Ever wonder why some people are going crazy over NFTs despite no guarantee of increased value? Eathan Janney, Jeff Kelley and Josh Kriger sit down with Joel Comm to talk all about NFTs, the digital token that has taken the world by storm. Joel is a futurist, speaker, author, and the co-host of the Nifty Show, the first show of its kind to bring the latest information on all types of non-fungible tokens. He shares a brief background of his humble beginnings, starting from his stint with ClassicGames and being acquired by Yahoo! Joel also shares his insights on the current trends and offers some important advice for people who are slowly getting into NFTs, while getting into the topic of Ethereum, Bitcoin, and everything else about digital collectibles.
Listen to the podcast here:
NFT Talk with Joel Comm of Bad Crypto on Digital Collectibles And Why They Matter, Plus $17M Crypto Punks Bundle, NFTs on ebay, Boxing NFT & Animoca $1B valuation
We aim to bring you not only the top 1% of what’s going on with NFTs but also what will stand the test of time. We explore the nuts and bolts in the business side and also the human element of how NFTs are changing the way we interact with the things that we love. This show is for the futurists and dreamers, disruptors and creators, fans and connectors, and makers and doers that are pumped about this ecosystem and driving where it goes next.
This episode features guest Joel Comm, co-host of The Nifty Show and The Bad Crypto Podcast. Joel is a Futurist, Speaker, Author, Influencer, Podcaster, and a whole lot more. He has advised countless cutting-edge, impactful projects within tech and crypto. Some of his killer projects include Blockchain Heroes, The Bitcoin Collection, The Nifty Box, and Upland Collectibles Blockchain Heroes edition.
Joel, it’s great to have you. Welcome.
Thanks for having me. I especially like the much more part of my bio. It leaves it open.
It makes you go, “He did all the other stuff? Where does he find the time for more?”
It makes it sound like I’m super busy, but I don’t feel. Some days I feel super busy, but most of the time, I love what I do so much. My career has probably been mostly play. It’s doing what I want to do, so it doesn’t feel like work. I was looking at my email before we started. I was like, “Crap. I got to go through and get back to inbox 0, 5, or something.” That feels like the stuff I got to do, but for the most part, I’m having fun.
Tell the readers where you’re at.
I’m in bed.
In what geographic coordinates?
I don’t have the exact latitude and longitude, but I’m in Puerto Rico. It’s my new home.
Mofongo, do you like it or is it not your thing?
It’s great. The ocean is right outside my door. I got a condo I’m closing on. If you want a timestamp, it’s May 13, 2021. It’s got a terrace with ocean views and I’m like, “I can’t wait to get in there and settle in.” I’ve been here in an Airbnb, living out of boxes and suitcases. Every night, it’s late. We would go out and take the dog out to the beach. It’s so quiet except for the waves. I look up at the stars and I’m like, “I want to do this every night.” I come down to the beach, feel the cool sand on my toes, watch the waves, look at the stars, and be grateful. It’s gorgeous.
I feel you. I’m in Sarasota, Florida. Having that beach access, you can’t beat it.
I spent a month up there before here. I spent a month in Venice and loved it. It’s not too far from Sarasota.
Did you hang out with Charlie while you were over there?
I did not hang out with Charlie Shrem. We tried to get together and it didn’t happen.
The Fun Formula: How Curiosity, Risk-Taking, And Serendipity Can Revolutionize How You Work
Joel, I got to ask you. I want to go way back. I’m talking about games and having fun. ClassicGames.com, thereafter Yahoo! Games. You’re responsible for millions of hours of people playing Hearts, Solitaire, Spades, and all these fun games on their computers from the late ’90s until now, probably still.
We sold it. We made ClassicGames. I didn’t code. I can’t code my way out of a paper bag. My webmaster knew I was into games. He discovered this beta site that this UCSD grad student had created called Springer Spaniel Games. He had the rudimentary Java code for Hearts, Spades, Chess, Checkers, Bridge, and Backgammon. He and a few of his friends were playing it. He said, “You should check this out.” I did. I was like, “This is amazing. This is multiplayer gaming on the internet.” I wrote the dude and we went to business together. We renamed it to ClassicGames. I did the marketing. He did the building of the site. We grew to thousands of registered users. We’re talking 1997 here.
In 1998, we were acquired by Yahoo! He became the Chief Game Yahoo! I went out there. I was offered a job. I said, “No, I did not want to work for anybody. I did not want to move to California.” I took the money. He took the stock. He was a lot wealthier as a result. They shut it down. Yahoo! screws up everything. A lot of people were sad about that. A lot of people who played it don’t know that when you log in, you will pick the icon, a face of a character or an avatar you would play with. The first one that would come up is the guy with the glasses and goatee in a red cap. That was me. My partner, Aaron, who coded it, was the blonde hair, blue cap character. The devil was just the devil.
The actual devil was also a friend of yours who you made a deal with at the crossroads so you could be a killer guitar player.
It didn’t happen at all in any respect. I didn’t make a deal but I do enjoy listening to Eric Clapton.
At the inception of gaming on the internet, you were there and a part of it at that time. What’s it like seeing the transition that everything is made? We’re at such an inflection point where things are going crazy, exponential growth, and all kinds of directions. What’s it like seeing that now? How do you feel about that?
What’s interesting is I was slow to blockchain, which is weird for me. Usually, I hear about the new tech and toys and I’m like, “Bright, shiny object, what’s that? I want to play with the new toys.” I was preoccupied with personal stuff in my life because I didn’t understand Bitcoin, “What is Bitcoin mining?” My thoughts at that time were not, “Go learn about this.” It was, “I’m confused. Are there little people inside my computer going ding?” I didn’t get it. I didn’t care too, which was unusual for me, but I guess everything is supposed to happen in its time.
When I finally understood Bitcoin in early 2017, I went, “Holy crap, this reminds me of 1995 when I discovered the World Wide Web because I built my first site in 1995.” I said, “His is déjà vu all over again.” That was when I went down the rabbit hole and I knew what we were getting into. Travis and I started Bad Crypto that year. We got in before to the post having run-up, which was crazy. We were there when the bottom fell out. We survived the Great Crypto Winter. We knew it would come back. Unlike a lot of opportunists who jumped on the crypto bandwagon in 2017 who abandoned doing shows and talking about it when everything went down, we stuck with it because we saw that this is the future. Everything is moving to blockchain. More verticals are going to be disrupted by blockchain than anything we’ve seen in our lifetime. We’re glad we stuck with it.
We discovered NFTs when CryptoKitties came out in December 2017. We’ve been following those all along. We knew it was a matter of time before those would blow up. I feel like on January 1st, 2018 we turned the corner from pioneering NFTs to the early adopter at the beginning of that place on the curve. That takes a few years before you get through that cycle before you even tap into the beginning of mass adoption. We are at the beginning of the early adopter cycle, which what I’ve noticed is there’s a pattern.
At the beginning of the early adopter cycle is when the first media hype cycle takes place. We’ve seen it where they talk about people, Grimes, crazy sales, and memes going for $400,000. Everybody wants to create NFTs, but there’s going to be a bust to some degree, especially in the art world. That is where it has found the most hype. NFTs are here to stay. They’re not going away. We’re going to discover that as long as there are audiences for specific artists, athletes, brands, musicians, and other performers, there’s going to be an audience to purchase these NFTs. It’s exciting to be at the beginning.
William Quigley says, “Everything that you cannot eat will be an NFT soon.” Do you see that happening?
There’s hyperbole there. Everything is not going to be an NFT. In the future, we will see anything that can be owned. There are going to be practical uses. In the beginning, it’s art and collectibles, but it’s going to be music. Further out, at a large scale, it’s going to be the deed in your home, automobile, and insurance policy. What better way to show proof of ownership than to have this non-fungible token in your walls, “This is my house. This is my car. This is my health insurance policy.” They’re all going to be NFTs. Everything but what you can eat, I don’t know that far. I don’t think soon. We’re further out on it. Soon, that will be towards the beginning of the mass adoption part of the technology curve.
What do you say to people who complain about energy and efficiency in the NFT world and have the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Why is the current system not adequate? Why do we need all these NFTs? We have our thoughts there. I’m just curious how you respond to that type of feedback.
First of all, when we talk about energy, you’re talking about Ethereum. Ethereum is great for smart contracts. As far as NFTs go, it’s the McDonald’s of NFTs. People use it because it’s there because there’s a lot of money in it already and they know about it. As far as NFTs go, I call it inferia. It’s a horrible platform for NFTs. There’s no reason to use it. We use WAX. We’ve been using WAX since we produced the first Blockchain Heroes. There are no gas fees and negative environmental impacts. WAX has built themselves as the king of NFTs for a good reason. They do it better than anybody.
There are more brands apart from Ethereum that are launching on WAX without having any negative environmental impact and without skewering and robbing users with these outrageous gas fees. Who’s benefiting? Only the miners. That’s it. Everybody else is getting hurt. If you’re a seller using Ethereum, you have to raise your prices because people don’t want to spend $2 on an Ethereum NFT that they got to pay $100 in gas for. You get skewered if you’re the customer because you’re paying this tax and the environment gets clobbered. What’s the point? Ethereum sucks for NFTs. Don’t use it. Say no.
We’ll talk about it later in the show. We got a punch in the gut with a $300 gas fee, but it was related to an NFT. We couldn’t resist. It’s a little foreshadowing there.
NFT: The market cap of Ethereum will pass Bitcoin, which doesn’t diminish the value of Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer system at all.
I bought Gary Vee’s thing. I paid the gas fee. I get it. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. You’re driving your car down the road. You’re out of gas. You got to go fill up gas. There are some things we do. Overall, it’s not the best platform.
Since you went there, which one did you get? We’ll tell you which one we got.
The only one that you should get as far as I’m concerned is the Gift Goat.
Gary is always going to give value. I think he’s going to work hard to make sure people get the value out of that one. We were picking up one for admission. I like the Bold as Fuck Bat. What’s funny, though, is on MetaMask, sometimes the settings get wonky. My initial quote on gas was $17,000.
Here’s what’s interesting. I bet if you go look at some of those early transactions when it was still messed up, some people paid outrageous, erroneous, egregious gas fees that weren’t even accurate. They paid them anyway because they wanted to hurry and get it. I waited until the auction was over. I knew there was no way these are all going to sell out and I wasn’t sure which one I wanted. I’m not sure if I want to go to a conference or not. That wasn’t my thing. I’ve known Gary forever, it seems like. The first time I interviewed him was back in 2008. Paying for access wasn’t my jam, but I want to see how he delivers on the gifts, six minimum gifts a year for three years.
Think about this. If Ethereum goes where we think Ethereum is going, which is to the moon, the amount of ETH that he has, forget the profits he has already got what he’s going to be able to buy for people. We interviewed him before his sale and I was convinced he’s going to crazy over-deliver. People are going to get stuff from him that they’re like, “What just happened?” I can’t wait to see what he does. It says a minimum of six gifts a year. If I know him, he’s going to do more than six a year. It’s like the ultimate luxury subscription box. Here’s the other thing. Looking at CryptoPunks now, whatever bit they are, a little voxel pixel art is going for 5 to 6 figures. I feel like what Gary has created and the name he has created for himself is going to live on. The NFTs themselves are going to go up in value. It’s my personal opinion, not financial advice. I spent five ETH for it. It will be worth more after all the gifting is done for the NFT.
He said this is his life’s work all-in-one. Gary doesn’t throw around those types of words lightly. Eathan is on the site trying to find his VeeFriend and having a FOMO here.
I got to figure out how. Will I wait two days? I got to get the timing.
Travis was waiting. He also wanted the Gift Goat. He waited until he saw number 21 popped up. I think it was number 21 or 55 that he grabbed. Whatever it was, it was a specific number that he had to have. He was watching and waiting. I was like, “5 ETH, $20,000.” I made that on SHIB because I threw 1 ETH of SHIB before it blew up and cashed in for $25,000. I was like, “Thanks, SHIB. You just bought me a Gift Goat.”
It’s a pretty cool project too. Let’s see where it goes. Speaking of where things go, you mentioned Ethereum going crazy. Do you see the flippening happening here in the near future?
I do. Ethereum has a lot of room to grow. The smart contract aspect of it is going to grow. It’s not going away. I hope the NFT side of it diminishes significantly. There’s so much more that can be done. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system. That’s what it’s designed for. Ethereum is designed to do whatever you can imagine that you can code into it. The market cap of Ethereum will pass Bitcoin, which doesn’t diminish the value of Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer payment system at all. It just means that there’s more demand for, “How many projects are built on Ethereum?” That’s going to expand. Now, I’m a big fan of the sidechains as well. Having these sidechains that eliminate a lot of these gas fees is super important.
Who doesn’t want bunnies and pancakes? Those are fun things. Binance Smart Chain is doing a great job with all these different farming platforms that also have NFTs built-in. Once people can figure out how to get over there, that’s the biggest leap. Eathan, Jeff, and I have helped friends get over to Binance Smart Chain. It’s always a ten-minute conversation that turns into a five-hour how-to video.
It’s not that hard. I remember having my early computer and PCs. You had DOS. You had to fiddle with stuff to get it to work. I remember getting into crypto in 2017 and having to figure out DEX, EtherDelta and wallets. It’s more advanced than it was then. You got MetaMask, “How do I add BSC to it? I add a custom server and type this in. Now, I’m buying a smart chain in the same wallet address.” I feel like it’s gotten easier.
The pucker factor of that first big move was so high in 2017.
When you see your gas at 1/1,000th of a cent, it feels so good.
Joel, we talked about Gary Vee and some of the projects that people know about. As someone who’s in the space, especially in NFTs, what are some projects we should pay attention to in NFTs that you see are under the radar?
NFT: In the future, we will see anything that can be owned. There are going to be practical uses. In the beginning, it’s art and collectibles, but it’s going to be music.
I still think that WAX is under the radar in general. The fact that it’s only available on a couple of exchanges to US citizens, it’s a matter of time. WAX is at $0.20. Maybe even $0.19. Compare that to Enjin that is $2.50. What’s on Enjin? There are hardly any notable projects that are on Enjin yet. It’s a great fast sidechain for Ethereum. It works well. There’s a couple of games on there. WAX has had Major League Baseball, Capcom Street Fighter, Deadmau5, and Atari. They’ve got a Robotech coming. They’ve had Weezer.
There are all the independent projects, Bitcoin Origins, Blockchain Heroes, Alien Worlds, which is hugely valued already, and Our Planet. The list goes on of all these projects. Most of the NFT world has no idea. They just heard about WAX and the Periphery. The WAX community is like, “We know where it’s at. This is it. Right here, you all are going to be coming here. It’s going to happen. It’s a matter of time once you discover that you’re paying all these ridiculous gas fees.” I think WAX is the biggest undiscovered treasure in the NFT world. I’m glad we found it.
They don’t get a lot of love in the media.
The brands that they’re talking to that are calling WAX are mind-blowing. I’m on the WAX Advisory Council along with Travis. We’re privileged to have some more inside baseball, so to speak, but that’s not a secret anymore. It’s a matter of time. I don’t know the deal with why we’re not on Binance or Coinbase yet, but it’s going to happen at some point. When it does, boom.
I don’t think Quigley is particularly impressed with being on some of these bigger exchanges like some of the sacrifices you have to make. Whatever it is that happens, I don’t think there’s some advantage that’s being pushed. That’s what I’ve heard. What’s the history with you and William? Did you meet him first? Did you encounter WAX first? How long ago was it?
I encountered WAX when it was OPSkins and heard of William. I don’t remember the first time that we interviewed him. I would have to do my research on Bad Crypto to see when that was. I liked where they were going with OPSkins. I think I bought some WAX a long time ago. We saw when Topps came out with the first series of Garbage Pail Kids what was possible. That was when I said to Travis, “Dude, look at this mechanism with the packs. This we can build up.” Here’s what’s funny. I remember we were talking about before COVID hit in February 2020. I had this idea of, “Let’s create Blockchain Buddies. Let’s create these NFTs that are based on real people in the blockchain space. Let’s make them cool-looking and we’ll sell them on OpenSea.” He was like, “That’s interesting.”
COVID hit, lockdowns hit, and travel stopped. We put on a one-week event called Virtual Blockchain Week that consumed all of our time and then that died down. It was in May 2020 that we saw GPK. I was like, “Remember that idea I had? Now, we have a mechanism to do this.” We pivoted. I said, “Let’s not do real people. Let’s do superheroes. We’ll call them Blockchain Heroes and they will be inspired by real people.” He dug it. We went to WAX Labs. We were the only content project that was funded before they decided they weren’t going to fund content projects. We marketed the crap out of it, took all of the know-how that I’ve learned from 25 years in marketing and branding, and put it towards this project. I had all kinds of partnerships and the thing sold out so quickly.
Your engagement with WAX and William Quigley, which came first and when?
We did the launch and then we did the Nifty Box, which was the world’s first NFT subscription box. We did another Blockchain Heroes and that was when WAX said, “Can you guys come on?” Williams said, “Would you come to the Advisory Council and join Yat Siu from Animoca and the guy from Microsoft and Google?” We were like, “Let me think about it. Okay.”
How is marketing in the crypto world different than traditional marketing in your experience there? Is it more similar?
It’s all similar. Marketing is storytelling. That’s all it is. It’s providing value to your customer. It’s giving them a reason to want to engage with you, engage with the community, and want what you’re providing them. It doesn’t matter what your marketing is. It’s all about storytelling. That’s why the best marketers are master storytellers.
Doesn’t everything move faster where you can catch lightning faster for something that’s happening? It feels like the audience in the blockchain is hyper-tuned into what they should be focused on. That creates this Hyperloop option if you give them what they want.
Everything is moving faster, though. That’s by virtue of technology and how easy it is for us to use that technology to put something out there. It used to be, “If you wanted to send somebody a mail, you have to write them a letter, stick it in the envelope, and put a stamp on it. The post would pick it up in the post office and get that done. Eventually, it would get there.” Now, we send an email and you have it in a second. The whole world is connected at our fingertips. It just so happens that NFTs are part of that everything-moves-faster environment. YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Vine, when it was around, are perfect examples. Catching lightning in a bottle is something that’s been around for years because of the same technology. It’s just that now we’re doing it with NFTs. We’ve seen those overnight sensations for many years.
This is going to be a broader question. You are engaged in all these different things, author, speaker, couple of podcasts, brands, and projects like you mentioned. I’m curious about focus. Do you have a methodology for keeping focused? Do you not bother with focus? I know you’ve written a book on having fun with it. How can you have fun with all these things swarming around, still focus, and be productive? Any tips on this?
We’re all wired differently. For whatever reason, for me, I’m able to casually go into my day, look at my calendar, and go, “What do I get going on?” I deal with those scheduled events. In between all that, I get the other things done. It seems like my brain somehow has its own little sticky notepad up there. It’s like, “I got to do that. I’m going to go do that.” I’ve done it for so many years that it has become a lifestyle. It doesn’t feel like work to me the vast majority of the time. From my perspective, I don’t feel like I work a lot. That’s how you know you love what you’re doing. I’m minting NFTs, delighting people, and creating. It almost feels criminal that this is what I get paid to do. This is way too much fun.
My process is my own process, which is why I wrote The Fun Formula. All of these books that give you this list of how you’re supposed to approach business to succeed are all missing the key component, which is that, “We’re all different. We’re all wired differently. You have to find your own fun.” The irony of The Fun Formula is that it’s not a mathematical formula. It’s about tapping into your own creativity and curiosity by following that passion and then taking risks. You have to try stuff. If you don’t try, you’re never going to succeed at it. If you try, you’re going to fail also, but you also can learn from those failures.
NFT: What better way to show proof of ownership than to have this non-fungible token in your walls?
The third part of it is trusting the process. Serendipity is a very real thing. Stuff doesn’t happen until it’s time for it to happen. Once you can rest into that and I learned this, which is why I think I’ve been able to be successful, is being who you are means not letting other people should on you. “You should be doing this. You should be posting here. You should be on Clubhouse.” Stop shoulding on me. I don’t want to be on Clubhouse. I don’t care about being on Clubhouse. I want to do what I want to do. Don’t tell me where I should be doing my marketing. Let me do what I do naturally and authentically.
I think that’s where people have the most success. A lot of people are scared to take risks, “Don’t take a risk and you’re not going to do anything.” What if you fail? That’s another way to not do it to get you closer to the way to do it. Being patient is one of the greatest skills, virtues, or things in life that I’ve learned. It’s like, “Chill and wait.” When I watch crypto go up and down, it’s like, “Whatever. It’s going to go up. It’s going to go down.” People freak out. Elon Musk puts out a tweet and the markets go crazy. I’m like, “Time to buy.”
What’s interesting, too, is this theme of fun in the space of crypto and NFTs. Finance has not traditionally been something people think about as fun. People are getting excited about something that equivalently could be the foundation of your car title, house title, or something traditionally, which is just something that’s kept in a recordkeeping office and a few clerks have to look through some books to find it. Looking at how some of these different projects that are coming about that are competing with each other, some of the features that they’re competing on are, “How can we bring more fun to the people who are engaged with the project?” That’s a very interesting thing in this space. The world needs more fun, especially after COVID.
There’s a lot more fun. People need to have more fun. We’ll just be nice to each other, less screeching and yelling at one another and pointing out how different we are. More makes us alike than makes us different. I tend to focus on the good stuff. In fact, I’ve pretty much turned off social media and I’m happier as a result. I’m dark on Facebook. I set my profile to dark. I don’t go to Facebook at all anymore and it’s been so liberating. I only go to Twitter to post about our launches or partner stuff. When I start seeing things that are trending and all the garbage they’re pushing at us, I’m like, “There they go again. I’m unhappy. I’m turning it off. I don’t want to watch it. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to engage with it.” The world goes on without me. The world goes on without all of us. Crazy people, power-hungry people, and money-hungry people are going to keep doing what those types of people are going to do and there’s nothing I can do about it. The less I engage with it, the happier I am.
After watching The Social Dilemma, I’ve wound down activity as well.
We have conversations internally about, “What platforms we want to get the word out about what we’re doing?” I got a lot of insights from what you shared in terms of the fact that we don’t have to be on every platform. We can be on the ones that we enjoy being on and double down on what we love. That’s why we’re doing the show in the first place.
That’s a great takeaway. You can’t be everywhere. You would be spread so thin and it would feel like work. It’s not only that. You have The Cheesecake Factory. Seeing their menu, it’s like a novel. They do so many different things that they don’t do any of it excellent. It’s okay and decent. It’s good family food. I suppose if you like cheesecake, the cheesecakes are good because it’s The Cheesecake Factory. When you’re trying to do too many things, you’re going to be spread too thin and you’re not going to excel at any of it. Screw it. I got tons of people following me on LinkedIn. I hardly ever go there. They tell me, “For business, this is the place to be.” “I have enough business. I’m good and I’m fine.” If somebody wants to get a hold of me, they can figure out how to do it via my website or whatever.
Speaking of fun, music is a key part of our lives. It sounds important to you, too. We had Barnaby from BAND Royalty on the show. It’s another project that you advise. Are music and NFTs one of the best uses out there, in your opinion? Why or why not?
Yes, I think so. NFTs are programmable media. Whether it’s music, music videos, photos, documents, collectibles, or whatever, all of these are great uses for it. 3LAU has done some amazing stuff with music in NFTs on WAX. That was super creative. We’re going to see a lot more artists releasing content for the first time via NFTs. It’s a matter of time. In fact, I had a call with a guy who has been speaking with a lawyer for one of the biggest names. They were like, “We want to do this. What are your guys’ ideas?”
We have these calls all the time with Hollywood people, music industry people, and big brands. If I name-drop, which I’m not going to, you would be like, “Holy mother of NFTs.” I don’t know what we’re going to do. I’m good with it like if something comes through, “That’s going to be super fun to work with that person or brand.” If it doesn’t, “That’s cool. We’ll just keep building our own stuff.” Something is going to hit. I don’t know which one it’s going to be that’s going to be the first domino. Whatever it is, it’s going to be fun playing with it.
We’ll keep an eye on your Twitter. We know we’re not going to have to filter through too many messages.
For our audience, living in abundance and not scarcity in this world of NFTs and blockchain is important. There are many opportunities for everyone. You don’t have to grab them all. There’s always going to be another meme coin.
It’s not a zero-sum game. There’s no reason to be envious of what others have. Bring value in the way that you best know-how. Don’t try to be like somebody else. Don’t go, “Gary Vee just created this. I’m going to create my own redeemable things for an event and take my doodles.” Don’t try to copy that. Figure out what is most you that you can bring to people because that’s going to feel authentic. Be original and creative. Do something that hasn’t been done before. That’s what scares people. They look and go, “I have this idea for something and I’m not seeing anybody do that. Maybe the market doesn’t like that.” It’s exactly the opposite. Maybe it’s exactly what the market needs is for your new approach that nobody has done before pioneer and blaze the trail. What’s the worst thing that happens? It doesn’t work. What if it does?
I think it couldn’t be a better moment to drop the mic and say that. That sums it up.
Joel, Edge Quick Hitters are a fun and quick way to get to know you better. We got ten questions and we’re looking for short one-word or multi-word answers. If you feel the urge to expand, get after it.
I’m surprised you don’t do that first. If you want to get to know somebody, why wouldn’t you lead with those and get that person’s vibe?
NFT: If you’re a seller using Ethereum, you have to raise your prices because people don’t want to spend $2 on Ethereum NFT that they have to pay $100 in gas for.
We like to get into the background of the projects and things that we know that the public expects of a person in the background there. You’ll see with these questions we want to go deeper into some of your personal thoughts and perspectives.
Ask me anything.
What is the first thing you ever purchased in your life?
I don’t remember the first thing I purchased. When we think about first things, the thing that I think about first things is the first album that was ever given to me. That was at Christmas. My mom and dad gave me John Denver’s Greatest Hits Album. Probably, I was 8 or 10 years old. I remember being young getting my first LP. I picked up a guitar and was learning John Denver songs like Leaving On A Jet Plane and Take Me Home, Country Roads, and they bought me that. My first piece of vinyl was John Denver LP.
Do you still get that thing sitting around?
When I left Denver, no pun intended, I got rid of almost everything, including most of my old records. I am living freer of stuff than I have in decades. I got rid of all of my collectibles, including a massive vintage software collection that included copies of Windows 1.03 in it. I had hundreds of pieces that I auctioned it all off on eBay during the lockdown. I sold my entire comic book collection that was a four-drawer filing cabinet. I sold all my Star Wars cards and everything. I decided, “I’ve had enough stuff.” I asked my kids. I was like, “When dad goes, are you going to want this?” They were like, “No.”
I was like, “Why am I keeping all this? Why am I encumbered by all these things that I move with me from place to place?” I came to Puerto Rico with two large and one small suitcase and shipped four boxes of things from the US here. That’s it. It feels incredible. As I move into my new place, I told my partner, “I have no interest in cluttering up and getting stuff again. I don’t want stuff. I want things that I’m going to use.” We bought an air fryer. Everything comes slowly in Puerto Rico. If you order from Amazon, no more overnight Prime. It doesn’t happen. It took two weeks for the air fryer to get here. I was like, “This is cool.”
My friends were trying to get a trash bucket from Amazon for their new home in Puerto Rico. One month later, a chainsaw arrived.
My favorite brand of shirts is the Life is Good brand. My closet is a full closet. I have a drawer of a few T-shirts. You don’t need much clothing to live in Puerto Rico. You need shorts, some boxers, some T-shirts, and flip-flops. It’s amazing how little apparel life is needed here to go out and be anywhere. I went to LifeIsGood.com to order. I went, “It’s time for some new shirts.” Puerto Rico wasn’t on the pull-down. It said countries, US and Canada. I went to the US because Puerto Rico is the US. I couldn’t ship to Puerto Rico. I’ve got a box in Florida. Everything goes there and then they forward the stuff to me. You have to be patient. It will be weeks before I see those shirts and I’m okay with it. They get here when they get here. What’s fun about that is it’s Christmas when a package arrives because you don’t remember what you ordered. It’s like, “What is this? What do I get?” When you order for the next day or two days, you know what’s coming. You’re expecting it when it shows up. It shows up on time. I have no idea what I’m getting or when it’s coming.
This ties directly into the next question. What’s the first thing you remember ever selling?
I don’t know. I don’t even remember. It was probably a Cub Scouts candy bar or something, I would imagine. They’re raising money for the scouts. I did get my first job when I was fourteen. I wanted to work, I remember because I wanted to buy a computer in RadioShack. It had the TRS-80 Model 1 computer and I was dating myself. I worked and got my first job in 1978. There’s all the dating you need. The minimum wage was $2.65 an hour. I slung pizzas in Subs at Northbrook Court in Northbrook, Illinois. I grew up in Northbrook Court. If you’re in Elmhurst, you know John Hughes’ films were all based on the Chicago North Shore. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club were based on Glenbrook North High School, where I went to school. I would have been the Michael Anthony Hall character in The Breakfast Club, the nerd.
What’s the most recent thing you purchased?
The Life is Good T-shirts. I just bought them right before we went on here. I think I stocked up. I got six new shirts. They’ll be here in a year.
What’s the most recent thing you’ve sold?
Before I left Denver, I sold everything. I sold all my furniture and televisions. I got rid of all my collectibles. The most recent stuff I sold is everything. Art work, desk chairs are gone. It feels so good. It’s not even about the money at all. It’s about being unencumbered. I worked all summer to sell my comics and software. I did pretty good on all of it. I probably made $25,000 selling all my collectibles, which is not small. I put an Eaton Toshiba and cashed out $25,000. I made the same amount of money that I made with one investment that took me a few minutes to make because I made work elsewhere. There was something so satisfying. There was so much closure in taking pictures of these items, putting them on eBay, giving them the love and attention they deserve to me emotionally, and seeing people pay for them and sending them off shipping. I was a shipping and fulfillment clerk all that summer getting rid of this stuff. It was much more rewarding than dropping it off at a donation center or something and taking a tax write-off.
It’s a very Zen activity being that shipping clerk, like you said.
NFT: Everything’s moving faster. That’s by virtue of technology and how easy it is for us to use that technology to put something out there.
It was and there was something about it. I enjoyed it. Plus, it was lockdown. Nobody was going anywhere. There were no conferences. I was doing that. Travis and I were doing Virtual Blockchain Week for that week. We were doing NFTs and recording the podcast. It kept plenty busy, but it was very rewarding selling all of that.
Even though you’ve gotten rid of everything, what is your most prized possession?
I don’t know that I have a prized possession anymore. I have some things that I like. There’s nothing that I have that if you told me, “You can’t have that anymore,” that I would be sad for very long that I can’t have that thing anymore. Life is about people and experiences. Where are you going to go with it? I can lease out certain parts of it. I guarantee you those parts I’m not using most of the time.
NFT some of that.
We’re going to fractionalize and program it to come up with the next billion-dollar idea.
I got them already and the ideas are there. Ideas are a diamond dozen. It’s the execution that’s everything. I’ve seen some wonderful ideas fall flat on their face because of horrible execution. You don’t have to look very far to see some bad ideas that have done well. There’s a reason people pay. They buy by the millions of crappy hamburgers from corner fast-food joints. Why? Marketing. This is why it’s so funny because, during my whole career, people came to me and were like, “I got a great idea. If you want to do this, I’ll split it with you.” They don’t understand. There’s no shortage of ideas. My brain goes deep into things that I could do. It’s, “What do I want to do? What do I want to do well?” I’ve learned through trial and error not to do the things that I am not into just because they’re lucrative.
Eathan has another show called Run With It, where successful entrepreneurs give away their ideas to the world for anyone who’s reading to implement because successful entrepreneurs understand ideas are diamond dozen. It’s about chopping wood. It’s a fun show.
Here’s one for you off the top of my head that I’ve thought about for years, bag ads. You’ve got people more so before COVID. Hopefully, travel comes back again. The most attentive audience you have at the airport is standing at that baggage carousel. Why not let people sell their travels in wrap ads around their luggage so that people are watching ads go by and they get a piece of the action? Run with it.
If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service, that is currently for sale, what would it be?
I don’t want anything. I’m good. I had my 57th birthday and my girlfriend said, “I don’t know what to get you.” I turned to her and meant it without any hesitation, “I don’t want anything.” There’s nothing that I want. If you want to be creative and make something for Christmas every year, she makes me one of those Snapfish books that have got photos from the year, “Here are our adventures from the year.” I love that. That’s great because that’s personal and storytelling our story. Things, I don’t need anything. It’s funny. I remember after I sold the site to Yahoo!, I had money. I was like, “I paid off my house. I paid off my credit card debt.”
From that day forward, I never kept credit more than a month. I would pay off always. Even during the dot-com bust, I never spent more than I earned. I’ve never been one of those that, “You just came to a bunch of money. Go buy a huge house.” Not to say I haven’t had a big house before, but I didn’t feel the need to overly accumulate or be showy. Now, it’s like, “I don’t need to impress anybody. The more stuff you have, the more you have to take care of.” “More money, more problems” is legitimate for people who allow the money to control them because they feel the need to accumulate these things.
Get what you want to get. You’re never going to see me buying a Lambo. I don’t care if I can afford one or not. I don’t want to draw attention to myself, “Look at me and my fast car.” I drove one once when we shot a commercial in Vegas. It was fun to drive it for an hour, but I don’t want to own one. I got to Puerto Rico and bought a Jeep Renegade. It’s something that I can tool around the island in. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. If I can buy anything, I don’t need anything.
Let’s go a little deeper. If you could pass on one personality trait of yours to the next generation, what would it be?
Playfulness. You don’t have to get old. I told you I turned 57. I don’t feel 57. Sometimes I creak like I feel 57. If you look at my bio on the social sites, it says all the typical things, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and eternal twelve-year-old. That’s the best part of my bio as far as I’m concerned because I like to play and explore. I play computer games often. I’ve been playing Hitman 3, sniping people. I’ve had a World of Warcraft subscription since Vanilla WoW. My girlfriend and I both have an Oculus Quest and we’ve been playing Beat Saber like crazy. I’m playing on expert now. I never thought I would. I’m like a Jedi Master. I have fun. With that playfulness and youthfulness, I looked at some other people who I came up with at my school and saw pictures of them now. I was like, “Damn, they look old. I don’t feel that old.” Maybe it’s good genes. I don’t know what it is. I’m grateful regardless. I would pass on that playfulness.
Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.
On the flip side, if you could eliminate one personality trait of yours from the next generation, what would it be?
NFT: NFTs are part of that everything-moves-faster environment. YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Vine, when it was around, are perfect examples.
There are many things that I could eliminate from myself. I’m imperfect, which is good because that’s what makes us human. Like many others, I’m susceptible to being weak in certain areas. For me, it’s like my sweet tooth. I like to eat the things that aren’t necessarily good for me. I’ve got this extra roll around my side. It’s not that I mind how I look. It’s just I want to feel healthy and good. This is not an invitation for everybody to write me and say, “You should do this.” I know how and what to do. Sometimes we all have these weaknesses. It’s a different thing for everybody. For some, it’s too much TV. For some, it’s alcohol. For some, it’s drugs. For me, it’s food and not liking to workout. I would wish on my progeny that they would not have that same struggle. Unfortunately, I feel like that’s a natural human thing.
Sometimes, it seems like you could take small steps to change it, but it seems so hard when you try. What did you do just before joining us on the show?
I told you already. I bought Life is Good shirts. I just got it done. I was like, “Crap, I got an interview.” My girlfriend is on a call. We’re in this Airbnb. We have this one living area. We’ve been sharing the space. It was like, “Who has got a more important call to do right now?” She was on a business call. I was like, “I’ll come to the bedroom.” It doesn’t look like it, but you all are in bed with me.
What are you going to do next after the show?
What’s interesting about that is I don’t know until I do it. What will happen is I don’t have any other appointments. We’re doing a Nifty Show at 5:00 Eastern because we do Nifty Show live on Thursday. I know that’s coming. I don’t have anything else in my calendar, but I might go to the pool. I might go sit down and barrel through some of the emails I’ve got here. I might look at the cryptos. I might go play the Oculus. She’s off her call in the other room and I can hear her playing Beat Saber. I can hear the music coming in. I might go challenge her to do a game with Beat Saber.
I think what’s the take-home thought there is the lifestyle that I’ve chosen to live. What I told you about what I’m going to do next is the lifestyle I’ve lived for the majority of my adult life. It’s like, “What are the options?” It’s like I encounter this crossroad and go, “Now, it’s this time. What are the things that I can do right now? What do I want to do?” I do that thing and then I do the next thing. Somehow, I managed to get through the day and things get done. In fact, I’m a big fan of, “Working smart, not hard.” Don’t put me on hour-long meetings in conferences just to bat around stuff. I want purpose and intention. I want to get in, make the impact, and get out.
When people hire me as an advisor, I’m not interested in putting in hours. I’m interested in giving you what you need to move your business and idea forward. If it means I come in for five minutes and say, “Don’t do that. Do this,” and you’ve saved a ton of money, time, and effort so you know what to do, my job is done. Whatever the next thing is that comes up, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. When we wake up every morning, I look outside, open the curtains, and go, “It’s Puerto Rico outside now.”
I’ve seen that competitor come out in you in a few of your comments here throughout the show. I think the Oculus is calling.
I think it might be the Oculus. It’s funny if I look at the weather for where I’m at. The highs of 84 and lows of 75 are pretty much the same every day. It moves to 86 and 77 here towards the end of the week.
Watch out for hurricane season. It’s going to change that.
That’s the one thing that they say if they’re going to hit September, it’s the worst and a lot of people duck out. I’m curious to see what my first one is going to be like. I’ve lived in Tornado Alley for twenty years in Texas and Oklahoma. I’ve lived where there are blizzards in both the Lakefront in Chicago and Denver. The thing about tornadoes is you don’t know, “Tornado warning. Take cover.” At least with hurricanes, it’s a week out and you got time to go, “I think I’m going to go get on a plane and head to the mainland.”
I had a tornado touchdown over here in Sarasota randomly. It picked up anything that wasn’t attached on the golf course right across the street from me and dropped it right in the middle of the road. I was driving there three minutes before. I was solo. It was crazy. They were nuts. Guys, what do you think? A little Hot Topic action?
Little Hot Topics and then we’ll wrap it up. This is like news of the day. We’ll touch on a few interesting things that are going on. eBay, which you mentioned earlier, is going to allow NFT sales on its platform.
How are they going to do that?
They’re going to call William Quigley.
One of the beautiful things about blockchain is it’s secure. The transaction takes place without an intermediary. eBay is the intermediary. One of the big problems with eBay is you buy something, pay, and it never shows up, or it shows up crap and broken and you got to send it back. You never get paid if you sell something. You’ve got to list it again and go through all that. I list an NFT and somebody bids on and buy it. How does that transference happen securely? How does somebody not get ripped off?
NFT: Crazy, power-hungry, and money-hungry people are going to keep doing what those type of people are going to do, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
They’re setting themselves up for failure there. It’s the same platform that they’ve used all along and the same problems that are there all along. Now, they’re allowing NFT as a category which defeats the purpose.
They got excited when people started to sell the opens of their NBA Top Shots on eBay. I heard about this from a friend.
I did it. I sold a Cool Cats Pack. I put it up on eBay. I got $1,400 for this pack that I paid $15 for. I’m legitimate, so I said, “You’ll come into my Zoom. We’ll open it together and I’ll give you the contents.” That was exactly what happened. We got to Zoom. I opened it up. I showed them what they got. I sent it to them and we were done.
They want to soak up some of the surpluses from people making this type of money. Their business is probably dragging because your nomadic perspective, minimalism, and all that good stuff is you’re not alone on that crusade. They’re like, “What do we have to do next? How do we have to move into a future where people can collect while still being minimalistic?” This was like, “Let’s do this, guys.” I don’t know if they have a plan yet to do it well, but they certainly have the money.
We’ll see. We reported it on the news show in Bad Crypto and had some commentary. Good luck, eBay.
The next thing on the ledger here is CryptoPunks NFT bundle has went for $17 million. Did it go? Is it on the auction block? It must have gone already for $17 million.
Those were sold. It’s nine of them.
Right there, I think that is evidenced. There’s a bubble. Not that all entities are a bubble, they’re not. There’s no reason those too should go for that kind of money.
Yes or no. In five years, will that be worth the same or more?
Yes, it will be worth the same, more or less. I have no idea. What kind of money do you have to have to blow that money on investing in something? That is crazy speculation. You got to have ridiculous amounts of money that is throw-away millions for you.
The people buyer recouped a lot of his funds almost immediately. He fractionalized the people. Something like that happened.
I guess you could. The problem I have is when people point to those as representative of the NFT space. It’s like when you look at what an athlete is getting paid and the millions that they’re getting paid to dribble a ball or whatever. Realize that the vast majority of people playing basketball will never get that kind of money. We’re looking at NFTs here that are the outliers. Most people making NFTs aren’t making anything that would even come close to that.
I went down to the local gym to play some 3×3. I was asking the spectators to pay me for that, but for some reason, we couldn’t get anything.
You should have offered them an NFT.
How much money did DAZN make selling Canelo versus Saunders NFTs?
They manage the use of the boxing matches from a distribution perspective. They’re doing the production there. I do see this fight happened, Canelo Álvarez and Billy Joe Saunders. They started making NFTs immediately after selling them for significant sums of money. We’re talking 25 NFTs for 10 ETH. We’re not talking about $17 million here. There’s potential in that path as well. There’s a number of differences in the media and entertainment outlets. That’s another use case.
NFT: NFTs are programmable media. Whether it’s music, music videos, photos, documents, or collectibles, all of these are great uses for it.
Boxing is one of those things that brings up a lot of feelings and emotions, especially the history of boxing. I would be more excited about NFT and some of the historical matches, fighters, and that type of stuff personally.
We’ve got UFC coming out via the Dapper Labs guys. It’s funny that boxing traditionally generates a whole lot more revenue than UFC, but UFC everywhere I look, it seems to be that much more popular. This is a weird dichotomy there. I don’t know what’s going on with that. I have to think that the UFC NFTs are going to do well.
How deep do we look into it? Are they shit-selling moments like with NBA Top Shots? What exactly the NFTs look like?
It’s not as sexy as Top Shots, but they had a few different things like images. They had the video clips that they’re selling. A couple of them didn’t sell. It was a successful sale, but we’re not talking about crazy millions here being pushed out the door. It’s more about the use case here and how they’re deploying it.
Joel, earlier you mentioned Animoca, they raised $88 million at $1 billion valuation to capitalize on game NFTs.
Everything Yat Siu touches turns to gold. We’ve worked as advisors with Animoca. We’ve worked with them on a number of projects. Blockchain Heroes are in the Quid App now, which is part of the Animoca stable. We are working with Sandbox. They may be making some Blockchain Hero voxel characters that are going to be available in Sandbox. We’ve had Gamee on the show before. We’ve had Yat on to talk about F1 Delta Time. They’re getting started. Yat is building an empire and no surprise that they were able to raise that kind of money. They are one to watch.
The big message that I take from this and other raises that have happened is there’s a lot of money flowing into this space. It’s a reflection of the opportunity.
It’s always fun to try to pin a year on comparing it to the web. It’s not the web. It’s different. It’s Web 3.0, I suppose. We’re like World Wide Web 2002. A lot of people have said they would look at what happened from 2017 to 2018 as the first IPO bubble, the dot-com bubble bursting. The timelines are a little off, but now we know blockchain is here to stay. I don’t think we’re going to see the bubble burst in quite the same way when the bear market does hit. There are too many financial institutions that are involved now in this for us to see that kind of dramatic pullback. I don’t think we’re going to see that in the crypto world like we did in 2018. What do I know? I’m just twelve years old certainly.
That’s Hot Topics, guys.
First, we had a 22-year-old, but this is our first twelve-year-old on the show. This guy knows his shit.
I might want to get released from my parents, dealing with a minor here and asking them all these personal questions.
Joel, I know a lot of people who know you know where to find you. For people who don’t, what’s the best place to go to learn about your projects?
The best place to find me, JoelComm.com is the blog that I never write for anymore. It’s amazing. Once I’ve gone down to this rabbit hole, I hardly write anything on my personal blog. You think I would be writing about every project, but I’m so busy writing for other pubs. I’m writing for Gary Vee. He’s One37PM.com now. It’s like if I have a new article, “Do I post on Gary Vee’s site or my own? I’m going to give it to Gary. Here you go, Gary.” We have our Heroes Discord. It’s Badco.IN/Discord. You can find me there. You can look for me on Twitter, but I hide a lot. You can DM me at Telegram @JoelComm. Can I give away something for your audience?
That would be awesome.
I’ve got a tightened pack from Blockchain Heroes 2: First Strike. They’re probably going for about $100 in the secondary market. You guys figure out how you want to give it away and get me a WAX Wallet address to send it to.
Will do. That’s awesome. Thank you.
We’ve reached the outer limit at the Edge of NFT. Thanks for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventurers on this starship. Invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey all so much better. How? Go to iTunes right now, rate us, and say something cool. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Joel, thanks for joining us. It was a blast.
It’s my pleasure.
Thank you, Joel.
- The Nifty Show
- The Bad Crypto Podcast
- Blockchain Heroes
- Joel Comm
- Gift Goat
- Binance Smart Chain
- Virtual Blockchain Week
- The Fun Formula
- Barnaby Andersun – Previous episode
- Run With It
- F1 Delta Time
- @JoelComm – Twitter
- iTunes – Edge of NFT Podcast
About Joel Comm
– Co-host of the Nifty Show and of course the Bad Crypto Podcast.
– Joel is a Futurist, Speaker, Author, Influencer, Podcaster and a whole lot more.
– He has advised countless, cutting edge, impactful projects within tech and crypto.
– Some of his current killer projects include Blockchain Heroes, The Bitcoin Collection, The Nifty Box, and Upland Collectibles Blockchain Heroes edition.