude for the lessons of 2023, we eagerly anticipate what the future holds. Cheers to a year of growth, challenges, and unscripted brilliance—we look forward to bringing you more crypto and Web3 in 2024!

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