Jeff Kelley, Eathan Janney, and Josh Kriger bring Edge of NFT to one of the biggest moments in NFT history when thousands assembled in New York for NFT NYC and Dreamers in November of 2021. Listen in as we spend time with industry leaders and company owners who are changing the world one NFT at a time. We share incredible insights and ideas with Jeff Crane (NFT The Movie), Sohrob Farudi (FCF), Shelly Palmer (The Palmer Group), Lin Dai and Joshua James (OneOf), and Robbie Heeger (Endaoment). Together, they discuss how NFTs are rising beyond expectations to deliver value and impact to community building, the music industry, filmmaking, sports and more.
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NFT NYC & Dreamverse Part 3: Feat. Jeff Crane (NFT The Movie), Shelly Palmer (The Palmer Group), Lin Dai & Joshua James (One Of), Robbie Heeger (Endaoment) & Sohrob Farudi (FCF)
This episode is one of an incredible series we are sharing from our visit to New York City in the first week of November 2021. Keep reading for exclusive access to conversations we had at the NFT NYC Convention and Dreamverse, as well as snippets from our run-ins with amazing folks on the street, at parties, and at private events. You will hear from the top players and NFT from people to Gary Vee and discover everything in between. These sessions cut right from one hot interview to the next, without much chatter in between, to give you the feeling of being there and reading on various conversations. We will introduce our guests as they enter. Enjoy.
Thanks for welcoming me here to the show.
Josh and I, are in Puerto Rico. We had heard of NFT The Movie but we hadn’t interacted much. We met Major Dream Williams at this business networking event, which is cool. They have a lot of fun. I didn’t get a chance to go to CryptoMonday but mostly young entrepreneurs get together in San Juan. We are putting together some coworking space, trying to reinforce the economic development with a cool vibe. It’s exciting. People have huge visions, which are always exciting when people are willing to dream big.
You mentioned the word dream. We met Major Dream. He was so excited about the movie and wanted me to do an interview with him. That went up, and we’ve got it set up quickly. We’ve got to do it in an awesome location and everything. We hadn’t connected and met you. Maybe you could tell us and also share for the readers a little about what your role is and how you know Major? How does everything pull together?
I have been in blockchain for a few years. As most people do, since the dawn of man, people have gone to the temple, mountain and Mecca. A few years ago, as funny as it is, I was reading a New York Times article a buddy of mine gave me. He said, “Do you want to go find this guy?” It was Brock Pierce standing in that window in Old San Juan. He had gotten to Puerto Rico and basically lifted the lid, even though Michael Turpin was there first because he’s the godfather and Brock is like the big brother. What we did was we went on a one-way ticket to go find this guy. We didn’t know where he was.
Lo and behold, the next thing we know, we raised $1.25 million in three and a half weeks. Not from Brock or his friends but being in the area. We started a blockchain company called Glyph ID a few years ago. I will answer the question, “What do you do when you build a brand?” You can’t be the person. You have to build everybody else up so that when you are not there, they are talking about it, wearing the shirts, and living the dream. What had happened was we went up to Brock and said, “Do you mind if we have a little party in your monastery sweets?” About 600 to 700 people showed up.
At that point, we realized, “You have to be the COI, the Center Of Influence. You need to be able to help other people.” Fast forward to February of 2021, I was consulting for my friend, Brian Christensen, for Blockcities. He said, “Come on out to Puerto Rico. I will pay for everything.” That’s when I saw the FOMO of NFTs, the billionaires, and the millionaires were all flying to Dubai. I’m like, “What’s going on?”
Every single entrepreneur in this room has done this. What I did was with this FOMO, I went to one place, GoDaddy, to look for domain names. I started my career in internet businesses, CardRates.com, HomeClassifieds.com, in ‘96. I looked up NFT classifieds, and it was freaking available. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve got that thing at 1:00 in the morning.
I woke up at 8:00 and was like, “What in the H am I doing?” I’m slower and not as sharp. I don’t have as much money as these guys. I don’t want to compete with my friends. I want to go into a room and have fun. I don’t want to keep to myself all these “beautiful ideas” for NFTs. I immediately went to Facebook instead of going to an auction because all my friends were there. I said, “Guys, I’m selling NFTClassifieds.com.” The first opening bid is $2,500.
Pedro Rivera, who runs CryptoMondays within five minutes, says, “I will buy it for $2,500.” I’m like, “No. That was the opening bid,” but because it’s Pedro and we ended up with $8,500. When that happened, I looked at the math. That’s a 6,500% increase because those three letters became popular in 2021. Even though they were popular to the geeks a few years ago, I’m like, “This is ridiculous.”
I used another word. I was like cursing myself. This is insane. I’m like, “I’ve got to do a movie.” That was the inspiration because it was incredulous that it could happen that quickly. We funded our movie with $12.17 from that domain. I’ve got NFT The Movie. I trademarked a whole bunch of stuff. The one thing led to the next, and the reason that we are here is because of people like Brittany Kaiser, Landon Reed and Ken Bozek.
I would pick up the phone and be in a stressful situation. I’m like, “What do I do?” For example, Brittany did the great hack and many other things. I had problems with my first set of filmmakers because I had never done a film before. I was having a meltdown and called her. I said, “Should I do this movie?” She’s like, “Yes, ten million people know who I am, absolutely do this movie.” I hung up the phone. Every step of the way, I would call somebody.
When you have that friend, maybe it’s your parents, brother or sister, where you can call them, and you know that what they are telling you is from their heart. There’s no ulterior motive, which transacts you, had so many people who were supportive. We started the documentary in May of 2021 and submitted it to Sundance in September 2021. We have 40 interviews in the movie and slip you guys in. The movie is about humanity and technology. It’s not about technology. It’s about people because people do not change, technology changes. You could take this story. Half of the people are proficient. The other people didn’t know anything about NFTs until we spoke to them.
We look at Edge of NFT as the intersection of technology and culture. The possibilities are limitless now relative to even a couple of years ago because of the adaption of NFTs. It’s not even about the fact that this capability was there. It was about the fact that we, as a society, decided to tap into this match.
It’s changing things way beyond what the world of collectibles is. It’s the mainstream stuff that you see in the media. People’s lives are changing. People are making a living off of Axie Infinity in the Philippines. More people have an Axie Infinity wallet, and then have a bank account over the Philippines. It’s game-changing in Vietnam, where they are based, and many other projects like that.
In the Philippines, if I’m not mistaken, people are making $1,000, $1,200, $1,300 a month on the NFT gaming, and they are paying for their entire lifestyle. Their bills and everything playing games. I met a gentleman that has over 400 scholars that he’s funded to play that game. They have scholars underneath them that they have funded to play that game. We are talking about generational wealth creation happening overnight. He started this program a few months ago.
Do you know what I love about that? Do you guys have kids?
I have a three-year-old at home.
They are younger. I have teenagers. I bought some Ken tokens and gave him 500 million 10 tokens each, my three kids. It dawned on me like, “I should have been doing this years ago.” I’m not giving them a skateboard. I’m going to give them tokens of what I love about the premise of that gentleman and these other companies that are doing grants. It’s like they are orphans. They are funding them and taking care of them. It’s like their family but they are not blood. They may not even know them. They have maybe never even met them. They are supportive. How beautiful is that?
That’s the way it’s supposed to be. When you are walking down the street, and somebody asks you for money, if you have $1 in your hand, you give him $1, and you move on. You don’t judge a person. That’s my belief. That’s how come we are here because people did the same thing. They said, “Jeff, you don’t know what you are doing. Let me guide you because we like your mission. Edge of NFT, you don’t have all the answers. Let’s guide you.”
The proof is on the blockchain. If they are playing the game, that’s trackable. If they are doing something with this opportunity that has been given to them, it’s all transparent and open. It creates an incentive structure that didn’t exist before now. Speaking of giving back and impact, what happens next? You do the movie and have a big premiere planned. Where do you go from there?
Sundance is very important in the lives of independent filmmakers. They were pretty much the first ones. Bob Redford in our town there took care of the artists. I love that culture but regardless of, whether we make it into Sundance, and I hope we do, we will have our own premiere during Sundance. It will be a two-day premiere.
On the first day, we will be running the movie late morning to early morning, concurrently with the NFT ticket holders that will come to the actual premiere. You are welcome to come as our guests. On the second day, we are going to have three clinics running concurrently, how to make, market, and auction an NFT because it’s not about teaching an artist how to paint and a musician how to play guitar. It’s giving them some of those tools.
I feel like what you are not going to get with NFT The Movie is start to finish, “Now, I’m ready to make an NFT.” That’s not what the movie is about. I know that because it says, “NFT The Movie,” everybody has their own impression of what that might be like the word, “Love.” Some people have different impressions of what love is.
NFT NYC: The most successful things on the earth are the best organized human groups.
Where do we go from here? What happens is in January 2022, we do the premiere, and we have not submitted to South by Southwest or any other festival. Although, it might say on my tag here, “We are moviemakers.” We are not moviemakers. Here’s the cool part. I don’t know if Major said this. What happened was, before I started filming, I had talked to Ken Bozek and said, “Would you like to be in the movie?” He’s like, “Absolutely, but let me give you some advice, cut it up into pieces. Don’t do your whole entire film in one NFT.”
We filmed the film ahead of time in pieces. Now in the blockchain community, if you were here in 2019 consensus, wherever you guys here at the 2019 Consensus if you remember, there were 8,000 people, and it was $2,000 a ticket. Everything, including the toilet paper, was wrapped in the logo. You remember who was there. It’s a tribe. You go to like, “Were you in Lisbon? Were you there and stuff?” The way we did it is we filmed in five locations, Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, California, and Utah, each one of those is an NFT ticket. Each one of them is NFT The Movie California.
We had as a series per se if you want to call it that. We will also be adding maybe the full interview that you had with Major in the NFT for the NFT Puerto Rico, along with Crystal Rose Pierce, Michael Turpin, 6 or 7 other people who were locals to Puerto Rico that you don’t know and will get to know. Now we can add stuff to the movie until 2022 because we submitted it to Sundance, and you can only put so much in there. That’s the future of NFT The Movie.
That’s fascinating. It would be very cool for you guys to get into Sundance. It’s interesting also such rapid progression of NFT space because hearing about NFT The Movie, you probably yourself, even when you first started down the project, you were like, “They should be in Sundance,” but will the world be ready for it to be in Sundance by Sundance? I’m finding myself fascinated that I feel that yes. It has given all of the major players that have moved into this space over the past few months. I talked to one of that’s got Quincy Jones backing that project. There are major filmmakers that are involved in this stuff, major sports, huge brands. This idea that you could get into Sundance makes total sense.
The reason I’m being somewhat humble in this situation and backing up a little is that I have never done a movie before. Our Co-Director, Danny Drysdale, did Vanilla Ice’s documentary, The Killers and Imagine Dragons videos. Michael Burkland has brought seven movies to Sundance and has been in the industry for many years. I didn’t go out and like, “I’m going to make a movie.” There’s nothing wrong with that but I’ve got professionals. However, the way we made it, maybe they would be like, “I don’t know if this is after snuff or whatever,” but it’s a true documentary. The camera falls over. We let it fall over and roll.
We let things run. Let me take two steps back. The reason we want to lead with humanity is that it’s not what we say. It’s how we say it. Maya Angelo once said, “People will forget what you said and did but they will never forget how they made you feel.” Brittany Kaiser was pregnant with Orion, who is now on this Earth, which is beautiful, while we interviewed her, Matt McGibbons, her partner, looks into the camera and speaks to Orion into the future. You can’t go back and have another pregnant Brittany. As a matter of fact, when I call her, she’s like, “Jeff, you better get here. I’m not going to do any more interviews. This baby is going to come, and I’m off-limits.”
Jin Yu, God rest his soul, passed away from COVID. He was considered one of the godfathers of NFTs. He did Edward Snowden’s NFT and had the largest Clubhouse group. We’ve got him in the interview. He’s so beautiful and gracious. In Clubhouse, you don’t see their faces. In the movie, you will be able to see his face. His legs are up on the couch, and he’s relaxed and talking about what NFTs aren’t. He’s very cool.
We have somebody who stutters, different color people and genders. It’s so important because as people sit there, they are going to wait until their archetype shows up. They are going to go, “Now I’m going to listen. I feel something from that person.” That, to me, is the most important part because we could be sitting here now, talking about so many wonderful things but if somebody doesn’t care and doesn’t think you care about them, they are not going to listen.
There’s a light switch in this industry for everyone. It’s a matter of time before that light switch flips on for the vast majority of the populace.
There are also a lot of baked-in diversity in the NFT and crypto. Showing up at an event like this, I wasn’t even thinking about it but somebody pointed it out. We were at a party of holders of all these fun NFT collections. He’s like, “I’m here because I look at this person and this person. They are all different people. It’s very interesting to see how whatever the spirit is.” It brings together a lot of different people who have a common connection, which is fun.
It’s scratching the surface. We see it all the time. We are living and breathing in NFTs but the vast majority of the world is not connected to NFTs in any meaningful way.
Let me ask you guys a question since I have done a whole bunch of interviews. January or February of 2022, where are you going to be? What’s your future for Edge of NFT?
We are clicking on quite a lot. The future is quite bright for us. We are in the midst of launching our first NFT project called Living Tree NFTs. Ethan has been working on it for quite a long time. We are excited to have our own in-house artist creator. The goal of these trees is to support the ecosystem to fertilize and grow everyone in it. The trees will have all sorts of access and benefits that we are still evolving.
Some cool things about this particular project and the word co-creation emerged organically as part of our ethos from the very start. It’s worked well to define and explain what we are doing in all these cases. We see it manifesting in how we act but as we say it, it’s a great way to communicate what we are all about. The NFT collection that we are seeing with Living Tree NFT, it’s going to support that. When we say co-creation, it’s not us three co-creating. It’s all the people that are reading, paying attention and on social.
That had been on our show, and we are seeding that with the various special collaboration with Nicole Buffett, who’s a very amazing and humble artist. She has a project called Spirit Coins. It’s to tell the story of art being a new form of currency or recognized for the currency that it has always been. We are doing a limited edition starting here of 100 Spirit Seeds where those will provide VIP access to our upcoming conference in Q1, which we will be announcing soon, as well as to our NFT Living Trees.
You have a chance to offset your carbon for a year, which is pretty cool. We all have a carbon footprint, whether it’s lighter or heavier, it’s there. Last but not least, you have a 1 in 10 chance of earning one of Nicole’s amazing Spirit Coins, which have around a 3 or 4 ETH floor. It’s a project that innately gives back, hopefully, more than your average project. It has a lot of long-term utility. As we grow, you never know where these Living Trees will go as more folks get on the show and want to collaborate. These trees are a manifestation of our ecosystem.
We have only considered forming a doubt to drive how we manage the show and everything we do around content. There are a lot of the ins and outs to that but similar to what we are talking about now, a doubt would involve that community in driving how we evolve over time. That’s exactly what we want our NFT holders to do. It’s to talk and work with us around guests, questions, format, how we evolve other topics we cover above and beyond even NFTs.
I feel like we are in the same family because when you look back, you have had the benefit of interviewing a whole bunch of people. I will use us as an example. If you go to NFTTheMovie.com, you won’t see anything. You will see a logo, a mission statement, and a little form that says, “Do you want to be in the movie?” Many people have like, “You could be crushing it now selling NFTs.” In every interview I did, I stepped back further and further.
It’s not because I was afraid but it’s because I’ve got more and more perspective. We have our own production people in-house. We are here in New York looking for more people to take care of this production. We do NFT movie posters and trailers. All of those are NFTs and even NFT advertising spots within the movie. We have to have somebody produce those.
Instead of being a media or a film company, we are an NFT company. What I love about what you guys are doing is it’s not like, “I’m going to interview people until I’m tired of interviewing, and I never want to speak to another soul.” You are doing something internally with everything that you have been learning.
We are definitely co-creating, and a lot of folks have come to us for help on some pretty incredible projects. We are always down to give people feedback and ideas, recognizing that it’s okay in this industry to say, “I don’t know,” because we are all learning as we go. We are in the process of forming our own creator studio as well, which will give a segment of projects that we are pumped about an opportunity to have a home where we can nurture and support them from the jump. That’s part of the mix as well.
We are doing the same thing. You probably read these books Multiple Streams of Income or The One Minute Millionaire with Robert Allen, and he’s co-authored with Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for The Soul. We are now bringing on like authors, not just musicians, technologists, and filmmakers. We are bringing on these people who have had a career of 30 years of multiple New York Times bestsellers. They were like, “Now what do I do?”
I’m like, “Guess what you and your words get to live on. Your kids are going to be renumerated for the things you do. Now, the only way they are getting a check from the publisher is if they buy a book.” There’s a whole new world for these people who have had this amazing content. Imagine if Napoleon Hill was alive. We had Think and Grow Rich as an NFT and the impact. It was the first book I ever read when I was thirteen.
It’s the first book I fully finished because I had such ADD. I couldn’t finish books but that book spoke to me and said, “You don’t have to fit inside that box. You run your own little business. You can do your own little thing.” Those are the people that I want to have come out and use the utility that you guys have within your organization, but then tell their message like the Gary Vee’s and the Tony Robbins or whatever the case is that gets people up and change of societies, regardless if it’s an NFT or not. It happens to be the distribution of the message.
In particular, Jeff and I were business partners before this and cofounded a company called Territory Foods. At the core of Territory Foods was co-creation. We were, I believe, one of the first prepared meal companies to put the chef on the label with our brand and co-brand the meals that these chefs created. We didn’t have to do that. The normal approach there is to centralize production.
Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century (Think and Grow Rich Series)
You don’t know who’s cooking your food but we felt like there was greater connectivity between the consumer enjoying the meal and our brand if they knew who made the food. This idea of co-creation has been in our DNA for over a decade. What NFTs provide is the fluidity to make that easier. We are trying to do that. That’s why we partnered with Nicole Buffett. We are having this conversation. I’m sure we will keep this dialogue going and figure out other ways to co-create after.
We need to co-create together. What happens is sometimes because we are sitting on the other side of the table, I need to be sitting right next to you guys, metaphorically speaking. Let’s co-create something together. Can you imagine that? We are talking about two atom bombs coming together and completely making a fun mess. You are so awesome. Let me say this before we go, and I don’t know if you are about to wrap this up.
It was like a last-minute thing. You guys, “Why don’t you come up and do the interview?” This culture is so giving. When you go on the street, no offense, it’s a great ploy. You have people hand you beaded jewelry, and if you hold it, you bought it. There are some transactions. It’s rare that I see somebody who’s transacting in our community. It happened a few years ago. I saw it but now, people give. It gives me that energy to give to somebody else. I want to thank you for spending time with me. I’m going to pay it forward and spend some time with some people. Grab them and go, “Let’s talk.” Thank you for inspiring me.
Thank you. It was great to have you.
It’s our pleasure.
I cannot wait to see the movie.
You have to come to the premier. It’s going to be insane. There are parts of it where you will cry, and laugh. What the overall feeling will be is, “Are these humans? Do they live on our planet? Do they live subterranean?” There are so many diverse things going on. If you come from the outside world, it’s hard to associate that gap. Luckily with Edge of NFT, you are filling some of that gap.
We will try our best and you as well. Thank you again.
Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.
I’m here with Sohrob Farudi from FCF, Fan Control Football, one of our favorite projects in the space now. I’m super excited to have you here.
Thanks, Jeff. It’s fun. We are excited.
What’s happening in your world? You are out here in New York. There are so many different things popping in this space now. Tell us about what you are up to.
We are closing in our Series A. We’ve got an incredible lead investor out of the Web3 space who’s embraced what we are building. It’s sitting in the middle of an IRL and URL and bringing the worlds of physical and digital together. I can’t say exactly what it is yet. I’m out here meeting a bunch of investors and having conversations around how do you take and create utility in NFTs? That’s what I’m passionate about.
I love my Bored Ape. I’m a big collector. I love NFTs in general. To me, the next evolution of NFTs is going to be on the utility side. I want to be at the forefront of it with sports and figure out how we can change the narrative around what an NFT is capable of from an access and gaming standpoint, all sorts of things in a real-world sports league.
For our readers that don’t know, could you tell a little bit about what Fan Controlled Football is? How are NFTs going to take that to the next level?
Fan Controlled Football is a real-world football league. What we decided to do was build football from the ground up for the digital fan. We took a step back and said, “If you look at sports now, all the major sports were created many years ago. Before any of this technology and televisions existed, people were going to stadiums to consume sports. It is the format that was created to satisfy that audience. Nobody has created a sport in the physical world to satisfy the digital audience.
Video games, obviously the popularity there, has grown like crazy. You’ve got this young generation that’s looking for lean-forward interactive experiences. We created a real-world sport that is tailored to the digital fan, and that’s what Fan Controlled Football is. It’s real players on the field. We have two guys from our first season playing in the NFL. The football playing is legit but everything about the league and the teams are controlled by the fans.
Everything from naming the team, designing the logo, and choosing the uniforms. When you get into game day, drafting the players that play on the team and call all of the plays in real-time like you are playing a video game. This is all the power and the wisdom of the crowd. It’s building digital communities around these teams. It’s empowering fans to be able to drive a team to a championship, and when you say, “We want a championship,” you get to mean it because you had an impact on what happened.
We have been big fans. Full disclosure, we are investors in the company. We have been huge fans for many years now. The integration of NFTs is going to take this whole thing to another level. Can you tell us a little more about how that is going to impact a fan’s participation?
When I talk about what we are building, I call it a real-life video game. I have been working on this for a few years now. All the way back in 2018, we looked at how we integrate a token into the ecosystem. When you play a mobile or video game, you are always collecting gold, gems, tokens or something. You’ve got this digital layer. We looked at that back in 2018. We were early in integrating a token into a football league. The world has come to a point where now play to earn here. It’s the future of gaming, entertainment and everything. On the NFT side, I looked at NFTs and what struck me wasn’t necessarily flipping and making money. It was community.
It doesn’t matter. For some of these projects, you have a passionate 300 or 30,000 people. There are all on the spectrum. What struck me was the passion of people from all over the world that was coming together and had this shared interest in a project. We had four teams in our first season. We have celebrity owners Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, and Quavo, which helped bring fans into the sport. What we saw was these digital communities forming around our physical teams. Fans meet up in Discord or on Twitter and talk about calling plays and drafting players. What I wanted to do was bring those two worlds together, the NFT, blockchain world, and our fan communities.
We announced two new teams. They are going to be powered by NFTs. By powered, you will need to own one of the Ballerz Collective. You only need to own one of the Ballerz NFTs to participate with 1 of these 2 expansion teams. It’s gated access. Our first four teams, anybody from the world, it’s free to play. Anybody can join. This is going to be an exclusive club. It’s going to be limited to 10,000 per team.
If you don’t have one of those, you can’t make a decision for that team. The idea here is to empower 10,000 people in this community to build, create and see where they can take a team and build a bunch of utility. We have a stadium in Atlanta. A lot of the NFTs, the Ballerz, are going to have VIP access, season tickets, access to the sidelines at practice, voting power, and all sorts of things built into the NFT itself. It creates some utility value in holding one of these Ballerz.
The concept of FCF to begin with, being able to allow fans to call plays, select teams, and be involved, is amazing and groundbreaking in and of itself. The layering of NFTs in there to help elevate that to a whole other level is game-changing. The idea that community drives everything is central to the most successful projects in the space. It’s amazing to see that you are doing that.
If you are reading now, go check it out. It’s FCF, an amazing project and ties to NFT, bridging the digital and physical world in so many different ways. Now backed by a pretty amazing investor that’s going to help make this thing even better. I wanted to let people know where they should go to continue to keep tabs on what FCF is up to, what you are doing, and all this goodness that’s being created here.
Our website is FCF.io. That’s the easiest place to go. Follow us on Twitter. It’s @FCFLio, Fan Controlled Football League. We are updating daily. We’ve got the news. We announced a deal with NBC. All of our games are streamed live on Twitch. They are now going to be on NBC and Peacock as well. We announced that these two new NFT teams, Steve Aoki and 888 Inner Circle, have joined forces and are going to be Team Owners of one of the teams.
There’s a great project and good friend of mine, Drew Austin, and the Knights of Degen, Jack Settleman, that also have a team in the league as well. We are embracing other communities in the NFT space to come to join us in this league. Part of what we wanted to do here was to open this up to the crypto and NFT world and say, “Come help build this with us.” We are all learning as we go. Everybody in this space, and we are continuing to learn and innovate. That’s what I’m passionate about is continuing to push the envelope in sports, entertainment, and blockchain, and see where we can go with it.
You are doing it and in spades. Thanks so much for sharing a little time with us and all the good news. I appreciate it.
I appreciate you having me.
We are back at NFT NYC. It’s a very special event that The Secret Network is hosting. We managed to pull Shelly Palmer aside for a quick chat. I’m here with Jeff Kelly. It’s great to see you, Shelly. How are you?
It’s amazing to be here. What a fun event. It’s a very new feeling, which is rare. I’m happy to be out of the house after months of being in exile. It’s an extraordinary event, and so much energy and money lying around.
I have talked about NFTs for years. The one thing I talk about all the time when I talk about entertainment NFTs is Quentin Tarantino. I said, “Drop something from his catalog in any way, shape, or form, and it’s going to be amazing.” I’m so happy that it’s finally coming to fruition.
This should be exciting. I can’t decide which of the Tarantino NFTs I will jump on the minute it happens but this is the thing where if you can get a piece of Quentin that has value, both emotional and probably money value. It’s a good excuse for an NFT.
Some of my favorite movies of all time totally make sense. IP is where a lot of the value is. I was explaining to a friend over dinner who was having trouble understanding NFTs, “What if you think of it as like a little package of IP that’s digital.” They’ve got that. It registered to them.
At the end of the day, there are more junk NFTs than there are valuable NFTs. It’s a new asset class and has to find its own level. There’s 95% BS and probably 5% BS all over. In NFT NYC, people are talking but the real money and value are slowly showing themselves. Over time, this will mature into a new way to do all kinds of things. Mostly collect a lot of data and share in the value. The smart contract part of NFTs matters because you can share in the value you create. That’s meaningful because we haven’t been able to do that.
You have always had lawyers, regulations, banks, everything standing in the way. Here if you can create, you can share in the value. If you have created something of value, there’s a new way to extract additional value from it and stay in that for as long as it exists. For me, I love the newness of it and the democracy of it. I feel like I have been part of the creator class and a musician my whole life. All my friends are musicians. You want to talk about getting screwed by the man full-time. Ask anybody who has been successful in the music business, “Who isn’t Michael Jackson? How do they feel about the value of their collective body of work?”
Shelly and I had an impassioned conversation with quite a few gentlemen about NFTs and, whether or not it’s a bubble. I think that we were on the same side. I can see where your passion comes from. You are an author, a futurist, a technologist, a musician and an investor. This brings it all together. One interesting component that we started to allude to is DAOs and how that all fits into the mix. I’m curious because music is such a community-driven event. What is your perspective on DAOs? How do they fit in with NFTs?
I’m in love with the concept of DAOs. I have been reading the foundational documents of every DAO I can get my hands on. There’s no set way to do a DAO. It’s either a community of passion, practice or interest. They govern themselves. We are working on one now that stealth but it will be out soon enough. It’s a bunch of people getting together. They are going to raise 150 million fiat dollars and invest it into NFT projects that they believe have value, whether they are right or wrong, it’s an investment thesis.
It’s democratic governance. It’s like an LLC or a corporate form but it isn’t, and it is. Ultimately, there’s a utility token and a blockchain involved. This is phenomenally new. I can’t find any two DAOs that are alike. I don’t know how it’s going to end up being. What’s going to be the right way to do it? I know everybody I know is going to figure out the wrong way to do it first. We will finally figure out the right way.
One of the things we have been talking about also is DAO’s applicability is like a regular government. When you see some of these operations running and working, I know it’s still early, and maybe jurisdictions aren’t ready to have their city run by a DAO but there’s something fun in there. I don’t know.
You know what’s interesting, Jeff, the most successful things on the Earth are the best organized human groups. You may hate the US government, not like the organization and the bureaucracy. It’s the US government because it’s the US government. It’s organized like a government. You see the best corporations in the world. Amazon is organized. It’s an organization of people.
Here, you, me, Josh, we all get together, say, “We are going to start a DAO. We have this thesis, credo or manifesto. This is what we are going to do. Let’s get everybody together who thinks the way we think.” How cool is that? It’s like, “We will create value together and go out. If you don’t want to hang out with us, don’t. If you want to hang out with us, do. If you want to invest, great. If you don’t want to invest, don’t. I love the whole concept of that.
There are a lot of who I have met that are sitting on the sidelines, a little overwhelmed, and not ready to go down the rabbit hole. Is this DAO that you are conjuring up a place where they can park some funds and watch and observe where they don’t have to vote if they are not sure what the thesis should be?
It’s interesting. The DAO that I am working on personally, not the one I was talking about is that you study democracy in ancient Greece. It wasn’t one person, one vote. They elected electors because you needed to have and prove a certain amount of knowledge, and capability to vote for the people in your community or immediate area. I have been studying this deeply. I’m trying to understand what the best organizational structure for a DAO would be.
The one I’m working on now is exactly what you have described. We are going to do one that invests in music projects because that’s my passion but you are going to have to be elected to be someone with a vote. The people are going to have to say, “You are not a Senator or a Congressman. You are someone in your group who is supporting you inside this structure. I’m basing it on the 3,500-year-old government structure in ancient Greece. With a little bit of ancient Rome thrown in there, too, figuring that it was a more pure form of democracy. It’s going to rock or fail. Those are the two possibilities.
Let us know because Jeff’s family and my family would want to form a DAO and elect us too to make some decisions. There’s something interesting there.
Yes. How does the one person, one vote mentality while it sounds great on paper? In practice, when you start to bring people together, you start to recognize the value that people bring to the table and offer to the community as a central part of the weight of their vote. That’s what’s naturally evolved with all of the doubts that we have encountered now. It seems to be working.
I’m very interested in how this is going to turn out. We talk about decentralization versus centralization as being critically important to all of this. I don’t know if the average person cares if something is centralized or decentralized, some people do. My other issue is that if I’ve got a proof of work or stake environment and got 60% or 70% of my tokenomics in the hands of a small number of minors or validator nodes, and they get together, that’s not decentralized.
Yes, it’s decentralized but if a small group of people has 60% or even 35% of the power, it’s no longer decentralized in my mind. I’m questioning whether anybody is going to care how certain decentralized things are personal. When you start trading off speed and security for centralization versus decentralization scale, all of these things are zero-sum. It’s the trilemma they talk about.
I write about it a lot on my blog. I’m fascinated by what this is turning into but I’m stoked to be here. Seeing everybody that is so into this makes me excited. It’s not crazy people who are technologically able to do this. It’s people who want to create, organize and invest. It’s like the entire ecosystem is here and I’m thrilled about it.
Blockchain – Cryptocurrency, NFTs & Smart Contracts: An Executive Guide to the World of Decentralized Finance
It’s all happening in real-time under our feet. Maybe the quickest technological transformation we have ever seen. We are talking about time changes in terms of months, not years or decades like we have seen in the past. It’s amazing times.
We are all familiar with agile development and its popularity. I did government consulting back in the day. A two-week sprint for a small segment of a project was hard to pull off. We have projects that are being created and launched in two weeks. It’s unbelievable.
How many went 0 to $100 million in revenue, not value. We had that from Web 2.0 but revenue in a matter of months is amazing.
How many went from $100 million to $0 in a matter of days? This is nowhere near the get rich and quick scheme people to think it is. In fact, I would beg people who are in this to get rich quick to go away and make room for the people who are trying to create real value that is long-lasting, where secondary markets matter, the tokenomics make sense, and you are schooled in the art as opposed to putting it mildly. The TSA agent was telling my son that he had $20,000 in crypto.
That’s the Rockefeller shoe shine moment where that shoeshine person told Rockefeller he had owned stock in the corporation. We may have crossed the Rubicon into a certainty now. If you are here to get rich quick, go away. You are here to create value and share in the momentum of giving a certain class of individuals the ability to create value in sharing it long-term. Get great at it because we need you to get great at it.
The market has a tendency to take care of those that don’t have genuine long-term interests. It’s very cool.
One more question for you, Shelly, you have placed some strategic capital in this space. Would you mind sharing some of the projects in your portfolio that you are excited about and ones that you are looking at or a fan of?
I like Odious, THETA, Tariff Foundation, Solana. I’m a big fan of what they are doing to Polygon. I’m trying to figure out Cardano. I’m heavily long on Cardano but I don’t know one person that’s doing a project on Cardano yet, not one, including myself. That’s the high level of my world. There are a bunch of small projects that I don’t want to talk about because I don’t want people thinking I’m giving financial advice. “If I’m in it, then you should be in it.” When I go to look in this space, the first thing I do is I look at the foundation, the founding documents, and who’s involved? What is their thesis across the board? I studied tokenomics because the proof of the pudding is in writing.
If you’ve got a handful of people who have already won and the winners are predetermined, I don’t care for that very much. I also look at the potential utility. If it’s a meme coin, I don’t touch it. I look at the potential utility long-term and think to myself, “Is this a parlor trick or a paradigm shift?” I had my own criteria for that. The shorthand is, is this a utility or a nightclub? Am I going to go here for a couple of weeks, use it up and be okay, “Now I need a new nightclub or is this a utility?” You can figure out which is which pretty easily with your own criteria. That’s how I approach it.
It’s one thing to have a roadmap and to publish it. Roadmaps could be like chalk if it doesn’t have the right team in the model to continuously garner and keep a community excited.
It’s hard to predict. There are a lot of coders out there who are open book coders. They are not quite coders yet. If you know the word solidity, you can get a job now. That’s like knowing the word SQL in 1998, 1999. If you knew SQL, what it was. Not how to do it and be a database engineer. If you knew the term SQL, you were going to get hired at $75 an hour. If you know the word solidity, you are probably in good shape now but that does not make a foundation, a DAO. Association makes nothing.
We have a lot more criteria than that but if you are doing this superficially or on a surface level, this is not financial advice. I don’t give financial advice on it. I’m not a licensed financial advisor but ask yourself, “Is this a utility or a nightclub?” Decide, “Are you here for the short-term and the long-term?” Over the short-term, this is common sense advice, be a little careful because you are going to get screwed hard. If you are in it long-term, be a little careful because you could get screwed up.
It’s an important words of advice for sure. We appreciate it. Shelly, it’s great insights all around. Love your enthusiasm for everything. Where should folks go to follow you and keep track of all your thoughts?
You can sign up for our daily newsletter at ShellyPalmer.com. You join over 600,000 of our closest friends in that community. Join us there, get on the email list. I’m lucky enough to have one of those weird names, Shelly Palmer. Throw it into Google, and you will come up with how to get me. I’m very easy to find. By the way, not for nothing.
I have a book out there that’s a number one Amazon bestseller called Blockchain – Cryptocurrency, NFTs & Smart Contracts: An executive guide to the world of decentralized finance. For reasons, I can’t explain. The paperback is out. We are selling the eBook 6 to 1. I do not understand that but help yourself. We are donating the proceeds to girls who code and some other charities. That’s a place to start. If you want to start, come and find us. We would love to talk to you.
Thanks so much for sharing with us.
Here we are yet again with some amazing folks at NFT NYC. We have spoken to them before. There are a couple of cool guys from OneOf, which is breaking incredible ground in the music industry and doing it in an eco-friendly way, which is a huge demand of fans all over the world. For the reader who’s tuning in, give a little bit of intro for both of you. We will get started with some questions. Lin, why don’t we start with you and give a little intro on you and your role with OneOf.
I’m glad to be here. I’m Lin Dai, the CEO and one of the Cofounders of OneOf.com. We are the “Green” NFT platform for music.
It’s great to be here. I’m Joshua James, the COO, and Cofounder of OneOf.
We keep tabs on you on the regular. Since having you on the show, fans of what you guys were doing did not get a chance to win that iHeartRadio Music Festival tour but there’s always next time. We were so busy but every day, we reminded each other to claim our token.
It’s a great show. It was a celebration. In-person, it was the first concert I had gone to since the pandemic. It’s the party people in such a good mood. It was amazing.
Did you have a generative drop that sold out in 37 seconds?
It was with Chief Keef and our first generative drop. We spent a lot of time on it. It’s funny to work on something for months and months, and then it sells out in 37 seconds.
What was the art like for that? What was the collaboration like? Tell us a little bit more about that drop.
Chief Keef has this long-term artistic collaboration with the artist, Colourful mula. They have an exclusive merch line that’s around the brand Glo Gang. We took that and ran with it. The whole idea is like the Glo Gang are made of these 4,444 glows. There are these light beings that live with us in harmony with humans. There’s a whole storyline story arc that connects the digital and physical work because there’s already a super-exclusive merch-line with that. We did the presale, which was only the first 444 that got released. That sold out in 37 seconds. Josh couldn’t get one himself.
The main sale is coming up. There are 4,000 workloads to be released. There’s a lot of careful planning on that. What I stress with our entire team, our ethos is when the drop sells out, and it’s when the work begins. This is a community for the artists. These are 4,444 fans of Chief Keef that are going to enjoy this whole community we built, storyline, and all of that stuff.
What’s coming up on the roadmap in terms of the community and some of the things that will be available to the folks that have participated?
We drop an exclusive Halloween modifier NFT. You have this potion that if you are one of the first 444, you get to change the outfit like your clothes. There is exclusive of physical merch store. Only the members can participate. We also have four legendary Glos. That is all legendary trades. You can’t get them randomly from Minting. We are also going to give it away to the community for participating.
There’s also a comic book that is going to be community-voted on storylines. Colourful mula is going to create that into a comic book and drop that as NFT. Owning a Glo is the beginning of a whole journey to participate with the music and the art artists. It’s like the perfect world where we see music, art, and fan engagement come together.
I want to ask a practical question for folks that are launching NFT projects or thinking about it. Post-launch, as you said, where the work begins, do you have a team member or someone that has a portfolio of projects, and this is one of those projects where their attention is entirely focused on helping advance the project and enable a set of value.
That’s where we are very different than other platforms. On other platforms where you have eight different art drops a day, that’s impossible to do that. We focus on 1, maybe 2 drops a week. We have entire teams and are growing to manage the community and dedicate ourselves to communities. It’s not only us. It’s working with the artists seeing themselves, the musicians, and their management, and all of these musicians have this whole community already there. It’s about tapping in and working with them to draw them in and get them excited about it.
It’s great for a lot of folks to hear that it does begin after the drop. A lot of work goes into it to make that thing successful but to create value for that community, you’ve got to stay on top of it. You’ve got to continue to add value over time and create new things. That’s amazing to hear. It’s great.
It’s fun stuff. I like the aspect of finding ways to reward people who engage in the community. We engage, love guests and sponsors, and partners that engage. We also want to reward the community. We see that as a huge theme in all of this and a way for people to participate that might not always have lots of other ways to participate.
We like to work with artists that also lean in before. You need to get this sense of community before and community after. The drops that are like, “I’m dropping an NFT, go buy it, good luck.” Honestly, it’s bad business. It doesn’t do as well. The ones where the artists lean in and become part of the NFT world in advance, and then stay afterward are the ones that have done the best.
I heard something interesting about you working with the Grammys in some capacity. Is that the case?
There may have been a little bit of news about that. Honestly, it’s a pretty groundbreaking thing that we were excited about. We have spent about six months working on this one. We announced a three-year exclusive deal with the Grammy’s. We are going to be doing the 64th, 65th and 66th Grammys. We will be making lots of interesting, fun NFTs around all things Grammys, right up into, including the broadcast, after, experiential and everything. It’s going to be an interesting one. It’s probably the most exciting thing we have announced as a company.
That’s a huge space to own for a few years and do something cool with. We talked to NFT The Movie. It’s interesting. They have submitted to Sundance. At the beginning of 2021, when I first heard about NFT The Movie, I thought, “I’m sure it’s going to be great but I don’t know if Sundance is going to be ready for that.” Here you go, we are approaching Sundance, and they might be part of Sundance. It’s interesting to see how incredibly fast NFTs had been emerging into the existing landscape of what’s going on.
What’s important the Grammy collaboration is more than bigger than the Grammys and OneOf. We work very hard to legitimize entities for the entire ecosystem. Grammy is coming in, leaning for, and this is not a one-year deal. This is a three-year collaboration. That’s the music industry saying, “We are all in. This is going to be part of the music like a business model and an ecosystem.” This is not like a 2021 fad. We are going to look back on this moment as like, “This is not only the year like everything blew up but also is now legitimate, this is going mainstream.” That’s part of our job.
There are a lot of people that I’m curious about in the music industry, and how they reacted to this news? For some people, it was a hoorah moment. For others, they were like, “I missed something.”
I have more unread emails than I have had in a long time. The incoming has been pretty insane. To Lin’s point, it was impressive. The music industry is not known for moving quickly. In fact, they are known for the reverse, for moving slowly and historically bending a little bit behind on technology. The management at the Recording Academy has been fabulous and forward-thinking. I couldn’t give them more kudos. We were even a little surprised that they were willing to move this fast. It has been a great partnership. We are excited about this.
Grammy’s not known for necessarily leading the way with tech innovation or anything but this is a huge step in the right direction. The Alesso-Dreamverse one-on-one drop, can you tell us about this?
Every time we do a creative collaboration with music artists, what’s important to us, 1) Is the community, and 2) Is how the digital world, the metaverse in the physical world intersect. That’s where we think like the utility gets interesting. There are a lot of value to those tokens in the long run. Alesso is a world-renowned DJ and Producer. He came to us and like, “I have this idea. We have the creative already. It’s called Cosmic Genesis.”
It’s this exclusive song that’s being released with different chapters. Each chapter has its own out of this world like art and animation to go with it. We are super excited to do this but I was like, “How does this connect to the physical world?” Number one, Dreamverse, which is a huge event in New York City at Terminal 5.
We are going to unveil all four chapters. You can go on OneOf.com and check out the first four chapters. We are going to release the one of One at the Dreamverse event. The one of One is what experience would come with. The platinum level token, gold level token comes with backstage passes, exclusive VIP table at Alesso’s Vegas residence. The one of One comes with a seat on a space flight.
Was that Alesso’s idea?
We are talking about this physical meets digital thing. It’s a collaboration. Let’s be clear. It’s not like we are sending your NFT into space. We are sending you the holder of NFT into space.
If you want to bring NFT for the ride too, by all means, do it.
The second part of that is our ethos, and Alesso in management ethos is like, “We want to democratize NFT and everybody to be able to afford NFT.” Certainly, if you own the OneOf One in the auction, you are going to be guaranteed to go into space. We also made it that it’s like there’s a second seat that if you bid in the auction, you don’t have to win. It’s the opening bid. You now have a chance to enter and take to win a second seat, as well as if you own any of the go-to-your-collection or platinum collection of Alesso’s Cosmic Genesis. There are four chapters. The gold NFT is $88. You have a chance to win this space flight.
Part of this democratization process, as you are talking about bringing it home, is by bidding, you have a chance to go into space. We have been talking about these space flights as another example of classism. If you are a billionaire, you get to go into space. What about everyone else? What was the inspiration for that concept?
NFT NYC: The music industry is not known for moving quickly. In fact, they’re known for moving really, really slowly and historically bending a little bit behind on technology.
Our space partner is World View, and their whole goal is to democratize space tourism and space travel. We saw eye to eye on that. The idea is certainly the token holder, OneOf One token auction winner is going to go to space. We were like, “What can we do for everybody else?” The guy that basically bought the $88 NFT, I was like, “I’m not even going to try to do it because I’m going to be outbid.
How do we bring that experience to the community? We think a lot about that. We have an entire creative team. Every collection we do is about how to give value to even the $5 token buyers or to the iHeart collection. It’s one million NFT for free. How do we add value to the guys that hold the free NFT? We do a lot of that.
We are trying to embrace non-crypto native people and bring them into the community with low prices, credit card transactions, easy onboarding, fun collectibles about things they care about. To Lin’s point, we had $5 NFTs for Doja Cat. We had $188,000 NFTs with Doja Cat. It runs the spectrum and on purpose.
We were reminded that we were talking to Michael Bramlage from Quidd, which has been making stuff pre-NFTs digitally. He’s a big baseball card collector. You start baseball cards in general. How do you have thousands of them? You have maybe certain rookie cards that are super valuable on one. You have a bunch of other ones that are fun. You are probably not going to trade them for a bunch of money but you were getting them. They were exciting.
It was part of the game. There’s a place for NFTs across that full-spectrum, price, value, and function-wise. It’s not that everything has to be a ticket to space, which is freaking amazing. There’s a spectrum there. A lot of people when they talk about it, don’t acknowledge that fact. It’s okay. There are a bunch of stuff out there that’s reasonably priced, and maybe there are a ton of value or not.
We talk about this a lot. I was a big sports car collector as a kid. Some of the ones I collected are now worth a lot of money but when I was twelve, that was not what I was thinking about. I was thinking about, “I love Michael Jordan. I want as many of Michael Jordan cards as possible.” Luckily, I stuck them all in a box somewhere and forgot about them for twenty years. I found some money in a box one day, many years later.
It was never about that. It was about, “I was a fan.” We think the same thing. We like to talk about music rookie cards. You have some artists you love that haven’t even signed a record. Maybe you are one of the first couple thousand fans but if they sold $5 NFTs like 100 of them, and then a few years later, they were Billie Eilish. Now, you have the rookie card. It’s fun and exciting.
Somebody brought up this point, and it was Gary Vee when he was talking. These super fans won’t have anything to complain about now. The ones that were early, I knew them about it, for anyone else, and nobody appreciates it. If you’ve got in and maybe you purchase some NFTs and prove that you were in on it, there you go.
NFT basically certainly had a lot of power to change the trajectory and the lives of creators but it’s as important to change the lifestyle of the fans. When I was running digital in 1997, my intern knew more about the next big hip hop app than any of us. He couldn’t afford to participate if every NFT costs thousands of dollars. This is his moment to potentially go get a $5 NFT and see the success.
I think back to high school or early college where there’s one guy in our group, Derek, that loved Ben Folds Five, got crusty when everyone else learned about them. It lost a little bit of magic when it became mainstream. I’ve got to think if he had been rewarded for being an early fan and benefited from that, he would have been happy to evangelize them a little bit more instead of keeping this in musical secrets.
By the way, as an aside, it’s funny that you say that because I’m from Seattle, and when I was a kid, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden all broke. There was a backlash in Seattle because the ultra-hipster crowd was like, “Frat boys in Wisconsin are listening to Nirvana, so I’m out.” It’s the same story.
I love this theme that came in here, the conversation of the fans being such an integral part of things. I know as a musician, and sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine that other people can’t even play music. There’s so much that I know about playing music. I imagine everybody else has it. I will meet somebody once in a while and say, “Do you play guitar, drums or keyboard?” I can’t do any of that. I can’t. I don’t have those skills but I’m a huge fan. I always think and say, “You are as important as I am to this conversation.” Without people who appreciate the music, the music has very little purpose.
Our third Cofounder Adam, if he was here, he will basically say, “Every other form of monetization and music is a one-way street.” The artist is like, “Buy my ticket, CD, and listen to my music streaming.” NFTs, for the first time, are anticipating my career. You are coming along for the ride. If you believe in me and you support me, you will be rewarded along with me.
It’s great to have you on. I appreciate you carving out a little time for us at this amazing event. Where can folks go to keep tabs on all of this amazing stuff you have going on?
You can sign up on OneOf.com, and the whole experience takes you to a free sign-up. It takes two and a half minutes to buy your first NFT with a credit card. You don’t have to be an expert. Follow us on all social media. Our handle is @OneOfNFT.
This conference feels like a space shuttle. On top of it, you have launched. You both seem chill, not too jittery from too much caffeine. I’m very impressed. We will have to get some plays from your playbook and keep pace with such a crazy chaotic space adventure that is this industry of ours. Thanks for joining us, guys. I look forward to talking again soon.
It’s great. Thanks for having us.
We are excited to be chatting with Robbie Heeger from Endaoment. Robbie, what’s going on?
It’s good to be back in New York City. I live in San Francisco. The energy here is always insatiable. The bonus is that I get to be here for a crypto event. I am enjoying myself and meeting all these new faces and projects in the space.
Let’s talk about something fun. If you don’t mind sharing, you gave a talk. Was that you that says, “You give a talk, and right afterward, somebody else stepped on stage? We might have recognized.” What was that?
We were doing a panel on the future of NFTs, creators, and giving economies and it went great. It ran over a little bit. We had this phenomenal conversation and were all hyped up coming off the stage. We come off the stage, and I bump into Quintin Tarantino. I look at him and like, “What are you doing here?” It turns out that he’s doing an NFT project, which is great. We are seeing this moment with NFTs, where the broader cultural zeitgeist can chew on what an NFT is. That’s fun for us at Endaoment because now we get to play with how we fold that into giving.
What is Endaoment? Let’s start there.
Endaoment is a nonprofit. We are a community foundation. I’m not sure if you are familiar with community foundations but community foundations are nonprofits that serve a community. There’s one for the Cleveland inner city, the St. Petersburg, Florida Jewish community, and the Los Angeles Christian community. They tend to coalesce around religious or academic communities.
Is NFT a religion? That’s the real question.
We can certainly make the argument but we are a community foundation for the crypto community. That’s what we are trying to do is we are the philanthropic institution for the crypto community. We build software and services that provide frictionlessly unchain and decentralized giving. In 2020, a huge percentage of our fundraising dollars had come from NFT sales. Namely, the X*Y=K, the Uniswap trailer video that Pplpleasr created, as well as the Art Blocks Chromie Squiggles, has a royalty split with a donor-advised fund on Endaoment.
We even participated in the Infinite Garden movie fundraiser. The 2% of the fundraiser for the Infinite Garden movie about the Ethereum virtual machine went to CarbonFund.org through Endaoment. Those were sold as NFT movie posters, and then a chunk of that NFT went and came to Endaoment. We liquidate it for dollars and move it to nonprofit organizations.
We have quite a lot to talk about. We like gardening, too. We have been cooking up this killer Living Tree NFT project. We have had the opportunity to interview over 60 leaders in the space. We want to co-create a future where these interviews and our past guests are built into an NFT project that gives back to the community.
What do you want to give to? How are you figuring that out?
We’ve got two arms of it now, arms, branches, roots, however, you want to call it, seeds. There are a lot of themes around growth, building relationships, and things like this. We have a 100-member Spirit Seed collection, which is more of a private planted underground thing going on. Everyone who Mints one of those will offset the average carbon consumption of an American for one year. That’s exciting. On top of that, it’s got all kinds of utility benefits. We are partnering with Nicole Buffett, who’s a top 50 NFT Influencer. People will have a 10% chance of receiving one of her spirit coin NFTs, which are quite valuable as well.
We are baking in all these ways. We have already been giving to the community in all these cool ways through like giveaways and raffles. We gave away a Picasso lithograph, for example. That’s cool. We are partnering with EcoFi, one of our guests. We plan to give utility on and on for the holders of these and also give them a voice in what we are doing.
The Living Tree Project, which is the next level of things, which is coming very soon, is one where we will plant 25 trees for every NFT that’s Minted in that collection, and then 2.5% of the proceeds of every trade will go back to planting more trees. We are doing a lot of environmental stuff at the moment, and building relationships and growing.
You probably know the team at Carbonbase too, John and Max.
I have heard of Carbonbase. I have never met them before.
We will connect you with those guys. They would love what you are doing. They are doing some incredible stuff. They have worked with World Wildlife Foundation. They have been helping us with our project. I think the social impact potential of NFTs in the blockchain is incredible. It’s got to be executed right. There’s this question I have for you. Gary Vee talked about the fact that, “Let’s face it. This is not an industry of 100% benevolence. There’s 90% of the people here to make money.” You are doing something with a true social impact. What’s your take on why people get involved in crypto? How should social impact fit into the mix? How does it fit into the mix?
The mistake would be to classify crypto as one thing versus another. Many things are true about crypto at the same time. It is both an absolute gold rush and also transformational technology for how humans collaborate on planet Earth. Those two things can be true at the same time and have been true at the same time in the past as well. That means that there’s room for everybody to come in and contribute.
There’s this whole spectrum of opportunity that says, “Bring us your passion, interests and apply this technology to it.” If you do that, you are going to discover something new. You have a new relationship with the people with who you are interacting, whether that’s through art, music or financial primitives like lending and derivatives. Part of why you are seeing firms like Andreessen perform well in the crypto space is that they have this like software eats the world thing.
Everybody is vulnerable to having some disruption being brought upon them by crypto technology. That’s true for this space as well. For me, I had spent a lot of time in a very profit-focused environment and was looking for a project that would allow me to change focus for a little bit. Especially as the crypto market continues to grow into the multi-trillions of dollars. We have a rare opportunity and obligation to ask ourselves, “What infrastructure are we going to have for giving back from the very beginning?”
A lot of times, giving back can be an afterthought or something you do at the end of the year or when you have X dollars above what you need to be comfortable. We think what’s exciting about both the NFT and the crypto space, in general, is that we can start to engage with these topics early and often, and do so in a way that leverages crypto infrastructure to show people the value of this behavior in a way that makes sense to them as somebody interested in crypto.
In all of the previous iterations of web development, we have seen that the companies that come at this from a principles-first approach, speaking to the demographic using the new technology, whether that be social media, web pages, Web 2.0 and 1.0 before it. The companies that come in build from crypto first principles in a decentralized fashion, who look to embody the values of the broad, full-featured community foundation.
For large for-profit crypto, the NFT project that’s launching, and they are getting going. How would they collaborate with you to help realize some of those goals?
The easiest way, especially in the NFT space, is to set your splits to Endao.eth We will get in touch with you. If you set your splits to Endao.eth. We are going to come to find you and be like, “Where do you want to give this to?” It’s like an effortless platform-agnostic way to take some amount of your royalties or your Mint costs and turn them into impact. For the larger projects, we are in communication with the Art Blocks team with the foundation.
We have a profile on OpenSea and adopting all of the different NFT platforms that we possibly can. We did some work with Blockparty. We’ve got friends over at the Palm Studio. Everybody needs that service provider that says, “I have an artist that wants to do something that has some impact equation as a part of it.” In order to execute that, they want to offload the operations of getting the cash into the hands of the nonprofit.
What we provide is a platform that speaks to the values of those developers. We operate our entire program on-chain. If a developer of one of these projects is looking at Solution A that exists off-chain versus Solution B that exists on-chain, 9 times out of 10, they are going to select Solution B because it makes it easier for it to integrate with their existing contracts. It makes it feel more in line with why they are in the space in the first place. To us, that’s what matters. We are finding that’s what matters to our partners as well.
Having a real giveback partner that could help in the execution of that entire system is key. We have run into it before where it’s in our DNA. We know we want to give back but there’s no easy button to make that happen. You present that for a lot of these projects.
Now what we do is we create escrow contracts for every 501(c)(3) that receives a grant through our platform. That means that we are taking our first steps towards a global Rolodex of verified Ethereum addresses for nonprofits. We have also seen The Giving Block doing great work on this front as well. We are hell-bent on getting to a place where those organization contracts are fully composable and have rich metadata on-chain available to developers to come in and say, “I’m going to look at the Endaoment Rolodex of nonprofits and give my users the option to pick from any of these ends Ethereum addresses to split within the NFT space. To us, the fully composable philanthropic institution is a huge piece of infrastructure for the NFT space, the DeFi space, the world writ large. Anything that we can do that moves us closer to that goal, that’s where we are headed.
Thinking about that, and you are solving such a huge pain point. Our friend’s bigger project and we heard about the struggles do what you described. Let’s look at nonprofits that are super curious about NFTs but super intimidated by them, and what their board and donors will think of it. Are you also foreseeing yourself directly assisting nonprofits with doing their own NFT projects? I have always wondered why they couldn’t a nonprofit take a small percentage of their funds and potentially put it into a lower risk DeFi component where they are not dealing with the deflationary pressure of the dollar any more than we all are. Why do nonprofits have to suffer?
This is a complex situation that nonprofits find themselves in. Historically, nonprofits have struggled to adopt new technology. There are entire organizations whose sole purpose is to bring technologies that were adopted by the for-profit world a decade ago to the nonprofit world because it’s not their priority. Their priority is their program.
They are keeping the lights on sometimes.
It’s keeping the lights on. The idea of putting in a bunch of time, money, effort into new vendors or new technology is certainly intimidating, if not a pain in the butt. For accepting a crypto gift, we talk to organizations all the time that have donors approaching them, who say, “I have all this Bitcoin, will you please take this Bitcoin? I have all this Ethereum or insert token here.” The organization throws its hands up in the air and says, “I don’t know what to do with that.”
The way we think about Endaoment is the gateway to getting more educated about what crypto can offer. The concept that I’m talking about all the time is the stairway to crypto heaven is what I call it. The other way we talk about it a lot in crypto is like, “How deep down the rabbit hole have you gotten?” There’s step zero where it’s like you have played with a stable coin. There’s step one where it’s like, you have used decentralized exchange. There’s step two, which is, you have used a self-custody wallet, and maybe you have Minted some stuff and interacted with the chain yourself personally.
There’s step three where it’s like, “I’m Endaos. I do this and that. I do all these different things. I do PFPs. I’m contributing to this and that.” Orgs writ large, nonprofit organizations are at step zero, or either no knowledge or like, “I’m okay with the stable coin. I will take that.” There are people at Levels 1, 2 and 3, who will help organizations understand the implications and provide services to them.
The Giving Block will be that Level 1 for an organization where it’s like, “We will help you manage all of your exchange accounts and process.” For Level 2, there’s like, “You can go and get a Coinbase Institutional account. That’s great and wonderful.” When it comes to going full bore crypto, it’s hard for these organizations to get their board to understand what’s at stake.
Unless you have board members who know the crypto space inside and out and have their investments, it’s like, “Yes. I will self-custody a wallet for this organization. No problem.” Those are the only people we have seen taking the full crypto punch. What’s fantastic about what we are doing at Endaoment is we are this first point of contact where it’s like, “You don’t need to do anything special. Come to us with your existing bank account.”
The next time somebody says to you, “I want to give you crypto,” whatever you do, don’t say no. Say, “Yes.” You can do it. Send them to Endaoment, and we will handle the payment and the donation processing, tax receding, and management of the asset itself. The grant-making from our organization to the organization you wanted to, and then making sure that the organization is getting it as dollars into their bank account.
They want and mostly have to do most of them do not have investment policies around how to handle crypto. They don’t want to go to their board and ask about that because then they have to come up with this whole plan about what they want to do for crypto. We say, “Don’t do anything different, come to us with your bank account, accept a few grants, and then when you are ready, let’s start talking about how we go to that Level 1?
There’s a lot of walking here before you get it. Traditionally, they have to spend money. That’s what they are in the business of doing. Having it in a liquid form, a typical nonprofit is not spending it on these advanced technologies where cryptocurrencies are commonly exchanged. They are going to want it in Fiat probably.
That’s true. Having said that though, having sufficiently hedged against the reality. Let me say that, “I can’t wait to build farmable donor-advised funds that payout to organization contracts that give an organization the option of putting it into a money market at Rory where they are earning 20% on their dollars. We can say like, “Keep your assets here. This is interesting. There’s something interesting going on here.”
The question is, “Who’s ready for that? How many organizations is that population?” We are learning through the experiences that we are having with the 300 plus organizations that we spoke to in 2020 is that they need dollars. They are going through the hardest economic period of their organization’s history because none of them are making program revenue unless they are COVID exempt. They want exposure to the donor cohort into the new wealth that’s being created without having to jump through a bunch of hoops. Here enter Endaoment where all you need is a bank account. You can tell any donor that you can give any crypto to any organization in the United States.
It has been a lot of fun because you get on the phone with these organizations, especially when they don’t know the money is coming. That’s when it’s the most fun. We did with Fortune Magazine, and Pplpleasr did the Crypto versus Wall Street NFT cover. They took half the proceeds of the $1.4 million sales took $700,000-ish of it, and gave it to Endaoment. We opened a community fund for journalism organizations. Anybody can go to the Fortune Journalism Pleaser Fund and give to journalism causes.
After the fact now, it’s not closed that we did the first $700,000. With that first $700,000, Fortune picked four different organizations that were going to receive the grants and the most fun phone calls that I get to do as an entrepreneur or to the organizations when they have no idea what Endaoment and crypto are. They have received a six-figure check.
We had to chase down this one organization. I went on LinkedIn and pinged everybody at the organization because they thought we were scamming them. They were like, “This can’t be real. This is crypto. There’s no way we are getting $160,000 now.” It took us pulling up their $990, getting on the phone with their executive director, and being like, “This is real.”
Once they started to learn about Endaoment and we were able to share with them our status and legitimacy, they were like, “This is the coolest thing ever.” The light bulb goes on and are like, “We are comfortable with this.” Coming back to that question about what are orgs up for? Orgs are a herd mentality creature. They want to know that other orgs are using the service before they sign up for the service. We are doing a lot of heavy lifting at Endaoment now to get over that hump of like, “Nobody knows who you are. You are brand new. You posted your first tax report.” The organizations are a little more risk-averse in a space that is historically super risk.
We are called the Edge of NFT. When you share this with them, some of them will like it, and some of them are like, “This is way too edgy.”
The fact is you get a few that are bought in and respected by their peers or looked to for the next thing to do. You move them a couple of steps, Level 1, 2, 3, and that social proof there will help for sure.
We are also seeing donors playing a huge role in helping organizations feel more comfortable about it. Both pooled donors and individual donors have been onboarding new organizations into Endaoment. We have the Rari Capital Foundation. Rari Capital Foundation was seeded by an initial gift from the Rari team. Their DAO suggests and votes on what organization receives a little chunk of that community foundation balance every month.
They chose the NAACP. The NAACP has never accepted a crypto gift before. They’ve got $5,000 from the Rari Capital Foundation. It was their first crypto gift. It was voted on by a subset of token holders through Snapshot. That gap crossing was unfathomable to a lot of nonprofits not so long ago. With Art Blocks, we have been working with Snowfro. Snowfro has been committing parts of the Chromie Squiggles, the royalties from that to a fund he controls at Endaoment. He’s made it public to his community.
He’s going bananas on the arts organizations in Houston, Texas. We have been on the phone with 35 organizations in Houston. Now all the organizations in Houston are starting to talk to each other about the fact that these grants are coming in from crypto. They are all starting to talk to each other. They are like, “There’s this thing called Endaoment where I’m getting these grants from, and I didn’t have to do anything and it came from this NFT thing.”
I think that too the nonprofit community is that a-ha moment that we have all been waiting for people to see how this very meta cultural activity can translate into kids in your local community learning how to paint, having their first experience with music or a food bank feeding 1,000 families. All of a sudden, it’s like, “This isn’t the metaverse anymore.” That’s something that we deeply need in the crypto community, and we are here to provide it.
I hope you take a note from the publisher’s clearinghouse and do something with those first encounters. Those first encounters are moments in time that stand for something. The work that you are doing is incredible. How can people stay in touch with you, learn more about Endaoment, and maybe contribute or include you guys in a project?
We are actively seeking NFT projects looking to do splits with charity or 100% to charity. If you were working on an NFT project and you want to do some charity component, let us take the burden of getting it into the hands of the organization off of your hands. The easiest way to come and let us know about that is our whole team lives in Discord. We are a team of about five now, with a few volunteers here and there. If you are interested in volunteering and helping out with Endaoment, all of that happens through Discord. Our team is full-time in Discord. It’s Discord.gg/endaoment, and follow us on Twitter, @Endaomentdotorg.
We hope you have a fun time at the rest of the convention, and maybe you will run into a few other Hollywood celebrities. We will see what happens.
We love what you are doing. It’s great hearing about it.
I’m hoping to have like an Uma Thurman sitting next, maybe. Thank you, guys, so much for having me on. I love what you are doing. We are big fans of the show at Endaoment.
I appreciate it.
We hope you have enjoyed this special bonus content from our time in NYC. We have reached the outer limit at the Edge of NFTs. Thanks for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventures on the starship, so invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey also much better. How? Go to iTunes, rate us, and say something awesome. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole.
Don’t forget as a member of the Edge Of NFT ecosystem, and you are part of a community defined by collaboration and co-creation, we are giving you a literal opportunity to plant seeds with us and grow deep roots, and broad branches together through NFTs. We are breaking ground on our own special NFT collections. Please head over to SpiritSeeds.xyz to find out more about our collection of only 100 Spirit Seed NFTs that will ever be Minted.
That has been created in collaboration with NFT influencer Nicole Buffett. Stay tuned to our Discord, found at EdgeOfNFT.com/discord, to get the inside scoop on our upcoming Living Tree NFT drop. Between these projects, we aim to plant tens of thousands of trees with you and offset thousands of metric tons of carbon emissions. At the same time, you will get special access to our giveaways and events, as well as even more opportunities to co-create and collaborate with us. Join our Discord and plant your roots within our community now.
- NFT NYC Convention
- Jeff Crane – LinkedIn
- Glyph ID
- Spirit Coins
- Multiple Streams of Income
- The One Minute Millionaire
- Chicken Soup for The Soul
- Think and Grow Rich
- @FCFLio – Twitter
- Territory Foods
- Shelly Palmer
- 888 Inner Circle
- Steve Aoki – Twitter
- Blog – Shelly Palmer
- Chief Keef – Instagram
- Glo Gang
- @OneOfNFT – Instagram
- iHeartRadio Music Festival
- Michael Bramlage – Past Episode
- EcoFi – Past Episode
- @Endaomentdotorg – Twitter
- World Wildlife Foundation
- Rari Capital Foundation
- iTunes – Edge of NFT
- Blockchain – Cryptocurrency, NFTs & Smart Contracts: An executive guide to the world of decentralized finance.
About Sohrob Farudi
Co-founder & CEO at Fan Controlled Football (FCF)
About Shelly Palmer
I’m a business advisor and technology consultant based in New York City. I create value for my clients by keeping them up to date on the latest technological trends and helping to make that knowledge actionable.
My company is called The Palmer Group. We work on digital transformation, marketing, strategy, hybrid workforce solutions, and blockchain (decentralized finance, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and Smart Contracts with Fortune 500 companies like Ford, PepsiCo, Walt Disney, Facebook, Delta Airlines, Charter, Travelers, GSK, Marriott, Viacom, Discovery, SunTrust Banks, and PVH, to name a few.
Aside from my business advisory work, I am the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I write a daily blog and host a weekly show called, “#CryptoWednesday.” I cover tech and business for Fox 5 New York, I write a weekly column for Adweek, and I’m a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC.
If you’d like to get in touch with me, email, Twitter, and LinkedInare best.
About Lin Dai
Lin Dai is the co-founder and CEO of OneOf. An entrepreneur and digital executive with two decades of experience, Lin previously co-founded TAP Network, a blockchain technology company powering white-labeled rewards for major enterprise clients such as Warner Music Group, Uber, and Brave. Prior to TAP, Lin was the CMO of Keek, a mobile video social app with over 75M users worldwide that was taken public in Canada.
Lin founded his first company, a social network for teens, out of his dorm room in 1999 and later took it public. He spent over 10 years leading digital initiatives at major media companies such as Alloy (Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries) and Emmis Communications (Hot97, Power106). Lin is a General Partner at ChainLink Crypto Fund, a fund of funds in the digital currency and blockchain industry.
About Joshua James
Joshua James is the co-founder and COO of OneOf. Prior to OneOf, Joshua was the co-founder and CEO of ZIG Media, acquired in 2019 by Media Rights Capital (Billboard, Hollywood Reporter, Dick Clark Productions etc). Joshua founded his first company RiseTech in college. After selling RiseTech to Equity Office Property (now Blackstone), Joshua launched the pioneering live digital music firm Basecamp Productions which partnered with Pearl Jam to launch the groundbreaking Pearl Jam bootleg series. Basecamp was later acquired by Warner Music Group, and Joshua’s clients included Pearl Jam, Kendrick Lamar, Linkin Park and Mumford & Sons.
About Robbie Heeger
Robbie Heeger is the the President and CEO of Endaoment, a community foundation & public charity offering Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) built atop the Ethereum blockchain. They allow individuals to donate to almost any U.S. nonprofit organization. They have a mission to encourage and manage the charitable giving of cryptocurrency.