Crypto gaming needs a bridge to get the traditional gamers onboard. Izumi World appears to be that bridge. Izumi is the world’s first AR metaverse that is revolutionizing pop culture through NFT gaming. In this episode, CEO Joe Pokrzywa and CMO Jamie Davies tell us what makes the game so compelling, especially to people who come from the gaming space and not necessarily the crypto and NFT space. Coming from a gaming background themselves, the Izumi leadership team understands the need to create a game-first experience without relegating the crypto component into the background. Joe and Jamie rub off on us their excitement over Izumi’s role in putting AR gaming into the spotlight once again after being relatively pushed into the sidelines for too long. We’re going to see the Izumi beta starting Q4 of 2022, so that’s going to be exciting!
Our hot topics for today: Jack Dorsey’s first tweet offered for almost $48 million, eToro launches $20 million NFT fund, and world’s largest NFT marketplace opens its doors to Solana. Stay tuned for more!
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Joe Pokrzywa & Jamie Davies Of Izumi World – AR Metaverse, Geolocation & Token, Plus: $48M Dorsey Tweet, Solana On OpenSea, $20M EToro NFT Fund, And More…
This is Joe Pokrzywa and Jamie Davies of Izumi World, the first and coolest NFT game that brings AR, metaverse and token economy together.
We are here on the Edge of NFT, the show that is always augmenting your reality with the best in Web3 content. Keep reading.
NFT curious readers, stay tuned for this episode and find out how Izumi plans to carve out a significant niche within the augmented reality NFT gaming space.
Also, what made one of our guests’ first $0.25 purchase not just about the product but the experience.
Learn how much you can expect to spend if you want the NFT of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet from OpenSea. All this and more on this episode. Enjoy.
This episode features CEO Joe Pokrzywa and CMO Jamie Davies of Izumi World, the first AR metaverse that is revolutionizing pop culture through NFT gaming. Joe is an executive with years of experience in the gaming space. He was on the founding team of NRG Esports, taking it from startup to blue-chip industry leader with a valuation of over $200 million at the time of his departure in 2020. He was COO of OpTic Gaming where he ran the most successful franchise in Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty League before its acquisition by Envy Gaming in 2021.
Joe has a comprehensive business outlook, having also worked as an options trader on Wall Street and a marketing leader for various FinTech companies. Jamie Davies has been a force in marketing for years, leading brand and D2C marketing teams at Samsung, Gatorade, Verizon and Xbox. During his time at Xbox, he led the development of central campaigns for some of gaming’s most iconic franchises, including Halo, Gears of War, and Fable.
Since 2021, Jamie has led all Rarible Protocol and Rarible DAO marketing initiatives. Izumi World is an NFT-based geolocation pet battle game where players capture and train magical beasts known as Izumi from live track locations in the real world. The Izumi are both friendly and fearsome and possess wondrous magical powers that players can use to battle other players, join world events for PvE and fight in the grand tournament known as the Ildalorian League Cup.
Jamie and Joe, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having us. That was a great intro.
Eathan is laying it down for you. It is awesome to have you. We like to start at the beginning. Let’s dive in on it. Tell us about the origin story. How did this project Izumi World come to be?
This project is cool because what you will learn is that a lot of the executives and the Founder, Grant Stanley, are all gamers first. We all love games. Grant has a great story. He is your prototypical gamer. He has logged well over 10,000 hours playing games. He was also one of those geniuses who got in on the crypto curve early and started figuring out things like trading in crypto. For Grant, it was a natural evolution for him to go into the world of blockchain gaming. Specifically, he saw a vision where there was this opportunity around augmented reality when it came to blockchain gaming.
If you look at a lot of the games in the space, there is a lot happening with the web. We all hear about a lot of the innovation that is happening in VR but AR has a bit of a gap. That was an area I know he was very passionate about. He played a lot of Pokémon GO back in the day. He dove in and started developing this game. What has been exciting is the way the executive team here has come together because, in my previous life, I led a lot of games marketing in Halo, Gears of War, and Fable.
I started going down the rabbit hole on crypto and blockchain around 2018. I had that prototypical moment that all of us have when the light bulb goes off around Web3. When I realized everything that Web3 and blockchain were going to bring from an innovation standpoint, I had that moment where I was wired. For the entire night, I could not go to sleep and was searching on the internet. My way in was gaming because I am a gamer.
When I started understanding gamers’ abilities to own assets outside of the traditional gaming ecosystem, they would have real-world market value and could trade them on the blockchain. At that point, I knew I wanted to make my career in crypto gaming. I am bullish on it. Joe and I go way back in the gaming industry. When I met Grant through my connections, it was like this symbiotic thing between Grant, Joe, and myself, where we are all gamers and blockchain guys. We wanted to find a unique, one-of-a-kind game that we could market, bring to the masses, and launch.
We had NFTLA and we were talking about how gaming is such a great entry point for mass adoption of blockchain and NFT technology. Jeff and I have been to BlizzCon before. We had a product at one point in the past that was sold out there. Culture is so relevant to gaming. Anyone that has been to a BlizzCon understands that. You are bringing that perspective to the table, which is exciting. Looking at Izumi World, how does it exactly bring together AR, the metaverse, pop culture, and NFTs? Tell us more.
At its heart, it is a geolocation game. What we are excited about and what we think is going to make it unique is that this is a blockchain game that people are going to be able to go outside to play. What it is doing is to the AR technology, people will go out and they are going to be able to capture Izumi on their phone. When you are capturing Izumi, essentially, what you are doing is you are minting an NFT. Every Izumi is an NFT. When you capture a team of Izumi, then you are going to be able to start battling a turn-based strategy style of gaming. That is going to be the whole progression between AR, NFTs, and then the play-to-earn gaming component because whenever you battle, you are going to be battling for in-game trainer tokens.
Coming from a gaming background, this is too few and far between for the space. The folks that have that background are bringing that to the table feel like they are leaps and bounds ahead of folks that are starting from the world of crypto, blockchain, NFTs, and trying to figure out the gaming side of it in the process. There is something there about that intensive gaming background. You see it with Animoca Brands and other guys who have that rich background. I am curious, Joe, from your perspective bringing that to the table, how does that influence your thinking here?
It is interesting. One thing that I noticed in this space more than anything else is people who have grown from the crypto side. Not necessarily from the gaming end like investors and all these different VCs and other founders coming in are into the crypto side, blockchain, and NFTs. They love it. The flip side of this, from my experience, is gamers do not like crypto in full transparency. I can go and find every influencer that I have worked with within the space or go find any article.
We saw it happen to Ubisoft and how much of a disaster that was. A lot of these gamers are like, “I do not know. I am worried about this.” They see all these bad projects, pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, and cash grabs. They look at it from that lens when realistically, that is not what blockchain gaming is. They are looking at all these bad apples and starting to be like, “This is not my thing. I do not like it. It hurts the environment.” They have all these different stigmas attached to them. Coming from that background and me seeing that lens, I go, “How do we change that?” A lot of it is education.
It is educating people on what NFTs are. It is not just your Bored Ape profile picture you see everybody doing. It is essentially ownership on the blockchain and being able to own your assets and do what you want with them. Gamers have not been empowered in a long time. These AAA developers that we have worked with struggle across the board to empower their communities and have games that last a long time. A lot of it is like a blind lens because there is all of this capital and money.
When we were switching gears over to this end and bringing our gaming experience, the first thing I said to a lot of the people in the space that I have been advising, let alone what we are doing on Izumi was, “Switch your scope. Realize that you might be a crypto person that traditional gamers are not.” How are you going to bridge that gap? How are you going to bring the gamers to the masses and bridge that area to them where they are like, “I got this. I get to own it?” It is game first. I care about the game first. I can layer in those crypto-assets and be like, “This makes more sense.”
You are not trying to do this to sell NFTs. You are trying to build a fun game. On top of it, I can own my assets and explore the world of DeFi. That is where our lens adds a lot of value. We see what the bad was in gaming because it is not perfect. There are microtransactions and the free-to-play models that everybody hates. We do not want that to come over to the crypto side. The lens that we bring harbors a lot of value to those that are a little bit more into crypto dive in and understand it from that perspective but might not see the grand picture of what gamers are saying.
If there's anything marketers love, it's a unique business model that they can lean into to market because it makes their jobs so much easier. Click To Tweet
It is the idea that form follows function.
Part of what I love about what you are doing is that you are doing stuff in the AR space, which is an exciting place to be. We had SuperWorld as one of our first guests. We were talking about AR. That was one of our first exposures as a show to the incredible potential and the interesting stuff going on there. You are bringing NFT into that. We have seen Pokémon GO, Niantic, and everything that is going on there. Can you talk a little bit more about how you are carving a niche for yourself here as you compare to what is going on with Niantic, for example, or even in NFTs in general, and how there is a niche for NFTs within AR that is interesting?
It is one of the reasons that I was so excited to join this project because if there is anything marketers love, it is a unique business model that we can lean into athe market because it makes our jobs so much easier. What is great about this is we are seeing this. Most of the success that is happening in the Web3 gaming space is coming from Web3 native companies. A lot of the Web2 native companies are still trying to figure things out. There are other reasons for it too. I was talking with someone about this.
Another advantage a lot of these Web3 native gaming companies have is they do not have existing fan bases. They are coming into this from scratch. The people who are adapting their games are Web3 people or people who get it versus having to worry about how an existing fan base is going to react to this Web3 innovation from these Web2 companies. When we look at what is our unique space relative to the Niantics of the world and the other AR activations in the world, for us, we want to be the first and the best AR blockchain play-to-earn game that is going to be in the market.
Talking about AR, we have our forthcoming Living Tree NFT collection, which we have not released or minted yet but we did create some AR prototypes that we showcased at NFTLA. First of all, let’s get some Living Trees in your domain. Please, let’s do that. It is also the incredible fun we and other people had in that experience of, “I could plant a tree in my space. I can look at it, explore it, walk around, navigate and have fun with friends.” It is even the general sense of getting outside and incorporating that with gaming is a fun aspect.
That is the cool part with AR. Before the pandemic hit, there was Pokémon GO. I remember I used to take the train to work because I worked in town in finance. The train would be packed in the morning. Typically, it always was. People go to work in the city but then there was even more. I was curious. I am like, “What is going on?” It is all these people going to these PokéStops downtown. They are going crazy. They want to play this whole AR thing. I am like, “This is crazy.” There are people even more than I have ever seen.
The Millennium Park downtown had tens of thousands of people because they were trying to catch something legendary. I was like, “People are outside and exploring.” For me, that was my moment too. I started playing. My daughter is obsessed with playing AR games. She likes being able to see something that she created and being put into a virtual world. I was like, “This is cool.” That is how the whole thing came about with Izumi. When I first saw it, I was like, “We have been cooped up inside for the last couple of years.”
That technology is so promising because there is so much you can do with it and there is so much untapped potential. What can we do with it? That is what this genesis came to be. We are like, “We can do this and have ownership.” To the part with the Living Trees, that is sweet. You can start building whatever you want inside the space, see it, own it, and show it off to your friends. That is the cool part about all of this. On top of it too, it does not hurt to get some exercise and go outside after we have been staring at screens for the last few years.
It has been crazy, too, to me that the fundamental infrastructure has been there for years. I was playing with little AR games in 2010 where you point your phone at $1, it comes alive, a patriotic song comes on, and all this funny stuff. I was always amazed at how long it has taken for it to come to the point where maybe it is ready for mass-market adoption to bring the mainstream in. I am curious. How are you thinking about that? How are we going to bring folks into the fold so that this thing is mainstream and it is reaching the mass market?
There are going to be a few components to that. First of all, with AR, it is a game you play through your smartphone. With the smartphone penetration, we think that is going to make it very easy. There are going to be a couple of other things as well. If you look at a lot of the play-to-earn games that are out there, there are pretty intimidating on-ramps, especially for people who are not crypto-savvy. There are some free-to-play options, but in a lot of them, you would have to buy some pretty expensive NFTs before you can even start playing the game.
What is going to be compelling about Izumi World is that it is going to be free to start playing. You can go out into the world and start capturing Izumi at no cost. When you capture Izumi, they are going to be NFTs. We are also doing things like fiat on-ramps. If folks are not necessarily fluent in the crypto wallets, they can make an onboard via fiat. Grant and his team on the development are embracing a lot of conventions that are more akin to traditional games from a UI and UX perspective. You do not have to be a crypto native or crypto-savvy to pick up this game and start playing.
To add to that, it is a bridge. You saw this mass influx of gamers coming into this AR marketplace with different games, in particular, Pokémon GO, years ago. The way that we looked at this and saw it was like, “Anybody can play that.” My daughter plays it. On top of that, I am playing that. I know other people that are in their 40s playing. You have this massive base that enjoys playing fun things that allow them to connect with other people.
That is a bridge into this world. There is a lot of success there. AR technology, to your point, has been there for a while. Amazon has one out and that is the coolest thing to figure out how stuff fits in your house. I use that constantly. From a gaming perspective, it is this new or next iteration. It can still be leveled up. We have barely scratched the surface of AR tech. The game is almost hypercasual in a way where you have a mass amount of people that are interested in playing these types of games and going outside and learning.
It makes sense. There is so much synergy there to start bridging that gap. Crypto gaming needs a bridge to get the traditional gamers on board. We see this entire product packaged together. It is free-to-play focused on gameplay. It is getting you outside and connecting with your friends and your neighbor that you did not even know played video games because you never see him. You have been inside for years. This whole genesis came together to start bringing the 2 to 3 billion people that play games every day into this world.
Let’s talk a little bit more specifically about what you have cooking because you are set to launch the Izumi World Trainer Pass NFTs. What is all that about? How can our readers participate?
Izumi World: Through AR technology, people will go out to capture Izumi on their phone. When you’re capturing Izumi, essentially what you’re doing is minting an NFT. Every Izumi is an NFT.
We are still nailing down what exactly the distribution for those will be. If they join our Discord and follow us on Twitter, they are going to know as soon as we nail that down. In terms of the Trainer Pass NFTs, that is going to be a reward mechanism for our early supporters. They are going to essentially be a package of assets that come with the purchase of that NFT. They will get exclusive access to our beta when that launches later in 2022. They are going to get an Izumi. It could be of any rarity level, including a potentially legendary rarity, which is going to be the most rare. We have a two-token economy in Izumi World.
We are going to be airdropping 4% of our total token supply of both tokens to all Trainer Pass NFT holders over the next twelve months. There will be investing into it one month at a time or 1/12th of their portion over the next twelve months. There are going to be other benefits too. We are going to be distributing what we call mystery boxes. They are going to be like digital visual airdrops. They might have an Izumi NFT in there and some other in-game assets like bait or potions. They are going to get a new mystery box every single month as well too. That is a high-level overview that is going to be part of the Trainer Pass.
On top of that, the way that we are viewing the Trainer Pass as a whole is these are the core people of our community. We want people to be buying into the idea like, “We are gamers. This is built for gamers.” That is why Jamie and I are doing this. We want these guys to be that focal point on our mouthpiece for what they want. We want to build what they want. This gives them unparalleled access to us. We are going to be doing different community events to talk with them and understand what they are looking for, what they like, and what they hate and adjust the game based on what they think and how they feel.
I want to empower gamers again. That is the big thing that has been lacking in the AAA space where I come from for years depending on who you ask. That is what we are looking at it. It is like, “Let’s get these guys in.” You are participating, buying our NFT pass and getting all these incredible perks and all this utility but you are going to also have access to us in a specific community that is going to help build this game over time.
We call that co-creation because, at the end of the day, everyone talks a big game about community but when you get those members of the community into the mix in these microdecisions, that is a whole other level of engagement. It feels like co-creation is the best word to describe that.
That is the cool part too. The hard part is being able to give enough access to what is going on when you are building a game. There is this whole thing in the space where people are like, “You would not tell somebody who has never built a car before how to build a car.” It is like, “Yeah, but these are gamers.” Gamers have been playing games for years. They understand what they like and do not like.
Let’s figure out a way for all of us to work together and build the community. It is a thing that people talk a lot about. They are always talking a big game but coming from that space, having built some big communities in Discord myself, and working in these different AAA publishers, I am like, “We can do this. I know how to do it because we have done it before so let’s bring everybody together and start figuring that out.”
It is exciting to get people over there in your Discord. The Izumi token launch is coming up here soon next. I want to see if there are any deets you could share about utility, features, and what to look out for.
The Izumi token drafts nicely off what Joe was saying. Our ability to get our community involved to help us evolve the game and make updates to the game, a lot of that is going to be driven through the Izumi token because the Izumi token is going to be the governance token, whereas the other token is going to be a Trainer Pass token, which is going to launch officially when the game launches. Think of that more as the in-game currency. That is what you are going to be battling for and that stuff. The Izumi token is going to be the governance token that is going to give gamers a say in how we do updates.
We have been in Launchpad Luna with the Animoca Brands folks as well and seeing all the intricacies in setting up tokenomics as well. I appreciate everything you are doing to make that functional.
I was going to ask you a question on tokenomics. How did you work on that? Did you work on that in-house or third parties to help develop your approach there? It is a question that comes up a lot as we talk to folks who are working on projects. I am curious for our readers how it all came to be.
The economy is super important. One thing I learned over the years is gamers like to break shit. Let’s be real. They can break economies pretty quickly. We saw it with Diablo back in the day when they had their whole Auction House. It is one of those things you can’t whip it up, “Two tokens. Let’s go.” What we did was we worked with a third party. Both of them have Master’s degrees, are actual economists, and have been in crypto for years.
It is a two-man team but they are some of the most intelligent people I have ever worked with in my entire life that understand the intricacies. We went through a long process of different types of models, “Do we want it to token a model? What about a single model with utility? What if there is a decentralized currency on top of a secondary, decentralized currency? How are we all going to work this together when it is in the economy itself? There are trainer tokens. When you are burning them, how does that work?” You have to have some burn mechanism with NFTs.
It is understanding the intricacies within the economy to flush this out. When we go to launch, we can have stability. The hardest part for a lot of games that are starting to come out is the stability within their economy. It can make or break a game. If it goes down big and you lose all that volume or the volume increases, and everything goes down, it lowers the value of the token. You can be sunk just like that. It is starting to understand those different aspects.
On a related point, this came up a lot at NFTLA, distinguishing play-to-earn from play-and-earn. Play-to-earn is the more common lexicon but it does sound like you are looking at sustainability. Did those terms come up in conversation? Is the idea of how people earn a key component of tokenomics?
You don’t have to be a crypto native or crypto savvy to start playing Izumi World. Click To Tweet
For transparency, the way that I look at the current models is I do not like most of them, to be honest with you. There are two different models. You have to play-to-earn. If you are going to build using that model, you have to focus on the earning aspect. It is less on the gameplay like Axie Infinity. It is not gameplay-focused. It is, “How much can I earn per day?” In the play-and-earn, you are supposed to be bringing back the gameplay aspect where earning is secondary but still front and center.
When we were looking at all these different models, we were like, “What do we want to be?” It is a game first. It is not that earning is secondary completely but in theory, it is. You are owning your assets and still competing for tokens. You can still be rewarded for playing but then, at the same time, if you want to play the game, you can. You do not have to worry about all the extra layers of crypto.
You can play the game you want. You have your trainer token to play how you want to play. You can level up your Izumi. You can go catch as many as you want. The minute that you get into the game and you want to explore the NFT marketplace, staking, and all the DeFi aspects of the game, you can. Something that I pushed hard for was, “How do we make this simplistic enough for gamers to not be scared but at the same time have enough intricacies to get crypto people interested?”
It sounds like we need to come up with a new phrase here, Joe, like, “Play the game, have fun and make money if you want to.”
Play-and-own is the one that I like to call it. You are playing the game. That is the first part but you own your assets and do what you want with them. It is the easiest way to do it. Everyone lumps everything together with play-to-earn. You see P2E everywhere and go, “You are going to earn money playing a game.” Yes but no at the same time.
Whoever sells anyways should be played a HODL.
We are talking about playing and all these exciting things. When will the beta version be ready for folks to jump in and play? When can our readers get in the mix?
Q4 of 2022 is when our beta is going to go live.
Who knows how the market would react to that? I am sure there will be some people on both sides of the fence. What can you tell us about the Izumi World roadmap overall?
We have a pretty in-depth roadmap. If they visit IzumiWorld.com, they can see all the details there. I can give you a high level. We have some pretty significant beats on a quarterly basis. In Q2 of 2022 and a couple of months, we are going to be doing our Trainer Pass NFT sale. In Q3, we are going to be doing the Izumi token launch. Q4 is all about the beta. Q1 of 2023 is the game watch. Those are the key moments we are looking at for our roadmap.
When are you releasing your hardware product or Izumi glasses? Is that what it is?
That is something we looked at but a lot of big tech companies have seen the pitfalls of their VR/AR glasses. We are going to put that one on the further roadmap and wait for someone else to come up with some mass adoption strategies for that.
Let’s talk about the merch roadmap because these are some cool characters. It has got a dope name. That is what I want to know about.
We are working on a merch roadmap. We do not have anything specific laid out yet but it is going to come fairly soon. I do not want to promise a certain date but this game is tailor-made for merch. We have everything from plush toys to wearables and other things as well.
Before we wrap up this portion of the interview, we always like to get an idea of what other projects in Web3 and NFT inspire our guests. What would you like to share?
I am a Splinterlands junkie. I love strategy card games. It is one of the reasons I am so excited about the gameplay of Izumi World with the turn-based strategy approach. I play a lot of Splinterlands. I love the way they have their economy set up. Their card-burning system to level up is brilliant and deflationary for their assets. Most importantly, it is a fun game to play. If you are into card strategy games, they have nailed the game.
Izumi World: What’s compelling about Izumi World is that it’s going to be free to start playing. You can literally go out into the world and start capturing Izumi at no cost.
We had Aggroed on the show. Did you check out that show where we interviewed him?
I missed that one. I need to check it out.
It is in the archives. It is a good one. From that conversation, you realize the depth of passion and vision that the team has and where he is going with all this. It is pretty epic and worth checking out. They also spoke at a panel at NFTLA. What about you, Joe?
Jamie has brought me into the Splinterlands world. Up until that point, I was not super happy with many games. I had spent a lot more on stuff on the DeFi aspects of the crypto world. I am amped up for this other project that I have been following and watching through Dr. Disrespects and his new Midnight Society studio. It has not been announced yet. They started doing the Founders Pass. He is a megastar in the gaming space. I am looking forward to seeing what he is doing there. Hopefully, we get more exciting games that focus on the play versus the earn that I can sink my teeth into because I am not a big card collector-type player. I would prefer the shooters. I am a big Call of Duty guy right here.
I am super excited about everything you are working on. I am going to keep my eye on that roadmap as we approach Q4 so we can jump in the mix here with you. We wanted to shift gears a little bit at this moment and head into segment two of this show, which we call Edge Quick Hitters. It is a fun and quick way to get to know you a little bit better. There are ten set questions. We are looking for short, single-word or few-word responses but we may dive a little deeper to explore some more here and there. Here is question number one. Jamie, we will start with you. What is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
I am going to date myself here but I remember using my birthday money, putting a $20 in the mail, and buying the complete 1982 Topps Football Cards set.
Do you still have that?
I still have it.
That is how it used to be done. Joe, how about you?
Honestly, it was a $0.25 gumball at Walmart when I was young. It was the first thing I ever purchased with the $0.25 that my grandmother had given me. They are like, “The gum is going to be old. It is going to be stale.” I don’t care. I just want to watch the ball swirl down.
Question number two, Jamie. What is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
It is my effort because I remember doing the school walkathon when I was in first grade, going door-to-door, and getting pledges.
Joe, how about you?
It took a while for me to go physically sell something. I sold a 1970s Honda CT70 minibike. It was a bunch of spare parts that my dad had in his garage. I put it all back together, redid the engine, put a new carburetor on it, cleaned it all up, and sold it.
Jamie, it sounds like your partner Joe has a pretty photographic memory. I wonder if that has come into the mix in collaboration. You got to be careful of this guy.
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I am taking notes. I need to be careful of what I say and promise to that guy. I know that.
Question number three, Jamie. What is the most recent thing you purchased?
I bought 25 Splinterlands Chaos Legion packs.
Joe, how about you?
I am on vacation so I spent a lot of money on K-barbecue. That is the last thing I purchased. I am a big fan of K-barbecue.
Question number four, Jamie. What is the most recent thing you sold?
Before my wife and I started digital nomading, we sold our couch so we did not have to store it.
Joe, how about you?
It is a Solana NFT.
Did that happen to be on OpenSea? We have got a hot topic about that.
It was on Magic Eden.
Question number five, Jamie. What is your most prized possession?
I am a big Philadelphia Eagles fan. I have a friend of mine who knew him personally and got him to sign a football for me for my birthday one year. I got Randall Cunningham.
Joe, how about you?
I have an old American flag from my grandfather from World War II.
Izumi World: The hardest part for a lot of games nowadays that are starting to come out is the stability within their economy. It can make or break a game.
Was he in the Army?
He was in the Army. He was in the Pacific War. He was out more towards Japan but he has got a flag. It has got a lot of tears. It is very brittle. It has got some other stuff on it. It means a lot.
Joe, we will leave with you in the second half of these questions here. Question six, if you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service and experience that is for sale, what would it be? What do you have your eye on?
It is going to be such a cliché crypto answer but I would keep buying more Ethereum, to be honest with you.
Jamie, how about you?
I would like to buy an NFL football team. There is a DAO out there trying to buy the Denver Broncos. I will buy the Broncos.
Joe, if you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would that be?
Without a doubt, it is hustle. I am the oldest on my side of the family. Some of the younger generations do not have a hustle.
Jamie, how about you?
It is my willingness to check my ego at the door when I am working with the team, be more focused on accomplishing the goal, and be right.
Question number eight. Joe, if you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would that be?
I have worked in startups my whole life. I would have the younger generation when you are doing all these projects. You do not always have to be so lasered into everything. Have a little bit more faith than some of the other people that you are working with, even though you are running the startup. It is tough. It is like your baby. It is like, “I do not want to give up. I trust you. We are going to work together but I got to let you handle this. I got too much other stuff to do.”
Jamie, how about you?
It is in the same vein as what Joe said. For me, it would be my perfectionism. Sometimes it is okay to make mistakes as you are trying to get to a solution.
Question number nine is a little easier. Joe, what did you do before joining us on the show?
It's okay to make mistakes as you're trying to get to a solution. Click To Tweet
I am on vacation. I was out to lunch at this place down the street called Moonshiners.
Jamie, how about you?
Joe is on vacation. I am working. I did a status call with the marketing team.
Here is the last one. Question ten. Joe, what are you going to do next after the show?
I would go back to Moonshiners for a nice drink.
What do we have with you, Jamie?
I am going to go work out.
That is Edge Quick Hitters. Thanks so much for sharing with us. We do appreciate it. The word on the street is we have some hot topics to hit. Eathan, what do you say?
The first one is Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet offered $48 million on NFT marketplace. A digital copy of the first-ever tweet by Twitter Inc. Cofounder Jack Dorsey has been offered for almost $48 million on OpenSea, 16 times what the owner paid for it in 2021. Sina Estavi, Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian blockchain service Bridge Oracle, announced that he had put the NFT version of the March 21, 2006 tweet saying, “Just setting up my twttr,” up for sale for 14,969 Ether.
“He paid $2.9 million for it in March 2021.” As is the tradition with OpenSea, you can price anything however you like. I do not know if this is going to happen unless he has got a buyer lined up or something. You are going to go for it. Nobody mentioned there, “What would you buy if you could buy anything in the world?” Check Dorsey’s first tweet.
There are a lot of other things that I could spend that money on that do not involve a tweet. Is there utility? Do I get to own Twitter if I buy the tweet?
It does not seem like there is even any utility.
Maybe you get to sit on the board with Elon. Who knows? Elon turned it down.
Did he turn the board seat down?
Izumi World: Q2 of 2022, we’re going to be doing our trainer pass NFT sale, and then Q3, we’re going to be doing Izumi token launch. And then Q4 is all about the beta. And then Q1 of 2023 is the game watch.
There is some context there. First of all, I would rather buy some Twitter stock by far above this. When you have a board seat, my understanding is that you are restricted to a maximum of 15% of the company in terms of the acquisition. There may be some foreshadowing there as to why he turned that down.
It is an interesting move there. You can list an NFT for anything. Maybe there is something to grabbing the headline where there are a bunch of eyes on Twitter with so many fun things happening. You never know. The price may have gone up based on that action on Twitter anyway.
The NFT at least holds the value that it can make headlines and the news by being posted on OpenSea.
Next on the block here is, “Crypto trading platform eToro launches $20 million NFT fund as the industry approaches inflection point. The fund will support new digital art and the first step toward the broader expansion of NFT investment services. Pushing into NFTs will allow the company to expand and diversify its investor base and business partnerships, according to US Managing Director Guy Hirsch.” This makes sense. I am thinking of companies like eToro. They could have done this sooner, I suppose. It certainly makes sense at this point.
I was wondering why because we had a lot of discussions with them and have seen them at a lot of events. There has not been much in way of announcements about their activity in the NFT space. We were a little curious based on some of those conversations as to what their moves would be. What are they going to be doing in the NFT space? They showed a lot of interest in a bunch of different contexts. It is cool to see them announce this and dip their toes. It is not a huge fund but one that is big enough to start to move the needle, especially if it is a smaller set of companies that they are involved with.
For full disclosure, they did decide to be one of our partners for NFTLA. I had a chance to meet the team and share authentically. Their passion is there for the creator economy to support and drive inclusivity and comprehensive possibilities for creators. That is a fairly strong point of view for a company that some may perceive as more traditional. It speaks to a broader trend when it comes to bigger companies, whether they are crypto native or non-crypto entering the NFT space. You cannot enter this space without considering the cultural side. The cultural side begins with creators.
The article goes on to say, “NFTs from some of the blue-chip projects in eToro’s collection already go for a minimum of hundreds of thousands of dollars on OpenSea.” Maybe they could pick up Jack Dorsey’s tweet and they will have something to go for even more. It is just an idea.
I love seeing this money go to creators. The more money that can get pushed into creators like that, we are going to see more interesting innovations in the world of NFTs. It is exciting.
The idea of a fund is it is something that is very interesting like NFT funds and where that goes. It is cool to see it. Next on the block here is, “World’s largest energy marketplace opens its doors to Solana blockchain. OpenSea has announced the release of the official beta that integrates the Solana blockchain into the world’s biggest marketplace. A Twitter account stated on April 7th, 2022 that the Solana blockchain NFTs will be able to be traded. Before Solana’s integration, the OpenSea marketplace mostly consists of Ethereum-based NFTs along with Polygon and Klaytn blockchains.”
Interestingly, they are expanding and seeing the trends, patterns, and firsthand accounts. I have tried to trade Polygon NFTs on OpenSea and it has been a little bit of a headache. I am getting one of some art from a friend that I enjoyed. I ended up using a credit card because I was having such a hassle of converting and waiting for this and that. It is cool to see these different blockchains making it to such a large audience that you can reach on OpenSea.
Magic Eden has been the only player in town when it comes to trading Solana NFTs in a major way. It will also be interesting to see what happens here with that dynamic. Magic Eden has shared some of their stats at NFTLA. They have been growing like crazy. There is a diehard Solana NFT audience. Is it the same audience that trades other NFTs? Are they loyalists to Solana, and thus, they will be more loyal to Magic Eden? These are some of the things that I am curious about. Joe, you traded a Solana NFT. What are your thoughts on this dynamic and where might it be going next?
I am curious to see what market share OpenSea takes from Magic Eden. Magic Eden is the only player in the space. Solana has a pretty large and strong community with NFTs. I know a couple of people that came from the gaming space. That is all they do. They only trade Solana NFTs. There is a big or typical issue in the NFT space where somebody mints something at one on Solana, lists it again at 0.9 and decides to take a haircut right off the rip, which makes no sense. It is par for the course. I am curious to see where this goes from OpenSea. It makes sense as the next logical step. The way I look at it, OpenSea is trying to be the biggest marketplace for NFTs across the board and own the space. We will see if they can do it.
I like the Magic Eden play because a lot of these blockchains rely on a marketplace to be able to be traded. I like one where there is something exclusive to support that blockchain. That is a good business decision on behalf. Whether they create it themselves or not, they are trading to be heavily supported to either create their trading platform or heavily invest in or support some third party that is exclusive to their NFTs to make it easy for users.
I found Magic Eden’s platform to be pretty good, to be honest with you. There have been some issues on minting during their launchpad but that was just network congestion for Solana in general, not necessarily on Magic Eden from my experience. It is typical for even OpenSea when doing stuff on Ethereum. Their platform is a bit sexier. I like the color, the look, and the UI. It is easy to figure stuff out. To your point, having stuff separated that is in more of a niche area was also a lot easier because I do not have to go through a funnel of Ethereum NFTs that have no value.
There is culture to Solana and Magic Eden, whereas with OpenSea, the name often says it all when you say the name. It is a kind of Open Sea. There is a little bit of this degen culture that is going to be there and a little bit of general culture on the homepage. When you look at something like Solana with the people that I meet that are excited about it, there is a community around it that OpenSea, in general, does not have at least. It is not that I have seen firsthand an OpenSea community or something.
Izumi World: The more money gets pushed into creators, the more we’re just going to see interesting innovations in the world of NFTs.
Those are hot topics. Do you want to give a little love to some of our fans and readers, Eathan? We have got a couple of people who want to give a shout-out.
I want to give a shout-out to a platform called Ninjalerts. That is because one of the founders of this platform, Ninjalerts, says they have custom NFT alerts and push notifications for any contract. One of these services is going to help you follow the whales and stuff like that. What is cool is one of the cofounders sponsored a Spirit Seeds dinner that we had before NFTLA.
We pulled that together within a week before that. They are so supportive and excited to be a part of that get-together that we put together. It is a general shout-out to all the Spirit Seed holders that came out to that event that we had. We had some drinks, dinner, chats, and the coolest people you could find anywhere, all in one place. My general shout-out is to Ninjalerts for helping to support that event and what we are doing here in general.
Here is a big shout-out to Ninjalerts. Joe and Jamie, we are about to wrap the episode here but before we do, we also want to make sure we direct folks to the right place to follow you and everything that is happening with the project. Where should they go to stay on top of things?
Like every Web3 project, we are about Twitter, Discord, and a website. You can follow us on Twitter, @IzumiWorld. Our site is IzumiWorld.com. Through both of those destinations, you can link into our Discord, where we would have some fun things going on there in terms of the community, games, and that kind of stuff.
The word on the street is we have a fun giveaway that is brewing for our readers. Do you want to share some deets on what is happening there?
We are big fans of the show and the community. We are going to give away 100 whitelist spots for the upcoming Trainer Pass NFT sale. We are also going to be giving away five free Trainer Pass NFTs to five lucky winners. That is what we are doing.
We appreciate it. Readers, keep an eye on our socials. Get all the deets there for the requirements to enter this giveaway. Thank you so much. We are very grateful for that offering. We have reached the outer limit at the show. Thanks for exploring with us. We have 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 Spotify or iTunes. Rate us and say something awesome. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
- Joe Pokrzywa – LinkedIn
- Jamie Davies – LinkedIn
- Grant Stanley – LinkedIn
- Rarible Protocol and Rarible DAO
- Pokémon GO
- Animoca Brands
- SuperWorld – Previous episode
- Launchpad Luna
- Axie Infinity
- Aggroed – Previous episode
- Midnight Society
- Magic Eden
- Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet offered $48 million on NFT marketplace
- Bridge Oracle
- Crypto trading platform eToro launches $20 million NFT fund as the industry approaches inflection point
- World’s largest energy marketplace opens its doors to Solana blockchain
- Spirit Seeds
- @IzumiWorld – Twitter
- Discord – Izumi World
- Spotify – Edge of NFT
- iTunes – Edge of NFT
About Jamie Davies
Jamie Davies has been a force in marketing for over twenty years, leading brand and D2C marketing teams at Samsung, Gatorade, Verizon and Xbox.
During his time at Xbox he led development of central campaigns for some of gaming’s most iconic franchises including Halo, Gears of War, and Fable. Since 2021, Jamie has led all marketing initiatives for Rarible Protocol and Rarible DAO.
About Joe Pokrzywa
Joe Pokrzywa is a gaming executive with 10+ years experience. He was on the founding team of NRG Esports, helping take it from startup to blue chip industry leader with $200M+ valuation at his departure in 2020.
Recently, he was COO of OpTic Gaming where he ran the most successful franchise in Activision/Blizzard’s Call of Duty League before acquisition by Envy Gaming in 2021.
Joe has a comprehensive business outlook, having also worked as an options trader on Wall Street, and a marketing lead for various fintech companies