Web 3.0 may not be fully developed yet, but it is already impacting so many industries at different levels. We continue our trip to Davos, Switzerland as we highlight business leaders who are taking advantage of Blockchain, DeFi, and the entire NFT marketplace today. Garry Krugljakow of GOGO Protocol discusses how they gamify staking and yield farming mixed with NFTs, while fashion leaders Maria Buccellati (Faith Tribe) and Andrea Abrams (Phygicode) explain how the metaverse can change clothes shopping forever. Cyrus Fazel (Swissborg) emphasizes the importance of ESG as a huge part of NFT projects, pushing responsible brand building even further.
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Edge Of Davos Part 5: Garry Krugljakow (GOGO protocol), Maria Buccellati (Faith Tribe), Andrea Abrams (Phygicode), Cyrus Fazel (Swissborg)
We’re here in Davos, Switzerland, coming to you from the World Economic Forum Convention that happens every year. We’re going to bring you some of the sharpest minds and global leaders, telling you what they think about what’s next and how they’re making it happen. In this episode, we’re going to transition from one interview to the next to give you that feeling that you’re here with us, transitioning from one engaging conversation to the other. Stay tuned, sit back, relax, and enjoy.
We are back in Davos, enjoying another lovely yet cloudy day. It’s been a little bit rainy here, but we’ve been able to find solace from time to time. We’re going to try something a little fun. We’re going to do a little bit of a walk and talk with our guest. His name is Garry Krugljakow. I’m going to let him introduce himself. We’ll talk a bit about what he’s been up to the past years and some other fun stuff. Garry, introduce yourself.
Thanks. It’s great to be here. It’s fun trying this one out. My name is Garry. I’m the Founder of the GOGO Protocol and the new 0VIX Protocol. I’m a former banker. I moved into FinTech many years ago. I built a couple of FinTech companies here in Europe and then got caught by the CryptoBuck in 2020. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Where are you from? Where were you born? Where have you lived?
I grew up in Berlin, Germany. I didn’t think that’s a fun place, especially when you want to disrupt tech or finance. Berlin hasn’t been this financial capital like London or even Frankfurt. When I was eighteen, I moved to London to study and then went into finance. I started working there in the city, in the financial district. After a number of years, I realized banking is changing and evolving. The traditional way we do banking and financial services will have to change. That’s what made me move into FinTech.
A lot of people who worked in traditional finance, especially around the 2008 and 2007 period, said,” This is not working,” even though everybody’s pretending that it would continue to work. It’s interesting to encounter that principle again. Tell me about these specific projects you’ve been up to, from the spirit of what we had talking about banking and FinTech. It sounds a little bit dry, but there is some exciting stuff. That’s been building some community.
Back then, I joined a small FinTech called N26, a mobile bank. It’s the 2nd or 3rd largest mobile bank here in Europe. We were a small team that helped build and scale part of that business back then. After the launch, we left a handful of other team members to start our own company called Cookies, a peer-to-peer payment app. TechCrunch called it the Venmo of Europe. It was a money sending, peer-to-peer type of app.
We scaled it quite up nicely but then sold the company to Klarna, another big Swedish FinTech company. I then built my third FinTech, which was more focused on SMEs and helping SMEs out with short-term financing because banks have traditionally not been helping them. We scaled it quite nicely and sold it to a larger German bank just before COVID hit. That’s when the DeFi Summer started to happen, and crypto became what it is. We decided to start an NFT collection to play around with some ideas. In a couple of days, this NFT collection became one of the top fifteen trending NFT trading card games on OpenSea.
Did you have any idea that was going to happen?
No, it was more of us playing around, fooling around, creating some sick artwork of 3D animators that work day and night to make this happen. It became what it is known as Cryptogogos.
You told me previously that it started with you and one other partner. You brought on some talented artists. You braced some ideas and came up with something that eventually even surprised you at how powerful it was. Where are we at this point? When exactly was the launch?
We launched in early 2021. I wouldn’t say it was the peak of the whole NFT hype, but this was the first time it went viral. People started discussing how NFTs will change art, music, and culture. We wrote that wave essentially. We’re excited to be part of that fundamental change in how we own our art. We engaged with digital art. It was exciting to be part of that big initial shift towards NFTs.
We have ancient NFT history. It goes back to way back in 2017. We have a little bit of history here, too. It had been around since early 2021. We get to look back. How do you reflect on where you’re at now versus when you started? I’m sure the floor price goes up and down. You find ways to develop the project. What are you doing with the project?
After the initial hype, people started asking us on Discord and Telegram, “What can we do with those NFTs rather than buying, selling, and trading?” For this one, we came up with the idea known as a Gogoprotocol. It is essentially an online platform where you can stake tokens and use your NFTs depending on the rarity to boost your staking.
Let’s say you have one of the rarest NFTs. You can get a significantly higher reward than the least rare NFT. It’s gamifying this experience of staking and yield farming in combination with NFTs. This is how we evolve the collection from having something to look at and trade back and forth. We use it for something that is also interesting to many crypto people, such as taking annual yield farming.
Did you have any idea that was going to be part of the project when you started?
Not at all, but given my background, anything DeFi-related. I love art. My mom is a pianist. My dad’s an engineer. That is what we do. We have this NFT side of the protocol, and then we have the DeFi side that we’re focusing on a lot because DeFi is also in its early days. Coming back to my history, DeFi is probably going to change the financial world and what we see here in Davos. Every second house is somehow crypto-related and DeFi-related. With Polygon, we’re going to do massive things in the DeFi space. I’m excited about that.
Web 3.0: So many brands claim to be sustainable but fail to deliver. These false claims collapse the value of a brand.
I talked to a banker. They’ve had a bank for decades, almost maybe one of the original private banks or something. They decided they wanted to be one of the first to deal in cryptocurrencies.
It’s a Swiss banker, I assume.
That’s fascinating coming from this world. It’s exciting because there’s money involved. You do fun stuff with money, but it’s a little bit dry. Seeing how it evolved into something, it’s like you’ll take it. This is interesting and fascinating. There are so many incredible things going on.
In our white paper for the GOGO Protocol, which we wrote, we found the number that in the next 20 to 30 years, over $70 trillion of assets will be inherited from the younger generation. Young folks like Gen Y and Gen Z are not going to invest in gold bullions or some stock that their parents grew up with. They’re going to invest in NFTs, crypto, and DeFi. If you look at that number itself, that’s 30 or 40 times higher than the current market valuation of all crypto projects combined. This gives you a clue of the room we have to grow in the next years.
Who would’ve thought that the systemic problems of those late 2000s that people were looking for an answer to would lead to stuff like this? It’s fascinating. We appreciate the time that you spent with us. We want to know what’s next for you personally, the Gogos, and everything else? You can even share what you generally think is next.
The GOGO Protocol that embeds the NFTs also is going to relaunch version 2 or 2.0, probably as early as June 2022. We’re excited about that. We’re going to expand the product offering. There will be interesting products for the user to stake their crypto with and engage with their NFTs. Other than that, we are launching a money market protocol on Polygon. It’s hopefully the first native money market protocol called 0VIX.
There will be many touchpoints between Gogo and 0VIX. Continuing that DeFi story, we lack a sustainable source of yield in DeFi, and this is where 0VIIX comes to play. I’m excited about the next weeks and months. Personally, I get little sleep as it is. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon, but I’m looking for better weather.
I’m motivated to dive a bit deeper into Gogo and see what’s going on. We’ve got a question from the audience. How does 0VIX solve that DeFi yield? How do you think about that differently?
When we look at money market protocols and lending protocols, we see that many have this multi-chain or cross-chain approach. They don’t stay true to one blockchain but rather wherever the hype is. What we saw and identified at Polygon, which is the strongest blockchain in terms of scalability other than Ethereum, didn’t have this natively-focused money market. A lot of people moved back and forth between other chains, like Layer 1s and Layer 2s.
The GOGO Protocol is on Polygon. We identified for our users that it would be great if we could support them throughout the whole yield generating journey. If you look at where yields come from in DeFi, they usually come from lending and borrowing initially. There are arbitrage opportunities and other funky, exotic strategies based on derivatives.
We’ve all encountered some funky strategies before.
That’s why we’re close with the Polygon team. They also approached us around the same time when we identified that problem and said, “Let’s do something.” This is where 0VIX came to be. We are in public beta with over 2,000 to 3,000 users organically and a lot from the Bendigo community as well. Hopefully, we’re going to launch once the dust settles with this market terminal we were in or are still in. I’m excited about that. That way, you can have sustainable yields on Polygon for the broader Polygon ecosystem, including for protocols such as Gogo. I’m excited about that.
Thanks a lot. Before we end, let people know where they can go to find out more about you.
It’s lovely to meet you. Thanks for taking your time.
Thanks. It was a pleasure.
We have some special guests, Maria Buccellati and Andrea Abrams. We’re going to talk a bit about fashion. It’s an exciting topic to bring here to Davos. I’m going to let them each introduce themselves, and then we’re going to jump into a rousing conversation. Why don’t we start with Maria?
I’m Andrea Abrams. I’m the Founder of Phygicode. We are a consortium of industry leaders and physical and digital metaverse development, helping brands and entertainment products bridge the gap between the physical and digital. I’m also the Chief Strategist for Faith Tribe DAO with Maria.
It’s a privilege to have you here. We had to pull you in from everything that’s going on. Andrea, you’ve got two hours of sleep every day. It’s great to be able to spend some time with you. A great question to start with, to give some foundation here, is, “Why is Davos an important place to be for you? What brings you here? Have you been involved before? If not, why now?”
This is the first year for me with Web3, with what’s going on with the most transformative thing that’s happened to the fashion and retail industry in my many years in the business. It was important for us to be here because it was one of those events that were neutral when it came to protocols. It was platform agnostic. What I loved about the program is that we have a lot of friends, all the new coming together that are all involved in metaverse development.
We have NFTs. You have conversations about crypto. You have conversations about platforms. I found that the content is innovative and much forward-looking at what’s next. This is what we’ve done so far. Where are the smart companies going forward? It was great to see some of the traditional Web 1. 0 and Web 2.0 players here as well.
I even learned there is a metaverse committee for the World Economic Summit. We hung out with Robby Yung from Animoca Brands for a little bit of time. He was only here for 24 hours. The fact that they’re having this committee says a lot about the significance of what we’re all doing and how we’re spending all of our time. Maria, do you have any comments on being here and this situation?
I see that what we’re doing is so important at this moment. It’s a moment in time, and we’re living it in this second. We’re part of the world economy. We’re part of the progress. That’s why we’re here. There’s a reason. It’s not just like that. It’s interesting to see a dynamic group of people put together where there are different sorts and different businesses.
I was on the plane, and next to me was the mayor of Miami. I was like, “You’re going, too?” and he was saying, “You’re going, too?” I said, “I have a talk. How about you?” He was like, “I do, too.” It was so casual. Mayor Francis Suarez was on the plane coming here and being part of something I’m also part of. It’s a movement, and this is what’s different in Davos. This is why these conversations in the blockchain hub are so creative and novel.
I was talking to the Ministry of Trade of Singapore, and they were interested in Web3. It’s quite incredible. One of the key components of Web3 that could be the whole focus of this conversation, a house, or a conference is DAOs. There are a lot of misconceptions and capabilities of DAOs that don’t always get talked about. I would love to get both of your perspectives on DAOs, how they generally are working, what they maybe could do differently, and how they apply to the industry around fashion and can support some of your goals like sustainability?
Maria comes from an organic way of building community. That’s why I was so excited to join her. I have been in the blockchain space since 2018 with some of the biggest protocols. I’m a big believer in Gavin Woods’ belief that it’s all about truth and not trust. When you think about DAOs, the ones that failed, and about what Gavin said here at Davos, we need more truth.
When Maria called me and said, “You’ve been involved in blockchain for fashion and funding some wonderful digital wearable platforms. How would we do this if we do this through a DAO in Web3?” I said, “There are a few people who can do that authentically and with the truth.” Maria is one of them because I lived through that experience with Maria in the physical world.
We were friends in the physical fashion industry at a time when I said, “No more store parties for me. I’ve been there, done that.” Maria has store parties for Epic. It was a combination of incredible artists and musicians that went on to be Grammy winners at a store party in Soho. It was building community. I started saying years ago to a lot of the fashion brands that I advised, “You need to start looking at the community you are approaching. It is consumption for access, not for possession.”
The access that Maria created around Faith Connexion is the spirit of a proper DAO. It is access that couldn’t be so easily democratized. You had to know Maria. You had to know someone who invited you to the store. You had to be in New York. We’re trying to take that to the metaverse and say, “We can give you access in different ways. We can also invite you to a party in the metaverse and provide you genuine access to Maria and our tools without having to go to that store in New York.”
I assume that truth also means truth in labeling. I had a small fry in the fashion industry. I learned that you could do one last stitch in a different country and call it made in that country. There are a lot of misconceptions around sustainability and a lot of moving of products from one country to another to make it made in that country.
It’s funny you mentioned that. We had a t-shirt and a sweatshirt called Made in LA and Made in New York. It was Faith made in LA. This was huge. It was one of our bread and butter. It was one of our concepts.
Web 3.0: Web 3.0 tools are not fully developed yet. But still, you can see how selling products in a virtual world is more attractive to potential buyers.
I didn’t understand it until I got into it. A lot of people don’t. Part of being in a DAO is learning and being in the mix as opposed to just a consumer.
I started my keynote with traceability and authentication. When I got into the space, we were not talking about beautiful JPEGs. There were no Punks and no Apes. We were talking about NFTs for what they are and using the tokens on a ledger that is more trusted. It’s a ledger that is more immutable because of what you’re talking about. How many sustainable brands that claim to be sustainable brands failed to deliver the promise of sustainability? When somebody found out where they were making the garment or this process of going around the system to claim it was a false claim, the brand values collapse.
We consume around the community with brand values. One of the things that NFTs for inventory management and traceability can do is show authentic product origin but also product destination. One of the big themes in my personal life, as well as my business life, is circularity. It’s not going to be a choice in many years. Every brand and everybody making a product is going to have to account for the carbon footprint of the product. Being able to have a trusted, immutable, not corruptible ledger that shows where the item ended up and that it’s not in a landfill in Chile somewhere is important when you think of the business of fashion which Maria has been part of for years.
Does that also include a voice at the table in a different way? I’m thinking about some of the controversies with big brands, where they were made, and child labor. You could write and call them, but not the same as being part of the decision-making process. Are you rethinking that from a DAO perspective?
I’m rethinking because, in any case, this experience of being in Davos has given me a possibility to learn also about the DAOs around us. I was with Deepak Chopra. He was speaking, and he went, “Creativity is uncertainty. What is it? We are in an uncertain moment.” He was in a presentation of a DAO of the Future of Cities. They were talking about how we’re going to save those cities.
There we go from that to us, to going to the psychedelic house and learning about meditation. There again, I find Deepak Chopra talking about and doing sessions. It’s interesting how life experiences nowadays are creating these DAOs special and unique. When Andrea says, “Maria, you have this way and ability to put people together.” This is what how to do. To create it in the metaverse, for me, is a dream. We can give that experience, and people can feel it.
Deepak is everywhere. He was at the hotel. He was having coffee next to me at the table. I don’t know how this guy does it, but he is spreading consciousness in a profound, physical way.
It’s incredible. He said, “Did you come to meditate yesterday at my place?” I said, “No, I didn’t know you were meditating.”
Thanks so much for being such a big part of what we do. You were present at NFT LA in a big way and helped make it happen. We’ve heard about Faith Tribe and Phygicode quite a bit. We haven’t dived deep. I would like to dive a little bit deeper into what Phygicode is, does, and where it’s going. Can we hop in there?
Phygicode became a consortium after many calls through the pandemic from retail CEOs I’ve done for years. Everybody wanted a solution for the metaverse. I said, “You helped us enter Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Help us with Web3. Web3 is not something we can enter. There’s no tunnel to the metaverse. Web3 is a whole ecosystem of tools and new technologies. It’s the next internet.” I want to go back to the basics and the DNA of the brand and ask yourself if you were a brand that was around at the advent of Web 2.0. What were the decision-making processes?
At Phygicode, we’re not an agency, an NFT marketplace, or a tech platform. We are a consortium of C-Suite leaders in the physical and digital areas of metaverse development, coming from mostly the world of fashion and retail. We have people running physical authentication of products through NFTs with a variety of different platforms. We have people from digital design and physical design. We have prominent fashion designers.
Maria is going to announce her project for Phygicode at NFT NYC because we have all of these amazing new opportunities to collaborate with other Phygicode partners. We have people from metaverse for good. We have people from Farfetch. We have all of the ecosystems of physical and digital brands that constitute the world of commerce, which is truly omnichannel. We become an incubator organically. We realize that when we find a good project, it might be with a brand or an artist that is not ready to invest a lot in the metaverse.
We provide the funding and the umbrella. We’re a little bit like Kith, and if Ronnie Fieg is reading, he’s going to laugh. There were some brands in New York that defined this umbrella as an incubator for people who were in the space and wanted to get into a new community. In order for us to be authentic to our message, I told all my partners in Phygicode that we have to be authentic about committing to finding the tools to help test products.
Our first product for metaverse fashion week was with a little-known brand from the Caribbean. It was a festival wear brand, which is a physical brand tied to an organization that benefits women. It teaches women how to sew with a metaverse leader. It was a success from a branding perspective from exposing the brand and the activities to the world. Most importantly, I was touched when department store friends of mine were calling to say, “How do we get the physical product in our store?” It went full circle.
Maria, you have the phygital. I told Maria she’s joining Phygicode as well to bring the physical and digital. Maria is the epitome of phygital. Maria has created this beautiful jacket which is a piece of art. It has, “This artist created.” This piece of art is in her apartment. It’s been put in a jacket that is enabled by a chip that connects via airdrop to the NFT to the digital twin of this asset. I said to Maria, “You have now organically taken what you were doing in the physical world to the metaverse. You are one of the images of Phygicode.” We’re trying to test the limits of physical and digital, so it doesn’t feel so scary for brands to enter Web3.
It’s interesting because this happened organically. This artist brought this sketch to me and said, “Here, this is for you. I want to work with you. I’m going to work with you. I have to be involved with you.” I said, “Let’s see.” One day, we put this together when we were doing our launch in Miami Art Basel. This came together between students from Marangoni Institute, the artist, and us with the base of the canvas for this product. It was magical.
By the way, during NFT LA, I wore a fantastic piece. It’s one of my favorite old vintage Faith Connexion pieces. I couldn’t bring it here. It is incredibly customized by an amazing artist I met at Maria’s store. It’s one of my most prized possessions. It was warm that day, but I wore it on stage because I wanted to show the world that we’ve been doing this customization and community building for many years, and now we’re going to mint it into an NFT.
That’s a great segue to the conversation about metaverses. Are they the home of digital and physical intersecting? Are they a gateway to the physical world? Are they a place to express your identity digitally and go beyond your physical self? There are a lot of challenges with the adoption of the usage of metaverses. I don’t know how much time people are spending in there. We met a cool company at Decentral Games. They’re dominating Decentraland with poker. That’s a fun use case. I like poker, but that doesn’t scream mass adoption. I would love your perspective as fashion pioneers on how the metaverse can be a conduit to self-expression from a fashion perspective.
I don’t think we’re anywhere near the level of adoption we are all expecting. I am one of those people that believes that we’re not all going to live in video games. It’s impractical. We all have jobs. We all have families.
I don’t mind sleeping on a video game. I have to do that anyway. If you watch Mark Zuckerberg’s introduction to Meta, you’re working in the metaverse. It’s interesting. He’s ready for you to be working for him.
People are concerned that we’re trying to bring everybody to a cartoon-oriented type of world. What he said best is it’s hierarchical and elitist. He is a perfectionist when it comes to looks. It’s our industry. One of our members in Phygicode is a veteran of the publishing industry. He’s been with all the major fashion publishing brands. I said to him, “We need someone who understands visual communications to teach the young people of the metaverses what looks good, whether it’s digital or physical.”
I think that adoption is going to come organically from the use cases that matter. If you think back to Web 1.0 or Web 2.0, maybe some younger people did, but those of our generation did not think that we would ever use a digital tool to pay for things, access our bank accounts, or communicate with our families. We never thought we would be communicating through the social media platforms we have.
I find that we’re in the same place. The tools are not fully developed, but you can start seeing how selling products in a virtual world is more photo-realistic in showing the garments in digital ways to buyers, for example. It could be attractive for a brand because digital sampling is going to save a lot of money and time.
It seems one of the more obvious use cases. It takes time to get to the mall and to shop. It’s hard for me at least to find brands that fit my body correctly and that I like the style. I’m not at the point where I’m getting custom everything. I’d like to be able to hang out at the Josh Mall and check out the shops that are all about Josh.
I love that you’re saying that because the people who know me as, “The future is phygital,” I talk about a world with no sizing. The fashion industry is notorious for brands changing their sizing. I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. There are a lot of tools we see that are photo-realistic scanning that gets tied to avatars. At Phygicode, we are working with a couple of those providers. We see a world in which, eventually, when these tools are more cost-accessible, brands won’t have to call something at 34, 44, or 54.
You won’t have to say, “In Italy, this is that.” It’s going to be Josh’s size, your avatar. Automatically, it will be adapted. Why? Because it will be manufactured on demand, which is a big part of what Maria, Wahid, and Faith Connexion are pioneering. Faith Tribe is going to offer and make it accessible to other brands. Fashion on demand has a lot of wonderful benefits, including cost, circularity, and no waste. Imagine someone like you would be able to look at your avatar and say, “It’s not size this or that. It’s Josh’s size.”
If I get to the gym months later, can I tweak it?
You can take your avatar. You will have to pay for a new garment if you want.
You could design an algorithm that would say, “If you do these exercises for three months, then these are the clothes you would be wearing.”
I’m also thinking, based on that, there’s no reason why this information couldn’t be fed to a local tailor to tweak your clothing if all this data is available. You could have these great partnerships with the local person.
You mentioned something important. I know of healthcare companies that are starting to use metaverse-like tools, virtual worlds, and avatar design to help educate young people on health issues to help prevent future illnesses and even diabetes. It’s boring when we teach kids in school, “Do not eat sugar.” I love purpose-driven gaming. When you see it in a video game, that’s going to be exciting for education.
One other thing, the juices are flowing. I’m tired. You could bring your shopping assistant with you into the metaverse. Your shopping assistant can be in Brazil. You’re in LA. There’s something interesting there. There’s a lot to unpack. You could have your friends there with you. You could talk to your favorite brand.
Web 3.0: A brand could sell an infinite number of products in the metaverses. The artistic community embraces it because it allows them to source new talent not available to them.
You could customize an item with Maria Buccellati in a virtual world. Look at our store. We did a beautiful store in Decentraland at the party. You can see the real Maria Buccellati in the rear jacket and create a customized digital piece that becomes nifty. Maybe if you want to pay for the physical, we could also create the physical.
What about co-creation among designers in different textile lists? That’s probably a little bit easier if you have this visual canvas in front of you virtually.
We’re already working on that. We talked in our panel about Faith Connexion pioneering this collaborative effort under the umbrella of a strong brand. There are only so many artists that you can access and many people who could attend the party. We could have an endless number of digital artists join the platform. We could offer them the chance to customize items.
They could use our utility coin to buy access to different tools and discounts and a variety of elements of our industry that are typically hard to access until you reach a certain critical mass. You can also create digital versions of garments that could be far more interesting than you thought. There are limitations to what we can do in the physical world.
I talked about metaverse identities. I tell all the brands, “The biggest opportunity I see for you is you’re not just dressing the physical community members or customers. You’re trusting their alter egos.” The brand that we launch, Phygicode by Wallflower, is a carnival wear brand. I don’t see myself wearing that in Manhattan anytime soon, but my avatar was rocking it in the metaverse.
I don’t want to be this person in the metaverse because I can be fifteen other people there. If you’re a brand, you can sell me certain things in the physical world and infinite styles in the metaverse. We are exploring more with that. The artistic community is embracing it because out of that, brands will also be able to source new talent that was not available to them before.
It sounds like there’s going to be a Faith Tribe DAO Fashion Festival in the metaverse at some point.
We already did it at the Burning Man. It’s already happened with Blond:ish. Blond:ish was great. You’re going to be able to come and customize on the metaverse with our artists. They will have their turn. You can pick them up.
This is such an important conversation, Eathan, because the metaverse is so nebulous. We’ve talked about some specific use cases.
Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to cut the conversation for two reasons. One, Andrea needs some sleep. We don’t want her to squeeze in more and more into less time. I helped her earlier escape from a request. Somebody came in and requested. It didn’t work out. That’s the first reason. The second reason is if we keep going, your brand is going to turn into JoshStore.xyz.
It’s been such a rich conference. We were talking about the schedule program. At UCLA, we had all these things and meetings scheduled back-to-back. The thing about Davos is that the whole town feels like a campus. We’re all jumping around and meeting. We’re being stopped constantly. It was like more and more because it was so exciting. You don’t want to stop. It’s a great environment. It’s great to be here. It’s great to find partners from the US that we’re working with. It’s been interesting to share the conversation because you’re experiencing the same things we’re experiencing, and we can take it to the next level.
It’s great to see both of you in real life again in Davos. I hope it’s a productive remainder to your week. Thank you for joining us for a little bit.
Can you share how people can get involved on websites or socials to follow?
We have www.FaithTribe.io. You can learn about Faith Connexion, Faith Tribe, and all about our utility token. Phygicode is Phygicode.io. In Phygicode, you can learn from our website about our consortium members. We’ll be announcing ten more in June 2022. We will be announcing a lot of the collaboration projects and ways to collaborate
Thank you so much.
Thank you, guys. Have a great Davos.
I’m going to introduce Cyrus Fazel from SwissBorg. We’ll get conversations started with him, giving a little bit of background on himself and what he’s up to.
My name is Cyrus Fazel. I’m the proud Founder and CEO of SwissBorg, always here to serve you. I’m a Persian-Swiss. I worked for ten years and tried to find mainly hedge funds, private banking, and wealth management, and I didn’t find my purpose. I said, “What should I do? I probably should do the same thing, but provided not to that 1% of that planet, but focus on that 99%.” I got into crypto. Thanks to my dad, who’s in Iran. I sent him some Bitcoins. I realized that Bitcoin was not a thing to speculate about. It was as well a product.
You said, “Thanks to my dad in Iran.” You sent him some Bitcoin. How did this work? Did he introduce you to crypto? Did you introduce him? Unpack that a little bit.
He didn’t tell me to send him Bitcoins. It was his 70th birthday years ago. Long story short, in Iran, you can’t send out money. This doesn’t happen. There are no bank accounts. There’s no SWIFT. There are no credit cards over there. My cousin told me that if I would send him some Bitcoins, he would then buy a bottle of whiskey for my dad. He said, “Send me a big amount of Bitcoins.” I send him some Bitcoins. He did buy a bottle for my dad eventually.
What year was that?
That was 2015.
Those Bitcoins that you coughed up for that whiskey are probably worth quite a bit.
Yes, especially the fact that the price of alcohol in Iran is expensive because you can’t get them easily.
Thanks for unpacking that a little bit. Move forward on the story here.
Like so many people, you go from speculation to then understanding the product and the product to understanding the philosophy of decentralization and all of that. The Ethereum came into place in my life. At first, I thought it was another live coin but my Cofounder, Anthony, an engineer, understood Web3. He’s like, “This is a platform where we’re going to be building things. We’re going to be doing whatever we want.”
We wanted to sell our project, SwissBorg, to people who fundraise. All of that didn’t happen. No one believed us in 2016. In 2017 we said, “Let’s do a crazy ICO and see how it works or not.” Fortunately, it did work well. We did raise our hard cap back then in 2017 and 2018. Since then, the big mission at SwissBorg has been democratizing crypto wealth management by making it fun, fair, and community-centric.
It’s a great mission. It’s nice and succinct. It wraps a lot of the ethos of Web3. Tell me a little bit about what you’re doing these days, things that people should be looking out for, and how they might be getting involved or start to gain awareness.
There are a few things. Especially from Europeans, mainly the big market committee, people could buy and sell crypto, deposit their money within seconds, do some DeFi within two seconds, and get a great amount of yield on that. Looking at all the DeFi world, it’s a massive jungle. With that jungle, you have great opportunities, but you have the snakes as well and things that are different and difficult. One of the big things that we’ve been saying for a long time is not one size fits all.
The idea is to offer more and more different, customized yields based on risk and length of time. You want to lock your tokens and the payout that you want as well. That’s going to be one of the big things we’ll be launching hopefully this summer of 2022, where people could say, “If I have a low risk, I’d rather go in to stake Ethereum and just be a validator for stake ETH 2.0.” On the opposite, I want a high yield. I’m going to go to yield farming, which is a higher return, but higher risk. People should understand that. That’s one of the big things we want to do.
That’s what you mean when you say, “Not one size fits all.” You’re offering different products for different levels of risk tolerance. It’s not being fully transparent because there are a lot of things people need to do their own due diligence about, but being as transparent as you can about exactly what they’re getting into.
It’s what is getting into, which protocol, where is it stake, and have the proof on the ledger if the people want to check it out and see where the funds are, are they segmented, and all of that, which is important.
Web 3.0: Blockchain is a book full of entries about yield farming, the tokens you have bought, the NFTs you have collected, and the things you have minted.
We love to talk Web3, DeFi, and all kinds of stuff like that. You said you’re cooking up your own NFT projects.
Especially at the World Record Forum, we always have to think about what is the impact we’re creating on the planet. Years ago, when I was here, I remember BlackRock, the biggest asset manager in the world, said, “By 2030, every investment will be ESG-compliance, environmental, social, and governance approved by certain standards.” It made me think that that’s a great thing to say and put into place. We’re going to create a thematic essentially. We will be investing in Layers 0, 1, and 2s based on environmental and social governance.
It’s making sure that the blockchain itself has low carbon footprints but is decentralized, has a deal structure behind it, and has great governance to it. That’s the product itself. It’s like an ETF. People would be able to invest in it. We will be able to find the tokens and rebalance it within people’s wallets. It’s not like a fund. It’s more like a strategy. For that, we’re launching this NFT collection. We want 10,000 superheroes and super sheroes that could potentially mint this NFT.
The idea is that by having this NFT, you’re a part of this new revolution. The second is that a lot of the royalties of this NFT will go to buy more tokens on the markets and be given a deal where people could take some initiatives on this ESG topic. That’s a cool way to have a strong mission of having that hero and shero cyborg NFT, but at the same time, have a deal process where people could think, pass initiatives, and get a lot of different airdrops with these new tokens, like a step in. That’s a move to earn cool things or other ones like Sweatcoins or things like that, other things that have that ESG type of mindset.
We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much ESG has entered the conversation here at Davos, especially among the bustle surrounding the convention. People are credibly excited about the possibilities that blockchain brings to ESG. We talked to an organization called Proof of Impact. They are about being on the blockchain and making sure that people can trust what’s going on.
There are NFTrees as well. Each time you mint an NFT, you essentially will be creating a tree. Essentially, you’ll be able to say, “Thanks to me. I got this NFT which represents trees.” There are a lot of great initiatives that could be monetized, but more importantly, save our planet, which is what we’re all here for.
What’s inspiring you in the world of Web3, NFTs, DeFi, and maybe even a little bit of where you think things are headed?
We’re in this one of the worst periods on this planet, environmentally and socially. In the pandemic, the war, the economy, everything is showing us we’re doing something extremely wrong. We’re not going to solve this on the web, but we need more and more people to have this conscience that mother earth or humanity is not going well. Web3 is something that could change the relationship, economy, and products that we have essentially as well as governance.
Anything that has a deal structure with a token economy around it is lovely, especially if we could get more to identity. That has been a lot of this NFT craze. People are flipping and making a lot of money. That’s one thing as well as how to acquire a new status. The status could be through a lot of different tokens. For me, that is where we are starting to build this digital identity.
In the end, the blockchain is a book, and there are entries of, “What did you do as yield farming? Which tokens did you buy? Which NFTs you’ve collected? Which things did you mint?” If you could bring an identity on top of that, then people will do the good behaviors and probably will start to reward people doing these good behaviors. This could be something exciting as building a proof of identification on the blockchain.
I love the forward-thinking. I love that you’re able to share that with us. I’m sure the readers appreciate your insights on the potential future. I want to make sure people know how they can get involved with SwissBorg. Give them some links, places to visit, and actions to take.
Anyone could download the SwissBorg app besides the US market. We’re still not licensed over there. We’re a licensed company out of Europe mainly, but we’re always on Twitter to follow. Share the love.
Thanks so much for joining us.
We’ve been privileged to talk to these world leaders here in Davos, Switzerland. Thanks for joining us on this journey.
We have reached the outer limit at the show. Thanks, everyone, for exploring with us. We have got space for more adventures on this starship. Invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey also much better. Go to Spotify or iTunes. Rate us and say something awesome. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. You can also come and participate in EdgeOfNFT.com/Discord and get to know the community. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks for sharing this time with us.
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