Alien Worlds is the world’s largest NFT game to date, with roughly as many users engaged in this decentralized NFT metaverse as the country of Bhutan has people. Learn how this came to be as Jeff Kelly, Ethan Janney, and Josh Krieger speak with Sarojini McKenna, who is one of the founders of Alien Worlds and the CEO of Dacoco. Tune in as Saro takes us through her journey in cryptocurrency, her introduction to NFTs, and the exciting new directions that Alien Worlds is taking. Plus, on today’s hot topics: massive sales numbers in MekaVerse’s NFT launch, why FTX’s upcoming marketplace is avoiding NFTs that offer royalties, and a chess grandmaster that received first NFT trophy in the sport’s history.
Listen to the podcast here:
Saro McKenna From Alien Worlds On The Journey From Oxford BA/MA To Interplanetary DAOs, Plus: Mekaverse’s 60Mil NFT Sale, NFT Chess Trophy, And More…
All you NFT curious readers launch into this episode to learn how our guests went from the banking world into crypto and took a deep dive.
How Alien Worlds helped to pioneer what DAOs are and can be.
Why NFT participation trophies may be the next big thing, all this and more on this episode, enjoy.
This episode features Saro McKenna, CEO of Dacoco and Cofounder of Alien Worlds, a social NFT Metaverse whereby NFTs are leveraged as game pieces with utility and functionality in the game. Alien World is the most popular blockchain game in history. Saro has bridged traditional business practices with decentralized communities and concepts since the early days of cryptocurrency. Prior to crypto, she spent more than four years in M&A at Rothchild in London and has represented equity on Boards of Directors. She holds an MA with honors from Oxford University, where she was a Mrs. JH McEwen scholar.
It’s great to be here.
Thanks for joining us. You are in what part of the world now?
I’m based in Zug, Crypto Valley. A great part of the world to be in. It’s great to be with you guys over in various parts of the US.
The pros and cons of our industry are it’s a 24/7 business.
Getting up in the morning to talk to Asia, staying up late to talk to Americans but it’s good to be alive. It’s good to be able to collaborate with everybody.
Let’s go back in time a bit. You graduate from Oxford. You get into M&A. You are completely crushing it. How do crypto enter the picture for you, and when did NFTs make their appearance?
I started in M&A, learning about companies, buying and selling them, and valuing them. I joined as the beginning of the financial crisis was happening. I witnessed the unfolding of that banking crisis. Banks across Europe were failing day by day. In fact, we’ve got a daily memo in our inboxes of which national banks had major downgrades in their ratings or had failed in the preceding couple of days. I thought that I was going to see a major correction in how traditional finance functioned or even maybe some soul searching, or some actual changes in practices. I didn’t see much cultural change.
There was about a year-long period in which deals weren’t happening but I didn’t feel after that there was much change in the underlying approach to how corporate finance was being structured and done. I still stuck around in that world for a while. I was moving a little bit more towards strategy consulting and also working with private equity in terms of being representing them on Boards of Directors and doing post-acquisition, integration and consulting.
It wasn’t a master plan to get into crypto but it was gradual learning. I think about it. I was fortunate that I had a few friends who were already working on various projects. In fact, it’s an early stage in Ethereum and a couple of other things. That humanized it for me because otherwise, you hear about these projects and they sound impenetrable.
For Steven, understanding them and let alone. Whereas when you speak to people and they tell you the reality of what they are doing on a day-to-day basis. Even if you don’t understand fully what they are saying, at least you realize that it’s a human being that you might be friends with or might have in your social circle who’s doing that.
It was fortunate that I was hearing about it from other people rather than reading about it because that made it more real and accessible. I did have a friend who was working on a project called eosDAC, which was the precursor. The first project that I and my business partners worked on, which was a decentralized autonomous community. That was a block producer on a number of blockchains.
He began to introduce me to this project and I’ve got closer. There’s no formal way of being hired. You just start to circle around what’s going on and maybe comment add value, and then gradually, people might start approaching you. They asked me to look at their constitution, for example. They also had a lawyer who was drafting.
I was making some comments, and then I’ve gradually got closer to that project until eventually, my business partners and I decided to become a bit more formal and decide to start providing certain services into that DAC, and then we continued to do other things. That was how it got started. It being humanized through a couple of personal friendships where I realized that crypto wasn’t an abstract thing. Blockchain was something that people were working on then gradually starting to work on one particular project.
This constant theme, throughout the history of crypto, all goes back to the community and bringing people along in its own unique way. You talked about crypto. How did the NFT show up in your life?
All credit to that goes to my business partner, Rob Allen. We were working on eosDAC. This decentralized autonomous community. By the way, DACs are exactly the same thing as DAOs. It’s just different terminology, that was what we were calling them at that time but we now call them DAOs. One of the missions of that DAC was to help other DACs to form. It was to create so it was using a codebase to create a tokenized DAC that would have multi-sig permissions that would allow it to sign transactions and function as a DAC. It’s because we had that codebase, we thought it would be easy enough to provide that to other groups where they could spin up their own DAC and start operating the same way that we did.
How do you bring communities together? How do you track value? How do you incentivize the right behavior? These are some fundamental questions in the blockchain world. Click To Tweet
We did that for a while and we were creating a product called the DAC Factory. We were also advising some other clients on how to set up DAOs or even to advise the preparatory committee to the government of LIBOR land, which is a micronation that was putting a lot of its operations on the chain. We were doing the thing of advising or trying to help DAOs become a reality in the world, whether from a more governmental level. We are also helping a foundation to do that. We were helping these other DACs through the DAC Factory. That was all chugging along but even the fact that we had to assist a government to conceptualize how to create legal structures that would allow DAO to function as an entity in the world.
Even the fact that we were having to get a fundamental as that. A precursor to even being a down world has evidenced the fact that it was maybe a little bit premature or at least quite early to be proposing this concept of DAOs to people as real business things that they might turn their company into a DAO. It was a little bit too soon for people to be able to see that, especially for non-crypto people.
We began to think, “What if we gamified this a little bit more?” That’s a realm in which people are more experimental. You also might attract a different type of person. It’s still fundamentally the same thing of bringing people together through tokens in a DAO but maybe we would reach a different audience and would be more accessible.
When you are starting to think about that, NFTs come around. At least for my prescient and visionary cofounder. This was before NFTs were on the radar for many people but he could see that the WAX blockchain was beginning to become more important and it was a chain that was designed to be NFT friendly, especially NFTs have utility.
We decided to combine this DAO thing that we had been working on for a while with NFTs, which are such a natural blockchain construct. You could put possessions or unique things on-chain rather than these measures of aggregate value, which is what a fungible token is. He could see that was a thing by fusing those together, these two big thematic pillars that were under the Alien Worlds. It ended up being a big success.
Two game-changing pieces of the crypto and blockchain universe in particular over the last several years are coming together in one amazing stuff. Thanks for sharing that.
As you started to talk to us about the history of your experience in crypto and NFTs, I thought we could probably spend a whole episode on the interesting journey that you have been through. There are a lot of twists and turns. It seems like you have come across a lot of intelligent, interesting folks and organizations as part of this but I’m glad we were able to get to mentioning Alien World.
Maybe Alien Worlds is a manifestation of Saro’s journey. That’s what’s going on.
A lot of people who have ended up going further with blockchain have been through similar things like how do you bring communities together? How do you track value? How do you incentivize the right behavior? These are some fundamental questions. We are all solving this but certain common themes arise and people discover how to solve those things. DAOs and NFTs are two of those solutions.
You told us how you brought existing ideas that you had put together and brought in the NFT, at least in its cohort form, into your project that led to Alien World. At the same time, Alien World, as we know is one of the top dapps now. It has been an ambitious project from the start. We hear about and see ambitious projects all the time, and then we stop hearing about them sometimes because they fall apart and nothing happens. You are a great person to ask, what’s the journey of executing on a vision when you have something granted big that you are ambitious about?
Some projects have come and gone. We have even seen that in the rankings like DappRadar, sewing the gaming and other activity in various steps. Some of them look like they are coming up and they are going to challenge us, and then several weeks later, they are nowhere. I wonder what was going on there? Some projects have been much more stable. What we have built with Alien Worlds is a platform.
We think of it as a Metaverse, a place in which people can use the fundamental architectural pieces that we have put in place to the NFTS and planetary structures. I can talk about the inflationary mechanism, which is how gaming rewards come into the system day-by-day and how those are competitively allocated between the planets that are in competition with each other.
That’s what we have constructed. Everything is on a chain, nobody has to come to us for permission to interact with the smart contracts to offer their own games using those architectural pieces, and that’s what’s happening. For example, communities began with Alien Worlds to drop their own NFTs onto certain collections of landowners. There’s a company that’s offering this as a commercial service with Alien Worlds.
It’s not our company. It’s totally a separate one. You can go to him and say, “I would like to have NFTs dropped onto certain collections of landowners.” He will execute that and you can do it with him and figure out, which NFTs and which groups of landowners and so on. The entire manifests on the chain, it’s accessible to anybody.
It had been a leave to have a bit of technical expertise but you don’t have to send me an email and it will come up with a contract with us like it’s completely open. That’s what the community is doing. The question is, “How do you execute?” You have to make it executable by a wider group of people and that’s what DAOs are designed to do. They are designed to bring in a group of people that can come and go. The group of people that are involved in a DAO will change over time because the token sits at the center of it by selling, buying or by working your way into ownership of that token. You can come and go out of the DAO.
These structures, if you can design them so that as many people as possible can contribute to them in an organized way that’s clear how that’s happening. That’s one of the key things about execution. That does require some design, some technical execution, and then teaching people how to engage with those things or attracting people who already would know like that company that I was mentioning. He already can read chain data and can execute something like that. That’s what a decentralized blockchain project is in contradistinction to any other game or company. What you are trying to build is something that other people can pick up the ball and run with it for years to come.
It feels like almost genetic algorithms or something. If you set up the correct initial conditions, then something can happen and if you don’t, then something won’t. We referenced this guy, Stephen Wolfram before as someone who’s involved with SuperWorld as one of the advisors. He’s this Mathematician who did a lot of stuff around what they call cellular automaton.
You create one cell, maybe it’s like a pixel on a screen but you define rules as to what its neighboring cells are. There’s a set of rules you can define and some of the rules makes a straight line. Some of the rules make this incredible infinite universe of pixels that go on and create all these interesting patterns and stuff like that. That has been a little bit of the secret sauce in setting this up for success is spending the time to find those right initial conditions that make something magical.
I’m looking at the data on DappRadar and I’m blown away. I wanted to put this in perspective for our readers. 673,000 users and $440 million transactions are probably ebbs and flows and it’s probably been bigger in some months but that’s the entire population of the country at Bhutan or the entire population of Fiji playing this game at the same time is the magnitude of this, which is incredible.
I wonder to what extent you feel how Alien Worlds is leveraging NFTs as part of the functionality, and utility is part of that, and how that is happening to create this stickiness. Jeff and I previous venture in the food-tech world prepared meals and the importance of retention. How hard it is to have that many users actively engaged at one time? I’m blown away.
NFTs are completely different from fungible tokens. There might sometimes be a series of them, all of which are the same but they are unique between the series. At least in our case, they have these attributes that are on-chain visible and are then read by the gaming smart contracts, not just our gaming smart contracts but anybody can write smart contracts that can understand these attributes, and then can ascribe different gameplay pathways, depending on what attributes the person is presenting in the NFT, that’s in their bag at that time. You couldn’t design a game around Bitcoin. All you can do with Bitcoin is transfer it. Maybe you could design a tennis-type game or something.
Alien Worlds: Fusing together these two big thematic pillars – DAO and NFT – was really what underpinned Alien Worlds.
By being able to put all of that richness in there, quite a deep strategy can emerge from that. In our case, when you mine on Alien Worlds, you have to select a land NFT and a tool NFT, and the land is located on a planet. The DAO dynamics at the planetary level impact the mining rewards that go down to all of the land NFTs that are located or associated with that planet DAO. You are selecting a combination of tools and land that also have relationships with the planet DAO that land is located on.
That’s a level of strategy that I don’t think you could replicate with another crypto game that didn’t use NFTs. You get much more uniqueness, variation, and strategy but also, one of the things that I find interesting. As the game Founders create NFTs that have these attributes, we can envisage ways that our gaming-smart contracts might understand those attributes.
You could create a game that receives Alien Worlds NFTs. In your world, an 8 could be lower than 1, whereas when we created it, it would be greater than it and you could have it where things are multiplayer. Whereas in ours, they might be summative or you could have a thing where one attribute cancels another, whereas we didn’t conceive of it that way.
When they are utility NFTs and they have these attributes, you are unleashing into reality unique on-chain and things that have attributes that anybody can then in the future come up with lots of different interpretations of that. You are almost creating the grammar to a language in a way or the characters to a story that can unfold. That’s completely different from how fungible tokens work. In our Metaverse, we have fungible tokens and NFTs. They do perform a different function but they are incredibly rich. I’m seeing the beginning also of how we will end up using them.
You are linking some DeFi elements into this too, is that correct?
It’s more user DeFi or socially constructed DeFi, in the sense that any DeFi mechanisms would go would have to be agreed by the DAO custodian. Once each of the DAO is open to concerning governance, they can choose to allocate resources in any way they want, so that opportunity is there. It’s not DeFi in the way that it’s not a stake to earn or those simpler mechanics but it contains the components for people. Certainly, people are earning through Alien Worlds, the mining game but that’s not a DeFi mechanism because you have to perform various actions, choose your strategy, and then go through mining. There are some possibilities for that to the DAOs, for sure.
It’s more play to earn than traditional DeFi.
The game will be launching missions on Binance Smart Chain. How are NFTs on BSC different or similar to the NFTs and the mining game on WAX?
NFT is a little bit different for starters. The standard is different on WAX using atomic asset standard and on Ethereum, which different standards and in BSC as well. We have a fewer number of attributes and we envisage the bill get used in our missions’ game in a certain way. One of the reasons why I mentioned the possibility of anybody picking up the NFTs and running with them in different ways is that we are already beginning to see the community considering how those BSC NFTs could get used in other ways. The attributes on them could signify different things. For example, we have a crafting key attribute on the BSC NFTs, which we don’t have on the WAX NFTs.
Crafting key is a letter from A to G. If you had a B, you might gain access to certain events or you might need to craft an NFTs that had all of the letters. It allows a possibility for different game mechanics to emerge in the future. We don’t have that particular crafting key in our WAX NFTs. The community is looking at that and thinking about certain pockets of the community. Thinking how they can create little events and little mini-games. They have all these little quests, competitions, and different leaderboard competitions that they come up with themselves. Those contained some different attributes and are likely to end up getting used differently.
Was BSE Chain to clear the front runner of the new chain or did you guys look at Polygon, Avalanche, Solana, and some of the other possibilities?
We are looking at them, for sure. This is not the only Metaverse that I know of that’s constructed on three chains in the way that we are now. Our fungible token is on WAX, Ethereum and BSC. We have NFTs on WAX and now BSC. We have gaming logic on WAX and soon on BSC. That multi-chain construction was innovative at the time especially, and remains even now we built a teleport function, which allows the fungible token to be teleported or transported across the different chains. You could hold it first on WAX, and then bring it over to Ethereum. As part of that, we won’t be stopping there. We will be extending the Metaverse onto different chains and also the community will do that.
It doesn’t require us to create a teleport. Anybody could create a code, and then perhaps an interface that allows people to move their Trilium from WAX to another chain. We certainly expect that’s all going to end up happening. We have already been building some technical bridges into Minecraft. Extending the Metaverse out into further platforms is a major part of extending the people that hear about Alien Worlds and participate in it. It’s also part of building the tech. What we think of is that we can help build the tech, and then everyone could pile in and use it. Also, sometimes other people can build the tech, too.
Who is the most surprising person in your life that you found is playing Alien Worlds that you never would have guessed when you started all this?
I contacted a financial advisor way before for something. I was briefly describing what I was up to. He’s like, “I have been playing Alien Worlds.” Somebody from a completely different world that was unlikely. We have heard that there was a whole hedge fund in New York where they were all playing it early on. It seems to take off within pockets initially and then grow out from there. I was surprised about this.
Speaking of that, you have talked about some of the innovations around DAOs. We hear that now planets in Alien Worlds will soon be DAOs. Tell us a little bit about how NFT will support and expand during this development process and how you managed to do this because the biggest complaint I hear about DAO is the bigger, the more complicated and you’ve got a huge user base. How are you going to do this?
It could fail. I won’t lie. That’s always the way in crypto. That’s important because otherwise, there’s no skin in the game. When we turn the DAOs over to the governance of the custodian boards, they will have a lot of power. If we sugarcoat that too much or put too many training wheels on that, that’s not the point. The A in DAO is Autonomous. The point of that is that the people running it should have a high degree of autonomy over the direction that it goes, and the token holders of that DAO, who are the voters, who decide, whether they agree with the direction or not.
There are some ways that we construct it or the smart contracts are initially constructed that can also be altered by the DAO custodians in time but there are some ways that the DAO initially constructed that help the electorate to keep the DAO in check. For example, the DAO custodian board changes every week or at least the tally is taken every week. It could be the same five people as the week before but there’s the opportunity for the voters to get them out if they didn’t like what they were doing. If there’s a shorter window of time during, which a DAO custodian board could veer off track and start doing things with the voters didn’t want.
It’s nice if you could get some politicians out of office within a week.
What we didn’t do was a direct democracy method where people are voting on referendum points because we think that it’s hard enough to get engagement. What that requires is an engaged electorate. What we have as a delegated democracy, where you vote for the people, and then they vote for the resolutions. That is probably a better model but the mechanism for the voters to exert their control is weekly tallying of the custodians. There will also be a limit to how much can get transferred out of the DAO each week, so the custodians wouldn’t be able to enact an aggressive policy and get that through all in one week.
There are certain parameters in there. They have control and a lot of autonomy. That’s one of the reasons why the competitive dynamic is alive and well within these DAO. I should say that what’s open in the DAO is people are running to be counselors and people are voting. They are staking into the DAO entities, which means that they are impacting the relative amount of the daily inflation that that planet is receiving.
What distinguishes a decentralized blockchain project from any other game or company is that what you're trying to build is something that other people can pick up and run with. Click To Tweet
If you are taking into a planet, then you are helping that planet to be bigger and to attract more daily inflation. That’s what’s up and running. The election period is open and we will be releasing the planets to DAO governance once a couple of things are in place. It’s a hugely exciting dynamic and that’s the strategic part of Alien Worlds. That’s why people would want to develop significant positions of Trillium to be able to impact the planetary politics on a planet. You can take over a planet and you can move to take over another planet and control it.
You talked about working with small governments, blockchains and things like this. I went to a City Council meeting in my local town and I noticed it’s own thing that could be improved. There are good things about it. Have you seen people working to create a DAO for their small town, the big city or other people envisioning this dream and trying to make that thing happen? I feel you probably would have seen it if anyone.
The government of Zug was looking into the feasibility of voting in their local elections on-chain and there has been a couple of others. There was a US city that began to have some voting on-chain in their elections. That’s recording and voting on the blockchain. I know that a lot of groups are trying to either turn their existing organizations like there was one foundation in particular that we were working with or trying to have bigger groups of people and also grantmaking bodies being turned into DAOs.
People need to understand is that they are not in general 1 member, 1 vote. They are 1 token, 1 vote, which is not the way democracy is. In a democracy, each natural person has a singular vote that’s an important principle of democratic systems. On-chain is a little different because we don’t have a native concept of identity. If you want it to try and replicate one person, one vote, you would end up in a situation where people were incentivized to create lots of accounts because, with each account, they get another unit of the voting power.
You would then have to be KYCing everybody and asking them to put in their passports, utility bills and so on in order to verify that each account also corresponded to a single person. I don’t think that we necessarily want to be invoking the systems of the default world to credentialize identity in on-chain systems.
There are other more native ways of building up a reputation. Therefore, if you are going to do that, it’s normally better to have stake-weighted voting or token-weighted voting rather than account-weighted voting, which would be like 1 account or 1 person, 1 vote. It’s a bit of a deviation as sometimes it’s unfair then people with more tokens get more say. One of the reasons for that is that those people would have put more value into the system.
They have more investment and also more reason to want to protect it. On-chain systems are susceptible to attack. You need to have a group of people who have put a lot into the system and are incentivized to protect it. Otherwise, a system like that is vulnerable to attack. There are some differences between the way that on-chain systems have to function versus default world systems. They are worth noticing by design.
Let’s talk about some of the fun things that are being created in that world. We know that you have special edition NFTs that come about from some of the members of the community and also, you bring in some outsiders. They tell us a little bit about that side of Alien Worlds
You asked how the NFTs might be used in the DAO as well. This is one great example of how the community is way more creative than I will ever be. The DAO accounts have to be EOSIO and tokens that can be fungible tokens or NFTs. The DAO groups are already beginning to think about all the different types of NFTs that they can put inside their DAO smart contracts, which would then be governed by the DAO dynamics. They could either create them or bring them in from the outside. They are even thinking of representing as NFTs on WAX. Other NFTs exist elsewhere, putting those into the DAO and making them part of the assets of the DAO that are community-owned and community-governed.
I didn’t even think of the possibility that you could put anything into those DAO smart contracts. Anything that can be read by those contracts EOSIO codebase. Maybe in time, they will develop bridges and you could stick Ethereum and NFTs in there. We are going to start seeing these communities be able to start to build up diverse treasuries and how they will build them up also be interesting.
Will they get people to donate them? Will they be having competitions that will end up having them be seated? How will they decide to attribute them out to their members? Around how the other NFTs are coming about. We have had a number of collaborations with other projects and special edition NFTs that have gone out through our mining game.
We also have a program that has been in the works with some artists who are creating NFTs that will be Alien Words NFTs and go out as rewards into the system. The artist NFT universe now is interesting and a lot of them don’t have the technical capability. We can help them with that side if they create the art, then we can help create the NFT, and then our community benefits because they get them as rewards, and the artist benefits because they get some of the NFTs themselves. We have a program like that in the works.
We have a whole Metaverse art space thing that’s happening in October 2021 and loads of artists coming in and some musicians doing stuff around that. Lore has written about the NFTs. That was a sweet thing that began to happen where the land NFTs. There was a writer that began to write backstories to land NFTs and why they have the names they did. Lore is a decentralized thing that grows in interesting ways. I don’t control the Lore. Anybody can contribute to the Lore. Is it official Lore? Is it unofficial Lore? It’s something that everybody can contribute to and anybody owns it.
We have been talking about how interesting it is that when NFTs are created and people hold them, parties beyond the creator and holder of that NFTs could start to give those NFTs special privileges. I can create NFTs to gift people special privileges to a member area but somebody else could create a member area. All of their own that give people special privileges because it’s easy to check on someone’s wallet and see if they are holding an NFT. Before we head into our Quick Hitters, we always like to ask our guests what’s going on? They are interested in that, we haven’t discussed other projects, platforms, and ideas in the NFT world that you might be jazzed about.
I love everything where creators are being incentivized to produce their own NFTs and games. Sandbox has an interesting mechanism for allowing community members to be creators, also benefit from that and create their own NFTs. That’s why you would build a blockchain game versus a server-based game because people own the product of what they are generating within the system.
They are also incentivized to add value to it and to create it themselves. This concept that is not everybody might have the technical ability to do it like Sandbox, for example, helping to facilitate the technical aspect of how the NFT gets created on-chain but then all of the attributes, imagery and all of the meaning can get ascribed by the person themselves.
You mentioned how the community or a group could create an event that required a certain signifier in the NFT to join the event. The platform might create the tech and the user might create the meaning but then other users add meaning because they then create an audience for that, a market for it or require it to be an entry to their event. That is a collaborative process of building up and layering up meaning and value within a system.
The tech doesn’t necessarily have to be a blocker anymore because, whether the platform itself creates it or even another entity within that Metaverse or that gaming platform creates it. As long as the users can then put in value, and then other users can create an audience or an extra meaning for that value, then that’s what creates a vibrant economy and dynamic going forward.
Josh, we are heading over to Quick Hitters.
They are a fun brief but quick way to get to know you a little bit better. There are ten total questions. We are looking for a short, single word or a few word response but feel free to expand if you get the urge. Question number one. What is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
It would have to be a fuzzy peach sour candy.
Alien Worlds: With utility NFTs, you’re unleashing things that have attributes that anybody can then come up with lots of different interpretations on in the future.
Ii’s always going to be healthy first.
Those are good. The second is Swedish Fish for me but they were up there.
Question two, what is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
This was a little handbag that I had when I was a kid. It might have been in my church where they were somehow I was able to bring it for some sale or something and they sold it.
Question three, what is the most recent thing you purchased?
I took an Uber. That would probably be it, an Uber ride.
Was it way more expensive than you thought it would be?
I’m glad to see this as a universal thing.
When Josh and I went to Puerto Rico, we were with a big group of guys and they don’t have a lot of Uber’s in San Juan but they have them. We would all go together to the same place, then we would all stupidly order an Uber at the same time. The price would go way up, even though we were going to have to wait for the car to come back and get us later, watch it, run it on the map.
During rush hour, we scheduled a show with Michael Turpin and there was no Uber to get me to the show. I had to scooter with my computer and all my equipment. It was 5 miles on a scooter to get to the show on time.
Question four, what is the most recent thing you sold?
I can’t remember but I have been giving away stuff on Freecycle Furniture that either I cannot put together or that I don’t want. I love it. It’s great. It disappears from your house within a day, and then the problem has gone.
You can add that step as a picture on the IKEA instructions that little man has to a picture of him selling it on Craigslist.
The first thing was crying and then putting it up on Freecycle.
I feel like there’s an SNL skit in there you guys are working on this.
We found out that Uber is one of the most hated brands in various countries throughout the world, including The United States, for some reason.
We always have these love, hate relationships with these things. I also love Uber but sometimes it annoys me.
Now that they are trying to make a profit, I don’t like them anymore.
Question number five, what is your most prized possession?
My dog, if she counts. I’m lucky because I have a family member who’s also a possession so I can slip right in there. She’s the best.
What breed is she?
She’s an English Toy Terrier. It’s quite an unusual breed but they look like Doberman Pinschers but like bonsai or tiny size of a cat.
The reason why you would build a blockchain game instead of a server-based game is because people own the product of what they're generating within the system. They're also incentivized to add value to it and to create it themselves. Click To Tweet
It’s that the same as a Miniature Pincher?
They look almost identical.
The artist Vesa brought his dog to the show. Do we have any other animals?
We had a dog slipping water in the background a couple of times. That’s like sound effects.
Question number six. If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical service, and experience that’s for sale, what would that be?
I would buy some time off as if it’s a holiday. We have been working pretty hard for a while. I haven’t taken any time off. I would love a period off where I felt that things were covered and I could switch off the Telegram.
I’m feeling like in the last two weeks of 2021 everyone is going to chill out.
We have heard several times in the show, they decided to go on vacation for two weeks, and then they realized that NFTs happened. They are like, “Crap.” It’s hard to get out of the game even in a short time. A lot is happening. Question seven. If you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would that be?
Overcoming obstacles is a quality. Sometimes I feel like when I go in front of my computer, it’s like, “I’m like a machine that has to find ways around issues that arise obstacles.” That’s something that I would pass on.
There’s a book called that but it comes from some stoic philosophy.
Question eight. If you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would that be?
Maybe comfort eating is like diving into the sugar. It happens but it would be nice not to have it. Perhaps stoicism then would be what I want.
Question number nine. What did you do before joining us on the show?
I was catching up with my family having arrived on my Uber. I saw my dog and everyone else. Someone in the house was watching Korean series. That’s become successful here and it’s violent. Do you guys know what this is? I was told that I probably wouldn’t like it because it was too violent.
Is that the game show on Netflix? It’s about the whole crew. It’s streaming in 36 different languages or something. It’s popular and people love it. Is it Squid Game or something like that?
That’s it. Do you like it? Have you seen it?
I haven’t seen it. It’s on my list. It’s constantly up on Netflix because it’s number one and it has been forever.
I’m looking at it. Squid Game is horrifying in a good way.
Can you have horrifying in a good way?
If it’s Halloween or it’s October.
You are more into the friendly aliens. I get it.
Alien Worlds: What’s interesting is that we’re going to see communities be able to actually start to build up really diverse treasuries.
I wouldn’t give that as a compliment. “What do you think of my dress?” “It’s horrifying in a good way.” Last one question. What are you going to do next after the show?
I will be going to bed. As discussed, it’s on the late side here. In fact, I probably filling up a hot water bottle and heading to bed. One of my favorite things.
Thanks so much for sharing your answers with us in the Edge Quick Hitters. We appreciate it. We know we’ve got to let you run but before we do, we did want to ask where folks should go to follow what you are up to, the projects you are working on, whether it’s Alien Worlds or anything else, how do people stay informed?
AlienWorlds.io is the main place. From there, you can check out the Metaverse and all of the gaming functionality that we have created. I would suggest also getting into the Discord and Telegram channels that are also linked from there because that’s where you can go to start visiting other parts of the Metaverse than the initial games that we have created.
A Metaverse is a vibrant place. Like any city, you have to start to get to know it, chat with people, and find out the other places because they’ve all got their own Telegram and Discord channels, which you will discover if you start to chat to people. Don’t go to the website or think that you can go to the game and play the game because the social element of it is where you discover the other stuff that’s going on and you can begin to find that at the Telegram and Discord.
We have a little giveaway we were putting together too, Josh. Did you have some deets on that?
I was communicating with your assistant during this process. You are a Jack of all trades as Stacy, who’s amazing. We have ten tools of varying traits that we are going to be giving away, which is incredible, and of course, some people may feel some of these have more perceived value than others. At the end of the day, it will be a random selection of those tools to folks that compete in a little contest that we put together. Thanks for that.
Keep an eye out on our socials for that. To all our readers, we will get you more details on how to score some of those tools with varying traits. Saro, thanks so much for sharing this time with us. Your perspective is valuable. It’s something we have been looking forward to for a long time.
Congrats also on the huge success of your show.
We are in the Top 50 Tech Podcast.
Seriously, congrats because probably there are some shows in there that have been around for many years. You have built that up through this great chemistry that you have. All these amazing guests and this wonderful space that you are covering. Congrats to you guys.
We are launching our first NFT project called Living Trees. Ethan has been the mastermind architect behind that but the idea is that we want to have NFTs that keep giving like the giving tree. Cross-pollinate this ecosystem with all the amazing guests that we have had on and may have in the future. If you have one of these trees, you never know what’s going to grow on one of the branches.
You might do an event at some point as well.
We will be at quite a few events. We’ve got NYC.NFT, Dreamverse, and then Crypto Experience in Miami. After that is a DCentralcon, we will be hitting the road for November early December 2021, and then we will be ready for a nap, too.
Maybe our paths will meet and congrats again on all of that. That’s awesome.
Let’s head on over to the Hot Topics and see what’s going on in the ever-expanding universe of NFTs, MekaVerse bags $60 million in Ethereum in NFT sales. Another NFT drop is the raging topic of discussion as MekaVerse bags the record of being one of the largest launches to date. The Ethereum NFTs have already acquired massive sales worth $60 million between initial Mint and secondary sales. Sounds like a fascinating event here. What do we know about this? Jeff, do you have an opinion?
What we know is that they crushed it and there are a number of projects that continue to crush it. It was this time where you felt like things were tapering off a little bit in NFT land. What’s happening is this is an evolution. It’s an ebb and flow, then creative destruction. They find a new path with different elements, functions, promises, features, and it’s continuing to grow.
These are all that I consider being primarily community-based fun-driven projects and the function relates to the community, which is amazing. It’s important. However, we are not talking about projects that are launching that are going to eliminate physical IDs, deeds to homes or car registrations. These are the things that are everybody has to deal with in their life and eventually be NFTs or some equivalent.
I’m looking at some of the images here and they are cool. They look like transformers a little bit. Another thing too is you see people spending on these things. Maybe they are thinking of them as investments, whether that’s a good idea or not but there’s something that we even mentioned in our Edge Quick Hitters. We could buy anything in the world. We mentioned experience and that’s also something that makes these things valuable for people.
Why they are willing to take a little bit of risk on it, not being something that they can get a return on investment because they are having an experience with it. It’s fun. There’s a story. There’s maybe even some Lore attached, as we heard from our guests, whether or not it goes somewhere in the future, you have had some fun in the process. If you spend a little bit of money on that, that’s okay.
When you go to the Alien Worlds website, don’t just go to the game and play. The social element of it is really where you discover all the other stuff that’s going on. Click To Tweet
A little bit of money but now it’s a lot of money because the floor is 6.25 ETH. It was 5 ETH when I checked it before two of our friends were fortunate enough to get these but it’s completely random by lottery. Congrats to anyone that has a MekaVerse. If you decide to buy one, it’s 6.25 ETH.
We will post our wallet address and you could send it to us.
It’s an amazing drop and continuing to show the promise of the industry. We’ve got a lot of other big drops coming up. If there’s a bubble, the bubble is getting big.
There’s something I have been having this ongoing conversation about what is the new digital flex? People talk about and have created platforms for showcasing all of your NFTs, for example. It’s like a little bit too much of an active step that people have to show somebody what they have. It’s like somebody pulling something out of their pocket and showing it to them, like walking around with their special LeBron James rookie card or something in their pocket at all times. That’s not cool. There’s this thing that’s happening, whether it’s in the profile pictures that are now either going to be verified on Twitter or something similar that it’s a passive step that you take deliberately.
You walked outside in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, rocking your Jordans, knowing that everyone is going to look at them but you don’t say anything about it. You just wearing them. No matter if you are cruising in a brand new Lamborghini or Ferrari with a bunch of friends in there, driving all over God’s creation and not saying a word about it. There’s a passive element to that. That’s a cool flex but if you are the guy by himself pulling up to the valet at 1:00 AM solo in your Ferrari, that’s not cool. There’s this line here.
I’m trying to figure out where it’s going to be with digital assets. It’s starting to show itself a little bit. The profile picture is one of those places. This makes me think about where else are you going to show off your MekaVerse stuff. Is it going to say that you were at the party? That only MekaVerse holders have or are you happy to get that piece of gear that you know for certain only MekaVerse holders to have. These are little things coming about that make me think about it a lot.
We know that MekaVerse is going to flex their people at the Dreamverse. Next headline on the Champion Block here, Why FTX is upcoming marketplaces avoiding NFTs that offer royalties? Royalties are a relatively new concept when it comes to NFTs, with an overabundance of projects out there. Many are looking to add value to their token holders and experimenting with how they could do so.
One way is to give back a portion of the fees generated when NFTs are bought and sold on marketplaces to token holders known as royalties. The idea is this should incentivize the buyer to hold for a longer time but the marketplace is concern that this could make JPEGs fall foul of US Securities loss. The President, Brett Harrison, of FTX, said, “We will list NFT projects that pay royalties to the artists and creators but projects that pay royalties to the owners of these, we are going to avoid that.” That makes a lot of sense. It was a cut and dry to answer that.
The bigger news is that you’ve got an exchange that has been relatively bold in terms of what it’s done for the industry and going into NFTs directly. They have a US division. They have bought naming rights to stadiums. There have been rumors that they want to buy major financial institutions that were going into NFTs and finding that balance with Securities Laws is a fascinating signal of what they see as the potential.
We have talked for a while about the dominance of OpenSea and there have been conversations brewing about other players coming into the mix. I certainly think FTX is well-positioned to you become another player in a major way. They have the credibility and the capability of funding to make a stab at OpenSea, which I don’t think too many people have thus far.
Chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen awarded NFT trophy after tournament win, first time in chess history. Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen has been awarded this NFT trophy for winning an International Chess Tournament, the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. The tournament minted many NFT trophies and collectibles to preserve the game’s most defining moments. That’s exciting. if you create an NFT along with a physical version, then you can still put these types of things on your mantle. I do have some bowling trophies still from when I was a young child. I would put those on display.
Are those participation trophies?
I’ve got my 100 games. That was like a ten-year-old.
Are we talking the skinny pins or the bigger full-scale pins?
We are talking full-scale pins.
I was a candlepin bowler in my childhood. I have some of those trophies.
I lived in a small town when I was young, whose claim to fame was the world’s largest weathervane, then I moved to a slightly larger town whose claim to fame was they were a production center for Brunswick Bowling Manufacturing. We had the latest in bowling technology and it was huge.
For sure, there are a lot of parents that would love to see trophies be virtualized. I also think it’s great for kids, too. I remember I was big in Mortal Combat. At twelve, I won this big Mortal Combat Championship at my local arcade and you guys have to believe me. There’s no trophy digital to prove it. I would love to have that trophy so that you don’t have to believe me, Ethan. You could eat your own words and see the trophy.
We give all kinds of different things for participation in X, Y or Z rewards or whatever but something is interesting here. One thing I caught about that was that they gave the Grandmaster the trophy, the NFT, and then they auctioned off the sister one. There’s only one and the other one. They auctioned that off for $26,000 or something.
When you think about the Super Bowl rings, Super Bowl trophies, these one-time things that are created, and then you had this opportunity to create a limited set of parallel versions for a charity that could be auctioned off or whatever. How sweet would it be to have one Super Bowl ring that was created for the next Super Bowl? That would be freaking awesome.
There are tons of interesting aspects to this. Going back to my bowling trophies, I can’t help but talk about it because I do have them, Josh. I make it to show them to you. The topic that I find interesting about this is the only reason I have him. I picked him up from my mom’s house. I probably would have thrown them away but I thought my three-year-old would have fun playing around with them.
Alien Worlds: The ability to overcome obstacles is a quality that you would want to have in any early-stage project.
That’s a thing about physical items, those trophies, and pictures you drew when you were a kid. At a certain point, you go, “This is nostalgic but maybe I’ve got to trash this. I don’t need this.” If it’s digital, maybe you want to keep it around or that begs the question. We are collecting NFTs. We are collecting digital trophies. Is there a point at which we somehow have to symbolically or get rid of some of these things that are taking up digital space?
That’s a business idea because what’s the function way recommendation is it’s to take a picture of it but that doesn’t quite get at the sentimental of owning the trophy. Theoretically being able to show that trophy easily to someone else one day. My mom also has a storage unit with my trophies. Every few years, she’s like, “Do you want me to throw these away?” The answer is not. This conversation is making me realize that there’s a business opportunity here for someone that wants to take old trophies and NFT them for people so they can be nicely displayed and parents can finally get their storage units back.
That’s a great note to end on. Let’s all do more to help our parents get their storage units back. That’s what this whole NFT craze is about.
We have reached the outer limit at the Edge of NFT. Thanks for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventures on this starship. 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 then go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole.
Do you want to help co-create Edge of NFT with us? Do you get guests you want to see on the episodes? Questions for hosts or guests and NFT you would like us to review. Drop us a line at Contact@EdgeOfNFT.com or tweet at us @EdgeOfNFT to get in the mix. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
- Alien Worlds
- DAC Factory
- Stephen Wolfram
- Binance Smart Chain
- Rob Allen – LinkedIn
- Freecycle Furniture
- Discord – Alien Worlds
- Telegram – Alien Worlds
- Crypto Experience
- MekaVerse bags $60 million in Ethereum in NFT sales – Article
- Why FTX is upcoming marketplaces avoiding NFTs that offer royalties? – Article
- Chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen awarded NFT trophy after tournament win – Article
- iTunes – Edge of NFT Podcast
About Sarojini McKenna
CEO of Dacoco and Cofounder of Alien Worlds, a social NFT Metaverse whereby NFTs are leveraged as game pieces with utility and functionality in the game. Alien World is the most popular blockchain game in history. Saro has bridged traditional business practices with decentralized communities and concepts since the early days of cryptocurrency. Prior to crypto, she spent more than four years in M&A at Rothchild in London and has represented equity on Boards of Directors. She holds an MA with honors from Oxford University, where she was a Mrs. JH McEwen scholar.