In this episode of Edge of NFT, James of Just Ape emphasizes the core principles of building Web3 communities by discussing their journey and initiatives. The conversation underscores the importance of transitioning from Web2 to Web3, with a focus on creating tangible value and combating biases against NFTs. The launch of Apes Across Worlds exemplifies their commitment to fostering interconnected and decentralized communities, emphasizing digital ownership and open-source governance. The discussion revolves around building bridges between diverse Web3 ecosystems, learning from successful projects like Nouns DAO and Proof Collective, and addressing the challenge of community engagement. Plus, on our Hot Topics segment, Matt Mason discusses Broadside's new partnership with Book.io, which involves a collector's edition of Broadside books where the community members who contributed content are rewarded with 30% of the royalties. Tune in for more!
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Building Web3 Communities: An Insightful Conversation With James Of Just Ape
This is James with Just Ape, a community about getting back to the basics of bridging Web2 to Web3. I'm on the Edge of NFT getting back to the basics of why Web3 matters. Enjoy.
NFT-curious audiences, stay tuned for this episode to learn how Apes Across Worlds are building bridges to true open-source community governance for an exciting new L1, how a total stranger turned into a total lifesaver for one of our guests, and finally, how one of the most active communities in the metaverse has broken new ground once again in the realm of digital books.
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This episode features James AKA Groovy, the visionary founder of Just Ape Studios, Just Ape, and Apes Across Worlds. An ardent believer in the transformative power of blockchain and decentralized technologies, James' journey in the Web3 space is a testament to his commitment to driving innovation. Leading the charge at Just Ape Studios, they crafted a unique space for digital arts and fashion enthusiasts, connecting creators and connoisseurs in an unprecedented manner.
With Just Ape Studios, James steered the integration of cutting-edge blockchain solutions into multimedia and fashion, solidifying their position as a pioneer in the field. With a technical background deeply rooted in software engineering, James couples their extensive knowledge with an intuitive understanding of market trends, setting new standards for blockchain-based projects. James, how are you doing?
I'm doing amazing. How about you?
I'm doing incredible. I'm glad to have you here. It's good to connect and keep talking about all the amazing things you're doing. It's rare that you get to meet people in person in your hometown. We got to meet over some coffee at Radio City and had an awesome conversation. I was like, "We have to find a way to get you on the show." This is that day. It's awesome.
It has been a long time coming. I'm excited to get things rolling.
It's the time to build. I'm here in Dubai, and they're also excited about building. A lot of folks have moved their companies here to do a lot of building. I love that you come from that builder background and mentality. There's a lot more infrastructure here that the industry needs. I appreciate all that. It's fascinating how Just Ape is a movement about getting back to the basics. I'm curious. What made you choose that type of messaging? How did the community respond?
We launched on Solana following the whole hype era of Okay Bears. During that time, we saw a lot of holes within the communities that we wanted to fill. That's what we prioritized with Just Ape when we launched. We wanted to give back and approach it from this no-nonsense perspective. When it comes to NFTs, there's always this bias against NFTs and how they are scams. We want to put utility and substance behind that. When we launched, we knew we wanted to give back and create these tangible goods that represented the brand and the company that would allow our holders to receive something tangible from participating within our community.
We launched our rewards program that was very similar to a Web2 loyalty program or something like airline miles. That was the first big product that we undertook when we launched. That receptiveness within the community was something that was well-received. Everyone was happy with the NFT assets that represented their part or stake in this loyalty program. When we launched, it was very well received. After our first season, we had a lot of community members who were happy with how things played out and being able to stake their assets. They didn't have to worry about any excess tokens or any issues with regulatory uncertainty.
It did well when it launched. Through season one, we were able to showcase a lot of the tangible products that we were creating in brick-and-mortar stores in both New York City as well as Miami. Overall, it was a good onboarding mechanism, not only for people who were already in Web3 but the people who were going into these stores on the Web2 side of things were able to see these tangible products that stood behind the NFTs and understood what the actual mechanism of our project was. That did well.
I remember when Solana was coming out with their brick-and-mortar stories, and I was like, "I wonder what stuff they're going to put in there." You're telling me, "Our product was there." That is awesome. The use case was trying to see utilities and even talking about the rewards program and how loyal your community is at Ape. It's awesome even to see the activity that's still happening on Twitter and other places. You continue to push the envelope. You're continuing to do cool things, and the latest happens to be Apes Across Worlds, which exemplifies your vision for a decentralized interconnected universe where community engagement and digital ownership are paramount. Can you tell us a little bit more about how this project came into being? What was the journey to get there?
You brought up some good points with the whole physical brick-and-mortar stores. They were great while they were around for these onboard mechanisms to bring more people into the community. One of the big things that we have focused on ever since we launched is how can we grow and scale. That thesis for us is we're always going to have to look outside of the ecosystem to onboard more people to the space. That was my thesis on how would continue to grow. If we were always aiming for this recycled liquidity, it would never work out.
It was great while Solana Spaces was around. We were able to onboard a lot of new people to the project and the community and introduced a lot of people to what we were working on. Unfortunately, Solana Spaces shut down. We were aware that it was going in that direction. They weren't getting funding from too many participants, other projects, and businesses within the ecosystem.
Once that happened for us, that killed off that vertical at least in terms of fashion. We had to go back to the drawing board and pivot in terms of how we can focus on more contributions that are going to help Web3 as a whole. For us, what that meant was focusing more on Web3 infrastructure and building out products that are going to help us grow within Web3 as opposed to mostly focusing on onboarding.
With that in mind, we started looking at a lot of other ecosystems and places where we could again continue to grow, scale, and build infrastructure that was going to help the ecosystem grow. For us, that meant looking at open-source contributions. We ultimately landed on Aleph Zero. We spoke to a lot of other networks at the time. We spoke to Polygon, Sui, Aptos, NEAR, and a few other ones as well. Ultimately, Aleph Zero is where we landed.
We want to take it back to how can we help this ecosystem grow and thrive. For us, that meant focusing on open-source contributions. With the governance platform, we idealized that was more or less meant to be the standard for NFT ecosystems or the NFT ecosystem itself. How can we create a platform that's going to allow projects to keep their community in line with what they're working on, foster transparency of what they're working on, as well as allow their community to have that input to say, "This is where you should build."
For us, Apes Across Worlds, which is the product on top of the governance platform that we're building, will only be around 220 assets. The idea is to bring a bunch of builders, visionaries, and contributors from all across Web3 to this ecosystem where they can actively contribute to helping expand that ecosystem. With the governance platform itself, that's our first deliverable. We're also implementing the NFT standard on Aleph Zero, which will be open source as a means to allow the ecosystem to use it as well. The second thing we want to build is an NFT lending protocol. That's what we're focusing on or the next chunk of work that we want to move on after we finish the governance platform.
You covered a lot. Let's break it down a little bit. First, for those who don't know what Aleph Zero is all about, maybe you can explain that to our audiences to start.
Aleph Zero is another L1 chain. It has high throughput. It's very scalable. It has a privacy layer to allow transactions to be privately made as well. At its core, it's highly scalable and privacy-compliant as well. It was found by a great team out in Poland. That's the basis of what it is. It's highly scalable and very fast. To my knowledge, it's one of the fastest blockchains that has pretty much near-instant finality, which means transactions are pretty much near-instant finalized. That's the basis of what Aleph Zero is.
That makes sense. Those are some cool tools that you're building. How are those tools going to catalyze growth and innovation for that L1? Break it down a little bit more in layman's terms in terms of how these projects all tie together.
Here's the whole core thesis of expanding Web3 at least when it comes to NFT ecosystems. When we were at the drawing board, we were looking at a lot of big ecosystems now like Ethereum and Solana, and looking at which products catalyzed their NFT ecosystems and which projects helped those grow. On Ethereum, one of the big projects that we saw that was a smaller concentrated community was Nouns DAO. What they have achieved in such a short time is they have proliferated Nouns DAO across all of Web3. They were a project that helped the ecosystem grow.
We took a lot of lessons from that. We looked at other small communities like PROOF Collective, which were also instrumental in getting that NFT ecosystem expanding and growing as well. We modeled a lot of the governance platform after what we could do in terms of creating tools that were going to help communities contribute. That's what we saw in terms of friction when it came to these smaller concentrated communities that wanted to grow and expand. A lot of the communities wanted to contribute but they didn't have the tools to do so.
That's the first problem that we aim to solve. We wanted to create something that was very frictionless, something that incentivized community contribution, and something that allowed the community to actively see what the project was going toward or what vision they were building toward. We also looked at Solana, some of the smaller communities on Solana, and things that were prevalent in the early days prior to Solana experiencing its explosive growth.
That was also a big toolset that we saw missing from these smaller communities. It was the tooling that would allow the community to say, "This is what you should do. This is why you should do it." Everyone else backs this idea. Our thesis for the catalyst is to create tooling that will allow us to actively contribute and say on a very frictionless approach. They want to check in every day and say, "This is what you should build," or vote on a proposal that they think is going to bring value to the wider ecosystem or even Apes Across Worlds itself. That was our thesis for how it will contribute to that scaling factor.
That's an L1 I wasn't familiar, with and I'm sure other folks weren't as well. Part of the reason these L1s do grants is to bring the right advocates and communities into their broader ecosystem. I'm going to check them out and see what they're all about.
Congrats on the EFP grant. Getting those is always their set of challenges but you're using that to go and create a lot of cool things from the tooling and also looking at how you build in those communities. Having gone through what you did with Just Ape, you know how to talk to different communities, collectors, artists, and newcomers, and you're trying to wrap that into why they would now want to be a part of AAW. Can you describe how you're leveraging digital collectible ownership, community governments, and the other ways you're using blockchain infrastructure? You talked about a couple of those different points, and you probably have some things in that roadmap that people can be excited about.
Taking it back to season one for Just Ape on Solana, we created this whole loyalty program. All holders had to do was stake their assets. They get distributions of tokens over the sense of the whole season, which allows them to burn these tokens for tangible items. There were other things. There were raffles. We gave away a $10,000 Triumph bike, which is pretty awesome.
We had this amazing season one. One of the biggest lessons we learned after season one was everyone likes all this free stuff from this rewards program, and it's great but they want something a little bit more. They want to be engaged, and they want that sense of ownership. Moving forward, that was also tied into this next platform that we're building. How can we keep people engaged on a daily basis? How can we keep them coming back? How can we make them feel like their voice matters?
That came into full circle with the governance platform. Every holder of every single Ape has one vote. The more Apes you hold, the more votes you have. That allows you to leverage your voice in a way and say, "This is what we should do." When you're putting proposals forward, you can go ahead. Our method of taking apart these proposals is you need to have everything down from teams to finances to everything that's fully fleshed out. We're taking the Nouns model and putting it on overdrive because we also want to tie in a lot of social dynamics.
It goes without saying that Web3 also lives on crypto Twitter, and if you don't have that presence, you're not making noise about what you're building. No one is going to care. I ultimately say it came into looking at how can we tie in social dynamics to this and how can we also incentivize these participants to actively contribute. We also wrapped an achievement system into our governance platform that allows holders to look at certain metrics of things. They have fixed metrics that they have hit within the community itself and things like signing in every day, making a certain amount of proposals, and making a certain amount of votes. We tied in some of our physical products as well into these achievements.
With everything that we have created in the Web2 space and all these tangible goods, we didn't want to completely leave that behind. We wanted to look at how we can incentivize people to actively contribute every day. That's a sense of ownership and achievement within the governance platform itself. We want to wrap everything together, and that's something we nailed with the governance platform when it comes to ownership participation and actively engaging on Twitter.
This is not the first L1 that needed this type of government structure and reward mechanism. There are other systems out there. I'm curious. To what extent you were inspired by what others have done relative to starting from a place of curiosity and discovery as a longtime product dev? I'm sure this is a common tension in that world because there are tracks that have been laid that are not bad but if you go down those tracks, you are missing out on something fun that's down a different path. How do you balance all that?
You bring on some very good points in terms of tracks that have been laid. The whole idea of Web3 is to iterate. Keep building. Keep iterating on the product until you build something better. You can go down a track for as long as you want but it isn't until you start veering off that you create something very unique. Luckily, Web3 has been around, and it hasn't been around for too long but on the other side, we have seen so many tracks laid on Ethereum, which is one of the biggest NFT ecosystems in the space. Through that, we have been able to see what works and what doesn't.
The biggest thing for us was looking at ways to tie incentives into everything that we were doing. It goes to say especially within the bear market that people need to be incentivized for some greater reason to actively fill that need and contribute. It has been a balance of taking those tracks that we have seen bigger projects like Proof and Nouns laid down, looking at things from a top-level view, and being like, "How can we improve on this model and make people want to participate in this over the long term?"
Some of the shortcomings we have seen with other products and projects are people get bored. People get bored all the time. They move on to the next thing. They want to be a part of the new hotness. It has been that fine and delicate balance, "How can we make it interesting enough that people don't want to move on? They want to stay. They want to contribute. They feel rewarded and incentivized enough to keep building with us."
We launched Just Ape. We have been able to hone into the diehard community that has been with us since the beginning. On the other side, we have talked to other networks. We have been able to cultivate this community from all ecosystems, whether it be Ethereum or Polygon. What we're bringing out with Aleph Zero is a nice mix of everything.
We're seeing people who ultimately don't care about one particular ecosystem. No one is the maxi. The only maxis that we have are Web3 maxis. That's the important pivotal part for us moving forward. We wanted to bring people together from all ecosystems. There has been no better time to do it than in the bear because, at this point, everyone who's still around cares about Web3 as a whole. It's not like they're a maxi for one particular ecosystem. They want to make sure that Web3 works so that all of us don't have to go back to Web2.
There's more of that message that needs to continue to spread. There's room for a lot of cool projects that can exist and keep furthering this community. We're still unfortunately in a world where a lot of islands are being built with not enough bridges but it sounds like you're on the side of building these bridges to keep bringing all these amazing communities together. This is a cool way of going at that. On your end, you still have some things coming out with Apes Across Worlds, and there are probably some things that are coming out either toward the end of 2023 or coming up early in 2024 that you might be able to tell us about. Can you tease a little bit of that for us?
The governance platform was more like the first deliverable that we wanted to push out on Aleph Zero. With the new and young ecosystem, there are so many different things you can build and so many different contributions that you can put forward, and there's not enough time. A problem with the newer ecosystem, taking it back to what Josh mentioned, is there are so many great lessons in Web3 and on particular chains that you can run into and be like, "This is great." When you approach a new ecosystem, you want to build for that particular problem so that problem doesn't exist, and people have the same assets and tools when they come to explore these ecosystems.
The next big product that we want to work on is an NFT lending protocol on Aleph Zero. This will solve the problem of not having enough liquidity in this newer ecosystem and allow holders to leverage their assets to borrow and/or lend, which is great for us. It's great for the community. It's building not only for our community but it will build for every community that wants to build on Aleph Zero after.
That's what I'm excited about. We have looked at building every product so far more so for our smaller community. This is the first big approach that we're taking, "How can we build for the ecosystem at large? How can we build these revenue-generating products that are going to help us sustain us long term and that are going to contribute to that ecosystem expansion?"
There's still a lot more building on your end to be had. Since we did talk about what's going on in the space, part of your role is to see what's out there. I'm curious. Are there any other projects in the space that you've been following that you admire?
What Luca with Pudgy Penguins is doing in this space is pretty incredible. The guy has been going to all these licensing expos. He went to Comic-Con. He has been doing so much for putting Web3 out there in front of people. Taking it back, when we started, there's this whole idea, "How do we grow Web3?" The obvious choice is to go to Web2. That's why Solana Spaces was the obvious choice for us. We saw this opportunity to go directly and be in front of Web2.
In the attention economy, that's the only way to do it now. You have to go in front of people. You have to stand in front of them and scream and shout until they hear your message and understand that NFTs aren't a scam. There's so much substance behind projects and businesses that are building the space. Luca is proof of that with what he is doing with this whole idea of IP and how he's expanding across many different verticals. That's the whole big value of someone that I'm inspired by, especially with all the work that he is doing. On Instagram, they get millions of impressions from people who have never even heard of NFTs. If you can serve NFTs on that platter where they don't even realize the basis behind it until they have their first NFT, that's super valuable.
Reddit has done it as well. They have had people who have bought these avatars. They're transacting on Polygon, and they don't even understand or know that they're working with blockchain technology. That's the future. At the end of the day, people are going to be involved more with blockchain tech in the future, and they won't even know that they're interacting with chains or whatnot. I take a lot of inspiration from teams and founders who are able to deliver products or blockchain tech on that Trojan Horse.
We had Luca on the show finally. He has been hard to pin down. He was going to come to Outer Edge, and then his schedule changed at the last minute. It was great to finally talk to him about all the things he is building and how pumped up he is about what's coming up. I've mentioned this before in the show. If you haven't checked out @PudgyPenguins on Instagram, it's amazing.
There was one comic about a guy who took a power nap and then woke up at 2:00 AM. He was like, "What time is it?" My girlfriend was like, "That is so you." It's a cool piece of IP. That wraps up this segment of the show but we have a lot more to come. That was a lot of fun. I'm excited that we're going to have a special Hot Topic segment. Let's bring on our special guest for this segment, Matt Mason. What's going on, Matt? It's good to see you.
It's good to see you. Thanks for having me back.
For regular audiences, Matt is also a regular on the show. He was on in the very beginning. He continues to build. I'm sure there's a lot you can relate to in terms of what James was saying about the industry.
It has been gut punch after gut punch for so many of us in the space in 2023. I was listening along to everything you're saying, James, and nodding. I'm glad that you are still here and that people as talented as you are still here and see the future in Web3. After the dot-com crash and a lot of waves like this in tech, the mainstream media is pointing their fingers and saying, "It was all a load of rubbish," but that has not been true once in the history of technology. There are so many applications and people building amazing things. Speculation distorts everything we're doing. I'm nothing but bullish when I see people like James and his team building amazing things.
You're also doing some amazing buildings. Let's give your formal background and talk a little bit about what you're up to. For those that don't know Matt, he is a senior executive with almost twenty years of experience in marketing, strategy, product management, and content creation, including a decade at C-level in distributed tech and Web3. He's also the CEO and Cofounder of Dazzle Ship, which is a metaverse innovation lab. He's the creator of the Web3 franchise Broadside.
You should check out Broadside. It's one of the most engaged communities and visited destinations in the open metaverse. The community has paid to mint over 50,000 NFTs with $2.3 million in sales volume. They have partnered with brands like Beatport, OpenSea, Rarible, and Pixelynx among many others. It also turns out that Matt and James have a common background that neither of them talks about too often. You were both hanging out at Kraken a few years back.
We're both former Kraken Knights. I was the CMO there for a spell, and James was on the engineering team.
I'm curious. Is the marketing team coming up with all these ideas, and the engineering team is saying, "No way. We can't do that."
Sometimes. Much of my career has been the opposite. I walked in one morning, and the engineering team said, "We built a thing." We put it online, and we didn't tell anyone in marketing.
What side of the coin did you fall on? Tell us the truth.
It was the opposite for me. It was more or less, "You need to do this. We need this build out in unrealistic timelines." It all worked out for the best. Luckily, the team that I worked with was harmonious. We're very much in the know of what needed to happen. Luckily, I never walked in on, "This is the whole pivot. This is what you need to do now. Throw out all the old code." It was a harmonious relationship. The culture at Kraken is amazing. It's one of my favorite places I worked in. It was the right stepping stone into Web3 full-time for me.
We brought Matt to share some big news about another new road in Web3 that he has been driving down. The question is this. Matt, what was it like to take Counting Crows on the road? I'm kidding. That would be a cool question but seriously, what's the big news that you're able to share with us?
I did an album with Counting Crows at BitTorrent. I've done that.
I did my research.
I've forgotten about that.
That's a fun fact for sure.
We will get into that at some point. It has been a while since we launched Broadside. Two things have happened. 1.) We have done everything we said we were going to do and more despite the bear market and everything. 2.) It's not a big surprise. This happens a lot in Web3 and communities generally. Our community took the project in a completely different direction, and now we're trying to build for where they're going as well.
Broadside started as a storytelling project using NFTs. NFT characters are the stars of the story. The way it works is you can buy a Broadside character. It has a name. It's a one-of-one 3D avatar from over 3,000 traits. It's the most traits in any collection in OpenSea. It broke OpenSea's trait thing when we launched it. We distributed tens of thousands of episodes to our holders of this story about their characters. Over the summer, we gave everybody who collected the full story the opportunity to merge and bind the episodes of the story into a one-of-one Broadside book with your hero on the cover with your hero named as the main character throughout.
We thought that in this market, we wouldn't get that many people doing it. We thought maybe 1,000 or so would do it. Over 3,000 people created one of these first-edition Broadside books, which is pretty mad. I used to run a gaming studio. I think a lot about retention as a big marker for the health of a community. We minted 7,200 heroes, and 3,000 of them stuck around for ten months paying for episodes, paying to merge, and buying a book, which is a crazy metric in terms of engagement and the health of a community. We were inspired by that.
Along the way, we met a platform called Book.io. It's an amazing team of people backed by Penguin Random House and a few other big media players who were building an eBook marketplace where every eBook is an NFT or a fully ownable asset built on blockchain. They have sold over 160,000 eBook NFTs in 2022, which is astonishing in this market. They're one of the companies that are managing to pierce the Web3 bubble, get to a new audience, and show them an application for NFTs that matters to them.
We were excited to meet them. We have partnered with them on the first edition of the Broadside book which isn't completely unique. We're calling it the collector's edition. The hero will have one name throughout. We asked everybody who created the first edition to give us their PFP, which they own the rights to, and to write a little message like a yearbook. We created this 300-page section that's going to be in the collector's edition. Everybody in the Broadside community who contributed, merged, and bound their book is featured in this collector's edition. In return, because they own the IP rights and they're Broadsiders, we're sharing 30% of the royalties with them.
Both Vector, my co-founder, and I come from a long history in content creation. We're looking at all these models break down, and we're looking at studios, labels, and all these platforms consolidate. One of the things we love about Web3 is you can involve your community, collaborate with them, and let them share in the upside of working together if they're creating stuff with you. This made so much sense to us.
In my first book, which I published with Simon & Schuster and ten other countries, I licensed a lot of content from people, excerpts from another book, and photos. It's a simple model. If you're using a photo, ask permission, sign a contract, and then pay the photographer. That's what we did here. Our Broadside community owns all the rights. We asked for their permission. They signed a contract. We're taking their work, publishing it, and paying them for it. It's not security, or at least our legal team assures us it probably isn't security but we want to keep pushing despite where the SEC is going and despite all this FUD. We owe it to content creators to come up with new models. We owe it to fans to come up with new ways to include them in the process of building franchises.
Rich, I know you have a question but I have to say kudos to you, Matt, for doing something that touches the R-word that is so trepidatious in a creative way and trying to find the winning strategy here that checks the right boxes and makes everyone happy because a lot of people would not go down that road at all but you didn't. I see James nodding his head as well. I'm sure, James, as a product developer, you appreciate what we're talking about here.
In Web3, it seems like there are not enough projects and businesses that give back. When you can nail down a model where incentives align not only with the project, the business, the founders, and also the community, that's a home run. Many projects and businesses shy away from it. Granted all this stuff that's going on with the SEC, it is what it is but there are still so many routes you can take forward that align with giving back. Not enough people in the space give back. When you truly give back to your community, that's when they're excited again to come back every day. I'm imagining that you didn't have this revenue-giving back model at least at first, and after you unrolled it, your community was very excited.
In Web3, it seems like there are not enough projects and businesses that give back. When you can nail down a model where incentives align not only with the project, the business, the founders, and also the community, that's a home run. Click To Tweet
It wasn't something we thought about when we launched necessarily. Aspirationally, we were thinking, "How do we get to models like this?" We were in the interest of trying to follow the SEC's guidelines which were regulated by enforcement and looking at decisions like Stoner Cats.
What guidelines? That's the problem.
There are no guidelines. The one thing we looked at was the Howey test for securities law. If you're saying you're going to build a golf course, and you haven't built it yet but you're raising funds to do it, then the thing you are selling or the memberships to the golf course are securities. If the golf course exists, it's not a security. Don't announce anything until you've done it.
We worked for a month with our legal team and our smart contracts team to get this structure right. We waited until the merge and bind process was ending before we announced that we were doing this 30% royalty. We didn't want to tip our hands. There wasn't any other reason to go and get one of these books other than you were a diehard fan at Broadside, and you had been along for the journey. That was a reward enough.
We wanted this to be a surprise and a cherry on top not because that was the right thing to do from a securities law POV but because it felt like the right way to reward people who are here. We have worked hard to keep flippers out for the whole project. Ninety-eight percent of people have not listed their Broadsiders for sale. They have been here with us, which is amazing.
I'm excited to do this Collectors edition with Book.io. We have 2,000 collector copies that will hopefully mostly go to 2,000 new collectors at a different price point of $45 or 90 MATIC. Pushing the story and expanding this story to a wider Web3 audience is something we're looking at, which is hard. How do you take care of your core community? How do you keep growing the franchise? A lot of people are struggling with this in Web3. Luca Netz is doing an amazing use of blockchain and plush toys and doesn't impact holders. We're thinking about those types of models and how you create new stuff.
Let's dive deeper into that real quick. You talked about at the top of the conversation how you have the stickiness. You have people who are coming and staying. There's something there. I would like to think that there are a lot of people who like to be creative in their ways but also want to have some end product or end thing that they can point back to and say, "I contributed to this thing. Here it is. Other people are enjoying the fruits of that." Walk us through that. If I, Josh, and Groovy come together and look at one of these, we want to contribute. We want to potentially participate. What does that look like?
If you have a Broadsider, you get these episodes. You are able to merge and burn them and create a book. We have closed the merger burn process now. People couldn't do it once we announced the royalty thing but we built the royalty system so that we can and will use it again. This deal we have done with Book.io is the first book deal we have done on Broadside. We're going to do a lot of deals and eventually get to the physical paper version for general release at some point.
We tried to structure this royalty system in such a way that it's very easy for a big publisher to look at this and say, "We don't have to be involved in it. You're just licensing content from someone like we normally would from a photographer or a writer." We wanted to make it very easy for publishers, studios, or anyone working with us. On the other side for our core community, we can always implement this royalty model where appropriate if the partner we're publishing with is comfortable with it in such a way that it's a nice surprise for holders. We're going to use it again in different ways for people as we bring more people into the project.
Your core community doesn't ever want you to make any more NFTs. They want you to go and sell soft toys in Walmart or wherever it is because then the value of their NFTs goes up. I don't think there's anything wrong with that except for the fact that I happen to love NFTs. I love them as network-aware social objects, and I don't think we have shown anyone the magic of these things yet.
For the next phase of Broadside with this community being so engaged in metaverse, we're building metaverse tools and products in this new platform that we're launching at the beginning of 2024. There will be new NFTs. They're very different from the OG collection but I'm not going to apologize for that, and I'm never going to stop making NFTs as long as I'm in this space because they're magic.
With the idea of objects and avatars that can travel across the 100,000-plus Web3 games and open metaverse worlds that exist, taking different objects into different environments that have different utilities, adding in real-time AI voice, and all of these other bells and whistles that we're seeing emerge, we're going to see something built on the metaverse that looks like gaming. As Fortnite becomes a platform, Roblox becomes a platform, and Apple drives more value to the avatar level, you are going to see these weird composable communities that are running around the next layer of the internet.
Blockchain is the only thing that makes that work. There are going to be millions of people doing this. Long term, the only model if you've got the issue one of something is it's not making more NFTs. NFTs are going to have to follow the Pokemon model. Old-school one-of-one Pokemons or the first ones are valuable because there are billions of them. That's the only sustainable model but getting from here to there is the tricky part because you have to bring your community with you.
You bring on some interesting points. Creating more NFTs or saturation only becomes a problem if there's no underlying use case or utility. It sounds like you already have a lot baked in, and there are things that you want to do with these extra NFTs. Saturation is an issue if there's no basis for why you're creating these. It sounds like you have a lot planned. That's the better approach as opposed to, "We're not creating any more NFTs." It's very different from, "We're creating NFTs that have a specific purpose and their value proposition." That's the best path forward.
Congrats again on the big news and continuing to break new ground as always. I'm sure you will have more exciting news for us next time you're on. In the meantime, go to @DazzleShip or @BroadsideNFT on Twitter to start to dive down that rabbit hole more and find out more about what's going on in the world of Matt Mason and all his Web3 ventures. Thanks for joining us, Matt.
Thanks for having me. Cheers, guys.
This is a fun segment we like to call Edge Quick Hitters. This is a fun and quick way to get to know James a little better. There are going to be ten questions. We're looking for a short, single-word, or few-word response but feel free to expand if you get the urge. If you heard the show before, this isn't going to be your first. You have a little bit of an upper hand. I know you have checked out our show. What is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
A Pokemon card. That was what I spent my money on. My parents were like, "This is your money. You can do it with it what you will." It was the first-generation Pokemon card.
That's a very common answer among Web3 entrepreneurs, surprisingly enough. It's probably one of the most common at this point. We will have to do a tally eventually. It's not to say it's a generic answer because it makes sense. It tells us a little bit more about you and your background. What is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
It's funny. My late father was from Mexico. Whenever they would visit Mexico, they would always bring back Mexican candy. I would always take this candy to school and sell it to people. Mexican candy was probably the first thing.
I can relate to that. The first thing I sold was chocolate bars. I get that. That's awesome. What is the most recent thing that you purchased?
I bought another air purifier. I have two dogs. My partner was mentioning how the old purifier wasn't working. I bought a new air purifier for the living room.
Those things are clutch, especially in Los Angeles with all the fires in the last few years. I've relied very heavily on my air purifier.
That's super helpful. On the flip side of that, what is the most recent thing you sold?
The most recent thing I sold was an NFT. I won this NFT in a raffle, and I was like, "I'll sell it."
Next question, what is your most prized possession?
When I first started getting involved in Web3, I started getting involved in smaller communities, and that was my inland to finally do something on my own. For the small central community, I had a plush made. Someone hand-sewed it. That's my most prized possession in Web3. There are so many feelings and emotions attached to this sewn character. That's my most prized possession.
You're proving the theory that phygital assets are a powerful combination for sure. That conversion process from digital to physical if done right can be special. The next question is this. If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service, or experience that is currently for sale, what would it be?
That's a tough one. I find that I don't find myself wanting too much. It's hard to be like, "There's one big thing that I want," but if I had to buy anything, I would probably buy my mom a new car or whatever she needs for her ranch.
That's a very noble answer and a good one. It says a lot about you. That's awesome. If you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would that be?
Be kind. Be humble. There are so many people who always feel the need to be a little bit toxic or maybe not as nice. The world could always use a little bit more kindness. For people to take that into the next generation and keep it going would be great. The world would be a lot better if people were kinder to each other. Anything to push out more positivity in the space would be great.
What COVID has done in social media has made people a lot safer to not be as nice to each other across screens. The more time spent in person, it's a lot easier to be kinder and to have more empathy. I empathize with that. In the future, it's looking like we're going to be spending more time online anyway. We have to find a good balance there. If you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would it be?
As productive as I consider myself, procrastination is still there. I would probably eliminate that. Sometimes I use other tasks to procrastinate on other tasks as a way to get things done but that's probably where I could do more without procrastination.
You are not the only one guilty as charged with procrastination on procrastination to justify it as non-procrastination. It's the things on the to-do list that you don't want to do. I'll find things lower down in the list and do them first. I don't know if you can relate to that.
That's exactly it. I had a meeting. It was a good meeting that I probably should have gone to, and I rescheduled it. I told the person that I was meeting with, "I have to mow the lawn." I did have to mow the lawn before my partner got home. It's pretty important but it's not as important as these other things. I was thinking about it too as I was mowing the lawn. I was like, "I'm procrastinating. I'm doing something productive at least for the homestead but this is such a procrastination tool that I'm using."
That's better than saying that you had to wash your hair. It could be even worse but I hear you. Speaking of things you're doing, what did you do before joining us on the show?
Before, I was looking over some milestones that we have to hit for the governance platform that we're working on. We have been pushing it back due to some other things that popped up. I was making sure that all timelines were being met and that we were on track to finish things. It's common work stuff.
What are you going to do next after the show?
After this, I have to respond and follow up on some emails, and then I have that meeting that I was mentioning that I pushed back. I also overbooked that for 10:00 AM, which was when we were supposed to jump on this. I'll get to that pretty soon later in the day.
"I have to mow my lawn. I have to do this show." I'm seeing a trend here, James. Richard, do we have a bonus question?
We do. James, what is the kindest thing a total stranger has ever done for you or that you've done for a total stranger?
That's a tough one. Maybe the kindest thing that someone has done for me that rings true is one time, I was visiting Peru to do one of the treks to Machu Picchu. I remember getting there to Cusco. It was late at night. I had no idea where I was going. My phone had died. I met someone on the side of the street, and they helped me get to the Airbnb they were going to. I didn't have a phone service. I was able to use their phone and looked at where I needed to go. They were able to provide helpful directions because, at that time, I wasn't able to find an Uber. Finding an Uber on their phone wasn't of any help.
I was able to use their phone, get an Airbnb, and find directions and everything. They were able to pinpoint me to where I needed to go. When you go to a random country, things can be a little bit intimidating. To have that niceness feels very heartfelt and makes me feel at home. That was a big thing. This was when I was back in college. This was probably my first visit to South America. It was quite a memorable experience in terms of how nice the Peruvians were.
It made me think about my first trip to Europe. It was right after college. I never traveled abroad. I got to Rome. I don't know if it was a missed connection, or something happened where we were there and not planning to be there. The complete city was sold out, and some hostel attendant let us sleep in his bed while he was on duty so that we didn't have to roam the streets at night. It was the coolest thing. Cheers to good deeds everywhere and those who do them. This has been a great conversation, James. It's so cool to have you on the show and to learn more about what you're doing in the world of Web3 and what type of stuff you're building. Where can our audiences go to learn more about you and all these projects?
X would probably be the best place to stay on top of everything. On X, you can also find all the links to our Notion, Linktree, and our platforms. Everything that we're working on is all in there. X is such a big point to stay connected with everyone. That's the way it will be in the future. Find us on X @GroovyNFTs, @JustApe_, and @ApesAW_ as well. We put all our latest news and updates on there.
Check these guys out. We have reached the outer limit at the show. Thanks for exploring with us. We've got space for more adventures on this starship, so invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers who will make this journey all so much better. How? Go to Spotify or iTunes, rate us, and say something awesome, and then go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Look us up on all major social platforms by typing EdgeOfNFT and start a fun conversation with us online. You can also subscribe to our newsletter over on our website. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
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