Mint Season 5 episode 16 welcomes Alex Masmej, creator of $ALEX token and co-founder of the web3 Instagram alternative Showtime.xyz, joins Mint to share why free NFTs will be the trojan horse for creators and new users during the 2022 bear market.
In this episode, we discuss:
- 00:36 – Intro
- 07:44 – Showtime’s Origin Story
- 13:01 – The Evolution of Social Tokens and Creator Coins since $ALEX
- 17:56 – Thesis on Web3 Social
- 26:58 – Understanding Soulbound Tokens
- 35:32 – How To Make Money Off Free NFTs
- 43:32 – Downside of Soulbound Tokens
- 45:31 – What Would You Ask Steve Jobs Today?
- 47:44 – Outro
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Support season 5’s NFT sponsors
1. CyberConnect – https://cyberconnect.me/
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Alex Masmej: Yo, yo, yo. Bang, bang.
Bang, bang. Now that’s Pomp’s thing, I can’t do that on the show.
Alex Masmej: Back to pop when I came in before he said it. Like what the fuck? Mint, mint.
Mint, mint, bang, bang. Thank you for being on. What’s going on?
Alex Masmej: Yeah, I’m doing awesome. I was traveling in France and New York. Maybe I’ll go to New York for NFT NYC next week.
Alex Masmej: Recording maybe? I don’t know, I made FOMO last minutes. What about you? How is it going?
I’m going, I’m going off to NYC, gonna hang there, this is gonna come out on Tuesdays. So, whoever is going to be listening on Tuesday hit me up. Hope to see you around. But welcome to mint, first time on mint, iconic, bigger than Ellen, bang, bang, bang and all these good things. I’m stoked to have you on my friend. A lot of white Mint is here today is because of your entrepreneurial type of mindset, starting the social token movement and kind of sparking this web three creator journey that a lot of us are on. So, I think a good place to start. Okay, for those who don’t know who you are, okay. Who the hell are you, Alex? What does the world need to know about you? But more specifically, how the hell did you get into crypto?
Alex Masmej: All right, sure. So, I guess I grew up from Paris. And I grew up in Paris from zero to 18. And at 18. I studied in the UK. So now I’m bilingual,l as I speak English. And then at 23. After learning about entrepreneurship, and startups, I was always touched by Steve Jobs. Since I’m like 12. I decided to pick a company, sorry to pick an industry that I would work on and really focus heads down for the next 10 years. And so, I think I picked like AI, VR and web three crypto. And at the time, crypto was the one I wanted to list to focus on. But that is it became so obvious that like, anyone can join crypto, it’s very low barriers to entry. It’s kind of like the internet. And I was like, if I want to be a legendary founder, having a massive impact in the world, web three is probably the best industry to spend my 20s in. And it’s going to massively impact the world positively. And so, I decided to join crypto in like 2018, 2019. And I was like 21 something and I joined meta cartel first, which is one of the pioneering Daos, it was based on Moloch Dao, which is kind of like a multisig, where if you disagree of where the funds are going, you can rage quit, and you cannot spend your money. And so, it was a nice way to align people on the same financial decision.
And so, meta cartel was giving grants to startups, it was the bear market, everyone was poor in 2018, 2019. And I discovered some amazing minds like Peter Pan, Cooper Trooper, way before, you know any of those guys were big in crypto Twitter, that was very exciting. I created even my own project that because I’ll give you a grant called rockets, which was NFT as a collateral way before it’s time or NF Ts were a thing. Then I created a marketing Dao with the CMO of consensus and a couple of other forks, other also a Dao, marketing Ethereum and trying to be better at comps and stuff. And then COVID happens, and you know, I was broke. And I was just living off of grants and free flights. And you know, the crypto gift economy that people were willing to give me with Daos and stuff. And I had no choice, but you know, I stuck in Paris. It was I remember March 2020; the Crypto market was crashing. I had like a small Freelancer a gig for like a company that was overfunded that was paying me a little bit every month. And so, I got cut all of that. And I even got screwed up in a defi protocol. And I lost like 80% of my savings.
So, it’s March 2020. And I’m like, I’ve got all of those insights and experimentations and I have to do something, or I’ll just be like a normal guy, you know, doing a normal job in Paris, I was stuck in Paris at my parents’ house. And I remember I had done the Alex token, because Peter Pan flew me out and he wanted me to repay his debt that that he landed me for that flight to my first crypto conference. And he was like, let’s create a token so you can repay me later. Later it was called Alex Masmej lauch 2019, So I had a lot of experiments in rocket them up to Dao, all the stuff I talked about. And I was like, let’s just use one of my experiments. So, the Alex token, which was not really used for anything, it didn’t really work out. It was just like a one hour of my time for like, you know, X number of tokens. I was like let’s use it, but this time as like a crowdfunding tool. That was way before Mirror XYZ, was live, let’s use it to, you know, say I want money to move to San Francisco, and to start a very ambitious company and later on protocol.
And you know, I need the money as a safety net. And I want to create a cryptocurrency where, you know, like, holders can be accessing some new stuff, they can get my future salary, you know, a portion of my future salary. And so, I came to ECC, in real life in 2020, just before COVID was closing down everything. And I said, I’m raising $20,000, to move to San Francisco. At the time, I was so scared, I have never, ever had a salary in my life. And I was promising the mainstage that I would pay back with my salary, but I’d never had a salary, it was very scary and terrifying. And I was like, I don’t think I’ll ever raise the $20,000 and weeks later, I do a medium article because as I said, mirror was not a thing. There was no crowd fund, there was no mirror race, whatever. And turns out, I raised the $20,000 in like four days from really incredible people like Jacob from Zora, or infinite for meta mask. And just like really good people, it was like, it was kept at a hotcake of like, my salary given back. So, it was not like a VC investment. It was like, you know, I’m just giving stuff I don’t really expect anything in return. But maybe the Alex token will go up if you ever become like a big founder. Right. And so that’s kind of the Alex token story. And then it blew up on social media. I kind of went on TV, I did a lot of podcasts. I even created other stuff like I had like a deep fake of myself that you could like speak to and pain Alex stuck in.
I had controlled my life, which also went very viral with Austin Griffis defend developer from defend Foundation, where basically like a vote in my in Alex token like one token, one vote could decide what I would do in July 2020. That went viral. It was kind of like the early days of snapshot like this experiment, voting was inspired snapshot like a guy from balance or just left to do snapshots. And Alex, voting on my life was the first token votes on Snapchat. Anyways, so like, a lot of things went viral consistently with the Alex token. And fast forward, I got my visa and living in the United States. And I saw the NFT boom coming. And I was like, that’s perfect. I always wanted to do a company. That’s why I did the Alex token. And to me, my social token needed a social media, I needed a platform to be on, the token part is the easy part that was already hard to do. But I needed a platform. And, and yeah, I started Showtime in early 2021. And we can talk more into the history of Showtime.
Showtime’s Origin Story
Yeah, why did you start Showtime? Why was that the next obvious thing to do?
Alex Masmej: So, to me, like the crypto space is, as always been very financial. It was all about speculation. And I understand speculation can be good. But the NFT space and the crypto space as a whole because NFTs were not even a thing. When we started short time. It was just people I’d done a sale. But that was basically it. To me, like the space was too transactional and not enough about social and to me like crypto cannot sustain its growth with only self-motivated people. Like right now it’s crypto natives. It’s people who are obsessed with crypto. And they philosophically agree with crypto, so they install a wallet. And that’s kind of how people are independently joining crypto. For crypto to break into mainstream it has to go through. You know, your friend telling you about it. Like it sounds very simple. But there’s no app where your friends tell you to use it in crypto, it doesn’t exist right now you need a friend to onboard you to philosophically tell you in crypto to listen to a podcast. There’s no real app where like, you’re just like, oh, yeah, like I’ll just get it. And then this will trickle down to millions and billions of users. And so, we’re really focused on a social platform. And people don’t actually, you know, are not as excited about money as they are about social stuff and culture.
This is why NFTs boomed. But NFTs people didn’t learn from their friends. They learned it from media headlines. So, it’s like yeah, like we saw some potential with NFTs. And they started becoming viral. But it was mostly about the prices. And you know, the media headlines versus people actually using them, right, like open sea, even though it’s a massively successful company, still doesn’t have over a million users. They have like 1.6 million users, but that’s on genetics. People have multiple wallets. And it’s one-time users. So, like, you know, that’s the potential of crypto, if a million users can shoot up over 20 to 15 billion valuations. I think it’s very exciting to try to invent the web three protocols and products that will guide the next 100 million users. And you know, Stan was one of the first ones, but now there’s lens protocol. There’s forecaster, there’s web three WhatsApp coming up called Bilanz. Like there’s a lot of very exciting social media, even Vitalik is talking about it with cell bound tokens and the paper he wrote. So, I think this next cycle is going to be on social media, on web three social media. And I’m extremely excited about it. And I’ve been preparing it for years. So that’s why I started showtime.
So personal tokens slash social tokens, they came to fruition mainly because of you. And you have about like, one more year out of the three that you committed to revenue sharing with your 30 holders.
Alex Masmej: Yep. Exactly.
Two years into the experiment. Okay. Did it did it pan out, as you imagined so far?
Alex Masmej: Honestly. Yeah. I mean, better. Like, I was always extremely ambitious. So, like, I don’t think I’ll ever say, oh, like this is way more than I expected. This is exactly what I expected, I expected to raise from the best investors to move to San Francisco. And then to really dedicate the next few years of my life to building a world changing startups. But salary wise, at the time, I remember, like it felt weird, promising future income that I’ve never gained. But turns out I met him versus co-founder, you know, I’m making a six-figure center salary. And so, for holders, it’s actually way more than the maths that I was giving them because I think I needed to do like to make $60,000 per year or so to break even. But I’m way more than breaking even. I don’t think I’m going to 5x or 10x. But like they are getting their money back. And it was also a fun journey. I don’t think even people did it for money that much but did not cost them money. It was fun. And they’re part of the first social token in history, which is very exciting. So, I’m very grateful for them.
So how much revenue have you given to your 30 token holders to date if you’re open to sharing?
Alex Masmej: Interesting? I don’t know exactly. Because so like some I’ve asked like for USDC. Very famous, like coin market cap competitor, founder asked me for USDC. I mean, yeah, some people some sometimes I’ve like did it in Alex, LP tokens on Uniswap, it was very weird. I would say. I don’t even know honestly; I think I’ve probably given back roughly the same. So, I’ve probably given back $20,000, maybe a little bit more so far. But however, does a Euro left. So, the Euro left now is a bonus for them.
If there’s an exit that show time, everybody’s gonna be really, really happy.
Alex Masmej: I think, yeah, like we’re brainstorming it. I don’t think I can promise anything. But I think it’ll be very exciting to time showtime, maybe even if it’s just personally not via company, because that would not work legally. But I’ll be committed to like, like, you know, reward people with the Alex token, especially the early ones. But I can’t commit to anything because I don’t want to have any investment advice or anything.
The Evolution of Social Tokens and Creator Coins since $ALEX
There’s never any investment advice given here. Okay, so how have personal coins sort of evolved since the launch of Alex token? It’s quite a journey.
Alex Masmej: So, the story is very interesting, because I launched social tokens kind of out of desperation, almost like it was like a forced innovation. He was like, if I don’t innovate, I literally cannot say if I have to get a job. And I did it. And it very, very, it triggered a lot of people’s instincts about the fact that it was a little bit like black mirror because it was kind of like undeterred servitude, meaning that, you know, I would be liable to my shareholders. And that’s kind of a weird dynamic. Also, people push back because they were like the opposite where oh, like you actually have too much power. It’s the opposite of black mirror. Well, actually, now you can record people. And that’s not trustless like Defi. I had some push backs. I have a lot of people who really liked it. Other people did it. Actually Kerman, Callie a founder and newsletter writer and crypto. Also did like a few weeks after also raising $20,000. So, I think it just did a massive amount of noise. That got me very excited because crypto doesn’t do noise very often. So, it did with NFTs, social tokens also, although it doesn’t have product market fit as much as NFTs did a lot of noise every time, sometimes for the worse. So, as I said the Alex token had its critics. It also you know, big clouds also had its critics because it started trading tokens without people’s consent and that pissed a lot of people off rightly so.
And so, to me, you know, a lot of people got excited, even Cooper Turley actually like started being like a social token manager and coin artists did one and other very prominent people did one brand slant did one. And I think what people started realizing is that community tokens are better like friends with benefit started. And so, the personal token, the narrative shifted, I remember there’s like a podcast on seat club or something where Jess and like Patrick Firmare are basically saying, well, social tokens versus, like Alex were fun, but it seems like community tokens are better because look at C club and look at friends of benefits and look at others.
And so, this shifted. And I was like, Man, I don’t really get I don’t really agree with this. And like, I even wrote a blog post on Andreessen Horowitz, future.com blog about this, where I’m like, crater tokens, personal tokens will boom before Dao as will. But right now, I guess crypto is kind of clunky. And people love chatting on Discord. And so temporarily, you know, community tokens are winning. But I’m very excited about the future of creator tokens. Because every time it’s been tried, it really became viral way more than friends with benefits, way more than C club it really started, like people were like, oh, being early in a creator, I get it. And you know, I think there’s a lot of things to say about creator tokens, and I’m happy to dive into it more.
If you were to do Alex again, would you go the fungible route or the non-fungible route?
Alex Masmej: I think I would probably go the non-fungible route, if I had to do it another time.
Why is that?
Alex Masmej: Well, I could go like the crowdfunding route again. And so maybe I would have done it on mirror dot XYZ, for instance, with the NFT crowd fund, but I think, you know, even the Alex token before my Crowd Fund started at zero. And so, to me, the psychological, you know, dollar ticker next to an experiment that starts at zero is weird. I think NFT to a better place for that, especially free NFTs, I would have probably maybe made a drop a Free NFT drop of Alex tokens. And I’m like, hey, like, you know, I’m taking 10% royalties, and I’m giving you access to like XYZ things. And the trading would have maybe made me some money or, to me, yeah, like I yeah, I think I would have thought at least I’d have NFT craft on mirror or try to do something for free to more people and have something at scale, like maybe like a bigger group chat or a zoom call, or people voting on my life would have like used it. And that would have made me some money somehow, like, I would say, like most expensive Cryptos start at zero. And even like board apes were like very cheap or even free to mint and crypto things were free to mint. I think started without price as a NFT is probably better and feels more like a badge than a currency. So, I’ve probably started with the NFT, if it was the case today, but at the time NFTs were not even a thing. It was very, very little.
Thesis on Web3 Social
Yeah. So, I want to put it back to showtime. Okay, what is your thesis on the web three social movement? What does that really entail?
Alex Masmej: So, to me, content creators are vastly under monetized. I think this is not, you know, a very crazy thesis to have. Everyone knows this. I think that web three social lets you own your content. So, like, you know, NFT can literally be a piece of social media content, like a podcast episode, a photo, or whatever. And that is extremely valuable. Like, you know, Facebook is worth a trillion dollars owning all the NFT is of everyone. Plus, it’s only using it as a black box for advertisers. So, for one used case NFTs because it’s composable can have not one used case, but a million used cases, meaning that the total value if we unlock Facebook, as a web three platform will be even bigger than Facebook. So, there’s literally trillions of dollars of value that could be liberated, given to people who actually produce the value. And that’s extremely exciting. And so, in concrete terms, if you’re a podcaster, maybe you can sell an NFT of sponsor slots. And literally you get an inbound of all the 30 seconds audio clips you receive that were purchased, that you know you can just plug into your podcast and dramatically and that makes it very easy.
So, like sponsor slots is just one idea. Or you know, Beyonce fans for instance, if they ever want to buy tickets at a concert, tickets sold out in a second for Beyonce, and they feel ripped off like they’ve listened to her songs way more like they deserve, they’ve done work to prove that their fans, they deserve to get some VIP access. You know, like I feel like social media not only doesn’t monetize well, but he’s extremely superficial. Like social media is really maximum with right now. Especially with Tik Tok right like Tik Tok, a follower on Tik Tok really means nothing, It means like you double tap and you clicked on follow, and you like literally gave three seconds of your attention. So, like web two doesn’t make money and it has zero depths. With web three, you can make money. And you can also use those web three assets to create depths like, oh, those are my, you know, fans are like who listen to one show or two shows, or those are like extra, extra fans like it can really recreate how deep of a fan you are to someone. And that’s really good, because right now, sure, everyone is online, there’s millions of people, even billions of people on social media, but we should probably recreate depths of the internet. Because otherwise, you know, it’s very hard to actually get to a community that we like that has high signal, a lot of trolls, a lot of negative people, a lot of, you know, clickbait things can happen when there is no depths because everyone is treated the same, bots are treated the same, bad people are treat the same, insulting people are treated the same. We can change this with NFTs and tokens because we can read the chain on what exactly has, they done. And so, we can have better communities online.
And so, to me, like web three fixes a lot of things about the space, monetization, it fixes the depths of how much of a fan you are, and all the perks that you can get. It also fixes social media addiction, creators are addicted to social media, because they cannot make money unless they really drowned the algorithm and content. If you’re making 100k a year and that’s enough for the city you live in, then you don’t need to be as much plugged then, if you are a user, you’re going to start making money off maybe sharing early fans, sorry, creators and stuff like that. So, like there’s going to be time manager who are going to be like kids in India that no one knows who’s going to discover the next Justin Bieber on like the web three YouTube. And that’s going to be wealthy. So, people are going to realize, wow, I’m making money off social media, as a user or as a creator, that’s changing my life. And I can recognize the value. And so now I don’t have to abuse social media as much because I’m getting the value. The attention economy on web two right now is like I’m giving away my value. But web three gives you back that value. And I think it can really make people understand oh, like my time is very valuable. I could spend it doing something else. Because now I’m getting the money. I know exactly the value that I’m getting in web three. So social media addiction, moderation, depths in concreters, which is very exciting. Obviously, motorization. It’s literally solving a lot of problems. And I think also the obviously bigger and meta one is that people will only join a social network to join crypto and web three, like they don’t care about installing Meta mask or zerion. Those are self-motivated people, which is amazing. And we love those apps.
But basically, the first wallets of people will be created because they need a social media. And so, this also is a massive benefit in itself, which is people will use social media because they’re much better in web three. And then that’s their starting point. And then they can go on to do device stuff, NFT stuff, other, other games and whatever things. But whatever will break out is social because social is literally like a marketing first product, it’s literally the goal of the product is for everyone to use it. And so, if we want to get more people to crypto because it’s so amazing, we should probably have them use a social network, because that’s the only way to get people like the most used apps online are all social networks, there is no way around it. That’s where people hang out. If we don’t create a place for people to hang out in web three, they will not come, and it has to come from other people telling them because that’s how people operate. Not self-motivated, you know, nerds like us. That’s the vast majority of people. And we’re just a tiny minority.
So where does Showtime fit in that thesis then? Because you just explained a bunch of like, why like the purpose behind this stuff, right? So, from a product point of view, out of those problems, which ones are you after?
Alex Masmej: Right? So, I think to me, the best things to do is to be product first, to build a product that people care about. They don’t care about a protocol; they don’t care about just a tool that they use once; they care about a platform to hang it on. And so, with this thesis, there’s many things you can do. You can do a Twitter web three, which is you know, short form text. And so, there’s forecaster who’s very exciting, started by this Coinbase alumni, John Romero, which I’m very excited about. There is Showtime, which in our case is an Instagram, you know, media content. The reason why I chose media was it seems like it’s some of the biggest markets in social media like Tik Tok is massive. Instagram is kind of like slowly decreasing and users but it’s still a massive, massive social network. So, I’m like people care about media based social networks. So, let’s build one and rethink it with web three. And so, in short time, your content is your NFT, your username is maybe an ENS in the future, or at least an ETH address. You know, we are rethinking every primitive with web three. And we just started scratching the surface. The next thing we’re excited as free NFTs, it’s the social media version of NFTs. It’s not about price. It’s about utility. It’s about unlocking something special. For the first time, we have depth in social media, again, where some users are not treated the same as others. And that’s super cool, because that means you can give discounts to some people, you can give, you know, exclusive access to a community or a group chat or stuff like this. And I’m very excited to see because we blocked the price with free NFTs, there’s no way to price, a lot of creators are going to be very creative about what they offer cannot like mirror, you know mirror, a lot of people are really creative about what to crowdfund with. And we’re kind of doing a similar distribution product. But this time, it’s media based. It’s for content creators, podcasters musicians, anyone who has more than 10 NFT collectors, like digital artists, digital artists, they don’t really need a social network. You know, they have open sea the trade, they have maybe music NFT for like the rare vinyls. But for social media, they don’t have a platform. And they need tools like forecaster for Twitter, Showtime for Instagram binance for WhatsApp, those are the future. And every single web three, you know, every single social network today is going to be disrupted by its web three version, it may look a little different, but there will be a text based one and media based one. Maybe they will be aggregators reading a little bit of everything, and millions of different interfaces will come up. But I think this is where we’re heading. And so yeah, Showtime is media based, Instagram, like, but different features, then it’s free.
Understanding Soulbound Tokens
Free NFTs are the Trojan horse, in my opinion for content creators. I think it’s a number one way to build a top-level funnel to find those collectors who will end up buying something from you. I’ve given out 1000s of free NFTs on the podcast over 8000 to date, across every single season in an effort to kind of put a cookie in someone’s wallet, in an effort to kind of learn and prove that they’ve been a part of my journey since that episode. And as I figure out what my content journey is, I can bring them alongside me, right? I think it’s the ultimate when people go absolutely crazy for that people love them. People love free NFTs let alone free shit. And you guys are starting to focus on free NFTs, you just posted a long ass thread on Twitter yesterday, talking about your excitement. And I know this is kind of like what we connected over as well. We share the similar sentiment over that. But elaborate more on that. And I want you to touch upon like soulbound tokens as well, because they very much have a free element to them. Yeah.
Alex Masmej: For sure. Yeah, so as I said, like, it’s really free NFT season, it’s gonna be absolutely incredible. I think we’re like some of the first to talk about this. But free NFTs have been trending on Twitter, some weeks, obviously, you’re very bullish on it. You know, a lot of creators and influencers are starting to tweet about it, Chainsmokers to the free NFT drop. So, like, it seems like there’s some enthusiasm, and it’s only going to increase. I think the reason for free NFTs is very simple. And as I said, it goes back to like caring about mainstream people, caring about social media users, and not crypto native collectors, like some very small niche. And it’s very striking that most people in this world don’t have NFT, it’s very much that simple. And we’re like, how can we make people earn their first NFT? How can we make people own their first NFT? And it’s really that simple. Like, you know, it’s like, well, should they pay for it? Maybe most people can afford $5. So, we can maybe do a like on Polygon like a $5 sale. But then he gets blocked from the App Store, because Apple doesn’t like digital items and Appstore policies have not caught up to NFT innovation. So, we’re like, okay, people like free stuff. Apple like free stuff. The markets are crashing, so people don’t even want to spend money anymore. NFTs are not as blooming and value as before. And so, this is the perfect time to focus not on prices, but on what the NFT can offer.
And so, we want to do free NFT for any creator to share a simple link to their audience, for whatever that is we leave them the expression and some ideas include a private group chat, a private community, you know, showing up to an event, participating to something. The goal I think, is to kind of prove some work. The simplest form would be being early in someone but doing something thing, like proving that you have some depth as a fan, not just a person who randomly followed someone is very exciting. And I think it links to soulbound NFT, soulbound tokens, as you said, because, you know, soul ban tokens. So just to define it is basically nontransferable things, things are tied to you, as a person, as a soul. And I think one early example of that is poups, where it is transferable, poups are NFTs, but people don’t really sell poups, because it tells us about them. Poups is NFT that you gain from attending a crypto conference. And what’s very exciting is that, you know, you get to prove that you are an OG in the space. And, you know, maybe one free NFT or one poups will not give you daps. Because it’s like, okay, you just claim one, that’s like a 10 second action. But what’s very exciting, and what we saw with poups is that the accumulation of poups is interesting.
You know, some of people that are new to crypto, they have one poups from ETH Denver, that’s not that high signal. But people looking at my account, I’ve been in for poups, like events for like three years, I have 22 poups, now the accumulation of them are, it tells a story about my life, like okay, I started a mega cartel, demoted Day 2019. And, you know, those are NFT. So, this can be faked because you can buy them, but we soulbound tokens, I would not be able to buy them. And so, my account will truly reflect this as someone who probably is a human being, because he’s been traveling the world doing stuff. And above doing all of this over the past, over the past three years would be insane. So, like, you know, that’s probably a human. And then this can give you like status, I’m, you know, prominent Ethereum person, because I’ve attended this, I’ve spoken at conferences, I have, you know, poups speaker badges, whatever, self-expression, you know, I care about a woman in web three, because I attended a woman in web three events and have the poup to show it. And so all of those things are the basis of social media, status, self-expression. And so, if you can transfer them, if it’s not about money anymore, if it’s free to get, if anyone can get it, and they can prove something. We are really recreating social networks. But this time, it’s not, you know, virtue signaling. It’s not all of those superficial things. It truly shows what you’ve done. And to me, that’s extremely exciting. And a lot of people in web two, like don’t like social media creators, that seems professional and like seem to be faking their lives and stuff like that. There’s a lack of authenticity that web three can provide with those soulbound tokens and free NFTs.
But human nature is programmed for web to like we are, we spend so much time doing the things acting the way we do on web two, because we naturally, organically are like that, right? posting a picture next to a Bentley on the way to fly in your private jet is some shit that people love to do. And that gets clicks, attention, attribution, all these things, right? Why would web three make that different? That’s just human nature.
Alex Masmej: Well, I think what’s very exciting is that I completely agree with you. And this is why the startups that I mentioned, which is forecaster, Showtime, and Bilanz, which is kind of low key but will come out very soon, are literally copying WhatsApp and, you know, Twitter and Instagram that people absolutely love. Because web three is a financial innovation, and it’s self-custody innovation, but it’s not a user interface innovation. So, we’re gonna keep the same interaction things that probably will also make someone in a private jet, you know, do well, but this ain’t web three, you know, that influencer, you know, let’s say they’re promoting Bentley, they are gonna say, you know, like the first 1000 people liking this, we’ll get some of the money Bentley paid me to do this Instagram post. And that means all of my users have now discounts buying Bentley stuff. Well, I guess Bentley is kind of super expensive. So, it’s a bad example, but it could happen with Nike. And so that way, the social media platform doesn’t take a high person costs and literal users, literal social media users will get discounts from Nike from the money they are giving to the influencer. And the value flow is going to be very exciting to see. So, like, not only you’re gonna get status in web three, but you’re also gonna get money. So, you’re gonna get the best of web two with the best of web three, and people can still flex and do some cool stuff. They can flex even more now because they can literally show their holdings and their earnings if they want to, because it’s got be more traceable and visible. So, I don’t worry about replicating some of those dynamics. But at least users will make money even if they start doing cool stuff, brands will be more loved. Because you know, users will start making money from brands by interacting with them in web three. So now it won’t be a cash grab, it will be about receiving money in value. So, advertising will actually be like giving money. Because the advertising platform does not exist. It’s someone giving money to someone that’s super exciting to me.
How To Make Money Off Free NFTs
There was a gaming creator on the podcast in season one where she did this collaboration later on a few months later with a hardware company for gaming. And she basically allowed her audience who hold the coin to purchase the hardware, but at a discount, and you saw the brands interacting with these on chain provenance and providing utility to fans because she brings in an entire customer base that are loyal with her that can buy these products and services, using their native currency, using their membership paths, using whatever is a value on chain, you know, and seeing brands actually interact with web three native creators by buying into their communities versus doing one off sponsorships is the most interesting thing for me as a creator, right? How can the brand that I collab with actually be a part of my journey for a while not just a one type off transaction where I do swipe up if I have a few conversions? And that’s it, right, like building long term sustainable partnerships on chain. That’s something that’s also really exciting for me using these primitives. I wanted to ask you, what does the monetization funnel look like for free NFTs? What does the value funnel look like? Because if you use NFTs as a top-level funnel, to attract or to reward, right, how do you actually monetize these collectors down the line?
Alex Masmej: Right, so I guess there’s two ways. So, one, either the free NFTs or some utility that people price on secondary markets. And so, there is an open sea. And that’s very exciting, because what it means is that it’s no longer a cash grab, you’re literally giving value with your free NFTs. And as a creator, you only make money. If your fans make money through NFTs, they set them open sea, you get the royalties, everyone’s happy, no more backlash against creators. So that’s great. And also, we’re using polygon and sensations are coming. So, they’re eco-friendly. So, mainstream will not complain about environmental damage to society. So that’s perfect. That’s one thing. So obviously make different apps is valuable, I guess. The second one is, well, now that we are free NFTs, it doesn’t have to be valuable, you can drop 100,000 of them. And then you can maybe like drop some valuable things to those people who hold free NFTs. And the cool thing here is that we differentiate the status from the money. And that’s amazing. With the Alex token, people felt really weird, because they started becoming more and more knowledgeable and known in crypto and notable in the space, and they started making a lot of money. And they were like, can I like sell Alex tokens because I was early in them like I’m a shorting Alex, and we’re going to be not friends anymore with Alex because it feels weird. With free NFTs I would have given them at the start free NFTs. And I would have given the income independent of the free NFTs, so that they can cash out. And you can have financial assets like tokens and NFTs dropped to you. And you can make profit of them. And you can use those discounts to, you know, sponsors and advertisers, but you still keep the status and the self-expression.
And so, if you don’t make finances valuable, which is option one, give valuable things to free NFT holders, and that will be monetizable with royalties and other stuff, but free NFTs and soulbound tokens which are kind of similar in vision are basically like for the first time in crypto, we are using assets that are not financial. And that in turn will means that if you want to Airdrop financial stuff, it will be more precise, and it will be different. And so, you don’t have to sacrifice status or self-expression or stuff like that. Like if you’re a member of friends with benefits, and now it’s $10,000 at the peak of the pull market. Like that’s a very stupid choice to make. It’s like you know, a lot of people would probably sell and leave a great community just because it makes money that should have been a free NFT, and they you get tokens for friends who benefits something that is different and that’s better. And I felt the pain with the Alex token because the accident was like an umbrella of all things Alex and it started getting very confusing because if you don’t get the income and the Alex token boom, and you just have to sort of take shots you’re gonna sell Alex, so it’s kind of the opposite of what I want. It’s people literally turning down the price. And that’s kind of weird like this you are proud of being OG Alex holders. Why should they be forced to sell to make money because the market is much higher.
Basically, status and self-expression don’t have a price You can drop discounts and stuff to your top clients, but you should not as a brand, like have your loyalty program being sellable. That’s weird. And we did this because crypto obviously is very early. We packed everything into NFT and tokens because that’s all we have. But with non-transferable tokens, differentiating both can lead us to monetize via different tokens and NFTs. And so, I actually think that the next pull market will be even crazier and speculation, but this time this discussion will be better oriented. It will be targeted airdrops to actual people so brands and you know, airdrops from companies and projects starting out will be more efficient. airdrops will get more efficient and people they retain their OG status. They don’t have to sell, or they don’t have to question like, when you have ERC 20 us question Is this worth selling? Like, what do I do? Like, no, you can be an OG fan of levy chain, you don’t have to like dump it because now it’s so valuable, like your status as an OG fan is not related to how much money this is worth. And so, if we differentiate both free NFTs can be like a pass, and you Airdrop stuff to that pass, but maybe that pass will be non-transferable. So, we lock in the status and self-expression. So, to me, that’s how we’re going to monetize free NFTs. And also yeah, as I said, royalties, it’s always royalty. That’s very exciting. Because to me, like a million additions, with 10%, royalties given for free probably will get way more money than 10,000 additions sell to like an incredible price to a very few niches of wealthy collectors.
Now, if you go on G Money, he just did his admit, one 1000 membership group, a community online was a free mint to access. And it’s already done 4.2k in secondary volume. And he made nothing off the primary sale, but he’s making 10% off the secondary sale, right. So, it’s cool, because a lot of these new music artists that are coming to the space, they’re experimenting with free NFTs as a way to mint their songs on chain for free to find a few collectors. And then few days later, there becomes a point one floor, a point one eight floor. And with that they get all the secondary royalties that come alongside that. Another thing that I want to see creators’ experiment with is, if I come to a drop, and I mint your collectible, and I pay for it, I want to be able to receive a non-transferable soulbound token. The second I meant that collectible, because if I decide to sell it, I still want to be recognized and known that I was there before anybody else. Have you seen anybody do something like that?
Alex Masmej: Well, to like for the royalty stuff, or like the sound tokens? Well,
Yeah. So, and I’m talking about specifically the funnel of coming to someone’s drop, minting their content and adding a soulbound token.
Alex Masmej: So, I don’t want to leak short term roadmap, but we are literally, we are literally exactly thinking about this, where basically, you could get, what if like your profile was a soul. And that way, it’s easier for anyone to recognize you as a social media user. I think that’ll be very useful. And then you can, we can also make the free NFTs nontransferable, and we can rebrand it something else. And so yeah, I think minting nontransferable stuff is gonna get much, much cooler. And if any creator could have the non-transferable stuff, that’ll be super, super cool.
Downside of Soulbound Tokens
But what about people that don’t want something that’s soulbound to their wallet? Because a lot of people, like many people buy shit that’s never really sold bound to their life in the physical world. Right? It’s like, there’s beauty behind selling something off and getting rid of something. But then this, becomes an opportunity for like Ill minded people to just consistently Airdrop these, like, whatever, these tokens in their wallet as a way to permanently stay in there. And I don’t know, I see a dystopian future kind of evolving from that. Do you think about that? Like, what are your thoughts around the I guess the cons of soulbound?
Alex Masmej: Right, so I guess one thing so like the short-term leak that I just said, which is like we could maybe you have an SPG per profile means that you could move your profile around, so you can see someone else, and all your soulbound NFT sites would go with it. So that would be cool. Because you can make it portable, it’s not soulbound to an address, it’s sou bound to an identity and you can have a multiple one, you can have an anon, you can have like, you know, another, you know, profile identities, so that’s okay. The second thing is about like, you know, everyone Airdropping your stuff, and like kind of ruining your soulbound because everyone’s gonna Airdrop your stuff. Well, that’s why we made free NFTs claimable. It’s like we have precise intent from the user. We make it very easy. We don’t want to like have any friction. It’s literally one click. It’s pretty easy to use. But we don’t want people to be airdropped, scam NFTs all the time. And I don’t think we’re the only one here because you know, Coinbase NFT, open sea, a lot of companies are literally blocking Airdrops from like they just don’t display them. So, like I’m kind of short airdrops but you know if you have a free NFT and the same creator, if you have an SPT maybe that could, you know, whitelist Airdrops from the address who gave it to you because you signal that you like that. So maybe in the future, it could be a dropable without the scams, without the spams. And that’s a good thing.
What Would You Ask Steve Jobs Today?
Yeah, I just see everything that we’re doing online is soulbound activity at this point. And we’re able to trace every single interaction, every single type of movement that our wallet, kind of like, kind of acts. Right. So yeah, I’m super excited for show time. I’m super excited for where your head’s at. I think it’s free NFT summer, in my opinion. And we’re about to see, we’re about to see it go live. Before we kind of wrap this up. Okay. I want to end with one final question. Because you love Steve Jobs so much. Let’s do something fun. Okay. If Steve Jobs was here today and if you had the opportunity to ask him one question. What would it be and why?
Alex Masmej: Well, I would ask him to maybe make apple accelerate the web three, transition or like be maybe even innovating.
That’s what you would ask him. Okay. All right.
Alex Masmej: I think well, I guess like
He is your idol. Remember, he’s your idol. You’ve idolized him since 14 years old?
Alex Masmej: Well, I think I’ll just be so excited. I’ll just ask him like some philosophical questions. But I mostly understand his philosophy. That’s kind of my philosophy. Now, at least the perception of his philosophy is my philosophy. I don’t know how he actually thinks. So yeah, I think I love to ask him more than one question. I’ll just say like, thanks. Like, it’s literally because of him that I’m in tech, honestly. Otherwise, I’m just a random dude in Paris. And so, I would yeah, I would probably work on crypto I guess, I think he probably would dismiss it and be like this so bullshit. Like, you know, the companies are supposed to protect you. But I think that he is just because like he’s just back from the dance. And so that’s an artist anything, but with more context, with more context, I think he would probably warm up to the idea and maybe even like innovate with Apple and in very cool ways. That’s not really happening with Apple right now. But Apple is like seems to be listening. And you know, we’re talking with open sea mobile team and stuff like that. And it’s a lot of pain for now, but we’re fighting the good fight. And I think it’ll be exciting. So yeah, I would say I don’t know exactly what I would say just Steve Jobs. But I’ll probably ask you about web three.
Solid, typical, alright, I love it. I’ll take it. Before I let you go Alex, where can we find you. Where can we find Show time. Show it away.
Alex Masmej: Sure, for sure. So, you can find me Alex masmej on Twitter at Alex masmej. M a s m e j, and then show time is show time XYZ or show time underscore XYZ everywhere.
Let’s go, Alex, thank you so much. We wanna do this again.