Mint Season 7 episode 2 welcomes Roberto Nickson, the Founder of Metav3rse – Instagram’s largest crypto and metaverse-focused page. Throughout the hour, we discuss the world of Web3 media and the potential for decentralized technologies to revolutionize the industry. We’ll be discussing Roberto’s previous experience contributing to his current success, the role of media in Web3, crypto, and NFTs, and the future developments in the metaverse. We’ll also be delving into the controversial Twitter update and how it has caused a shift in Web2 and Web3 creator roles and responsibilities. Roberto touches upon the culture of Web3 and how it empowers creators, as well as sharing his bullish outlook on tokenized content and collecting. We’ll also be discussing the impact of crypto on intellectual property, the challenges facing traditional media, and finally the change in web-based metrics in the Web3 world.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
- 00:16 – Intro
- 05:15 – Previous Experience Contributing to Today’s Success
- 06:23 – The Role of Media in Web3
- 09:41 – Future Developments in Metav3rse
- 12:45 – Thoughts on the Controversial Twitter Update
- 15:29 – The Shift in Web2 and Web3 Creator Roles and Responsibilities
- 17:41 – Explanation of Web3 Culture
- 19:18 – How Web3 Empowers Creators
- 20:58 – Bullish on Collecting Tokenized Content
- 22:34 – Collecting Podcast NFTs
- 29:03 – Web3 and Intellectual Property
- 30:52 – Potential Impact of Crypto on Intellectual Property
- 39:13 – Platforms Hosting Content and Financialization of Content
- 41:29 – Challenges Facing Traditional Media
- 43:07 – Change in Web-Based Metrics in Web3
- 45:23 – The Trillion Dollar Question
- 46:42 – Outro
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Roberto Nickson, welcome to mint. Thank you for being on, how are we doing?
Roberto Nickson: Dude, I’m doing well. It’s an honor to be on your podcast. I’m really, really excited man. Doing well, little under the weather, I guess, you know, it’s just, it is the season.
It is the season. I got sick twice. I got sick twice in four weeks. So, I respect you being here, and I appreciate you being here. And I want to kick off this episode, kind of just learning more about who you are Roberto, you run from what I see publicly, very successful Instagram page, let alone a media company in web three, the most followed and most active Instagram page covering the metaverse and crypto and all that good stuff. So that’s what I know about you publicly. But tell me what I don’t know about you. Who are you? What does the world need to know about you? We’ll start there and we’ll work our way.
Roberto Nickson: Yeah, no, I would say that, you know, professionally, I’m a lifelong sort of nerd. You know, I’m a designer, I’m a gamer. I’ve always loved building communities on the internet. And so, when I found web three, I was like, wow, this is sort of, you know, this is sort of the intersection of everything that I’m interested in and everything that I love, you know, which was the bridging of community, financial systems, etc. And so, you know, I won’t go like too, too deep, but what I’ll talk about Metaverse if you want, my bad dude, this can be edited, right?
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. You’re good. You’re good. You’re good. I’m writing this down. You speak at your own pace. Feel comfortable. I’ll take care of the rest. Yeah.
Roberto Nickson: All good man. But yeah, Metaverse, I got into crypto in around 2016. And that was just as a, I would say as a buyer of Ethereum, that’s what first pulled me in, you know it wasn’t Bitcoin, it wasn’t anything else. It was it was Ethereum, and then in 2017, I started buying crypto Kitties and I thought that was a lot of fun. And then what happened with that is that, my wallet was compromised, you know, which is almost like a rite of passage in this game. Everybody at one point gets got, but that really discouraged me, and I you know, I went into that camp of people that was like, man, this is all a scam, this is all just Grifters, you know, I don’t like that space. I left and I came back with MBA Top Shot, which is how it got me into like, web three we know and love it today. What I noticed was that you know, the same Grifters, the same scams, the same bad actors were still around and even more prevalent. And so that’s when I started Metaverse as a way to, you know, kind of talk about the opportunities in the space, but also, you know, mentioned the perils and what to look out for as well. And I think that really resonated with people.
So that sort of inspired the birth of that page and let alone the entire Metaverse brand. And when you sort of kick that off, like what was your ethos when you wanted to create that specific content? Because I noticed that Metaverse creates all sorts of content very much specific to the metaverse, but you also branch out of web three, right? So, when you sort of set off to build a brand into content strategy, and everything in between, what was your guiding light? Like what was your initial focus?
Roberto Nickson: Yeah, and so I think it’s important to always adapt. And so that’s what I’ve been sort of doing, but just to go back in time. This was August 2021, when I started it, and the content was all about education, I would say like 80% of the content was education. It wasn’t so much like analysis; it wasn’t really news. It wasn’t happening. It was like educating people on how to make an NFT, how to create a Meta mask, how to create other wallets, best practices, and security in web three and etc. And then I started including a lot more of the news and what’s happening and early on, what would do really well is like these big sales, right? So, I’ll talk about a big crypto punk sale or a million-dollar board ape sale, and that seemed to get a lot of people interested and that’s what was working, so I talked about that. Funnily enough, it was a very, you know, entrepreneurship, luck is always part of the equation. And when Facebook changed their name to meta, Metaverse, Instagram page was trending at the top. So, when you start typing in meta, that was the first one that would show up. And so, I remember seeing growth of like, I mean, it was like three, four or 500,000 followers came in, just off that change alone and we rolled that sort of like algorithmic wave. And what was really cool about that, I mean, it was sort of funny, I was getting like hate DMS, people thinking we were meta and so, we’d get DMS like Zuckerberg, I hate you, you know, blah, blah, blah and I’m like, hey, this is, we’re not affiliated, right. But funny enough that you know that luck is always part of the equation, we were able to ride that algorithmic wave. Today with Metaverse, I have sort of expanded outwards a little bit, where it’s not just web three. It’s not just Metaverse NFTs, I’m also talking about general tech. I like to position it as sort of the intersection of tech culture and finance. So, if anything falls into one of those three buckets, especially when they’re all like merged together, then I like to cover that. And really that’s just for engagement, right? If I’m going to talk about like some random NFT right now, nobody cares is going to be crickets. What’s the point, so yeah.
Previous Experience Contributing to Today’s Success
So, when you got started with Metaverse, I’m curious if there was any previous experience that contributed to today’s success. Was this your first take at a media company? Or were you doing this for a while prior?
Roberto Nickson: No, I mean, I’ve been building communities online for a long, long time. And not just Instagram, but elsewhere. I mean, you know, gaming communities, what have you, but specific to Instagram, I’ve always had sort of this inherent understanding of content that resonates with a wider audience, especially on Instagram, because I’m like a visual sort of person. And so, I had built over 15 pages that totaled, you know, 10, 15 million followers, I forget the exact number. And over the last like, six, seven years, I built them. You know, a lot of them I had some sold, there was one called Paradise that I sold, another one called room porn, that was all about interior design. And then they rebranded the shelter after I sold that one. And, you know, there was countless others. And so that’s just something that I’ve been doing sort of on the side, almost as a hobby for a long, long time. And so, it just is very natural to me, since I’ve been doing it now for the better a decade.
The Role of Media in Web3
Got it makes a lot of sense. You know, a lot of this conversation that I want to have with you, Roberto is where media intersects with web three. And the reason why I want to have discussion. Well, number one, that’s what season sevens theme is, by default. And number two, you’re also a creator yourself. So, running this entire page. And actually, I’ve noticed that you and your team, and I don’t know how big the team is, is very talented with kind of covering the breaking news and being first added, right? And whatever happens in pop culture, it seems pop culture and technology. You guys seem to be at the trigger finger with that news. And I’m curious, what do you see sort of like the role in media, as it intersects with web three, crypto and NFTs? What are your thoughts around that?
Roberto Nickson: That’s a great, great question. So just with Metaverse really quick, the team is one, you know, funny enough, everybody thinks for like a big team.
It’s just you?
Roberto Nickson: Yeah, and I’m out here 12 hours a day. You know, all man, like the amount of work that goes into this is pretty wild. You know, I’ll eventually have to hire out, but you know, because one of the main focuses right now is mp3. And we can talk about that later. But it’s a digital collectibles project that I co-founded with my sister and that we have like a fairly large team for around 12 of us. But yeah, Metaverse just me, man. And maybe that’s why I’m, I’ve gotten so sick. You know, it’s like, I’m always like waking up in the middle of the night making sure, I have like a chat where people are always like feeding me news and stories. And I’m able to, like repurpose those in bite size really kind of like snackable and viral clips, or, or content posts. But, you know, media, I feel like every company in the world is trending towards becoming their own media company as well. I think it’s really important, right. And so whether you’re a personal brand, whether you’re a small business, a large business, an individual, sole proprietor, whatever it is, it’s like, I think you sort of have to become, in essence, a content creator, let’s call it or, you know, we could also use the term media brand, in order to really, you know, I’m not gonna say survive, but in order to really flourish in today’s age, I think media is always definitely part of the equation. And so, I think that’s really important. And it’s been helpful as well, for all my other ventures, you know.
Makes a lot of sense. I’m impressed that it’s only you. So, you do all the editing, all the graphics design, all the publishing, all the copy.
Roberto Nickson: Yeah, every pixel, every word, everything on Instagram, Twitter, I’m active now on Diamond app. And yeah, I mean, obviously, you know, this will be expanded. The reason that I’ve kept it, you know, played it so tight to the chest is because I want to really, really keep the authenticity and genuineness of the page. You know, as soon as it becomes somewhat of a company, you know, then some bureaucratic elements can start creeping in. And I think the voice is compromised a little bit, if that makes sense. And since the beginning, it’s been so authentic, it’s been so genuine. And it’s always been, it’s been consistent. And so, I started hiring out and getting other editors or, you know, journalists, publishers, whatever it is. I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet.
Future Developments in Metav3rse
Okay, impressive. Really, really impressive. I thought it was like a whole editorial team behind you know, major props to you, major compliment. So, back on the bake back on the on the path of where web three intersects with media, okay. I’m a big believer in sort of and this belief has developed over I feel like the last year, where there’s this phrase called not your keys, not your content. And as you build audiences on all these platforms, you actually rent these audiences, right? And they’re not interoperable, but we’re seeing a wave of like web three social sort of arise, and a collector equals a follower. And you can take that following and those collectors with you, everywhere you go. Is this a model that you’re bullish on? Do you see sort of like a different wave kind of popping up in the near future? Considering what you’ve built so far with metaverse, I feel like there’s a lot in tandem.
Roberto Nickson: It’s a great, great question. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, you know, and when I look at the decentralized social media landscape right now, I see so many benefits. One is you’re able to own your content. You know, you’re able to own your social graph and the relationship with the audience, which I think is of utmost importance. Right now, we see with Twitter, like people are trying to, like build their audience elsewhere. And they’re trying to take their Twitter followers over the Macedon, whatever it is, but like, there’s so many challenges to that. If you’re building on a decentralized protocol, your audience goes with you, you know, wherever you’re going, because you own that social graph. And so, I’m looking at social and I’m like, there’s so much that’s broken with it, you know, you’re resistant to censorship, you’re resistant, or you’re vulnerable to censorship, rather, you’re vulnerable to, you know, get a deep platformed if you don’t agree with, you know, the zeitgeist at the moment. And yeah, just see so many benefits, to decentralized social landscape, I just don’t feel like anybody’s really, really cracked product market fit yet. And I’m hopeful because there’s so many brilliant entrepreneurs like playing in this space, I’m hopeful that it’ll happen in the next 5 or 10 years. Because the benefits just like far outweigh the, you know, the cons, right?
As an active user though, as a creator, what do you think is missing? What are these platforms not getting right just yet?
Roberto Nickson: Well, there’s a lot, like one is, probably the worst thing is like, you’re at their behest, right? Like you don’t own anything at any time. You can be suspended, you can be taken off, you can be, you know, shadow banned, you can be de-boosted. I mean, there’s like a million different things, right. And so like, sometimes that can be frustrating, because, you know, say me where I’m like, working 10 hours a day, like creating content for primarily for Instagram, right, and like, I don’t really own the relationship with the audience. You know, I could try to siphon them out to like, email, or whatever. So, it’s more of like an ownership thing. But that’s the biggest, I would say succinctly, I would say the lack of ownership is the biggest problem with social today.
Thoughts on the Controversial Twitter Update
You know, I look at to the recent update from Elon Musk and the new Twitter policy. That he came out with that basically says like we’re starting to limit other platforms capturing our attention. So, no more link tree or link in bio sort of alternatives. No more linking out to Facebook and Instagram. Then you think about it, like, what makes one platform powerful is being able to integrate with other platforms. And that may be controversial statement. But if you look at like the early days of Tik, Tok, like Tik Tok recognize that the creators have other platforms like YouTube and Instagram. So instead of trying to hide that, they amplified it. And they actually dedicated a specific section on their interface to linking out to their Instagram, or to their YouTube, right, and you see the Instagram icon or the YouTube icon. And it feels very counterintuitive to kind of like, restrict users from supporting their other channels and their other accounts, and their other identities online. And I feel like it builds an even stronger case for what web three can be and what web three sort of building towards, right? How do you feel about this new update? Are you for it? Are you against it? Are you, I don’t know, I think it’s very controversial. And it stirred up a lot of noise online.
Roberto Nickson: I thought it was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. Like literally when it came out, I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was like parody or something, right. And granted, it seemed like the rest of the internet sort of agreed. And it was very short lived. I think six to eight hours later they rescinded it, deleted all of those tweets. And yeah, I mean, it’s like, okay, even if Elon point was, hey, listen, like this is our platform. You know, and if people are like promoting other platforms, so somebody like made this sort of analogy to me, it’s like, you know, hey, you don’t go to, like you won’t see McDonald’s advertisements in a Wendy’s or something like that, right? And so, I kind of get it, but at the same time, it was like, Okay, why just these specific platforms? Why not twitch? Why not YouTube? Why not Tik Tok? Like, why limited to these specific platforms? And so, yeah, man, I mean, I’ve been kind of vocal about this, but it seems like we’ve traded a small sort of largely anonymous group of product managers at Twitter who were like, who are moderating content based on their own ideologies and biases. For this, you know, megalomaniac billionaire, who is now like making rules up as he goes, depending on how he feels. And so, I think there’s like this small group of enemies that Elon is like battling against. And a lot of this, a lot of the policies that he’s implementing is like, is based on that. To me, it’s just, it’s been entertaining. But I can’t say I’ve been a fan of how Elon has handled things.
The Shift in Web2 and Web3 Creator Roles and Responsibilities
Do you think there is a new shift happening where the web two creator’s role and responsibilities is different than that of the web three creator? How do you see those two worlds?
Roberto Nickson: Say that again?
So, I’ll re ask the question, I’ll edit it out. So let me just put it down, hold on 15:45
Roberto Nickson: Okay, good.
What’s the question, I want to ask you basically, like the role between the web two creator and the web three creator, and like, what are the differences? So let me figure out how I can ask that, hold on. With the rise, okay, so with the rise of web three, okay, we’re seeing this new class of creator’s sort of emerge, crypto native creators, creators who are using crypto to build, monetize and own their audience. It feels very different yet similar to a web two creator. How do you view the differences between a web two native creator and a web three native creator?
Roberto Nickson: Yeah, no, that’s a great question. I mean, it’s been sort of interesting to watch, because there’s been a lot of, you know, so called web two creators that come into the web three space. And it’s just like, the things that work in the traditional web two social media environments have not necessarily translated a web three and vice versa. You know, we see a lot of big web three creators who are active in discord and Twitter, and then they try to go on another platform, and they’re not really able to accrue audiences. So, there’s definitely different things that work for each sort of paradigm. But mostly, I would say that, you know, listen, like creating content is always the same, right? It’s visual, it’s audio. And it’s just about, you know, enriching people’s lives in some way, whether it’s like entertainment, information, education, etc. And I think the main disconnect between web two and web three is culture, and just having an understanding of culture, right. And so that’s the main thing you really like, it’s easy to tell if somebody’s not like a web three native sort of person, or D Gen, or whatever, just by talking with them for a couple minutes, because they just, there is a completely different culture that has emerged in web three and it’s hard to kind of articulate that. But if you’re native to the space, it’s just something, like it’s easy to tell.
Explanation of Web3 Culture
Instagram has its own culture, its own internet culture, Reddit has its own internet culture. Tik Tok definitely has it’s own internet culture and vocabulary. How would you explain web three’s culture? Like if you had to, for someone who didn’t understand, how would you? How would you take a stab at it?
Roberto Nickson: Funny enough, I feel like it’s gone through many iterations already. Like at the beginning, when the culture was like, alright, there’s this new paradigm, we’re all excited about this, you know, the advent of this technology and the opportunities behind it. And like we’re all in this together sort of right. Unfortunately, when the bear market hit, it felt like we went from like, wag me to war, right now everybody’s like intimidated or threatened by other people. Because there’s, I mean, you know, there’s a small liquidity pool, that shrinking every day that everybody seems to be like competing for, right? So, I can understand, like, you know, this contentious sort of environment that has been developed. But more than anything that, I think the web three ethos is like, is just the desire to move away from this big web two, or let’s call it like these big tech firms, right? Because when you think about it, social media is owned by four or five billionaires, like literally the entirety of social media is owned by four or five billionaires. And so, I think when web three came about, the main thing is that it was like the restoring power to the users, restoring power to the people. And when I think about web three culture, that’s always sort of like the baseline, the underpinning of it is like, hey, we’re in control now. Not these bureaucratic or, you know, like these big tech giants.
How Web3 Empowers Creators
How do you think web three restores that power to creators?
Roberto Nickson: Yeah, I mean, the first thing is ownership, right? I always come back to this idea that like web three really means ownership. That’s what it means. And so, if you own, again we talked about if you truly own your content, if you truly own your social graph, if you’re directly monetizing from the value that you put out there. Loat my train of thought.
Can I ask that again. You want me to ask that again.
Roberto Nickson: Yeah.
Let’s do that again. How does web three restore power back to the Creator?
Roberto Nickson: Yeah, so I think web three restores power back to the creator, you know, always come back to this idea of ownership, right? With the advent of the blockchain now we’re actually able to own, you know, our content, our relationships with the audience, etc. It’s no longer owned by, you know, these big tech firms. So, as an example, if I put out a educational video, you know, and I tokenize it, nobody actually owns that piece of content, but me, you know, there’s no, it’s purely decentralized. There’re no gatekeepers, unlike if I put out a piece of content on Instagram. It’s truly, really just owned by Instagram, and it lives by Instagram, and it’s out there you know, at their behest, they can do whatever they want with that piece of content, without, you know, alerting me.
I’ll cut that out as well. My mute button wasn’t working. Jesus Christ.
Roberto Nickson: Y’all good man. I feel like, thanks for bearing with me.
Bullish on Collecting Tokenized Content
No, bro, thanks for granting me, this is part of the podcast back and forth breaks, all good, hold on a second. All right, next question, ready? So, does that mean you’re bullish on tokenized content, and people collecting content? Either paying for it, collecting it for free, do you see that world evolving over time?
Roberto Nickson: You know, I don’t know. I don’t necessarily think so. And the reason why is because I’ve always just had this theory that like, all good content should be free, right? Or not necessarily. I mean, you know, like, Netflix is great content and it’s not free. I guess what I’m saying is like, a lot of good educational content, I think should be free, right? I’ve always been a big believer of like, you know, open sourcing things. And like that’s what I think is the magic of the internet that, you know, no longer, not to go on a tangent, but like no longer do you need to go to a college to learn a particular subject matter. It’s like it’s all available to you on the internet through great content creators. And so, it depends on what kind of content you’re creating. Again, if it’s like longer form, entertainment content, or even short form entertainment content, I definitely do think there is going to be like a decentralized Netflix, you know, eventually. And so, depends on what kind of content you’re talking about. But I definitely do think there’s a world in where in, you know, web three tokenize content.
Collecting Podcast NFTs
Let’s talk about podcasts. Do you think it’s worth collecting a podcast episode? Like, do you think, the way I think about, Roberto, is like the same way, it’s very analogous to how people when they scroll on Tik Tok, and they like a video, and it ends up in their liked folders, right? It’s very analogous to collecting something in it landing in your wallet, right? It’s like a very, it’s a very similar behavior. And I guess the real question is, like what content should be free? What content should be paid? And then imagine like to actually favorite something or to like something, you’d have to pay like a$1, right? And then with that, that would maybe represent something about you online across that networking question, right? And honestly, as I say that a lot, it doesn’t sound too convincing. But in the world of web three, when you collect stuff, there is signal around that, there is a level of curation, there’s a level of value of being a collector of something, right? So, I’m just trying to make sense of it and in terms of what does that look like for collecting content, I believe that’s going to be a next phase in a year and the next two years, and we’re gonna see more content creators in web three tokenize their hours and hours of edit editorial work, that they put into a four and a half minute clip, that ends up racking in millions of views on YouTube, you know, maybe that’s worth collecting. I don’t know, what do you think?
Roberto Nickson: I think 100% and I absolutely love it, like as an example, you should probably tokenize your entire podcast, and there’s a couple of ways to do it, right? It’s like, okay, every episode could be a one of one token, or maybe like an open edition, whatever it is, but there’s a few benefits to that, one is just like the pure collectability of it. And I feel like a lot of people forget this part of like web three, is like a people love to collect, people love to express their allegiance to a particular creative product brand, whatever it is, and so like, your fans will probably just love to collect just to have it in their wallet. Again, it’s like communicating their affinity to you, you know, communicating their religious allegiance to you, like all the value knowledge etc, that you brought to them. But beyond that, why I think what you’re kind of like suggesting is really, really going to take off, is because people are now able to quote unquote, participate in Europe side, right? And so like, okay, I feel like you’re the next Joe Rogan. So, I’m gonna buy a lot of your tokens because those will, you know, presumably accrue in value as your career progresses, right. And so, like I think it’s so much fun. I think it’s so much fun and can tokenize content for those two reasons, especially will do really, really well.
The element of open and transparent networks and secondary markets is gonna enable that growth. And that whole sort of behavior that we haven’t seen with traditional content since 2008, when Instagram came out, right? And I think the ability to tokenize your content and have the secondary market of being able to flip content, right? And for viewers in audiences, or aka collectors, as we like to call them in web three, to have upside, like you said, as a content creator grows, as an individual grows, as their craft progresses over time. Like, I wonder if I was smart enough and aware enough to tokenize season one, as season one was happening of the podcast, right? And I did that consistently over seasons, I continuously think about like what would those be worth? Or like how would how would the culture value though those collectibles, those digital collectibles? I’m not sure but one thing that I want to, I do want to experiment with bores is tokenizing podcast episodes, I’ve done those in the past, and the community has tended to like it, they find this affinity and this level of alignment with it, as they tell me that this episode got me into music NFTs and that’s why I collected it. And they have this certain, this connection with that piece of content. So, I’ll actually why not make it collectible? But then Roberto, I struggle with understanding like what is the balance between tokenizing every episode and diluting the quantity of your work, right? Not necessarily the quality, but the quantity of your work, and finding the balance between issuing 25 additions, 50 additions, 100 additions, you know, whatever it may be, you know, how do you think about that balance? What do you think it should be?
Roberto Nickson: That’s a great question, because ultimately, like scarcity and supplies key, right, and the onus sort of is on the individual creator to figure out what that balance is. Because you’re right, if you flood the market, if you diluted, also doesn’t become as desirable. desirability ultimately is key, right, just basic supply and demand. And so, I think it’s up to the discretion of the creator. But I also think there’s like a really interesting, man, there’s a lot of opportunities to get creative with this, right. So, when I’m thinking about podcast NFTs, you know, maybe there’s like different tiers, you know, maybe the base tier gets you access on your website to additional content, right, maybe like, on this one, there’s a blooper reel, you know, and you could like to put out the blooper reel only to the people that own that NFT. But more than that was something that I’ve been thinking about is like, you have sponsors, you know, I’m sure for this podcast, it’s like, what if, if you own five tokens, or 10 tokens, or whatever it is, you get a one-minute spot in this podcast, if you own 20, you get a two-minute spot, if you want a minute. So, I think there’s a lot of room also to get creative with it, to generate a lot more demand for these tokens as well.
Well, that’s how, that’s mint monetization, like strategy, like I sell sponsorship NFTs right? And God and brands collect my NFTs, and with that the utility is getting access to the network, right? I’ve done that since season one, because I believe that you can’t token gate a wire transfer, right. And it’s not really a belief, it’s just fact, like you can’t get a wire transfer. But if they, if you have the brand, collect your collectible, then they essentially buy into your community. And that’s represented on chain and then everybody else that collects the season six or season seven NFTs at the end of the, at the end of the season for participating listening, the brand sort of aligns with that army of listeners, you know, and then down the line as I figure out what the network looks like, right? And I can intertwine all these touch points, these digital touch points, intertwine not only like existing sponsors, but previous sponsors, you know, because they have this nontransferable NFT in their wallet that has no secondary value, only it’s primary value, and see where it goes.
Roberto Nickson: I love it. I think that’s brilliant. And again, like that’s what really excites me, it’s like, there’s so much room to get really, really creative with it. So that’s awesome, man, like, kudos to you for pioneering that model.
Web3 and Intellectual Property
I appreciate it. I also want to talk to you about intellectual property. I’m curious how you see web three influencing and I guess revolutionizing, quote, unquote, the world of intellectual property. We’ve seen models like CCO take into effect where anybody can can promote it, copy it, whatever it may be. But when it comes to create a content, the creator might not like the use and the reuse of their content in any shape or form because of the risk that’s enabled with, I guess, the detriment of a bad actor using the content for example, right. But also having the pride and level of, I guess, yeah, the pride and ownership of producing something and not allowing anyone to just remix it or reuse it, right? How do you see those two worlds collide?
Roberto Nickson: Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and I’m just wondering how it will work. I think there’s still a lot of standards and protocols that need to be developed in order and they need to be baked in at the platform level for this to really work, right? Because no matter what, you know, and we’ve tried it with in music, for example, or film what’s called like, DRM protection, it’s like, no matter what, it’s still a digital file that’s easily you can reproduce it, right? You can replicate it. So, it’s impossible, you know, really to prevent the use of one of your items, but through blockchain technology, like given that cryptographic signature to verify that that’s the original one, at least, like, it’ll be easier to identify versus, like, you know, somebody steals a stock photo from a website is very, very difficult, because there’s no, you know, there’s no piece of code that’s able to vote. So, like, in that sense, it might work. But otherwise, I’m just not as you know, I feel like it’s sort of impossible, you know, to be able to prevent the replication of a digital file.
Potential Impact of Crypto on Intellectual Property
You see, that actually happen, often between the Tik Tok and Instagram war, where you see a lot of tick tock content on Instagram, a lot of Instagram content on Tik Tok, and there’s no real way to moderate it and control it, right. So, if anything, giving the user and removing those barriers and recognizing that’s the default natural user behavior, of wanting to treat content as interoperable, right, and just creating systems and putting systems in place to actually maybe amplify that that remix ability actually falls into my next question, like, what do you see the future of content remixing look like, we see very short glimpses of it between the war, between two platforms. But we also see examples of people kind of like what’s the word on Tik Tok, always blank on it, but like, you react to a video, and it’s like side by side between your profile and the video you’re reacting to it, but people, like you also see what like people like layering musicians onto a melody of a dog singing, and they had the piano, and they had the drums. And then they had the vocals, and they have this entire band, from this smallest clip that was just a dog just hit like a seat, you know? And like they created this entire thing from it. Like, what do you imagine that looking like in web three? And how does crypto kind of maybe enable that or maybe even inspire that further, if it even does?
Roberto Nickson: That’s a good question. You know, the first thing I gotta say is like, that’s the magic of the internet, right? Like that open Internet. I always like, I love how collaborative the Internet is, it’s a lot of fun. Kind of what we were talking about with Twitter too. It’s like, it’s a shame when people try to like, you know, create like this walled garden and keep their creators inside and not let them like. So, how does web three work in this? I’m not sure, man, that’s a great question. I haven’t really, really thought about this, like, you know.
Maybe attribution, maybe in the form of attribution, because you can get very granular with the person who initially publishes that content in the wallet, right, that’s associated with that content, being able to timestamp at the time of when it was published, and all the tributaries that came with it. So doing like a splits contract, like that’s what I, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. So, you know what I mean?
Roberto Nickson: Here’s the thing, like everybody would have to agree to do it on chain, though, at that point, yes. Because if it’s still a piece of content, okay, that piece of content has been tokenized. But I could still screen record it, or screen grab it, and then do my thing on top. So, like, it’s, I get it, and I feel like the ideology behind it is strong, and like I just don’t know that it’ll ever take off. Because again, like these are still like digital formats that can be easily reproduced. And so, for that to work, like everybody would have to agree to do it, if that makes sense.
And then that gets me thinking then Roberto, that all content should then be CCO. Like by default, it should be open, it should be borderless, and should be remixable to whatever shape and form people want. Because that actually makes a lot of sense. Like I’m having a realization here. Like the default human behavior is to do reacts, is to remix content, like even from meta versus perspective, like covering the news is a form of re mixing, right? Like you take a graphic or video and you reshare that onto your platform, and you had your graphic and your headlines that are catchy enough to generate clicks and attention and attribution, right? That’s very much a form of re-mixing within itself. So, it makes me think like, when creators come into web three, maybe the CCO model should apply to their content, adding layers of attribution. So, who is the editor? Who are the creators? So, if it’s like the hype house, there should be multiple wall addresses that’s attributed to that piece of content, publishing that on chain, and just seeing what happens if it’s quality enough to go viral. And what’s that effect in the context of web three. We haven’t seen that really come to fruition just yet. Mainly because platforms haven’t really existed to enable that type of behavior. And it goes back to we are early, right? Like it all goes back to that. Any thoughts around that?
Roberto Nickson: Yeah, I mean, I guess in an ideal world, like, again, just having a truly open Internet, where everything CCO, but there’s some like, I’m not necessarily a huge proponent of CCO and the reason why I think like brands or individual creators should have some sort of control over their content meaning, like with mp3 is an example, like we’ve given the IP to our holders. However, there are still certain things they’re not able to do. They’re not able, you know, like they can’t produce hateful content. They can’t, you see what I mean. Because otherwise it’s a detriment to the brand as a whole, if that sort of, like, takes off. And so like, I, as a content creator myself, like I’m always creating like short form content, whatever me saying something like, you know, what if somebody edited that, to make it seem like I said, something super nasty, like I love Hitler, you know, like Kanye, or so some shit. Like, I should still have some sort of control where I’m like, hey, this is not okay. You know, you’re sort of slandering my name. And so, like CCO, I think works for some things, but not everything, necessarily, if that makes sense.
Yeah. I also think, where if somebody does remix your content in a very negative way, and includes hateful speech and racism, and whatever it maybe, you have the autonomy to control whether or not you want to reshare that, right, and whether or not you want to support that. And maybe in the early stages of where we are today with like open IP, and whatever it may be. The average listener or viewer doesn’t understand what CCO is. And they might just think that that’s attributed to the creator by default, right? But in a world where people understand the value of contributing to on chain content, and they see the value of open IP and whatnot, maybe there may be a different perspective. But I think we’re so far away from that. I like to give hypotheticals, as you can tell.
Roberto Nickson: We’re still very far away. But I’m hoping that we’re getting closer because like right now web three, you know, we think about web three, it’s really just a bunch of people talking about what web three could become on web two. You know, like sometimes I laugh about this, like, what do you mean, web three, we’re all using web two platforms, you’re using Twitter, Discord, we’re using Riverside to talk about, it’s like, it’s not, there is no web three really yet, you know what I mean? Like that has like become really, really prevalent. And I would hope in the next five years that we move to truly on chain platforms, whether it’s social platforms, entertainment platforms, streaming platforms, whatever it is, like it would be great to start moving critical mass, like in a major, like mainstream way to like these on chain tokenized platforms, because at the moment, it’s really just web two dreaming about web three, there is no like, you know what I mean, like to me, there’s no web three that is like taking, even like NFT’s man, like what are we, you know, we’re actually hold a token that just links out to a URL, hosting a JPEG, that actually is just loosely speculating on the ability of that, of set brand to drive attention. But even then, like we’re not, like people think like, okay, I buy doodles as an example. I don’t have any ownership into doodles. You know what I mean, again, that’s just a token, speculate, loosely speculating on there, like the entire space right now. And it’s beautiful, because it’s like, a group of tinkerers and enthusiast dreaming about what’s possible, but it’s like, I think we’re at web 2.5. You know, so like web three, hopefully is around the corner.
There’s two things I want to bring up, I want to talk about the platform’s but I also want to go back on if content should be CCO, and maybe the unlock, the key to remixing content and web three is whether or not you collect it. So, if you collect the content, then you have the authority to remix it. And whether it’s a free collect, or a paid collect. It shows that, that you show some type of signal, which can also boost the creator’s reach. So, if you collect something, then it gets distributed to a new class of users that could collect it, just like the Tik Tok out, you know what I mean? Like, I’m just like, I’m thinking out loud here. But what if that unlock the key to be able to legally remix content in web three, was if you were to collect it, and then you unlock the keys to remix it. I don’t know. Yeah. So that’s, I mean, any thoughts on that?
Roberto Nickson: It’s a great thought, I just think it has to be at the platform level, right? Because if you know, no matter what I can still take a crypto punk and like remix content around or even. So, it has to, there has to be a platform that would emerge, that would be very lucrative for creator to be on. That would again, like police all of this at the platform level. Otherwise, I just don’t see like a way of doing that.
Platforms Hosting Content and Financialization of Content
And that brings me to my second point, like the platforms that actually host content, whether it be music NFT, minting platforms, video platforms, social networks. It’s actually all based around the financialization of the content. And I don’t know if that works to our benefit, or to our detriment. But when you go on glass, for example, you don’t see the view count. You see how many people collected, when you go on sound, you don’t see like the number of subscribers, you see how much revenue they generated, right? So, these are new metrics to value creators. And it’s a different sort of model for the end user to understand what value indicates because if I go on YouTube, and I see Mr. Beast 100 plus million subscribers, like that may be sways the same sentiment of seeing Daniel Allen and close to half a million in revenue, you know, across all platforms, you know what I mean? Do you think about it the same way or any thoughts around that?
Roberto Nickson: You know, I talked with Natrelle Nagi. He’s the creator of the diso blockchain, okay. And on diso, there’s this app called Diamond app, that I referred to a little bit earlier. And they found that, you know, like, if you can like a post, whatever, but you can also diamond it. And by diamonding it, depending on the tier, you’re actually just giving money directly via microtransactions to the greater. And they’ve found that yes, of course, there are some like odd things about quantifying the value of a creator or a piece of content via money, right. But like they found that it actually increases the quality of content. And the example that he uses, you know, like we, like a car crash is really like, you can’t keep your eyes off it, you know, but you’re not necessarily going to tip somebody who produces car crash videos, right. And so he’s found like that the content that’s getting tipped is actually enriching your life, versus like this mindless kind of content that like just, you know, degrades our life on Tik Tok, or whatever. And so just to go back to your original question, I actually think there’s definitely something to it, where having, like being able to, whether it be microtransactions, or collecting NFT, social tokens, whatever it is, like being able to directly, you know, give money to these creators, for the content, for the value that they’re putting out there, I actually think will result in much better content.
Challenges Facing Traditional Media
Well, you have me in a whole another rabbit hole here, Roberto, trying to think how do I get out of this rabbit hole, I want to talk to you about, I want to talk to you about the media industry as a whole. Okay. Media has major challenges, essentially traditional media, right? And first of all, I wonder if you could just like list a few that come to mind, that maybe you are also allied with, like what are some of like the traditional or major challenges traditional media faces today? Just out of curiosity, how do you see that?
Roberto Nickson: I think the biggest challenge that traditional media faces is I mean, it’s twofold. It’s one is like, you need to generate clicks, right? Ultimately, a media is a business. These aren’t, you know, nonprofit sort of altruistic ventures or endeavors. These are businesses and so, you need to generate clicks. And generally, what happens is, this is why we see so much fear, I call it like fear porn, or like tragedy porn, where somebody shoots up a school, and it’s like, this is all they talk about, because it generates so much clicks. And so that’s the biggest challenge with media, it’s like, we often see sort of like these mindless viral worthy stories that everybody’s talking about, instead of like, true quality, substantive stories, just because it generates clicks. And again, the other problem is, again, because it’s a for profit venture. Usually media, or the sentiment that they’re propagating is up to the highest bidder, right. And so, these are the two biggest problems that, again, I don’t have like the answers for them. I think it’s just very, it’s like, just human nature. But you know, these are for profit endeavors. And so, they’re often compromised, like their integrity can be compromised for, you know, for the almighty dollar.
Change in Web-Based Metrics in Web3
So, in the primitive of clicks, attention, bounce rates, all these web-based metrics that we use to measure performance, right? How does web three, change that? How does web three challenge that? The first thing that comes to mind is, we’re no longer maybe building for quantity, we’re building for quality. So, the same value maybe that a million people can produce on Spotify, a 100 people can generate through music NFTs by collecting an artist’s work, right? That’s like the first thing that comes to mind, just based, just re mixing what you just said, Okay. Anything else comes to mind in terms of the traditional problem that media faces, okay, that traditional media faces and how web three sort of takes that on itself, right, and attempts to solve that. Anything else come to mind?
Roberto Nickson: I think it goes back to what we were saying where it’s like direct monetization of the content will really work. Look, there’s two names that come to mind. One is Zack XVT. You’re probably familiar with him, right? The on-chain Sleuth and another one is coffee Zilla on YouTube. Both of these guys they produce incredible, incredible work. And it’s like Zack XVT donation only that’s how he makes his money. So, there’s no you know, like he can’t be compromised, his journalistic integrity cannot be compromised. And he does really well for himself. Because it’s the user, just the people who are financing him, right, same as coffee Zilla. And so, to me, it’s like in this web three world where we have these platforms, where via tokens, or via microtransactions people are being rewarded for the content that they put out. Some of these journalists are going to produce phenomenal work that is detached from the ideology or the agenda that their superiors are trying to push out. Just because they’re not work for the people. That makes sense.
Yeah, that doesn’t make sense. That does make sense. Who was the other guy you said, coffee?
Roberto Nickson: Coffee Zilla, dude is best YouTuber in the game right now. He’s like Zack SPT where he keeps like all these scammers honest, you know and he like calls out scams and like his work on Sam Bateman fried has been phenomenal. I think he’s like the biggest crypto YouTuber in the world right now.
Really? Yeah. Wow. I never heard of them. All right.
Roberto Nickson: You probably seen his stuff though, you’ve probably seen his stuff.
The Trillion Dollar Question
Okay. Probably, probably like these micro clips trending, trending on Twitter. Probably. Okay, cool. I want to hear from your perspective, Roberto, what am I missing? What don’t you think we’re covering in this discussion, that’s prevalent to where web three intersects media, where web three intersects with content creators, I’d love to hear from you, like any thoughts that are just lingering in your head, that I haven’t had the opportunity to ask yet.
Roberto Nickson: You know, it’s, the one thing that I keep thinking about is how difficult it’s going to be, because it’s truly an uphill battle for all, because like web three with the ownership structure. And with everything else that we talked about, and all of it’s upside and all of its potential, it’s still going to be difficult to break the network effect of big tech, right? It’s still, even if you create the most incredible decentralized social platform, that unlocks so many benefits for a creator, it’s like how do you get people off of Instagram? You know, how do you not only onboard creators, but also retain them? And you know, like it’s such a, it’s truly a trillion-dollar question, right? Because he’s the social media must have like a market capitalization of like $1 $2 trillion, when you put them, all combined. So, it truly is a trillion-dollar question, but it’s an uphill battle that’s going to be, you know, nearly impossible to break but I’m hopeful. Again, there’s a lot of savvy entrepreneurs building here. But yeah, that’s what I would say is like, we love to sort of, you know, fantasize about the future, that decentralized technologies unlock. But I think the main question we have to start asking ourselves and really start talking about is like, strategies, the how, the how we’re going to break the network effects of big tech.
How are we going to do it? What do you think is the optimal way? If you’re given the responsibility to figure it out. How would you?
Roberto Nickson: That’s a great question. Again, it’s literally a trillion-dollar question, right? I actually posed that question and not around knowledge. And he was like listen, just little by little. What the blockchain does unlock is like, again, like really creative ways to finance analyze systems, right? And so, here’s what it is ultimately, like social media is a status game. Social media is an economic game. How can you make decentralized social platforms or like web three social platforms, or otherwise? How can you make it more lucrative, in terms of yield, in terms of money, in terms of status, in terms of eyeballs, for creators? How do we get there, man, you know again, if I had the answer to that question, I’d be in a yacht somewhere.
We’ll see. All right, maybe one day we’ll get to that yacht. But before we do that, Roberto, I want to thank you for being on. Appreciate you taking the time, considering how you’re feeling under the weather you are. You killed it. Epic episode. Before I let you go.
Roberto Nickson: 2.7 is my temperature right now.
Oh, my God. I thought you’re about to hit me with one or 2.7 Kiss FM.
Roberto Nickson: I know, right.
But I’m here for that too. Where can we find you, Roberto? Where can we learn more about Metaverse. Show it away and we’ll wrap it up.
Roberto Nickson: You can find me on almost all socials RB Nickson and then Metaverse is the first e is the three on Instagram and then it’s on Twitter. It’s V metaverse because there’s I think, you know, it’s like a squatter on the whatever. And yeah, and that’s you know, those are, Twitter’s like my primarily, so RB Nickson on Twitter, it’s where you can find me.
Amazing. Roberto, feel better. Thank you for being on. We’ll have to do this again soon. And then yeah, till next time.
Roberto Nickson: Anytime man.