Today’s episode features BAYC’s boss butler Jenkins the Valet and bestselling book begetter Neil Strauss. In this riveting session they share how they decided to work together and how each of their identities were born and made. Jenkins and Neil team up with hosts Eathan Janney and Josh Kriger in a tell-all chat about on The Bored Ape Yacht Club and their developing project. Jenkins the Valet is the head valet at the Bored Ape Yacht Club and has assisted many of the clubs’ wealthiest patrons with odd jobs, some of which also lead to odd stories just waiting to be told. We can only imagine what Jenkins has seen and heard with the BAYC growing in popularity and profligacy. Neil is a 10-time New York Times best-selling author, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and an awardee of the Taylor Award for Excellence in Music Journalism in 2018. Join us and take part in the privilege of hearing what these legends have to say about NFT backlash, NFT secrets, and much, much more.
Listen to the podcast here:
Jenkins The Valet On His BYAC Tell-All Feat. Guest Neil Strauss, Plus: Instagram NFTs, Ghost Recon Breakpoint NFT Backlash, Guzzler Car Part NFTs And More…
This episode features Jenkins the Valet and Neil Strauss. Here’s a bit about each of them. Jenkins the Valet is the Head Valet at The Bored Ape Yacht Club. He has helped out many of the club’s wealthiest patrons with odd jobs and has seen and heard many things. With the BAYC growing in popularity, it is time to write a tell-all. That’s why he has teamed up with Neil Strauss.
Neil Strauss is a ten-time New York Times bestselling author, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and a former music critic, culture reporter, and columnist at the New York Times, where he won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism. In 2018, Neil was honored with the Los Angeles Press Club’s Journalist Award for his Rolling Stone 50th anniversary cover story, Elon Musk: The Architect of Tomorrow.
We are privileged to have both of you here. Welcome to the show.
Thank you so much. I’m super pumped to be here. I’m glad to steal a few minutes away from the Valet Stand to talk with you, Josh, Eathan, and Neil.
It’s a busy time of the year for a prestigious valet such as yourself. We appreciate that. This is our last episode of 2021. I couldn’t be more excited to end on a project that speaks in a lot of ways, in my opinion, to the future of NFTs and what’s possible with them in terms of publishing, IP, and the evolution of projects into new adventures that no one could have predicted. Jenkins the Valet, it’s hard to think of a better person to collaborate on with the tell-all book like this than Neil Strauss. It’s hard to think of a more entertaining and purposeful group of folks than the folks of The Bored Ape Yacht Club. How did this dream mashup come together? Give us the scoop.
Not a day goes by where we are not pinching ourselves that we get to work with someone as awesome. We are in this New Year’s time of the year, so I’m thinking about what I’m grateful for and thinking back about the 2021 and things like that. People say it takes a lot of luck for something to be built. One thing that we have been lucky about is that no one could have imagined that the BAYC would become as exciting and as big of a deal as it is.
Eathan, when you were giving a bit of my bio, there’s that line that the BAYC has grown in popularity, so now it’s time for a tell-all. The first time that I, as Jenkins the Valet, set a line like that was when the BAYC flew across one ETH. We were freaking out because it was like, “We are rich. Our profile pictures are worth $3,000.” It has only continued to grow, and we are all incredibly fortunate to be part of such an incredible ecosystem of creative people who are building IP around their avatars. Jenkins the Valet is a character who is based on this idea that in NFT is like the tip of the iceberg.
That storytelling, IP development, and deepening backstory can turn an avatar into a character. When we started doing that and posting to Twitter, my partner and I realized that we had an opportunity to build a whole media business around this, continue to build IP around characters like Jenkins, and eventually do it with others as well. We set out to find great advisers in the space who could help us do that like people who have been in the NFT community before and are building other things.
One of those advisors is GMoney, who to us, is one of the OG NFT personalities, someone who disassociated themselves from their online identity and has posted amazing things online for a lot of time. GMoney is a mutual friend with Neil, so GMoney made that connection between us and Neil. The first time we had a call with Neil, we were sold. We knew that was our author. We had faced about 500 rejections from other literary agents and authors at the time.
When we had momentum by Jenkins, the character, and we were trying to find someone to help us write this story, people said no. Ninety percent of people didn’t respond and 9.9% of people said, “This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.” We were lucky that someone, a futurist like Neil, who’s incredibly open-minded and looks to skate to where the puck is going rather than where it was willing to take a call from us with the GMoney introduction. That’s how the dream mashup came together.
I met Neil at an event in LA around the time that he was mulling over this possibility. We were doing some whiskey shots, exploring what the future of NFTs could be like, and talking about the evolution of the industry. What’s your perspective on what went down there? Why did you choose to be part of this project?
What went down with the whiskey shots or with Jenkins?
The whiskey went down. I felt pretty good the next day. We chose some good whiskey.
The worst decisions are made under the influence of whiskey. This remains to be seen as to whether it will be the book that finally makes my career.
The truth is when you are under the influence of the whiskey, they are the best decisions. When you are not under the influence of the whiskey, then they become the worst decisions. Keep drinking the whiskey. Everything is going to turn out fine.
There’s a thing called state-dependent memory, which is if you are studying for a test while you are stoned, you should take the test while stoned. You remember things in the same state you are in. That’s not a recommendation. I’ve got excited because of all the rare Apes that Jenkins has had the experience and the privilege of meeting at the Yacht Club, and to know all those stories and be willing to tell them is one thing. To me, when I do a book with a celebrity such as Jenkins, it’s got to be about more than the people you know and the stories of other people. It has to be about your story.
What is your personal story? That has to be the heart of it. Jenkins has been in some situations that are toe-curling and spine-tingling. I’m excited to share the story. The other rule I had with Jenkins is that, “You have to be willing to tell your whole story with no fear of what the other Apes, Mutants, and your family will think and be willing to share the whole truth.” Jenkins was willing to go there.
That is the question of what made you come to a yes. With your experience as an author, that all makes a lot of sense.
We all want to know what’s going on inside the Yacht Club. What does it look like? What are the membership credentials? What happens in that secret locked room in the back? There are so many questions that will finally be answered.
Eathan and I are part of a group. One of the members of our group brought this project to our attention right after it launched on Clubhouse. This was early in the evolution of NFTs. I’m not a member of the club yet, and I want to know. I have been living on the outside of this amazing ecosystem, and I need to know what’s happening there.
I am going to restrain because there’s so much that will be put into this book that I will wait until you read it between the pages but I can attest to the fact that Neil has pushed me in a way that I thought I would not be pushed to divulge the things that have happened. I thought, “Here’s a tell-all. I’m going to run to Neil Strauss. I will show him my notes of the different things that I have done. He will make it nice and spicy.” The trick has been to pull out the real feelings about how it went down, why it went down, and what the motivation was, things like that. It’s going to make quite an interesting story.
I’m not privy to this behind the scenes but I have heard that supposedly Jenkins has these holders of this Writer’s Room. I’m not sure but there might be more going on in the decision-making process about what happens in the Yacht Club than even I may be aware of. I don’t know if Jenkins has discussed and revealed some of this yet, but I think it’s interesting if any of it can be shared or any of the results.
We’ve got almost 2,800 unique holders of our Writer’s Room NFT. Those Writer’s Room NFTs do two things. The first is that they allow members to exercise voting power on the creative direction of the stories that we tell. What that means, in this case, is when I’m coming forward and doing my tell-all of everything that I have done, Neil has questions for me sometimes but I can’t answer them by myself. I turn around, and I ask my 2,800 unique holders to help me figure out what’s the best way to answer it.
There’s something interesting about that too, which means that sometimes the answer that you get is a fact but sometimes there are questions, opinions, or something like that. Neil has to deal with the fact that he’s not just interfacing with the Valet at the Bored Ape Yacht Club. He’s interfacing with a large number of Apes and Mutants. He’s getting the collective Ape brain giving him some of the answers that he needs. I will divulge some of those answers.
Bored Ape Yacht Club: Bringing a successful book to market obviously requires incredible creative. But there are also very important pieces of that puzzle to make something successful and it’s important that the community gets to participate in all of it.
The other thing that these holders can do is that they can license their own IP to the story. There are a number of different characters with who I have interacted with doing different jobs as the Valet at the club. The way that those characters bubble up to Neil, the author is that, they are licensed. This is an interesting use case and the first of its kind, and this mass licensing of IP in the NFT space. We have, at this point, December 28th, 2021, over 2,000 individual Bored Apes.
New Apes have been licensed to this book, and they will be featured in some capacity. Some as main characters, some will be illustrated, and some will show up in a game of Where is Jenkins? That will be inside the back cover of the book. A large number will be included in a special acknowledgment. That’s interesting. There are so many avatars and people who own these avatars who will participate in the financial upside of the book.
That’s a fascinating thing to explore here. There’s so much to experiment with, and you are going for it. There’s the IP as you are talking about the utility of the NFTs. You have brought into the equation brand-building strategies. These are all open fields with NFTs. You mentioned IP, licensing, and sharing. I can imagine it can get complicated. I’m curious if you can share a little bituse of the inner workings starting with the IP. Was that as complicated as it sounds? Are there contracts people have to sign? You own your Bored Ape if you own that IP, character or NFT. Can you explain a little bit more about how that pans out?
My partner and I, every day, we are wearing a different hat. Sometimes it’s a creative project, software project or community building but more and more, we have felt that it’s a legal project. Jenkins the Valet has been signed to CAA across books, films, podcasts and more. We have access to CAA’s in-house counsel. We have our IP attorney who crafts the licensing agreements that we sign. That gives someone who holds the commercial rights to an NFT the ability to license those commercial rights for us for the book. We have entertainment counsel and blockchain lawyers as well.
There are a lot of different lawyers that are working on this. It’s a new frontier. Often we are in these conversations, and the realization is that it hasn’t been done before, and we have to try our best. To that end, we are open-sourcing every piece of legal that we develop because our idea here is to contribute back to the space as best we can so that other projects that come after us will have the opportunity to use the same types of agreements. Beyond the legal implications of somebody being to take an NFT that they own and license those rights to us, there’s a whole bunch of other IP that exists as well.
When I’m not docking boats and doing odd jobs for patrons at the Bored Ape Yacht Club, I have spent a lot of my time in software development. We have built a custom web app that allows people to engage and vote on the questions that Neil might have for us. A series of questions ended that we will come to define the genre and the early plot. For example, “What pivotal event has happened in Jenkins’ life that makes them want to tell his story?” Fifty-three percent of our 2,800 community members have voted that he’s convinced that the fate of the Yacht Club is in his hands.
Now, we know where this begins. Jenkins, for some reason, is convinced that the fate of the Yacht Club is in his hands. He goes searching for a reporter and there’s a question of Jenkins, “We are looking for a reporter to tell his story. Where would we find them?” Sixty-two percent of those 2,800 holders have decided that he would go to the offices of The Bored Ape Gazette. You’ve got Jenkins, who is convinced he’s got the fate of the Yacht Club in his hands, and he goes to the Bored Ape Gazette.
Here’s another answer. This was a close one, and 24% is the majority here. It says, “The writer responds to Jenkins and says he will only write the story anonymously because of how dangerous it could be.” These types of things come together in this dated web app you can only access if you hold a Writer’s Room NFT. That comes to setting the guidelines for how the story is written. We believe that community generative and crowdsourced content can make for a better book than what any of us could do on our own.
You can see why I was excited to be involved in this project. How cool is that? I have never done anything like this. It’s such an exciting concept, and the results are so great. If you read the book, The Wisdom of Crowds, there’s great wisdom in the community and the choices they are making. I’m so nervous to say I’m outsourcing these decisions to the community, then they make these incredible decisions, and you end up writing the book that’s exactly right for them. We are co-creating the book. How cool is it to have this many additional authors?
This is not your only foray into this idea of decentralized publishing. Talk to us for a moment about how you think decentralized publishing fits into the broader spectrum of what’s possible with NFTs. How important of innovation is this in the grander scheme?
We all have an incredible opportunity with Web 3.0. Besides everything that technology makes possible, we can try to right the wrongs of Web 2.0. The Web 2.0 was supposed to level the playing field, and instead, the playing field became grossly disproportional. We all have this opportunity and not Jenkins, myself, and what you are doing with the show.
Everybody has an opportunity to work, fight, and lead by example that model. You are referring to it to that end as an experiment, which is not about the creation side but it’s different than what Jenkins is doing. If I understand it correctly, Jenkins, the readers participate in the backend of the book as well, not just the NFT holders. Is that correct?
That’s exactly right. Each of our NFT holders who licensed an avatar to the work end up in a pool of licensors who split 50% of the net profit that the book makes. Beyond that, each of our NFC holders receives a free book NFT for having contributed. That book NFT has an entire roadmap that has game theory associated with it. It’s taking the NFT and burning the NFP for other things.
Participating in the creation of this book is as much about participating in the business of it, and the strategy of future NFT drops as it is in plot and creative direction. All of those pieces are coming together. Neil, you know better than anybody that bringing a successful book to market requires incredible creativity. There’s an industry around bringing a book to market that is also an important piece of that puzzle to make something successful. Our community gets to participate in all of it.
The follow-up question I have for you, Jenkins, is around the community and the role that they have played in the process of launching such a unique co-created adventure. What have been some of the challenges that have come along with the ride? How has the community been part of addressing those challenges?
An immediate challenge comes to mind. This is more of a one-off instance than something that happens that’s more systemic. Our Discord was hacked. Somebody came in, impersonated Jenkins the Valet, banned all of the admins, and then brought to market a fake scam Jenkins project. Unfortunately, that’s a challenge that comes with any project in the space these days. It’s one of the biggest issues when we are on the precipice of mainstream adoption with NFTs. When events like this come up, it sheds a negative light on the entire space.
Interestingly, having a strong community is an incredible way to play defense against some of these challenges. In that instance, for example, when the Discord was hacked, we had hundreds of community members who immediately stepped up. It was in the middle of the night on the East Coast where my partner and I were. We were asleep but we’ve got all these community members. For some, it was the morning for them in Asia but they are on Discord and Twitter posting, acknowledging what has gone wrong, looking out for each other, and things like that.
That’s a one-off example of why community building matters so much. It matters when things are going well because you’ve got this amazing and positive energy where people are pinging off of each other, and great ideas come up. It also helps when things go bad because you’ve got people there to support you. If I was going to give a broader example of challenges that come from having such a big community, it’s an ambitious endeavor to try to license so many avatars to a book. We’ve got over 2,000 now.
That’s a challenging thing to do in a distributed way, and there’s no answer for it. There are a lot of moving pieces, and you need to equip people with the information that they need to make decisions. You can’t run everything through yourself. That feels uncomfortable when you have been programmed to do things in a Web 2.0 way. For us, we are taking it as it goes, trying our best and to write well, and provide assets for our communities so that they can make decisions based on where we are trying to go. Doing it on such a broad scale has been difficult.
It’s new muscle memory. I’m thinking about a conversation we had with FCF. In that project, you have these real football players on the field, and the fans get to call the plays. How that must be unique for someone that has played football all their life to let this outside audience decide, whether or not they run or do a Hail Mary. Essentially, you are doing that in your own way.
It’s an amazing analogy. The hardest part is getting used to that muscle to be comfortable with passing the ball in that way.
It’s an experiment in surrender. Shout-out to that book by Michael Singer. I highly recommend it. It’s The Surrender Experiment. It’s philosophical. It’s not about NFTs.
It’s great. I downloaded it because his other book, The Untethered Soul, was so good. You are recommending it is going to make it next to my list.
I’m sure you will love it.
Bored Ape Yacht Club: Community building matters so much when things are going well, because you can get this amazing positive energy where great ideas come up. But it also helps when things go badly, because you’ve got people there to support you.
To be frank, with NFTs, crypto, trading, and everything, you need a root, deeper principles, and ideas to survive, make it non-addictive and healthy for you, enjoy the experience, and push the innovation forward. It’s all about NFTs.
I also recommend the audio version if you didn’t get the audio version. That’s also good. I want to dive in here because we have so many questions for you. I wish we could ask them all but we are going to end this portion of the interview relatively soon. I want to talk about the metaverse. People ask us, “What’s next? What’s 2022?” We talk about the metaverse and gaming. Nobody can predict but we can’t have this conversation without saying what’s going to happen in the metaverse. Are there plans? Is there licensing or sharing avatars in the near future? Can you share with us anything about your view on the metaverse and what’s happening?
When you say the metaverse, what is your definition of it?
We have asked this too on various episodes. People are not going to say, “You could qualify a Zoom call as the metaverse.” The basic answer comes out that there is not one metaverse. There are several. Eventually, it could be like websites. It’s ubiquitous. You have multi-metaverses. There is this idea that they are going to be integrated in some way where you might be able to take characters, properties, various activities, or programs from one metaverse to the next. It’s not augmented reality. It’s virtual reality. That’s my definition of the metaverse.
I feel strongly about the interoperability of being able to take IP that can maybe follow you all around the internet and mean something in every place. I’m not sure about the future of VR for the metaverse. It’s not, at least in my imagination, in the near-term, and when I say near-term, I mean in the next ten years. I don’t expect us to be in pods, hooked up to IVs, and living in the virtual world. I do believe that you will see a significant amount of work being put into what you could call the Jenkins-verse or the Writer’s Room-verse. It’s our community coming together to create more worlds, settings, and stories that characters have to interact in and having that be multimedia.
What is special about the metaverse is that the content lives. You attack all fronts at once. You’ve got this book but the book is also an NFT. It’s because the NFT exists on the blockchain that you can manipulate, burn, stake it, and earn things for having it in a way that you can’t earn things for having a regular book on your bookshelf. Those things that you can earn can plug back into the next story, which could be another book, podcast or movie. The story keeps going on everywhere, all at once, all the time. It’s a bit abstract to describe it that way, but that is our vision of the metaverse and what storytelling looks like in it.
The way that I’m interpreting that, too, as we develop whatever we are calling the metaverse is it’s about all of these virtual artifacts, items, and forms of currency. In a lot of ways, we are seeing it’s a beautiful place where people in various parts of the real world or “the globe” can access a new world, where potentially there’s a better chance of having an equal shot at things because it is virtual.
It’s a good segue to this blend of physical reality, the metaverse, and Discord and how all that fits together and amplifies community. This is a conversation we are excited to continue at NFT LA. I’m excited to have you a part of that, Neil. I’m sure there will be a lot of things to discuss by March 28th, 2022 that have not yet occurred in the space. To cap off this adventure before you run, is there anything that you are looking at for inspiration these days in terms of other projects that you are excited about, considering in terms of your path as a writer for this project, and some of the other things that you are up to?
There are many things to discuss and say about the metaverse and everything we have discussed. Broadly, this is the thought I always have this thought that it’s easy to get stuck in our ways. Since in second grade, my goal was to be an author and write books. I wrote that is what I want to be when I grow up but now, I think, “What if I was in second grade, what would I want to be doing? If I started now, what am I doing given all the data of the present day?” I don’t want to get stuck in the past. What I want to be doing is being right here.
I would Survive All Apocalypses. It’s the first major book out of the Ethereum blockchain. You could read it front to back page through a book on your OpenSea account. I thought it was super exciting. The copyrights can be given away to one of the holders of the NFTs on January 1st, 2022, via Chainlink VRF. It’s going to be randomized and on-chain. If you win because it’s a 1 in 892 chance, it can seem rigged. I’m doing Jenkins’ book and thinking, “You are creating this book with the community.” Jenkins and I have so much fun going in and out of character.
In doing these interviews, we learn more about our process because it’s all improvisatory. When we do Town Halls in the amazing Jenkins Discord or these interviews, we are always building the character and the world. I was DMing and saying, “How fun is this that the community decides what this world is.” We get to be more detailed in our interviews. It’s this wonderful process. I’m so excited by Web 3.0 and what it has to offer because we are so used to this monolithic model of the creator, the gatekeeper, and then the big institution. The gates are gone, and hopefully, it stays that way. It’s such a fun playground to be in.
I appreciate that. Thanks, Neil, for joining us. I look forward to more ventures in 2022 and all the exciting things that you are up to. Whatever we can do to support you, we are here for you. Thanks a lot.
I love you, guys. I’m so happy to be here. Jenkins, I will see you outside the Yacht Club for the next interview.
I will see you there, Neil.
Thanks for joining.
Jenkins, is there anything to add in terms of projects that you look for inspiration for that we haven’t discussed yet?
I love everything that Neil said, and the things that he’s working on are super inspirational. I would give a nod to Pixel Vault and what they have done with PUNKS Comic and MetaHero as well. They have been trailblazers exploring the utility of NFTs. What they are building with gaming and the MetaHero universe is very much something that we hope to do with storytelling across non-gaming media.
This is interesting, what we talked about. Neil mentioned going in and out of character, improvising, telling the story, and being at the whim of the present moment when it comes to telling the story. The next segment that we are going to do with you is Edge Quick Hitters, which is defined as a fun and quick way to get to know you a little bit better.
We have ten questions. We are looking for a short or single-word response. You can feel free to expand if you get the urge but we are going to leave it up to you. Each question you could answer as Jenkins or the anonymous person behind Jenkins who has lived an anonymous life. We will hit the questions one by one and see where it heads. I will start with the first two. The first one is, what is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
A Charizard Pokémon card.
We have had a lot of Pokemon cards come out of the show. Let’s go on to, what is the first thing you remember ever selling?
I hated to do this but it’s a Pokémon card or a Yu-Gi-Oh! card. I was wheeling and dealing on the playground as a little kid.
Looking back, were you smartly wheeling and dealing? Did you come out ahead in the game?
I’m a very average flipper. I won and lost some. In retrospect, “Here’s an NFT auction.” I should have held them all because they would be worth a lot more now than they were back then.
Bored Ape Yacht Club: With NFTs, crypto, and trading, you need deeper principles and ideas to really survive, make it non-addictive, and make it healthy for you so you can enjoy the experience and push the innovation forward.
What is the most recent thing you purchased?
What is the healthiest thing that was on that grocery list and the unhealthiest?
The healthiest was any number of ingredients that would go into a salad. The unhealthiest for any of your Canadian readers is a bag of all-dressed chips. I don’t know if you all have ever had that in California. I’m a new Canadian. I’m from outside of DC originally but my wife is Canadian. All-dressed is only native to Canada like Ruffles flavoring. That is insane. No one has ever had it and disliked it.
If you are in Canada, you also have to try French fries with cheese curds and gravy at some point. What’s the most recent thing you sold?
All of my SOS tokens. I decided to take the money. It has been up and down. I was like, “This seems like a nice thing to have in ETH.”
It was a nice holiday present for sure. I don’t judge you for that decision.
You traded for ETH, not USTT.
For me, this is Fiat now. It’s unsettling.
What is your most prized possession?
If another living being can be a possession, it’s my Mini Goldendoodle. If not, then it’s Jenkins the Valet Ape #1798. I have no possession that is more locked down than that NFT.
If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service or experience that is for sale, what would it be?
I am torn. COVID is on the upswing again but I would love to purchase an awesome vacation. I have traveled a bit since getting vaccinated and stuff but I feel cooped up, so that would be nice. If something else, I have super longed CryptoPunks. Even though they are on the downswing, I would buy a CryptoPunk.
You could buy two CryptoPunks, sell one, and then take a trip.
If you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would it be?
This is one I will borrow from Jenkins the Valet. I would pass on Jenkins’ resourcefulness. He has never been in a situation he has not been able to get himself out of. It’s a valuable skill for JPEG Apes and human beings to have.
I will attest to Jenkins’ resourcefulness in terms of how you dealt with that Discord hack. It sounds like you are calm, cool, collected, and in action. It sounds like Jenkins does possess that trait.
They had messed with the wrong Valet. We have secured our Discord server but this isn’t it. We will make the hackers wish they hadn’t hacked ours.
Generally speaking, Valets are pretty resourceful folks, and you want them to be your friend, not your enemy. I’m not sure what that person was thinking there. On the flip side, if you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would it be?
I don’t know how to describe it as a personality trait. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, I get stressed. I would want the next generation to deal with that feeling a little better.
Have a massage therapist and some elixirs on call. It’s one or the other.
If this tell-all does well, I will be able to solve that for my current generation, too, and leave a massage therapist on call.
Next question. There are two more. This is an easy one. What did you do before joining us on the show?
I had a scone with blueberry jam. It was very good.
Bored Ape Yacht Club: The metaverse can allow people in various parts of the real world to access a new world that potentially poses better chances for them to have an equal shot at things.
What are you going to do after the show?
I’m going to have a meeting with my partner, SAFA, where we are going to do some more work on the future of the Writer’s Room, specifically some of the tactics that we are taking with users burning the book NFT that they meant or staking it.
I want to be part of that meeting. That sounds fun.
It’s a fun meeting for sure. It will be exciting for our whole community when it comes out.
Sometimes that last question demonstrates that we are an interruption in someone’s day of what they do all day. I’m glad you are not eating a scone after the show as well.
I’m going to go back for another one.
I would. Scones are great. With our hot topics, Eathan, we can dive into a couple of the exciting things happening in the industry to close out 2021.
Let’s do it real quick here. The first hot topic is Instagram is “Actively Exploring” NFT Integration, Says CEO. That CEO is Adam Mosseri, and he says that they are exploring ways that they can make NFTs more accessible to his burgeoning user base. One idea might be to label some Instagram posts that offer NFTs as collectibles. He said there was no official announcement yet, but things appear to be happening behind the scenes. My first thought is, “It’s taking a while.”
They had to join the party. I don’t use Instagram as much as I use Twitter at this point. Jenkins, I’m sure you can relate to that. There is still a meaningful amount of NFT activity on Instagram. If they pull this off, how do you think that will shift the balance of social media platform usage?
It’s hard for me to say because of the part of the NFT space that I occupy, which has a lot to do with the content that’s created around NFTs. Instagram’s platform, in my opinion, is not super well-suited for that but maybe with Reels. Instagram seems like a great place to display a gallery or collection of NFT images, photography, video, and things like that. The part of the market that I’m in, which has a lot to do with lore building, is much better-suited for platforms like Twitter.
A lot of our guests and the direction of our conversation here on the show says that in the future, everything is an NFT. You tokenize every ownable item with an NFT. In a sense, this idea of different platforms saying, “We are going to do it or not,” seems like it’s a symptom of the early part of the conversation. Later down the road, there’s no thought about it. That’s what happens. Everything is on-chain.
It does raise the question of there’s a barrier of entry into like, “This is not necessary to make something an NFT.” Perhaps the programming bandwidth or the carbon expense is not worth it. We are not going to do that. I don’t know if anybody has an answer to that question at the moment. I always think about how much data do I keep on my computer, “Do I get rid of this old picture, this old file, and all this information that’s being stored?” Only time will tell.
Let’s hit the next hot topic. Let’s ask if the video game world is a Cash grab or an innovation when it comes to implementing NFTs. Gamers are notoriously skeptical. Electronic Arts faced a huge backlash over the decision to let players pay to unlock certain characters and its Star Wars Battlefront II game. Traditionally, players are required to toil for several hours to access such content.
There’s an occurrence. Ubisoft, a French video game publisher, dropped a video in December 2021 showing off its foray into NFTs. The action was a little predictable. The company debuted a platform called Quartz, which lets players own in-game items such as helmets. The feature was added to Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint game. The move was met with widespread anger from gamers who slammed Quartz as a cash grab. Some commenters also raised concerns about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies. What’s your opinion? Josh, what do you say?
I did some googling, and one website says there are 3.24 billion gamers across the globe. You’ve got 40,000 negative comments there. There’s diversity in this ecosystem and why people are into play-to-earn gaming versus not. There are some people in it for financial upside certainly. There are other people that see the evolution of gaming and the experience of co-creation similar to what Jenkins the Valet and Neil are doing with the book side. It’s more fun to play games where you have skin in the game, and you are able to co-create that game.
Inherently, you have to have the right incentive structures. Personally, there’s always a monetary angle to innovation that kicks things off. Hopefully, in the process of the evolution of gaming, people realize the ancillary benefits and not to mention the social-economic implications to support financial wealth. We used to talk about Bitcoin as the great equalizer but, in a lot of ways, 2021 has shown that play-to-earn gaming potentially has more reach and economic impact on the world than anything else. Those are my thoughts at a high level.
I love that point, Josh, about the great equalizer. It reminded me of an experience that we had when we were out looking for authors. One literary agent responded to us and said they would not bring the opportunity to the author that we had reached out about or anyone else that they represent because they were book people, implying that we aren’t. That was hard to hear because we are book people, too. We are just different types of book people who are approaching something from a different lens and something new.
That’s coming up here in gaming, too. People who previously didn’t necessarily have the opportunity to define the way the games worked now theoretically could with NFTs. That is something that could be unsettling for some of the traditionalists. With that said, there’s one point that is fair on the video game Nox. Back to my point about the definition of the metaverse, what’s most important is the interoperability of the whole thing. What’s cool in an NFT is that it’s on-chain, and the blockchain is public. Anybody can build off of that.
If I wanted to go make a website that only let you in because you held a Bored Ape, even though I didn’t create Bored Apes, I could make a whole product based on that because that data is available. When video game companies come out that they are making NFTs but the NFTs only exist within their platform, it doesn’t make sense.
I get the point there where people that are like, “Why would you go through the development costs of putting something on-chain if it’s not public?” You might as well use your own database. I get that, too. With the extent that people are trying to make centralized games, you might as well sell goods to people in-game that exist in your own database.
To the cash grab or innovation question, my first instinct was, “This is all innovation. We are Edge of NFT. We love NFTs,” but I can’t ignore where the backlash was coming from. It was the community. It’s delicate territory. There’s nothing more disappointing than being an innovator where you are doing something and pouring a lot of passion into it, and it may not even be profitable but people think it’s a cash grab.
At the same time, the audiences are the ones that are going to determine whether they like the way it’s presented. I haven’t researched this enough to find out but it could be that it’s presented in a way where this particular implementation does feel like a cash grab as opposed to some of the other ones where people are excited about it.
Here’s the next hot topic on the list. Guzzler: Shifting The NFT Space into the Next Gear. The NFT space continues to develop as the world approaches the cusp of 2022. In the last two quarters, some NFT game sales have broken beyond $40 million. Facebook has rebranded to Meta, and even brands like Nike have begun to buy out large NFT projects. Seizing this opportunity, Guzzler brings forth a game for automobile enthusiasts that hold strong to their competitive edge.
Establishing a game where people can obtain operable cars as NFTs, every part of the cars involved in the Guzzler will themselves be NFT. This means that players/owners of said NFTs could mix, match, and fully customize their cars to suit their profile and establish their reputation in the space. That sounds pretty cool. This is the exploration of the innovations in the space. That’s what we are all excited about. There’s so much opportunity.
Bored Ape Yacht Club: It’s easy to get stuck in our ways. But you either get stuck in the past or take the advantage of figuring out what you can do given all the data of the present day.
There’s a potential collab there, Jenkins. That immediately what came to mind. Apes like custom cars, it’s more fun. If you are going to be a valet, you should valet the coolest cars out there. I’m excited about what’s possible here.
I’m on the Guzzler site. It’s super cool. It reminds me a little bit of the drag racing in ZED RUN, except you have more levers to pull when you customize your car than when you own a horse. That’s rad. We will end up seeing all sorts of sports go fully digital where NFTs represent athletes or components. Competition is a simulation that people gather around to watch and bet on. It’s like all of the stuff that we do in the real world, too.
That’s another good segue to what’s to come in 2022. This was such a fun time hanging out with you. We appreciate you taking some time away from the story building and the Valet Stand to hang out with us.
Thank you so much for having me on. It was a blast.
Where can our readers go to learn more about you and the projects you are working on?
You can follow me on Twitter @JenkinsTheValet. You can also go to my website at JenkinsTheValet.com, where you can learn everything that you need about the Writer’s Room, our project, and business at large.
For those that have a little bit of FOMO about not being part of the Writer’s Room, you are generously offering our readers a special giveaway. Is that correct?
That’s right. We are giving away a Writer’s Room Valet Ticket. That’s our base NFT to get entry into the Writer’s Room. You can vote on the creative direction of the story that Neil is telling and license an avatar to the Writer’s Room. It’s your free entry into our Roadmap 2.0.
We appreciate that. Eathan, do you want to close this out?
Thanks a lot, Jenkins. 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 that will make this journey all so much better. How? Go to iTunes, rate us, and say something awesome. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Don’t forget, as a member of the Edge of NFT ecosystem, you are part of a community defined by collaboration and co-creation.
We are giving you a literal opportunity to plant seeds with us, grow deep roots and broad branches together through NFTs. We are breaking ground on our special NFT collections. Please head over to SpiritSeeds.xyz to find out more about our collection of only 100 Spirit Seed NFTs that will ever be minted. That has been created in collaboration with NFT influencer and one of our favorite humans on the planet, Nicole Buffett.
Lastly, please check out NFTLA.live. It’s now official from March 28th through the 30th, 2022. We are going to have a TEDx-style experience in LA that you won’t want to miss with some incredible keynote speakers and community. It’s going to be great to get everyone together. Come hang out with us and all the amazing folks in this ecosystem. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
- Neil Strauss
- The Bored Ape Yacht Club
- Elon Musk: The Architect of Tomorrow – Artcile
- The Bored Ape Gazette
- FCF – Previous Episode
- The Wisdom of Crowds
- The Surrender Experiment
- The Untethered Soul
- Instagram is “Actively Exploring” NFT Integration, Says CEO – Article
- Cash Grab or an Innovation? The World of Video Games is Divided into NFTs – Article
- Guzzler: Shifting The NFT Space Into The Next Gear – Article
- Chainlink VRF
- Pixel Vault
- PUNKS Comic
- Star Wars Battlefront II
- Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- ZED RUN
- @JenkinsTheValet – Twitter
- iTunes – Edge of NFT
- Nicole Buffett
About Jenkins The Valet
Jenkins the Valet is a digital character and writer created by Tally Labs, a content and technology company in the NFT space. His Twitter following has grown to more than 12,000 followers since May when he first shared his origin story online.
About Neil Strauss
Neil Strauss is a ten-time New York Times best-selling author. His books, The Game and Rules Of The Game, for which he went undercover in a secret society of pickup artists for two years, made him an international celebrity and an accidental hero to men around the world. Both books topped The New York Times best-seller list and were #1 on Amazon, and the former has the dubious distinction of being the most stolen book at Barnes & Noble besides The Bible.