Blending Blockchain Technology And Digital Objects With Timo Heuer From Mercedes-Benz NXT

January 10, 2024

Mercedes-Benz has been around for more than 130 years, constantly innovating and manufacturing better cars. With the rapid growth of the Web3 space, they have now decided to start using blockchain technology. Josh Kriger and Richard Carthon sit down with Timo Heuer, one of the co-founders of 0xNXT, the creative studio behind Mercedes-Benz Web3 initiatives under Mercedes-Benz NXT. He talks about blending blockchain technology with digital objects to vastly overhaul their portfolio and give users a refreshing collectible experience. For this episode’s Hot Topics, they discuss Forbes’ recent article about the future of NFTs and Backpack launching a cryptocurrency exchange based in Dubai.


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BlendingBlockchain Technology And Digital Objects With Timo Heuer From Mercedes-BenzNXT

I'm Timo Heuer, one of the Cofounders of 0xNXT, the creative studio behindMercedes-Benz's Web3 initiatives where we innovatively blend blockchaintechnology with digital objects. I am here on Edge of NFT featuring theinnovators in the digital and physical art space. Keep reading.


NFT-curious audiences, stay tuned forthis episode to learn how a 130-year-old luxury auto company like Mercedes-Benzseamlessly onboarded their top car owners into the Web3 space and whatunexpected prized possession that lives in our guest kitchen has changed hislife. Lastly, Forbes now notes NFTs are alive again and growing over the nextfour years, but were they ever dead?

It's official. You can dive into thecaptivating world of artificial intelligence with the Edge of AI Podcast. Joinus as we explore the frontiers of AI and its impact on our lives. Subscribe nowon your favorite podcast platform and follow us on Twitter @EdgeOf_AI and LinkedIn forexciting updates and insights. You can also visit our new website,


This episode features Timo Heuer, one ofthe cofounders of 0xNXT, the creative studio behindMercedes-Benz Web3 initiatives under Mercedes-Benz NXT. Timo specializes inenhancing the collector experience. His previous professional experienceincludes innovation consulting boutique TLGG, a startup incubator, a corporateventure, and several creative agencies. The launch of Mercedes-Benz NXT is asignificant step demonstrating a long-term commitment to the Web3 community.It's not just about making a statement. It's about innovatively blendingblockchain technology with digital objects impacting every brand and product inthe Mercedes-Benz portfolio. It's a pleasure to have you.

Thank you for having me. It's a pleasureto be here.

This has been one of those shows thatI've been looking forward to. I don't know if you know the backstory, but I wasin Dubai and I had a one-hour cab ride with a gentleman that you know inGermany. He was so excited about what you all are doing that he introduced ustogether. He's another journalist. He went all in on a print magazine, and Igot a couple of copies of those in German sent to me when I got back from Dubai.It's cool to see the collaboration that you did.

Here's a shout-out to Lucas. Thank youfor the introduction.

You got back from quite a road trip aswell. You were in Miami, LA, and all over the US. What inspired that trip?

We went to be part of The Gateway, whichis an NFT site event organized by NFT Now. We had a gallery space there andalso did a panel together with Ben Roy. We showed what we are up to and whatour ecosystem looks like at the moment and also gave a little perspective onwhat digital collectability in our view could mean in the future.

Art Basel is such a key part of the artscene. It has been great to see more emphasis there on digital art. Over thelast few years, the fine art side of Web3 has taken over that event, and it hasbeen a meaningful conglomeration of everyone who's anyone in the art side ofthings, brands, and whatnot. It sounds like a lot of fun. Let's start at thebeginning with this fascinating journey of Mercedes-Benz into the Web3 spaceand what inspired the next initiative, recognizing how important digital artand collectibles are to the online world. What made Mercedes-Benz get into thisspace? How did you fit into the equation?

The basic insight was that people spendmore time in virtual worlds or digital environments but also that the physicaland the digital realms are merging more and more. We were thinking about a wayto incorporate that in a company like Mercedes-Benz that is verytechnology-driven and innovative and wanted to participate in that developmentas well. That's one side of the story.

The other side of the story is a verypersonal one. How I and the team, which has three more cofounders of ourcreative studio 0xNXT, ended up there is through passion. We became NFTcollectors in 2021 with one of our cofounders a little bit earlier than theother three. We loved collecting NFTs, exchanging on Discord, and being part ofthe community.

The discussion within Mercedes-Benzstarted also way before that even though, as always, there were these smallpockets of activity before the creative studio was founded, but when thediscussions within Mercedes Bank started, we were there, and we took it up. Inthe end, we founded what is now the creative studio 0xNXT and the brand that isMercedes-Benz NXT. It is a vehicle to make this iconic brand part of thiscultural development that is digital art and digital collectibles. We do thatfor Mercedes-Benz but also other brands, AMG and Maybach.

Mercedes-Benz has been around for over130 years, constantly innovating and making better cars. To see the Web3 spaceas an opportunity and to do something about it is cool. The fact that you'rebeing a part of this and getting to lead this is so awesome. How isMercedes-Benz NXT translating its rich legacy of collectibles into the digitalspace?

One that's the most obvious is ourcollection called Mercedes-Benz NXT Icons, which is a journey through themore-than-300-year-old history and the heritage that comes with it.Mercedes-Benz is a company founded by engineers and very rooted in designs,many of them icons. It felt natural to us to celebrate this heritage withdigital collectibles, but there are many more things we can talk about later.We are doing in-car stuff as well. There's a lot where the heritage translatesinto digital art and collectibles, but what is behind me is the most obvious.

I'm excited to get into that. Let's startby walking us through your three core collections.

We started in June 2023, and the firstcore collection that we did was Maschine. It was acollaboration with a renowned artist in the crypto and digital art space, Harmvan den Dorpel. We did that together with Fingerprints DAO, which is acollector's DAO. They have a huge collection of Autoglyphs, for example, one ofthe OG projects in the crypto art space. That's the first core collection.Maschine is code-based. It's generative. It covers and explores topics likevelocity, emotion, and movement. It ties to a company that is about movement,Mercedes-Benz, but it is not the typical branded projects that other brandswould start with. That was the first thing that we did.

The second core collection is called Eternities. There, we specifically target the topcustomers of Mercedes-Benz to onboard them into the NFT space. How we do thatis we came up with a customized user experience because we thought that theymight not have a wallet, but we want to include them and give them a key to ourecosystem.

Edge of NFT Podcast | Timo Heuer | Blockchain Technology
Blockchain Technology: We specifically target the top customers of Mercedes-Benz to onboard them into the NFT space by coming up with a customized user experience.

We came up with a customized solutiontogether with a startup from Berlin where we designed these ship cards as acredit card would look like. These are hardware wallets with an NFT shipinside. When you tap them against your phone, a wallet is created automatically.You can do things like seed phrases and extracting NFTs later but at thatstage, the wallet is created and the NFT is automatically dropped into thatwallet and shown within the app.

From a user's point of view, theexperience would be you get the card and tap it against the phone, and thenthere are technical processes happening in the background but you would seeyour NFT on your screen. Gorden Wagener is the Chief Design Officer ofMercedes-Benz. We designed digital jewelry or digital diamonds. That's whatthey look like. Each is numbered, and they're unique. They are dropped in thenewly created wallets, and then you can do whatever you want with them but youcan also get a mint pass for our third core collection with it.

One more thing to mention is that thereare only 1,886 of these Eternities collectibles because first, the number isthe year the first Mercedes-Benz car was patented, and secondly, we wanted togive it to the top-of-the-top customers. We are going to do that and we alreadydid at a few events. We are going to do that at events. That also helps us inonboarding these top customers because personal interactions are always easierthan purely digital experiences.

It's like giving them the keys, and theyturn on the car. It's a pretty seamless experience. I'm curious how theyreacted to getting their first NFT. What were some of those moments? It soundslike you experienced them in real life, which is cool. I would want that. Ifyou spent all this time and energy creating this incredible onboardingexperience, you have to see it for yourself. What was it like?

It was nice. We also have a box. It has anice packaging. The first event that we did was in Singapore, and everybody wastech-savvy there. Everybody knew how to tap something against the phone anddownload apps. That was a very smooth process, and the directions were good.Let's say some of them have more than ten cars. That was something special tohave. The reactions couldn't have been better.

I share that sentiment. I would haveloved to have seen that in real-time and see that experience. We always want toencourage you to check us out on YouTube because there are some cool things thatyou're going to be able to see like the background that Timo has showing someof the various NXT Icons series. Can you give us a little bit more insight intothe releases of that series? Right after that one, I spent a little bit of timeon the newest token-powered project called The Era of Luxury. Tell us a little bit more about that aswell.

That's the third core collection out ofthe three that we have. It's called Mercedes-Benz NXT Icons. It's the closestone to the core product. It is a journey through the design heritage ofMercedes-Benz. The way it is released is in seven chapters, which we call eras.Each chapter or era is its own drop. It started with the first era, The Era ofLuxury. The mint was closed at the end of 2023. In early 2024, the next era,The Era of Technology, will be able to mint. Each era has a specific timeframe.For example, The Era of Luxury was the current production cars, the models thatyou could still buy at your Mercedes-Benz dealership, and The Era of Technologyis everything from 2000 to 2017.

They were designed by the same people whodesigned the actual cars headed by Gorden Wagener. It's the Mercedes-Benzdesign team that is responsible for all of these. They have different traits.For example, we have six models in every era. There are forefronts andbackgrounds. There are a lot of cool Easter eggs like the Erlkoenig pattern,for example, which is on new cars that you don't want any photos where peoplecan see the details of, and also stitchings and fabrics that are in the realMercedes-Benz cars are part of the traits that we have in the collection. Itincludes Mercedes-Benz cars but also AMGs and Maybachs.

That's exciting stuff. What's the nextmint all about? Where are we in this evolution of this digital collectionrelease roadmap?

The next mint is going to be the secondout of the seven eras, The Era of Technology, and that is dropping very soon.You can follow us on Twitter to stay up to date for the actual release date.

Have you found that these collectionshave brought new folks into the Mercedes ecosystem?

We have our Discord, for example. We areactively engaging with these new collectors there or the new brand fans butwe're targeting the traditional brand fans and collectors of physical cars aswell. That's why for the next mint, The Era of Technology, we also worked onour website a lot. We will have credit card payments instead of only ETH in thefuture. We will have a wallet-as-a-service solution where people can create awallet very easily with their social or email logins. We are always working onmaking the experience smoother for people to be collectors.

You're working with some interestingonboarding technology. What was the process like in terms of deciding whetheror not to build that technology in-house or find partners? Were you surprisedat the options that are out there to support onboarding?

We are always looking at a variety ofoptions and then pick the one that we feel fits best to our needs. For creditcards, wallet-as-a-service, but also when we designed the NFT-enabled hardwarewallet cards, we looked at a lot of different companies. For us, these servicesdon't need to be invented twice. We try to partner with the best out there andthen have a user flow that feels coherent.

For us, everything starts with the userexperience. When we designed our website and the minting experience, for example,we started with what would we want in terms of a good minting experience. Wehad a Dutch auction for the first drop, for example. We also have a fixed-priceoption. We started to design from the user experience first and then looked atall the options that fit there. We're happy to partner with a few greatcompanies. One is Youba whom we did this card together.

Any brand can succeed by designing from the user experience first and then looking at all the options that fit there. Click To Tweet.

You're going to have so many more amazingpartnerships in the future. Going back to Mercedes as a company, there are twowords that I want to spend some time on for you to unpack. The first iscollectability, and that is a key concept about the intrinsic value of digitalobjects with the physical that is Mercedes-Benz, and then full transparency,always. That's a principle that's very vital to Mercedes-Benz. Can you spendsome time on the collectability side of things and then also how fulltransparency, always correlates to the message that you're trying to bring withdoing this?

In general, collectability is inherent toNFTs, and it's also what got us started. We are NFT collectors ourselves onvarious chains and different projects. I started with a lot of Art Blocks backin the day but we have a lot of PFPs also from back in the day includingCryptoPunks on the collectible side. There are a lot of use cases for NFTtechnology but for us, collectability felt like a natural fit for a brand likeMercedes-Benz that is known for being collectible. There are a lot of classiccar collectors in the world and a lot of people who also collect memorabiliafrom old posters and other stuff. That felt natural to us.

What we mean by collectability is thetechnical production is high-class. It's craftsmanship. It feels authentic tothe brand. It also has a storytelling universe around it, for example, becausecollectibles and comic books work like that. You are part of a larger story inthe end. They're also part of a cultural development that we actively look intoand seek. For example, what we are looking at in the future are contexts inthis cultural environment where to put the Icons next.

Gaming, for example, is a veryinteresting topic to us. XR is an interesting topic. When you look at what'sgoing to happen with the Apple Vision Pro that is hopefully likely coming outin January 2023. It's gotten a little silent around it. When you look at theMeta Ray-Ban, for example, it's interesting what's happening there. We are alsoalways looking into how we can be culturally relevant with what we do. Thesefactors in the end make an item and also a digital item collectible.

The other part of the question was aroundtransparency, always, which is something that was part of our strategy that wedeveloped quite early because when we were asked by Mercedes-Benz to developthe strategy, we asked ourselves, "What would we want as collectors from alarge brand entering the space?" We looked into what others had done andwhat works in the space. In a market that is very hype-driven and all aboutFOMO, we wanted to be a little different. I also didn't want to talk peopleinto buying something that they may later regret.

That was one of our key principles fromthe beginning. We asked ourselves, "How can that work?" We developedthe framework that we are still using. That consists of different layers thatare a little bit like a hierarchy among the collections that we are doing. Forthe core collections, we already talked about the three that are out there,Maschine, Eternities, and Icons. That's the top tier. They are part of acoherent story. They are planned and developed by us. They are in a way allinterrelated.

There are satellite projects, which are alittle bit more fun. They can be more experimental. They are more one-time andunique ideas but they also have a right to exist. We wanted to make it clearthat there are different kinds of NFT collections that we are launching. Thereare peripheral projects because, as you can imagine, a brand like Mercedes-Benzalso has a lot of things that could in the future, for example, be NFTs thatare not 100% our own. That's third-party brand usage. For example, in a gamewhere there's one Mercedes-Benz car, that would be a peripheral project.

That is a framework that we developedquite early to give transparency and also to make people do good business orbuying decisions because we believe that the community thrives when people wantto be there, and when they don't just FOMO into something and then a few monthslater regret it. That's what we mean by full transparency, always. In a lot ofcases, we will overshare our thoughts.

By being transparent with your business, you help customers make better buying decisions. A community thrives when people want to be there. Click To Tweet.

We are very cautious in some of ourapproaches but this also leads to communication of the roadmap. There is aroadmap, and a lot of the roadmap is already communicated but we don't have aroadmap like, "On day X, this will launch in three months." Whilewe're working on a lot of these things, we feel like we want to communicatethem when they are ready, safe, and bulletproof.

It's a great amount of responsibility torepresent this critical and iconic brand in the right way and release thingswhen it makes sense to release them. I would be remiss if we didn't talk aboutthe idea of an NFT technology related to the actual car usage experience. Whatare your thoughts on that? There have been ideas tossed around in this spacefrom having a digital twin to the car that you own and using NFTs to capturedriving data and personal data around preferences. What are you thinking aboutNFTs when it relates to the cars that folks own?

We're thinking about the mentioned abovethings as well. One thing we have already as a pilot in the new E-Class is anin-car app where you can show your NFT collection. That is something that wewill in the future further develop. I cannot comment on the other ideas.

That's fine. I do have one more questionfor you, and then we have another segment that we're looking forward to doingwith you. You're taking a look around at what's going on in the Web3 space.You've started as a collector. What are some of the projects in the space thatyou've been personally following that you're excited about?

The first thing that comes into my mindis Bright Moments because it's a community that we did anexhibition in Berlin with but also that I was following way before that. I lovewhat they're doing, especially in live minting experiences. It also inspiredour live minting experience with the cards and doing that at events. It'sBright Moments. Here's a shout-out to Seth and the team. It's a community thatI like and follow.

Edge of NFT Podcast | Timo Heuer | Blockchain Technology
Blockchain Technology: Bright Moments is a community that shines in live minting experiences.

Before you move on, the original BrightMoments is about a five-minute walking distance from my house in Venice. On oneof our first episodes back in April 2021, we did a live show at Bright Momentswith Seth. There's some nostalgia there. I still own some of the OG Venetiansand New Yorkers. I met a lot of great people through the Bright Momentscommunity in those early days.

One of their head developers is a goodfriend of mine that we caught up with. He is in his twenties. He is having agreat time traveling the world and getting to be doing some sophisticateddevelopment. People talk about the cool art collabs that Bright Moments hasdone in this unique community but they are doing some sophisticated technologydevelopment as well.

We got an insight into that when we didthe exhibition together. They're a top-notch team. That's for sure.

Here's a shout-out to those guys.

The second thing that popped into my headis LinksDAO, which isa DAO that bought a golf course. I'm very curious to see how that turns out.I'm a proud holder. It is exciting to see what DAOs can do.

You're following a lot of the projects wefollow as well. This has been incredible. We will have to have you on again atsome point in 2024. I'm sure there are a lot of breakthroughs and excitingupdates you will have at some point down the road for us. We want to get toknow you a little bit better. Rich is going to kick us off with our nextsegment.

Next, we're going to get into Edge QuickHitters, which is a fun and quick way to get to know you a little bit better.There are ten questions, and we're looking for a short, single-word, orfew-word response but feel free to expand if you get the urge.

What is the first thing you remember everpurchasing in your life?

It's probably ice cream. When yourparents give you a few bucks, you can buy ice cream or Pokemon cards. That'sall I can remember at the moment.

There you go. It's probably a mix ofthose both. Maybe you bought them both on the same trip. In LA, I buy a lot ofthat, but it's vegan ice cream. That's our thing over here in LA.

I appreciate that. I like it.

Me as well. Next time you're in LA, I'llhook you up with some of the good spots. What is the first thing you rememberever selling in your life?

Something self-made. When I was a kid, Idid a neighborhood newspaper where I gathered all the cool things that happenedin our neighborhood and sold them to neighbors for a few cents.

That was my first job. I worked for thelocal student newspaper for the county. My first news report was I interviewedthe Official Witch of Salem, Massachusetts about her witchy shenanigans. Thatwas pretty cool.

I also did an internship at a newspaper,and my job was to write about the local Grünkohlessen. It's old peoplegathering in a senior home and eating stuff together. That was my first articlethere.

What was the most recent thing youpurchased?

It was an Apple Store gift card.

That's not a bad one. I too use Apple foreverything. I get that. How about the most recent thing that you sold?

If we would include swapping coins, isthat technically selling? It would be some random coin for ETH probably.

There you go. Double down on ETH. Whynot? A swap is technically a sale but you have to ask your local accountant.The questions get harder but then they get easier. What is your most prizedpossession?

Maybe my collection of art books. That'semotionally valuable. Apart from that, my rice cooker probably. It's life-changingto have one. I cannot come up with anything else on the spot.

The rice cooker is a first but I don'tblame you for that. That's a pretty innovative way to eat some food. I likethat answer.

Next question, if you could buy anythingin the world, digital, physical, service, or experience, that is currently forsale, what would it be?

It would be an artwork from one of theoriginal digital artists like Vera Molnár, for example.

I'm not familiar with that artist. Whatkind of art is that?

It is generative art from the '60s. Shestarted in the '60s. It was at a time when computers filled rooms. She was oneof the first to think of this as not a processing machine only but as somethingthat you could use for art. That's very beautiful.

If you could pass on one of yourpersonality traits to the next generation, what would it be?


I like that one-word answer. Exploringcuriosity gets you to do a lot of great things. On the flip side of it, if youcould remove one of your personality traits from the next generation, whatwould it be?

It's a very honest answer, but it'soverthinking.

It also comes with having an engineeringbackground.

It's all the scenarios in your head.

They lead to some pretty cool results.It's tough. You have to decide when to overthink and when not to. What did youdo before joining us on this show?

I was on a call with our technical team,and we were discussing new website features.

What are you going to do next after theshow?

Probably use my rice cooker to make aMexican bowl or something.

This rice cooker gets a lot of usage.

It's not sponsored. I'm not paid by therice cooker company.

Is it an industrial rice cooker? Itsounds like you're using it quite a lot.

It's not industrial. It's for home use.It's very small but it changed my life for the better.

I can tell. There's an NFT series comingout in Timo's future at some point of rice cookers.

Rice Cooker: A Love Story.

We have more eras of Mercedes-Benz NXT torelease before I can dedicate my life to rice cooker NFTs.

We always like to finish with a coolbonus question, and it's going to be about what you spoke about at the top ofthe interview. As you were doing your trip to America, what was the mostmemorable moment from that trip that you had?

The most memorable moment was the openingparty of The Gateway. There were eight different gallery spaces there, and ourswas right in front of the bar. It was perfectly positioned for the openingevent. We didn't have the hoodies, for example, or any other recognizablemerch. It was nice to see people's honest reactions to the Icons and also toMaschine. They were like, "I saw that before." It was different to ifwe would have been identifiable easily but that was one of my favorite momentsfrom that trip.

That was a lot of fun. Thanks for playingalong with us. We have another last segment before we move toward closing out,which is Hot Topics where we're going to cover a couple of quick things goingon in the market. Feel free to join us in the conversation and add your commentary.You get to switch from being a guest to co-host for this segment.

Let's see how it goes.

One recent news article here from Forbesis, "The Future of NFTs: Will the MarketRevive in 2024? Despitethe long-lasting downturn and negative backdrops such as OpenSea slashing halfits personnel, the market is projected to almost double from $1.6 billion in2023 to $3.2 billion by 2027." That's a doubling over four years,"The volume in October was the highest since the end of August and 38%higher than the lowest week in September based on the Nansen's data."There's a need for integration with real-world assets, regulatory clarity,value-based NFTs, addressing environmental concerns, and collaboration withartists according to expats.

Leave it to Forbes to be the first folksto say the market is dead, and then the market is alive again. This isclickbait at its best in my opinion. NFTs were never dead. It was a shinyobject. It was an experiment. Even folks like Erick Calderon of Snowfro who came on our showprofessed that it's all been an experiment. When you burn the midnight oil forover eighteen months, you need to take a little rest. You need to breathe alittle. The market's been breathing in my opinion. What do you think?

Blockchain or NFTs are a medium. Withpaper or canvases, there are the Picassos in the world but also the nieces andnephews that paint cute but maybe not culturally significant paintings. It'sthe same with NFTs. To say NFTs are dead is a nonsensical sentence to me.

To speak to that, at the hype of lookingat how big the market is from $1.6 billion when you look at the entire artmarket, we're looking at almost $580 billion in all of art. If you're sayingthat it's caught a small fraction of that, we're going to see more artists inthe future even if they have a physical piece tying it back to some digitalasset as well.

The call that it's going to be $3 billionin the next four years is understating what's going to happen. It has thepotential to be much greater especially as the companies that are stickingaround and growing this NFT space are finding that true utility and gettingtrue buy-in from their communities. It has way more upside than that. This ismore of a clickbait thing but this market is a lot larger than it's portrayedin this particular article.

Our next story is around StoryCo. We should disclose. We own some of theOG NFTs in this collection. They were a partner for us at Outer Edge. We're excited about The Disco Ball release, "The Disco Ball Brings Hollywood andCommunity Creators Together. Whereas most people think of NFTs as inherently interoperable andtransferrable, StoryCo has made Story Moments non-transferrable or soulboundfor a particular purpose. The idea is that they're soulbound because theyrepresent your unique journey through the narrative but it also allows us tounderstand who's engaging with the story so we can award those folks withthings that can be transferable."

That's what JP Alanis, Justin's brother,and the other co-founder and co-CEO of StoryCo mentioned in an interview,"Most intriguingly, The Disco Ball and other upcoming stories from StoryCowill allow anyone in the world the opportunity to co-create alongside the toptalent producing the story. This could include an open call for a piece ofartwork, a short story illuminating the background of a character, and amusical composition or voice acting."

"The first chapter contains severalpieces of co-creation, including artwork by a Nigerian art student and an entireminor character created by a high school teacher. More is coming in upcomingchapters, including a full song by Fuzzle, an Arizona synth-pop band."What they're doing is pretty cool. This idea of soulbound tokens and soulboundNFTs is going to be part of the future narrative of the space. Co-creation,without the need to verify and trust, is one of the more powerful aspects ofNFT technology that allows people to work together across borders and sharerights to access the blockchain. I'm excited generally about what these guysare doing. Any other thoughts?

When we spoke with them about howcreatives are able to come together and finish a story, I see theseopportunities being either picked up by Hollywood or all these people who cannow go and turn this into a larger production. These people, by helping to dothis, potentially can get royalties for being creative and collaborating withthese other people. They could potentially take the people and thecollaboration that they have off-chain to be able to do more and establish coolthings together. The process that they're going about with doing this isallowing for more collaboration and creativeness, and then still giving peoplethe props that they deserve while helping to formulate an entire thought.

There's one more interesting news piecethat caught our attention. Following the news that Solana-based NFT wallet app Backpack will launch a cryptocurrency exchangebased in Dubai, and this is covered by Decrypt, they added the former FTX GeneralCounsel Can Sun to lead the project. To give folks some background there, thisis weeks after Sun testified against his ex-boss, Sam Bankman-Fried, in the USgovernment's fraud trial against FTX, and he cooperated with prosecutors andsigned a non-prosecution agreement.

This led to Backpack's NFT project,Solana's Mad Lads, soaring to an all-time high price. That's an interestingreflection of sentiment around folks associated with FTX. You have thisgentleman who was part of that and testified and took the straight path. All ofa sudden, there's some correlated value that has been created between himjoining Backpack in their NFT project. I don't know how strong a correlationthere is there. It could be an interesting coincidence but maybe not. Anythoughts there?

The only insight I have is there's a lothappening in the UAE, and you're going to see larger projects try to find waysto integrate into that marketplace. The alignment with Solana to be able to goand do that over there makes a good strategic play. 2024 is going to be a hugeyear for companies expanding more internationally. A lot of companies arelooking for different places to set up more spaces.

The UAE, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi are greatplaces to consider for all those reading out there, especially now that Joshand I have spent some time out there and seen what's happening there. It'spretty awesome and remarkable. Timo, I don't know how much time Mercedes isspending out there but it might be worth looking into for 2024. That's the onlysentiment I'm going to share.

I was there a couple of years ago. I canagree with what you said.

They do love cars over there. That's forsure.

That's also very true.

Timo, we like to finish up with ashout-out where you get to call out someone in your world who doesn't alwaysget the limelight but is doing important things that have made a difference foryou. Does anyone come to mind?

My parents.

Here's a shout-out to Timo's parents forinspiring all this creativity.

Our three cofounders at the creativestudio share the light with me, and everybody at Mercedes-Benz who works onthese topics. Here's a shout-out to them. It wouldn't be possible without them.

This has been a fun show. We're excitedto see brands like Mercedes go into this space in a meaningful way. Where canaudiences go to learn more about you and the projects that you're working on?

Our website is, and we are @MercedesBenzNXT on X,Twitter, or whatever it's called.

We have reached the outer limit at theshow. Thanks for exploring with us. We've got space for more adventures on thisstarship, so invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers who will makethis journey all so much better. How? Go to Spotify or iTunes, rate us, and say something awesome, andthen go to Edge of NFT to dive further down the rabbit hole andsubscribe to our newsletter. Look us up on all major social platforms by typingEdgeOfNFT and start a fun conversation with us online. Lastly, be sure to tunein next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this timewith us.

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