Today’s episode features Brady Gentile from Hedera Hashgraph, the enterprise-grade public network for decentralized applications. Brady talks about what he does at Hedera and what’s happening in the space. Returning to the show is Mike Krilivsky, the CEO & Co-founder at NFTpay, who shares his journey to create their company and what it’s all about. Finally, Jay Chang from Genopets sits down with us to talk about their exciting project that took the world by storm. Tune in to learn more about all these disruptive web innovations.
Listen to the podcast here
Edge Of Austin 2022, DCentral & Consensus: Brady Gentile (Hedera), Mike Krilivsky (NFTpay), And Jay Chang (Genopets)
I’m here at Consensus, the exhibit hall. It’s a massive place. Right in the middle is the Hedera Hashgraph Booth. I’m here with Brady Gentile, who will tell us a little bit of what he does at their Hashgraph. What’s going on in your world? It’s good to see you.
It’s great to see you, too. The last time we saw each other was at NFT LA.
Remind everyone what you do at Hedera and what has been going on in your world since NFT LA.
At Hedera, I’m doing ecosystem marketing. It’s understanding and marketing all of the various ecosystems, applications, and participants within those ecosystems, fostering their growth and growing out communities.
What has been popping since NFT LA? It has been a few months, which is like years in Web3, right?
Since at NFT LA, a lot has been going on the application development side of Hedera. As many may know, we’ve got HBAR Foundation, an adjacent organization to Hedera that does grants for different types of applications. We have a few verticals, so DeFi, metaverse, sustainability, privacy funds, and female founders’ fund. There is a whole bunch of different verticals that we are looking to foster growth for. Since then, we have had a few accelerators come online for that, a few applications that have been funded in a good amount of capital that’s deployed to grow out the ecosystems. It has been great seeing that growth. We are starting to see some of those applications start to come online, and it’s exciting to see. It’s cool.
We will delve into more. We are going to have a proper show soon. Maybe give me a sense of the vibe Consensus like the types of conversations you are having with folks and what you are excited about for the future. We got 17,000 people here. It’s hot, 110 degrees but the conversations are also exciting.
At first, it was supposed to be 10,000, and that number jumped very quickly. We ended up having to bring more staff to the event. We brought more swag, pamphlets, and literature to try and help explain what Hedera does and what it is. It’s a bit different in 2022 being in Austin than it was at the last Consensus conference in New York a couple of years ago.
That one seemed to be a lot more maybe financially focused and a little bit more corporate, being in New York. This one being in Austin brought a lot more of a deep Web3 focus. It seems like permissionless focused applications and ecosystems are being built in Web3. It seems like a lot of things have matured since the last one. There seems to be a lot of innovation and a bit more maturity being brought to this space.
Can you give us a sense of the types of applications people want to build on Hedera Hashgraph and some of the scalability benefits of using your platform, not to mention the eco side of things?
A big focus is DeFi applications on Hedera. We have that DeFi fund which is earmarked for $200 million.
That’s not bad.
We are hoping to use that to bolster the DeFi ecosystem and foster its growth on Hedera. One of the big things that when we talked to DeFi applications on Hedera, that they are realizing the benefits of Hedera, are Consensus timestamps for all of the transactions. That’s unique to Hashgraph Consensus, which underlies our network. Being able to have timestamps for all of those transactions is important to be able to validate some of that information.
At the same time, the scalability and throughput of the network and tokens on the network can go to 10,000 transactions per second. With charting, later on, it’s essentially an unlimited number of transactions that can be performed. The cost for those transactions is incredibly low, fractions of a penny to transfer tokens and use DeFi applications on the network.
The carbon footprint is very low as well, right?
That’s right. There was a report that was done by the UCL Centre for Blockchain research. They found that, on average, the kilowatt per hour transaction for Hedera was the lowest when compared to a number of other Layer 1 networks, Ethereum 2, and then even the visa network as well transactions on this Web2 visa network.
Even with TELUS, is it slower than TELUS?
We don’t have a comparison to TELUS in terms of its sustainability. For the small amount of carbon footprint that it does have for transactions, we went above and beyond. We purchased carbon offset credits quarterly. We do operate in a carbon-negative fashion. The governing council for the network has decided to continue with that commitment into the indefinite future. That’s a value that we care about.
I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of this grant program and all the innovations to come. Thanks for spending a little bit of time with us. You got some conversation to have and some swag to dish out but thanks again. I look forward to having a deeper dive very soon.
Thank you. Appreciate it.
Mike Krilivsky, what’s up? It’s good to see you here.
It’s good to see you as well.
We are hanging out here over at Dcentral in Austin, Texas, and we are here to talk about NFTpay. It has been a while since we had you on the show. The last time we did, we were talking about a number of things, including Creatify. You’ve had quite a journey since then. Talk about the journey that took you to Creatify, and then ultimately, NFTpay and what it’s all about.
Web3 changes fast. We adapt and move forward. We will start with some background. The last company, we pioneered this all-over printing print-on-demand space that enabled people to create products and sell them online in an efficient manner in under 30 seconds. People created over 100 million products with this patented technology. This was all the way back in 2012, ‘13 or ‘14. In 2016, we started noticing this issue where people were taking IP that didn’t belong to them like Mickey Mouse or something, putting on a T-shirt, and trying to sell it online without Disney’s permission.
Using our technology and companies like Shopify, Amazon, etc. brand owners, and marketplace owners, we’re like, “This is messed up. This is wrong.” In 2016, the San Francisco blockchain was booming. I’m like, “How can we solve this issue?” We started digging into blockchain and said, “We can authenticate these images on the blockchain. There’s one source of truth for the buyers, creators, and sellers. We can also take advantage of smart contracts and make sure these licensors are paid automatically to bypass inefficient licensing models.”
This was cutting my teeth in the blockchain Web3 space. Back in 2016, I formed a team. We are going forward with some technology that now people refer to as NFTs. That’s where it started. You fast forward to 2021, and then NFTs started exploding. Some of our friends, some highlights, Haseeb Awan, inventor of the first Bitcoin ATM machine, investor in NFTpay, his friend Vignesh bought the $69 Beeple painting as an NFT, and then a portfolio company of mine, Origin Protocol. They launched the DJ 3LAU album, which sold for $11 million.
Once I saw that I said, “We have to get back into this space now, start innovating again, pushing, and going.” That’s when we started this business called Creatify. We let all our friends know and said, “We are going to make NFT simple.” We didn’t like the experience of the existing marketplaces. We didn’t like the experience we felt. It was so fragmented and slow and clunky. Some of the crypto nerds were having a blast buying $11 million 3LAU albums and Beeple paintings.
For the masses, people are like, “What the hell is this? How do I do this?” We designed a simpler marketplace. Before we even got to launch it, we had one of our investors, Yohei, of this project called PixelBeast. He said, “Mike, I want to do a 10,000 NFT launch with PixelBeast. It’s going to be this investor community, a cool group of people. There will be some perks.”
Shout out to Yohei. We had him on the show. It was a fun project. He’s an exciting guy in terms of him trying to get the builders and non-traditional folks in the space. The punchline here is that you guys learned something in the process of collaborator.
We learned so much. We worked with Yohei on this project. We helped sell out 10,000 NFT launches to start, and Yohei was one of them. We saw how much time and effort it took to do this. We also saw this giant education piece. Anyone that wasn’t already in the crypto scene and already had a wallet and cryptocurrency was struggling to buy NFTs.
My thing has always been, “How can we make it easily for the masses to participate to take advantage of this new opportunity? How can we impact people’s lives and bring them in?” From the Yohei launch, the previous Citadel launch, and every other launch thereafter, we were like, “There’s one common thread. We have a simple way for these people to buy this NFT.” That’s when we had a credit card solution.
We are like, “We’re going to make this better and accessible for everyone to use.” We doubled down on this one thing that would turn into a twelve-step multi-day process to get your MetaMask to go on an exchange like Coinbase, upload your driver’s license and your bank statements, and wait for verification to go by cryptocurrency, and wait for it to be in your account. You have to upload your money. You have to send your cryptocurrency to a MetaMask wallet. You have to connect that MetaMask wallet to an existing NFT site. You can finally buy the NFT. If it’s a hot project, that NFT is gone.
If you are brand new to the space, you are thinking, “Am I losing my money? Is it there? Is it not?”
Eathan, our co-host, videotaped him onboarding one of our good friends to our Spirit Seeds, which unlocked a ticket to NFT LA. It was an hour and a half video. It took a while. There’s a lot there. This is a smart entrepreneurial guy. We are not talking about folks that have never touched a nap before, messed around with different social media sites, and done online banking. Even for that group, there’s a huge hurdle here we are talking about.
We saw that, and I thought this was crazy. I’m like, “This is nuts.” When you go online to buy something, you pay money, and then you get the order confirmation like, “Your order is coming.” I was like, “We need to change this. There’s going to be billions of people getting into the NFT space.” We are in our infancy. We might have done $41 billion transacted in 2021 but we are bullish on this being a $40 trillion space in the somewhat 5 to 10-year span. How can we make it easy for everyone to purchase an NFT?
We made it as simple as possible on the front end for the user. It’s a regular credit card experience. You put in your credit card and billing address and hit buy. We do all the complex stuff on the back end like the KYC, to make sure it’s not a fake credit card. We do crypto wallet management for you. That way, you don’t have to go to a site like MetaMask, remember the seed phrase. Otherwise, you lose everything, and people are paranoid and scared. It’s not a weird browser extension. We handle all that for you behind the scenes. You can buy an NFT with NFTpay in less than a minute.
You can do that now.
There are about twenty or so projects integrated now. New ones are onboarding every single day.
That’s available now. It’s got that feature. Are there other features about it that people should know about?
Yes. It’s a beast. It might sound simple. How many blockchains are out there in existence? There are hundreds, thousands maybe.
Shout out to Scale.
Jack’s awesome. How are you working with all these different protocols?
We are trying to start with the most used ones first. Ethereum-based chains have the largest market share. It’s over 80%. We started there. We have about nine blockchains integrated. Everyone has been speeding down our door for Solana. Solana is next on the roadmap. Essentially, the biggest NFT marketplaces in the world are in our queue to potentially integrate with. That’s much more difficult than a 10,000 NFT launch.
NFTpay: We’re starting to see some of those applications start to come online, and it’s really exciting to see.
There’s still a little bit of work to do but the point is we have their ears open. Their fans are going to them, requesting NFTpay at this point. That’s amazing. We want to continue that. We want to say, “You want to be able to buy via a credit card, go tell OpenSea. Go tell all these people your experiences and how it has been. Do you want to spend twelve hours on Discord with these other broken type solutions or do you want to be able to enjoy your day?”
Walk me through it. For someone launching a 500 NFT drop, it’s a little bit of a competitive process. There is an allow list. At the end of the day, the proof is putting your money where your commitment is. How do you do that with the credit card technology? Do people pre-queue and the credit card clicks in? How do you work with reconciling the benefits of credit card technology with how traditional NFT generative launches have done? What consulting do you offer to projects that are thinking about how to integrate those two?
Fortunately, we do it in probably the best way you can do it. There are several different ways. You can implement credit card implementation into a 500 NFT launch or any type of NFT launch. There are ways where you can go out, buy cryptocurrency on behalf of the customer, and then do it. That’s what we’ve seen a lot of people do.
I’m curious how you guys do it.
We do it where we integrate right with the contract itself. When you buy that NFT, we have a wallet filled with ETH. We are buying it on the contract simultaneously while your credit card is being processed. Out of all the ways we studied, we believe this is the best way because you get it exactly when you want it. If it’s gone, you don’t get it.
How do you peg USD to ETH at that moment?
You have to have a couple of different price monitors and we have a few of them. We have little algorithms on the internal side that show exactly what it’s supposed to be because there’s a variance on every single chart. We take some of the main ones like CoinMarketCap and some other ones. We pin them all against each other. We try to find an average or see what makes the most sense at that point.
It’s interesting because it’s the nuances, how you make the sausage, and the thought that goes into it that is so relevant. We can zoom out.
Josh always asks good questions. Shout out to Josh.
I’m curious about it. It’s cool. It’s not easy to do this stuff. It’s important for people to appreciate the nuance that goes into building this type of technology and integrating Web2 into the Web3 world.
Clearly, it’s one step in the process that you guys zoomed in on and saw. This is a massive problem as part of the Creatify journey and what brought you here to NFtpay. It also has to integrate seamlessly with these other steps of the process with NFT launches. How do you integrate with those other steps? Do you intend on your roadmap to fulfill some of the needs folks have a little bit more broadly with these launches?
What other steps do you mean exactly?
Josh, for example, was talking about the queuing approach. Folks are coming in, looking, and on an allow list, a white list or whatever approach people take. The step prior to putting the credit card down and once that credit card purchase is made, how does that relate to the queue that was lined up?
We try to make it as if all payment types were one. We believe a payment is a payment. When that payment of a credit card happens, we simultaneously have the cryptocurrency transaction happen with the contract. That’s how we are doing. We are doing that to the best of our absolute ability. Shout out to our Chief Product Officer Reza and our CTO, Nick Fallon. They are the brains behind the intricacies of this section of the business. They are phenomenal. They worked on world class products and had billion-dollar exits with companies like Tubi and the largest banks in the world. They are above my pay grade level.
Talking about other banks and experiences, going in alone isn’t a Web3 thing. There must be partnerships and relationships in here to help move this thing forward. Tell us a little bit about those.
We love partnerships. Web3 is all about community, people, and partnerships. We completely support anybody that’s doing something cool in the space like Edge of NFT. We love you guys. We support you. We say great things about you to everyone. We send people your way. There are a million companies that aren’t doing NFT launches and marketplaces but work with them all. Those guys are our best partners. Why? It’s because we make their clients more money. There are confidential statistics from some of my NFT marketplace friend owners that 84% of people, even crypto owners, would rather pay with a credit card for an NFT. That’s incredible.
I don’t know what the latest stats are on the number of wallets on OpenSea. The last time I checked, it was in the 350,000 to 400,000 range. You look at the population as a whole. Any way you slice or dice the market, huge opportunity. On that note, a lot of different types of folks are coming to you, yet the mainstream media likes to talk about how the market is flattening. What do you see being in the trenches? What are some of the exciting use cases for NFTs in your technology on the horizon?
We can sense that we are in this bear market. Some of us have lived through cycles before. I was there in the 2018 bear market. That’s when I put my early NFT project on pause and continued with the print-on-demand one, and then reengaged in the bull market in 2021. Now I see that this is not going away. I said it from the beginning of 2021, and their NFT revenue is going to be bigger than all of cryptocurrency. Why? It’s because it touches anything of value in the entire world and then beyond the world in the metaverse, every music, art, video, physical product, and metaverse product. This is going to be a 40-trillion market.
We are not worried. NFT market as a whole is not taking as much of a dip as even the stock market or cryptocurrency. A lot of cryptocurrencies are 89% down, and some are worse. You are going to see the NFT market still expanding. You might expand much slower than it would in a bull market but it’s going to keep expanding. We are in the infancy of NFTs coming out for real estate. We are at the infancy of NFTs coming out for physical products. We are in the infancy of all of this.
We have very interesting partnerships coming in. I will mention a couple because they are friends of mine. You guys probably know Brock Pierce and his wife, Crystal Pierce. She’s trying to sell these amazing NFTs in her gallery. Crystal is friends with so many awesome people around the world, many artists. She has these galleries and presents beautiful NFT. Some are worth millions. Some are worth tens of thousands.
She’s trying to raise money for great causes like cancer and autism and sell some of these. She participates with the artists but high-net-worth people come. They want to buy these but they don’t have a crypto wallet. The biggest statistic I heard in the world of crypto wallets is 300 million. There are 7.8 billion people. You are looking at a fraction, less than 1% to 4% max of people that own a crypto wallet. She’s buying tens of thousands of dollars of NFTs herself for these people. Behind the scenes, after the event, she’s transferring money and helping them set up a crypto wallet on the computer with them like it’s a nightmare.
Is there a limit in terms of the size of the transaction that you can do based on how the credit card companies work?
This brings into another awesome product roadmap feature. It’s not currently in our build but we’ve implemented a bank account and ACH. People will want to wire for very large amounts. For amounts, tens of thousands, some people do have those limits on their credit cards. We will be integrating more credit cards. We will be integrating bank accounts and ACH options. This is an obvious need.
We have people like Crystal Pierce, a super sweetheart, former engineer, and investor now philanthropist with Brock, doing these amazing things. We want to support her journey, other art galleries’ journeys, and everyone around the world. We are focusing on making NFTpay broader and integrating it with more use cases. We are going to go after the ones that are most ready and need it first. Maybe it’s the marketplaces, Solana, and then the galleries or something like that.
NFTpay: Anyone that wasn’t already in the crypto scene and already had a wallet and cryptocurrency was struggling to buy NFTs. How can we make it easy for the masses to participate and take advantage of this new opportunity?
Any other features? You mentioned a few there. Do you want to highlight one that you didn’t talk about already?
Those are the main ones. Payment companies are boring to the masses. To us, it’s exciting. Rolling out something like a bank account or ACH is groundbreaking. Someone can buy an NFT for millions of dollars with NFTpay when they couldn’t before unless they use cryptocurrency. We do offer crypto as an option, by the way. It’s not an either/or thing. We allow both.
Community building is such an important part of this space. We’ve talked about it. What’s on your roadmap in terms of giving the community skin in the game in NFTpay as a whole? Are you guys thinking about a token economy at some point? What is your vision on that side of the house in terms of getting on track?
We have been thinking about some amazing ways to build community. There are NFT giveaways. Those are starting to pick up some steam. We see a lot of potential in that. There is stuff like tokens. People do token launches and get their whole community incentivized. They give everyone a little piece of the pie. They are working on something and creating value. You have all these play-to-earn models, learn-to-earn models, etc. We love that stuff.
We have some of the greatest minds in all of the cryptocurrency and token launches, either as investors on our team or ready to help on our token launch. To me, that’s super exciting. When that comes out, we hope the whole world can come, participate, be part of it, and get something of value. We launched a project called MetaBolts, and it’s a 10,000 NFT launch. The point of it is for demo purposes but we did only make 10,000. They are $0.50 each. They are just so people can see the NFTpay process, not on a testing network.
Thinking about what you shared, this is unprecedented. Visa didn’t do that. You got your investors and then became a public company. I’m assuming Visa’s a public company. I’m not sure. There are so much more permutations of what’s possible to engage people that you can mess around with and test out your technology in the process. Everything that you are thinking about here is exciting.
It’s MetaBolts.xyz. Go check it out. Even though it’s a test network, probably people are buying. We limited it back down to ten max. We had it a little high on accident.
Speaking of that, where should folks go to check out NFTpay and everything you are working on?
NFTpay.xyz is our website. Go there. We make it easy for people to sign up with our sales team and get a meeting right away if you want. We have a self-serve option. That’s a product that we are excited about. We just launched where if you have a 10,000 or 500 NFT launch, whatever launch is happening, if your launch is pretty much a standard launch functionally, you can click a link, enter in 5 pieces of information, click a button and get 2 lines of code to inject in your website and NFTpay works.
It’s so great to know about all the disruptive innovations that you have been up to since we last connected. This goes to show how fast things move in the space with the right team and a strong focus on customer development. I’m sure next time we chat, we will have many more things to talk about. I appreciate you hanging out with us. I have a good time in Austin. We hope you get to meet a lot of interesting people and help them onboard.
Thank you so much for having me and NFTpay. I love you, guys.
I’m here with Zach, subbing in as co-host. What’s up? We are here with Jay Chang from Genopets. It’s an exciting project that took the world by storm. It is one of the advanced utility projects in this space. Jay, I’m so glad you could hang out with us for a little.
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Break it down for us. What’s the background on yourself? How did Genopets come to be?
I’m Jay, 1 of 2 Cofounders. We first had this idea for Genopets, probably around April or May 2021. We are coming up on over a year since the first inception of this thing. I was inspired by a previous project that my two cofounders ran. One of the biggest projects on the EOS called GeneOS. GeneOS was a health data marketplace. Like 23AndMe, we are going to monetize your DNA data by selling it to researchers and pharmaceuticals but you earn a piece of that reward. It’s inspired by providing passive income for people, for their health, finding ways to incentivize people to stay healthy and active.
That is so important, especially when we got COVID going on. People are not moving as much.
One of the issues that we ran into that was the infrastructure behind decentralized oracles and how you are going to share this sensitive health data with researchers. It wasn’t fun. If it weren’t going to be fun, you would have to pay people so much money to get them to do the thing that wasn’t ever going to work. Along that route, my Cofounder, Ben, kept saying, “How are we going to make it fun? Let’s make it a game.”
Crypto games weren’t a thing in 2019 or 2020. Maybe it was a thing from kids back in the day. As we saw Axie pick up and what was starting to happen was play-to-earn games. We are like, “This makes so much sense.” Instead of your health data just being an NFT that represents some data, let’s make a pet that you are going to upgrade, customize, and evolve. It’s a digital pet that ends up representing your well-being.
It’s a workout buddy, too. It’s a lot more fun to work out with a friend.
I skip working out every day but don’t skip feeding my dog.
You don’t skip walking the dog. If you have an active dog, you can have to keep up with that. Zach, you’ve done some fitness-related activities in LA, trying to get tech people to work out. I’m sure you can relate to some of these pain points.
We’ve tried a couple of other things trying to incentivize people with rewards or community-building around it. I haven’t tried that much in the game. Do any of you have a gaming background like good game development?
To an extent. I’ve worked on a couple of games in the past. My background is in the product. On the agency side, I built Ghostbusters’ Mobile VR for Sony. That was probably one of my big parts of that thing. When we set out to fundraise for Genopets, Convo and Pantera ended up leading our round. One of the biggest things from the traditional gaming funds was, “You guys don’t build games.” We are like, “We do come from building Web3 communities.”
Building Web3 versus building a free-to-play mobile game, people have been building free-to-play mobile games for over that game. Daily people are still trying to figure out how to do Web3. We are building the game side from foundational principles of, “How do you make a fun game that’s sticky that people want?” We are bringing our Web3 knowledge to the table of, “How do you build a great community that wants to be on that journey with you?”
NFTpay: When you go online to buy something, you pay money, get the order confirmation, and have your order on the way. We need to change the process because there are going to be billions of people getting into the NFT space.
Let’s dive in there because, in Edge of NFT, we’ve done 150 shows. It’s always about community but one clear requirement, especially in a “bear market” is a community that sits with you through thick and thin. That means some degree of patience and ongoing engagement. Can you talk to us about how you have been able to manifest that type of energy? It’s one thing to build a community. It’s another thing to keep that community running.
OneGame is probably every game producer’s at least favorite question but it is also the most important question. It means the community is there, excited, and ready for that thing to come. If people stop asking OneGame, I would be a little bit concerned. From the start, we first tweeted Genopets and move-to-earn last August 2021. We had this idea. We are going to make a game about movement, and it’s going to be a pet.
It’s like your Tamagotchi. It’s like our Pokémon. You can take care of it by taking care of yourself, walk around, sweat equity, upgrade your pet. The premise of building community is an interesting thing for Web2 versus Web3. Web3 game publishers think about that from the start. Web2 publishers raise a bunch of money, start building game in silence years later, release the game, and spend a bunch of money on customer acquisition.
You did a hybrid approach.
We raised a fundraising round. If you’ve seen anything Genopets, the art, the web experience, everything about us is topnotch AAA quality.
It’s one thing to say you grind it out with whatever funds. This takes real investment in infrastructure. It’s a hybrid model that people should consider that mix of investment plus Web3. It’s not like there’s a one-size solution.
Our NFT mint was done in GENE token. Our initial genesis drop was done in the GENE token. We did not do it in Solana, Dare, or whatever to use as funds for the game. We did it to reinvest in the community and show everyone that we are along with our governance token. Back to that core part about building out the community, there are two things. One is near clear vision and something people sink their teeth into to get them excited. It’s a cool demo. It’s something that we have from day one.
I don’t even know if it’s up still but Demo.Genopets.me was this experience of meeting your Genopet for the first time. The whole game is predicated on you building a bond with your pet. You imbue your personality into the pet that best matches you for you to find your Genopet. If you want to match and look up a Genopet, they have an About. It’s a description and sounds like your personality. You play this little personality quiz and it creates the metadata of your pet, procedural generation. These aren’t JPEGs that we created and gave out randomly. The mint characteristics are defined by how players played the game. We launched that game last October 2021.
The way to keep the community engaged after you get them sunk in that second piece is, “How do you keep the community following, excited, and wanting to build this with you?” For us, what that has been is every single one of our drops. One was not to make cash. We are not about to drop in NFTs primary to make money. We are creating a game with the players. They are defining collection rarity. Collection rarity driven by players is an uncommon thing. It’s a unique concept. If you can make your community feel like they are defining the future of the game with you, that’s one of the biggest differences we’ve found. It has kept people along the route.
How do you do that in a way that is authentic but not overwhelming? Web3 entails getting a lot of feedback from several different folks. That’s a lot of information to process, and not everyone feels the same way. How do you make sure that people feel their voices are heard and also go through your product dev guide? Go through that customer discovery process without giving overwhelm synthesizing all this data.
It starts with selling a vision, and the vision is wide. Genopets is an opening world. There is battling, all this customization, items, and stuff you are going to want to do. The game has to be complex. It has to be fun. How you prioritize that and what you do needs to take the community with you along the way, simple examples. Every week or every two weeks, we put out a status report of what we have been working on. We look at the feedback of what we worked on, and that’s raw stuff in unity that’s not done.
Those are ideas for game mechanics that we are creating that aren’t done to show people what we are doing all the time so that we can be seeing that feedback from the most active people in the community. Synthesizing it all and making sure you are hearing the right voices, certainly from a data standpoint, is difficult when your community is 180,000 people on your dashboard.
Shout out to our fantastic like Couldn’t Live Without You community mod team. We’ve grown about 40 community moderators that are purely volunteers excited for the project and helped keep the lifeblood of the community up and running. That is a big “filter” to identifying the largest issues or, the most talked about, the broadest themes. That helps. Every day, I go to sleep on Discord. People are like, “You should look at your phone before you get a nap.” I go to bed looking at Discord every day. I need to know what’s going on in the community.
It seems like a pretty big shift. Web2 brought us rewards-base crowdfunding like Kickstarter. As a contributor, you felt like an owner.
It’s one way. You get an email from Kickstarter that said, “You back this project, and they posted an update.” Months later, maybe you get another one, and then you get one that says, “Sorry, we can’t deliver. Thanks for your donations. We tried.” I remember the Kickstarter days. That’s when I got my first Bitcoin. I met Brock in 2013 randomly at a conference I was holding that was all focused on crowdfunding. I got fascinated with this idea.
Was that in LA? I remember that conference.
It was called Discover Me. It was random aside. The mayor of LA was a keynote speaker, and we had Patrick McHenry from FCC. Anyway, that was ages ago. What fascinated me about the whole crowdfunding era that has come into Web3 a lot, especially with the NFT drops, has been this idea of selling people on a vision and building the community around it. Web3 has done differently from the way crowdfunding was structured. It is built in the open, build and build with, grow the community from, and predicates every decision you make on how is the community going to react.
We also foster a group in our Discord back to tie it more specifically. It’s called DNA. The DNA crew is about 1,000 people strong who have to pass a basic skills test. They know the stuff about Genopets. They get voted into the DNA role in the Discord by the moderators. If you are actively helping other people out, creating cool content or whatever it is you are doing to grow the community, you get noticed by the mod team and get upvoted into the special role. The DNA community gets private beta access and sneak peeks from the core team. We do all the things that help bring that latter-wide community to a smaller subset that we can work more closely with for this whole build community.
You mentioned sneak peaks. This is the Edge of NFT. We like to hear how leaders in the community are pushing boundaries. There are new places you guys are going to that people had not gone before, given how you created this project and innovated. I would love to hear about some of the new boundaries that you are pushing, what you are thinking about next, and how you are converging different technologies. What’s coming up?
I started touching on this a little bit. One of the things that we’ve been bullish on from day one was the idea of player-controlled mint or player-driven rarity. The Genesis Genopets collection, the attributes of those pets were procedurally generated based on how players played the minting game. There’s a little bit of play-to-mint out there but usually, the play-to-mint still ends in RNG, and you randomly get an NFT. We procedurally generate the NFTs in our collections based on how players play the game.
What’s interesting about that is everybody wanted the black Genopet, for example. They figured out how to game the system to get the black one. From a personal perspective, I love the black one. It looks cool. I want that one. The irony is that everyone ends up shooting themselves in the butt when the black one becomes the most common. That’s an important game theory.
As tourists, we go to countries that we love and then complain five years later when those countries become too touristy and are no longer off the beaten path.
That’s one of the things that’s separated all of our mints from every other NFT mint. It is player control rarity, play-to-mint. We have been building games. Everyone was like, “When’s the game?” Do the people in our community know the game has been happening this whole time? We’ve had three play-to-mint games. One of them was a Genesis Habitat mint where you went through a six-week treasure hunt to solve puzzles, look for clues in our trailer, and do all those things to be able to collect five different crystals in the Terraform seed that you use to mint in the Genesis Habitat.
Habitat’s a home for your Genopet. It’s our primary yield-generating asset. There is a whole bunch of game stuff behind how we are doing this to get our NFTs out into the community and build a game with them. That’s a big one for us. We are also pretty bullish on the concept of Dutch auctions. Dutch auctions come polarizing sometimes. We did a drop for water crystals.
NFTpay: We’re not out there dropping NFTs primary just to make money. We’re creating with the players, and they’re defining the collection.
A quick aside on why that even mattered. There are five final elements of crystals, water crystals, fire crystals, etc. They are all the same but have different elements. They will have more differentiating factors once the game comes live but for now, they are all basically the same. For some reason, the water floor was 50, 40 SOL. The floor for everything else is 5 or 6. Why is this? The community is talking about it. They’re like, “Why is the wall floor water floor so high? Is there a drought in the Genoverse?”
You need water to perform at your best and exercise.
They all have the same supply. We don’t know why. There was a huge disparity in the floor of these NFTs that are arguably the same. The community is talking about it. We are seeing this on Discord. People are like, “I want water. I need all five to make my habitat but I can’t get water. It’s 50 SOL. The back story of why we think that happened is because the water was the first one given out from our very first treasure hunt cipher. It’s because the treasure hunt wasn’t as popular, then it was in our core community. The people that ended up with water were all holders, not traders.
Water was being held by the community. This is a theory. I have no idea. Maybe that’s why. In later mints, as newer people came into the treasure hunt, they were there to flip NFTs, maybe. We did a drop to solve the drop in the Genoverse. We decided 100 water crystals rob for grabs but the community is going to decide the price. We set a huge range. It was 50 SOL, which is high for water, and 5 SOL, which is the floor for everything else.
We said, “You guys decide.” The mints rolled out that day. The community was happy. They got the crystals they needed to make more habitats. This is an example of how do you build with the community. You do something that you are seeing chatter about in the community that they want to know, and let’s solve an interesting problem together.
That’s a great, specific use case. It’s helpful to understand the amount of grit and engagement required for folks reading at home. I’m excited about everything you all are doing. I hope to have more conversations like this and keep tabs on what you are up to. How can our readers stay in touch with what’s going on in your ecosystem?
Genopets.me is our only website. There is Discord.gg/genopets for the Discord and @Genopets on Twitter. You can sign up for a beta on the website to Genopets.me/beta, and we are a private beta now. Private beta is a perk for the most active members in our community or the Genesis NFT holders but we will be rolling out public beta shortly. We have been targeting in the summer of 2022. Get on that beta waitlist. We are doing a minting activity over the Metaverse zone. Anyone that’s in town for Consensus we seeing that. Thank you.
Thanks for coming by. I appreciate it.
We’ve reached the outer limit at the Edge of NFTs. Thanks for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventures on this starship. Invite your friends and recruits some cool strangers that will make this journey also much better out. How? Go to iTunes, rate us, and say something cool. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole.
- Hedera Hashgraph
- HBAR Foundation
- UCL Centre for Blockchain
- Haseeb Awan
- Vignesh Sundaresan
- Origin Protocol
- DJ 3LAU
- Yohei Nakajima – Past Episode
- Spirit Seeds
- @Genopets – Twitter
- Genesis NFT
- iTunes – Edge of NFT
About Brady Gentile
Brady Gentile is a Product Marketing Manager at Hedera Hashgraph, the enterprise-grade public network for decentralized applications. His previous experience includes working at the distributed database company DataStax, and security company Cloudflare. Brady’s responsible for engaging and educating developer and consumer audiences about Hedera and its game-changing use cases.
About Mike Krilivsky
Mike Krilivsky is an Entrepreneur, NFT & Crypto Enthusiast, Investor, Advisor, Mentor, Speaker, Futurist.
About Jay Chang
For the past decade, I’ve built a career as a consultant building & launching products for Fortune 500 companies. I’ve led 0-1 products to a growth stage across a variety of industries with a focus on emerging technologies, games, and social platforms for global companies.
I started my career in Product Management, but became obsessed with Product Marketing when I discovered my passion for taking products to market and building thriving open source developer communities.
After 8 years of agency experience building and launching everything from VR games to AI Selfie drones, I left the client world and fell in love with growing developer communities. I spent 3 years deep in the trenches with blockchain developers through the first crypto ICO boom in 2017 taking the EOS network to market before taking a break from decentralized open source tech last year.
Today, I’m a Product Marketing Manager at Google on the Platforms and Ecosystems Developer Marketing team. I’m a small part of an amazingly talented group of individuals that are growing Flutter to be the most widely adopted multi-platform UI framework in the world; loved by a global developer community.
Outside of the tech world in my day job, I’ve spent the last 5 years interviewing chefs around the world on my Instagram. I’ve been blessed to travel the world experiencing cultures and sharing culinary stories through the universal language of food.