NFT has undeniably been a buzzword for the past couple of years. While we are seeing its steady growth and potential, some doubts and speculations tend to tinge on its reputation. Are NFTs here to stay or will they evolve and take on a new shape? Here to answer these questions and lead us with the first of our Edge of Casper Show is Joe Benso from Casper Association. In this inaugural episode, Joe shares his thoughts on the future of NFTs along with how Casper has evolved to provide secure and authenticated NFTs. He dives deep into how they have created a unique toolset for a wide range of use cases for developers and entrepreneurs, offering something that is going to be future-proof and allow people to build using blockchain in a way that is efficient for them. From the applicability of upgradable NFTs to businesses to gamified ecosystems, Joe provides great insights that will have you anticipating what's to come. Plus, we also review an article about the value of NFTs in the future: will they be worthless or worth more? We stand behind the latter. Tune in now!
Listen to the podcast here
Edge Of Casper Show With Joe Benso From Casper Association
This is Joe Benso with the Casper Association. We’re empowering countless projects, exchanges, partners, and groundbreaking Web3 applications. I’m excited to be on the Edge of NFT empowering audiences everywhere with the countless aspects of Web3 they need to know. Enjoy.
NFT-curious audiences, stay tuned for this episode to learn how Casper blockchain has evolved to provide secure and authenticated NFTs.
Also, why buying even more digital assets is the goal of our guest who already has some special NFTs.
Finally, we review an article called Your NFTs Are Actually—Finally—Totally Worthless. We disagree.
It’s official. You can dive into the captivating world of artificial intelligence with our new Edge of AI Podcast. Join us as we explore the frontiers of AI and its impact on our lives. Subscribe now on your favorite podcast platform and follow us on Twitter @Edgeof_AI and LinkedIn for exciting updates and insights. You can also visit our new website, EdgeOfAI.xyz.
Welcome to our first Edge of Casper Show. This is the beginning of amazing conversations where we oversee the evolution of Casper Network, a blockchain-supporting innovative tech giant as well as decentralized applications and platforms featuring both upgradable smart contracts and predictable gas fees. We also have a great new show called Casper Blockchain Podcast that you can check out on Spotify or by visiting Casper.Network and clicking on News.
This episode features Joe Benso of Casper Network, a meeting ground for reliability and innovation in blockchain. Joe, the Head of Content at Casper Association, hails from Zug, Switzerland, the heart of Crypto Valley. His journey began in radio and television in Los Angeles transitioning into a brand and digital strategist role for global sports and music giants.
Not only has he ignited Web3 in music startups but he is also the Cofounder of the anticipated Casper NFT drop, Outlaw Dogs. It’s the Casper blockchain universe boasts over 140 projects, exchanges, partners, and groundbreaking Web3 applications. Crafted for effortless blockchain integration, Casper supports ambitious developers and entrepreneurs propelling its ecosystem into exciting new frontiers. Joe, how are you doing?
I’m doing well. Thanks, Richard. Thanks, Josh. I appreciate that introduction. I’m excited to be here.
We’re excited to have you on. It was fun hanging out in Singapore. It feels like a long time ago. How has your jet lag been?
We have been all over the world, especially in 2023. It was great to see you in Singapore TOKEN2049. Thanks for coming to our after-hours party with the Killer Whales team, HELLO Labs, and all the other sponsors who are part of that show. I’m glad you can make it and see what was going on there. I hate jet lag but I love visiting new cities. I had never been to Singapore before. I don’t know what your experience was but it did not feel like a bear market at all. There are tons of excitement. I’m looking forward to the next event.
It was thriving over there. You had quite the crowd of not only folks from Asia but from all over the world who are excited about all the potential in the blockchain ecosystem and Casper. It was cool to see that IRL. Richard, what were your impressions?
First of all, the venue that you had is sensational. It’s the top of this cool building. You could see out into the city and the water. Music was playing. We were able to showcase the upcoming show, which was cool. It was packed in there. There’s a lot of excitement and fun. You can check out what was all said in a cool episode that’s dropping soon. I’m excited about all the cool things that Casper has going on.
We whipped together this mini recap of that party. It leads me to a conversation I want to have with you because there’s this new reality show, Killer Whales, that you are supporting, and a lot of interesting projects coming through. The VCs were active in Asia aggressively trying to figure out their alpha for what’s next. At the same time, there’s this conversation now as the NFT market continues to drop more parabolically than the blockchain market by a smidge. Where are we at with NFTs? We have been talking about utilities for a long time. Is there enough utility in terms of NFTs? What do you think?
One of the reasons why I was so excited to come on this show is because you have been on the ground for the last couple of years at least. We first caught up with you at one of the first NFT.NYC events when the market was extremely frothy. Anybody and their grandmother were trading NFTs or launching an NFT project. Where NFTs are at now is a natural cycle of when any new technology comes around, which is NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens.
At the heart of it, it excited me when I realized what smart contracts are capable of doing, what is an NFT, and how that’s going to affect multiple industries. However, when you have a lot of hype around the potential, some of those narratives get lost, especially when the things that are driving this excitement are very much rooted in the promise of earning something and making money. There was a lot of money being thrown around speculative on NFTs.
For me, it looked very similar to the ICO hype around 2017 and 2018 when everybody was creating an ICO and raising millions of dollars and ETH for their projects, which were on the backs of simple white papers, and that was about it. We have had a lot of NFT projects that also didn’t have much meat on the bones, and often, projects didn’t even understand what they could be doing with this technology.
Now that the smoke has cleared a little bit, we have gone through this cycle where a lot of these projects have died off. People realize this was a bubble but I am of the very strong belief that we will see, in my opinion, an even bigger than before wave of excitement around NFTs, whether the mass public or the people that are involved in the ecosystem continue to call it NFT because it now has such a tinged reputation. For me, it’s around the utility. It was a very cliché buzzword for a while.
I do think that we’re entering into a phase where those who have stuck around, those who have been passionate about the technology, and those who do understand what NFTs can enable, represent, and create more efficiencies and business models around a lot of industries and disrupting a lot of industries are starting to see the roots of some of those seeds that have been planted. Now, it start to take shape. We’re seeing that on Casper. We’re extremely bullish about NFTs going forward. This is the calm before the next storm.
There’s a lot you shared there. As I’ve reflected on this word hype, the hype isn’t bad on its surface. There’s hype in fashion, eCommerce, and the entertainment industry, and hype can be good to a certain extent. We had an excess of hype, and it wasn’t necessarily done to the extent that people could keep their promises. When it’s all an experiment, we should call it experimental, caveat that hype a little bit more, and be a little bit more careful with our words because when you start going to a second and third degree of conversation, then it translates to media very differently than the intent of the original voice of the author.
It’s something we have all learned about choosing our words more carefully, thinking about more achievable milestones along the way, and not only going for the big rocks but the small ones. I also think it comes down to figuring out what utility matters the most. There’s an interesting utility around membership, gaming, rewards, and loyalty. These are things that can be done well. There are also some interesting enterprise use cases that we still haven’t even tapped into because it takes a little longer to develop but we saw early indications of that.
Roofstock sold the first home on the blockchain using an NFT on OpenSea, and that was pretty incredible. They have done that several times now. They have been on the show. People have been talking about that for years. My last prediction before we move on since this is such a fun topic that we could go on for a while is there are going to be more hybrid economies where you’re mixing NFTs and other mechanisms including tokens and other things together to create more value like what ApeCoin has done in interacting with Mocaverse, for example, and things like that. Those are some of my thoughts.
Joe, I’ll keep mine quick. I have two points that you mentioned. The first one is the hype cycle. When you look at the history of NFTs, NFTs haven’t been around for a very long time but they saw their first spotlight from 2021 to the end of 2022. It’s the first cycle. When you look at the first ICO boom when the rest of the market that wasn’t Bitcoin started to emerge, it had its first cycle. In ‘17 to ‘18, you saw this huge runup and then you saw 85% to 96% retracement over the next two years.
What are we seeing? Something similar in the NFT market. Not all cycles repeat but they rhyme. We’re seeing something like that. The products that survived that moment in the regular ICO boom that stuck around thrived in that next bull run that you saw from 2020 to 2022. The same thing is going to happen for the NFT projects that stuck around, found utilities, and found ways to make themselves useful in the future.
The second piece though is learning. There are a lot of lessons learned from that cycle into the next where those projects were able to have a lot of success. Those types of projects are doing that. In saying that, one of the things I wanted to bring up with Casper is that it has evolved in a lot of ways in offering secure and authenticated NFTs. Can you walk us through what has that journey been like? How do you think that’s going to help people thrive into this next cycle?
My role is to go back to that hype role. My job is to get as many people aware of what Casper is, what it can do for developers, and how developers and projects can use NFTs compared to other offerings and Layer 1s. We feel like we have a very unique offering as a Layer 1 public blockchain. From the Casper Association’s point of view, our role is to be a steward for the public blockchain, open up opportunities for developers, and make sure that there’s a strong open-source component to the work that’s being built for the public blockchain.
However, we do have this symbiotic relationship with Casper Labs which is building a lot of the core infrastructure for the chain itself and is responsible for that but the unique thing here is that Casper offers a public, private, or hybrid infrastructure. The reason that’s interesting is because some of this adoption around NFTs and these use cases haven’t yet been executed well. For one reason or another, maybe the blockchain that is being used or enterprises look at other public blockchains like Ethereum.
The unique thing with Casper is the upgradeability aspect of it. We think that there’s this strong use case and differentiating factor with Casper. It’s not necessarily a new concept in blockchain but the way that we like to offer our NFT standard is to be able to be modular for a lot of use cases. When we talk about upgradeability for the enterprise application, enterprises to a large degree need to be compliant with a lot of regulatory bodies or whatever it may be but compliance is a big factor.
If you launch a smart contract on Ethereum, for example, that’s locked in. There are very limited ways to update information or the smart contract itself. The unique tools and toolset that Casper can offer to developers provide a wide range of flexibility for a wide range of use cases from the enterprise’s most rigorous demanding applications down to getting back to typical NFT projects where a small team can launch a 10,000 PFP collection in a much more efficient and secure manner on Casper.
From the genesis of where Casper has been, we’re building for the long-term and the future the rails and the infrastructure to get to the point where markets are ready to adopt this infrastructure. From a technical side, I would encourage developers to look at all of our developer documentation. My role is to make sure that those resources are available and that we’re offering something that is going to be future-proof and allow people to build using blockchain in a way that is efficient for them.
Let’s talk about that. What are some of the ways that businesses can utilize upgradable NFTs? That’s a pretty unique value-add that Casper brings to the table. I remember Medha talking about this quite a while back with the first NFTLA. It was a powerful moment for me to think about the fact that we don’t have to think about NFTs as rigidly as we once did. That’s for sure at this point. There are new standards being developed and a lot of creative hybrid use cases like we were talking about earlier but how can businesses utilize upgradable NFTs?
You brought up Medha Parlikar, CTO of Casper Labs. She’s a driving force. She has a very strong enterprise background. We have a number of materials out there where Medha is on video talking about going into a deep dive on those use cases for enterprise. The thing that strikes me and the obvious is the ability and the necessity to be flexible as an enterprise as businesses need to shift with whatever market dynamics they need to operate within.
Going back to regulatory compliance, this is a big factor for large enterprise clients where they want to put some data or information on the blockchain. Maybe a law has changed or something in their industry has changed, and they need to make adjustments to that code. With a modular infrastructure that Casper provides, they can do that in a secure manner without risk of damage to the data, security, privacy, or a lot of dynamic options. For enterprise use cases, the answer is this modularity, flexibility, and predictability when we’re talking about predictable gas fees, for example. These are all factors that come into play that aren’t necessarily decision factors for your average NFT collector. That would be one use case.
I appreciate the use cases. I’ve also had some conversations with Medha. She’s very articulate with all the different ways that you are creating for things to keep being built in a more efficient, protected, and secure way. Casper has been around for years. You’ve seen peaks, valleys, good, and bad. You are constantly building to improve and make things even better for your ecosystem. Can you walk us through what has that ecosystem maturity been like for Casper? What are some of the things you’ve been focusing on?
The blockchain itself or the mainnet didn’t go live until a few years ago. In that short period, it has been a constant upgrading of the protocol. The Casper Labs team has a very ambitious roadmap. We went through one of the biggest protocol upgrades since the mainnet launch. This was called the 1.5.2 upgrade. It is on par with some of the industry standard expectations that developers would look to in a blockchain to build on top of. We are a relatively new chain compared to Solana, Cardano, and Ethereum. However, our roots have come from this Ethereum ecosystem. Casper is derived from a technical term that came about that Vitalik coined as part of Ethereum as it was being built out.
Medha and Mrinal Manohar, CEO of Casper Labs, envisioned a blockchain that was very powerful for those enterprise use cases and envisioned a time when blockchain is going to be used for all kinds of things. The market at that time and even now has overlooked those demands and those requirements that large enterprise-facing clients will need in a blockchain to take advantage of that.
That’s where Casper has positioned itself. Interestingly enough, that hardcore enterprise-grade level technology, rails, and infrastructure lends itself very well to some of the things that are less demanding. It offers a lot of efficiencies and unique ways of interacting with NFTs. In gaming, for example, we’re seeing a lot of potential around our NFT standard to take advantage of some gamified ecosystems.
What’s an example? What is one specific thing that you can do for a game better than anybody else?
This is one thing that I’ve been excited about as I’ve been called an NFT degen before. Anything that I see that could be interesting for the ongoing development of the NFT space, in general, excites me. Since I joined Casper years ago, there have been other exciting projects in other chains but I’ve always been confident that Casper has a unique toolset that’s going to be very powerful and useful.
If we’re talking about games, I’ll give you one example. A new standard is emerging on Ethereum. It’s called ERC-6551. It’s a way for NFTs to own NFTs. You have an account that owns and holds other assets or other NFTs. I’ll dumb it down for a bit because my understanding is dumb as well. An NFT can own an NFT, and that’s a very powerful thing if you’re thinking of characters inside of video games, for example, where your character owns a set of assets that are valuable in the game. You have a system where you can add all kinds of additional benefits and value to that existing digital asset that is probably yours.
On Ethereum, that’s another standard. On Casper, that comes native on chain with our CEP-78 standard where it’s multisig level control of the NFT, and you can have weighted key management. You have weighted management access to whatever that NFT represents if that NFT represents a deed to a high-value piece of real estate or if that NFT represents a whole host of NFTs that are collectively owned by this one asset. That can be anything. It’s up to your imagination.
When you start thinking about these digital things abstracting that away into physical ownership, you can start to imagine some new ways of interacting, new revenue streams opening up, and new business models opening up. That’s something super exciting for me, especially when we see some traction around Web3 gaming in general.
We see that macro trend taking off, and then we see the advantages that games, if they were launched on Casper, could have over other larger ecosystems on Ethereum. We’re super bullish and excited about telling that story and making sure that people understand the benefits if they’re going to be building. These are some powerful tools that unlock so many new opportunities. That’s something that I’m very passionate about. We’re excited about where that’s going.
As you should be. That sounds cool. Dumbing it down and making that example is good. People could visualize it. I can visualize it. It’s cool that Casper is making that happen natively. That’s one of the many things on your roadmap. You have several other things. You have some cool tokenization, financial standards, things for your devs, and all kinds of stuff but what are some specific things on the roadmap that people should look forward to? You have Killer Whales coming up and some other things. We want to let you talk about some of that.
It’s important to get people excited again about where things can go and make people understand that this thing called an NFT is not some stupid monkey JPEG. It’s that also but that’s one tiny aspect of it. It’s an opportunity to open up new ways to explore, which is at least why I got into this space in the first place. Why a lot of people got into this space in the first place is the potential of where things are going.
We’re seeing that at the knee inflection point on the hockey stick growth curve where the adoption of this technology is inevitable for a lot of industries. We’re seeing the maturity of a lot of the technology being built out. We’re spending a lot of resources and a lot of time, especially with our R&D department. Mark Greenslade, a brilliant member of the Casper Association, is driving a lot of the vision around where things can go. He’s trying to stay on the bleeding edge of blockchain, and doing a lot of work around zero-knowledge proofs and how that can be implemented on top of Casper.
This is also important. One of our core pillars is tokenization. Ralf Kubli speaks in-depth as a thought leader around tokenization of financial assets and smart financial contracts where, as he puts it, a lot of the financial contracts are dumb tokens, or the financial tokens are dumb tokens. It can be a representation of a PDF. That’s what you lock up as an NFT.
What we’re doing a lot of work on is around what’s called the ACTU Standards. That stands for Algorithmic Contract Type Unified Standards. There’s a lot of effort to make sure that we have open-source standards and ISO-compliant standards that get regulatory approval and adoption. We are supporting initiatives like ACTUS that would enable algorithmic smart financial contracts to monitor and distribute cashflows on the Casper blockchain where it’s a trustless system in this case.
It is disruptive to a lot of the incumbent industry around finance. There are a lot of people who would need to adopt some of these new protocols but it’s extremely exciting. When any technology comes and is more disruptive than the previous generation’s technology, you’re going to have these choppy waters around this but the reality is there are systems that we’re very supportive of. We’re building together with the ACTUS protocol and supporting zero-knowledge proofs. All this forward future-proof-looking technology is not going away anytime soon. There’s a lot to look forward to on our roadmap. Short-term, I would say games.
That was the word of the day all over Asia. I heard that word more than I heard, “Hello. How are you?” Everyone wants to talk about games. For those who think that GameFi got overheated, there’s a lot of game-building out there happening. It’s exciting stuff. That was fun. Joe, you’re a podcaster. The next segment should be pretty easy for you but we will see. It’s called Edge Quick Hitters.
If we’re talking about me, that’s hard. I could talk about anybody else but me.
We will see. It’s a fun and quick way to get to know you a little better. There are going to be ten questions. We’re looking for short, single-word, or few-word responses but feel free to expand if you get the urge. I’m going to ask you if you’re ready. I know you’re half-ready but I think you’re ready. What is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
Now that I’m reflecting on this, it might not come as a surprise that I’m into NFTs. I remember purchasing baseball cards. I see a parallel between collectibles.
Our goal here is to get into your subconscious and make you learn more about yourself from being on the show.
This is a nice therapy session.
We will send you the bill. What is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
I do remember this because it taught me the value of entrepreneurship. I remember being in first grade. After lunch, kids would want to chew chewing gum. I realized I could get a large package of chewing gum at a discount, and my friends would pay me per stick of a piece of gum because I had it in my locker. I was there at the right time with a product that people wanted. It was a valuable lesson for me.
Thank God you weren’t living in Singapore. You would be in jail for 300 years and broke at this point.
I saw that. That was surprising to me but I didn’t have any gum in Singapore. I was a law-abiding tourist.
If you’ve never been to Singapore, Singapore is very strict on a lot of things, and one of the things is chewing gum. Here’s the next question for you. What is the most recent thing you purchased?
I have two kids. It would be a Jurassic Park dinosaur toy and groceries. We have to buy groceries.
I’m sure they love that gift. What’s the most recent thing you sold?
The most recent thing I sold is an old bike. I upgraded to an eBike here. I live in Europe. I’m lazy. I sold my bike without electricity.
You have to go five times as far now to get the same amount of exercise. Look forward to some long bike tracks, hopefully. There are a lot of nice places to bike around where you are, I’m sure.
I don’t mind going five times as long. Austria is a beautiful country. I’m a proud expat. I’m living the American Dream here in Austria.
I haven’t been over there but it’s on my list. What is your most prized possession?
I do prize some of my NFTs quite highly. Some of them are my possessions to hand down. I look at some of these NFTs as pretty important digital artifacts 10, 20, or 30 years down the line. When my kids are old enough, I’m going to hand them off to them. That’s an interesting and fun way to think about NFTs for the next generation.
Are there any in particular that have a special place in your heart?
I use my CryptoPunk often for my social identities. I have some Bored Apes. I’m still very bullish on Yuga.
What’s your CryptoPunk’s coolest attribute?
I was told by Von Mises who is a legend in this space that he likes the silver chain.
Besides every CryptoPunk, if you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service, or experience that’s currently for sale, what would it be?
The answer to that question undoubtedly is going to be some form of an NFT. An NFT is going to represent whatever that amazing thing is going to be. When you ask people 10 to 20 years from now, whatever their answer is, a good percentage of them is going to be an NFT. I’ll stick with that.
It’s going to be an NFT.
It’s going to represent something.
What is it going to represent? You evaded the question. You did a good job.
For sure, it’s going to represent membership access to some exclusive club that is doing good in the world. Probably my house will be an NFT. I’m expecting that.
I don’t know why people call you an NFT degen but I’ll figure it out by the end of this. If you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would it be?
I’m always struggling with trying to monitor myself as I’m raising two young boys and trying to see which personality traits are good ones to hand off to. It’s important if you have kids to instill in them the value of kindness in the world, hard work, determination, and treating everybody fairly.
Those are three amazing traits.
I don’t know if those are my traits but I try to push those off.
If you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would it be?
Focus more on being in the moment now, appreciating gratefulness, and not getting too caught up in the work.
Where you are in the world helps you do that so you have an advantage over some folks. What did you do before joining us on the show?
I picked up dinner for my kids.
I see a theme here. What are you going to do next after the show?
Assuming they’re still up, I’m going to help my wife take them to bed. Those of you parents out there with young kids probably can relate. It’s another full-time job but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Richard, we have a bonus question.
We always like to wrap up with a bonus question. As an expat, what advice would you give someone thinking about traveling the world based on your experiences?
There’s a lot of value in seeing how other cultures live. My advice is to try to go deep into any one area that you travel to, stay there, try to live how the locals live, and get a sense of time and how daily life is anywhere in the world. That’s interesting and important. It gives fresh perspectives on how people live anywhere around the world. My quickest way to get there is to eat what the locals eat.
Richard and I learned a lot about each other on the road together. Overall, they were good things. We didn’t want to strangle each other by the end of the trip. We shared a sense of adventure when it came to eating the local cuisine. One morning, we woke up and realized that in Seoul, no one left their house until 10:00 or 11:00 AM but we were hungry. The early morning spots in Seoul are soup spots, and we got to have this delicious beef rib soup that was amazing. They gave us aprons. There’s a picture somewhere in social of that experience. It’s pretty amazing.
I’m sorry I missed that experience. I haven’t been to Seoul but that sounds like a nice morning wake-up. I haven’t had beef soup for breakfast. That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
We’re going to move on now to segment three, which is Hot Topics where we’re going to talk about at least one thing that has been in the news. We touched on it earlier. There’s an article in Rolling Stone that has caught a lot of attention, Your NFTs Are Actually—Finally—Totally Worthless. There’s a new report called Dead NFTs: The Evolving Landscape of the NFT Market from dappGambl.
It’s a community of experts in finance and blockchain technology. They analyzed 73,257 NFT collections and found that 69,795 have a market cap of 0 ETH, which is the second-most popular cryptocurrency, and that 95% of NFTs are not worth anything at this moment. The study estimates that some 23 million investors own these tokens of no value. I’m sure you saw this article. Did any thoughts jump off to you?
It’s sensationalism. If you have half of these collections, and I don’t know how many of these collections are legitimate collections, it speaks to the narrative that people also want to hear because there were a lot of obnoxious stories of people getting rich off of trading JPEGs. The mass market and general population who aren’t in blockchain, NFTs, or this technology and follow along with the hype or the reasons why anybody would even care. To an outsider, it did seem ridiculous with a lot of this money sloshing around and trading hands for these JPEGs. A lot of these projects are images with no real community, no real utility, and no intention of having any.
That’s what you get when there’s hype around something like a new technology but history repeats itself or rhymes. I’m waiting for the moment when we have somebody hold up this tweet, and we’re in another phase of the market and adoption cycle of this technology. You’re going to be able to look back on a moment like this and say, “It does feel shortsighted,” but honestly, the news is designed to be shortsighted. People have very short attention spans. If you can catch people’s attention in three seconds, then a headline like that is going to resonate. People don’t want to listen as to why NFTs are going to be the essential building block for commerce going forward.
It’s worth noting that if you scroll down to the end of this research piece, in bold font, it says, “NFTs still have a place in the future.” They just need to provide genuine utility and be historically relevant AKA first-edition true art as well. It was good clickbait. There’s some interesting data in there. A lot of folks are taking a break from NFT trading but they’re taking a break from other types of trading because the overall economic downturn globally has impacted people’s leisurely choices of behavior.
There’s a lot more Netflix and biking, not bad things. We, as a society, are shifting and evolving as we speak. We had a little bit more time on our hands to trade JPEGs, and there was a speculator component to this. A lot of those NFTs that are down to zero had no roadmap. They had no long-term value built into them but the ones that do are still being actively traded now. Context is important.
Going back to my two quick thoughts, the first is when you think about cryptocurrencies, where are they? They’re blockchain startups. When you think about the NFT space, where are they? Startups. When you think about all startups, 90% of them failed, probably even more so on art. Probably 95% of them failed. When you go and do the math on this, that tracks. Those numbers add up and make sense.
The second thing is this is the first rise of this NFT market, the PFPs, or these artists, “There’s not a lot of utility. Here’s a cool artwork,” and you’re collecting art. If you look at the history of art, there have been a lot of artists. I was an artist once upon a time. I made macaroni art and gave it to my dad. It doesn’t mean it’s worth much now. Most of those aren’t going to necessarily make it because there isn’t a lot of repeat value, and it’s trying to capture something in this moment instead of trying to have the long-term utility.
Even looking at some of these artists who came out and created these art pieces, they’re not business people. If they’re a startup and they came out and created this cool thing but they had no business plan or model, they’re going to fail. Going back to the model of 90% to 95% of all startups are going to fail, this tracks. Those are my thoughts.
This is not financial advice. In my opinion, art is the one utility of NFTs. It has a huge future ahead. Authenticating the provenance of a piece of art on the blockchain is going to be very significant and valuable in terms of the historical significance and the collector significance of some of these art pieces. I would take a look at some of the one-of-one significant additions on the Art Blocks platform, the Ringers, Fidenzas, Autoglyphs, or CryptoPunks.
These are all historically significant and generative pieces that have long-term value. These are some of the things that I’m looking at to potentially invest in not financial advice but there’s also a big opportunity for people if they buy into this, “NFTs are worthless.” I’m happy for that narrative to go and pick up some stuff off the floor.
We know that art has been one of the most consistently appreciating assets globally over history. The digital art market got a little bit over-penalized based on the overall broader hype cycle that we have been through with NFTs. That’s where you get this potential alpha that you mentioned. We have been talking a lot on this show about travel, jet lag, and the fact that we got back from Singapore and Seoul but that’s not where it all ends because the Future Blockchain Summit 2023 is coming up soon in Dubai, and I’ll be hitting the road again. This is the pinnacle event for blockchain and cryptocurrency. It’s set to take place from October 15th through the 18th, 2023 at the Dubai Harbour.
From XEN to Satoshi, this conference promises to empower disruptors, inspire change-makers, and fuel innovators in Web3, blockchain, crypto, NFTs, the metaverse, and gaming. It’s a whole mix of stuff. Consider this your golden ticket to mind-expanding discussions, hands-on workshops, and an array of thrilling activities that offer a sneak peek of what lies ahead in the world of technology. I’m pretty excited about this. Richard, I can tell from this fresh in your face that there’s a little bit of FOMO brewing there.
I unfortunately am not going to be able to make this one but I was looking at the lineup of speakers and even at some of the sponsors. 1inch is going to be there. BitGo, Bitget, Binance, and a lot of the larger companies are going to be in attendance. It’s cool to see even some of the speaking lineup and some of the people that I’ve been trying to look out for like people from Enjinstarter and Circle. One of the big sponsors where we came from at TOKEN2049 was Islamic Coin. I had a good conversation with one of their co-founders and several others. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty sick conference with over 200 speakers. One of the speakers is going to be you. Do you know what you’re going to be speaking about yet?
I don’t know if it’s official. I don’t want to forego the embargo on the information but they have a cool talk in mind for me to facilitate around the future of where all this amazing Web3 technology is going. We will announce that talk sooner rather than later. I echo what you said, Richard. There’s a lot of activity brewing in Asia but there’s also a lot going on in Dubai. They have laid out the red carpet for folks who are excited about innovation and technology, not just blockchain but across all of emerging tech to come to get to know what’s going on over there, gather together, and talk about the future.
I don’t take it lightly getting on the road so quickly again but this seems worth it. I’m pretty pumped. Everyone, whether you’re diving in as an enthusiast or dipping your toes into Web3, this is the event you don’t want to miss. If you’ve heard about all this fun stuff going on in Dubai, this is the event to check out. Go to FutureBlockchainSummit.com and see me over there in Dubai.
This was an interesting conversation. Thanks for indulging in Hot Topics. This has been a nice beginning, Joe, to our set of content with Casper. Thanks for giving us this nice overview of Casper and what’s going on in the digital collectible side of things. I wanted to ask you a little bit more about where people can go to learn more about you and the projects you’re working on. Give us a little bit of a sneak peek of Outlaw Dogs and then maybe more about the grants program. Where do people go to dive deeper?
We spent a lot of time trying to streamline our information for developers, users, and people, in general, looking more about blockchain and where Casper fits in along their journey down that blockchain rabbit hole. Casper.Network would be a good first starting point for people to deep dive down. We have links out there to connect on our newsletter, all of our socials, and developer resources. We launched a developer portal for developers. We will work on a lot of tutorials but the core landing page is Casper.Network.
Is there anything going on in Outlaw Dogs yet?
One of the big themes for us is the creator economy, IP or Intellectual Property, and gaming. All of these things have elements inside a project that I’m involved in. That is Outlaw Dogs. It’s a multi-chain project launching on Ethereum but also a companion NFT on Casper that we’re launching where the gaming ecosystem is going to play out. We entered into a partnership with Wisdom Gaming. We’re very excited about the resources that they bring to the table. They’re leaders in eSports based out of Minnesota. We’re super excited about demonstrating the value and potential of what Casper can bring to an NFT project.
Outlaw Dogs is a Wild West-themed pioneering PFP-based project. We take inspiration from projects like Bored Apes but we also, from the beginning, are implementing mechanics and gameplay into this project. Poker is going to be a big component of the project itself. We see an opportunity here to demonstrate the value of Casper and do something innovative in the NFT space using the Casper CEP-78 standard, having those NFTs hold other NFTs. We think we have a very exciting and fun game component to this that people are going to get excited about. That partnership with Wisdom Games is going to be exciting.
Can people go anywhere yet to track Outlaw Dogs?
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. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to further dive down the rabbit hole. Look us up on all major social platforms by typing EdgeOfNFT and start a fun conversation with us online. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
- Your NFTs Are Actually—Finally—Totally Worthless
- @Edgeof_AI - Twitter
- LinkedIn - Edge of AI
- Casper Blockchain Podcast - Spotify
- Outlaw Dogs
- Roofstock - Previous episode
- Casper Labs
- Dead NFTs: The Evolving Landscape of the NFT Market
- Future Blockchain Summit 2023
- Wisdom Gaming
- Spotify - Edge of NFT
- iTunes - Edge of NFT