Why Creators Should Own Their Minting Smart Contracts

Richerd Chan, Co-Founder at Manifold, Punk #6046, Professional NFT Degen, and smart contract artist chats all things creator sovereignty and why creators should own their smart contracts.
Richerd Chan, Co-Founder at Manifold, Punk #6046, Professional NFT Degen, and smart contract artist chats all things creator sovereignty and why creators should own their smart contracts.

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Background

Mint Season 4 episode 25 welcomes Richerd Chan, Co-Founder at Manifold, Punk #6046, Professional NFT Degen, and smart contract artist. 

Manifold enables web3 creators to have true creative ownership, preserve on-chain provenance, and interoperate with all major NFT marketplaces. The company is known for building some of the top creator drops in the early NFT days alongside leading figures like Mad Dog Jones, Jay Z, pplpleasr, Steve Aoki, and FVCKRENDER, to name a few.

In this episode, we discuss: 

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 00:20 – How Do Creators Get Started in Crypto
  • 08:51 – Richerd’s Thoughts On Why NFTs Took Crypto Mainstream
  • 10:51 – Richerd’s Inspiration Behind Starting Manifold
  • 15:02 – Are There Benefits That Come With a Self-Sovereign Contract?
  • 19:46 – Richerd’s Thoughts About the Creator’s Class That Has Yet to be Impacted by the Web3 Primitives
  • 21:28 – Richerd’s Point of View On Music NFTs
  • 23:43 – How Collector Stats Can Enable Creators to Build Their Audience
  • 28:23 – $9.5 Million Crypto Punk Offer
  • 37:06 – The Future of NFTs and Crypto
  • 40:28 – Outro

…and so much more. 

I hope you enjoy our conversation. 


Support Season 4’s NFT sponsors!

1. Coinvise – https://coinvise.co

2. Polygon Studios – https://polygonstudios.com

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


Intro

Richerd, welcome to mint. My friend. Thank you for being on. How are you doing?

Richerd: Very well. Thank for having me, Adam.

How Do Creators Get Started in Crypto

You got it; you got an exciting time to be alive part of season four. You guys are spearheading a lot of the Creator, initiatives happening in web three. So really thrilled to have you on and kind of talk more about manifold. But before we get started on what manifold is who you are, I think a good place to start is how did you get your start in crypto, okay, give me a little bit of a background of yourself. And then your entryway to crypto will take from there and we’ll go.

Richerd: I got into crypto maybe about like 10 years ago, it was this thing that people are talking around. And I was working in San Francisco. And you know, it’s a little bit of oddity, but one of my friends convinced me to go to the Bitcoin Conference, and I end up going to this Bitcoin Conference, knowing nothing about Bitcoin at all. And, you know, I bought my first Bitcoin a week before, but this conference and just saw the energy that blog developers were had in the space. And, you know, this is early 2012, before, you know, like, finance hadn’t really taken group of Wiktoria was, and it was really just like the hacker mentality of like, here’s the cool technology that we all were able to play with. And you’re coming from the startup world, creating applications that had anything to do with, you know, transactions of the financial nature were really hard. You got to go through intermediaries and you have that bank, you know, it was just really hard, but with Bitcoin as a program where you can transfer money from A to B without anyone kind of be in the middle of that. And so really just enable this like really kind of interesting wave of innovation for programmers to like, really create cool finance applications. And so no, I started looking at Bitcoin and then ended up kind of being a programmer in this space and just pretty much of the coin apps. And yeah, they’re went out eventually Bitcoin they end up turning into crypto and crypto turned into FTEs. And then that’s right. Yeah.

So, you got your, you started building on Bitcoin. That’s how you got started. Right? And you said, what year was that?

Richerd: 2012.

2012 Oh, geez, so you’ve been in this space since 2012 actively building?

Richerd: Yep.

Wow. So how do you make your transition from Bitcoin on to Ethereum? Very, usually, it’s like, either or that’s like, typically the sentiment. So, how’d you make your transition comfortably?

Richerd: Well, you know, when I started Ethereum wasn’t even a thing. Right?

Right.

Richerd: I was actually there around the Ethereum ICO. And I couldn’t find the ICO cuz I was like, what is this? It just makes no sense to me. But you know, I kind of regret that now. Because I had the opportunity I was there. I was literally on site looking at buying this thing, right, but I never did. But, you know, Ethereum ended up becoming the kind of like, big secondary chain or a secondary network. It could be worth at that point, right. And so, I actually did a few kinds of, like smart contract work, you know, before the whole ICO craze, just playing around with things. But I largely pan until NFT’s came along. Right? And NFTs came along. I was like, okay, this is like, crypto is killer application, right? Because, you know, to be honest, there was a point after the whole Ico phase, where I just kind of dropped off the crypto because I just didn’t believe in what it was doing anymore. Okay. Maybe that didn’t believe it. But the applications I was working on just became really boring. He was just moving money back and forth, right? Just looking for new schemes, new different ways of moving your funds from A to B, right. And this tells you really just like wasn’t exciting from that perspective.

Got it, got it. So then, so then wait, so you were building financial applications? Because the financial side of crypto is very different than the Creator side of crypto? Yeah, it’s very, like it’s very black and white in my opinion. I think there’s a lot more culture, a lot more class. A lot more fun and magic that happens on the creative side of crypto versus more of the defi traditional financial side of crypto. So, what was that like that aha moment for you to make that transition? versus building like traditional, like, I guess decentralized financial products to now building products for creators and empowering creators?

Richerd: Yeah. Because that’s my first discovered what an MC was, right, okay. And it’s actually funny because, you know, I have I learned what NFT was right after crypto Plex came out. All my friends were like, hey, he’s actually the creator of crypto kitties, which was the creator of the ERC something one. Yeah. So, he told me what this product called crypto punks. And I was like, what is this right? And he’s like, I want to make a project that crypto punks, but with cats on the blockchain, and I was like, this is stupid, right? Because I had no idea any of this, anything was going on, right? And I told him that and he went ahead and did it anyways. And then now we have crypto kitties or sentry one. So, it’s funny how that all came full circle. But no, for a while there. You know, like I said, I got bored of just doing financial applications because there was no actual creativity involved with it, or it was more like how do you move money from A to B? Right. And, you know, actually left it another startup in between there which is not even related to crypto at all. It was like Uber for babysitting. But you know, it didn’t work out and I ended up going back to crypto just to work with for a few projects with few of my friends, but when I discovered what NFT was right, at first, it made no sense to me because the viewers, my co-founder, Eric is one he sent me. The first thing he ever kind of like looked at, and he bought his NFT theory for $1,000. And I was like, what did you buy? It was like, just like, what did you buy? Right? And like, you bought this image, but what did you actually buy? This is my very first like impression of this, right? And it wasn’t until he actually got me to buy one with him. Then it made sense, right? Because after I bought one, right, I had this emotional connection to this asset that we ended up selling, it was a slice on the PC bottom gateway for like, $4,000. And we flipped it an hour later for like 11 or $15,000. So, this is my first 20 minutes NFT by the way.

Wow

Richerd: Right? It’s just this crazy rollercoaster ride. Like, what just happened here? 

Wow. What NFT was that on NFT Gateway?

Richerd: Yeah, so the NFT was, it was called fishing part two. Okay. And yeah, so the whole story is I bought NFT for $4,000 as a one on one. And my very, very first NFT, right? After I bought it, I told Eric, were useless. He’s like, well, you can do three things. You can hold it, you sell it, or you can transfer it right. And he’s like, selling is probably the most interesting thing. And I have no idea how much it can cost. I don’t even know why. I bought it for $4,000. So, he told me that, I know you had to purchase things, right? And so, we sold it. He’s like, put it for $15,000. Right? And I was like, what’s about $15,000? That’s like, ridiculous. So, we ended up selling it, or we ended up, after we hook the call. But 10 minutes later, I got an email notification said it had sold. And I was just like, what just happened here? Right? And it’s funny, because my emotional response was like happy, I just made $11,000 You know, 20 minutes’ worth of whatever work, you know, work. And I was like, my first response was like, oh, no, I sold it too low if someone bought it that fast. Right? And then a second response was, I have this thing anymore, right? It was just like, interesting thing where I had this, like, this thing wasn’t in my life an hour ago, I had it for an hour, and it was gone. Yeah. But I had developed an attachment to it. And emotional attachment to it. That was like very interesting for me to have that because I don’t have attachment to like, you know, digital object or digital goods. 

And from there, I was like, that aha moment, just like clicked in me was like, well, you know, it’s all about ownership of digital assets there. And this has never been done before, you know, on this level, right? And art just made so much sense. Right? And because of that kind of moment there. I was like, okay, this makes sense. This to me was the, the application of crypto that, you know, everyone in the crypto community was looking for, to really be in crypto easily. And so, from there, it was like, okay, I just dove right into, like, you know, what NFTs were the technology behind it, and probably started off as a collector at first and trying to understand the space. And, you know, at first, I started as a collector, just to like, you know, repeat what I had done and kind of like things, you know, because there is value there. But as we started collecting kind of more of a works and dedication to take the artists, we realized that law is ours, they actually understand the technology that they were, you know, building there, they’re, you know, like building off. For them creating NFT was strictly creating artwork and attaching it to a token, and then having some other platform sell that token on their behalf. But from my perspective, you know, the blockchain and NFT is the brand-new medium that can be explored that when you combine artwork and technology that creates, you know, brand new ecosystems and brand-new means of expression that can then be kind of packaged and created for distribution in a simple fashion. Right. So, it became more of a consumer app rather than a financial app. From my perspective.

Richerd’s Thoughts On Why NFTs Took Crypto Mainstream

Yeah, makes a lot of sense. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Why do you think NFT’s to crypto mainstream more than I guess, buying and selling traditional assets on an exchange or investing for the most part?

Richerd Manifold: So yeah, that’s the whole idea is because you know, when people are buying tokens, right, tokens are very abstract, the idea of a token is extremely abstract rate. And the value proposition of a token dystrophy is value. And so, when you buy stock, you don’t really, when you buy stock, it’s like you want the value of the stock to go up based on the company’s activities for its token right, you have no kind of connection to the token itself, right? Especially in crypto because a lot of is focus was purely abstract tokens. And so, you know, when I was like dealing with like, when I was dealing with like, more like, you know, token based, you know, like systems is certainly how to move money back and forth, but I had no connection to the money itself, the value itself right. But now with an NFT, you all of a sudden you have a lot of interesting psychological effects. So, you know, one having a connection to the creator, the token itself. Two having connections to the ecosystem of, you know, other collectors, that you have to share current commodity with. And it’s up to you have, you know, a really cool piece of artwork, you know, or like immediate that is tangible, right? You can actually look at it, you can actually, like, keep it in your head, right? You have, you know, when I think about, you know, certain NFTs, I actually like, imagine what it is in my head, right? You have the orientation of it. Whereas if you have a token, you’re like, what is this token represent? It really just, it’s a piece of data that has no, an abstract representation. Yeah, so I go, I think we’re creating an emotional connection to what these are doing. Right and being kind of irrelevant to consumers, you know, and collector’s ends, is that that tangible thing of having that media attached to it really creates that connection to, you know, these communities? And what NFTs are general?

Richerd’s Inspiration Behind Starting Manifold

Yeah, so incoming manifold came to the picture, having this realization that creators don’t own the contracts that they issue their projects on. And I remember explicitly manifold came on my radar around projects, like fuck render around projects like Mad Dog Jones, really iconic pieces that that made, like, set the narrative and tone for what NFT drops would look and feel like, what experimentation would look and feel like, and it very much came from manifolds wheelhouse. So, talk to me more about like, the inspiration behind starting manifold. Okay, it’s to create sovereignty. That’s your mission. Right? That’s you guys are, but what does that really mean in the grand scheme of things?

Richerd: Yeah. So, you know, like I said, before, a lot of these artists didn’t actually understand the technology behind, right, you know, what NFTs were. And they would rely on different platforms to kind of provide that technology and that kind of vision for you know, what, this token infrastructure might look like? You know, that Q in when we first started working with our Jones, you know, our big flagship project that really was a startup manifold was the replicator. And with replicator, we really wanted to show that, you know, NFTs can be so much more than just what everyone thought NFTs were. And so, you know, the replicator is, it’s a conceptual art piece, that can only be expressed as an NFT itself, right? So, there’s no other medium that you can create the replicator in, you know, compared to some other, you know, compared to some others. The NFT medium is just the image itself, but in the replicator, the contract actually plays a very important role in running the art, the conceptual art experience. And, you know, we lost our alternator. And then we realized that, you know, this was probably one of the very first times that a sovereign contract, you know, had such a valuable artwork attached to it, right. And we ended up selling the replica for $4.2 million at Philips. And it was a complete standalone, you know, smart contract for the series itself. Right? And that was really kind of like this, like aha moment of, well, you know, why don’t creators really have their own smart contracts? And, you know, we look at the ecosystem, right there, a lot of creators, you know, they have to go through these platforms, right, at the time, at the time, you know, in order for you to, in order to get a drop on like 50 gateways, you had to apply them to Gateway, and, you know, they had to choose backlog of people, they want to get dropped, right. And, and really, you know, people are creators really beholden to, you know, platforms at the time. You know.

The other side of things is, you know, you have shared contracts, right, but same sort of yours is on the shared contracts is that, it’s the platform, who owns the implementation, these contracts, who always token and kind of controls the distribution of the contract, right? And the whole idea behind you knows, web three crypto was that you should be able to realize self-sovereignty, and for NFT’s, what that means is, is creative sovereignty. And so, we thought it was crazy that these creators didn’t actually own any of the technology that they were selling their NFTs on. And so, you know, we said, we have a working replicator, we now had this like base idea for what creative sovereign contracts should look like. And then we can create the metaphor creator contract, to allow each creator to have their own self sovereign contract timid, you know, a few things about that is, one, it increases the provenance of the piece itself, right? Because now, in order to verify the authenticity of a piece on the shared contract, you actually have to go to that property, you know, that web property to verify that that piece was created on that, on that platform, you have to verify that that piece wasn’t, you know, a fake on that platform itself to and, you know, it was really reliant on this external system to verify authenticity and peace, right? Like for example, like say, say NFT gateway just disappear off the face of the earth, right? What reference would you have to these tokens that says that this is a gateway token, okay.

Got it. 

Richerd: Right. And so, you know, our whole concept was that the contract was the root of all kind of creator. And then that could be used to trace verification and maximize profits for entities itself.

Are There Benefits That Come With a Self-Sovereign Contract?

So, beyond tracing verification, beyond maximizing provenance, is there anything that like any other benefit that comes with a self-sovereign contract that you could do from like an experience play, that you can do from a composability play that you can do, I guess from a more experimental play that you otherwise wouldn’t been able to do if you were launching your product or your project on a non-creator owned contract? Can you walk me more than an asset from a very like dumbed down point of view? Just to kind of, introduce how you’re thinking about this stuff internally?

Richerd: Yeah, so one of the things is that a standard industry meeting contract is just that, it just literally just takes an image or a link to an image and makes it as an NFT, right. But you know, as I was mentioning earlier, there’s so much more you can do to NFTs if you consider kind of the smart contract as part of the NFT. So, one unique thing that manifold does is that we have a contract is called the manifold creator contract. And when kind of like, the final feature of it is that we had the ability to install what we call extensions onto that contract itself. And what that does, it creates an application like interface to a smart contract that another contract can then hook into, to, you know, run different kinds of business logic and, you know, programmatic interfaces to that original smart contract to create new traces, like new NFT traces, and add that to it, it also enables like, very cool mechanics from, you know, how they how contracts can hook into a bigger ecosystem, and be more composable go for the creators at large. And so, an example of this is that, you know, if I had NFT contract, you know, just standard NFT contract, every time I want to kind of do something new, I’d have to deploy a new contract with that kind of logic built into it. With our contracts, what you do is you have one base contract that does all your routing, that you can deploy another contract that hooks into it, that will let you do some things like you know, sell your NFT on our website, we have an extension that lets NFT gateway makes out it contracts. So, you can literally sell on the CBOE and have it been minted from your own tower contract. Cool. We have other things to do with like royalties for you, you can do your customized royalties from that perspective. And, you know, the thing is that you can create really interesting candidates once you start kind of creating like multi system, or like multi contract systems. Whereas, you know, the data entities right now, is everything, just kind of, you know, singular contract where you take the base functionality and code all functionality into it. And then that’s it.

Yeah. Is is the bet manifold that more and more creators will become more technically native. And they’ll understand the underlying infrastructure as to what happens behind the projects. Is the bet more to make it as like no code and seamless as possible, so that anybody can come and plug and play. I’m just trying to think about it from like the mainstream creator economy crowd. It’s like a lot of creative entrepreneurs, bloggers, journalists, video content creators, musicians, etc. And while I believe that the word creator, it’s a very general word, and anything, almost a thing can fit into that category, I’m trying to understand. So how do you guys think about it. Is it the bet that more creators will become more technically native? Is it a more of a no code play? How are you thinking about it?

Richerd: It’s been both right. Okay. So, if you just take medical studio directly, medical studio is designed so that you don’t have to understand technology to kind of do what you want to do in the Web three NFT ecosystem. Right. But that being said, though, we did all of our technology is on the contract level is open source, right? And it’s open, right? And so, as a creator, you own the contract itself. And so, you can actually want to go deeper into the technology, you’re allowed to do that. Right? Yeah. And our goal is to create tools and infrastructure for developers and creators to kind of push the bounds of what NFTs can be. You know, but I think the whole vision here is that, you know, as a creator, you shouldn’t be beholden to any sort of middleman platform, or, you know, external, external body unless they actually are providing value to you. And so, we want to give creators the choice of who they partner with, and, you know, what platforms they want to work with, if they are actually truly providing value to the creators themselves. Yeah, so you know, I’ve heard from other creators that, you know, they’ve worked into her platforms, and said, you know, at the end of the day, find this platform for taking like huge fees from them, but not actually providing any value. Right. And so.

That was two platforms. 

Richerd: Yeah. So that is there, it should really just be, you know, the creator is the one doing all the hard work, right. And so, they should be paid for their hard work right, and not have to be, you know, have all these NFTs taken away from them, you know, our whole goal is to enable self-sovereignty, right. And self-sovereignty means full control of creators to choose, you know, their own destiny.

Richerd’s Thoughts About the Creator’s Class That Has Yet to be Impacted by the Web3 Primitives

Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. I want to get your point of view. Richerd, what do you think is a creator class that has yet to experience the full potential benefit of web three, we see photographers, we see, we’ve seen like journalist or mirror, right? We’ve seen musicians, we see, of course, digital artists and artists and in general, what is a creator class do you think that’s yet to be kind of like impacted by the primitives of web three?

Richerd: I would say more like, you know, the thing that I think are now is more like book publishing and authors, right? Because they know that they are very similar model, right, so how book authors work is to get an advance for your work, right? You know, after that you have a distribution, you know, once you finish your works, you have to pay back that advance, and then, you know, it’s up to the publisher now to kind of do the distribution promotion. But you know, they take a huge cut of pretty much every single, like sale, right? You know, I heard that for most publishers or authors, right? They’re only making like, 20% of every dollar for every.

That’s crazy

Richerd: Right? And so obviously, if you have that, there’s a big inversion that’s possible here, where funds can actually go towards the creators themselves, rather than all the middlemen, the publishers and the agents and so on. So that’s one thing. You know, music is an obvious thing. Right, I think a lot of the music industry is very, like rooted in tradition, right? And you haven’t actually adapted to the new age of, you know, what does distribution look like on the internet? And, you know, I think web three is kind of like, again, inverting that, that power, the power of creators, right.

Richerd’s Point of View On Music NFTs

You know, I had the two-time Grammy Award winning producer, Ill Mind on Mint alongside, I think we published this episode, today. And one thing that we talked about, speaking about, like the industry of like the music industry in its tradition is he creates beats loops, he’s a producer, and the way kind of like, beat artists, loop artists, stem artists, they share beats with one another is by uploading the file to Google Drive, and then sending that to the individual that they want, potentially using it. And all the terms and agreements are very like scattered. They’re like in the email itself. There’s no real standardization behind it. A lot of people get screwed in the end. And it got me thinking like, how can web three solve that? How can blockchain primitives solve that, the ownership layer, the verification layer, and being able to build if you buy a beat, or loop on chain, being able to build on that song in verifying ownership from molecular level, as it kind of trickles down all the way to the foundation of what the song is beat, drum, track, etc. So, I’m curious to hear your thoughts like, what is your point of view on the entire cycle right now? What’s happening with music NFT’s right now? How do you kind of like make sense of it? Why don’t you think it’s had as much success as like NFT’s did during the NFT gateway era? For example, when kept platforms like SoundCloud, XYZ kind of replicating the addition model and platforms, like catalog replicating the super rare model for example? What are your thoughts on that?

Richerd: No, I think for one thing is like, what does it mean to own a song? Right? Like, what is the actual ownership of song kind of get you, right? And, you know, if we think about kind of consumption of music right now, consumption, music is pretty much free. You know, because you have platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, who pretty much, you know, give you unlimited access to songs, right? And so, ownership of song is just a complete very different kind of mental model for people to like, think about. Right. And, you know, with the art market, we have a good metamodel, which is, you know, the traditional marketing, like physical art market that we can replicate off of, but, you know, for music, that it’s like, it’s a very disjoint between what is royalty for song mean, what is royalty for a song mean, right? And how is it as a owner of media really benefits from owning a song?

How Collector Stats Can Enable Creators to Build Their Audience

Yeah, makes a lot of sense. One thing I want to talk to you about, Richerd, so we talked about the manifold creator contract. You guys recently released the collector stats, which I thought was a super interesting tool for a lot of creators, because many times they have a bunch of collectors and they don’t know anything about them. It’s just an anonymous address. But the blockchain is rich with data. For example, I did this campaign, I guess this drop with this independent music artist, her name is Queen George, we sold NFT tickets to attend her concert, they were free to mint and attend at Eth Denver, okay. And she got about like 150 collectors just based off that contract alone or based off those tickets alone. But these are 150 addresses that she has no idea who they are, what they do. And we were thinking like, what if there was a way to actually upload like a CSV file, be able to see how many of these people are in FBB in forefront? How many? What NF T’s do they collect? What things are governance proposals have they kind of voted on etc? And to really understand on the granular level, who her audience is, something that Spotify and Apple Music, let alone many other applications don’t provide that in depth level analytics, but it’s free to tap into on the blockchain. How do you think about that, as creators’ kind of build their audiences on chain, what kind of tools, what kind of solutions do they need and how does the creator, the collector stats kind of empower that?

Richerd: Yeah, yeah, so we went that is that we work with a lot of creators, or, you know, I’ve personally worked with hundreds of creators on various projects or different capacities. And, you know, one of the things is that these creators are all have no idea where the countries aren’t in most cases, right. In some cases, they have, you know, very personal relationships with them. And other cases are just like these addresses right there. And so, you know, we pre apparently built tools internally for ourselves, because we run a lot of campaigns for artists, for them to kind of reengage with their audiences. And what we’re doing with these is just surfacing kind of, like who these people are, that they’re kind of in within their network, then on top of that, too, is a lot of platforms aren’t actually giving proper stats for these creators. Because if you think about a platform, where the big things is that they’re kind of focused on themselves, and so, you know, they have stats within their platform, they don’t have like, macro stats outside of their platform itself, for who you’re talking collectors are. And so, we’re really trying to enable, you know, creators to understand their whole ecosystem of, of creators or collectors themselves. Right. You know, one of the things we’re manifold is that we’re very platform agnostic, right, our contracts are compatible with pretty much every single platform out there. And you know, this is just kind of the next iteration of like, how do we provide more value to creators to really understand what is actually happening within their token ecosystems? You know, I thought that that’d be thing is, you know, a lot of collectors have no idea about their sales stats, right? How many tokens have they sold? And we’re just trying to sort of state information so that it’s more useful for them, you know, for example, for taxes are important.

Yeah, makes sense. Can you talk more about like the the level of like, it’s the intricacy of the data that you can collect and present, and the insights and knowledge that you can kind of capture by analyzing on chain data? What are some of like, the biggest, beyond understanding how many tokens you’ve actually sold? And putting, I guess, more data points behind collectors, like what other metrics are important to recognize as a creator, when you’re building an auction audience?

Richerd: Yeah. So, I think the obvious one here is royalties, right? A lot of creators have no idea what the rules are, right, they literally just end up, you know, have in some cases, you know, open sea has their own kind of private system for handling royalties, you’re working to be called the royalty registry to kind of democratize royalties, and make it really easy for other platforms to figure out what these are, you know, but that, all of data is on chain, right. And it can be kind of filtered down to creators. So that’s, that’s like one thing, that’s like a big odd, that’s a big thing. That’s a big amount of data on chain that can be kind of surfaced, with a garden kit collector, where, you know, a lot of these creators have no idea how much money certain collectors actually spending under tokens, right. So that’s everything, right. So being able to reward their top collectors, their biggest supporters, you know, and really just doing something special for them, right. So, you know, myself, I’m always, you know, I’m always very happy once, when these creators will reach out to me so, you know, thanks for being one of my early supporters that have helped enable their careers and just like got them to where they are. Right. And it’s okay, so they give me like, some special like, you know, a physical print or, you know, even an NFT right as like, thank you. And a lot of cases, some of these creators have no idea of just how much you know, some of these collectors have invested into the livelihoods of these artists. So.

$9.5 Million Crypto Punk Offer

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Can we Yeah, can we pivot into talking about the punk sale, and the whole, the whole, the whole PR and fun conversation around that I had put Tracy on the podcast, I think last season and he came on Around the time where he made the bid, and a lot of the positive controversy online happened. Can you talk more about that? I’d love to hear your story on that.

Richerd: Yeah. Okay. So, here’s my story from my perspective. So, I believe it’s a Friday and I was actually doing an engineering interview for an engineering candidate from Enfold. And as these interviews just pretty much all my notifications just started going nuts. Like just really nuts, I’m like, my DMs are going off, my Discord is going off and my Twitter was going off and my phone was going off right? And it was like everyone was just trying to get hold of me, right? And I had no idea why right just like, no idea why. I’m in this interview, by the way too, right? So obviously gonna like take a break and just like go outside and see what’s going on because like everything’s just blowing up and so, then I’m looking at this, I’m looking right and everyone’s like, go check larva labs, right? Like, is this real? So, I go looking, I go look and I see that there is a $9.5 million offer for my crypto book. My first reaction was like, this isn’t mine, right? This is not the, like this is something, there’s something fishy going on here because I had no idea like why someone do that. Because you know, I obviously know the value my pocket, it was a banquet $5 million. Anyway, so I was a little distracted because I was interviewed. So, I you know, I explained the situation to the interviewer and I’ll deal with this later. But then we finished interview and then e actually had time to breathe in, like, actually, we got it. I was like, okay, my first reaction was like, Is this a scam? Right? If I accept this, I’m just gonna get right into it like, front ran by my bot. But you know, as I looked into it and actually like looking at what it was you, I saw it was from the panda repo up Patricio. And I was just like very confused of like, you know, like why, right. And as I looked into it, I realized that it was because of a comment I made earlier that said, I would never ever sound like punk, right? Because my punk is kind of like, tied to me and my identity. 

And so, you know, my first thing was like, okay, so what is, after I assess the situation is more like, why? Like, who is this right? And so, you know, I had talked to Patricio, like, once before, or email, cuz he’s trying to introduce me to somebody. But I had no idea that, you know, they don’t take his background of, you know, where he came in crypto. And so, I realized it was, it wasn’t a job offer, I talked to a few other people and says, you know, this is like, completely legit. Patricio is 100% Serious, he’s a little crazy, but he’s 100% serious with this offer. And, you know, I was left with thinking myself, like, you know, should I accept this offer? And, you know, obviously, it’s a very, very respectable offer, is one of the highest offers for good like that. So, I actually like a lot of consideration. But it was interesting, because I was convincing myself of why I should accept it, like, my default was to reject. And I was trying to figure out, you know, in my head, the reasons for accepting this, you know, and I went through all the carriers here of like, well, you know, I guess backward by moving to dollars is the big thing, right? Which is, see everyone’s big thing. But then I thought, well, you know, what I said earlier was like, no, I’ll never ever sell this thing. And so, it’s kind of like really testing my integrity and making me put my money where my mouth is, in real time and publicly on the blockchain to right, which is like, really interesting, because, you know, this was there for the whole world to see, right? This wasn’t like a private deal where he offered me something. But you know, for that time, that money was in the smart contract of the crypto punks. And if I would have just went to the site and clicked accept, you know, it would have been instantly transferred to me right. But, you know, as I thought about it, you know, what it meant, you know, I had built this kind of persona and brand around by crypto punk, you know, what the three glasses, manifold in general, right, and I became really attached to punk, it looks just like, and so, you know, I thought about it for a lot and thought about, you know, at the day, it’s not something I wanted to do, to accept it. Because, you know, I just thought I really, you know, like something all the memes of people being like, oh, you know, he says, he once, I was offered $10 million. And I was like, well, you know, I got a little bit more integrity for that, you know, I respect. You know, I respect the offer. But you know, the other day, I was like, no, this is not how I wanna be remembered or like to sell my punk. Right. And so, you know, I projected it.

So. now, now that you’re rejected, what does that say about you now? What does that say to the community? So, if you would have accepted you, you would have had those types of memes. Excuse me? Yeah. Now that you rejected it, and you you’ve held your stance, you’re firm on your integrity? What does that say about you now?

Richerd: I think it’s a very good, the thing about me on my online persona and my real-life persona is that, I see myself as exactly the same person. Okay, I know, a lot people have very similar personalities, but I pretty much act exact same way online and offline. Right. You know, I got to the point where it’s like, the money was just not a factor in these decisions anymore. Right? You know, I live very comfortably, you know, I’ve never been about trying to make a whole ton of money, I have my needs met. Right? And I’m able to really just focus on the things that I really care about, right. You know, and then a few spaces creation, you know, being an entrepreneur in general, like, really build the future. Right? And I think that, you know, one of the big things with manifold is that reason why I think we’re successful is that each of the founders has the exact same mindset, like we’re not interested in the short-term gains of how can we get rich? We’re thinking about, you know, how can we build a lasting company that has an impact in society in the world and crypto for 5, 10 years, right? Like, we’re thinking really, really long term from that. So first of all, and you’ll meet my co-founders, if you’ve all silver companies before, right? And so, money is not the driving factor between all of our actions free. And I know, I just really wanted to show that, you know, that’s part of you knows, who I am and what I stand for. You know, and I really think that, you know, my reward in the crypto space will come from delivering long term value to pretty much everyone that we interact with and are able to help.

Yeah, I love your long-term mindset. I feel like if it was almost anybody else, that bid would have been accepted, despite the tweets that they surfaced online and how it pertains to their identity. I really, I really commend you for that. I really applaud you to that. Because there’s a level of, I guess, bravery that comes with not accepting that offer and realizing that there’s more than just money to living fulfilling life, right? And you’ve really exemplified that. I’m curious, we didn’t really touch upon this. How did you guys meet? The co-founders? What’s the uprising story behind that?

Richerd: Oh, my company has been friends for like a decade now. It’s actually funny because I still work at a company in Vancouver. for like, two years, they tried to recruit me their company to join as engineer. But, you know, just the tire never worked out. It’s actually funny, because I have an email thread with, I have an email thread with one of them, where we play email tag for about two years, right? And it’s like, hey, we should meet up, right? And then like, three months later is like, oh, sorry, I forgot this email. Right? Right. And then, you know, we just like go see each other. It just is, like, really funny to thread. But, you know, in the tech scene, it’s not really that big a time. So, we became friends, I eventually end up being in my own entrepreneur, right, and then became close friends. And, you know, we never really had an opportunity to work together. It’s not constructive, you know, if they were building their company free, then some kind of cool, you know, tussle, you know, points up together. But it wasn’t until, like, NFTs came around, and my co-founder, Eric really introduced me to it. And it’s really funny, because he’s like, I noticed as soon as he introduced me to it, he just went all in. Right? Like, it was like, before that act, before and NFTS, I actually wasn’t doing anything. I just like sitting home things all day. I literally.

Why do I find it so hard to believe.

Richerd: I had nothing to do, right. So, it’s kind of working, I work in projects, but just not really. Like really, really like, I guess, like, driven by the projects. Okay. Right. And it’s really funny, because I had some Perkins project for like, a year. But you know, I know, knowing myself, if I was actually motivated, you actually got done two projects in a week, right. But this whole project, I’ve been, like, just dragging off not really like working on it. But then, as soon as NFTs came along, I was like, oh, my God, I just, like, dropped everything. And went back and felt like full build mode. Right?

The Future of NFTs and Crypto

Yeah. I love that. What do you think are some of the biggest opportunities that we we have yet to see unfold in the next few years in the NFT world, the crypto world? How are you thinking about the space in big picture?

Richerd: And I think web three companies are gonna kind of, say, or stop the kind of web two platforms. Like, for example, right now, if I think about web three business models, you know, in web three, I have not seen a single ad, or I don’t, I guess, traditional ad, from your sense of like, you know, Google, you know, Software as a Service is not kind of it is not a predominant business model. Right, it’s really about ownership, right? And I think that this is going to permeate to like different kind of areas of, of the companies, right? Because it makes sense, because, you know, as a participant in the token economies for companies, that I am now able to participate in the growth of the company and outside of these companies, rather than being, you know, having to pay into these things or be advertised to, for, you know, I am the product. Right, you know, the big thing about two, is that, you know, consumers are the product, right? But in web three, it’s the consumers are the owners, right? And they have ownership control on these things, right. And I think this makes a lot of sense, you know, from business model innovation for how you can create brand new engaging products. So.

You know, my perspective on that is so yes, we haven’t seen, like ads on platforms like we do on Google or Facebook or Tik Tok. Whatever. My business model for mint is I sell ads in the form of NFT’s. So, depending on which NFT the sponsor buys determine the level of promotion for the season. All revenue has been on chain since day zero, since the birth of the podcast. And it’s interesting, because Forbes reported that creators are still like overwhelmingly dependent on advertising revenue. They surveyed like 2000 creators, and they found that 77% of the creators still this brand deals as their highest earning revenue source. So, a form of ads. One thing that I’ve been trying to think about very intimately deeply is like, how will advertising change on the Creator side of things with the introduction of web three? Is someone like Ali McPherson, who launched an alley coin, who’s a gamer, Twitch gamer, who has a community of people who hold the Alley coin, she hosts gaming tournaments, will brands now buy into the token supply of the Creator versus her doing ads like so that the entire audience wins? who’s holding the token? Like, how do you kind of imagine brand deals, for example, in the advertising side of brand deals and creators’ kind of emerging with web three, with ownership with all these primitives that are kind of forming?

Richerd: Yeah, so like, one of the things is that with the token economy and the blockchain, you actually know who your customers are, right? It’s all on chain, right? And the thing is, you can reward them like you can board them directly through kind of, you know, different kinds of incentives and tokens instructors. And how that to you can provide no real-world kind of value to these holders themselves. Right? You know, it really depends on the brand, right? I think most brands have kind of tangible goods that they sell at the end of the day. Right? And so, you can imagine that, you can turn fans from another, another economy, another, you know, another kind of platform or, you know, as holders of tokens into fans of your tokens that you can offer kind of, like, secure, like ecosystem where, you know, you’re better off by combining forces than just being independent.

Outro

Got it? Got it. Yeah. Make sense. Richerd, before I let you go. Where can we find you? Any last words? Stick it away?

Richerd: Yeah, yeah. You find me on Twitter. Right. So, my username is just @Richerd. Right. And then you’re my company’s manifold. You can find this on Twitter. Also, @manifold XYZ. Yeah, no, I think the big thing right now is just really focusing on, you know, thinking with a, like devotee of the web three space. I think we’re still super super early in everything we’re doing right now. Right? Like the systems for NFTs and web three, and crypto in general are just still very, very archaic. It’s very kind of like in the stone age’s, even though it’s been around for, like, you know, over a decade now. You know, we’re just getting to the point where people are thinking about usability and long-term functionality and long term, like thinking of use cases. And, you know, I think that we’re just going to see more and more innovation in the space, you know, as more people come in and understand the technologies are building and so, you know, I’m really excited to, you know, be here at the forefront of, you know, all the exciting things that people are creating right now. So.

Amazing, and we can find manifold where? @Manifold XYZ. 

Richerd: That’s what I said. Yeah.

Okay, cool, Richerd, thank you so much. We’ll have to do this again. But until then, have a good one.

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