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For all information about this episode please see: Link3 Panels S1E1 - NFTs Mass Adoption, Reddit, Social & Opportunities
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Yilan (Link3): So we'll get going very shortly. Just a reminder that we really want this conversation to be very interactive and engaging. So everyone, if you have any ideas or anything you wanna respond to please pick up the lead from whatever the other guests say. We do have some questions prepared, but we don't have to go over all of them. So, we can keep the conversation flow. And let's keep it more casual and conversational. And hopefully, we can get some nice takeaways from it and from different angles.
Ben (TheNFTEase): We got the party here. Let's go.
Yilan (Link3): Thanks for coming. Welcome! Let's get started.
Hey everyone. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening for all joining from all over the world. Welcome and welcome to the inaugural episode of our Link3 panel series. This is Yilan, I lead content & marketing at Link3 & CyberConnect. I'm gonna be your moderator today.
A little bit about this series and our vision for it:
The Web3 crypto world could be fast, furious, and sometimes very noisy. Among all the hot takes and petty polemics, the genuine skin-in-the-game insights, rigorous research, and evolving visions are always, easily crowded out. While everyone nowadays tends to express themselves in more assertive and provocative manners, fighting to be the best, the loudest, and the most correct of all, we fundamentally believe that:
The truth is not in us, it lies out there in the interplays of ideas and words. And also the future we want is usually more complicated than just a tweet, or maybe for that matter, a thread of tweets.
So that's why we are hosting this panel series where we have leaders from within and outside of the industry, coming from different diverse backgrounds, to have thoughtful dialogues on relevant Web3 topics. The topics may be trendy and timely, but we hope the conversations around them can echo long and far.
Yilan (Link3): So we are stoked and also very humbled to have gathered such a great panel here today for our first episode. And this episode is gonna be on the topic of, NFT mass adoption. A little intro to our guests on our panel today.
Hashflow’s Link3: https://link3.to/hashflow_
Yilan (Link3): First up, Varun, co-founder, and CEO at Hash Flow, representing the perspective from a DeFi project venturing into NFTs.
About Hashflow and Varun:
Arguably one of the most popular DeFi projects right now, Hashflow recently got their token on Binance Launchpool and also announced the stunning Enter the Hashverse NFTs. There’s so much hype around Hashverse. For me, it brings up the imagery of a grand story combining the Matrix and the Marvel universe. Super exciting. Varun, can you tell us a little about Hashverse first?
Varun (Hashflow): So Hashverse in a nutshell is our DAO. We combine storytelling with gamification and use that to basically create a more fun and immersive experience for every user to partake in not just governance, but also to bring out their skills and be able to do things that directly benefit the community. So that's the motivation. Now we make this fun with storytelling, like cool art imagery, and then also adding the gamified elements, like if you've played things like Zelda or Assassin's Creed, so you'll see a bunch of elements like that once the thing goes live.
So the idea is basically to create DAO engagement and make it really, really fun.
Karel’s Link3: https://link3.to/0xkarel
TreasureDAO’s Link3: https://link3.to/treasuredao
Yilan (Link3): That's also very naturally leading up to our second guest, Karel, Co-founder & COO of TreasureDAO and representing the angle from Gaming plus NFT.
So Treasure is building the decentralized game console to connect gamers, builders, and players through IP and infrastructure, composable resources, and the $MAGIC token. Isn't gaming the best NFT use case? This is so on point today. Welcome, Karel!
Karel (TreasureaDAO): Thanks a lot. Good to be here.
Varun everything you're saying is music to my ears. Gamifying the entire experience of everything you're doing on the DeFi side, and all kinds of storytelling is really a lot of what we're all about. Mass adoption in our view probably starts in a lot of ways with gaming. So keen to kind of dig into all this.
We have a bunch of fun things that are happening within Treasure as a mini shell. I think the biggest thing to maybe recap is that we're all about kind of bringing together gamers together. We're on Arbitrum, ETH L2. I've done a lot of things, built a lot of kind of infrastructure to power a lot of this, and we have a ton of games that are within our ecosystem. So, definitely check it out, and love to share a bit more.
Jeremy’s Link3: https://link3.to/2CoMHYiH
Yilan (Link3): Coming up, our third panelist, Jeremy Fisher, aka 0Fish0, founder and artist of Lucky Ducky NFT and brings insights of an artist and entertainment veteran.
About Jeremy & LuckyDuckyNFT
Jeremy is a stop motion director and animator with a decade of work for Robot Chicken Hallmark and the recent Marcel the Shell feature. Lucky Ducky NFT is the first family-friendly claymation project on Ethereum, and it was sold out back in March 2022 and is currently being pitched to streaming studios. So aiming to bring Web3 NFTs to mainstream audiences. Web3 to the people.
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): Thanks for having me. It's been quite a journey. This was a dream of mine since I got into NFTs. And, I, I've found the best community out here and the best team.
And we've been working, tirelessly since before we launched the project. And we didn't have a huge influence backer. We had just a scrappy group of us getting together. And with our background working in animation, we really wanna try to do something different. And, this project has been a great learning process for us to take what we know from outside of Web3 in the entertainment and movie industry and bring that into the Web3 space, and now bringing it back to the mainstream audiences and kind of showing how best to do it.
And it's all handmade claymation, which is not something you see every day with a lot of digital art. But we're doing things a little differently and looking forward to showcasing what we can do with stop motion and claymation in the NFT space.
Yilan (Link3): Yeah, super excited. And definitely urge everyone to check out the NFTs. Definitely very special and a lot of craftsmanship was put into the project.
I always marvel at the diversity we have on the panel here, coming from different angles but always on the same mission of bringing Web3 and NFT to a lot more people, to the mass audience.
Ben’s Link3: https://link3.to/thenftease
Yilan (Link3): So last but surely not least, we have our friend, TheNFTease, Ben, coming from an individual collector and expert perspective. A little bit different again.
Ben's a leading communications specialist and an evangelist of NFT and blockchains. Ben helped create one of the first NFTs as a credit warrant on Teller Finance. Ben started his blockchain work and his foray into NFTs in early 2018. Today he has one of the largest collections of NFTs currently sitting at roughly 20 K digital assets. He's also an advisor for a lot of NFT projects. Welcome, Ben! Excited to be engaging with some great projects and offer some independent takes?
Ben (TheNFTEase): Thank you, thank you. Diamond hands are being punished today, but, still holding strong. So grateful to be here and, and such amazing individuals up here on stage, and, like you were saying, with diverse perspectives on this stuff.
It's been interesting to play, first in the media, then, jump in as a true collector, and then now I'm innovating and helping create projects. So I'm really admiring everybody who's gonna stick around and build and I'm happy to be here with all of you.
Yilan (Link3): Great. Yes. It's still a long way to go. Also, just a quick reminder, if you wanna check out Ben's massive impressive digital collections, go to Ben's Link3 profile, to check out the NFT collections.
Ben (TheNFTEase): It only lets me post 50 of them. I'll add more if I can.
Yilan (Link3): Got it. That's a product feature we're gonna upgrade on.
Yilan (Link3): Let's dive into the topic. First a little bit of background from me.
Despite the crypto bear market and the declining overall trading volumes, NFTs definitely still keep making their way into our digital lives. The recent feat of Reddit onboarding millions of users into NFT and Web3 is a case in point.
Reddit opened its collectible marketplace in July, releasing Polygon-based profile pictures and avatars based on the logo. Three months later, which is a couple of weeks ago, four separate Reddit collective avatar collections found themselves on OpenSea’s Top10 list for the 24-hour trading volume. And the platform itself, Reddit, reported that the users had opened more than 2.5 million wallets within the marketplace since the release.
OpenSea says that it has seen a 75% increase in new users on Polygon since Reddit’s October 20th drop with Reddit bringing in nearly three times more new users than any other projects in the last six months. More than 20% of Reddit NFT owners who made a transaction on OpenSea have gone on to purchase another NFT on the platform. So they definitely stayed.
One of the key winning tactics that I picked up from the news and analysis is that in the very beginning, at least, Reddit avoided totally using terms such as NFTs or crypto or anything related to that. But there is more to dig out today in the session, especially related to the huge existing community and social networks. And there are also questions to ask about the NFTs’ massive adoption, the future of the industry, the roles of traditional companies and brands and social networks, and the importance of community and social networks in NFT mass adoption. And maybe most relevant to our audiences and users in general, the biggest growth potential out there.
So why don't we start with Ben? You must have kept an eye on all those events as they unfolded. Can you tell us a little bit more about the event and how this happened exactly?
Ben (TheNFTEase): I was watching in real-time as people were like trying to scope out all the gold rare ones and speculate. I watched the manic cycles and it was a lot of fun. I didn't jump in as much as some of my friends did.
The biggest takeaway here is the importance of assembling the community and being able to mobilize that community effectively for whatever you're creating.\ And so Reddit had the advantage that they've been cultivating a community for years and years and years and years. And so broaching that topic from a trusted standpoint of, this is a community that I vibe with that has built something that a majority of us resonate with. Let's see where it takes us.
This made it an easier on-ramp. So that was my first thing - just looking at how they weaponized artists within their communities, some of the biggest participators within the Reddit ecosystem. And then use them to evangelize and then push people into the funnel. It happened very naturally.
And so it's more than just they didn't say NFT. I get that. That's a great talking point. The media loved latching onto that, and they're right. We should absolutely limit the amount of tech jargon we use, but we have to sit back and also think about how much planning and how well-architected the entirety of the process was to result in what we experienced.
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): Yeah, that's something that I experienced very early on the side where I started making NFT. Back in early 2022, I first went to Reddit because I had a space there, I shared my NFTs and they said you know, go away. We don't want your NFTs. So I learned very early on that language is very important in these spaces that someone may just outright avoid, anything to do with this, just because they have a preconceived idea of what NFTs are and what it means in their head.
It was really wise on Reddit side to kind of start off on a different foot with their community and really just change the language overall. Just say digital collectibles. It's like how we say we're gonna send a dm, we're not gonna send a digital message or even email sometimes, I just simply say I will send a message over to somebody.
That's something that we try to do with Lucky Ducky. We don't use a lot of Web3 imagery and symbols in the characters. We try to stay clear of any Ethereum logos or Bitcoin imagery or anything that ties back to a certain time and place of Web3 three. Because we know the space changes so fast and we want to be here for the long run. And really just like that Reddit is doing the same thing in their way.
Varun (Hashflow): Generally, branding is a really big thing. And, I think one of the key things in DeFi as well is that we tend to use terms that fit in the bubble, but the moment you step outside the DeFi bubble, for most people, it's like a foreign language. If no one really has any context that makes it really complex.
So in that sense, I think calling it a digital asset, it's an interesting move. I don't have a strong opinion there about if it's gonna be the de facto term that everybody's gonna use, given the fact that NFT itself already is a popular term.
But generally, we should think about how we abstract these things away and then communicate to the audience in a language that they're more familiar with to make the onboarding much easier.
To add one more example that is slightly not NFT related. Hashflow is a decentralized exchange, right? So for the longest time, we had our messaging around our value propositions: we have no slippage, no MEV exploits, and things like that. But then we realized when we talk to normal people, they have no context on those things. In fact, they don't even know what Uniswap is.
So we took that lesson to basically simplify our messaging where we basically scraped all the complex jargon and just simply said, buy and stock up assets simply by connecting your wallet. You can trade, do swaps, no account needed, nothing else is required, and that's really, really big.
Because for most people that's still something that resonates with them, and not getting caught up in the technical details. And I think this could be something we can apply to NFTs as well.
Ben (TheNFTEase): But I would also say, besides the language change, the adoption point is really interesting.
The utility was already there where you have a profile that you can put into play immediately and it gives you uniqueness on the Reddit forum and, that, to Reddit influencers, is incredibly valuable. So there was already something there for people to latch onto.
And be like, Oh, I want that. That's gonna make me look special. And you wonder if, something was close behind with like Twitter and Facebook. Although now big question marks there.
Varun (Hashflow): Yes Reddit already had a massive audience. It had both the Degen audience and the rebels and them seeing these things show up and all of a sudden they're like, Okay, fine, this is something I can go with.
Karel (TreasureaDAO): Yeah, absolutely. It was a perfectly kind of architected storm. And a lot of it actually could have really been done this not in Web3. You could create your own kind of like magic Reddit money and create a market out of that in the same way that a lot of people are just like all about collectibles really before the advent of the blockchain and Ethereum.
So I think it was that the use case was already there.
The communities were built up, which I think is, is probably the biggest point. And you abstract away all of that jargon and the language, which I think was only part of it. But this has to be solving a need and there is a strong use case behind it. And you kind of start there before you start to introduce these financialized kinds of aspects.
It also ties in super well with what we're experiencing on the gaming front. For a while it was like, Hey, you had to buy an NFT, and then you could participate and play and like do something with that.
And now we're seeing a lot more things akin to what we've seen with free-to-play. People no longer have to line up and buy a $40 CD cartridge somewhere - you start playing something right away. We're seeing a bit of that shift right now with Web3 gaming where you sneak into folks and get in front of them and they actually don't have to spend anything. This kind of architecting is reshaping how onboarding and the on-ramp entry point is going to be.
Ben (TheNFTEase): Their marketing verticals are also already perfect. Like you can go under Reddit based on vertical interests. So like, gaming has a gaming channel, fashion has a fashion channel, and so you can address those communities individually or as a part of a collective. They kind of already have this curated attack sheet of like, what kind of language am I using and who am I speaking to? And so I think that's going to lend itself to even more, more power down the line.
Yilan (Link3): Yeah, that's a really nice recap of the Reddit lessons.
The keywords that I picked up from the conversation just now: 1. language; 2. existing utility and use case; 3. also existing community and the social contexts. So people can use that immediately in the social context to convey their social status, taste, preferences, etc.
Yilan (Link3): That actually leads us to another question. If we look at Reddit and the majority of the successful NFT projects out there, they're still about PFP profile pictures and avatars. So do you guys think that will be the ultimate use case for NFTs? Because it is naturally related to the social identity and social status within the community.
Particularly, I want to pose this question to Karel. From the gaming perspective, there should be many more potential use cases. What do you think about the relationship between PFPs avatars and other NFTs?
Karel (TreasureaDAO): Absolutely. It's a strong use case. People collect things to represent their identity. Especially since a lot of people are operating anon in the space. It has a very intrinsic tie to who you are and want to show up.
On the gaming front though, there’s also gonna be another part of it. We'll start to see more, not even other kinds of NFTs, but like, semi-fungible kinds of tokens as well that start to emerge. Especially as more game assets, and more digital collectibles start to funnel through.
And for us, it's a pretty complex structure as well where some of the games will use these NFTs in different ways that go beyond a PFP. You can play with them, you can represent yourself as a character. And within that, you have consumables resources, and items boost to your character and help with gameplay. All of that will kind of flow through too.
But then at the same time, we're seeing also a ton of stuff around just like Soul Bound Tokens and that leads into really you as someone on the blockchain as a whole. What you're kind of doing, how you've participated, feed into your reputation across the board, spaces that you've been on, communities that you're a part of, things that you've done and we can gamify all those experiences as well.
And so there are so many facets that it'll definitely go beyond this whole social identity and status. And definitely beyond a PFP.
Ben (TheNFTEase): Yeah. Gamified social experiences are gonna come in a big way, probably in the next decade.
What’s interesting is that. Didn't Twitter put out an NFT on Rarible? They were one of the first social media apps to do it, but they didn't do a PFP. And I think that was the mistake. If you have a big macro PFP collection with a native community and you're able to speak to the demographic you wanna speak to, and like I said, mobilize them quickly, Twitter probably would've had more success if they had taken their time to roll something out like that as opposed to just doing the one-offs.
But I mean, they sold out either way. It's not that they didn't do enough. It's just interesting they chose a different route.
Yilan (Link3): Absolutely. Jeremy, what about you, coming from music entertainment, perhaps even sports, and those more mass media categories?
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): The thing that first got me excited about was, like mid last year, I got into the Cool Cat space and I picked up a Cool Cat.
I saw how almost instantly you could just kind of see who was on the same wavelength as you in these different communities and different people on Twitter. It's like wearing a certain brand out in public. It's like people just see it and they recognize you as somebody that is like on the same wavelengths and the same thought process. I think that's a really powerful signifier for these digital spaces.
And people then create characters with their PFPs. I see a lot of Twitter users who make a whole story about who they are as characters. So it's like the storytelling is imbued into this really simple element of just wearing a photo of your character.
It kind of upends the whole system of a top-down approach in the entertainment space where traditionally, you know, Nintendo will give you access to maybe 15 different PFPs on your switch. And you can be Mario, you can be Zelda, you can be whatever. But like, that doesn't give customizable effects and you can't make it feel like your own. You're just like. Okay, I know I'm not Zelda cuz that's my partner's character.
But having some ownership in that process and that you can get excited about how this character evolves and changes, I think it really upends the whole storytelling that was very top-down from gaming to TV and movies. And now we're seeing that there's this bubbling up coming back up with these projects into the entertainment space. You look at Bored Apes and now they're being worn by M&M and Snoop Dog on MTV boards. And so we're seeing this kind of inverse relationship happening now. And I think that's only gonna continue.
PFP projects are becoming bigger than they started and becoming these storytelling devices.
Karel (TreasureaDAO): The storytelling and the bottom-up perspective there you see a lot of projects like Forgotten Ruins is doing this like in, in a crazy sort of way, like Hollywood-based kind of organization, Crip TV, like they've done a kind of show running IP development. They're on Netflix and Facebook and YouTube and et cetera and recently launched their own NFT as well. And so you have like these different players that are allowing people to take their characters and just really run with it.
Wadi is another really awesome community and it's all D&D-like. It's very bottom-up and there are no scripts. There's some maybe generalized canon that's being developed, but that's it. That's something that you start to see people just take matters into their own hands and create fan fiction that you would do normally with Harry Potter and Star Wars.
But then in this context, you can actually have this turn into something that you actually own and you can commercialize it - depending on the license and all that. So that's such a powerful thing from a creative standpoint.
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): I was just gonna say real quick that it's something that we've been really, blown away by.
I've tried pitching shows and movies in the past before Web3. And I basically got like, Thank you, see you later. But now like we have a much stronger position because we have a community, and we have a whole ecosystem around our project. And that was impossible to form prior to Web3. Back then you just have an idea and a script maybe.
But now we have fan art and we have the community, and we have storytelling. All this is super important for showcasing how this is gonna go, onto traditional media.
Varun (Hashflow): Yeah, absolutely. I was gonna add there, NFTs are a great way to build your brand. So when you're selling a product or anything, I think you're not necessarily selling an application, but you're selling the idea of what that brand means to people. So I think NFTs are a great way to build, not necessarily a cult, but essentially there's this idea of people who believe in the brand and that they're willing to be…
Ben (TheNFTEase): Core fan base!
Varun (Hashflow): That's a much better word. I was looking for that.
So we look at like, Star Wars or Marvel, or any of these massive franchises, essentially in a way you can think of them as NFTs in many ways, where they built this association of people who always believed in that brand, and now they would basically wanna associate with anything that is associated with the brand in general.
And I think, NFTs basically add a digital component to it with a sense of ownership, which wasn't quite true in the past. Right. So, obviously, at the crust of all this comes storytelling. And how do you make it like really easy in terms of the barrier to entry for people to just join and then partake in it?
And then once they are in then I think you could create or do more creative things, along the lines of like, maybe it could be gamification or identity or ownership or anything.
But really I think it comes down to how you tell the story and then build that initial fan base, that falls in love with your brand and the things that you create and having fun with it.
And once you create that, then you can do anything with it. Once you sit there, then the sky's the limit.
Yilan (Link3): Definitely. Also, isn't that so relevant and pertinent to Web3 as well? You know, we're so narrative-driven, storytelling, and also, building around core communities and followers, or a cult.
Yilan (Link3): So that’s actually another lesson from Reddit, right? They started not from scratch. They had a massive community, and a massive social network already.
So from the angles of NFT projects, do you guys think, is it better to build a brand and also build a community from the ground up, with a new narrative and new storytelling? Or is it better to work with some existing communities and existing solution networks? And that's also related to the role of existing and legacy social networks. Be it Reddit or, even Twitter or Facebook or some other minor niche ones.
The approach is going to be this combination of like somewhat a top-down and then letting everyone else partake in it. That’s usually an interesting way and that works out really well.
Like, for example, Game of Thrones, right? Where you have the Game of Thrones universe and you have some design constraints of how the universe works, but then anyone can write fan fiction around that and many times fan fiction can become interesting.
An even better example is Venom in Spider-Man Universe, right? So Marvel and Spider-Man existed for a while and then Venom was basically a fan created character, which Marvel really liked. And then Venom became part of the Marvel universe at that time. The guy who made Venom got paid like, I think $40 or $200, something like that.
So I think having some kind of a constraint around creating these stories and then letting people bring in their own creativity actually worked out really well.
Ben (TheNFTEase): You just became one of my new favorite people for two reasons. One, cuz I was about to say that. And two, I just love that you were able to pull that comic book knowledge in flex real quick. That was impressive.
I've been saying this for a while.
I think the problem I'm seeing with a lot of the NFT projects right now is that they're putting up too loose of a framework and it's causing confusion because they haven't built the foundational story. There are no characters to like imbue your own personality over top of and build off of.\ And so I like having some framework in place before opening it up. But I know you could do it a number of ways and I think there is room for community-developed projects, but trying to bring organization to chaos is hard.
Karel (TreasureDAO): Definitely agree with that. I think the coordination part is where if you don't have the foundation to start from, it's not impossible, but really difficult to get everyone on the same page. Like what is canon or what is the storyline or what are the kind of recognized groups to kind of bring that to life?
So as well, I think the slightly top-down is at least like a starting point, and then you start to bring in your community who come in as owners.
One of the examples from Treasure: We had everything like a Freemint Fair launch. One of our brands and IPs, a group called Smolverse, is essentially a world of monkeys. They gained IQ collectively, and their heads would grow bigger, but then also the world would advance as, their kind of collective IQ increases. And so there's a general framework that was created. But really to participate, you had to draw a picture to be able to like mint a small brain. And so this really spawns a creative community. And over time that led to just people creating derivatives.
We had a bit of a story arc and it just kind of brought in people and people just really kind of enjoyed that storytelling aspect of it. We had animations by a super-talented guy named Max and a lot of this was bottom-up and you had the ownership over time.
You start to create this brand and then start to resonate with other people. And that legitimizes like, Oh, you're not just a group of just people kind of running a business and you have like a strong IP, and you have a community of 17,000. And you just have people really involved in there. And so, we've been able to partner with a group called Strider, who've built games like Red Dead Redemption and Batman Arkham Asylum, and GTA St. Andreas, and also creatives for like Westworld and Game of Thrones. And now they're partnering with us to stand up like the next, what we think will be a AAA game for our ecosystem, but within kind of Web3.
And so it kind of goes to show that you can do a lot from this bottom-up approach and NFTs will power a lot of those kinds of ownership, and experiences.
Yilan (Link3): Yeah. Right. But maybe also a little bit more specific. What do you guys think about the roles of social networks in NFT adoption? Like Reddit is a Web2 network and Link3 is a Web3 version of social networks.
Ben (TheNFTEase): It's huge. It's an attention metric. And so you have to look at social media and find ways that you can integrate value here and figure out ways that you can create and cultivate a community.
Find where my core audience is. Asking people like, Hey, Come to me is, is really hard. Meeting them on their playing field is, is a little bit easier.
So it's important to pay attention to what is trending, especially within the verticals you wanna reach and consider other platforms, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, you name it.
Yilan (Link3): For a lot of the audiences here they are mostly users and community members. One of the things they want to know most about is the growth potential for the whole industry and for the whole space. We've mentioned gaming, social, gamified social, and entertainment as well. If you have to name one sector in the NFT space, which one do you think has the biggest potential to reach mass adoption?
Ben (TheNFTEase): I mean, we already know what Karel's gonna say, but I'll parrot it. I think gaming is the first sector at least that will realize its value.
Varun (Hashflow): You know, I think I have a very gaming-biased answer too. But I'll let you go, Karel.
Karel (TreasureaDAO): Not game. No, I'm kidding. Definitely gaming. If we think about just where we are in the space - people just like to play games and trading JPEGs is almost a game. It's like a new way of doing things.
But beyond that, it goes back to how you on-ramp people, and in a lot of ways you probably don't even want them to know that they have a wallet and that they have an NFT, but in the background, you abstract a lot of that stuff away. They are actually here and they're transacting and they're trading and buying things on a marketplace. I think that's definitely the next frontier.
So glad to hear we're doing something right and building something within that. But, we'll see how that transpires.
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): Yeah. Just to tack on that. I think gaming is probably the biggest share of the space overall.
But just casting a really wide net probably and to be as many places as you can be in comfortably, is what makes no sense to me. If you can be in gaming, if you can be in entertainment, if you can be in, you know, sports or wearables.
I think all these things can easily move and position in different ways. Star Wars is a great example where there are tons of Star Wars gaming out there, people that only play Star Wars games, or people who only read Star Wars comics. But you don't have to like be on all of it at the same time. And there are people that would only go in one direction. But the more places you are, the more you find new voices and new people who are interested. So it's cool to get to spread out there.
Karel (TreasureaDAO): Yeah, I'm just gonna interject. I think there's also the definition of game and I mentioned kind of like trading, but also this whole sense of just gamifying, even storytelling, right?
With the ownership and it kind of goes into the whole entertainment space and everything that you're doing over at Lucky Ducky, Jeremy. I think being able to monetize or kind of allow for this community bottom-up approach to creating and running shows and forming things around that - that can touch on like movies, TV shows. Even if you're just like owning a digital collectible or NFT, you can just experience the story in a different way and participate and build with the project as you go on.
And so I think it's just a new way of doing things and maybe there's not a good name for that, but it's kind of like gamified. And in some way, everything is a game at the end of the day. And, I think we're all just trying to have fun and maybe you can make a living out of it. But fun is the most important part.
Yilan (Link3): I think we are onto something much bigger than just the NFT itself. So I want to take a step back a little and ask the question: what exactly is the mass adoption of NFTs in the general public gonna look like? Especially when they go mainstream and go into the everyday life of our digital lives?
So very likely, it's not gonna be called NFTs anymore on a daily basis. And we will have introed that to a lot of people outside of crypto or even outside of tech right now.
If we're gonna talk about NFTs and how it's going to touch everything. It's more important to understand that it's just blockchain technology. That's how these decentralized ledger systems work. There's a lot of jargon thrown around, but really this is just perfect record keeping and that can permeate into so many different things.
So we're talking to people in film right now. We're talking to people in gaming in fashion. These are all verticals that are gonna benefit greatly. And the perception of value as, Okay, can I go onto OpenSea and speculate on the up and down of this asset is not what I mean.
Starbucks rolling out a rewards program that's basically blockchain oriented and is just them getting their ledgers in order so that they can market better. It's consolidating the list of their biggest fan base so that there's efficiency in their machine. And that's what blockchain technology does - it brings efficiency to different machines.
So fashion is going to do things where they're going to incorporate this. I’ve even seen some of this where they have it actually in the fabric fibers and it's scannable and it's attached to the digital element. It gives them kind of an ongoing record. It gives object permanence in a digital space and it allows people to rep their brand more freely. So there's, there's a lot of marketing real estate being made up there.
So I think blockchain technology and the NFT jargon terminology, once you abstract that stuff away, what we really get is just a more efficient value system in a society where your brands are rewarding you better for how much you participate in their communities.
And how you wanna shake that out really is about moving the centralized powers into decentralized systems. So groups of individuals can collectively have their voices heard in a democratic way and say. This is what I expect out of the brand, and this is what kind of future I wanna see.
And so I think when we see that it's going to disrupt a lot of industries in very interesting ways.
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): Yeah, I think hopefully in the most complicated form, in the future, it'll look like just connect your wallet or even just like, connect. And it's like how our parents, they sign in with Twitter or Facebook. There's a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes to check and to make sure that you are who you say you are. But, it'll just be a nice behind-the-scenes technology that we get to try new things out with.
And, you know, maybe it's a backpack that, you buy for somebody that has your favorite character on it and now you scan it or you have an RFID chip or something on it that you can now get the character that comes with it and now that's part of your wallet and you can track to see how it's doing on the fight in the game that you're playing.
There are a lot of things that have worked like this in the past that were very separate in their own little server farms and ecosystems. But they can cross over in lots of amazing ways and we're seeing this play out. Stuff like Fortnite where they're doing this by bringing in Goku from Dragon Ball Z and playing against Star Wars characters. The stuff that we only imagined only a decade ago.
They're doing it on the centralized side there. But, now we're starting to pull at that thread and really open this stuff up to really crossing over a lot of different stuff and not being stuck in one ecosystem. And we can move things along a lot easier. Everything kind of crossing over and connecting. Like I'm playing a lot in the world of Web3 right now and just getting to see Cool Cats interacting with Dead Fellas and Bored Apes and all these things in this game.
And it just shows me that there's a lot of potential there for people who have no idea what NFTs are. They just wanna play with a cool character in a game and they wanna see that character evolve and change and maybe want to get a shirt that has an extra bit of points to it that they can now add to their character and level up somehow.
I think we're only seeing more, more exciting things coming down the pipeline, and in that world with stuff you're not even thinking about the technology, it's just gonna be kind of a seamless interaction and that's what keeps me coming back to it every day.
Karel (TreasureaDAO): if I can add, it's the whole element of like trustlessness and permanence. If I think about it from a gaming perspective, as a gamer, all of the hard work that you put into the game to like farm and grind it out and, you get this rare item. Eventually if you're playing on a server, they stop supporting the server and you then are kind of left alone. You can't really do anything with it.
And so now you're starting to see this with a lot of the kind of Web3 games, you can take that out. You have inherent value. You can own and represent yourself or that character on really an eternal basis. And so take your hard work out of that game and just trade in a marketplace, swap it with something else.
I think the interoperability or just even like the collision events with other games - that's something that you can really kind of do from an IP perspective. That's super cool.
I think a lot of it is just like abstracting away all of the jargon, but also like the experience, right? So there are definitely very clear use cases of - Why is my driver's license not an NFT? My passport? A lot of the kind of like identity proving that you own a ticket, art, ownership over certain a number of different things.
Like you can have a lot of that really come stream through and, I think it should be super seamless I don't even wanna think about the technology, but you should know that it's happening in the background.
Yilan (Link3): It's more like the real tech has to disappear behind the real use cases and utilities in the everyday life. That also very naturally leads us to a question from the Twitter comments, a question related to what we're saying about your blockchain technology and also NFTs. This question is from a user with a Twitter handle @himurorea06 and also a similar question from @yellgon_norfolk. If you guys are live, you can raise your hand, we can get you to speak up after the panel responses.
So when we talk about NFTs now, it's still very much tied to the discourse of crypto and blockchain and also the prices of it. If the big thing going forward would be now to get the NFTs into the hands of people who don't yet know or have to know or have no interest in crypto assets, and given the macro environment now remains very challenging and with the FTX acquisition or maybe the not happening of it, crypto and NFTs are very inseparable.
So how do we negotiate the relationship between NFTs and the crypto or blockchain and how do you see that going forward maybe in the next 5 or 10 years?
Varun(Hashflow): We went through our 2017 ICO cycle, and now I think it's time when the true builders or believers are gonna be in the space. And when the next wave comes in, it is gonna have products with real utility and adoption. So I think, when crypto was new in 2016, 2017, everyone got excited. People came up with all kinds of weird ideas and everyone had like a hundred million dollars, one space, right? Then many people left the space, but the people who were truly their builders, they stayed. And that now, you know, here we are.
So I think NFTs went to a similar cycle where some really good projects came out of it, and then many of the other ones who were copycats kind of perished.
And now, now people are slowly taking a back step and relooking into what are the things that we can solve and what can come where the value is. And then basically using that to build the next generation of things that people can use in the years to come.
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): We're we're still in an ecosystem where speculation is, by and large, what is talked about. And these different coins and different blockchains and even obviously a lot of NFT projects are purely hype and speculations.
But, the real thing that keeps me going is that, as we've talked this past hour mostly about the technology and the things that are not based around speculation, the things that we're actually working on and building, on each of our projects.
And I think that really gets me a lot of good feelings about that once the speculation kind of evens out and settles that the real good technology and projects are building with that will come to the top and kind of shake out the rest of it.
So that's what I'm excited about.
Varun (Hashflow): Speculation may not necessarily be a bad thing. But what's interesting is so far most NFT projects, other people buy or trade them, with the expectation of price movements as opposed to owning those collections because they wanna collect them or they wanna do something with them.
For example, when people collect Pokemon cards, I'm not collecting Pokemon cards because their prices are gonna go up and I can sell that to somebody else. I'm collecting the because it's fun.
That is also kind of why I'm bullish in gaming because gaming is fun. And once we start building out experiences that are really, really engaging for people to just partake in without the expectation of price being the primary factor for them to own things, I think that's kind of where you've hit the product market fit, right? So then once you have that, then you know, the sky's the limit.
Ben (TheNFTEase): Success is for the patient.
A lot of people get into this market when there's extreme volatility and they experience the euphoria of really quick gains and then use that as their marker on the health of the ecosystem and what's being built. And they start thinking about everything in terms of dollars and cents. Not that that's not a bad place to start and really building out your financial literacy and understanding the psychology and mechanics behind, like what gives value to something like an NFT. But that's not where you need to sit in the long term.
And so I'm excited for a bear market because it forces you to sit down and really get strategic and think about what's driving the success of a project beyond that speculative engine.
And so I think the projects that are being patient and taking their time and really, building out a true vision and, are constantly interfacing and proving that they're not going to let go. Those are the ones that are gonna rise to the surface.
But that you get into the right time and you're rich and then you'll retire or whatever - that has been too much of the driving ethos and crypto for a long time. I think eventually people will realize that - people have been saying this for ages - be patient sit down, and think about something truly valuable.
Even if that was in the commercial world, whether it's a fashion line. Like we spend like three months when we're working with brands on just brand voice and trying to figure out what kind of words you've gotta say to convey the message. So if that level of thought is being put into these projects, what we get to see deployed in the future, I think will be really exceptional.
And for the projects that exist now, that time to sit down and take whatever value they've cultivated through the communities in the bowl and then put together something that's going to sustain them, I think is paramount.
Yilan (Link3): Great. The words euphoria and fanatic are such good words to describe what we had in the past. But after all, there are still the people that really got us here right now. Right? Karel, what do you think about those people who are speculating most of the time, but they also really got us here?
Karel (TreasureaDAO): I think there's room for everyone, right? And we're never gonna move away from the folks who are coming into this space because it can be a lucrative opportunity. Going into NFTs, I'd say most of the people I talk to, they're like, Oh, well, you know, I know a friend who made a killing doing this. And like, I'm coming into this for the first time.
For us, it's about getting into this again from the gaming angle, and by having these things, having these assets you can participate and, and kind of play.
And this just goes back to the original question: how do you get this into the hands of people who don't know or don't have an interest in crypto assets per se? They shouldn't even know that they have a crypto asset.I think we're kind of feeding this echo chamber of people who are already in this space. They are speculating and they're trading and they're never gonna participate in a kind of meaningful way because they're kind of flipping between projects and so. You know, as you look at kind of gaming as a whole, you're gonna start attracting people who are kind of there because they like the story, they like the experience and the game that you're creating.
And they can find a way to then have some level of ownership or be able to kind of participate with those assets. And to enter shouldn't be hard. Especially for us, we're on Arbitrum, it's an L2, and you gotta bridge from ETH you gotta and then swap between ETH and MAGIC. And so it's just a cumbersome experience. You really need to dumb it down and you really need to make it super seamless. Sign in with your Google or Discord or Twitch account, and also do not have to have certain assets and have to bridge between things.
It's it, and that goes into the whole kind of account abstraction kind of topic as well. And removing a lot of these layers of complexity, to really come to the core. And in the long run, it’s all about the intrinsic kind of elements that come with it. And, you know, it's extrinsic and there's value to be kind of accrued from it, that's a big bonus.
Yilan (Link3): We actually have a very nice vibe going on. So quite a good time for a fun question coming from the community. This is from @asadayo666, asking if the team of speakers like the four of you today, were to start a new NFT project, what kind of project would you create?
Ben (TheNFTEase): I'm working on one right now. It's still in stealth. I'm not lying.
When I said we spent three months just trying to figure out like brand voice and, and like then going through the process of securing the artists and building out the visuals and the world concept - that's this. I'm having so much fun doing it and keeping things like shielded until I'm ready to present fully.
But if I were to go full in and just like to show people where I'm thinking. Identity, identity, identity. There's so much right now on digital identity that's not being done. And so many missed opportunities and digital identity can take you through a number of different verticals into gaming, into fashion, into films. It's IP genesis.
And so that's what I'm looking at right now for projects and going, “This is where I want to hang my hat.” These are the people I'm backing. I'm looking at people and you know. The big names out there, like, Yuga and Sheri. They're already doing this in certain ways, but like if you can sit back objectively and say, If you were to take their projects and do it now, what would you imbue on it that they missed? I think there's a lot there.
And so that's where I think any anybody who’s in the room and thinking, I wanna build right now, it's the time. When everybody's down and people are rolling out and saying, Okay, I'm gonna give up. This is the time you double down and say, All right, I'm gonna throw resources into this thing, really build out my vision and have it built in time for the next bull.
Yilan (Link3): Cool! But you need to make sure you include the other three guests on the panel as well, though. It's not gonna be your own idea.
Ben (TheNFTEase): Oh, oh, if we were gonna build it with them. Obviously I would incorporate gaming and Jeremy's amazing claymation. That would be the move right there. But like, put some digital identity on it and call it a beautiful AAA Blockchain and … No, I'm just kidding. Get rid of all the jargons. Just, I think this is a dream team right here. I think if we put our heads together, we'd probably come up with a kick-ass game first.
It's really a funny thing of being in an NFT project. Because for some collectors and outsiders, they see this is like kind of a monolithic thing that they launch a project, it does well or it does poorly, and then that's it. And they move on to the next one.\ But, for anyone who's worked on a project for any length of time, these things are very fluid, like processes. Like you launch a project, a year ago, and the whole space has completely changed in the year since.
And, when we first started we didn't have any insights into gaming and having a 3D character. But, you know, since we launched, we've been working with, Otherside and, on World of Web3 to have Duckies being all in all these other places. And, it just shows that like, you can be very fluid with this stuff and it can be so many different things at the same time. And you can pivot when needed and when the market is showing.
I see everybody on the stage here as like, you know, from gaming, from fashion to collector sensibility. Like these are all people I would wanna have on a team. Maybe not a whole new project because launching any project is, a stretch. But I would definitely incorporate them into what we're we're doing because it's all about what we're all on the same page.
Ben (TheNFTEase): Yeah, I think probably a collaborative, like taking all the projects and finding some way to collaborate would be the way I would go about it instead of creating a new project.
Yilan (Link3): Yeah, I hope this session and the group chat we have will be a very good starting point and if there’s anything exciting, keep us looped in.
Yilan (Link3): Another question, a little bit more serious and critical, coming from @daitote @runmakai and @moanmonso about the NFT platform fees and royalties. So we've seen a lot of our news recently about, a lot of platforms eliminating transaction fees and also making creator royalties optional. What do you guys, as people in the projects, what do you guys think about the whole thing?
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): I mean from, an artist's perspective, I probably wouldn't be in the Web3 space had not been for creator royalties. Piquing my interest early last year was something I was working on a TV show at the time, and I hear about NFTs, and you can trade art and, when you sell your work, you get perpetual royalties afterwards.
And that really just kind of like turned me upside down because up till then when I worked on a show or a movie, that was it, you just get paid once, and then they say, See you later, and they make tons of money on the back end. Where, you know, that's unheard of. And even in the fine arts world, like you sell at a gallery, the piece sells. And then it goes up to an auction somewhere else and then sells for five times that, and you see none of that secondary. So to me that's what got me excited as an artist.
And now it just kind of turns the space into a very, traditional, system that we've already seen before. And, if you wanna keep bringing in new artists and new creative people, there has to be something that's different. And I know that's like there's a whole lot of a technical side to it that makes it complicated and difficult to enforce. But, just I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the creator royalties at first.
Karel (TreasureaDAO): Couldn't agree more. For us as well. Free Mint Fair Launch. Everything is given away for free. There's no way that we would be here without the royalties. I think how things have shaped up recently, the opportunity for creators to kind of come in and start projects and be able to kind of tap into those things, it does make things much harder. And creators are incentivized to stick around and build and create value and that leads to that continuity versus a one-and-done big mint. What we've seen is that there will probably always be a race to the bottom. But the thing is, we're kind of starting at the bottom now.
Karel (TreasureaDAO): That said though, I think there's still a way, beyond the kind of technical elements of enforcing kind of royalties at the contract level, there's just the kind of push from projects as well, and also from marketplaces.
You have to create an experience that both from a marketplace perspective, but also a project perspective, that provides value to those who are paying those royalties. You just get a much better experience and you can kind of tie a lot of that stuff off with, like in gaming, you get maybe some boost and some airdrops or assets and, loot boxes and battle pass or something like that added value.
Really those who are not kind of participating and paying royalties to your project and really ultimately not supporting your project and playing that role of a speculator. They're not gonna be the ones to kind of partake in and benefit from those things. You can't really have it both ways.
But there will always be a cohort of people who want to trade and want to not pay as much as others if they can get away with it because it maximizes profits. That'll always be around. But there are other ways to add value to who pays.
Ben (TheNFTEase): Yeah, like one offers value to the artists and the other offers value to the speculator. Cuz when you get rid of royalties, it just helps with the high-frequency traders that don't wanna have to calculate how much they're winning or losing on, on like 5% here. And I think you could probably build it into the contract, like that royalty structure and it would just, it's more taxing on people to create contracts that way versus just having the exchanges, operate in a way that provides that royalty like as a need set.
But, obviously, it's not a question, cuz it's already here, there are already exchanges that are offering the opt-out. I think we'll have to wait and see what the results of those experiments are. But what I would say is it's probably gonna have two reactions and that's gonna be. A. Okay people are gonna then just rethink about how they issue things and, and what kind of role sets they do in the smart contract directly. And then, B. others are going to try and find ways to capitalize beyond the royalties, whether that's doing higher volume drops, or progressive drops. Because the revenue machine has to keep churning and for the IP of the project for you know, the treasury, so to speak, to continue in such a way that the founders can continue building on their vision. Otherwise, the money dries up eventually, and you just have to find other revenue streams to keep things running.
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): I just also want to add that, OpenSea announced that they're gonna be protecting royalties for existing collections about 20 minutes ago.
Ben (TheNFTEase): Yeah, that's good alpha right there.
Yilan (Link3): I guess it's also a good time to send out a teaser for our next episode, which is actually gonna be on the topic of NFT platforms and royalties and transaction fees. A little bit different from this one, we'll have a panel of different marketplaces and one independent analyst. Stay tuned. It probably is gonna be happening next week on our Link3.
Yilan (Link3): Another question I have here is about big brands and legacy Web2 players, coming from @harehareiwa and @norisalt_crypto.
They mention Starbucks and Disney, and they both see great potential in those projects coming from existing brands and existing communities. So what are your thoughts on those large companies, well-known brands, going to the NFT space? And what are their relationships with the projects like you guys?
Ben (TheNFTEase): Most of them are gonna be too slow and they're going to be too cautious. And so I think what we're gonna see is a lot of acquired tech and acquired IP. It's not far from how these entities already operate. You build something cool, you have a community, and then they scoop in and say, Hey, we'll help you manage it when it gets beyond your size.
And so I think that's how we'll see a lot of those players. And I think the big projects you've already seen, they've done a lot of nostalgic plays and like put out NFTs that aren't really like new IP it's just iterations on old things that they've put out before or like a continuation and extended cut, et cetera, et cetera. And to me, that's just an exercise of caution. They’ve already built out those characters in that world and that concept, so there's no really risk there versus if they were to deploy research and really try and put out something unique and new - it could prove costly for them.
So I think Starbucks has done an interesting model where I think finally the technology's plug-and-play enough that they felt confident somebody could deploy this and it wouldn't be disruptive to their business. And I think when we continue building into this next market, we'll see more of that, where it's just kind of like ticketing systems, like football games and stuff like that. Those tickets will all be NFTs and that's just gonna be with the technology catching up.
Jeremy (LuckyDucky): Disney has been slowly dipping their toe into this where it doesn't cost them a lot to do like a gold Spiderman or a Mickey Mouse 3D object.
But yeah, they haven't done a full collection, in the traditional sense. If you look at Recur, in a few of these legacy IPs and nostalgic work, it's very difficult to keep that momentum going. And we've seen that played out in a few different collections that have a drop and they have a quick hype and then, quickly realize that, they haven't built the foundation to keep that momentum going into the next leg. And, it's really difficult to do that from a top-down approach.
Starbucks obviously has already had a rewards program that's been almost a decade long that they can tap into and they can build that into their NFT offerings. And I think that is gonna really play out in a much different way where if you don't have a team that's doing it from scratch and building it from the ground up, it's gonna feel like a, a flash in the pan.
Karel (TreasureaDAO): Definitely echo a lot of those things. The legacy incumbents like will probably move a bit too slowly, which really means that there's like a huge sort of wide space for new players to create like new IPs, new brands, new games to double down and, do this from the bottom up. We'll see a wave of projects not being represented by the big publishers or studios kind of the path. I think there will be room over time for a lot of these, different kinds of players to be in the same landscape.
Even looking at Starbucks and, and, you know, they're on Polygon, Reddit, you know, their collectibles are on Polygon. But their community point system they're on, you know, which is like the whole up vote down vote system. It's all on Arbitrum. And you know, I think a lot of that will be more so behind the scenes. Again, it doesn't really alienate the audience that, can be very anti-crypto&NFTs. And so, for those types of things you're powering using the technology, but it's not really kind of in your face.
I think with Disney there could be more experiential storytelling bottom-up driven and expressions of IP and maybe Disney will lean into this, who knows? I don't know how brave they will be to kind of jump in. But it could be, you know, an extension and an arm that has a bit more of that kind of latitude to be able to experiment and play. If they're listening and wanna partner with any of us, I'm sure we're all welcome to it.
Yilan (Link3): All right. That's all great insights and very candid words. Appreciate it again. It is such a great engaging conversation and hope, as I said, this is only the beginning of the conversations and we definitely see a lot of questions and topics we can keep working on, and maybe in a couple of months, we can all come back again and talk again. For all those more than a thousand staying to the end with us in the audience. Thank you. Thank you for coming.
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Yilan (Link3): This has been such a blast and such a great session with all four of our panelists.
We talked about, you know, mass adoption, Reddit, but also mostly about NFT as a whole, how that's gonna be influencing the whole industry, and the whole digital lives of everyone going forward. We also talked about different use cases, in particular gaming.
And I guess that's it. And that's such a great one. Thanks, Jeremy. Thanks, Ben. Thanks, Karel. Thanks for Varun. And thank you, everyone, for tuning in from all over the world. It’s been great having you.
Any final remarks from our fellow guests?
Ben (TheNFTEase): Thanks for having us. Thanks to CyberConnect and Link3 and just everybody here.
Varun(Hashflow): Stay strong guys. This is a tough week and the survivors are gonna emerge victorious. Just stay strong and think that and make it.
Ben (TheNFTEase): Take care of yourselves. Yeah, yeah.
Jeremy(LuckyDucky): Thanks a lot and really appreciate the awesome talk.
Yilan (Link3): Thank you! Talk soon.
For all information about this episode please see: Link3 Panels S1E1 - NFTs Mass Adoption, Reddit, Social & Opportunities
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