How To Build An MVC: Minimum Viable Community

Joyce Yang of Global Coin Research shares her strategies for building an MVC: Minimum Viable Community.

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Listen on: Spotify | Apple Music | Google Podcast

Background

Mint Season 3 episode 6 welcomes Joyce Yang, the founder of Global Coin Research, a subscription-based media platform that provides insights and analysis into the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain space, with a focus on Asia. She is also a contributor at TechCrunch covering Cryptocurrency and Blockchain.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • 0:00 – Intro
  • 3:56 – Growing up in China & Going Global
  • 9:57 – Launching Global Coin Research
  • 12:05 – Investing as a Community
  • 19:11 – Encouraging Participation
  • 23:22 – Token-Gated Content
  • 37:56 – Building an MVC: Minimum Viable Community
  • 45:11 – What Comes After Web 3.0?
  • 50:14 – Outro

…and so much more.


Thank you to Season 3’s NFT sponsors!

1. Coinvise – https://coinvise.co/

2. POAP – https://poap.xyz/

3. Socialstack – https://socialstack.co/

Interested in becoming an NFT sponsor? Get in touch here!


Intro

Joyce, welcome to Mint. How are you doing? 

Good. Thanks for having me, Adam. 

Let’s get right into it. Give me a brief about yourself, but more specifically, what were you like before crypto?

Yeah, this kind of goes back a long way for me now. I’ve been in crypto for quite some time, about four to five years now at this point, building out Global Coin Research and building out communities in crypto in general. Prior to crypto, I kind of did the pretty typical track of going to college, trying to express my parents with a good school, and then after that, I go into finance learning some of the rudimentary skillsets that folks sometimes get from finance, such as working long hours and not sleeping. And that’s kind of turned out to be translatable and helpful in crypto in some way. I spent some time in finance, spent some time in tech, stumbled my way into crypto, and I have never looked back. 

So do you remember the first crypto you bought? 

I’m pretty sure it was Ethereum. It wasn’t. It wasn’t the Ethereum token sale, but it was like shortly after when I bought my first Ethereum. 

Wow. So super early, super early. Where did you study? Where did you stay?

I went to a small school in Boston.

What did you study there? 

Economics.

Do you feel like it’s super applicable at all to what you’re doing right now to an extent? 

Yeah, for sure. I think it definitely kind of made me think a bit more about tokenomics and how it applies to, for example, our tokens now that we have, and that’s on the market for global coin research. But, I think what was really eye-opening for me in college was kind of the type of people that were there. Our school had a number of international students and a number of folks just coming from all over the place. I grew up in New York really, and it was similar to you, kind of growing up in LA, and didn’t really know anything else. And I think just that opened up my eyes to the number of types of people that are out there, the curiosities of these individuals. That’s what I really sought and, kind of found, I think, in crypto as well. You really find a lot of young people with so much energy and it feels like college if you really find the right type of people and you go to the right type of events. And we try to foster that actually in many ways through global coin research probably not through the frat parties.

I was just, I was like, there are two sides of college. There’s the nerd doing like organizational clubs on campus, and then there’s like the Chads that just do all the frat shit. But yeah. Okay. Continue. 

I think global coin research has some great Chads in there and I’m happy with that, but you got to have a good combination of both, right? And we try to orient ourselves towards research and kind of being more rigorous about our kind of thinking around tokens and learning about token projects. But at the same time, I think you always got to have fun. I had the best fun in college. Definitely was not the best student personally. 

I sucked at school. I did okay in community college, but when I transferred from community to like more of a university in LA, I remember eating so much shit my first year, and I was like, oh, community college. I was getting good grades. I was working a couple of jobs, doing fine. And then I get to this university, I was like, shit, I can’t even keep myself afloat. And then I realized that after going through, my first semester at a mainstream university, I’m like, forget this. I’ve been locked in the study room forever, and I’m so much more of a communications front person. I was like, I need to get involved with clubs. I need to get involved with my interests. Like I know that’s where the value is going to be, not my grades. And I’m glad I did, cause somehow I ended up working in crypto. All right. Let’s talk more about your upbringing, and the only reason I want to pivot to this topic as we’re still in the introduction phase of the podcast is because you’re doing something that’s very media-focused at GCR. It also has an investment arm and a couple of other arms, but how was it like growing up in the Yang residence? Were you a very, I guess, extroverted type of person doing newsletters, and how does that translate? You know what I mean? Like how did you grow up that kind of led you to where you are today? 

Growing up in China & Going Global

Yeah, for sure. So there are so many defining moments in my upbringing that kind of drove me the way I am today, and part of it was actually me growing up in China. I spent my first 10 years growing up in China and then kind of integrated with my family to New York. And I have kind of strong roots back in Asia, and I kind of discovered and rediscovered it again when I was in crypto. When crypto first surfaced with such a global presence initially. And global coin research actually was originally focusing on Asia and kind of building out communities between Asia and the US and kind of the Western hemisphere and connecting those two. So we would go out there and help projects such as Starkware or crypto kitties or Tezos, in identifying the right type of people to connect with on either side of the hemisphere and helping them build out communities locally in Asia. So, you know, countries in Singapore, countries and China, Korea, and Japan, and many of those other countries. So that’s what I felt kind of rediscovering my roots back from Asia when I was kind of first pursuing that for global coin research, and then, over time I realized that you know Crypto’s global, but at the same time, there are so many on tap opportunities in growing and identifying really high-quality content that, you know, global coin research originally was resonating with and was really aligning ourselves with. And shortly after, we kind of expanded our focus from Asia to kind of globally overall. Right. And that’s actually very much rooted in my experience back in finance, where I was actually writing a lot of research papers about crypto, not crypto, there wasn’t token crypto back then, but there’s crypto now. I was writing a lot of research about software to software projects and software companies. So, very technical projects and companies that were going through an IPO and, you know, doing their quarterly earnings. And I was writing a lot of research on those types of projects and companies, and shortly after the finance stint, I also spent some time as a tech crunch journalist, as well as a reporter for the information. So for those experiences, I’ve learned a lot about reporting and actually kind of uncovering stories of projects. And I think combining those things, communities and connecting communities on top of really trying to uncover and share great content were like the two passions of mine. I would say I’m probably better at one, at probably community building than writing given my immigrant background. But at the same time, I do enjoy that kind of providing value and sharing and uncovering the opaqueness of the crypto space to folks. Because, even though we are a very interactive community, there’s still a lot of information disconnect between different communities and different regions. So, like what you said, global coin research is a tokenized DAO for research and investment purposes, and our community is really worldwide and everyone joins in from Europe, from Asia and they come in and learn about different projects and meet different founders of projects. We incubate projects and founding teams when they need help or get feedback for their products, and it’s been really fun. I think that’s really been able to kind of connect what we used to do as global coin research, and now, participating not only as a community, but also financially if the project allows us to.

I think something that’s really cool about your background is you have the traditional journalism side and now you’re trying to build a disruptive model around that with crypto. What are some of the biggest lessons you learned working and writing for tech crunch and all these other publications that you’re applying to GCR? 

Yeah, so I think some of the lessons I particularly learned about these centralized models of publishing, tech crunch, my experience there was, I write a piece and I get paid, and there was an editor that was actually filtering my piece and helping me improve my piece. I thought that those. Features are actually really great to have when it comes to someone having an editor helping and overlooking your products so that your piece actually becomes a really good product when it goes out to the world, but there’s always this centralized entity that tells you exactly what to write or gives you an idea for what you want to write. And then you kind of try to write about that, that appeals to them, for example. And what I realized for global coin research is that we want to be a model that’s similar in product quality, but different in that the writers have control over what they write. Global coin research now is a writing platform or global coinresearch.com specifically is a writing platform where folks can go on there, write a piece about NFTs, crypto tokens, anything you really want, as long as they’re very high quality and research-driven, we’ll prove it. We have an editorial team that will actually look through the pieces to make sure that, you know, all the grammar is going smoothly, and also that, you know, the template and the format look good so that it appeals to every average type of consumer in crypto. 

And that was actually my next question. What is an editorial process look like for a decentralized media company? 

Right now, for a decentralized media company, I think there still needs to be some kind of centralized powers. We don’t have five eyes looking at this content. We have just one editor looking at some content and another editor looking at the other content because we don’t have that kind of structure built out yet. The way we’re thinking about global coin research as a decentralized institution or project itself is, first we want to generate a platform to allow anybody to contribute content in a very high-quality way, and then, by having that content layer, we’ll be able to attract folks who are into this type of research, right? It’s not everyone was into long-form pieces that are about, you know, here’s a deep guide on learning about NFTs. Sometimes people just like to chase the latest NFT and never think about the income. So we want to attract those types of people, and in turn, by having this content layer, we’re able to get them onto our content platform. And then eventually they may discover our discord, which is the next layer of product. This core product itself is the community, right? The community is where we’re actually doing these AMAs with founders kind of incubating with projects directly on a weekly and daily basis in our discord, and we’re interfacing them through zoom calls or discord channels and learning about them on a more deep level and providing our feedback. In some cases, the founding team will let us invest in the upcoming rounds that they have.

Launching Global Coin Research

What was the inspiration behind GCR, and as a follow-up, can you walk me through your process from going from idea to where you are today? 

Yeah, I think for crypto there’s always an innovative process because you’re always trying to figure out what does a community actually want. For us, we never started out as a community with thousands of members from day one. It first started as a newsletter where we were just sharing ideas and sharing information to the public, originally about Asia, crypto, and the communities that were happening out of there. Over time we had garnered, at this point, 31,000 subscribers who are all very global, but are interested or learning about crypto. Before, it was about Asia, but now it’s really about anything that is the latest of the latest kind of importance. We evolved from there. From the newsletter, we have the writing platform, and we also have these events that we’re doing; not only online, but also in person. So for example, in the last three weeks, we’ve done one physical event with Axie infinity. We did another physical event with Yield Guild Games, and then now we’re doing another physical event with Axie infinity next week in LA. So, you know, these are all different ways to kind of really engage with the community, and I really enjoy that part specifically because it’s very ironic. I think someone said this before, and I think it’s really funny because the crypto people love parties and getting together and physical events, which is super ironic.

It’s amazing by the way. Probably my favorite part is okay there’s like two weeks of conferences and two weeks of traveling, you lose your mind and you have the best time meeting all these internet characters, and it just solidifies your entire relationship with all these anons, you know, and all these voices and like fortune cookies. 

I totally agree. I mean, I love hanging out with great thoughtful people and that’s kind of how our community has really formed as well, as just people who really like thinking through things or talking about a project at an in-depth level, and you form a community naturally around that. In-person, it becomes even more interesting because you have multiple voices all happening at the same time. So totally agree with you.

Investing as a Community

So you guys do the events, you have the content arm, you have the investment arm. Can you talk to me more about the investment arm? So I know you basically do like these events and whatnot for these communities and these founders. Is that something that, that community participates in as an investment and then gets like carry through the social token or how does that work? 

So for folks who are not familiar with our investment arm, essentially GCR is a community that invests together. So what that means is, whenever we do an investment call with a founder, you’ll have about 10 to 20 people showing up from our community, actually at the diligence call level. And then after the call, we have team members who are actually sharing notes about their takeaways from the call and their feedback on the founders. From there, any member actually who has access to the investment products needs a certain number of tokens to get to that threshold, but once any member joins our membership at that level, they’re able to participate and put in a check. And the way we’re thinking about it here is that you know crypto really democratizes a lot of things. It allows individuals to participate in multiple networks, but they should also allow individuals, especially accredited individuals, to participate in fundraisers because these are the type of individuals that these projects are looking for to be part of the community in the first place. So how we think about ourselves is actually we’re lending ourselves as effectively a quality audience for them to raise from initially and to bootstrap a community, similarly, to actually how the YGG model works. So for folks who are not familiar with yoyo games, they have an army of game players from the Philippines and elsewhere, and many other countries and they really help bootstrap many of the kind of Axie infinity game-playing activity early days, because there was so much demand from those communities. And the way we’re thinking about it here is that for our community, that’s very research-driven and very thoughtful who asks really great questions, anyone would like to have them in the early community as a member because you would like those types of community members to be participating in your network and giving you feedback and iterating on your product. So long story short, we allow anyone to invest with us as long as you’re accredited, and you of course acknowledge the risks that you have when you’re investing in crypto tokens. And then, we actually just most recently yesterday announced a partnership with syndicate DAO, where we’re bringing all of our deal investing into syndicate DAO. The syndicate protocol specifically, and members can, you know, pool capital together and invest together. We generally take a carry of some sort as kind of the liaison and the platform that kind of bridges the communities, but at the same time we’re actually in the process of figuring out how to return or how to share that carry with our members, the token holders.

You know, one thing that you brought up that’s super controversial in crypto is the element of being an accredited investor, and what you’re legally allowed to invest in and what you’re not legally allowed to invest in based on your net worth, right? How much you have liquid and whatnot. So from what I understand accreditation laws, you basically have to have at least a million dollars liquid in the bank to be qualified as an accredited investor, it can’t be locked up in assets or anything like that. Part of the argument behind crypto and money flowing at the speed of information is being able to invest and connect your wallet and bind to anything creator, open crowdfund, whatever it may be, as quick as possible and as easy as possible. But you’re coming from the point of view of the accreditation is more important, right? I don’t want to spend too much time on this, but I think it’s an important topic because you specifically mentioned that. So how do you feel about that? Do you feel like crypto investment, deal flow, and venture investing should be strictly for accredited investors? Or do you think because crypto is so open, transparent, borderless, allows anybody to throw money at anything at any time. How do you feel about that? 

 I think crypto is very natively kind of connected with financially participating in a network, and I think it’s often very appealing and tempting when someone reads on Twitter, you know, I made, you know, a million dollars and I started it from the 10 K or a thousand dollars, and here’s my story, here’s how I did it. Everyone seems like they could do that, but it’s actually not true, right? At one side of the table, there’s someone who’s winning on the other side, there’s someone losing, but no one ever talks about how much money they lose. So what I caution folks on when they’re actually participating in these different kinds of investing activities is, do know the risks, because the space is still very early and there are still a lot of unknowns. For example, this is probably a pretty extreme example, but I’m not sure if you’ve been following the China Evergrande real estate property phenomenon. So, actually, it’s not even about that. It’s about stepping back a little bit. In the most recent few months, China has been putting a lot of bans and limitations on the tech conglomerates. So for example, you could only play an hour or two of games per day on a gaming platform if you’re under 18, and they will monitor that. So, and then in addition to that, they’ve been actually turning all these for-profit tutoring companies that are actually in the billions of dollars in market cap companies, and they’re telling them that they have to be a nonprofit now. So like, imagine in a single day, how much of that market cap gets lost because you basically have to turn your business model upside down to become a nonprofit. So these things happen and, it’s not to say that it will happen to us in the US, where the regulators come in and actually put a strict ban. Because I think Gary, from the SEC, who is the head of the sec, Gensler is very friendly to crypto. But at the same time, there are definitely risks, right? There are some unknown risks and there are known risks, and there are many of those for each category. So going back to what we’re talking about, accredited investors, I think when it comes to us, we definitely want to make sure that investors and the individuals in our network and the community are protected or acknowledging the risks that they’re taking when they’re participating in these deals. And I think there are many other outlets that you could do to participate in NFT drops and you could continue to do that. We talk about them in the community, but we don’t participate in those, not yet at least. I think we definitely want to make sure that everyone understands what they’re getting into though, whenever they’re getting into something. 

So how big is the GCR community today? 

So we have about 1500 discord communities. We have 31,000 other subscribers. We have done events with over 2000 people physically and virtually cumulatively. So take all those numbers whichever way you want to, but I think that the way to think about the community, for us is how often that these members are coming back. How much are they posting on a discord? What’s the retention rate like, and for us, actually, it’s pretty interesting. For the GCR token, you need to hold GCR token to participate in a deal, for example, and if anyone participates in a deal with us, they actually would almost never sell their tokens after that, because there are these kinds of retention factors that we need to consider, which is that they need to follow up with a deal. There needs to be ongoing processes with a deal. So it will take almost two, three years to actually be able to give up your token because the cost of giving up the token versus giving up your investment essentially is very high.

Encouraging Participation

Pretty cool. That’s a unique way to incentivize utility and retention. What other things have you seen work for you guys or for others in terms of basically encouraging people to HODL? Like what else has worked for you? 

I think having a really great community to bind with and having that intimate feel even while you’re growing is very important for us. So, segmenting our members into new members versus old members, and what do the new members want? For example, introduction to GCR and what they could do on GCR. So, segregating all these different types of products and members into their needs so that they feel more intimate. They have a class that they’re entering with, for example, when they’re first kind of joining GCR, and they know some of the new people that joined with them and they all ask similar questions and have that feel. That is very important to me, and we’re going through that, right? So it’s an ongoing growing pain and management and lots of discord acrobatics that you have to do to manage the discord communities. But I think it’s very fun, right? There’s lots of new energy, and that’s always really nice to see. 

Yeah, I think it’s such a cool factor that you guys have the investment arm because you’re right. If I were to invest with a community, I’d be more incentivized to hold that token. Cause I have so much skin in the game now beyond just me purchasing that initial asset. There are layers to it now. So, I really like that. I want to talk to you more about token gated content. I tweeted this a while back, and I remember coming across fortune or the New York Times. I think it was in the New York Times where I wanted to read an article, there was a paywall, I couldn’t read the article, I could only read it if I subscribed with a dollar for like three months. I went up, click the exit on the tab, and never saw that article again, and it’s only a dollar. Like I drop hundreds of thousands of dollars every week on crypto shit, and part of me was thinking and reflecting on that. I was like, why am I not down to pay a dollar, but down to buy a thousand dollars worth of GCR, right? Like why am I more incentivized to do that, and what does that mean for the greater creator economy as a whole? Do you think about that? So what do you feel about that? Like, share with me your thoughts.

It’s pretty interesting because I think, you know, a parallel to that is when you’re trying to pay $6,000 for a friends with benefits membership and then Soho house only costs $2,000. You’re like, oh my God, how is this so expensive? And you have physical venues, you hang out with. 

Meanwhile, all I get is the discord chat in some way, then parties at random conferences.

It’s just random parties. So yeah, I totally agree with you. The community is surprisingly sticky, right? Because you know, someone else is a part of it, and you want to be part of it because they’re part of it because they bring you joy. So I think that’s very much under-appreciated and it’s kind of the secret sauce to building great communities, right? Because you want to encourage that member to bring in their friends. So what we’re doing now actually is a GCR six-month birthday campaign, cause we just issued our token six months ago and we wanted to celebrate. We’ve been encouraging members to gift their friends memberships. So for every time a member comes and joins our calls, either that’s an AMA or with a founder or incubation call to learn more about a project, our members are able to earn free memberships and they could give that to other people. And I think that’s really a way for us to grow. We want to grow very thoughtfully and we’re not trying to grow very quickly. The idea is to have someone join, learn about us and everything that we’re doing, because we do a lot of stuff, but also kind of partake in either doing investing with us or kinda participating in these calls or leading these calls. Eventually, we want members to be driving and actually sourcing these calls, right? Because the idea is that we want to be decentralized on the content layer by having members contribute content. We want to be decentralized on the events layer, where members are creating their own events, and we give them a pool of capital for them to run it. And then, for deal sourcing as well actually. This is something that we’re working on right now, where members are actually able to source deals with the community and we gave them part of the carry. And I think that that’s what we should do. And that’s what I think will be fair and be really encouraging for our members to kind of participate.

Token-Gated Content

There are layers again. There are layers to GCR that there aren’t for example, for the New York times, but it still brings me back to my first question. Like, why am I more down to spend a thousand dollars on GCR, and I’m getting access to gated content that otherwise would have been behind a subscription paywall, versus paying a dollar to $5 for the year sometimes. Like I remember the wall street journal had to pay $1 for the entire year and get access to the wall street journal end to end. And it gets me thinking. The reason, for me personally, is like I know I’ll be growing with GCR, and by no means is this financial advice, right? I made my first purchase into GCR last week. And I’m planning to hold and I want to get myself involved in the community, but again, not financial advice, just observations here. But then I don’t want to spend a dime on the New York Times. Like, I don’t know why I’m more obligated and it feels more right to pay for crypto gated content versus trad fi or normal business content, you know what I mean? And it’s something that I spend time thinking about because imagine if the New York times were to launch the NYT token, you know, and instead of having everybody pay a dollar and they’re trying to suck $1 from someone for three months of access, I wonder what the conversion would be if they do so in a way where they can buy like a hundred dollars worth of their tokens. Now there’s a pool of liquidity and that’s like what, a hundred years or something. Like such a longer subscription rate and turnover than there otherwise would have been with a standard credit card subscription model. And obviously, there are pros and cons. Crypto is not there yet to really abide to the masses to actually implement something like this. I get it, but still, why am I more obligated to buy a much larger and a thousand X more position in a different media company than paying a dollar for the New York times? It’s a rhetorical question. I’m throwing it out there. For anybody that’s listening. And that is feeling the same thing, hit me up, tweet at me hit up GCR. But do you have any other comments to end on that? 

I was just wondering whether or not you denominate it in ETH, and maybe that’s why. What partially, I think also, for example, when you bought GCR, and just a week later, we have tokens up 50%, right?

Actually $630. It wasn’t a complete thousand, but it grew to over a thousand. 

Oh, sweet, nice. That’s awesome to see. And you know, I think part of what we ask for is you holding the token and contributing by holding the token and actually not spending it. I think at some point we wanted to have the content be in different segments, where certain types of content you could read by holding a token, a GCR token. But there’s some other really, really high-quality content that you can only read by spending the value of the token and actually paying the writers directly. So that’s the eventual goal for the global coin research writing platform. But yeah, I think what we value right now is HODLing, and I think by HODLing, members are able to enjoy the recognition of our value over time, and I think that’s something that we want to make sure that they feel awarded to. 

So I use HubSpot as my CRM across like Adam levy.io, and HubSpot is a public company on the stock market. It’s as if I were to buy some shares of HubSpot’s stock, and I’d be forced to hold and I can only access their CRM, not based off like a monthly tiered subscription model, but rather based on how many shares I own. That model is just so much more enticing for me. In terms of all types of content access, I’d rather spend $30 on a creator’s content and hold that, get exclusive content to them in their community and grow with them as they develop themselves, then I don’t know, pay $15 to their subify per month as a subscription rate, you know? Then with that, I remember FWB did that, and then there was like 66 FWB to get and then a month, two months after I joined, three months, it was like 77. And I don’t know if they’re gonna continue increasing it. Anyway, something to think about something to ponder over.

I do want to caveat though that we and FWB, along with like four or five and many other social token DAOs, definitely don’t want to be financially tied to our token. We’re just membership tokens, at least for GCR. We’re a membership token, and so is FWB right? By holding this token, you get access to membership. We may have a treasury that’s very robust filled with NFTs, or you know, for example, our carry that we may return to the treasury, but it’s not financially tied to the token. The token holder does not have a claim to the treasury if that makes sense. 

That makes sense. All right. Let’s kind of pivot a little bit more into what does the future of media in crypto look like? How do you think about that? 

Yeah, that’s really interesting. And I think you should definitely ask The Defiant and Decrypt, because they’re all looking to issue tokens at this point or starting to become a DAO. I’m not sure if this is an alpha leak. 

No, I mean, we see on the Decrypt app that they have their points and rewards, and those are tokens essentially, for consuming the content. I feel like sooner or later the defiant is going to do something like that. I feel like CoinDesk and coin Telegraph are going to explore that with membership tiers, like exclusive content. How do you think about that being literally one of the first people to do it? 

I think it’s the right way to go, honestly. So to be fair, the media space has always been kind of the laggards in technology adoption. You know, if you look at traditional media from print to online, the experience hasn’t really changed much, and you’re just kind of reading the content in different forms. I think when I was running global coin research, initially for the first few years, we actually didn’t think about tokens at all. Cause we’re like, we don’t want to be one of those projects that just issued token for no reason, and so we really wanted to bring utility and actual usage to the token. Now it has governance applications. Now it has membership applications, and that’s when I felt like it actually was making sense for us to have a token. So I think for media companies, you really have to be thinking about, am I going to use the token just to replace a traditional paywall? Because in that sense, it’s like the same thing, right? And the way we’re thinking about crypto content and global coin research is a network, right? Because traditionally, for example, we have these investors and consumers who were readers of tech crunch, for example, and these folks were just reading and they’re paying a subscription for reading the content. But the way we’re thinking about it is, by having these investors now in the crypto space actually holding the token to be able to participate in our network and participate in our deal flow, they are indirectly supporting the price of the token. And this is a token that we also kind of reward our writers with. So there’s a direct value transfer in terms of the investors and the consumers of the content actually directly supporting the token itself, and that goes back to the writers. So that’s how we thought about it because we think that, you know Networks are financially tied to the members and the community. And that is one model that we can now apply for. But you know, I love to see how more DAOs like the Bankless go about things. So for example, Bankless is interesting because they separate their DAO from their content side. I think that’s one way to do it, and there’s our way of doing it, which is connecting those two together. So we’ll see. I think there’ll be a lot of innovations on the side. 

One story I want to bring up is the fortune magazine and the people pleaser drop that they did. They did a one of one, and I think also a few other ones in that collection. That’s like their start to issuing tokenized assets, that they could technically build a community around, right? It might be a niche community, but it’s a start to people and your readers collecting those assets, right? When do you think we’ll start seeing one of the more mainstream brands like Forbes, CNN, Fox Bloomberg, et cetera, et cetera, issuing assets, whether they be a token, whether they be a membership badge or pass as an NFT and then building communities and creating exclusive content around that? How far away are we from that? 

I think we could definitely imagine NFTs being dropped by these publications very soon, but it may be more experimental. With that, in my opinion, because it is really hard to kind of really move a whole thousand-person company towards that direction in a very short period of time, and one year is pretty short for these companies. So I mean, I think there’s always going to be innovation arms that aren’t all looking at crypto now, but the question is how much are they going to be pushing the entire company or disrupting their own existing model that they have currently? That will probably be at least 5 years. I think five years probably would be good enough. But yeah, I think, you know, global coin research may become a more mainstream model and I would love more projects to do what we do because we want to be supportive. The token itself is there to support the writers, and the token is there to kind of maintain and create a high-quality community, and I think this is what many of the writing publications will want. 

One thing that I liked that you guys do, so you guys are based on WordPress, and your entire funnel for creating an account and then wanting to contribute it just makes sense, right? That whole entire onboard process. And I like your open-mindedness and the community’s approach to basically letting anybody contribute that’s in the community. Have you ever encountered points where like, sorry, this isn’t the right fit for GCR, try something else. Or is it because it’s community-led, you just have to say, okay, because they’re in the community because they’re vested we have to let them publish or how do you think about that? 

We’ve looked for quality first and foremost. So for example, for content, if a member is a part of the community, but their content is not great, we still have to say no. Because I think content is what ultimately attracts the eye first, because having communities and experience and having this like initial kind of marketing, if you think about it that way as a marketing interface, is something that’s super important for us. And I think just that will benefit the community member overall because they will attract the right type of people into the community. So, you know, this is something I think we’re seeing friends with benefits coming out with, their editorial arm, for example, right? And they’re starting out to kind of have that because I think every community needs a good voice, but that voice needs to represent the community. So if that voice doesn’t fit us, then it doesn’t work. For us, our bar is just great research, great deep dives, great guides into helping people understand crypto. And we’re still just purely focused on Web 3.0 and NFTs and then crypto. 

I want to talk about more behind the employment side of incentivizing writers to contribute. What does that structure look like? So let’s say I’m a writer. I produce content on Adam levy.io. I want to start contributing to other communities like GCR, FWB, forefront, whatever. So I come in, I create an account, I get myself set up with WordPress, right? I write an article, I draft it, I share it with the editorial team, they review it for grammar, and see if it’s the right tone, the right vibe, the right fit for GCR. And based on what they publish, I already am financially motivated to contribute because I have the tokens. What happens beyond that once I publish and I become a frequent publisher, is there more incentivization? I only ask that because I want this to be like a learning lesson for creators that are trying to build out communities. How should they be thinking about employment? How should they be thinking about pay? What does that look like from GCR? 

Yeah, no, that’s an awesome question. I think, just to kind of finish up that process that you described after someone gets accepted for their content, they immediately earn the tokens in their wallet. So there’s a dashboard that shows how many tokens they earned, and they could withdraw from the global coin research.com website into their actual wallet of the number of tokens they earned. So that’s the process that we have set up now, and I think it’s pretty kind of seamless in terms of experience. And I think for writers, the way we’re thinking about kind of employment, I think the whole point of having global coin research as an open platform, is that you could write in any cadence you want and you’ll get paid for it if you have really good content. If you compare that with existing solutions out there, like medium or substack. For substack, you have to be recurrently writing and you have to build an audience yourself before actually having someone to pay attention to you or discover you, and then maybe potentially you could have a paid subscription. If you’re lucky and consistent. For us, the way we’ve been presenting it to writers, and I think this is kind of a good appeal that’s been working well is that we have this audience of readers who are coming to our website and people who are in our community, and we also have a 31,000 people subscriber newsletter, where there is a number of people from wall street journal, New York times on chain as well as crypto investors and crypto influencers such as pomp. Then the shift from scalar or Brian Armstrong from Coinbase who are actually opening these emails and seeing your content, right? So we give you a direct audience just by having your content on our website, and I think that that’s really hard to build for any kind of up-and-coming individual. On top of that, we want to provide this flexibility. Whenever anyone feels like writing, they could write, they’ll get approved within a few days, and then they get GCR tokens immediately. They could sell those tokens if they want to pay their bills. So over time, when those writers write reoccurring, we love to invite them to become an editor. And I think that’s something that we’d love to do because they understand our voice and they understand our style.

So that was the point I was getting at. So you contribute, you get paid in tokens, you can cash out, pay your bills, buy your milk, make your eggs, literally live life contributing to GCR, right? How do you prevent it from reaching the extreme side of that? So meaning you have a lot of contributors, people love your model, they want to create content, grow GCR. They’re already financially staked and they want to earn a paycheck essentially. Could they do it full-time?

Yeah, I think so. Especially with their content skillset, it’s very much sought out I think in crypto, right? We have an amazing person called Antonio who’s doing our newsletter, and he had experience in marketing and content marketing, and that’s super sought out, I think, in crypto. Especially when you’re trying to break down complex ideas for individuals and people sometimes who may not be familiar with crypto. So for these individuals, we often want to offer them more responsibilities and roles and have them more involved. Not only just become a writer, but also help these projects that we’re actually incubating and directly investing in. Because we actually do have a portfolio success arm now in the community, because the idea is that, when we’re investing with a project, we want to be with them for the rest of their lives. Not only are we supporting you when you’re fundraising financially, but we’re also helping you with content, we’re helping with your strategy. We’re helping you with having an audience in global coin research, but also beyond with our partners, who we kind of interact with or do events with. And we want to continue to surface you to the right people, and the high-quality audience by that means. 

Building an MVC: Minimum Viable Community

I’m so excited to see more creators, more communities approach this model and build incentives, pay people, and literally create their own micro-economy, using their token right? And doing so where people can ditch, or maybe not completely ditch, but work across multiple organizations, whether they be also media or finance that all live on the internet, that all operate on-chain, that all have crypto assets that allow for the foundation to get paid, to contribute and see your stuff come to life in a cryptographic manner. And a lot of people are asking, how can I jump into crypto? How can I jump into DAOs? Where can I contribute? Like, I have these skills, and I think people like you are kind of like designing these systems to make it applicable, to make it happen. If somebody wanted to go and start a DAO right now, wanted to start a decentralized community, what are some tips you would give them?

 This is an awesome, awesome question, and honestly, I want to give a shout out first to our core contributors at global coin research, like Arthur, Antonio Carol, Leanne, Dan, these guys. They’re amazing. Like anyone who gets them in their communities is going to be so lucky, and I feel so lucky just to have met them from building global coin research. And every day actually seems so much fun. And those guys seem like they enjoy it as well, which is what makes it really important for building communities from the beginning. And I think that’s actually a very key point, which is, find friends that you actually drive with that you want to build a community of the type of people that you like, and then you drive and continue to do so until you grow from two people to five people. Then, go from five to 12 or 20. So, I think that’s actually how people build products, where you start with MVP, and you find the initial few customers that are really, really happy with your products. I think community building is also the same way. You find a few people that view really like your product and you just keep giving them the same things that they love, and they’ll just stick with you forever. And this is not just about the employees, this is just about like members in general.

I think I like that. Building a community MVP, aka MVC, versus a product MVP, and what does that look like at the get-go? I like that. I’m going to start using that in the interviews. What does a community MVP look like and how do you build that? It’s one of my questions, inspired by Joyce Yang. I love it. I want to pivot to more fun, personal questions cause we only have so much time left. So I’m in your discord. I’m a member of the discord, I own the tokens that connect to my wallet. I’ve done all that stuff. There’s a ton of different channels. If there was one channel that you’d have to choose from, you’d be required to forever live in which one would it be and why?

Oh, it will be our birthday audio channel. We had such a blast with our birthday. So actually, a funny story, yesterday we had our birthday launch. It was so fun. So we had about 108 people joining for a one-hour event, and the event consists of kind of us recapping what’s happened for GCR in the last six months because this is our birthday. So we want to share and be thankful for the community. And then we also invited Ian, the founder of syndicate protocol. Jenny O, CEO of Coinvise, as well as Peter pan from 1KX, who’s, you know, the awesome community builder who we all want. A funny story is, near the end when Peter pan was talking, I didn’t realize this, but someone told me afterward, because of my phone, my audio was muted for some reason from other members for talking. But there was like a peeing sound coming from the audience. So, there was a series of peeing sounds and then also a series of flushing sounds, and then like that interrupted Peter in a very awkward way. And he’s just like, Hmm, I can’t keep talking. I just stopped right now. 

Was that on his end or was that somebody else?

No, it was someone else’s end. It was someone else, and I think it was just like accidentally unmuting. But now we have been referring to that call as the great kickoff.

So I was going to say, what a great way, first of all, happy birthday. Happy belated birthday. Six months of starting a crypto community feels like six years I feel like, especially when all these other communities are forming and manifesting and launching, and everybody’s doing their own thing. So, cheers to you. The second thing I want to ask you is after six months of starting and growing and building a decentralized community around media, what are some things you wish you knew before starting that you kind of know now?

Yeah, I think the first thing when you said media is something that I wish we kind of focused on less. So meaning, I wish we actually were a community first, media second, and now we are a community first, media second platform. Before, we were media first, and I think media does not stick enough, community sticks. So that’s something I think we learned over time, and it’s like a transition for us. Then, constantly awarding your members for participation is something that I’m starting to learn more of and become more proactive about. Because, for example, we have these AMA calls with founders and we’re learning about other projects, and we have over 30 members who are joining at any given event. Events like twice a day, and there are so many members joining, right? All you needed to do was give them some incentive. And for one, we started dropping these free memberships to these members. You know, we randomly lottery from the participants and we give one person a free membership, and that really got them excited. I think just becoming more incentive-driven while giving them great things will really amplify the effects that you’re looking for. 

That’s a good takeaway. All right. Bouncing back to personal questions. If you were a ghost in the metaverse, who, what, where would you haunt? 

I feel like I didn’t do enough homework to prepare for this question. 

No, it’s more of a creative question.

 If I were a ghost in the metaverse-

Who would you haunt? What would you haunt or where? 

What do you mean by hunting?

Haunt, like boo, like scare. Not hunt, not kill. No. I got to emphasize haunt, like creep up. So you could start where, where would you hunt? So like a discord server could be a haunt, and it can’t be GCR. People say like, Decentraland, people say FWB, I don’t know. It’s up to you to decide who or where would you haunt? 

But when you’re haunting them, does that mean you’re scaring them, or is that just like a fun thing to do?

Just like a frequent boo or like knocking a fork off the counter?

I think it will be probably the Axie infinity team because we co-hosted an event with Axie folks, Jiho, the co-founder of growth, and the community was just crazy and exciting. And, you know, we had some really early members from the Axie infinity team at the event. It was like an event in Korea Town, New York, so very standard event, but the vibe was just so different. It’s even crazier than any crypto card party you went to because there’s so much passion and Jiho is literally like, people call him father and dad in the Axie infinity community because he’s like the God figure that people look up to. But, you know, his emphasis has always been just like, even despite the size of where we’re at, and now they were just announced to have raised the valuation of 3 billion, right by A16z in the last round. And they’re like, we’re still going to be driven by the community. Whatever you want to build, we’re going to listen to you guys and hear what you would have to say, and that is just super astounding. Cause that’s a model you’ve never seen before at that scale. And that’s really cool. 

What Comes After Web 3.0?

So haunt the Axie infinity team. Final question and this is a question that I ask everybody. So I’m a big fan of the development of the internet, particularly speaking about Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and now Web 3.0. Web 1.0 was very much read-only. It was very static. Web2.0 introduced social networks, introduced SAS models, introduced gates, data manipulation. Networks knew more about users than users knew about themselves, and now we’re getting into this phase of Web 3.0, where people are no longer the products of the platform versus co-owners of the platform, right? Ownership online pseudo-anonymous entity, keyword after keyword after keyword. And what’s interesting is Web 2.0 ate Web 1.0, and Web 3.0 is supposedly eating Web 2.0. What will eat Web 3.0?

I don’t know. I feel like you have to ask someone who’s like a third of my age. I’m not even that old, but the question is more like, what do they want? And if you know what they want, then you could be that, you know exactly. 

So let’s talk about it from a community content creation, community investment perspective. What do they want?

I think for content creation, it’s about having the right tools in hand to have an audience. And we’re seeing that with Web 3.0, with really successful subsets that are forming, right? So, what we’re trying to do is, GCR is something that we want to empower the writers continuously on a financial level on top of giving a voice and a platform. But I think that’s going to continue to iterate, emphasize on the writers and continue to bring value to the writers, but in terms of actual what that looks like, I probably wouldn’t know at this point. I think maybe in a year or two, you could actually come back to us and then we’ll probably come up with something new as well. Because we’re trying to constantly reinvent the wheel here. And then for investing, I think it’s always about making sure that it’s never just about the big funds, and we’re seeing that in crypto already. It’s about the communities, it’s about the DAOs. It’s about the individual angel investors, actually more so than many of the funds and you know, what value they bring, which actually often could be less than the angels themselves.

Now that I think about it, that was like from the point of view of what will eat GCR, and that’s not the intention. Rather, what’s the intention of when everything is on-chain when we get to the extreme side of Web 3.0 and data is on-chain, all transactions are on-chain, identities are on-chain. What’s the extreme side of that, right? Cause anything too extreme of anything is bad. That’s my opinion. Others may argue differently, but that’s what I believe. Do you feel the same? Anything extreme at one end of the spectrum that is just like too much that needs to be balanced? 

I mean, I think we’re always in a transition phase. It’s never going to be extreme in reality, but yeah, I agree with you. Like I don’t imagine our world to be everyone all on the blockchain. 

So I feel like we’re like swinging. We’re swinging from centralized to decentralized and right now we’re shifting towards decentralized, everything on-chain, community-owned everything. Everybody has a co-share co voice co everything into everything that they do through crypto-assets. What does that middle look like? 

I mean, that’s it. Yeah. I feel like you have something in mind. 

I honestly don’t. I genuinely don’t. I’m just curious to hear your point of view on the space about this because I think you bring such interesting insight developing the community that you built, the amount of excitement that you have in your discord, the unique individuals that contribute to GCR. You have purview into something that many people don’t. One, because you’re living it one, because you contribute to it outside of GCR, and you’re a voice in this space, right? So I think I’m hitting you with that question because you have so much purview, because you have so much experience on the decentralized route, what do you think could be the other side? And we can end there. This is more meant to be like a robust question where we just bounce ideas back and forth.

I mean, I think that’s a really valid point and I appreciate all those nice things you said about me. But, I actually think one of the problems with crypto now is that, as we have more people joining the space, there are these centralized kinds of cliques that are forming naturally, even with a decentralized model, right? For example, friends with benefits. I think they are just by having a high price point they’re blocking out and preventing many members who otherwise could be great contributors to join. But it’s like, artists are not rich by default. Think about it that way. If you are really vibrant in the community, how do you actually, I mean, they’d give scholarships and sorts, but at the same time, it’s like that price point. It’s like, you’re really creating a new Soho house and there’s nothing different about it. So, I think this is something that we as creators in the decentralized world need to think about, is are you actually just re-creating a new paradigm of the same existing social norms? Because, that’s cool, but you know, it could be cooler. And I’m not saying FWB is not cool. They’re cool. They’re very cool. They’re super cool. 

Outro

I’m a holder of FWB, so they’re cool. I love them. They’ve generated a lot of value for me. Not financial advice, but yes. And by the way, that’s a new take. That’s a take that nobody has said on the podcast before. So, I like that. I love that. Joyce, before I let you go, anything you want to end off with and that can also include you plugging yourself, plugging, GCR, plugging the site, all that, anything you want to end off with? 

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me, Adam. I mean, I think if this podcast comes out before October 25th, then we have our daily events going on in global coin research in our discord so that you could check out and it’ll be lotteries for a free membership or free GCR tokens. It’s really fun to be actually just hanging out with smart people in there. So I hope people could join us, and honestly just have lots of fun and I think, pursuing that fun while building something nice is like the ultimate dream for any creator in this space. I think you got to keep doing that and just fulfilling yourself.

And last but not least, where can we find you personally online? 

You can follow me and @JoyceinNYC on Twitter.

Cool. Thank you so much, Joyce. It was a pleasure. Shout out to the GCR community. Shout out to all the contributors that you shouted out, and thank you so much. I hope to have you again soon. 

Thank you, Adam.

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