With the continuous rise of NFTs in today's economy, many things have been digitized and brought into the online world. The art market is one of the leading spaces to make this transition, giving artists a brand new platform to showcase their talent. John Crain and Zack Yanger Of SuperRare Labs are at the heart of this community, as they curate a diverse group of artists to promote and sell their work in independent NFT galleries and auctions. They join Jeff Kelley, Eathan Janney, and Josh Kriger to talk about making history in the CryptoArt Movement through RarePass, leading a revolution in creating innovative digitized art,and building a decentralized format through smart contracts. For this episode's Sponsored Hot Topic, Ivan Perez of Howl Labs talks about dynamic NFTs and how they combine NFT-based technology with the DeFi world. And for the segment Why It Is Viral, they highlight how a Chinese influencer named Irene made more than $7M selling NFTs all by herself.
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John Crain & Zack Yanger Of SuperRare Labs On RarePass & The CryptoArt Movement, Plus: Ivan Perez Of Howl Labs, The IreneDAO Phenomenon, And More…
NFT curious readers, stay tuned for this episode and learn if Dogecoin is worth anything anymore, plus how a Chinese influencer named Irene made $7.5 million selling NFTs of herself, and it's brilliant, and why the best Reese's Pieces come from a Circle K in Florida. All this and more on this episode. Enjoy.
Don't forget that we put a gathering together at NFT LA that brought out thousands of the world's most innovative doers in the NFT space. Head over to NFTLA.live to get tickets to our bigger, bolder, and better but just as intimate and impactful event happening in Los Angeles from March 20th to 23rd, 2023. See you there.
This episode features John Crain, CEO and Founder, and Zack Yanger, SVP of Art Advisory of SuperRare Labs, the platform where you can buy and sell NFTs from the world's top artists. I'll give you a little bit about each of them. John co-founded SuperRare Labs in 2018 with the mission to bring Web3 to the art market. SuperRare has been a pioneer in innovating smart contracts that guarantee artist royalties in perpetuity.
In 2021, John helped launch the SuperRare DAO, which sits at the center of this new digital art market with more than $260 million in crypto art sales. Prior to SuperRare, John led product for Blockapps at ConsenSys, working with Fortune 500s, exploring use cases for smart contracts, and leveraging open data. Before falling down the crypto rabbit hole, John worked in advertising as a creative technologist for Digitas North America. John is also an avid surfer.
Let's give you a little bit about Zack. Zack is the SVP of Art Advisory for SuperRare Labs and has been with the company since 2018 as the company's first hire outside of the founders. He led curation and marketing initiatives prior to spearheading the art advisory business with a focus on the decentralization of SuperRare's curation. Zack is at the helm of furthering engagement for the SuperRare DAO.
SuperRare Labs is a well-funded and fast-moving startup on a mission to reinvent the art market for the digital age. SuperRare Labs, creators of the SuperRare network, is a diverse creative ecosystem and digital art marketplace. The SuperRare platform is a social marketplace for cutting-edge digital, 3D, and VR creators and a new generation of natively digital art collectors. Zack and John, welcome.
Thanks so much. We're excited to be here.
It's great to have you.
Thanks for the intro. It's a pleasure.
Art is so important. I was in a record store. The guy at the front desk said, "If you have any questions about the records, let me know, and anything else as well if you have any other questions." I said, "What's the meaning of life then?" He said, "Music," which is appropriate for a record store guy. It's a good reminder. It came up on another recent episode. There are all sorts of other things that go on in life but art is one of those things that makes life worth living. You are helping to craft a future of that crypto art market but I want to start at the beginning with you. What is the SuperRare origin story? We will let you decide who wants to speak first about that.
It all started in late 2017, the post-ICO craze. You may or may not remember. I've always worked at the intersection of art and technology and have been building software-based products of all shapes and sizes for quite a while. In late 2017, I was working with ConsenSys. I was already working in the Ethereum space and had been thinking about how Web3 would start to interact with creative industries.
I don't have a finance background and was always interested in building new business models for creatives where they could think about platforms like Instagram. Instagram wants to sell more ads. Creators want to connect with their fans. They're almost at odds. When I saw NFTs and the early developments around building the ERC-720 standard, I got very excited thinking about the big impact that this could have on creatives, specifically for the art market.
At the time, I was going to art fairs. All the art that was being sold was still canvas-based or sculpture, whereas a lot of the art that I was interested in creating was digitally-native. There's no there-there almost. When I saw the NFT standard, I got super excited and originally launched the project with my brother who's our CTO and my cousin who's our Chief Product Officer.
We started prototyping. We launched the prototype about six months later, which is around the time that we met Zack who we have up here. Immediately, on launch, there was a small but vibrant community. We had an early Telegram group with maybe 50 people, mostly artists and some collectors, but people were very excited. There was palpable energy. You could feel that there was a spark of magic. This was going to be something big.
For context though, in the first year we launched, we did $90,000 in total sales. The entire year was $90,000 in volume. Since then, we hit $270 million in sales. It was pretty dramatic growth but it still is very early days. We're seeing the art market itself digitizing but also the creation process. Art itself is digitizing. These two trends are coming together. NFTs are the layer that's making this all possible.
It was during the pandemic. I'm sure NFT was going on but it was before we got involved in the show and everything started to explode. I was looking for something to make some of my Instagram posts interesting. I found some art websites. This guy was making little cool loops of some alternative universe. I reached out to him and said, "These are cool. Can I use these on my Instagram posts?"
It felt weird because I was like, "This guy should be compensated for this but he doesn't seem to have any way to get compensated. He doesn't care." He's like, "Go ahead. Use my art." It's so fascinating how quickly that all shifted within months of me doing something like that. Someone like that had a way to monetize something that people had given up in many ways.
If you look at the rise of NFTs and this insane fast rise that happened over the last couple of years, it corresponded very closely with the pandemic. Museums and galleries shutting down and people being stuck in their houses on their computers all day led to helping catalyze and get this industry off the ground faster than it probably would have without the pandemic.
It was a bit of a blessing in disguise. At that time, there weren't many businesses in the world that were successfully operating through a pandemic. Pretty much any type of business outside of running an online marketplace was hurting at the time. For SuperRare, it was also perfect timing in the pandemic. As horrible as the pandemic was, it brought everybody online and into these different communities.
I remember that moment when you dropped your token to thank the community for being a part of it. It was an unprecedented viral moment. I was at Bright Moments that day, one of the NFT galleries in Venice. We did a show there at the very beginning. It was the talk of the town because it was such a disruptive idea of celebrating co-creation. It wasn't a question, more of an honorary moment to also acknowledge your history.
I was surprised at how under wrap it was. It was pretty exciting to see it roll out and the waves that it made throughout the community.
You are making new waves. We're excited to talk a little bit about the RarePass, which is another historic crypto art collecting opportunity. There are 24 artists in the mix. They're all very important artists that help shape the crypto art movement. We would love to understand the details of this pass and the benefits and how this project came to be.
Thank you for asking. We have been working on this project for many months. We're getting ready for the big launch. We couldn't be more excited about this new collecting model in this project. We're seeing it as a historic collecting opportunity and a chance for collectors to get access to a premium collection of crypto art from some of the most respected artists in this space with a single transaction.
We have put in a lot of work this genesis season to put together a lineup of artists that has a diverse range of styles but also are all going to be exciting to collectors. Collectors of this RarePass at the end of this program are going to be seated with an incredible collection of works that we hope will help them go on to become more interested in the crypto art space.
If you look at the craziness of 2021 in NFTs, we saw hundreds of thousands of new collectors come into this space through Bored Apes and rarity trait-focused collectibles but only a small fraction of those people have yet made the jump into one-of-one art collecting because it has such a higher barrier to entry. It is way easier to go to rarity.tools and say, "I want this collection. Tell me which one is the rarest," and buy it based on the traits. To have tens and hundreds of thousands of artists, you have to research and figure out who these artists are, what they're doing, and where I should focus.
It's a big undertaking that is a barrier to entry. A big part and goal of this program are to create almost like a stepping stone curated option for collectors to be able to get access into this space without having to do all of the research required to identify who these artists should be. Lastly, on the past, I'll get into some of the key details but it's a rallying cry at the end of the day.
We have all seen the NFT media headlines, "NFTs are a scam. There's nothing innovative or important to see here. This is all going to zero," but we couldn't disagree more. NFTs and collectibles are going through a bit of a turbulent time but crypto art is thriving. We had more collectors on SuperRare transact than we did at the height of 2021's market in terms of the actual number of collectors. We know that there's massive interest in crypto art versus collectibles. The goal of this program is not only to help onboard new collectors and give them an easier way in but also to excite the current collectors in the space.
Those are some powerful numbers. How many unique collectors do you have on SuperRare that have collected at least one piece?
Correct me if I'm wrong, John. The last I checked, it was in the 6,000 to 7,000 range. What's interesting is that there have been 200,000 users connecting a wallet and creating an account but only 6,000 of them have ever purchased an artwork. There's a massive group of people that we know are interested and want to get into it. They just don't know where to start. You're looking at all these artists like, "Where on Earth do I focus? How do I know what to do?" That's a big part.
Jeff and I come from the food world. I would consider good food a form of art but ultimately, a simple choice is powerful for mass adoption. You could get overwhelmed choosing what you want to eat and choosing what artists you want to support because they're all amazing in their own ways. I would love to dive into some of the details of the project more. Who are these artists? I assume it's a diverse mix of folks and maybe some artists that are newer to the family and some artists that have been there since the beginning.
When diving into curating this group of artists, we wanted to make sure that we were selecting a diverse group of styles and artists that could give access to not just a series of works that are all going to be the same. We wanted people to get a diversified collection of works. There are 24 artists. It's split into two distinct groups. Twelve of these artists are what we're calling the airdrop artists.
Over the course of the next twelve months, there is going to be a monthly airdrop for all 250 pass holders. There are 250 passes. If you hold one of these passes, each month going forward for the next year, you're going to going to receive an airdropped artwork from 1 of these 12 artists. They're creating a series of 250. That's not a multi-edition of 250 where it's the same image 250 times. It's a series. If you know XCOPY's Grifters or Matt Kane's Gazers, they all have a similar style to them but they're all unique.
The pass holders each month in the first week of the month of the next year will receive an airdrop from 1 of those 12 artists. Those artists are XCOPY, Sarah Zucker, Robness, Pindar Van Arman, Other World, Matt Kane, OSF, Krista Kim, Helena Sarin, Coldie, Carlos Marcial, and Anne Spalter. In those twelve artists alone, the range of styles is incredible. There's somebody that's touching every style of digital art that we know of so far. There are also going to be twelve additional artists that are creating three unique one-of-one artworks. Each month, one of those artists will do a random giveaway.
We worked with Transient Labs to build out a completely on-chain randomization mechanism through Chainlink VRF that allows all pass holders to have an equal chance each month to win 1 of these 3 extra rare grail one-of-one pieces. That's the list of artists. We're excited for things to get underway when it comes to how the actual auction is going to work and the details for this.
Break it down for us.
It was important to us that we didn't decide the value of the pass. We didn't want to arbitrarily say, "This pass is worth 100 ETH, 50 ETH, or 10 ETH." We wanted this community of collectors to decide in a fair way what these 250 passes should cost. We have set it up. The first RarePass is going to be auctioned in a 24-hour auction. Whoever is the highest bidder on that pass is going to become the owner of RarePass number one, which has some extra special benefits. That person will get number one in the airdrop series. They will get a bunch of swag and other things that you can see on the RarePass microsite.
The next day, as soon as that pass one auction ends, we will begin the Dutch auction. Let's say pass one sells for 50 ETH. The Dutch auction the next day for the remaining passes will kick off at 50 ETH and run for six hours with a $0 end price. We don't know what it's going to sell for. The community of collectors is going to decide, "This could sell for a lot. It could sell for $1." Whatever the community decides this pass is worth is what it's going to sell for. That's the goal of it.
Going forward, we think that it's going to become a fun program because everybody knows this list of 24 artists. They're all amazing in their own right but nobody is going to know the schedule. You know that you're getting access to these artists but you don't know who's coming in January or February 2023. If you want to get all of them, you have to hold the pass for the whole year.
You can buy the pass, hold it for three months, get three airdrops, and then sell it if you got the artist you wanted but you may have to wait longer to get the one you're waiting for. Depending on your style and who you're interested in collecting, we will see some fun secondary market movement as people try and buy a pass before they think their favorite artist is releasing.
Overall, we hope that this can become a new model. This can be the template to it that can create a much easier way to get access to artworks and artists. The future should be curated by different entities. I would love to see an emerging artist pass where it's all brand new artists. Their first entry to the space is likely at a lower price point but the opportunity is endless. We want to have a great template for how to make that into a program that can benefit all of the artists and collectors on the platform.
That's a very thoughtful approach.
It's a nice intersection of some of the best practices of the last couple of years that have risen from the world of NFTs, the various launches, and different angles that have risen within the NFT space. There are all kinds of different jobs from super heavy art-based PFP drops to heavy encore functionality and utility. That intersected also with some of the core goodness from the traditional art world. The artists themselves are elevating these new works. I'm excited to see where that goes. It sounds like it's going to catch hold.
One of the other pieces of that which we were talking about earlier was a simple choice and trying to craft a space whereby it's easy for people to get the works that they want and not feel overwhelmed, especially people that are new to the space. Speaking of space, you have independent galleries that you call Spaces. Within those, people can curate, promote, and sell their artwork but also, it's distinctive in that there is an opportunity for creation, shaping, and evolution process. I wanted to ask you about that. How does that work within the Spaces that you have on the platform?
We announced Spaces with the launch of the DAO in 2021. Spaces are independent galleries or curators that are part of the SuperRare ecosystem. In thinking about how this grows how can SuperRare support more artists and collectors, while our curation team is one of the best in the world, we can only onboard so many individuals. In thinking about how can you thoughtfully scale curation, the idea was to bring on additional galleries and curators.
The way it works is we have something that is called the Space Race. Galleries can apply. They submit an application. Token holders review these applications and then vote. It's a democratic election to vote on these new galleries. We wrapped up our most successful Space Race applications so far. We had over 70 applicants. The voting starts. For any RARE holders reading, we're going to be voting. It's exciting. Some of these applications are incredible. These are very prestigious galleries and curators from all over the world who are coming into the NFT ecosystem in full force in a serious way.
That's super cool. There are some elements in there around shaping those spaces over time as well. Are there additional voting mechanisms? How do those Spaces evolve with token holders and community involvement?
We view Spaces as a platform. There are some spaces themselves that are DAOs. These spaces are self-managing in different ways. You have some that are run by individual curators. Some are art collectives. They're managed in different ways. This is super exciting. As with the RarePass, SuperRare Labs is pioneering new models and then pushing them out to the rest of the ecosystem to continue to use and evolve. We're excited to see how the past takes shape but then also how artists in Spaces within our community also take the tools that we're building and grow the ecosystem.
Speaking of DAOs, you have the RARE token holders that collectively govern the SuperRare DAO and multi-sig smart contracts deployed on Ethereum. It's a very fair decentralized format there. What are some of the key components there? How do you expect that to evolve over time?
The DAO is composed of a few components. We did the airdrop. Tokens went to all users who had used the platform, which is something only possible with crypto and Web3. We're very excited to take this path forward. The token holders govern a community treasury. In the process of setting up the DAO, all fees that are collected in the SuperRare marketplace flow to the DAO to then be reallocated to continue to grow the ecosystem. We have an improvement proposal process. We have a forum where people can ask for comments on updates to the protocol and changes they're looking to see.
When things gain traction, they can go up for votes. We have a checks and balances system. There is a SuperRare governance council that green lights proposals to go up for a vote. Anyone can put forward a proposal and then work to get community support. They will work with the governance council. Those proposals will go up for a vote. To the extent that funds are needed, the multi-sig signers can sign a transaction and deploy those funds. You continue to grow this new art economy.
In my little suburb here, I've been to a couple of things like town hall meetings and condo association meetings. This sounds a little bit more fun. You're deciding how to fund cool things that are going on. I like the excitement and fun that goes on there.
To add to that, there are a lot of challenges with DAOs that people are navigating in terms of how they function, what governance looks like, how much control, and how much time people want to spend in all these communities. If you're a member of one DAO that takes all your time, can you participate in another DAO? What about your day job? I'm curious from a DAO governance and building perspective what you have learned about what makes a good DAO and some of the things that have surprised you along the way.
There are certainly many challenges. A lot of this is being invented and developed on the fly but one thing that we have learned is that they're incredibly powerful and that you can have community ideas bubble up that are super impactful. It's a very powerful way to crowdsource and get the community excited to think of new ideas or new changes to the protocol and how we want this ecosystem to evolve.
Human coordination has been challenging since the beginning of time. We're thinking about evolving our model. If you look at some of the other DAOs that are fairly successful, they're building in subcommittees or groups that have area expertise, whether that's finance, thinking about how to rebalance a treasury, or technology like smart contract auditing. Curation is important for us.
One of the things that make SuperRare incredibly unique isn't just technological changes to the protocol but token holders can influence curation in the network. The idea is to give power to different groups and communities to help build out better representation across the board in the arts. We're seeing these different groups of people that have different expertise bubble up organically. That's a powerful way to distribute power but at the same time, efficiently build and innovate.
It's interesting to see where all the DAO stuff is going. We will have a whole track at NFT LA to talk about DAOs because there's a lot going on in that area and a lot of innovation that's happened. They're independent of digital art and how to do auctions and all this other stuff. You are on the cutting edge, which is why it has been a long time coming to have you on. We will have to get you in the mix more often. What are some of the other edgy things on your roadmap going forward? Are there any other partnerships, collaborations, and features that we should be on the lookout for?
There's lots of exciting stuff. I don't know if I can dive into all of it but it's like how we're thinking about the future. If you think about what SuperRare has done, it's pioneering things that are fundamental and part of more equitable art markets. If you think about artist royalties, collector royalties, and the RarePass, we're trying to build innovative tools to grow this ecosystem and thinking about how this grows long term. We see SuperRare being a place that's focused on art.
If you have platforms like OpenSea or general-purpose marketplaces that service lots of different verticals or industries, SuperRare is hyper focused on art. We're not branching out into domain names or anything. We're building tools for what the art market of the future needs. In 2022, we started the process of adding additional smart contracts. We started with one SuperRare smart contract that artists minted into. We then added sovereign smart contracts.
These are smart contracts that artists can manage themselves. It doesn't matter where the smart contract lives. If this is an XCOPY token, collectors want to see that token and information about that token and are focused on building not only the creative infrastructure but also the economic infrastructure to help this market grow. We're taking a very artist-centric approach but trying to build the infrastructure for this new art market.
To add on to John from my side, something exciting that we have long been working on and that we're star
ting to zero in on is how you decentralize curation on a platform like SuperRare in a way that still maintains a level of quality. We have seen a lot of platforms go completely open where anyone can go to the platform and mint whatever they want but that inevitably leads to a lot of impersonating and scamming. How do you maintain the trust that we have built up with our current group of collectors while also decentralizing the decision around which artists get in?
We have arrived at what we feel is going to be an innovative approach to this. Joshua, for instance, the art that you like might be completely different than the art that I like. The art that John likes is way different than the art that I like. We have very different tastes. When John goes to SuperRare, he should be able to see the art and the artists that he wants to see and not have to see the art and artists he doesn't want to see. It's the same with me. The big goal in how we're planning to decentralize curation but maintain that collector trust and the quality barrier is that there's going to be a new list model where currently we've got all of these spaces that John mentioned.
There are 25 currently. There will soon be 35 and many more in 2023. Each of these spaces is a list of artists. If you go to Uniswap, for instance, and you want to buy a token, you can see on Uniswap's UI key lists of tokens that are available but you can also take it a little bit step further, "I want to see CoinGecko's list. I want to see CoinDesk's list." In this world, you can come to SuperRare, turn on and off the different lists of the different curation entities within the platform, and try to customize the experience of what you're looking at and the artists that you're interacting with.
The next step is that we use Neuralink to plug into Jeff's, Eathan's, and my brains. I'll pop the curated list of art that's all of our preferences. I think about trying to buy art with my girlfriend and how cool would it be if there was this way to intersect her taste with my taste and come up with some ideas that we might both enjoy.
If that art resembles anything like the face meld that our graphics team made between the three of us, I would not be interested.
You're going to have to send us that face meld. That sounds amazing but also potentially terrifying.
We appreciate you sharing all the details of what's going on over there. There's so much goodness happening. As you said at the very beginning, John, it is the beginning. We're scratching the surface of what's possible there. I love the continued focus on art and what it can become. It's such an important part of Web3. Kudos across the board.
We want to shift gears a little bit though and move to a section that we call Edge Quick Hitters. The intent of this is to get to know you a little bit better. We've got ten questions we ask every single guest of our show. We're looking for short, single-word, or few-word answers except we may dive a little deeper here or there. Are you fellas ready to jump in?
Let's do it.
John, we will start with you. Question number one, what's the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
This is a tough question. The first thing I can remember is a pink skateboard that I bought at a swap meet near where I grew up. We used to go with my cousins. You would get $5. The first memory I have is picking up this pink skateboard for $5 at the swap meet.
Zack, how about you?
The first thing I remember purchasing would have been Reese's Pieces at the Circle K in Tampa, Florida.
That's super specific. Was there a Circle K that was your go-to for candy and stuff?
It was right down the street. I would ride my bike over there, save up all our money, and spend it in one night.
I've got to ask, John. A swap meet is a particular term. Is that West Coast? Were you West Coast-based? Is that where you grew up?
I grew up in San Diego.
A flea market is more East Coast. I used to hit the swap meet in a bunch of different places out West growing up as well. I had to ask that too.
Since you brought it up, I've got to say it. There's this brand called Swap-O-Rama over out here in the Chicago area, which is fascinating if you look at what's going on with it. It has been around for years. It started as this cowboy swap meet thing but our local one is fascinating. It looks exactly like if you went to a market in Peru or Mexico or something like that because the local Hispanic population is taking over whatever that space is and created the type of market that they're used to having. It's interesting to see the evolution of this thing that started with a cowboy theme. The local one has a Latin American theme at this moment. It's a fascinating world.
Question number two, John, what's the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
The first thing that I sold was my mom's garden gnome. I sold it to our neighbor for $2. I'm pretty sure she then returned it to my mom. I got in trouble.
You didn't have permission.
I did not have permission. I was probably doing what Zack was doing and looking for some money for candy.
I like that your neighbor was coveting the garden gnome. That's interesting. She was willing to buy it.
For $2, that's a great pickup.
It's a steal.
How about you, Zack?
The first thing I sold that comes to mind would be a trumpet that my mom got me when I was 7 or 8. I instantly hated it as an instrument. I always gravitated toward guitars. I sold my trumpet to get a guitar.
If that's not rock and roll, I don't know what it is. Question number three, John, what's the most recent thing you purchased?
I purchased a seltzer water right before this show.
Coldie, 1 of the 24 RarePass artists released on Async a blueprint called market psycholOGy. I grabbed one of those. It says, "Panic." It teams up nicely with the overall sentiment of the last couple of days. I'm very excited about that purchase.
That seltzer water is a risky venture if you're getting ready to jump on the show. You never know.
I've been drinking seltzer water. I had some LaCroix. As I'm reading the intros, I'm like, "Please don't burp right in the middle of this intro. Let's not do that."
Question number four, John, what's the most recent thing you sold?
The most recent thing I sold was a piece of art on SuperRare. You can now use RARE as a payment method on SuperRare. I was experimenting with that. I sold a piece of art for some RARE on SuperRare.
Zack, how about you?
The recent thing I sold would have been all of my Dogecoin. I decided to finally get out of that game.
You hit the Elon Twitter pump.
We were thinking of letting people use Dogecoin for NFT LA but the bandwagon is over. You're a trendsetter. If you're selling, everyone else is going to sell.
They should probably use RARE instead of Dogecoin for NFT LA.
Let's have that combo.
Question number five, John, what is your most prized possession?
This is a tough one. I'm going to have to go with my 1990 Honda van. It's a little four-wheel drive Japanese surf van.
We will have to take a look at that one. It sounds pretty cool. Zack, how about you?
My most prized possession would be a 1960s Stratocaster guitar. That's by far my favorite guitar I've ever had. I hold it very dearly. That would be my favorite for sure.
We will switch the order here a little bit. Zack, we will start with you on question six. If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service, or experience it's currently for sale, what would it be?
I've been going back and forth. Every time there's some market craziness, I tend to freak out and sell an NFT that I shouldn't have sold. It happened almost every time there has been a big crash in the market. ETH fell back by $900 or so. I sold the CryptoPunk that I've been holding onto for many years. I regretted the decision from the second I accepted it. Every day since I've been keeping my eye on that floor and trying to find one that I like again but I very much want to get a CryptoPunk back in my life.
Get that bad boy back. John, how about you?
Relatedly, I missed out on the XCOPY Grifter drop and have also been keeping an eye on the Grifter floor. XCOPY is one of my top favorite artists. I feel like no real collection would be complete without a Grifter.
I have the chance to meet WhaleShark in Singapore. He is an XCOPY fan.
He's the OG.
Question number seven, Zack, if you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would it be?
I've always seen myself as somewhat of a hustler in a sense. I don't come from money. I've always had to work hard for everything I have. I've always never been afraid to take risks and go for what I want like meeting the SuperRare guys in 2018 and forcing them to let me work with them. What I would say is my ability to enter risky situations with confidence based on my beliefs.
John, how about you?
Probably having worked in crypto for quite a while and also spent a lot of time at startups, it's the ability to stay calm during periods of extreme stress and pressure, take it, and say, "This is how things fucking are. We will fix this problem and keep going."
There should be a word for that in the NFT lexicon. There are so many fun words.
We could coin one. Equanimity is the normal word for it.
Is that a normal word?
It's a woo-woo word.
It's a little flowery. We will work on that one. Question number eight, Zack, if you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would that be?
I and John are complete opposites in that sense. John is better than anyone I've ever encountered at keeping a level head through extremely stressful situations. I'm far quicker to react and get emotional. My time at SuperRare over the years has been where I've grown the most. What I've learned the most from John in particular is his ability to keep a top-level positive view of things and not let the nitty-gritty shit happen on a day-to-day basis. I used to spend days being pissed off about somebody tweeting something negative about SuperRare. You can't survive in this world with that mentality.
I hear you. That's a great evolution. John, how about you?
This is also a tough one. One time when the calmness breaks down is when the hanger creeps in. If the blood sugar drops too low, I will tend to lose my cool. If I could eliminate that, many things would be easier.
That's a good one. I would take that. That would solve a lot of my problems. Eliminate hanger.
Question number nine, Zack, what did you do before joining us on the show?
I had a call with a potential strategic partner for the RarePass program. As part of the RarePass program, we've got a set number of passes that are set aside for strategic partners that are going to add some interesting utilities for pass holders. I had a great call on that right before this. I'll have another one after.
John, how about you?
Right before this, I went and got this seltzer water.
The seltzer water returns.
He's telling the truth. His answer didn't change. That's the truth.
We appreciate it. Here's the last one, Zack. It sounds like we know but what are you doing next right after the show?
More calls. We will sleep when we die.
#Hustle. John, how about you?
I'm also prepping for some meetings I've got. I'm out here in LA. There's the 11:11 Media summit that's happening in Hollywood. I'm prepping for some meetings. I'm going to spread the good word about the RarePass.
Are you still going to be in town on the 14th?
Unfortunately, no. I'm headed out on Saturday.
We've got a cool entertainment gaming event where you could be a fly-in-the-wall. It's not directly art-related but you can chill with us next time.
I'll have to coordinate with you next time.
There are always fun things happening. That's Edge Quick Hitters. We appreciate it. Thanks for sharing with us. The word on the street is we've got a pretty special Hot Topic queued up. Eathan, what do you say?
We do. For our sponsored Hot Topic, we will feature Ivan Perez. He's the CEO of Howl Labs and Cofounder at Teller Finance. He co-founded Teller Finance in 2020, offering the first pathway towards undercollateralized lending in DeFi. He also spearheaded the first collection of NFTs to be used as collateralized credit warrants in 2021. His efforts at Howl Labs, formerly known as Multiplied, include support for NFT projects totaling $40 million plus in sales and marketing communications for some of the biggest industry projects and in-house metaverse projects now under development. Let's bring on Ivan and have a little bit of chat with him. It's a privilege to be able to have him here. Ivan, are you with us?
It's good to see you.
Thank you for the wonderful intro. I appreciate that. I'm pretty happy to be on this show. We have a pretty good relationship with the NFT LA guys. It's cool to double-dip.
It's cool how our relationship has evolved in this space. We're working with you and some of your clients. The first time we met each other was the Quentin Tarantino moment in New York that you helped to orchestrate. It was a big news moment. We have gotten to know you. I go to Asia, and all of a sudden, you are hollering at the moon. You got a new name and all sorts of fun stuff happening. What's going on there?
I'll explain a little bit. We used to be Multiplied. Traditionally, we were a PR firm. We started noticing a certain maturation in the space and the need for marketing to start providing support towards PR being brand clout. We wound up shifting gears. We moved into this labs model. We still have our PR and marketing arm a lot more fluid now. It's a combination hybrid model but we are now starting to look into outside projects. We talked to a few people in Web2.5. There is an under-wraps project that we're also developing. That's going to be a lot of NFTFi or a continuation of the things that I was pretty obsessed with while I was still working at Teller.
You mentioned NFTFi here. I don't know if that's necessarily something we hear very often. What does that mean to you? It's certainly a relatively new term in our orbit. How did you encounter this term?
I'm going to brag and say that this NFT collection that we sold via Teller in 2021 was to me one of the first incidences of NFTFi. We just sadly didn't coin it. The easiest way to explain NFTFi is the crossover between NFT-based technology and the utility it has within the DeFi world. We're already seeing plenty of exchanges like Blur.io, which allows you to treat an NFT like you might do any other tradable good. We're also seeing people using NFTs for loans as well. There are a few copycat projects that realistically did a pretty good job.
The real hot take is back when we launched this collection. The long-term roadmap for us was how we move from NFTs being used as collateral to NFTs being treated almost as a DeFi identity of sorts. It's similar to what's going on in Spectral Finance now but back then, we wanted this deep identity to be portable via an NFT. The tech wasn't there but now that we have dynamic NFTs, we are certainly able to move it to that. It's something I'm interested in developing.
The dynamic side is something we have been talking about from day one as one of the interesting possible developments with NFTs. It's that capability with that underlying technology. We hadn't seen a ton of it come about so far. It sounds like we're on the cusp of seeing something special evolve.
Anyone that hasn't necessarily looked too much into dynamic NFTs is relatively new in terms of everyone paying attention to it now but it is at its core an NFT whose metadata can change based on preset or varying conditions. An engineer can encode automatic changes into the NFT smart contract with instructions into the actual underlying NFT, meaning how can the metadata change?
We could have NFTs that change over the passage of time. I could have an NFT that represents me, ages over time, and requires interactions to be kept alive. It's like Tamagotchi on steroids almost. To me at least, bringing this back to the NFTFi portion, probably the coolest application for dynamic NFTs is its ability to interact with external data and draw data in real-time.
If you do that, you can technically have an NFT example where the metadata of the NFT evolves based on an individual's financial or social data. For example, you could have as we once wanted an NFT that's the pseudo DeFi social passport that can then be integrated into a metaverse space and used for some utility even if it's transacting with consumer goods sales.
This is interesting stuff. We can all agree. The dynamic and long-term potential of an NFT has yet to be fully explored. We're scratching the surface. There's so much that's yet to be imagined. Ivan, you did miss out on the chance to coin the word NFTFi but you can coin a word if you like. We're trying to figure out what's the Web3 word for equanimity during your crypto crisis. There is no word. You figure it out.
To be honest, we have already coined a term for that.
What is it?
It's HODL. These markets are cyclical in nature. We disregard the level of explanation of what happens in this market that behavioral economics offer. I put out a tweet. I won't get into too much but we all know some crazy shit is happening in the crypto space. I was talking about ideas on risk aversion growing as an individual's wealth grows. This is the average individual.
Their risk tolerance is increasing as they lose money. Human beings are perfectly irrational. However, we're in an industry built by outliers whose risk tolerance only increases the richer they get. We get worse with it, which is why HODL is such a great term. We're probably the only community that celebrates watching this stuff crash. It's like, "I'm going to buy some more."
That makes John the ultimate HODLer based on what we know about him.
That's true. I'm curious also. Within SuperRare, are dynamic NFTs a part of the artist community?
We have dynamic NFTs. They're interactive. It's not dynamic. The metadata is updating. Part of the value prop is that you have cryptographic proof of what the art is at the time of mint. We have dynamic NFTs that are interactive and more experiential but the metadata itself is not updating.
It seems like there are some interesting things happening there. I feel like once you turn the artist loose on that technology and when they recognize how to leverage it, some probably cool and unexpected shit is going to happen when you get those creative minds put to work probably more than any of us could even think of at this moment. I'm excited to see where that goes. It's very cool. There's this term earlier also, Web2.5. For folks that are unfamiliar with that, what does Web2.5 mean to you?
Web2.5 is pretty interesting. It suggests that there's this new niche of traditional companies that want to expand their product line using Web3 technology. In essence, that's a big opportunity for us to work with these companies and help them put forth cohesive offerings that will help drive adoption in the space. We have seen examples. Particularly, the fashion industry is interesting because it feels almost like low-hanging fruit for them to use NFTs. I've been seeing companies like Prada or even Givenchy creating metaverses. They're doing that now. They have offered up NFT collections. To be honest, these have been weak offerings. Most of them have either little to no utility or very short-term value.
Web2.5 is interesting. This is the world in which we can create applications. We don't necessarily have to make the mistake we always do, which is we focus a lot on the tech and why it does X and Y. Rather, here's a product and what it does for you. We can do that properly and set initiatives. That's something we're doing and Howl Labs. We're setting an initiative to work with these companies and help them create more interesting mechanics. If we can do that, these product extensions can push the adoption of Web3 at least as it pertains to NFTs.
That's great. We always appreciate your perspective. It has been a joy to work with you. You are so authentically passionate about the industry. You have this great mix of clients that are doing innovative stuff. If people want to stay in touch and learn more about Howl, where should they go?
Is there anything on Teller Finance you want to share as well?
What you should do is bring Ryan, the CEO of Teller Finance, onto this show. He can tell you some pretty interesting stuff.
The word on the street is we have a little giveaway that you put together very generously as well. It sounds like a marketing communication services credit of around $1,000. Is there anything else you want to share with us about that? That's amazing and very generous.
Honestly, to me, it's interesting for people to come and see how we're doing services at work. The best part of it is the fact that you can use this on marketing and comps. We have an interesting approach to share with people. If you want to get some noise about yourself out there or run a quick or cool Twitter campaign to engage your community, by all means, please use this credit and come to work with us.
We have been working with you. I can't say enough great things about what you've been doing. We're running the NFT LA Twitter Spaces together and co-creating the Howl at the Moon Twitter Spaces as well. It has been incredible. You have a testimonial right here from us. We will continue to want to develop our work with you.
I appreciate that. Thanks for having me. It has been great.
It's great having you on. We will certainly talk soon. Take care. Chem them out. Eathan, we have our next segment queued up, which we have introduced very recently. Tell us about it.
We're talking about the Why's It Viral. This is a fun place to check out what's going on in places like TikTok and the NFT scene. What are people talking about? What do they care to take a look at? It's also an excuse for us to check out TikTok because honestly, we have better things to do than be watching TikTok all day on our off time from the show. I'll bring up a clip here. We will take a look at it, chit-chat, and then move on from that.
"This girl made $7.5 million in ten days selling NFTs of herself. Who is this? How did this happen? This is IreneDAO. She is 28 years old. She is a Chinese influencer. She decided to make NFTs of herself. Irene started selling these, and it became a huge hit. This is the OpenSea page. You can see the floor price right here. This is the floor price, 0.64 ETH. That is around $1,600. If you go to the last highest sale, you can see that this photo sold for 8.88 ETH. If you want to know how much that is in USD, we can convert it. That is approximately this much. This photo with the last highest sale was sold for $22,000, which is insane but what do you think about this?" What do you think about this?
Where mine immediately goes is I started JoshDAO. John and Zack, if you have any Web3 Joshs in your world, send them my way. There are about 23 Joshs now in this Telegram group. I've been trying to figure out what we do. We have to do what Irene has done here and start selling some NFTs together.
0.6 ETH was $1,600 or something like that. It would've been in the May-June 2022 timeframe at the most recent. It's still well into unsteady waters for the market. She showed it. I don't know if that's legit. That's pretty interesting. I don't know what her following was before or what her sales pitch is there but I don't know how many folks saw that.
It has 96,000 likes. Usually, at that level of likes, it has millions of views. It's something point something million. I'll tell you something about why is it viral and answer that question. I don't know if you noticed but the one we did on the last show had the same music.
MrBeast and those guys evaluate all those little details for their posts and everything, "We're going to move this an eighth of a second this way versus that way." They get super detailed. Jon, are there any insights from your side?
I'm on the website.
You're making it sound like she started the IreneDAO. The girl said in the video that her name is IreneDAO. Is it a coincidence? Did she start the IreneDAO?
It's a DAO. We're going down the rabbit hole. The reason this sold is that it's much more than a JPEG. It's a membership utility into the DAO, "Our core values are simplicity, integrity, meaning, and purpose." They've got a treasury to figure out later.
It's not for people named Irene like your JoshDAO is.
You don't have to be named Irene but they will have some IRL events in Los Angeles where you can meet your queen.
John and Zack, what do you think? At first glance, I was like, "It seems not real, but it sounds like it's real."
It sounds like she got in perfect time before the crash.
It's good timing. The girl that posted it said that her name was Irene Zhao, which was interesting. It is the IreneDAO. It's hard to say.
That's the state of TikTok these days.
I'm sure we could find some other ones.
Here's my trend. The music works. That was from the last one. From what I'm seeing on TikTok, all you have to do is show something and how much somebody paid for it. That's the thing, "Here's what this is. Here's how much it is." You ask in the comments, "Is this worth it?" That's a nice formula.
We're fascinated by the different elements that make something like that catch.
Here's one more thing. I went a little further down the rabbit hole. You click on their site, and then there's another site called SoCol.io. This is some sort of social application. Their investors are Animoca Brands, Blockchain Capital, and Cronos. They're partnered with Nothing, Amber Lounge, and Habitue. There's a whole rabbit hole here.
That's interesting. We will have to dive a little deeper. Before we wrap, we want to take a minute here and give a little bit of love to somebody that's moving the needle in your orbit, John and Zack. This is intended to elevate folks that are making a difference in our lives. We want to turn the floor over to you to share a little bit of love with someone that's doing that.
My head would go straight to the 24 artists that are involved in the RarePass launch and put their trust in SuperRare. We couldn't be more excited to be kicking off this year-long program with them. I mentioned him earlier but I'll give him one more shout-out. We've got Anne Spalter, Carlos Marcial, Coldie, Helena Sarin, Matt Kane, Krista Kim, OSF, Other World, Pindar Van Arman, Robness, Sarah Zucker, XCOPY, ALIENQUEEN, Botto, diewiththemostlikes, DrifterShoots, Hackatao, KILLER ACID, MadMaraca, Omentejovem, Osinachi, Sam Spratt, TJO, and Yosnier. Those 24 are going to change the game.
What a killer lineup and an amazing group.
Much love to that crew for making it happen and pulling that together. That couldn't be done without them. We appreciate you sharing that mutual love with that crew. Before we do wrap, we do need to make sure we let folks know where to follow you, all of your happenings, and everything that happened over at SuperRare. Where should we be sending people? There's so much going on.
The first stop is the SuperRare Twitter, which is @SuperRare. That's where you can learn everything about the RarePass and stay up to date with the DAO. That would be stop number one.
Is there anything you are particularly active with individually on socials that you would like to share or you'll stick with SuperRare?
We're both fairly active on Twitter. I'm @SuperRareJohn.
Check it out. There is some rad stuff coming out of there. We appreciate it. 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 Spotify or iTunes, rate us, and say something awesome. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Look us up on all major social platforms by typing EdgeOfNFT and start a fun conversation with us online. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
Thanks so much.
Thanks for having us.
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