Podcast Transcript

Creator Royalities and NFT Marketplace Wars ft. John Crain of SuperRare


Mint Season 7 Episode 16 welcomes John Crain, the Co-Founder of the 1-of-1 digital art marketplace, SuperRare. In this conversation, we explore the early narratives surrounding NFTs and the current state of the marketplace wars, including SuperRare’s role and their approach to creator royalties. We dive into the evolution of understanding DAOs and how they influence spending behavior on the platform, as well as unexplored subjects in NFTs and the intersection of surfing, Web3, and crypto.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 05:41 – Initial Thoughts on NFTs and Their Early Narratives
  • 12:11 – Blur’s Market Share Takeover and General Thoughts on the Current NFT Market
  • 19:43 – SuperRare’s Role in the NFT Market
  • 21:26 – Creator Royalties
  • 23:48 – Ideas for Exploring Primary NFT Sales
  • 28:02 – Evolution of Understanding DAOs, Pre and Post-SuperRare DAO
  • 31:46 – Rewarding Experiences Navigating the SuperRare DAO
  • 33:24 – Influence of DAOs on Spending Behavior and Activity on the Platform
  • 35:29 – Thoughts on Maintaining Rarity in a Time of Open Editions
  • 37:12 – Unexplored Subjects in NFTs and Digital Art
  • 39:07 – Intersection of Surfing, Web3, and Crypto
  • 40:15 – Outro

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Back with another episode with me today, I have the co-founder of SuperRare, John Crain. Welcome. Thank you for being on, how you doing? 

John Crain: Doing great, Adam. Thanks for having me.

A part of season seven, all about creating content worth collecting. And I think there’s no better person to talk about the subject than yourself. But before we get into that, okay, who are you, John, what does the world need to know about you? But more specifically, how do you get your start into crypto?

John Crain: Awesome. Yeah. Hey, everyone, John Crain, CEO, co-founder of super labs. And yeah, my start into crypto starts a little while ago, I was living in New York. It was the spring of 2013. And I started going to a bunch of different meetups and one of those meetups happened to be the New York Bitcoin meetup. And, you know, little did I know at the time, it was going to become kind of like an all-consuming interest. For you know, from the New York Bitcoin meetup, I got really interested in Ethereum. And, you know, work with consensus. And then as soon as I started reading about ERC 721, it was all I could think about.

Okay, but before crypto then like, that’s a very early, early time to get involved. I think people may say you got lucky, kind of being at the right place at the right time, did you get that a lot? 

John Crain: Oh, yeah, for sure.

Do you feel like that?

John Crain: Yeah, that was a huge part of its luck, I would say I was, I also got lucky. So, part of the longer story is I was in an econ class in 2008. I studied architecture and civil engineering in my undergrad. So, this is a required class, not something I was actually interested in at the time. And, you know, the financial world was collapsing. And we had this super nice, older teacher who came in one day, and he was very upset. And he kind of, he puts the paper down on the table, and he like, looks at the whole class. And he just says, I think we need to murder these fucking bankers. And I was just like, oh my God, this is not the class, you know, I thought we were doing supply and demand curves, and now we’re talking about murdering people. And that kind of sparked my interest in finance, generally, and, you know, led me down the path of Austrian economics and, you know, hard currencies. So, I was kind of into, you know, I was like, in the rabbit hole of Austrian economics, and then had heard about Bitcoin. But, you know, it was, always felt like it was lot easier if you go meet some people who are, you know, already into it, pick their brain. And so, there’s certainly some luck, and it was a very meandering path, you know.

So, on that path, I’m trying to connect the touch point to creators, like where do creators come into the picture for you?

John Crain: Yeah, so that’s also a bit meandering, but you know, probably, it starts with me. So, I’ve always been interested in like, kind of like art and math. So, you know, studying engineering and architecture, I ended up moving to New York and was working at an ad agency. So, I knew all these like super sick, new 3d sculptors and animators. At the same time, I knew people who were really trying to make it in the more traditional, you know, art scenes, like going to art fairs and stuff. And I think the first art fair I went to, which was like, probably around the same time as like, I learned about Bitcoin. I just remember thinking, like it’s really interesting, a lot of the art that I, you know, like to make, whether it’s like a processing sketch, or like, you know, some other kind of open frameworks you know, weirdness, is just totally not represented here at the Art Fair. And like, all the commerce is about prints, and you know, Canvas and, you know, maybe a little bit of sculpture. And in my head, I remember thinking like, I bet somebody’s gonna figure out how to sell a digital art, like is it gonna be like video game sales, like I don’t really know what that’s gonna look like, but eventually, someone will figure it out. And so then like, as soon as I saw NFTs years later, I was like, oh, my God, this could be the thing. And I hadn’t, you know, kind of seen what happened with the ICO boo, which, you know, speculation aside, I was really fascinated by the fact that it was this very simple standards-based technology that had a fairly profound impact, right? It was a small amount of code, you know, huge amount of value is created there. And I remember reading about or seeing on GitHub, like the early discussion around the standard for 721, ERC 21. And just thinking like, wow, this could be applicable to all Internet content, like all Internet content is an image with a title and a description. That’s going to be great. If this takes off, that’d be pretty crazy.

Initial Thoughts on NFTs and Their Early Narratives

When you first came across NFTs, what were your sort of original aha moments? And specifically, how has it evolved to where you are today? Like did you get it? You said, you got it on the spot, or at least kind of like rang a bell with you? And did you already see the future of like a product like super rare in existence? Or was it a lot of like trial and error or is there like denial? Like, I’m trying to understand your state of mind in that current moment?

John Crain: Yeah. So, I had seen early, like on Counterparty, there was some you know, there was like spells in Genesis and some of these early games and stuff. So, I was already a thing, I was excited about using crypto for, you know, more kind of like consumer tech type experiences. Like I was always wondering, what was really going to take off. And it was fairly, you know, like the standard came out around, you know, like, and like, I guess there was like crypto punks over summer. Then the standard discussion started happening with, like crypto kitties launching. And I was like, it was pretty early. I was like, you know, like when we first launched, we were like, SuperRare, Instagram meets Christie’s that was kind of like our, you know, elevator pitch that we would give people. And, you know, we heard a lot of like, that’s the worst I’ve ever heard. Yeah.

Why do you think you had so much hesitation to begin with? Like, because it really feels like Instagram meets Christie’s, like where we are in the current phase of crypto, like it really feels like that. Why do you think there was so much hesitation at the time?

John Crain: Just for like, the general kind of audience?

Yes. That ideal vision.

John Crain: Yeah, it was really fascinating, I think. So, for us, when we would talk to a lot of the, like VCs that we talked to, because like, we didn’t raise money until we were already like, cashflow positive. So, it’s like, you know, kind of like, late into the cycle really. But collecting is, you know, this sort of irrational behavior. And so, you have people who are hyper rational, trying to like to figure out what the market for this like completely irrational behavior is going to look like. And a lot of people were just like, crypto kitties, like volumes are going down. It was like another kind of crypto winter. And I don’t know, it was just hard. Like to me, it was obvious. I was like so excited. I was like, I was like, look at there’s like, all these different stickers. And like, obviously, we’re gonna have, you know, digital collectibles, that are just as fun as physical collectibles. Except they take up no space, they’re actually even better, you know, I can have a much larger digital art collection than physical art collection, just because I’d have to figure out how to warehouse, you know, thousands of paintings. But yeah, I think there’s something like, a lot of the people who I talked to earlier were like, why would you do this? It doesn’t make any sense. And my response was always like, why does anyone collect anything, like collecting doesn’t make sense, it’s not useful, it’s not going to help you survive. So, I think that’s.

I like that, that makes that makes a lot of sense. John, something that I really admire about your background, and that makes your story super unique is how early you got into crypto. And something that’s fascinating for me personally, is understanding the narratives of crypto that drive the irrational market. And I feel like you’ve had exposure to a lot of different narratives. Can you recite any of them or recall, like some of the earlier narratives, and have they poised to be true today?

John Crain: Yeah, it is really interesting. There’s certainly the narrative cycles. I feel like Ethereum is a really interesting one. Like when it first came out, it was like, the world computer, which was like a, you know, kind of like a good narrative. We were talking a lot about, you know, shared databases, this world computer concept and permissionless applications. That’s a really interesting one where I don’t think it came through, but the shared world computer part you came through, you know, for example, like SuperRare open sea, like these are companies doing, like we’re complying with laws, there’s no pretense of like, you know, we’re not Bitcoin where it’s like, okay, this is you know, serious decentralization sovereign money, like this is, you know, for a gaming or anything, just like the NFTs where it’s like, it’s more like luxury entertainment. So, I think like, the permissionless applications thing is a narrative that is sort of untrue. But you know, doesn’t really matter. I still think it’s super interesting. Like a lot of these companies are doing things that are really interesting. Another narrative, I mean, one narrative that was popular at the time that we’re seeing a little bit of now, is when I first got into Bitcoin, it was Bitcoin and hotcoins and everything else was a scam. And it was not going to work. And but there were like, these applications, specific ones, like name coin, or prime coin, or there’s all these different they had, like, really unique twists. And I think we’re seeing that now again, kind of with the different layer ones were they’re all some flavor of shading. That’s, it’s similar but different to Ethereum. And, you know, they’re doing a way better job of raising venture capital. So, I imagine they’ll be around longer than, you know, primecoin or feathercoin was around. But yeah, that’s an interesting one Come back up. Yeah.

That makes sense. What would you say is like the leading narrative today, as of February 22, 2023? And there’s a reason I’m asking this, it’s going to transition to the next section, but kind of just to kick it off. Any narratives that you’re sort of embracing right now, you’re realizing as we continue through the bear market?

John Crain: I think, I mean, that NFTs really are the mass market moment, like, I think we’ve seen just, you know, even with the hype cycle in 2021 and where we are today, like, you know, board apes kind of taken over mainstream press, and like the, you know, the huge people sale, even though here we are, you know, it’s still in a bit of a bear market. But we’re seeing tons of things, you know, like seeing things happening in music, and just like all sorts of different parts of the art market and the explosion of generative art. I think we’re still seeing the acceleration of adoption through NFTs, which I think was an early, you know, kind of meme or narrative that is still playing out.

Blur’s Market Share Takeover and General Thoughts on the Current NFT Market

I think part of that, I think you’re absolutely right, part of that comes the conversation around creator royalties, that has been a heated debate for the last like, I feel like six, seven months or so. And it feels like every other month, there’s this new awakening, this new touch points that kind of shakes the entire market. And recently, we were coming across like the blur versus open sea marketplace wars, how blur has now taken, I guess, like majority market share, or at least more than open sea at this point. I’m curious if you have any sort of like, general thoughts as to what’s happening in that world?

John Crain: Yeah, it’s super fascinating. I was actually just emailing back and forth with a couple of our investors just, you know, we’re in a, like a very different market, then blur and open sea is, but I still think, you know, it’s this interesting world of, like network effects are different with web three, which is something like we’ve always kind of thought about with SupeRare, like the assets of the content, don’t live inside of the one application, like they can be spread across. And so, with YouTube, you have this, you know, there’s a stickiness and the fact that like, your data is all there, right? It’s like your username on YouTube may be different from your one on other platforms. And if you wanted to port your entire library to Vimeo, or any whatever, like, some decentralized version of it is, that’s a whole bunch of work for you to go do. Whereas your whole collection simultaneously on open sea, it’s on blur, it’s on the next one that comes along. And so, the network effects have really changed. And I think we’re still figuring out what that actually means. Like no one knows really what’s going to happen. But I do think it’s interesting, especially for open sea and blur, right? I think there’s a, there’s like more tooling around like the speculative component, which, you know, is like, you know, common in all markets. And I think that’s really important for their core audience, right? Like if you’re a speculator, the fees matter quite a lot. And you’re like, definitely happy to say like, well, screw those royalties, you know, I’m focused on maximizing returns, whereas for, you know, art and art collectors and artists. Sure, if you buy a piece of art, you know, like I think everyone would be lying if they said there wasn’t some part of their brain that’s like, you know, it’s like, yes, I liked the art but also maybe it’ll go up in value, like that would be cool too. But you also have a personal connection. You know, it’s quite common for people to buy art and you know, start DMing with each other and become friends and, you know, then you’re excited to go pay an artist’s royalty, because you’re a supporter, you know, like you can do both. It’s like, you can make money reselling art, and you’re, you know, giving some back to the person who created the value to begin with. So, I think we’ll see the blur open sea wars continue to heat up, and there’s probably going to be new entrants into that space as well. But I think, you know, platforms that are like the SuperRare that have always been very kind of like, pro artists and like pro, is like a whole ecosystem are less effective, because kind of like the core customers and users are happy to support things like royalties. 

Right, yeah, I love your perspective. I think they’re gonna, it’s gonna heat up 100%. And it’s crazy to see sort of like the vampire attacking. 

Do you have a token savage? I was like, this is crazy.

Talk about that. Share that because I don’t think I’m caught up to speed on that element.

John Crain: So, they are, so I don’t know if this was yesterday, or like maybe was the day before but yeah, blur came out and said their next Airdrop, for people who are only listing on blur, is going to be way better than if you’re also listed across platform still. So that was just I think that’s like, we’ve seen you that kind of like explosive market share, I think the loyalty Airdrop promise has a lot to do with it, which I saw some tweets, and I was just like, oh, wow, this is really fascinating. Popcorn.

Do you think this is going to force open sea to launch a token? Or at least whether it’s an ERC 20 and NFT. But do something where the communities more incentivized to participate on their marketplace? Or how else would they win? 

John Crain: Yeah. I think they’re gonna have to do, they’re certainly going to have to do something. Yeah, there have been many discord channels where people are speculating, you know, when opens the token. I’m honestly, I’m not sure if they’re gonna launch a token there. You know, I think they’ve, you, they enjoyed their dominant position for quite a while, and I think blurs like the first person to really come along, and, you know, challenge them in that, you know, secondary market category. And you, they’re gonna have to start either like, at least like shipping faster, you know, like they bought gem. I don’t know, is that six months ago, like a year ago, but maybe, you know, we see more of the technology merging, like and kind of see some faster iterations on the user experience. But I’m sure they’re probably having a meeting about this right now. I wouldn’t be surprised because it’s happening so fast. I think that’s pretty exciting. Is that, yeah, it’s all happening in real time.

When I had Devin on season three of mint, and now we’re on season seven, okay, a while ago, the concept of an open sea token was still like hot in the market. Like I forgot what marketplace was, like threatening them. And they felt, they sort of failed to do it. So, like you’re right blurs like the first sort of like shot, they kind of like threatened their comfort at being number one. But I remember when I asked Devin about a token, he’s like, I’m paraphrasing, you’re gonna have to go listen to the episode, for those who are listening. Listen to episode to what he actually said for Batum. But as a paraphrase is like it’s too early. Like we I don’t know, I don’t know what would happen like five years from now, when a token is in place, and what the current state of open sea will look like. A lot of these defi protocols that issued tokens, it’s questionable the positions that they’re in right now. So, his perspective was like, it’s too early, sort of. And again, I’m paraphrasing, but it’s too early to sort of like issue a token into the market just yet. I wonder if that tone has changed.

I’m sure it’s changed and it’s part of the super Dao launched August 2021. And the conversation was very much, you know, the network effects are different, like we talked about, like the, you know, there’s no stickiness with data. In a world where everything lives everywhere, and switching costs are almost zero. You need another way to engage the community. Like there’s just, yeah, so I wonder I’m very curious. I wonder if they think it’s still too early. But it might be you know, it’s like, who knows is, everyone who comes after the blur open sea war has the advantage of at least seeing how it all played out? Right, you know, everyone’s learning as we go along.

SuperRare’s Role in the NFT Market

What do you see SuperRare’s role in all this?

John Crain: Yeah, so we, I mean, when we launched, we, you know, we’ve been focused on art since day one, right? Like we say the super mission is to reinvent the economics of human creativity, right? Like we’re building tools and want to push things forward that support artists, you know, support the arts. And, you know, we do have, you know, like, there’s a secondary market on SupeRare. But you know, it’s really not the focus, it’s more thinking about how can we support the ecosystem, right, like we launched, artists royalties were part of SuperRare since day one. You know, having things like collector royalties is also something that, you know, we’ve experimented with to see how that, you know, how can you align incentives between producers and consumers of art? In a way that’s, you know, so like, you know, one plus one is three here. And so like, we’re building tools, and trying to build, you know, a sustainable art market, right. And that’s, like, similar to spaces, right? It’s like, yeah, we saw the need, where it’s peer to peer is beautiful, but at the same time, there’s a reason that gallerist, and curators exist, right, it’s a full-time job to go properly market, you know, an artists, most recent releases or drops, right, there’s a lot of work that goes into that. And so like, building tools that supports this transition of the art market into the digital space.

Creator Royalties

Part of creating sustainable art market, as you sort of alluded to, I guess, involves creator royalties, right? What do you see the role of creator royalties sort of playing as the NFT ecosystem grows, and you have more threats of marketplaces, kind of like, you know, competing with each other? Like, why is it creator in the middle of all of this? You know, we just want to create, you know, we want to find our audience, why are you guys putting us at all this? And it makes sense, it’s basic economics, right? It’s all going to zero. Like it was inevitable, in my opinion, but in the work, in the art of building a sustainable art market, where do creator royalties fit in all this?

John Crain: Yeah, it’s a really good question. And you’re one that’s, you know, we’ll I think we’ll only know the answer in 10 years from now. But I think, I mean, it’s been super interesting, since the very beginning, you know, we always felt like, the beauty of like NFTs should be really simple, like enforcing the greater royalty, at the NFT level of it makes sense, it makes more sense at the marketplace level. And I think as the market matures, there’ll be better tooling to see, you know, what type of collector is this person who’s trying to buy this piece of art? So, like, you know, I think it’s not impossible to imagine a world where, oh, have you, you know, purchased art, you know, from a creator. And then also kind of like, and they’ve stated that, you know, they want to have royalties for this art, but then you go sell it on Blur. Well, if in their next drop, like, that’s all on chain, so you’re like, oh, this is the type of collector that I don’t want to work with. But I see creators having more leverage, because the markets transparent, and that’s, like kind of like traditional contemporary art world. There’s like minimum hold times for pieces of art. And there’s kind of notorious, you know, flippers, who people, you know, either do or do not want to work with. So, I think reputation plays a huge role. And, you know, the beauty of all this is, a lot of these transactions are happening on chain. So, you can build a fairly good reputational profile just with that information.

Ideas for Exploring Primary NFT Sales

Definitely, something that I’m realizing is, as creators become the point of friction next to exchange fees, but creator’s fees kind of become a point of friction, or I know SuperRares likes to call them as royalties, we don’t like to call them fees. But it’s essentially like you’re left with two sort of components in the artists journey, you have the ability to own the primary sales. And then the thing that comes after the sale is like the relationship, right, and the element of community building. And I feel like now that secondaries have sort of been slaughtered with all the marketplace wars, there is more opportunity to create innovation between those other two categories. And I feel like we’ve only skimmed the surface with what a primary sale could really look and feel like. Do you have any ideas as to how we could kind of further explore primary sale beyond just join the drop? Like does that bring in a world of non-transferable NFTs and builds a case for those types, for that token standard? Like you know where I’m going with this? Do you have any thoughts around this general area?

John Crain: I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff that we’ll see happening. Again, because there is so much information happening on chain, like one pattern that I love is bitter editions. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of this, it’s, you know. I think it was really, photographers really pioneered it on SuperRare is the first time I saw it. But, you know, for a one of one, the artists, you know, announces that like after the auction is over, anyone who bid also gets an addition, just Airdrop to them for participating in the auction itself. And so that, you know, that gamify is a little bit you it makes the, you know, if you’re paying gas fees to participate in an on-chain auction, you know, it makes it a little easier to kind of stomach that. And, yeah, I mean with non-transferable NFTs as well. Right. I think there’s still, we’re still figuring out what to do with these building blocks. And I think there’s a lot of experimentation that can be done there.

How do you think this entire war affects curators and tastemakers?

John Crain: Yeah, this is also a very good question. I mean, I think ultimately, like if we like to zoom forward, you know, 10 years, you know, there’s, I think there’ll be like trillions of NFTs, right? There’s going to be so much stuff out there and the tastemaker is going to play an increasingly valuable role. You know, like we’ve put a lot of time and energy into like really trying to pioneer and build models that are equitable in that space, you know, I think like, creative royalties, obviously, this is great for artists in secondary transactions. But the tastemaker is also an important kind of actor. And you’re part of this ecosystem that I don’t think is, you know, like properly compensated yet. So, I think that’s an area where there’s still work to be done to properly incentivize and reward individuals like that. You know, we’ve actually been, yeah, I’m just going to drop a little teaser here. But you know, we’ve been experimenting with a model that, you know, allows, you know, curators, and tastemakers to also participate in upside, in a way we think is kind of similarly important to artists royalties. So, you know, I can’t get too into it. You just keep an eye on the SupeRare forum, but we’re going to be posting some new models, that explore kind of like new token economic systems, to really reward these people who are doing a lot of important work, right, like the discovery layer. You know, the tastemakers are really helping artists and collectors. Right? They’re almost there like this kind of like matchmaking role. And so, yeah, I’m pretty excited. So yeah, just keep an eye out for that.

Evolution of Understanding DAOs, Pre and Post-SuperRare DAO

Wait, now you have my interest fee, John, what’s going on here? What’s going on here? Okay. All right, I want to, let’s talk about the SupeRare Dao for a moment, because Daos were very much a hot thing in the last bull market. When I had Chase Chapman who’s like the Dao queen in her respective community, sort of kind of like, pick her brain about what is the current state of Daos. We both agreed that they’re not as hot as they used to be. And I think it was sorry, put out a report that there’s, I could be butchering the number. But if I remember correctly, it’s like there’s about like 400 Daos or 800 Daos and 400 tools, that are like venture backed or 800 tools. It’s one of the numbers. You know, and it’s like the amount of Daos don’t equate to the number of tools, like it was completely overhyped, or we’re just like at the early cusp of what it could be. And super aerobic component of the super platform is a SuperRare Dao, rewarding curators with kind of like having a community element of bringing new artists onto the platform, which I love. I love that. I think it’s a very cool way to kind of like utilize a token and to incentivize the community properly. I would love to hear your perspective John, how have your understandings of Daos sort of evolved? Pre-SuperRare Dao and post-SuperRare Dao?

John Crain: Yeah, let’s see. I mean, there’s certainly, there’s a ton of work involved, you know, so it’s not like, you have the Daos, the magical solution, and all of a sudden, the hive mind is gonna go, you know, solve all your problems. But I think, I mean, one thing that has really held true like, before the SuperRare Dao existed, you know, we felt like there was lots of opportunity to make participation, you know, more engaging, right, you know, like, I don’t know, if you’re, how many Daos you’re a part of, or if you’re a part of any, you know, you’re getting like discord DMs Like, Oh, can you go vote on this thing? And you be like, oh, we need more people here to hit forum, whatever it is. And so, for us, you know, when we were like talking with the community, and early on thinking about what the Dao could look like, you know, we have this tool for the space race, which is, you know, essentially a governance tool that’s custom built just for our Dao. So, you know, there’s even one more Dao tool that probably wasn’t even in report. It’s like application specific, right, this is really just for SupeRare. And the voter turnout for the space race is incredibly high. Like we see, I think it was almost like 30% of the circulating token supply participating in a couple of these votes, which is if you think about compared to like defi numbers, that’s huge. And it’s because, you know, it’s not just about your treasury management, or, you know, think there’s important things, but they’re also, you know, logistics is kind of boring. So that’s not necessarily what people care about. But so, you know, we launched with the space race, I think the hypothesis was correct, that if you have, you know, more engaging governance decisions, you’ll get higher turnout, it’s still, there’s still a lot of work to do there. I think, you know, like we want to continue to experiment with how the community can get involved. But if you do more than just like, you know, create a snapshot group and like, have your Dao vote on where to move, you know, tokens around, you can actually get high turnout, which, you know, is one of the most challenging parts of running a Dao.

Rewarding Experiences Navigating the SuperRare DAO

That makes a lot of sense. What have been the most sort of rewarding experiences navigating through the SupeRare Dao?

John Crain: I think this spontaneous conversation that happens with you know, public forums like you we have a bi weekly town hall and just, I don’t like connecting with you, like, you know, we do people do like customer interviews or like product research, but having this open townhall forum has been really interesting to hear from people just about, you know, what do they care about or, you know, what are they concerned about? That they really think that you know, the Dao should donate to a specific charity or something or just like, you know, there’s a level of engagement that’s more open, like your ideas of like a more open conversation, like we also have like a meta governance and chill session. That’s just, there’s a lot of and it could be our audit, like specific to our audience, but there are like a lot of creative individuals who think pretty deeply about these things. And since launching the Dao and kind of, you know, trying to be more you know, or just like having these forums like the town hall, and the bad governance and chill. Those have been additive and like a nonlinear way, just because you’re soliciting feedback in a way that’s kind of unstructured and allows for this spontaneous element to be there.

Influence of DAOs on Spending Behavior and Activity on the Platform

I’m curious if you saw the spending power of collectors increased since the launch of the rare token, like now that people feel more incentivized and aligned with the community, and they have a tool that gives them a voice. I’m curious how that’s influenced or affected their spending behavior? Or I guess just a general activity on the platform. If you have any interesting insights or metrics to share that’d be amazing.

John Crain: Yeah, I mean, we did time in sort of like in the Dao you know, the downward trend. So I think the bear market or yeah, the bear market was against us a little bit. But I do think you’re kind of like I mentioned with like, blur open sea the network effects. The returning numbers for artists and collectors, who received rare, and the Airdrop is huge. So, even if they’re not active, community governance, you know, participation. They still feel, you know, like they have like a greater sense of community ownership. Right. But I think that just the fact that you can, I mean, one of the things I think that’s really interesting about tokens is like, it’s a new tool for brands to like, you can literally be in somebody’s wallet, right? Like if you like, it’s this very interesting way to engage the community and customers. That’s hard to do kind of like a you know, more traditional additional sense. Yeah. So, I think as far as retention goes, it’s like an incredible tool and it is very powerful for community building. There obviously, but like I said, you know, like there’s also a lot of work that goes into that. So yeah, you’re gonna have to, if you’re doing it just for the sake of doing it, that’s probably not going to work well, like you do need to build like infrastructure and kind of like habits around actually giving you the Dao some TLC.

Thoughts on Maintaining Rarity in a Time of Open Editions

I love that. I want to go into some community questions or at least one specifically, that came from Cyber Shakti, I’m butchering the name. Cyber Shakti. Okay. Cyber Shakti wants to know your thoughts on how to maintain rarity in a time open editions.

John Crain: Great question. We’ve, I mean, so we’ve actually, this is kind of like the second wave of open edition. So, for folks who are around in 2021, the nifty gateway open editions were also super-hot for a little bit. And so, you know, we had a lot of this conversation. And I think if you have a long-term perspective, then it’s a little easier, right? Like to mint to you know, to continue to mint one of ones and just think about, like, you know, because each artist is also doing community building, right, like every collector who buys a piece of art, you know, has a direct connection with that artist and so there’s a lot of hype again around open editions. I think they can be an interesting tool for things like, you know, these bitter additions, like I talked about, but at the same time, I think it’s a different category. You know, like we’ll see what the market, probably over the next 10 years what the market tells us. But I think if you have a more long-term view, you know, it’s just show up, create things that you love, and you know, connect with your fans and supporters. And you’re going to do very well.

Unexplored Subjects in NFTs and Digital Art

Beyond one of one’s digital art NFTs, are there any subjects that you use sort of in a lot of time thinking about, that you haven’t publicly talked about yet?

John Crain: Just in NFTs in general?

Whether it be NFTs business, entrepreneurship life, like something that, like how you live, I’m curious, I just want to know, I want to get to know you, John behind the rarity.

John Crain: Yeah, let’s see. Well, what I mean, I was an avid surfer. So, I spent a lot of time thinking about you know what, what the swells doing and which board I should bring to the beach. And one thing I’ve had that slide like part of how I got drawn into this is just like, the impact that art has on you as an individual and like, you know, kind of like I feel like mental health almost like a buzzword but it’s like the impact that like your environment art can have on your just like your well-being or like whatever we want to say, like I think that’s super interesting. Like for me, creating my own art has always been a meditative, like the best way to get out of my head is probably either surfing or making some art. And it helps to have art in your environment, that kind of like gets you to you know, whatever that headspace is for you. So, that’s just something I was, I think, is interesting. And it’s interesting to in the relation to NFTs because there’s so much financialization of art happening there. Which you know, I think is great, it has downsides as well as like all technologies do, but yeah, those are.

Intersection of Surfing, Web3, and Crypto

Okay. So, this might be a far-fetched question as well. You might think I’m crazy for asking. But have you ever thought about where the world of surfing intersects with web three and crypto?

John Crain: not deeply, no. Although I have always thought that like, you know, there would be an opportunity to, you know, sponsors, like we could get like a web three sponsorship for the like, you know, somebody on the press or good team, actually. So, I tried to launch a proof of work token and like this did this project did not go very far past like, ideation stage, like, you know, hanging out with a couple people, writing a bit of code. But it was like a proof of work token that would give money to kind of like oriented nonprofits as part of like the mining algorithm. So, I think we’ve seen the, I mean, obviously web three intersects kind of like charity and donation a lot but I think that’s so sure it’s really interesting, you know, maybe kind of like awareness and sustainability being part of it.


Listen, I learned a lot throughout this conversation. I had a great time with you, John, thank you for being on. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more? Show it away.

John Crain: All right. Yeah. I mean, Twitter is probably easiest. Twitter and Instagram @SupeRareJohn. DMs are open on both. So, hit me up.

Thank you for being on, we’ll have to do this again soon. But until then, wishing you well.

John Crain: Awesome Adam. Yeah, I appreciate it, super fun conversation.

Podcast Transcript

How Web3 Enables a New Era of User-Generated Content ft. Christina Beltramini


Mint Season 7 Episode 15 welcomes Christina Beltramini, Head of Growth and Chief Scheming Officer at Lens Protocol, to discuss the ever-growing world of web3 social. Throughout our discussion, we cover topics such as online identity, her article highlighting the next era of user-generated content, and Lens Protocol’s plan to empower a wider class of creators and curators. Christina also shares her aspirations for building a better internet, an overview of Lens’ developer ecosystem, and the lessons learned while working at TikTok that she’s applying while building the Lens ecosystem. Furthermore, we dive into the importance of content remixing, the latest developments in the Lens ecosystem, and how creators can monetize their work using Lens.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 06:13 – Opportunities for Creators in Web3 to Address Web2’s Failures
  • 09:28 – User Control Over Online Identity
  • 15:13 – Empowering Fans for Monetization Through UGC 2.0
  • 18:14 – Lens’ Plan to Empower a Wider Class of Curators
  • 19:37 – Getting Started as a Curator on Lens
  • 20:45 – Barriers to Entry for Web2 vs Web3 Native Creators
  • 26:14 – Christina’s Aspirations for Lens and Web3
  • 29:36 – Overview of Lens’ Developer Ecosystem
  • 34:08 – Bringing Web3 Native Creators’ Audience to Lens
  • 35:54 – Lessons from TikTok for Building a New Era of Social Media on Lens
  • 37:18 – Content Remixes in Web3
  • 40:25 – New Experiences and Interactions in the Lens Ecosystem
  • 42:38 – Understanding Currencies’ Role in Growing a Creator’s Community and Monetizing Their Work
  • 45:06 – Creating Content Worth Collecting
  • 46:53 – Outro

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Lens Protocol is an open-source tech stack for building decentralized social networking services. The protocol was developed by the Aave Companies and launched on Polygon in May of 2022. Through Lens, web3 developers can build decentralized social media applications and marketplaces that leverage NFT technology to form a fully composable, user-owned social graph where the connections and interactions between people are owned by individual users and creators rather than established networks. 

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Christina, aka lens protocol, head of growth, aka chief scheming officer, welcome to the podcast, a part of season seven. Super stoked to have you on. How are you feeling?

Christina Beltramini: I’m feeling good. I’m a fan of you from season two. And I’ve got my poll up to prove, it’s an honor to be here today.

I’m honored. I’m genuinely honored. And it’s always like a full circle moment for me, to host people who listen to the podcast on the podcast. So, I’m excited Christina, lens protocol. I’m a big power user. I feel like I’m one of the most follow people on there, somehow by default. And today, I’m really excited to pick your brain on all things lens, all things the creator economy, Tik Tok, and everything in between. How does that sound?

Christina Beltramini: Let’s do it. Let’s do it. And you’re one of the most followed people on lens because you were early right and adopting, testing the technology. So, for all creators, listening to this as well, it always pays to be early.

I completely agree. And we can talk about that too when we talk about Tik Tok. But before we get into that, Christina, give us a quick blurb who are you? What does the world need to know about you? We’ll start there and work our way forward.

Christina Beltramini: Awesome. So besides being chief scheming officer for lens protocol, and the other companies, I’ve got a colored background. So, I started in investment banking, when I graduated and have slowly moved towards the creative economy at the juncture of entertainment, and social media. So worked at Tik Tok for a few years, and title and then at various Hyper grid startups.

So, I know you have your background in investment banking, and music streaming and Tik Tok, working with creators and now crypto native creators, like I’m trying to piece in my mind, how the heck do all those puzzle pieces come together?

Christina Beltramini: I’m not sure what they did at the time, when I was going through the evolution. But I think that’s starting to make a lot more sense now. In general, I’ve always been, you know, very curious. And I’ve wanted to kind of follow my passion. My passion was in finance when I entered the space. And so, I ended up kind of leaving and going to work in consumer tech. But what is ironic right now is that when we’re talking about the creative economy, it’s actually an asset class in itself. So, music IP, you know, creator IP now in the UGC era. So, in a way, it’s all starting to make sense. And everything happens for a reason, I guess.

I completely agree, everything does happen for a reason. And the connection between your financial interests working and Trad fi to now the financial interests and working to crypto enabled creator economy, very much overlap, and you came up with this article called user generated content. 2.0. That was the keyword, right And I feel like a lot of your background is encompassed in that entire blog post, if I’m not mistaken.

Christina Beltramini: Yeah, I think, you know, what we are seeing is that everything we put online has value, right. And when you come from a finance background, you learn about value. But value isn’t just you know, what we’ve traditionally been thinking about value, we all work in a really innovative space being web three, we’re finding new ways to capture value in the digital era. And so when we think about user generated content, and which is really what we’re putting online, and our social capital, that actually has value that we have been earning for someone else being these big tech platforms, and it all kind of comes full circle now, you know, digital culture is valuable, and like, how do we think of that as an asset class? And that really spurred my thinking when it came to, you know, the UGC 2.0 article, because when I was actually at Tik Tok, we started to really test this notion. You know, I worked on a project towards the end of my time there with actually, Bradley Freeman, who works with me now at lens, and we were really trying to figure out, hey, what do people value, you know, the most viral Tik Tok video? So, what is this value worth when you put it out in the open market? And so, the idea that, you know, Tik Tok and Facebook, they all have an understanding of how much that is worth because they placed ads against it. But what if the creator were actually able to monetize that directly? And what is the social capital and value of these assets and this content that we put online?

Are these ideas you developed during your time at Tik Tok towards the end of it working on that campaign with Bradley? Or did these like the realizations happened once you started putting your foot full time into web three?

Christina Beltramini: So, that whole project was premised on the notion of, you know, the value of user generated capital, but I think, you know, thinking through, you know, UGC, 2.0, and what I wrote about, I’ve had a lot of ideas that have developed and really evolved the thinking of what you know, else it, what else it enables, besides just, you know, monetization. So I think UGC 2.0 is actually the social layer of the new internet and it will enable not only better experiences for the creator, but also for us as consumers and how we navigate and discover, you know, our experiences online. So, I would say it was really good 50/50. But when Steny pitched me, you know, the whole idea of lands and he said, do you want to come and build decentralized social, it all made a lot of sense to me based on, you know, understanding the value of you know, the creator economy, but also the risks of that the creator economy has with these big platforms too. So, when I was at Tik Tok, one of the biggest questions that I got asked was, can you get me unbanned? And funnily enough, I am actually locked out of my Tik Tok account. And that is, because when I was multitasking, I updated my age, and it thinks I’m three years old, because I got prompted to do it. And now I’m meaningless. But I’m not a big creator, right? 

Now imagining three years old, three-year-old Christina like, that’s all it’s in my mind right now.

Christina Beltramini: I’m seeing a lot of pet videos, my locked-out account, I have a locked down experience. So, I can DM anyone and I’m very restricted in terms of what I’m able to view. But you know, it’s three months in, and I still haven’t gotten my account back up and running. And I’m reaching out to people internally that I know to try and fast track it. And it’s not easy. And you think about creators that have built their entire livelihoods on one or two platforms, like this is a significant risk.

Opportunities for Creators in Web3 to Address Web2’s Failures

Right. Whenever I get the pleasure and the luxury of being able to talk to Christina and pick your brain, I’m always fascinated between the bridges of web two, and web three, specifically, what web two messed up on that web three aims to solve. And throughout our conversation last like eight minutes or so we’ve touched upon different elements throughout the conversation. But if we could focus for a minute, you have this incredibly valuable experience working for Tik Tok, and you were there during key moments of its growth. And now you’re seeing the key moments of web three socials growth, what are the opportunities that we have as builders, entrepreneurs, creators, to fix in web three that web two fail at?

Christina Beltramini: What we’re seeing now is that the tides are turning, with the creator economy and people actually understand the value of owning their own content, it’s not necessarily about Rachel lacks, that isn’t what it’s for, what is important, it’s really about depth. And I think as builders and as creators, the fact that we no longer need to optimize for the ad industry. And the word influence was really targeted towards, you know, advertising, right, because it means reach and CPMs, but readjusting our thinking towards depth and ownership. And in my mind, the rise of Tik Tok was really a new value proposition for creators, to really start from scratch and deliver kind of a new participatory experience with their audiences. So, Tik Tok taught us that we want to participate with our favorite creators. And what we’ve learned now, is we act they actually we want to participate. But we also want to own our experiences and have more control. And I think that’s really important when we think about building this kind of like next juncture of web three social.

My thesis is that your community of collectors will outpace your community of followers, over time exponentially. And I think there’s more value to building a collector base, and kind of seeing that play into fruition day by day, as creators build collector bases on lens, right? Or as they do across other areas of the web through ecosystem. And I’m convinced, like that’s the future of value, building a collector base over building a follower base. Would you agree? Would you disagree? Any thoughts around that?

Christina Beltramini: I agree, but I think it’s growing your collective base and knowing who they are. Because there’s a lot of noise in the digital economy right now. A lot of things going on, where do you concentrate your focused, and even myself, like in my day to day and my life, it’s always, you know, a matter of prioritization and where are you going to get the hot, the highest ROI, but being able to actually understand your collectors and your top fans, I think it’s not only your collectors, but who’s going to be your future collectors and how to use signals and open data in that web three social enables, to actually be able to have, you know, a good thesis, and to be able to kind of tend to your audiences in the right way. It doesn’t mean you need to tend to, you know, all as you get twenty thousand now, Adam on lens, you don’t need to attend to all of them, but you should at least know, you know, who the top, you know, five hundred or one thousand are, to really be able to kind of tend to them, because they are your superfans. And they’re incredibly valuable to your growth as a creator.

User Control Over Online Identity

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And that brings me into a section of the blog post, where you talk about data empowerment. And one key area that you highlighted, is like trying to understand what someone’s online identity now means to them through their content. So, my next question to you is like, what does it mean for a user to control and have control over their online identity? And like, what is the value of having that? Because I feel like it’s a new concept in the grand scheme of things, like people are products of the platform, and they don’t really have access to that level of ownership the way these big mega corporations do. But in web three, you are the platform, you build your collective base, you get to own, you capture more of the value that you create. And one component of that is captured through the content that you create. So, when you think of, what does it mean for a user to have control over their online identity? What do you think about it?

Christina Beltramini: It’s definitely about knowing your value. And you’ll see even in web two creators don’t know their value. There’s platforms like fucky pay me, right, where they’re trying to understand, like, how much am I worth? How much should I be paid for, by a brand. And so, the data that creators can capture in web three, social is really a game changer, because they’re finally able to know hey, how much am I worth as a creator? To make sure they’re not under selling themselves. And I think, like I mentioned before, like it’s not only the being able to understand your fans, but it’s also being able to aggregate your data across different social platforms, which in web two isn’t possible, because when you’re posting on Tik Tok, and then you’re posting on Instagram, you have no idea about any type of user crossover between both of those platforms, and the opportunity to finally have open data. And I really admire Bella, right? Because you guys are making this new open data structure and surfacing it to creators in actionable ways. We can expect creators to, you know, be able to understand this data, but this data is a superpower. And so, being able to provide them with tools to unlock it, and to engage in and be smart about how they nurture their communities is really important.

How do you think ownership over this data? And I guess UGC, 2.0, in general, can sort of alter and provide new opportunities for fandom community building and brand partnerships. What do you think is sort of the Aha over there?

Christina Beltramini: Yeah, ultimately, the baseline primitives of lens protocol, are all on chain. So, being able to you when you follow someone, technically, there’s an NFT behind that, when you collect content, you know, that’s an NFT as well. And so, you end up you know, having all of these behaviors that live in your wallet, right, and they become your social proof. And so, when you have that anything about being able to discover others online and connect, you can connect through these different data points, that you’ve been collecting. And so, I think, from a user perspective, like the opportunity to kind of choose my own destiny, and to be able to connect with others with similar interests, besides just having an algorithm, dictate it for me, is really, really interesting. And then also for creators as well, because when someone collects your content, they’re not just liking your post, right? They’re not just commenting, they’re collecting it with meaning. And the idea is that this creates a two-way relationship between the fan and the creator, which can unlock, you know, additional value. Maybe you know, Adam, like I said, I discovered you early, right, I have my poll up to prove that, right. And I’m proud of that. And you know that I was, you know, an early backer of yours, and everyone else that has that season to poll up. It’s no different in web three social, you know, I collected demo from a musician that I like, and then they end up blowing up, they’ll know exactly who collected that demo. You know, before they were a big artist.

Another thing you highlight in your blog posts when you talk about UGC 2.0, you talk about the elements of content creation and distribution. And I think in web three, the sort of like model prior to platforms, like lens protocol coming up is you build virality, and distribution on web two, and you use web three to capture that value via NFTs, and other means of tokens, right? But now we’re sort of like seeing the shift where that those two worlds kind of collide. And web three is the destination for both, like I can achieve distribution in virality through lens protocol, and also capture that value through various collect posts. And I think as a whole, as an industry as a whole, we’re doing a great job of creating tools, that help creators capture the value by minting NFTs. But we’re slacking on the distribution side. Because if we really want to be the platform, where you not only need to capture more of the value that we create, we also need to have tools to understand into accelerate on distribution. Any thoughts around that?

Christina Beltramini: 100%. Everything starts at the social layer. The social layer is what drives collapse. And when I think about lens protocol, it is really the social distribution metal out of web three and the EBM ecosystem. And we’re really only scratching the surface of that. We’re seeing a lot of creators minting on manifolds or on catalog and they’re sharing those links on lens, but there’s way more ways that we can unlock the superpower of the protocol. So, on lens is actually a mirror fee, which I would think of an affiliate fee. Imagine being able to bake that on top of say like a Zora smart contract and collect it directly on lens as opposed. That removed is a ton of the friction but also ensures that that post can be made visible through a social layer where it’s relevant towards. And I think that that’s going to be a huge game changer that lens protocol can offer.

Empowering Fans for Monetization Through UGC 2.0

I love that because that sort of incentivizes fans to be a part of the monetization process in a way that they haven’t really been able to do so in a streamlined fashion. I mean, you can have affiliate links in your link and bio that then outbound to an Amazon page or your E commerce page, but it feels more streamlined and automated when crypto and blockchain is the underlying foundation, to surface that and to enable that. So, my next question to you is, beyond the mirror, do you see other ways as to how UGC 2.0 empowers fans to be a part of the monetization process? Any other examples come to mind?

Christina Beltramini: Yeah, so it empowers fans. But I also want to stress the point, that it empowers a new creative class as well, which is that of the curator. Completely overlooked in the web two ecosystem. And so, the idea that when I’m sharing content on web through social, I can actually earn from that. So, say, a creator, you know, post something on lens, they make it collectible, and they add a 10% affiliate fee, for anyone that shares that piece of content, and it gets collected, because it was all of that person’s amplification. So, what I’ve been, you know, on lens protocol at the moment, you know, I think over 5% of all revenues that have been earned for creators of this new class, you know, called the curator. And so, the idea, yeah, so the idea that we can share content passively, right. And actually, benefit from those like two or three hours a day, that we spend on social media, you know, is a new unlock, where we’re getting paid to engage versus being in the product.

It pays to be a curator, that’s sort of like what I kind of like, lean it down to. And I think in general, there’s power and having tastes making, we see that in the music community of people finding artists before they kind of like emerge and become who they are. And now there’s a way to capture and measure that and prove that using NFTs, using these affiliates, these new forms of affiliate links. It’s a model that I haven’t really kind of like thought about, like I’ve talked about the curator before. But now that you bring it up, I kind of I’m like, reflecting on it a bit more. And it’s like, oh, it’s opening up a brand-new rabbit hole for me.

Christina Beltramini: Yeah, and the really cool thing about lens too, is that everything is composable. So, I could create a blog that’s just based on my merits, right? And provide more context around, you know, each piece that I’m mirroring, but I can surface that. And it doesn’t need to be you know, on the main applications on lens or through my, you know, lens profile. It can be taking and pulling from my lens profile, the relevant content that I want to surface on, say like a music blog, which is what I missed the most, right? Because I feel we’ve become like algorithms zombies, and we’re in like algorithm jail in terms of like, you know, what surface to us on Spotify or Tik Tok, and really bringing back authentic curation, is now possible in a way where a curated doesn’t need to go and be a playlist for Spotify to be able to earn from that Chase making skills, you can earn from that natively online. And I think that’s going to be a really big unlock.

Lens’ Plan to Empower a Wider Class of Curators

How does lens plan to empower a wider class of curators? So, I know you have the features like for example, mirror, natively embedded, right? To support that type of behavior. But is there some type of plan in place to kind of like aggregate and find more of these curators and build like the lens cohort of curators?

Christina Beltramini: Definitely, the way we think about it is the four C’s. I’m sure you’ve heard of this Adam, on lens protocol. So, its creators, curators, collectors, and collectively, that’s what unlocks community. And that’s our thesis. And so, you know, we’ve done a lot of work with the creatives in web three, the next step is really to bring more curators and collectors into the ecosystem. You know, for those curators finding, we’ve really just scratched the surface on the types of tools that are available, I think we could have entire front ends that are built around the notion of curation. And you may or may not have seen dumpling TV, it’s toying on that idea. Because this is the second part of our strategy now, where you can have a whole TV channel, that’s based on video content that’s been mirrored from one lens account. The idea for that was really to encourage builders to really play more with the mirror functionality and not view it as simply a retreat but viewed as a real potential to build curatorial platforms in web three.

Getting Started as a Curator on Lens

So, if a curator comes to lens today, how can they actually get started with kind of like creating the right pages for their audience, based off content on lens?

Christina Beltramini: At the moment, it’s very much, you know, going in and following, you know, different types of audiences and content. So, we have a lot of music creators, as well as photographers and visual artists. And so, you know, really using the recommendations of lens on who to follow is kind of like the first and foremost tool. But then what’s really interesting about lens again, it’s composable. And so, we have a number of integrations. So, you could go to oh la la or to spin amp, which feed the latest lens music content, and view just the music content on a music NFT player that’s coming from lens and use that as a discovery vehicle. And again, I think that’s the most interesting as well, because you have that, you know, distribute wants, distribute everywhere. So, you’re not only dependent on, you know, discovering content through lens stop, and what Leinster is curating. You can actually go and discover on different platforms, on lens that have different recommendation tools for you.

Barriers to Entry for Web2 vs Web3 Native Creators

Christina, one thing that’s incredibly fascinating about your background, is that you have so much experience onboarding web two creators and now with three creators, you’ve seen both worlds. A lot of people criticize crypto because it’s very hard to get involved with. When you think about it from the context of web two, what are those barriers to entry for web two native creators? And how do they differ or compare for web three native creators?

Christina Beltramini: So web two, at the moment, it’s the world of everything tick tock, like, you know, everyone is going to Tik Tok to be discovered, to be the next viral star, but you know, you’re competing with hundreds of thousands of other people, right? You have 64% of Gen Z, that have said that they want to, you know, become content creators. And so, you know, there is social capital inflation. So that is, first and foremost, like how do you get discovered on these platforms anymore? it’s very, very difficult, because you only really have two or three platforms available to you. You have Tik Tok, YouTube, or Instagram. But, you know, these platforms have already kind of been saturated, you know, with creators. And I tell my friends all the time, like they say, I have a video that just went viral. My first question to them is, how many new followers did you get? You know, and now the virality to follower ratio is completely off. So, while you might go viral on these platforms, it really is fleeting thing, because you’re not actually able to convert that into fandom and audiences, by virtue of the nature of the platform. So, I think that is a huge barrier to entry for new creators. And when you think about web three, the barrier to entry slightly different. We’re in the dial up phase of web three. And so, you’re not going to have a huge audience. And you’re not going to be able to bring your existing audience across, because it’s really those people that are here for the check, that are experimenting, as we figure out how to get to the broadband stage. So, the barrier to entry is, you’re really starting from scratch. But on the flip side, you have the ability to really target a new audience set, right? And that is the web three consumer and at the same time, on web three socially, you’re actually able to form connections that you can take with you, you know, wherever you go in the ecosystem. So, I think you know that there’s pros and cons to both. But as I said, it pays to be early, and it paid to be early on Tik Tok, when there was low capital, social capital inflation. And I think it pays to be early in web three social as well.

What is it going to take to get to the broadband moment? What do you think is missing?

Christina Beltramini: We need to make the onramp as seamless as possible. And we need to fix the onboard into web three, you know, at the wallet level, where you don’t need to be signing for transactions every time you post on web three social. And so, there’s going to be a lot of interesting innovation over the next few years, such as account obstruction, that’s going to enable that. But right now, the difficulty is, we’re building the social metal layer, before we figured out one of its core dependencies.

That makes sense. I think one thing that lens does really well is a lot that, like the manual onboarding. You guys spent so much energy and so much time doing like these, these onboarding creator sessions, where you invite people into like a shared zoom call. And you have all these types of creators just like listening to these people speak, I’ve been lucky to sit in a room and also speak on one of those calls. And it’s packed with people just to listen, what’s going on in web three. And I think it’s those manual moments that then eventually lead to the streamline moments, because what you do in those calls, you plant the seeds in people’s head, and then they go and educate others with them. Right? And it becomes like this network effect of education. That’s how I got started in crypto, like getting taught from somebody else and then teaching others about it. And it just, it’s a ripple effect. So, I love that. Are there other examples like that that lens does on a manual basis, that we’re still depending on entrepreneurs to build the wall, to streamline people in? But I want to get more of those like those hard-earned sort of like manual processes. For example, doing those creator calls that you guys do, anything else come to mind on that nature?

Christina Beltramini: It’s definitely you know, doing the things that don’t scale at the moment. 

That’s what it is.

Christina Beltramini: And you know, it’s a little bit of, you know, sweat, and time. But the lens ecosystem is a completely new way of thinking about social media. And so, the idea that, it’s not just one application that you need to learn, it’s, you know, those integrations and that utility of where your social graph is, in other areas that you’re engaging within web three. That distribution benefit of your social content that you post on lens, and where else that might flow that’s useful to creators. And so another thing that we do a lot is, speak with creators about different integrations. And what would be useful for you in your web three journey as a creator, where would you like to see the lens social graph and your content distributed? Because it’s not just an application, it’s an entire ecosystem. And so, as I said, being the social distribution layer of the EVM is really where we see ourselves. But that means everything is a little bit more fragmented, even integrations and requires a lot of education, even when we get those live, to show people and let them know how to use those different tools.

Christina’s Aspirations for Lens and Web3

That makes sense. And you brought up another point that I think is a great segue. You speak to a lot of creators. And you mentioned how they consistent or you consistently ask them. Like, what are the things you want to see? Whether it be out of the lens ecosystem, out of web three in general? Are there any that you can share right now on this podcast? Because I think you bring in that really unique perspective, because you’re talking to a lot of like the non-technical users, who want to use their creative endeavors to find creative independence. And having these needs and desires echoed on the podcast, can kind of relay a message to other entrepreneurs and other builders listening. So, build those tools for them.

Christina Beltramini: So, one item that we get asked for a lot by creators is, how do I share my drop that might be on another platform into the lens ecosystem? How do I share that with my lens community and, you know, similar to, you know, Bello, Adam, where creators can now see who owns my NFT, is actually my lens follower, we’re actually seeing some really interesting insights, where, you know, most cases, it’s 25% to 30% of their NFT holders are actually on lens. And so, there’s a big case and something that we continuously get asked for, like how to share a lens button, because, you know, you might not want to make everything on lens, and we totally respect that. But, you know, lens is an incredible tool for engagement and amplification to a web three native audience. And what we’re seeing is that, you know, it’s far better engagement than Twitter. And you can just go on lens and see a bunch of commentary from people, even Diana Chen, who was on rehash, you know, she has like 10 times the amount of followers on lens versus YouTube. And she’s been on for, I think, six months as well. So, the kind of like more baseline, you know, integration requests that we’re getting from creators. The other ones are, you know, how do I create an application for my community, and having someone create potentially a white label that can then be easily repurposed and forked by different creators? Everyone’s tired of discord. Discord isn’t decentralized at all. So, you know, you might have the token gating, but if you still lose access to discord, you lose like all that community engagement that’s happened on that platform.

So, you’re telling me that I can have an app for the mint podcast, that’s native to lens and build on top of lens, that’s what you’re basically telling me.

Christina Beltramini: totally. And you can offer different rewards to people that have a season to. And you know, surface different content. So, like different tiers of your followers.

Talk about like, there’s this app, snow code app called bubble, I think, where you can do like really no code apps really seamlessly, through drag and drop capabilities. Imagine doing an integration like that, you know, and being able to build your no code app on top of lens, tying your lens social graph, bringing your community of collectors and that’s like a whole new experiment that’s worth exploring. I feel like friends with benefits just introduced their own unique app for their token holders. And I could see lens doing that at scale.

Christina Beltramini: Exactly, exactly. All we need and call out if there’s any developers out there that would like to build this, please reach out because we have a lot of ideas on this specifically.

Overview of Lens’ Developer Ecosystem

One thing that I love about lens is, you guys are at every single conference, you guys are sponsoring, like hackathons, giving out grants, making sure that the community knows what’s going on with lens and incentivizing people to build on top. I love that. I love seeing companies and communities ingrain themselves into the ecosystem. And I know that’s one thing that led to striving for, to attract builders, to build applications that we just teased you know, if that’s something that people are excited about, talk to me more about lens’s developer ecosystem, like what should we know that’s happening in that pocket of lens?

Christina Beltramini: I think it’s very interesting about building on web three social is, you don’t need the full-fledged team that you do to build a web two social product, right? You don’t need those people that are going to help growth hack and bring users. You get these users by default of the open social graph. And what we’re seeing is, we’re seeing one person teams building applications with, you know, 20,000 and I think lens tube is a great example of this. It’s one developer and he’s built a product that has 20,000 DAU as a few days ago, that are going in and consuming content. And that would not be possible in web two at all. And so, I think like the idea that you can build something incredibly easily as a one-person team, is opening up a lot of innovation, like we just saw you know, Kora Dao, they built a, you know, a way for multiple people to be able to collaborate and post from one lens profile. And so, I think this actually spurs more innovation from the developer community because it’s kind of like we were talking about with creators. There’s actually lower barriers to entry to really innovate and to create differentiated features, whether it’s like tooling for the lens ecosystem, or front ends and so I’m losing track of everything that’s getting built by the lens community. There’s something new every day and I think we did a great job, you know, establishing our values and what we want web three social to be and we have, you know, developers from India, to China, to Japan, to the US, all creating new features every day.

I think that’s so cool. And I have no idea that one person is behind lens tube. That is insane.

Christina Beltramini: It’s crazy. It’s an endless stop. So, 2 million apps on lens.

That’s actually wild. So, that introduces a new opportunity, that like social platforms have not enabled last time, or it gets into the previous cycle. And that is the ability to build on top of a social graph, and more so to build, like custom user interfaces that pertain to the experience that you want to create, which poses opportunities and challenges. How do you kind of like promote a non-competitive environment? So, like, let’s to become the de facto crypto native YouTube on lens, because technically somebody can build like their own version of lens tube and try to drive traffic to that and make that the de facto platform on lens. And I feel like you open up this world of like healthy competition, behind all these user interfaces that kind of like either do the same thing. For example, like orb, I use orb all the time, like that’s like my go to mobile lens app, and then I use Leinster on the web. But if somebody were to come up with a better UI, than let’s say either Leinster or orb or whatever the scenario may be, I can easily just take my entire community over there, which is great for the creator because the creator of the platform, right. But I feel like it’s an interesting opportunity for companies or projects building on top of that. Any thoughts around that?

Christina Beltramini: Yeah, you’re right. The ability to digitally exit a platform has never been easier, right? There’s no moats and I think healthy competition is a good thing. Because people and especially in building social products, it’s always about building scale. And then like it doesn’t really matter what the competition does, because you’ll just make it a feature within your application and continue winning and I do think you know, pushing every front end to continue to innovate and create a better user experience or even better, you know, curation tools and things within the stack that that front end can own and is tied to that front end, are also different ways that they can continue to differentiate.

I wonder if we’ll ever see like vampire attacks, where if there’s a new lens tube that wants to come into the ecosystem, they’ll launch a token, and they’ll incentivize people to drop on their platform, to incentivize publishers to release content on their platform, right? And do it in a way where let’s see how this works. So, it may make more sense for those people to go over there. You know what I mean? Like I wonder what the digital war may look like, as this ecosystem evolves?

Christina Beltramini: Well, maybe these new models are a way to allow creators to monetize better. So, someone could come in, create a new lens tube that creators are actually getting paid for ad service against their videos, right? And they’re getting paid, you know, maybe it’s, you know, 98% versus whatever YouTube’s offering. And if lens tube isn’t offering that, then they become less competitive. But at the end of the day, like you said, creators are the platform, right? You guys bring the audience’s, they’ll go wherever you go. And now you have those relationships in your wallet. Right? So, you’ll go whatever is most beneficial to you, from a tooling perspective and create a monetization like your business, is extremely important.

Bringing Web3 Native Creators’ Audience to Lens

How does web three native creator bring their audience and their collective base that’s outside of lens into lens? Assuming they already have a lens profile. They got them unlock, they’re in there. But now, if I want to port my existing collector base, from the web through Metaverse into the lens ecosystem, what’s the best way to do that?

Christina Beltramini: The best way would be to get in touch with our creative team. Right now, we’re still in beta. Intentionally and you know, it does require a whitelist. But for engaged communities that want to bring across the networks, we’re always more than happy to have the conversation of whitelisting them.

And I can speak to that as well. Like you guys are meant to bring in communities over there. 

Christina Beltramini: Exactly.

Lessons from TikTok for Building a New Era of Social Media on Lens

So, I love that. Christina, I want to go back to your time at Tik Tok because it’s very relevant to where we are in the conversation right now. You have a lot of experience working with web to native creators, you’re building this new paradigm shift in web three where the creator is the platform. Are there any lessons that you can share with us, that you took from your time at Tik Tok, that you’re now applying to your time at lens and building this new era of social?

Christina Beltramini: One of the things that I learned at Tik Tok is, Tik Tok was a blessing and a curse because it assumed that every creator is a short form creator, right? And all types of creative talent had to end up adapting to that, and I was in the music team. And so, what you would see is that the music labels would then require, you know, their artists to all make short videos and to kind of modify their creative challenge to that platform. Because that was the only way that creators would be able to break, or music would be able to be discovered. And so, I think that web three social and having different types of front ends that service different mediums, without having to compromise on your social graph or your creative talent is really, really important. And even like Instagram has now become like Tik Tok, where it’s all short form to. So, where would the visual artists go, like where would the photographer’s go, there’s no platform for them anymore. So, that was one of the key learnings.

Content Remixes in Web3

What about on the video side? I feel like you’re very adept to all these creators re mixing content on Tik Tok and creating their own variation of that. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what does content remixes look like in web three. And I’ll give you the example okay, here is an example that I’ve shared with other people on previous episodes. Oftentimes you come across on Tik Tok of a dog howling and like a certain key, musical key. And then that kind of influences the guitarist to remix that content and to add some chords to it. And then that that inspires the trumpet to remix the guitarists content, who remix the dog’s content to add some horns to it. And then you have the drummer come in and then the vocals come in. And it’s like this entire piece that was kind of like a baby a second ago. That’s now this entire orchestra all remixed on Tik Tok. And when I think about the power of web three, I think about how crypto is like the optimal platform, to enable monetization and micro payments around that. Either for curators who remix the content because the creator can be the curator, right? And also, for everybody that sort of like contributed to that piece as well. Coming down to the original dog that inspired this entire creative movement. Do you have any thoughts around that? Like I envision a world where like splits comes into the picture. And every time somebody remixes a piece of content, things in micropayments get distributed, I imagine lens as the platform to enable that level of discovery and to incentivize people to publish their original piece of content on it, that that enables the re mixing. Like this is the world that I’m starting to imagine right now. Christina, are you with me right now or am I losing my mind?

Christina Beltramini: I’ve started toying with this as UGC 3.0, about community generated content. And so, the idea like, you know, with Aleks flips, where everyone can play a role in a new creative work, but it’ll also bring more value to the original work and we both have little nouns, right? And we’re kind of playing with that in the CCO environment where, you know, it’s really toying with this idea, like you can make the underlying IP valuable, but then everyone who’s contributing to derivative works and even what Jack Bucha did, I thought that was like such a great showcase of, you know, community coming around and building different derivative works around his initial niche. But unfortunately, the limitations are that no one’s earning in that chain, right. You’re always minting a new NFT, with new terms and the ability to kind of pre code that and have that remix ability all on chain. I’m particularly excited about and it’s a big reason why we’ve actually partnered with Stem staff, which is a, it’s a music platform in web three, where you can create with your favorite artists based on their Stems. And we’re really using that as a first test space. So, I think there’s going to be a lot more that comes with it as well, especially when you think about multimedia, you know, we’ve even seen create his own lens partner together, you know, someone does the album, and then someone creates the music work and they’re figuring out the splits themselves. But you know, we’re really at the  final frontier and I think there’s a lot to be done here and in the design space.

New Experiences and Interactions in the Lens Ecosystem

From an educational perspective, I like to categorize this concept of web three social as programmable, social. It’s the first time ever we’re able to program incentives and experiences on chain to engage with our community, right, whether it be collectors, curators, whatever it may be. And when I say programmable social, it fits really well because I can program certain experiences. For example, mid-season six pin collection, I introduced the concept of the vault, that’s something that lens and I collaborated with, and the only way to get access to the vault and collect my pin, which is like the end of season pin, is that you had to follow me on lens first, and that follower NFT was written into the smart contract as a requirement, right? To be able to meet the pin. And you’ve never really been able to do an experience like that prior to what lens has enabled and I love that. Are there any other cool experiences that you can think of, that sort of, I guess, yeah, motivate a new sort of interaction, or new experiences on the lens ecosystem?

Yeah, I think that’s going to be really interesting ways through token gating and token gating different experiences, in effect that’s what you did there. You token gated based on you know, who follows you on lens, but you can also token gate you know, whether someone can view a post or not, unless they collect it. And so, I think programmable social opens up a lot of opportunities to growth hack for creators, and also to earn and monetize. So, if I had a hot take, and I wanted to post it on Leinster, I would say, you know, you must pay five medics to be able to even unlock what I’ve written. And so, we’re just scratching the surface but the composable nature of the follower graph and any content. And Nick Hollins did a great job of this as well, similar to you where you know, he mentored his the visual art from his podcast UFO, and then whoever collected that on lens was token gated to then collect his mirror article. And so, being able to have like social as you said, a Lego and a composable Lego, is just going to allow for I think, things are going to get weird, and it’s going to be fun. And we’re going to see used cases that we haven’t even, we haven’t even envisioned today.

Understanding Currencies’ Role in Growing a Creator’s Community and Monetizing Their Work

My mind is spiraling, another rabbit hole has opened to kind of think about what else can I use programable social to do, in the context of creating unique experiences for my community? I have to think about this one, because every single season I try to introduce something new. And I feel like this avenue is like the ideal environment to keep doubling down on because it’s just, it’s fresh, like it’s exciting. And people haven’t experienced that side of web three quite yet. Another thing I want to talk to you about Christina is, this concept of like creator currency. Right now, creators are used to kind of like earning the revenue either through soul or either through Ethereum. Lens has predicated itself around wrapped Matic, wrapped Eth. I’m curious if you have any mental model of how we can understand, like these types of currencies as to how they play into growing a creator’s community, monetizing their creative work. Any thoughts around that?

Christina Beltramini: I think social tokens, are you talking more about social tokens?

I’m talking more about like, is it worth more to collect a piece of content using Matic or is it better to collect a piece of content using Eth or wrapped case or soul? Like what, like why would you consider one currency over the next, if you’re selling a piece of music NFT for 30 bucks in Eth? Does that mean you should sell it for 30 Matic, you know if Matic is still like $1 or so. You know what I mean? Like that’s how I’m thinking about it. Any thoughts around that?

Christina Beltramini: On lens, we’re built on the polygon chain. And so, the native currency and the easiest one to expect people to be holding is wrapped Matic. And so, one of the biggest sticking points we’re actually seeing is, if you mint with unwrapped Ethereum, you’re gonna get less collectors because there’s more friction to be able to collect that because you need to convert your wrapped Matic to wrapped the Ethereum. And most people by and large have wrapped Matic. So, you need to meet, you need to choose a currency that meets where the demand is up.

Creating Content Worth Collecting

This has been an incredible conversation so far. Seriously, I’ve been learning so much. And one of the final things I want to leave you off with is, understanding how you think about season sevens tagline of creating content that’s worth collecting. What goes into creating content that’s worth collecting, because we’re no longer liking content. We’re actually collecting content, right? We’re identifying with the creators that we love, by collecting their stuff and supporting them, whether it be a free collect, a paid collect. It’s a whole new shift in thinking and patronage. How do you think about content that’s worth collecting? Do you have a mental model, that sort of predicates one piece of content, that’s more valuable than another piece of content? Any thoughts around that general tagline?

Christina Beltramini: For me, there’s two drivers. It’s either the creator or the content. So, if there’s a creator, you know, and I, you know, appreciate their content, their experimentation, you know, I view them as an innovator in the creator economy in web three, I’ll collect that content because of the virtue of the fact that it’s experimentation type content. Then the second one is, you know, I might not know the creator, but I might listen to that track and really liked it, and I’ll collect it for the quality. So, there’s kind of two aspects of in terms of like my mental model, when thinking about what I collect, it either falls in one of those two buckets.


I love that. Christina before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more about lens? Show it away.

Christina Beltramini: Yeah, so you guys can find me on Twitter. I’m 0x Christina, but I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be there for. You can also find me on lens, Christina.lens.

Amazing. Thank you so much. Seriously, we’re gonna have to do this again soon. But until then, appreciate you for being on.

Christina Beltramini: Thank you, Adam. Always a pleasure.

Podcast Transcript

The Current State of DAOs in the Bear Market


Mint Season 7 Episode 14 welcomes Chase Chapman, a fellow web3-native podcaster and the host of ‘On The Other Side Podcast.’ Join us as we explore web3 content creation, recurring themes discussed on her podcast, her obsession over DAOs, and how Chase has personally grown since joining her first DAO. We also delve into the balancing act of creating content, today’s most compelling DAOs, and the future of media, content, and creator DAOs.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 06:01 – Web3 Content Creation
  • 08:16 – Recurring Themes Discussed On The Other Side Podcast
  • 15:52 – Why the Obsession Over DAOs?
  • 18:29 – How Have You Personally Grown Since Joining Your First DAO?
  • 20:15 – Balancing Creating and Content
  • 22:32 – Compelling DAOs of Today
  • 30:18 – Media, Content, and Creator DAOs
  • 44:46 – Outro

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Chase, welcome to mint. I’m really excited for you to be here. This is like a pod, X pod collab. Mint X on the other side, big fan of the podcast. 

Chase Chapman: Thank you.

How does it feel to be on the other side of the mic?

Chase Chapman: It’s always really funny. I feel like my brain. I feel like turn off interviewer brain. I don’t know if you feel that way when you’re on podcasts.


Chase Chapman: But it’s like, okay, we’re going into, I need to have opinions mode and not like, my brain is malleable mode. I’m working on trying to find the balance between those. And I think there’s probably an interesting middle ground. But it’s definitely like a different persona.

So, when people ask you chase, who are you and what are you doing crypto, what do you tell them?

Chase Chapman: It’s change. It depends on who it is. And it totally changes based on like, how I’m feeling that day. If it’s someone who is not in crypto at all, I usually go like the, you know, the internet is sort of like autocracy. And I believe that like people should basically own and have a say in the value they create and that’s what I’m doing. And so, I don’t even really mention crypto, like hone in on that. But if it’s someone in crypto then it’s like Dao research kind of but also the people and culture in web three it’s never a good answer. I’ll tell you that. Like it’s always confusing and bad.

Well, I know you as a podcasting extraordinaire, and having a really awesome like media arm, that you’re consistently dedicated to in producing really thoughtful pieces of content. And also, professional ship poster yet, I want to come up with another sort of word, but I’ll leave it at that. But also, like your tweets and sort of your beliefs in the world are very thought provoking and have attracted quite a following, especially around the Dao community. So, part of this conversation, I want to focus on the theme of season seven, which is creating content that’s worth collecting, but even more so understanding your perspective on the current state of Dao, Airdrops community incentives, and everything in between. Okay, so and part of the reason why I wanted to have you on Chase is, you are a content creator, you understand the craft of creating content, give or take you make a living through that, you have sponsors, like you know what it takes to create the hustle around creating content. And part of the theme of season seven is centered around, you know, how can we create content that’s worth collecting, so that we become less of slaves to the algorithm, right? In creating content for distribution, and more so for a select few. And I know we had a conversation about this privately. And I know you have different thoughts as to how you approach the business of content creation. So that’s the foundation for the conversation Chap. I want to ask you, where do you think is a good place to start? I want to start on the downside. I want to start on the content creation side, I want to start everywhere. What feels good, what feels good to you?

Chase Chapman: That’s a good question. Let’s start on the content side. Because I have thoughts that I think are a lot less polished and a lot less developed than yours. So like, I think actually, you’ve done a much better job at thinking deeply about content and doing experiments with it. So, let’s start there. Because I think I have a very, I don’t know, unpolished and early view of some of that stuff.

Well, you’re also being very humble, because you do create content for like a consistent living, right? And rabbit holes also sponsor, like I’ve listened to your stuff, I have given it five stars, like I’m a fan, you know. 

Chase Chapman: Thank you.

Web3 Content Creation

So, when you think about the world of like content creation, in the context of web three, what are some things that come to mind?

Chase Chapman: Yeah, this is so interesting. So, like, right now, my current thought for the way that I personally approach content is not, does not apply to everyone. So I will say this was like a massive grain of salt. But I’ve been thinking a lot about how, I think some of the best content comes from a place of basically like reflection, where I think there are some people who can create really amazing content, because they’re digging deep into like, what’s on chain and all of that. I think, for me, personally, the content that I make very much comes from a place of, okay, I’m building in the space, I’m halfway addicted to Twitter, like I’m in the trenches dealing with all the shit that I talked about on the podcast, is things that I see as problems. The same thing happened when I was contributing to DAOs for a year, and I was like, Holy shit, there are a lot of problems with these organizations, like, how can we solve them? And so, the way that I’ve always approached content is basically like, how can I get my hands dirty, and get in the trenches of the things that I’m interested in, and then basically create content, where I’m essentially like processing and talking about the challenges and opportunities and all the things that come with whatever it is I’m doing at the time. And so, I’ve always had this view that like, I actually don’t want to be like a full-time content creator, because I think that works. For some people who are doing like research or like their hands getting dirty in the trenches, is research or who deeply understand culture, or who are doing like the experiments that you’re doing with men, are very much like you’re getting your hands dirty. But I think I’ve always been really like grounded in this idea that, in order for me at least, to make interesting content, I need to be doing things in the space that are interesting. I don’t know if that resonates with how you see some of that.

Recurring Themes Discussed On The Other Side Podcast 

However, it does, it does. Because what I’m picking up from you is that you have to be an active participant to develop your points of view, that you then communicate and discuss openly with everybody else that you have on the podcast. And I think my stems, like the root of my experimentation comes from my ADHD and my ADD of like, not being satisfied by doing something consistently. Like, for example, when I wake up in the morning, I just bought like coffee, you know, but I’ve been drinking espresso for the longest time. And I always have to change things up. It’s still coffee at the end of the day. But I have to get different versions of it, so that I can, like be motivated to start my day the same way I kind of imagined it to. So, that analogy of drinking coffee in the morning very much pertains to how I approach content as a creator. And that’s solely where it stems from. And you brought up a lot of the conversations that you have. I feel like give or take, not reoccurring, but there are underlying themes that on the other side covers, right. So, from your perspective, what are some of the reoccurring themes that you discuss in the podcast? I’d love for you to share.

Chase Chapman: Yeah, I mean, I guess like taking a step back and giving some context. I actually just had Gabby Goldberg on the podcast, and I think she does a great job articulating some of the things that I feel really strongly about, which is that, like I grew up on the internet. I think a lot of people think I’m a lot older than I am, which is kind of funny. So, I’m 23 and so I grew up on the internet. You know, I had Instagram, like in middle school, like all of these experiences that I had, as a teenager were very like internet native. And so, I think what has always been this like through line throughout my life, has been kind of the intersection of acknowledging, that it feels like we are increasingly online, like it’s hard to say, even in today’s state of like, I don’t know, if you wanna say post pandemic, but like, whatever. We’re increasingly online, and also as human beings with needs, and who sort of want to live the best lives that we can. I also acknowledge that like, in a lot of ways, I think the internet poses like a threat to our well-being. And I experienced that all throughout childhood where I was like, I know this isn’t that good for me, but I’m using it anyway, because my entire social fabric is sort of supplemented by this. And so ultimately, I think what that led me to and what the podcast really explores, is what it looks like for humans to exist on the internet in a way that actually optimizes for human thriving instead of these, like weird sort of fucked up platforms. And so like, ultimately, that’s also why I ended up in web three, because I think when you take a deeper look at any of the platforms that we have today, economic incentives are ultimately like, underscoring a lot of the reasons that these things are so pernicious. And so, for me, web three is both an opportunity to sort of right the wrongs that we’ve created, and also like, create new interesting systems. And the podcast, I think, is very much exploring how we do that. Because we tend to use that ethos law in web three, like, we say, yes, we’re building a new internet, it’s going to be better, whatever. But we also create incredibly. I keep swearing, and I feel bad.

Do it. 

Chase Chapman: But we create a bunch of fucked up systems in replacement of the old systems that were also fucked up. And when I say that, I mean things like the financialization of everything like I really think that if we’re not careful, we’re going to create a similar internet that has different problems but still problems done. The last that are like, really, again, not optimizing for humans are going to be problems always. But like how big these problems are, and how big of a threat they are. I think there’s a big thing here. Anyway, all that is to say, I think the podcast is very much about raising awareness of and exploring those things. So that when we say we’re building a new internet, we’re actually doing that in a way that’s better, instead of sort of recreating similar issues, and maybe even making them worse.

As a 23-year-old, your point of view is very mature, like incredibly mature. And I feel like you get that a lot from older people that you speak to, they’re always surprised, like you said, by your age, and you brought how, you brought upon how you grew up with Instagram in your hand and your passion for sort of building a better world. And I’m trying to think if there’s, if you can reflect on any moments of you growing up, that has developed that maturity and has led to your passion of like wanting to develop this ambitious vision that you have today.

Chase Chapman: Well, I appreciate that. It’s so funny. I actually when I was a kid, I don’t know why, like 12 years old, I guess it’s not really kid. But I started reading a ton of spiritual spirituality and self-help books, like not like religious but like Eckhart Tolley and Osho and all these people. And I don’t know why. Do you have your stack?

I have my stack. And I’m keep going, like I just got to pull out the one that sort of like changed my life. 

Chase Chapman: I’m curious what it’s going to be. 

And it’s so cringy because it’s such like a well-known book that really set the tone for me, Thinking Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Like that book.

Chase Chapman: I haven’t read that.

Thinking grow rich set the tone for me, and my 11th grade teacher in high school, Mr. Prapata, he changed my entire world and put me on my path. You know, it’s like, talk about like a fuse that hasn’t been lit. And then you have this guy with a torch. He’s like, I’m going to light you up. Like, that’s literally what happened. And he’s like, in the meantime, as you’re burning, take this book with you, as your guider, I digress. You were saying.

Chase Chapman: I love that. No, I mean, it’s very similar. And so, I think like, in a lot of ways, you know, that very much grounded me in this idea of like, I want to, I personally want to live a life that feels like it was worth living. And to me, what that means is finding spaces where I feel really passionate and intellectually excited about the work that I’m doing. And also feeling like I’m creating a space that allows other people to strive for a life that’s worth living. And I think when I became aware of that, I noticed the spaces in which I did not feel like I was spending my time in a way that felt so fulfilling and like true to who I was. And a lot of that was like digital spaces. Like when I would go on Instagram. I don’t, I didn’t leave the app feeling like awesome or fulfilled and I think that’s changed for me a little bit in that, like, I’ve made some amazing friends off of Twitter like I’ve definitely had experiences where I’ve seen the beauty of these digital spaces. And, and I think that’s been really interesting to watch. But like net overall, I think a lot of that drove me to be like, okay, how can we create spaces that are actually better for human thriving and things like that. And so, I think that was always the grounding for us. And then I would say the other piece of it is like, because I’m young, I use a lot of research to support what I’m thinking and doing, which has helped a lot, because then I’m not just like completely ignoring all of the knowledge that people outside of crypto have created around like, you know, self-governing systems and shareholders and like all of those things.

Why the Obsession Over DAOs?

So, it’s a perfect transition to try to understand where DAOs fit into that picture for you. So, my first question around that is like, where does your obsession with DAOs come from? So, I can see, like a grain of salt sort of like a resemblance between how you think, as like outside of crypto to your interest in crypto. But from your perspective, why the obsession over DAOs?

Chase Chapman: It’s funny, like, I think my answer this has changed over time. And part of it is because I’ve learned more and more why they were so interesting to me. When I first got into crypto, it was like 2018 and it was really highly technical. You were in the space at the time, right? 


Chase Chapman: Very highly technical and I was not technical and non-technical. And so, I saw this opportunity for what this space could become. And I think as much as the values around the space have evolved, a lot of them are still really core to this idea around like, you know, Bitcoin is a response to a centralized financial system. I think a lot of like web three is a response to a centralized set of social platforms and all that. And so, I think I always felt like there was this gap between, in theory what we were doing, and I think that was being applied at very technical levels, like Ethereum as a blockchain is decentralized, and does have these certain values of credible neutrality and stuff. Two. Okay, what does this look like for humans in these systems? And how do we empower humans, so that the values aren’t just baked into the protocol, but they’re actually baked into these like layers that we’re building on top of it. And so, I think DAOs, to me, were one of the most exciting examples of baking in these values, and allowing humans to engage with them, not just like computers, or people who are messing with computers, to engage with them, almost like in this human readable way. And so, that is where I think my obsession with Dao was started. And then from there, it became very obvious that there was a lot of room for improvement in DAOs. And that was just like, to me that was the tear like analogy about the torch, that was a torch where I was like, okay, not only is this really exciting, but this is actually a space that is still so nascent and actually needs a lot of thinking, a lot of research, a lot of consideration to go into making these systems actually work. But there’s something here.

How Have You Personally Grown Since Joining Your First DAO?

How have you personally grown ever since joining your first Dao?

Chase Chapman: That’s a great question. How have I personally grown? I think that I’ve grown a lot in trusting my curiosities. Like I think that, you know, when I first started tweeting, and when I first started engaging in DAOs, and writing about it, I don’t think I had like the most confidence in my curiosity. I think it was like, I don’t know if this is right, even starting the podcast. Like I think all of these pieces have consistently taught me, that if I’m curious about something other people probably are too, and there’s probably an interesting seed of something here to play with. And then I think the second piece is also like, there’s a really, I keep talking about balance. I feel like I think everything is a balance at this point. That’s my current mental model. But I definitely have had an interesting relationship with balancing, doing things independently and collaborating with other people. Like I think that’s one of the biggest question marks in DAOs is like how much you sort of self-govern and take it upon yourself to do things versus like, rely on people around you. And so, I think at like a very tangible level, that’s something that is also a dance and a balance. And I think I have learned to get a lot better at that going also from like Dao, sort of contributions to being on like a team, which is metropolis, which is doing Dao tooling, like it’s been a very interesting dance between those two things.

Balancing Creating and Content

What would you say your dance battle looks like? Like what is your balance? Like how do you find your balance? I think it’s because you were constantly online, right? And you’re like, incredibly grained. So, I’d ask you about your dance battle. It’s like, how do you find the balance between creating and content? Between your ideology of like being like very forward about everything should be decentralized, or the Dao is the way, like what is your balance look like?

Chase Chapman: Yeah. Well, from the perspective of content creation work, I think that’s a fun balance. I’ve more recently started to think about content creation as work, not in the sense of like it feels not fun, more in the sense of like, I think that when I get really excited about things, I’ll spend endless time on those things. And I will also immerse myself so deeply in it, that I don’t, you know, take care of other things that I need to get to the point about, like making sure that I have my friends outside of crypto, like all of those things to me are part of that balance. And so, I’ve started to look at all of these things, more like opportunities that I get to play with in my work life and acknowledging that, like these things are mental work. And I think like, as a side note, in the bull market, it’s very easy to go so deep, and just completely forget about all these things. I think in a bear market, it’s important, partially just because like there’s less craziness, but also because like, I think if you don’t pace yourself and acknowledge that these things are work, and they do take like intellectual labor, you will run out of energy, like fully. And so, my current thing has been very much like nurturing this idea around, okay, these things are work, and I’m showing up to them. Even if some days I’m like, I don’t feel like doing a little bit of writing on this, doing it anyway, acknowledging that, like nurturing that seed of curiosity, I think is the key to sustaining excitement and ideas and passion around a lot of this stuff.

Compelling DAOs of Today

I got burnt out in the bull market, like genuinely burnt out, I remember at the height of the of the, or like, pre height of the bull market. And I referenced the bull market as like the NFT bull market, I had just recently quit my job. And I was like, right, I gotta figure something out, like I have offers from other companies, but I’m not down to do any of that. Let’s start a podcast, and literally was like, was at creating content throughout the entire bear market, had ideas that tried, I raise money for that burnt me out, like, and I learned so much. And now that we’re in the bear market, I can like, you know, like breathe for a minute, I can be like a hawk over the Grand Canyon, and just kind of like roam and cruise and see what’s going on below me and be very thoughtful about my actions, you know, while also not discounting that you still need to like still need to be quick with stuff. So, your concept of burning out is very real for me. And I think part of it was also like the engagement and trying to be involved with different doubts. That was a very high, very, very hot concept. People were pushing out that they’re no longer working for cash. They’re only working for Dao tokens. We’re only Daoists. Now, all these organizations came out, you know, and trying to be an all these discords, vote on stuff, that also got very overwhelming. And I think that also introduced the concept of discord fatigue. So, a lot of my rant over a year kind of transition. So, my next question for you, Chase, DAOs were hot and that was are still a thing, obviously. But are they as hot as they used to be? And if so, what are some of the more like compelling used cases we’ve seen today?

Chase Chapman: Are DAOs as hot as they used to be? I mean, definitely not, like crypto loves narrative shifts. And I think something that I’ve always believed to be true. Is that, yes, DAOs are hot now. This was, you know, a year and a half whatever ago, they will not stay this way, mostly because we don’t actually know what works yet. And I think that is now coming true today, where basically what’s happening is like DAOs in the early stages, everyone was sharing all their experiments. And we had no actual way of knowing if those things worked, which made it really exciting because you’re like, oh, everyone’s you know, index is doing this and so and so is doing this, and we can borrow this. A year later, you learn, okay, this model actually totally didn’t work for x, y&z reasons, these people are struggling to make revenue, whatever. And so, the natural conclusion is like, DAOs don’t really work. If you’re reading very surface level, the reality is like all of the models that we’re testing, we’re basically getting results now knowing okay, this model doesn’t work but this model does work. And this model is actually promising, but we need to switch it in this way. And so, I think the reason the DAOs are not as hot anymore is one, it was like a lot of, you know, hype and excitement around stuff that we didn’t actually have an idea of whether or not it worked longer term yet. And two, we’re now at the stage where we’re doing the hard work of figuring out okay, what’s next. And that’s not the most exciting narrative to people, I get it, that’s all good. I think these like crypto narrative cycles go in and out. And I’m sure in a couple of years, when we have a lot more figured out, it’s gonna be like, oh, amazing. DAOs are wonderful. I think, broadly speaking, the way that I’ve always seen DAOs in the space is, a lot of the core infrastructure that we’re building needs to be governed in a distributed fashion. Whether you think that’s full decentralization, or like heavy on representative, sort of democracy and delegation, like doesn’t really matter, I don’t really care how people cut it. But ultimately, like to me, most of the things that we’re building are going to end up being DAOs, if you want them to be governed in a distributed way. And so, I think, to that point, like a lot of this stuff is really infrastructure, that is ultimately going to end up evolving over time. And I think ideally, the next time like DAOs, end up in this like big crypto narrative, it’s not actually DAOs. Ideally, it’s like a specific type of Dao in the same way that like PFP is where a specific type of NFT or music NFTs or podcasts NFTs are coming up. Like I think we need more specialization in specific cases of implementation. And I think that will probably be the next big run. And then you asked another question, but I don’t remember what it was because I just went deep on that little tangent.

Well, it was around more of like the compelling used cases that we’re seeing today. And I think one that everybody loves to bring up as nouns Dao, as like a core example that seems to be working people like to flex the amount of Eth that they have, you know, I’ve heard you say that publicly on the podcast before, you know. So, I think that’s a compelling used case for the wealthy bunch. But what about like other used cases that come to mind, that we’ve seen some, like quality adoption around?

Chase Chapman: Yeah, well, I have to set the record straight. Also, I talk so much shit about nouns, but I only do it because I think that nouns is wonderful, and I love it as a model. I think generating revenue is massive. I think people rely too heavily on nouns as a single model, in the exact same way that I was saying, we tested all these things, and we didn’t know the results of it. Yes, nouns is like, actually not super new. But like in the grand scheme of things, we still haven’t seen people who are able to recreate the success of nouns at the scale, even close to nouns. And so, I am excited about nouns. And I am wary of it being applied in over applied basically. But yes, I think nouns is really exciting. I’m also like, fascinated by and think it’s really promising that there are so many DeFi DAOs, that like despite their challenges work and have worked for years. I think like the makers even like compound Ave, yes, they have teams in some cases that are centralized and sort of engaged with or building an explosion of the Dao. But I think that there’s something to be said for the fact that like, we’ve created relatively stable protocols, with specialized organizations plugging in, for example, gauntlet, plugging into like an Ave for specifically like risk mitigation, stuff like that. I think we don’t celebrate enough. And, you know, I think a lot of like, crypto oh, geez, over the last cycle sort of pointed to them and was like, no, these are the real DAOs. And I think that there’s a time to double down on what we have and what works and a time to experiment and try new things. And I’m definitely at the moment in time where I’m like, okay, let’s pause, what do we know works? And we do know that that works. We know that governing, you know, smart contract parameters and being able to take stable systems and democratizing them actually is an effective way to do take these like digital sort of public goods and make sure that they’re treated in a way that the people who are using them and token holders and things actually have a say in them. So that’s exciting. And I think that’s probably the most boring answer I could give. But I do think it’s true. And I think we don’t give them enough credit.

Media, Content, and Creator DAOs

So, on that topic of kind of uncovering successful DAOs, I want to pose a question to you. How do you feel about media DAOs and content DAOs, creator DAOs? What is your perspective with that?

Chase Chapman: So, I would position this in my head at least as there are two different types of DAOs. So, one type of Dao is governing value. I always think about like DeFi DAOs is this. I would say nouns to a lot of degrees is this. They’re taking something that they basically want to be stable and safe and they’re governing it. The other kind of Dao which often plugs into these types of organizations, by the way, is something that’s creating value. And you can argue that like governing is creating value and all that stuff. But when I say creating value, I mean something like a creator Dao, I even think something like a gauntlet is creating value. They’re creating risk models; they’re then applying those response. To me, I think that the promise there is around co owning what it is that’s created. I think that’s really exciting. I think my engagement with something like that has been relatively low. But this comes back to this question of independently versus collaboratively doing work together. And so, I think at like a very tangible level, there’s something really exciting about being able to collaborate on something and co-owned something. And then I would say at a higher level, there’s definitely something that’s fascinating about, you know, 10 years down the line, having like creator DAOs which really look like and I credit Gabby Goldberg when she came on the podcast for making me think this way, but like, you know, Tik Tok comments as governance is like a very interesting way to think about it, where it goes from co-creation of individuals to co-creation of a creator with an audience or community or whatever, and maybe we’re already there today. I mean, I think you know more about this than I do, probably, but that’s kind of how I think about it.

So, that’s a great analogy, like Tik Tok comments are definitely a form of governance. So, it makes you think whether or not all these additional stacks of layers for tooling in infra, are even necessary to build these DAOs when, if enough people contribute their voice, they could sway the direction without signing their Metamask, right? Yeah. Do you ever think about that? Am I wrong to think that? What are your thoughts?

Chase Chapman: I think that when I think about what web three actually provides, in that context, it’s sort of two things. So, the first is some level of like executable power, which nouns does you know, for example, like you could see creators leveraging a noun’s type model, or you’re actually putting like money in a treasury and then that treasury gets deployed. Something like that at a very like high level executable power, I think is helpful. But I think the thing that’s actually more helpful is this idea around sovereignty outside of platforms, right? So, like, you know, there is power in your audience not being trapped within Tik Tok. And I think that’s probably the bigger piece around web three and more broadly, and then governance plugs into that, like all these things plug into that. But I think even when I’m thinking about the way that I feel about a creator on Twitter, like, generally speaking, when Elon first did his Twitter bullshit, I was like, this is a little bit spooky, and I’m not loving what’s going on. Then I was like, this is fine. And now I’m back to like, ooh, Twitter’s breaking all the time. This is like not optimal. 

He’s always on my timeline. Like why?

Chase Chapman: And I think like, you’ve done a really great job sort of intentionally building your community, I think outside of a platform, which I think is genius and if I was more intentional about my podcast, I would 100% be doing that. But I think that’s actually one of the bigger benefits around what it means to have like a creator Dao, is just that like DAOs shouldn’t be limited to or trapped on any individual platform. And optimally, that becomes the experience that then you create for community. And so, it doesn’t really matter what platform you’re on, you’re able to sort of port over those conversations and relationships and stuff outside of, you know, Twitter, Tik Tok, whatever it is.

My bet is that your community of collectors will outpace your community of followers over again. And the reason being is because when you build a collector, a collector is interoperable. You can build an audience on sound, on Zora, on lens, on manifold, on all these platforms and empower creators. And with a tweet or with an email, I can shift their attention to come with me to that platform, right? 

Chase Chapman: Totally. 

So, if you look at 2018 when Tik Tok was on the rise, a lot of the infamous Instagram creators, that were sort of like, I guess, legacy into their system, that everybody you loved and adored, now became less relevant. Because now there was a wave of Tik Tok creators, and they built viral audiences with better distribution, and more power essentially, and more brand revenue being attributed to them than Instagram creators flat out right. So, my bet is that the next wave of the creator economy is going to empower your community of collectors over your community of followers. Because then you own that audience, wherever you go, your community of collectors follow, whereas what you just said right now. Right now, we’re building followings and we’re publishing on platforms that are gated silos, right? And it’s very difficult for a creator to basically transfer their audience from one platform to another and then they become slaves to the algorithms, and then they get burnt out by consistently publishing and trying to feed into the distribution algorithms, you know, so, whereas as a community of collectors like, you don’t need all 20,000 of your collectors to collect something at the spotlight, you could get 1% of them to do that. And you can still make a living out of your creative endeavors. So, I’m at the situation where my community of collectors have already outpaced my community of followers and from building on lens, from doing free NFTs, doing paid NF T’s and it’s a consistent experiment. I don’t know if it’s going to pan out the right way, but I’m already seeing how this value could look like long term.

Chase Chapman: Yeah, it’s really interesting. I am incredibly curious to see how these changes, both creator behavior and distribution. So, I also keep shouting out gab because we just had this conversation but it’s also so relevant to this one. Something I think about a lot that we talked about on that episode is distribution. Not being centralized really changes the game for what that might even look like. Because in general, yes, like, even if collectors outpace followers, you still need a discovery mechanism. And so, I think the like sort of, I like to call it physics because that’s like, it’s like the rules of these digital spaces and how they sort of exist. The physics around discoverability in these spaces when you don’t have centralized distribution, I think is going to be fascinating to watch. And then I also think what it’s going to start to potentially do is, if you kind of think about like human, I think that like creators are basically relationship. I don’t even know what the right word is, like if you think about para social relationships, even if you don’t go that far. I think a lot of at least my relationship with creators is basically like they’re a friend, right? Like that’s how I engage with them and that’s how I see them. And so, consistency and these other things actually still matter a lot. I think algorithms that we use for distribution today, sort of encode those specific things that we know to be true but human nature, we know that in order for users to enjoy certain creators, you want that consistent relationship. We know that in order for creators to get that attention, they also need to create content that’s like relatively different whatever. If you strip that that layer away, I’m very curious to see what still remains as these like fundamental, just human raw things that we want in a relationship with a creator. And I don’t know if you have like an opinion on what some of those things might be, but I think it’s gonna be fascinating.

What you’re alluding to is centrally email because if you can own your audience and own your distribution, then you are the platform, 100%, you know, and you no longer need to build your audience on the accompanying platforms. I have a newsletter. I have my audio, my audio networks, my YouTube is slacking, but whatever, you’re building or building it, and then I experiment with free and paid NFTs. And over time, I’ve been able to build a community of collectors whose emails are also attributed to their wallet address, right, and it was all opted in, right. So, now anytime I have an announcement, or I want to distribute something that also has a call to action of collecting something, I’m able to do so accordingly. And I may be an outlier with that. But I think if platforms build tools that allow creators not only to own their audience via minting stuff, but also find ways to own their distribution as well. And you’ve completely changed the game, 100%. Because right yeah, because right now, we’re still dependent on the, like, majestic algorithms of Tik Tok and how they distribute content and how they create literally influencer out of almost anyone, you know. Now it makes you think like, with higher quality, like with higher quantity of influencers, like what’s the quality in that, you know, like you often see people with like a million followers on Tik Tok not getting shit engagement, you know, for a video that they post. So, there’s many factors that contribute to that. But my bet again, as creators discover crypto, as creators discover NFTs, web three, all these primitives, DAOs, whatever may be, over time, their community of collectors will outpace their community of followers, because they’re just going to see it from a data perspective, from a monetization perspective, from a communication perspective. I think there’s more power of being able to integrate your audience in web three than there is in web two. Maybe bias but that’s sort of like the fish sugar that I’ve slightly tasted a little bit. And I can see how that kind of like transforms big picture.

Chase Chapman: Yeah, it’s interesting to exist like, is it. I think being a creator today, yes. Is like there’s work involved. But I would assume that you’re doing on average, like more because it’s your responsibility then if you’re owning the platform to some degree. And maybe they’re just tools that come in and help make that easier. But like, I think a lot of this stuff is also a matter of, you know, how much time and energy are you ready to put into building your distribution outside of certain platforms, which is basically an investment at the end of the day, but it’s an upfront investment for a much longer-term benefit. And obviously, humans love short term gratification over long term investment.

definitely. I think it’s also a good transition into sort of like some quick action questions, Chase. Yay or nay, podcast NFTs?

Chase Chapman: I think, yay, I think there’s a long way to go and I’m glad that you are experimenting with them. You and a few other like rehash. I think, like getting to the point where, you know, some of the biggest pod, maybe some of the biggest podcasts don’t need to be doing it. But I’m excited to see more experimentation around audiences outside of crypto.

Yay or nay content NFTs in general. So, podcast is like a sub niche, that like do you think every form of content, every form or media should be tokenized? Yay or nay?

Chase Chapman: I’m gonna have to plead the flip upon this one. It’s not, it’s actually I am pleading the flip. I flipped and flopped on this about a zillion time. I think that it’s hard to imagine a world in which we just kind of slap ownership on to our existing content mechanisms. I think that every piece of content being something that’s like owned or memorialized on chain might not make sense from like, a first principles perspective. But I also feel like if I had, you know, made any predictions about the internet in like 20 years ago, I would have sounded really stupid now and would have been totally wrong. So, it’s hard to say.

Okay, I’ll take it. Yay or nay, DAOs being here five to 10 years from now. 

Chas Chapman: Big yay.

Big Yay. Yay or nay on the US government transforming into a Dao, once our generation goes into office.

Chase Chapman: I’m gonna say nay, because I don’t agree with everything that Balaji talks about in his notion of a network state, but I do think that network states are much more promising and much better off as like digitally native.

Yay or nay on web three. 

Chase Chapman: Nay.


Troll everyone. Chase, this has been an epic conversation. I love your thoughts. I love your perspective on how you’re cruising through crypto. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more? Where can we stay in touch? Show it away.

Chase Chapman: Well, this was so fun and thank you so much for having me on. I need to have you on my podcast. We live to do a true cross. 

I’m gamed.

Chas Chapman: You can find me on Twitter. I’m @chaserchapman. So, she’s Chase Chapman but with an R in the middle. I’m also really trying to write more which I keep saying, if I say it, I will do it. I’ve been getting in my little writing practice every day. So, now I just have to publish stuff. So, I’m And then my podcast is called on the other side and it’s on all of the platforms publicly enough.

Let’s go. Go check it out. Great podcast definitely delivers a different perspective on crypto. Chase. We’ll have to do this again soon, but till next time, thank you.

Chase Chapman: Thank you.

Podcast Transcript

Exploring the World of Media Legos and Video NFTs with Sam Sends


Mint Season 7 Episode 13 welcomes Sam Sends, Co-Founder of Glass Protocol, the home of video NFTs. From owning your content to the latest developments in music NFTs on Solana, we’ll explore the benefits and detriments of these technologies and their potential for mainstream adoption in web3. We’ll also take a closer look at how web3 will impact the future of media consumption, fan engagement, and creation, and get valuable insights into product building from Sam. Additionally, we’ll discuss when we might expect established platforms like Vimeo and YouTube to make their entry into the world of web3. This is an episode packed with fascinating insights and predictions!

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 04:02 – When Did You Start Building for Creators?
  • 07:16 – Is Your Curiosity Driven by ADHD or Something Else?
  • 09:08 – What Is the Importance of Glass in the World?
  • 10:39 – Benefits and Detriments of Owning Your Content?
  • 14:53 – What Makes Music NFTs on Solana Exciting?
  • 16:33 – What’s Needed for Mainstream Adoption of Web3?
  • 27:16 – What Is the TikTok Equivalent in Web3?
  • 28:29 – Favorite Creators Who Have Used Crypto to Monetize and Own Their Audience Well?
  • 30:29 – How Will Web3 Influence the Consumption, Interaction, and Creation of Media?
  • 32:58 – What Does Product Building Look Like in Practice?
  • 33:59 – When Will Established Platforms Like Vimeo and YouTube Enter Web3?
  • 45:53 – What’s Your Favorite Item in Your Wallet?
  • 47:30 – Outro

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All right, so we’re here another episode featuring Sam Sends. Sam, when I was curating the season seven lineup, and I was thinking who can speak on the topic of creating content worth collecting? You came up. How are you doing, man? Thank you for being on.

Sam Sends: Hey, Adam. Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to dig into kind of the nature of decentralized media, something I think about a lot. And I know you do as well, exploring podcasts NFTs and lends to men all of these different ways to kind of connect these pieces together. So excited to dig into it.

I’m excited to learn more about your background, the start of Glass. When we first met, it was in San Francisco, at one of the conferences, which conference was it? You remember? 

Sam Sends: I think it was circle, circle conference. Yeah.

Circle. Yes. Yeah. 

Sam Sends: And you were moderating this panel on the creator economy, I believe.

And you were speaking on the panel on the creator committee. And here we are today. I made it easy. And you know what’s cool, I’ve seen sort of like the progression of Glass from your origin on Ethereum to now transitioning on to Solana and that day of the conference was the first Solana drop. So, I can say that I was there. I don’t have the NFT to prove it. But we have that physical moment to share.

Sam Sends: Yeah, I remember we were excited backstage just watching it, like fly off the presses. Yes.

Literally. Literally, Sam. Sam, I wanted to understand who are you man? I always like starting with primers in a brief on the individual that’s on the podcast. When somebody asks Sam, who are you and what do you do? How do you respond?

Sam Sends: Oh, it’s a hard question to answer. I feel like I’ve lived a lot of different weird lives. In high school, I actually went to an art school. So I was like, really focused on music, and like visual art. And then the only way to be a rebel and like art school is to go into the sciences. So, I got really deep into science. And then, right after high school, I got a really good job as like a government contractor. So, working for like NASA, the Department of Energy, doing like really, really deep applied science, but then kind of got out of touch with like the tangibility, I really wanted to get back to like helping people directly. And that kind of led me to entrepreneurship, and thinking about crypto and these new changes, and like ways to scale helping other people. I think that core concept of like making people’s lives better, has always been there. Just different types of. 

Timeout, NASA and government contracts, then transitioning into crypto web three and helping creators like completely different worlds.

Sam Sends: Different worlds. Yeah, really different worlds. Yeah, so right out of high school. I was like making samples that actually flew up to the space station. 


Sam Sends: So, I guess it’s like, we’re switching one moon for the other moon now. We’re just going from.

I love that. It’s really well put. Okay, so when you’re building for this new moon, okay, help me understand that sort of like the similarities between sending rockets to the moon and trying to send tokens to the moon? What are the similarities?

Sam Sends: Both are really hard. Both are really, really hard in different ways. I think the really exciting thing, just from working on Glass that I’ve seen, is like the tangible impact that it’s had on so many people. I’m blessed in the sense that I get to, like, you know, talk to creators and work with creators every single day. And, you know, not every job goes perfectly or not, every NFT sells, but there are those rare occasions where it’s like, this is really transformative technology that allows you know, creator to feel either more seen and like valued from their community or able to like actually really financially change their outlook or get some new equipment or something like that. And just those little moments of like, really tangibly impacting someone’s life. Like that’s the best thing.

When Did You Start Building for Creators?

But how did you get your start building for creators? Like when did that come into the picture?

Sam Sends: Yeah, well, dude, I was in art school, I was a creator. And I got really far away from that kind of in science. But I think actually, it’s, there’s this like stigma that science isn’t very creative, but I think really good science is actually like a super creative process, where you’re designing experiments or trying to do things that haven’t been done. And that’s really true, like creation of content as well. You’re like experimenting, trying to like, you know, stand on the shoulders of the giants before you but then like ultimately push the ball a little further. And so yeah, there’s a lot of like similarities there. Ultimately got the start because I missed it. I missed like, creation and creating content and film. So yeah, just really getting back to like the origins there of my person, like wanting to be more creative.

And then have you always been an entrepreneur in some respect?

Sam Sends: Oh, Yeah, I don’t know if I should say this on the podcast. 

Yeah, reveal it. 

Sam Sends: Yeah, I had an early business when I was in like seventh grade. I was a, I sold weed.

All right. Honestly, that probably teach you some of your best lessons. 

Sam Sends: I think a lot of, there’s like this juvenile delinquency to like crypto people, I feel like good entrepreneurs.

Listen, so many people that I talked to have told me that they got started on the silk road, you know, just like, they’re buying shit or trying to sell shit. So. it’s either that or they got started by playing RuneScape. And that’s sort of like transition their love into the world of crypto. They probably fall between those two buckets, but you sold weed. Tell me about that. Why did you sell weed in high school?

Sam Sends: It’s not that I was expecting our conversation to go.

I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I don’t want to talk about drugs. But okay, real talk though. Okay, understanding your entrepreneurial path, starting very young, okay, doing all sorts of activities, and then going into art school, going into art school, studying the arts, but then transitioning out of that to work into government contracts, NASA rockets, but only to come back into the creator economy. I want to understand that timeline better.

Sam Sends: Yeah, for sure. I really think like, throughout all of just my life, I’ve been following curiosities. And I really think like creativity is a product of curiosity, like following those curiosities leads you to, like discover new information or create synthesis. And so, I think I’ve just been like these whole-time following curiosities. I don’t know if that’s a flaw or not. But it’s definitely a really powerful tool for like, being able to really just like, work hard and push towards something. Yeah, I think like the biggest transition was like really one missing the arts, and then to wanting to have a very tangible impact, like directly help people at scale, rather than, you know, just helping one person individually. So that was a big transition.

Is Your Curiosity Driven by ADHD or Something Else?

That makes sense. That makes sense. You brought up this element of curiosity. I can relate to that a lot, Sam. A lot of the things that I sort of decide to do and spend my time and energy on is things that make me curious, but my curiosity is derived from my ADD and ADHD because I need new things to focus on to keep me stimulated. Do you struggle with the same thing? Is that where your curiosity stems from? Or does it stem from a different factor?

Sam Sends: You know, and it’s really interesting. I’ve been reflecting a lot on like, the crypto cycles as well. I think like crypto attention is really driven by like this ADHD, like fervent, like new thing, new thing, new thing, new thing, new thing, new thing. And I don’t know, I think that’s really interesting to think about like how does, for context, you know, we’ve been working on Glass for like a year and a half, almost two years. So how do we like continue to, how do we get mindshare and continually do that without being like the people that are like forcing that every single time. And something I’ve been really thinking a lot on and like reflecting. Just like to date, we’ve kind of taken this more platform approach, where we were very, like curated very like prescriptive over how things should be done. And I realized, like now that that might have, that’s actually like something we’re trying to roll back and change. Actually, specifically for like the ability to open up more curiosity or more abilities for people to like, build on top of. So, I was kind of going back to this like, you know, new cycle with crypto, where it’s like, the next new thing is like super hype worthy, and that’s where the attention flows. For the longest time, we’ve been trying to, like be the innovator and like, that takes a lot of work. And now we’re really trying to like to shift our directions and figure out how to just like empower other people to create on top, build on top, and like, use that to kind of be like the new thing. That’s something I’ve just been reflecting on. I’m not sure that.

What Is the Importance of Glass in the World?

No, that makes sense. And I think it’s a perfect segue, you know, fully answers it because it’s a perfect segue into talking about Glass, because we’ve been hinting at this platform that you work on for like nine minutes now. And I think it’s a perfect time to introduce the concept of glass, what is glass? And why it’s important to have glass in the world?

Sam Sends: Yeah, I mean, I think ultimately, it comes down to a few really, really important concepts. One is having ownership over content, and media and being able to like, basically reduce censorship, and increase like the amount of ownership that a creator has over their distribution channels, like information can change people’s lives. And right now, platforms have a lot of control over what information gets to push to a certain person. And so, I think, just personally what really inspires me, is the prospect of creators not having to rely on a platform and actually being able to fully own their own content. And then the same is true for monetization, like YouTube creators get demonetized all the time. And there are legitimate reasons for that, copyright is one of those. But I think ultimately building at least some source, or some way, where a creator who that’s their livelihood, has full control and sovereignty over like the thing that they depend on, which is creating content, and people watching that content, and then also the monetization around that. So, I think those things are really just valuable for the world and videos, you know, really important format for that too.

Benefits and Detriments of Owning Your Content?

Definitely. And when you think about Glass, the first thing I think about is like the home for video NFTs. And you brought up a comment in your sort of explanation of us trying to understand what Glass is, creators can own their content. And it’s a very new primitive for the most part, like what does it really mean to own your content? And what are the benefits or the detriments of doing? Can we dive into that for a minute? Like, what are the benefits of owning your content? What are the detriments of owning your content? And what does it really mean as a whole?

Sam Sends: Yeah, I think the biggest benefit to owning your own content is like, you’re able to create on your own terms as a creator, so you have a lot more creative freedom. That’s one major benefit. And then other aspect is just stability. Like if you really rely on creating content as your main source of like income, or that’s something that you’re really deeply passionate about. Having ownership over that just gives you the stability and the kind of the peace of mind that, like that it’s yours. Another This is a little more like heavy, but I think the idea of like permanence and archiving moments in time, specifically, with video, video is such a great medium of like capturing a moment in time and perspective await. You know, people are thinking, historic moment, whatever that may be. Video is really good at like capturing that. And it’s widely accessible in the sense that like, everyone has a camera on their phone. So, being able to like record that in the history book of humanity, I think is really powerful. One of the detriments I would say to owning your own content, there’s a couple. One is the permanence. So, like permanence is good in certain ways. But it’s also kind of intimidating, in the sense that you can’t go and like, delete that tweet, or you can’t go and like, delete that video. It’s like really, actually legitimately, decentralized, it’s permanent. And so that comes with like tradeoffs, being really careful about, you know, are you comfortable, you know, posting this forever. That’s one aspect that I think can be kind of intimidating. And then the other is, just like the notion of copyright. We haven’t really run into this yet. But as we like, progressively open up the platform, I think what we’ll see is content uploaded, you know, someone else’s content that’s uploaded to the platform and made, you know, decentralized and permanent, that could potentially just be harmful for the creator that actually is the one who created that piece of work. So, we’re really trying to like to figure out how to strike that balance.

When I think about owning content, I do think about those elements and points of discussion that you mentioned, I also think about the idea. And this is something that’s the most exciting for me as a creator of interoperable audiences, and being able to take your audience with your platform to platform and curating experiences that I otherwise could not do across these gated silos that exist in web two. Do you have any thoughts around that? 

Sam Sends: Yeah, honestly, I think this is like a massive change in our thinking recently. To date, we’ve been a lot more focused on kind of like being a platform and being really opinionated on how things should happen. And just reflecting on what we’re doing, I think that’s actually, it’s been a misstep. And we’re really trying to actively like in the next few weeks, in the next month, we’re rolling that back and really focusing way more on interoperability. So, full candid like, I think we kind of fucked up there. But we’re rolling it back. And I agree that interoperability is super important. That actually, that brings us to like the Solana versus Eth debate. We move to Solana for some pretty significant improvements to user experience, like the fees are cheaper. It’s way, way, way cheaper to like to create an NFT for people to purchase those NFTs. But the downside is like the tooling and the audience aspect of going from Eth to Solana is very difficult, and they’re very incompatible. And that was an important piece of learning for us. Really learned from that. But exactly what you were saying that ability to take your audience from place to place to place is really, really important.

What Makes Music NFTs on Solana Exciting?

You brought up a great point that I wanted us to transition to, is sort of your merge from Ethereum to Solana. And you mentioned that gas fees were a big sort of indicator for creating a better experience for users. And I feel like the second you made the transition to Solana, video NFTs got a refresher. And more people were collecting, and drops were selling out faster. And maybe it was just like the economics of figuring out what price to quantity really was. Anything that sort of stood out to you that could explain the excitement and the, I don’t want to say hype, but sort of like the build up around music NFTs on Solana versus Ethereum?

Sam Sends: Yeah, I’m actually like looking at our numbers, what we’ve seen is user growth is four times faster on Solana, literally four times faster. And I think the reason is just the economics, as you’re saying, it’s a lot cheaper to like, get your feet wet, you can try collecting an NFT for the first time. And we’ve had actually quite a few people like collect for the first time, we offer like, basically the custodial wallets and credit card payments, just to like to reduce that friction. And so, like trying to reduce the friction of just trying an NFT for the first time, I think, really promising. And that’s where like this cheaper fee really matter. Also, what like lenses doing with their dispatcher, where you have the fees just completely abstracted away. I think it’s really powerful, kind of hinting at like the long tails, like for mainstream adoption. That’s super necessary. It’s just timing, like whether we’re at the point where we’ll hit mainstream adoption, or whether that will be a little bit later.

What’s Needed for Mainstream Adoption of Web3?

What do you think we’re actually missing to achieve mainstream adoption? Are there any things beyond gas fees, beyond education? Anything that you sort of see being a driver that people are missing out, that we can improve on as a community as a whole?

Sam Sends: Yeah, that is a great question. It’s a really hard question. It’s a question I’ve been trying to answer for quite some time. And I don’t think I have like the perfect answer that cracks it. But one thing that I’ve been really thinking about a lot is the importance of like, social consensus around value. I know that sounds really weird. But like, if you think about money, it’s really just the social consensus tool. Like we’re all just agreeing that this thing has value, the same for like Eth and Solana. It’s like we’re kind of all agreement, this thing has value, and it takes time to build that movement. Right now, we’re like, still in the very early phases of like the idea and the concept of collecting content, collecting digital items. And I don’t think that idea has fully proliferated out to the mainstream, but with time, I think that idea will just grow. So actually, I don’t know if there’s like a specific thing that we need to adjust, it’s more so just like understanding that these things take time. And that it’s like a mental and cognitive shift for how mainstream consumers think about digital content. Because granted, we’re coming from like an internet where everything is free, like literally everything is free to consume, and you just get hit with like ads, which is how they’re like making money. And that’s a big, like cognitive shift for the mainstream consumer.

Well, everything is free, because you end up being the product of the things that you enjoy consuming. And the, I guess, the argument of web three is that everything is still free, you can still consume, but now you have this layer of, I guess ownership, right? And only a few people can own either one, or limited few can own what everyone then consumes for free, right? Do you believe in that sentiment, or do you envision a different thesis?

Sam Sends: You know, I used to really believe in that sentiment, and I could be completely wrong on this, you know, we’re still so early. But recently, I’ve been more inspired by open additions and kind of like moving past, you know, artificial scarcity. That really has inspired me more, just like kind of the concept of instead of thinking about it too much like it’s money and you’re spending money to collect things. It’s more so about collecting the things that you like and love. And I don’t really, there’s something that just disconnects with me about like closing the axis for people who can like, collect things that they love, or at least within like a tolerant down, it’s difficult to strike that balance between like making money, and also just like providing widespread accessibility. I’m curious, like from your perspective as a creator. Like, what do you think of open editions, like fully open editions versus doing more scarce drops, like what has been successful for you?

So, I can speak about my experience doing like podcasts NFTs. And I can also tie it into my experience of just seeing like the general market for creators and how they think about things. For me, I’ve been experimenting with like limited editions for podcasts NFTS and I just did my first open edition last week for podcasts NFTs, which funnily enough was the first open edition for a podcast from one I can see out there.

Sam Sends: That’s huge. Congrats.

Which is sick. That’s, I know, thank you, I’m really excited about that. And when I think about, like from a pure monetization perspective, I was able to make more money from the open edition, that I was from the close edition. And in the grand scheme of things, like for my limited-edition ones, they’re typically between 25 to 33 editions. For my open edition, it was 250 editions, 102 unique collectors. 

Sam Sends: Yeah, that’s amazing. 

And for me, it’s like the more I can grow my community of collectors, which is essentially my audience, right? My on-chain audience, the better it is, for me. My struggle is, is trying to figure out how to do it in a way where I can also incentivize my collectors, to reap the value as collectors like expect to do, right? And typically, from open editions, there’s a history of value, kind of like diminishing. And we saw this very clearly in the nifty gateway era, of all these digital artists coming in from Instagram and their corporate worlds and finding NFTs as a tool for creative freedom, issuing open editions and their economic value sort of declining. And you have the maxis that say, forget that. It’s not about that. It’s about creating art and finding your collector base. But also, if a collector is going to keep supporting you, like the economics need to make sense. So, I don’t have a definitive answer. And every time I do a podcast NFT, I always say this is a new experiment, because it’s like you’re accumulating data points to learn throughout the process, right? So, I’m constantly trying to remind myself that I’m a student in this, I think additions are more exciting, right? They have more room for scale. But also, the price for an addition is typically less than the price for a limited amount, right? Like a limited edition. An open edition price is less than a close edition about, right? Like so, I don’t have a concrete answer. I know when creators, they drop open editions after they have so many limited editions out there, or one of ones, they get paranoid, and like a lot of anxiety around how that’s gonna affect their collector base. But in the grand scheme of things, we’re still so early, and the rate of adoption for NFTs and just like cryptographic tokens is so minimal, that even if you mint 6000 additions, and you consistently provide value and values vary arbitrary, whether it be through content monetization, imagine what that may look like five years from now, when we increase the number of users in web three, like your open edition is going to seem relatively small in the grand scheme of things, you know. So, there’s all these different points of discussions and debates. 

Sam Sends: Yeah

What do you think based off that?

Sam Sends: No, that was such an interest. So, this specifically is the stuff that I like, love talking about. I’m really curious about, you know, like how do you like design these economic incentives, where there’s like collected retention, but then there’s also this like widespread accessibility. And they seem like these two opposing forces. And we’ve been like, we’ve done a lot of experiments in this from like, hybrid inked NFTs to additions, to auctions, to milestones, we’ve done a bunch of experiments. I mean, we still are trying to kind of crack that balance. One thing though, I wanted to, like what you were saying reminded me of a conversation I had with Arweave Sam, Sam Williams, the founder of Arweave. And he was talking about how, like content usually scales linearly, like this is kind of a math thing. But like, as a creator, you can only create so many videos in a day, or so many, you know, songs, you’re just kind of like limited, so that growth is like kind of linear, but audiences actually exponential. So, as you start picking up like audience, you get more and more people really quickly. And I think there’s something really interesting about like that divergence. So, as it grows in popularity, you have a larger and larger audience. And so, like those earlier pieces, those earlier open editions might actually be very scarce in the future. That’s something like I think it’s pretty interesting.

Definitely, I definitely see that. Another thing that’s like in the back of my mind, is like what is content remixing look like? Like how can you incentivize your collectors to remix your content and create like mountains of I guess like affiliate links, as we call them in like the web two world, where you can have a percentage. Like if you remix the content, it becomes popular and your version of the remix is more popular than the original version of the piece of content. Like how can you create the right dynamics, incentivize, the right engagement in the right sort of like reward reaping through that. I think there’s, if there’s an ecosystem that does that well right now, it’s the lens ecosystem with like their mirror effects and how you can kind of like attach like a curator royalty on it. Sound just announced curator royalties, right and like the affiliate system for people who love music, so that’s something that I’m also interested about. Because on Tik Tok, you have all these creators re mixing other creator content, right? And creating their own versions. And oftentimes, like if you see a dog howling, and like it hits like a C and E and a D, or whatever, whatever the keys are, I’m not a musician in that sense, like I just hit things on the drums. But then you see like a trumpet player come in and like remix it and add his own solo, and then the guitarist jumps in, adds their own solo, and then the drummer comes in and adds the backbeat. And then you have like a singer come on, and like you have this entire piece of content that was originally like seven seconds long become this insane song, from like 30 different artists just contributing to it. So, what do splits look like around that thing? So, the other things that I think about too, I don’t know, I’m rambling, but my mind is going in a completely different direction.

Sam Sends: No, 100% like that. I feel like that is like the end goal, like we nailed it as a community. Like as an industry, if we get to that point where you have just this web of content, and people are being creative and building on top of like content, like they build on top of protocols Now. I think like that, that is like minted, like literally the perfect experience. Because imagine like taking a sound NFT, being able to take that music, put it into like a Glass video, add something on top of it, like that ability to like to interoperate is something we’re really missing. And we kind of missed it on Glass as a platform, but we’re really trying to work towards that.

I think we’re still too early to even implement something like that. Like there needs to be a platform that exists, that has the virality of Tik Tok and has the creative tools in simple tools like Tik Tok, that then acts as like an application Lego across all these protocols, and applications, indexes all that data, provide simple tools to remix and organize and whatnot, we’re so far away.

Sam Sends: We’re so far away from it, I will say like what Tik Tok killed is really the creator tool, like the ability to make videos so easily on your phone, they really, I mean, the algorithm is obviously the top in class, but just making it, like reducing the friction to making a video is like, I think, really where they like excelled. And then you know, being able to make a split super easily, being able to layer over that dog. And we really don’t have creation tools like that, and still seems like pretty far away.

What Is the TikTok Equivalent in Web3?

So, if you think that Tik Tok ability to kind of allow anybody to be a creator, using their simple video editing tools, like they did that really well. What do you think the equivalent of that is in web three?

Sam Sends: I think part of it is the indexing piece, actually. Like blockchain data is really hard. One shout out like minute metaphor, they do an amazing job of aggregating all of your collectors. So, I was using a site like a couple days ago. And they’re able to take collectors from contracts that I’ve deployed, contracts from, you know, like manifolds, contracts from all over the ecosystem and like grouped together all of your collectors. I think that sort of like data indexing is super powerful, though, because now your audience is like portable, but you’re also able to, like run on different platforms, I think that we almost did the same thing for like, the actual content itself. So being able to, like take, you know, sound NFTs and merge them together with metaphor NFTs. And I think that indexing piece is still kind of like lacking. We’re seeing a lot of like improvements in that indexing infrastructure, though happening right now.

Favorite Creators Who Have Used Crypto to Monetize and Own Their Audience Well?

That makes sense. I want to ask you about, someone like your favorite creators that have used crypto as a tool to build, monetize and own their audience really well. Specifically, in the context of video, tokenized videos, any creators come to mind that you can share some examples that sort of stood out to you. And the reason I’m asking to pick favorites is because, those who are listening, I want to provide some context, right? On how video NFTs are different than like music NFTs, are there other creative ways that you can implement them? Or is it just like uploading a video to YouTube, but now you can collect it? I’d love to hear more of your thoughts around that and maybe even reference a couple, one or two creators that come to mind that do it really well?

Sam Sends: Yeah. One creator that I have to mention is Jamie Cornelia. She works with us at Glass, but I’m really inspired by her ability to just try so many different things and really just take shots. Exactly like how you’re kind of like experimenting with podcast NFTs and just every time trying to like to learn and iterate and just like improve the speed of learning. Jamie does a really good job of just trying all the different tools and different strategies ways to like to click together these things. Lack honey as well or Ally. Now, I just feel like he’s great at like multimedia composition and being able to kind of build experiences around taking music but then weaving it in and building community. Another creator that I really liked is 27 Deli. One thing I was looking at like the really old glass site, and he ended up like referencing old Glass NFTs in his newer videos, so there would be like, homages, like cultural homages back to his old NFTs. And that kind of gets to this like remix culture a little bit. But I think that that’s like super dope, referencing content, and other NFTs like in the actual video.

How Will Web3 Influence the Consumption, Interaction, and Creation of Media?

You mentioned earlier in the conversation that you often think about, like tokenized media. Do you have a specific thesis around the general theme of tokenized media? I know we talked about video, we talked about music, talked about digital art, but I guess media as a whole from a macro perspective, what do you think the influences are in web three, now that will change the way we consume media or the way we interact media or the way we create media and everything in between?

Sam Sends: Yeah, I will say I’m going through like a big change in thesis currently right now, so I’m kind of like working on that. And reevaluating from everything we’ve learned and trying to look forward. Just for context, the way that I previously viewed it is like, you would collect an NFT like a like, and you would use all of that NFT data as like recommendation algorithms. Obviously, you can see like, this is the type of content that Adam likes and then recommend content from on chain. That was kind of my like, original pieces. And then we experimented a lot. We tried some shit; we tried some other shit. And eventually I think I’m at this point where I’m trying to make minimal standards is like the best thing we can do. So, really focusing on just like, making it very easy to just create like a video NFT that a lot of people can understand and like reference, and then leaving a lot up to the creator. So, like having maximal flexibility and allowing like, like someone to build a new experience on top of this, just kind of like very base minimal protocol. And the reason I’m saying that is because I think that like for video specifically, there’s so many different types of videos, you know, there’s like a 32nd gift clip. There’s an hour long documentary and kind of the way that that content is consumed and potentially collected. And tokenized, I think it’s very different, like, take like a feature film, for instance, someone could like crowd funds, you know, the actual production of that film and they get tokens. And then the film goes on and like maybe those tokens are tickets to watch it or something like that. But there’s all of these different very, very interesting used cases. And we’re so early, where I don’t think I can be like, oh, yo, it’s like, open additions hallway. That’s it. I think a lot is still yet to be explored. So just trying to focus on the minimal, the foundations, really come back to foundations and just make that as like standard and simple for everyone to build on top of.

What Does Product Building Look Like in Practice?

So, what does that look like in practice now, now that your thesis has sort of shifted, your mindset has shifted. Now when you’re building product, what does that look like in practice? 

Sam Sends: Really it has to do with like the NFT metadata standard. Right now, video support is really bad for those NFT standards. Basically, you’re limited by size. So, you can’t do longer form content. You can do shorter videos, no problem, but longer form content is very difficult. Just because the files are so massive, so really like the next kind of immediate thing for us is just to create a nice standard, that supports like longer form content. And anyone can use that to create NFTs that won’t be like a Glass exclusive thing. It’s just like okay, we’ve learned a lot about how videos work and how to decentralize them and then we’ll just add a couple of lines to like that NFT metadata, so like a CDN to make it play fast. A certain file format that allows for like longer form content, but that’s just like a foundation and then kind of like working up from there.

When Will Established Platforms Like Vimeo and YouTube Enter Web3?

At what point do you think like the Vimeos in the YouTubes are gonna come in and start seeing an opportunity? Like tokenized video being a great format to experiment with and explore?

Sam Sends: I don’t know if Vimeo, well, we’ll see. I think they’ll start coming in probably in a year or two, would be my guess. And I think it’ll be like an added form of monetization. So, it won’t be their explicit form. But it’ll just be an additional way to like to help a creator monetize. Historically, just like with YouTube, they’re very open to trying to integrate as many different ways for creators to monetize.

I feel like collecting a video. If they were to integrate collects, it’s like, not enough. I feel like this new path for tokenized videos. It needs to come with a new experience for consuming that content, to be a differentiator in somebody’s mind. Because if the differentiator is collecting the content, then they have to go down a rabbit hole of understanding, why is ownership important? Why is collecting content important? Why is this important? Why is that important? What is Meta mask? But if there was another incentive to get them there, to consume that content, right? Maybe that would be an interesting indicator and interesting driver. Do you think I’m losing my mind? I’m just like thinking out loud.

Sam Sends: Yeah, yeah. No, honestly, I think that’s like a lot of the things that we’ve run into with Glass, is that we’re like really similar. It’s like YouTube with NFTs strapped on, and we’re kind of realizing like that isn’t, it’s not differentiating enough. And I really feel you that like where it comes. The gold is in like a different form of consumption, or something that really extends the experience and makes the experience of consuming that video much, much deeper and much more meaningful. I think also, just as an industry like with content NFTs we really just like, we’ve started to just take content and turn them into NFTs. But we’re still really early in the sense that we haven’t seen a lot of experimentation around like the actual consumption or the remixing as we were talking about. I think that’s where things really start get interesting.

You know, when I had Diana Chen the podcast, I approached her with this idea live and our conversation, basically saying like so many people want to be Mr. Beast and do ambitious videos like Mr. Beast, like his video style has influenced so many people. Like I don’t even know what the word is, like a ton of people to just create similar content. But the reality is that not everybody has the budget to create videos like Mr. Beast, and I feel like crypto is the optimal platform. If you took mirrors golden days of like, I want to say golden days but mirrors older days of like crowdfunding ideas, and then pair that with like video content. I feel like that there’s something that you do, like you know how cool it would be for me to be like, I want to produce this video. I have this idea of this creative podcast that I want to do, high production value, different than what I give you guys on a consistent basis. I’m crowdfunding X amount of Eth to get there, who wants to join me?

Sam Sends: Yeah, stuff like that really excites me too. It’s so funny that you brought up Mr. Beast. One thing that I like really to resonate is what he’ll do, is he’ll like take everything he makes from that video and put it into the next video. And then that makes it bigger and then he just says the exact same thing. And I think that idea is really powerful with crypto, like and also like the communal creation of things together. Like you could basically raise funds but then you can be like, okay, yo, should we do like this, or should we do that? And then like y’all decide and kind of like pick your own adventure. It’s like interactive across like a slightly longer timeframe. 


Sam Sends: That stuff is really cool.

That’s so sick, and then you set up a Dao like a multisig, where majority of like the profits get redistributed back to the Dao right. And it’s shared in like a multisig treasury and people can vote on what the creator does with their content moving forward, but it can’t like, it can’t be like boring. Like it has to be really ambitious, that’s like super click beatty and super out there, that an entire community could rally behind, you know. And it takes a certain type of someone like, talk about a creator Dao, like that’s a fricking used case. For creator Dao and we haven’t seen anything like that. 

Sam Sends: Yeah, dude, there’s so much you can do in this. That’s kind of like why I’m like okay, we gotta go back to foundations to set the foundation really strong and then just like, experiment like crazy like, I don’t know bear market. I like let’s just go crazy with the experiments and just take a bunch of shots, because like stuff like this is really where we’ll start exploring and unlocking were like, whoa, crypto is like uniquely different. Like this is actually like a value shift. And created as is one of those things, right? Like what if you could like stabilize your income or something with like, it’s like a digital creator house, or like we’re both in LA, you know how creator’s houses but like they’re all coming together and then like making content, it’s kind of like doing that but across the world.

Literally what I’ve been talking about on the podcast, even told us the Diana on the podcast was like, what does the web three hype house look like? In like is it like a digital experience like digital, physical, like what does that look like? Are we getting house in Melrose? You know, with a bunch of software engineers and creative people just get crypto. And we’re just always just throwing shit at the fan and seeing what sticks. What does that look like? What does that look like? That’s something that I want to explore so bad.

Sam Sends: Yo, let’s do it.

Let’s do it. I feel like it’s such an obvious concept. It’s such an obvious sort of things like create this environment, where you can be a home of creativity and innovation. Yeah, right. And then our sole role is to just be the people who stimulate that energy, set the environment to motivate that energy, and curate the right people to build in that energy, right? And who knows what projects can come out of that?

Sam Sends: Yeah, I think actually, like, dude, this has been a huge like, pivot in my shifts, oh sorry, like a shift in my thinking. But like moving past this idea of like, like oh, I know best, like this platform is this way and just being like, yo, we were like, we’re just trying to build tools that other people can build on top of and then like, build on top of and build on top of. It’s been like a massive shift in my thinking on how to like, actually accelerate and enjoy crypto and explore it more effectively. Just being a lot less like rule based, a lot more experiment based.

Definitely. Wow, so many light bulb moments happening. My brain is just sparking with ideas now. It’s literally sparking with ideas, and I want to, Sam, I want to hang up the call right now. I just, that’s what I want to do right now.

Sam Send: All right, folks. That’s a wrap.

That’s a wrap. We’ll catch you next time. Maybe not. Okay, so you have all these ideas. You seem like a very creative person. Where are you in the world actually?

Sam Sends: Physically, just moved to LA, packed everything out from New York.

Okay. In the hub of the creator economy. Wow. What a place to explore all these ideas then.

Sam Sends: I think like, yeah, it’s something I’m just really excited for in the next three to six months. It’s just really getting deeper into this culture and starting to also create. I mean, for the longest time, like the earliest versions of Glass, I was like I’m gonna make a video and put it on this. I’m gonna make a video on put it on this. And I just had, I never did that because I never thought like my video would be good enough. And I think at this point where it’s like yeah, we just need to create. So, I’m really excited actually, to just explore like creating content, and really just experimenting with it on top of that.

Why don’t you think your videos are good enough? 

Sam Sends: I don’t know. There’s a lot of good video creators out there, like we’ve worked with a lot of really good videos.

I feel like you’re like The Godfather like video NFTs at this point. Like you should understand like, maybe that doesn’t translate well into creating content, maybe just translates into providing a foundation for people to create content. 

Sam Sends: No, I really think like dude, actually the Mr. Beast idea of like taking the proceeds and doing like just reinvesting everything into like the next like crazy stunt. That’s something I really want to do. It would be fun to like, try doing something like that together. Yeah.

That’d be sick.

Sam Sends: I think like that’s really, I feel like I need to be a scapegoat. A little bit like just do you like that stupid as weird as shit. Just see, like what’s possible.

I’ll tell you what, web three has this energy of enabling the craziest stupid shit. And typically, it’s seen as innovative and people applaud that, people like that, people like being a part of crazy ideas, especially in the cycle of adoption that we are in today of, it’s just mainly innovators. Like I don’t even think we really crossed the chapter chasm of the early adopters just yet. We’re still the people that are going to wait in line for the iPhone. And like think that’s the coolest thing ever, you know? So, who are we to not experiment with the idea. You know, that’s super far-fetched out there of raising 1000 for a video, and all proceeds of that, from all the sponsorship deals in all the promos or whatever happens in between for monetization, gets filtered back to down, then it gets reinvested. We’re onto something here, Sam, we’re onto something. 

Sam Sends: 100%. That’s a really exciting time. Oh, yeah, this is such a cliche question. But what’s your favorite thing that’s in your wallet currently?

My little noun, with the 100%. Yeah, the little noun behind me. If you’re watching on YouTube, you’ll see behind me, but if you’re not, go to YouTube and watch it. But yes, my little noun. Like I love that thing. I don’t know why, I love it so much that when I was in Thailand, I had somebody painted for me. And I came back here and framed it and made it my background thing. My background image. I don’t know why. I have no idea why I love it so much. But I just feel like an utmost connection to it. I think maybe because I was in the midst of like a bidding war to get it. And there was so much attention, not attention, emotion, just intertwined with that process. And I swooped it at the 00:00 mark, and I managed to like squeeze right in And I was like, yeah, you know, like, that was my moment right there. That was freaking moments amazing. But I don’t know. Beyond that, there’s, I have a friend Queen George. We’ve been like good friends for the longest time. And we always butt ideas off each other and I was a first collector. And there’s something significant of being somebody’s first collector and showing them the ropes of letting them to the space. I really valued that NFT, and I don’t know if I could ever sell it. Maybe that just might be like a Richard punk thing, or somebody puts like a 10 million offer and accept it. Who knows? I don’t know. But that’s probably it’s my, it’s the content that I collect, is my favorite thing in my wall. That’s what it comes down to. And yours?

Sam Sends: Yo, I love what you were saying like, the little noun and it’s partially, you know, identity around like, that’s yours, but also like the memory of the experience, you know, like the experience rained a lot. I think that’s super cool. I think that hindsight like were web three can be or Web Plus can be like really golden, is like augmenting those experiences and making them just infectiously fun. Yeah.

What’s Your Favorite Item in Your Wallet?

What’s your thing? What’s your favorite thing in your wallet?

Sam Sends: Dude, probably the lack of Eth. I think when I was like first deploying my first smart contract ever, I totally botched it, like fucked it up and deployed this contract like three times. I ended up spending like $3,000 and this is like peak bull market, like just trying to get this contract up but that’s probably like one of my favorite experiences. It’s just like deploying a contract there first time. The interest is not in my wallet, but I guess it’s on the ether scan.\ 

Yeah, it’s all the ethers, it’s signified and imprinted forever on chain, but you can verify. Interesting, there aren’t any NFTs that can represent a moment in time. Rather people like create a token around a file and then mint that and collect that, right? 

Sam Sends: Yeah.

But there’s no real way to visualize what you just explained right there.

Sam Sends: Have you seen, there’s this, I might butcher the name, but I think it’s called Birth clock. I think it has to do with the age of your crypto wallet. It’ll like generate an NFT, something like that. Based on like how old your wallet is. So pretty cool. 

Interesting. That is pretty cool. Like they mail it to you. It’s like it’s like a sheet metal or.

Sam Sends: That’d be amazing if they mailed it to you.


Is like a kidney stone or something? Like here’s your birth blog. Alright. We’re getting to web threes, I’m done. We’re done. See you next week, guys. No real talk. I’m actually having a blast on this conversation. And there’s so much more we could talk about, but we’re coming close to the end. Sam, where can we find you? Where can we find your Birth blog? Where can we learn more about Just show it all away.

Sam Sends: Yeah. 100% on Twitter. I’m Sam_Sends. On chain, I go by SPF.Eth. So, you can peruse all those transactions and then yeah, @

Wait, did you say SPF.Eth?

Sam Sends: That would be legendary, bro like SP.

What did you say? Oh, SPF.

Sam Sends: You see how I’m like really.


Sam Sends: Yeah, exactly I need sunscreen. It’s a reminder.

Amazing. This has been great, thank you for your time, we’ll have to do this again soon, but till then. Yeah. Wish you well.

Sam Sends: Thanks. Adam. Easy.

Podcast Transcript

Exploring the Future Impact of Rentable NFTs on the Creator Economy


Mint Season 7 Episode 12 welcomes Charlie Durbin, one of the Founders of – the premier all-in-one web3 release builder. Charlie shares with us the concept of Rentable NFTs, a new and innovative approach to NFT ownership. He explains why this model is appealing to creators and the ideal audience for Rentable NFTs. We also discuss the exciting level of experimentation happening at Decent as we explore the concept of a decentralized Patreon and the potential of rentable NFTs as a new way for creators to build and monetize their community of collectors.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 06:33 – Why Rentable NFTs?
  • 16:40 – The Ideal Creator for Rentable NFTs
  • 25:30 – What’s Next On the Decent Menu?
  • 27:26 – Outro

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Charlie Durbin, welcome. Late nights, coffered, strong deep conversations. This is a spontaneous episode. I know we were not expecting to do this today but we just got off a call and you really like dug a hole into my brain about rentable NFTs. So, like I feel selfish, not recording this conversation. So, you know what we’re doing today? We’re talking about rentable NFTs. How’re you doing, man? Welcome.

Charlie Durbin: Let’s do it. Yeah, thanks for having me. One thing turns to another and all sudden, I find myself on the mid podcast.

Let’s go. I think the only other time we’ve been on like, I guess more formal discussion was an SF for that conference. 

Charles Durbin: Yeah. Right. 

And I remember what every time you talked, everybody was just stayed super quiet. Just like everybody just turned in like looked at you. So, definitely, that’s what happens when you speak. So, I’m excited for you to be on and for us to run an episode on rentable NFT, something that decent actually just announced, right?

Charlie Durbin: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. So we announced, let’s see, it’s Philip filling this February 3, we announced rentables a week ago today. It’s actually something, so a little bit about decent really quick, TLDR recap for anyone not familiar, we have a SDK and NoCo tool that makes it really easy for creators, companies, you name it to stand up, we think are pretty innovative web three, releases a lot of them NFT based. So to that end, like spend a lot of time exploring new NFT mechanisms, and thinking through like, what’s possible for these folks trying to either get in the space or sort of push the boundaries if they’re already here. So, rentable  NFTs are pretty interesting. So, it’s something that we included in the original protocol, when we released it back in September of 2022. But we’ve never really added like an interface for them yet. And honestly, it was kind of something that we just slipped into beta tests, talk to some creators, talk to some users, figure out like, alright, this text seems promising, but like, how are we actually gonna use it? Like, what’s this gonna look like? And we finally got confidence, I’d say around December, January of this year as to, you know, some reasons why like, we were genuinely excited about rent tools, could see them becoming a really important piece of NFT psychology, we could see you know, a significant percentage of NFTs overall shifting to this format. So we recently released our interface to actually you know, list and read them and make that primitive useful on decent. So yeah, excited to dive into it.

I’m excited as well. For those who don’t know, decent epic company, mint Season six, we did the premier pin launch with decent and introduced the vault, as some of it, some of you may be already familiar with. For those who are new to the podcast, shout out welcome. But season six, we did this really cool campaign called the vault, where I curated 8 to 10 creators to share their exclusive thoughts locked in the vault. It’s only viewable if you had Season Six as NFT. And guess who powered that? Decent. So, Charlie, I know you’re the dev arm behind decent, right. I would love also to give us like a quick brief on yourself and your role at the company. 

Charlie Durbin: Yeah, absolutely. So I lead I’d say like product and development at decent. So I handle a lot of the obviously like product roadmapping, some of the modeling around our mechanism designs. And then I do a lot of the front end engineering. I do have a co founder named Wilkin terrorists who some of you may have come across in the past. 

He was on the podcast.

Charles Durbin: Yeah, he’s kind of the Giga brain behind our smart contracts. And then we have an awesome engineering team.

Oh, it’s the other Will , I’m getting the Wills confused. It’s two of them at decent.

Charlie Durbin: Yeah. we’re two Wills on the team. We like them in pairs. But yeah, so, my background, I graduated from Princeton and 2019, where I studied econ. Back in school, I’d say I got pretty into crypto during the last bull cycle. You know, it’s pointless, I’m sure. You were there, like 2017. The whole run up was nice and exciting. And I published a couple of papers on just like real academic sense, like, how Bitcoin is being used for capital flow to China looking at, you know, how crypto trading might impact like exchange rates, et cetera. And that sort of got me into the space originally, after school, spent a couple years working in investment banking, doing software m&a, which was a mixed bag of experiences. But during that time, I was covering the music sector. So, I worked a lot with like institutional royalty funds. And a lot of the companies that independent artists would use to sort of either distribute their music, market it, monetize it, you name it. So, for folks who might have been following decent for a few months now. You might know that our very first product is actually royalty backed NFTs, streaming royalty backed. So, in that sense, so I guess my train into crypto might be a little more linear, though it doesn’t feel like that all the time. But yeah, that’s sort of like a brief background, brief background on me. I was doing like, crypto nights and weekends until can make it work to go full time.

Wow. Let’s go. Okay, so I know decent has four co founders, right? 

Charles Durbin: That’s right.

There’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen. If you think about it.

Charlie Durbin: It is, but we each we each bring a very different perspective and skill sets the team at size. So, super fortunate to you know, pair with both the wills that we talked about. And then right, fourth co founder is a guy named Xander Carlson, who is a full time artist signed to palm tree records at Sony. And he goes by the name Forrester. So, as we dove into music NFTs over the last year or so, he was really the tip of the spear and helping us understand, you know, what the artists needed was, et cetera. So, pretty, pretty good distribution between like, the creator, Will, who handles all of our real biz dev marketing, and then Will can tell us on the Super exploratory technical side, and then, you know, then.

What kind of Chef Are you? What are you bringing in the kitchen?

Charlie Durbin: What am I? Yeah, I’d say I’m a good jack of all trades. 


Charles Durbin: Yeah, I’d say I’m pretty well split between a lot of the technical things we do at decent and then some of our bizdev opportunities, but okay. Yeah.

Why Rentable NFTs?

Okay. All right. So that’s a good primer, some good context going into this big brain discussion. As I mentioned in the beginning, decent recently announced rentable NFTs. And the reason why I wanted to kick off this episode is because something I try to consistently do on Mint is bringing new ideas, new new opportunities, new experiments to showcase and document, that’s the whole point of it, documenting the web three creator economy. And it’s no different when trying to explore new primitives, like rentable NFTs. Now, I don’t know how new it is, you’re here to tell me sort of how new it is. But I want to get into the trenches of why the hell should we even consider rentable NFTs when the whole thesis I want around web three is to own. You are the owner now. So, that’s like the prime question. That’s like, the pillar question. I want to dissect and find all the branches. So, let’s kick it off there. Why rentable NFTs?

Charlie Durbin: Yeah, let’s do it. So rentable NFTs were originally introduced by a team called Double protocol, sometime this summer, got the exact date, maybe July or August in an Ethereum improvement proposal and EIP called 4907. And basically, what EIP 4907 introduces is like this idea of a user of the NFT. So, you know, when you buy an NFT, like you’d become the owner of it, and like your addresses, map to the owner field of that, of that NFT and stored there. EIP 4907 also includes a user, so if someone can become the user of that NFT that is not the owner for a certain period of time. So, you know, if I buy a rentable NFT for example, I will make, I will remain the owner of it, but say I list it to be lease, you can now like say pay five bucks a day or something to become like the user, the user about NFT. And you know, in theory, have all of the like, attributes credentialing, you name it, that NFT like would endow to the owner otherwise. So, that’s just like a brief overview on you know, what a rentable NFT even is. So, like why do we care? Right? So, the, there’s a lot of like, individual feature unlocks that, you know, I think it’d be, might be interesting to dive into, that rentables, rentables facilitate. I think you’d like a super macro level, though, the analogy that I like to give is, a lot of people will refer to NFTs as digital property rights. So, I’m not sure if this is something that you’ve come across before Majan what most people have. 

Sure, sure. 

Charles Durbin: Yeah, so it’s like this idea that like, they provide provenance in like a digital native economy, you can attest, like, you own something. And it’s like, that’s a pretty powerful thing. When you think about, like, why property rights exist, it’s kind of like two fold, they have like two jobs to do in a society. One is to like, provide that ledger of ownership. And from that, like, you can get two types of efficiency. So like, there’s allocative efficiency and like investment efficiency, so allocative would be where you want every piece of property in society to like ends up in the hands of the person that values it most. So like, through pure Speculation bringing it back to NFTs. Like you might say that, like every NFT can end up via trading in the hands of the person that values it most by expressing it that way. But there’s this other like really important job of property rights, which is it incentivizes the person to, like, invest into the things that they own. And the person that like, is willing to invest the most sort of sweat equity into the property that they own, like robots value. That’s what we would call like, investment efficiency. And that’s like, that’s a pretty different notion. I think that that is ultimately the like the unlock of rentable NFTs. So like until now,  pricing a typical NFT that people think of, the only way that you can like really profit off of owning something, barring some, you know, NFT defi integrations is to like, sell that NFT. Right? So, I have to sort of lose my ownership of it to profit from having ever owned it. With rentable, it’s like you have this new set of incentives, where by nature of you like investing into that property that you own to grow its value, you can charge friends proportionate with the value that like you’re inputting. So, it introduces like significantly more incentives for, yeah, for the owner to invest into the asset and like, by extension, the communities that they’re a part of to grow their value and then jointly profit off that labor, in tandem with the greater. So, that’s like the super macro example, an analogy as to like, why rentable NFTs are interesting. And I think they’re like a very meaningful step forward, in like, what it really means to establish digital property rights, you know, on chain.

So, the most prevailing case study or used case that I see Charlie is, you want to be in the board ape community, you don’t have 300k to drop, you can borrow somebody else’s NFT, join the discord, be that crypto culture for a minute, like that’s like one of my simple mind and brain heads too. But I’m not sold just yet, I want you to sell me a little bit on it more, because we’ve been primed to think in web three that in this new world, you’re not renting, you’re owning, you’re owning your audience, you’re owning your data, you’re owning more of the value and the take rates, right? That kind of you’ve been, you’ve been stripped away from in web two, right? You, you are an active participant in a protocol based off the tokens that you hold. And because you hold those tokens, you can actively vote and have some form of say, on chain. Right? And that’s like the premise of what we’ve been been spoon fed so far. But I’m still trying to understand the value of of renting something digitally, I can see, I could see the opportunity of renting a room in someone’s meadow, you know, whenever we ended up getting to that stage and and if there’s a lot of foot traffic to that specific plot of land, right, what did they call a voxel or whatever. I could see people renting out advertisements on there, you know, and being able to kind of capitalize on the attention. Those are some of like, the very minimal used cases that come to mind. But help me understand it more as if I was like a fifth grader.

Charlie Durbin: Yeah, yeah, totally. So, I think like, let’s, we can look at it from like, each side of the markets perspective. So, like the creator who might be issuing NFT, and then like the collectors who might be renting it. So, from the perspective of the creator first. Like, right now, let’s take the board ape one is like, pretty good example. So, let’s say like the board ape community and creators, like they actually really want to expand, but the only way to expand right now like might be either to issue more NFTs, which like, could potentially dilute the value of those that are already existing, they could alternatively go with some staking mechanism in which they’re introducing a secondary token to like, it’s different than this first NFT. But like, we’ll still ascribe, like some rights, some membership opportunities to the secondary token. But the third, and like, maybe the most interesting now is like, you could start enabling rentals of those NFTs. So, this like preserves the ultimate scarcity, like you have your very tight knit community but like you want to start introducing some new members to it, for example. The people like renting out their NFTs, they’re basically providing like day passes, month passes into your community, and introducing a few more folks to it without like seriously jeopardizing the value of like the existing collection in any way at all. And it’s a really nice like, now shifting a little bit towards like the collector point of view. It’s a nice, like, incentive aligned mechanism to where you know, your earliest collectors, your earliest supporters that community, they can start to like profit by having been there early on. So, like, by, you know, they were likely meaningful contributors and why that community became so valuable at all in the first place. And by renting out like their NFT, now they can start to actually redeem some of the value without having to exit that same community. So, that’s like a, that’s like a few reasons. I think that one example we like to give that’s like, pretty concrete. And pretty relevant for you know, creators, too, would be something like ticketing. So let’s say like your NFT affords you access to some, you know, token gated virtual concert, like in your voxel, land your reference. And it’s only going to happen at like 8pm tonight, and like, maybe you can’t go. If you don’t go like that, that is just like one attendee that now won’t be there, like, no one’s really redeeming the value of that concert. But instead, like, they’re sure there’s like a lot of other people that might want to go see that. So like, they could rent their NFT before someone else as the ability to go into that concert, and then both like, the original token holder is gonna get some value out of it, the person going is going to get some value out of it. And like, creators able to earn royalties on rentals, same as they would on sales. So the original creator, like will earn or earn off of the two. So I think that like, it really just opens up different frameworks as to like, you know, what is possible with NFTs, that aren’t necessarily like, better or worse in like absolute terms, then, you know, strict ownership one, but they’re new. And I think like a lot of the NFT space right now is looking for that.

The Ideal Creator for Rentable NFTs

Who do you think is like the ideal creator type to experiment with rentable NFTs,m? Music, digital art, photographers? Like, is there a prime suspect that you imagine, kind of like reaping the most value from a used case like renting?

Charlie Durbin: It’s interesting. I think there’s, I wouldn’t necessarily break it down by like, by like, media type, or media genre sector or anything like that. I think like creators that already have a strong community that exists, are like pretty well suited to introduce rentals. The interesting thing I like about rentals as well as, like, the NFT itself, and I think this is probably what we’re most excited about. Excuse me. So, like leading with intrinsic utility, like it can be rented, like that is something that, you know, not not many other tokens can say that it opens up like, a lot of interesting used cases, beyond just like, even the token itself, or like trading it. So, like we could, we could see a future where, you know, every creator, you know, has their NFTs but say they want to like launch a subscription to their community, like rentable NFTs, like they can actually facilitate on chain subscriptions. So, instead of saying like, oh, I’m going to offer like this new NFT type to my collectors, they might just say like, oh, like, I’m going to start doing a subscription for certain parts of my community. And we could see, like rentable NFT is being branded in that type of way, where it’s like, we’re going to put for first and foremost, what this token actually does. And then the fact that it isn’t NFT at all is like, quite secondary. So, from that perspective, like I’d encourage traders to kind of think about it the same way where it’s like, try to think about like, why might this be like something that’s useful? And introduce it via that like, utility or like how it’s going to impact your day to day community? 

Got it? 

Charlie Durbin: Versus like, thinking of it as another NFT.

So rentable and please correct me from wrong. Renting anNFT is similar to subscribing to a software service, and it being and you’re getting charged automatically every month, a rentable NFT could emulate the same energy and the same action.

Charlie Durbin: It can, with a few differences.

But do you need the rentable NFT specifically, or can you do that with any NFT?

Charlie Durbin: You need. So, the difference is like the rental itself, like it’s time bounded, right, so if you did it with like, regular NFT, it would be like selling a lifetime subscription, I suppose. To say like you as the creator, like you mint all these rentables , maybe to your personal wallet and start leasing them, then it’s like someone’s pre paying based on you know, a specific time for access to like this good service or access. So, that I would say is the difference. Like, it’s not, it can be adapted into more of like, a pure play subscription type product. But at this point, I’d say like it’s a bit more like a prepayment.

Got it. So, creators are continuously, I guess pressure to innovate and release new campaigns and new NFT drops. But what they could do, they could start offering packages and treat their community like a Patreon of some sort like a decentralized Patreon, they can have a lifetime pass, right? Where you outright own the NFT. And you can flip it and trade it on the secondaries. Or if you want just like a quick primer, you know, and just test the waters, you can get a rentable NFT, for much less but with limited access.

Charlie Durbin: It’s totally, totally a valid used case.

Okay. I like it. That makes a lot of sense. It’s very, now it feels more comfortable to sort of what we know. And I can relate it now to what already exists. Because I’m trying to think like, scrape the token, what is the used case, right? Like is you’re gonna, like you build users, you build adoption through understanding the used case of something, how it applies to somebody’s life, I think that’s actually a very applicable use case. And again, I’m probably very simple minded, when it comes to it as my nimble brain tends to be, you know. So, I’m sure there’s a lot of other creative things that can come about from this, that maybe we’re not even touching upon just yet.

Charlie Durbin: Yeah, yeah. I mean, like, maybe just, first of all, like, I think that this is definitely an abstract concept that took a bit for us to get comfortable with to, which is why we waited months to actually build the interface for it. But a couple of the other like, sort of core utilitarian implementations for rentables that we think are kind of interesting would be, like delegated claiming, for example. So, you know, let’s say you want to claim an Airdrop that requires some token, to be in your wallet to prove you have access to it. But you don’t necessarily like trust the issuer, I don’t know, maybe have some other just general concerns, you could even just like lease the NFT for free to a separate one of your own wallets for a minute to get access to it. To this AirDrop claim it with like very little repercussions or exposure to one of your wallets. Then you can think about like sort of pure play defi type things where, you know, like uniswap, V3, every LP position is actually an NFT. So, you could wrap this NFT with friendsville rappers and all of a sudden, like, you can start to lease out like your LP position. So, say you’re like, you know, passively managing a position like it’s not really performing that well, like you might actually be losing money to impermanent loss and things, you could lease that out to someone who’s going to like, very actively manage it, and like they might be able to derive more value from that position than you would otherwise. And like that all starts to become possible due to retables. And yeah, like, think that it’s, I think that is like a pretty exciting, primitive in that way, where there’s just like some pretty concrete use cases, where it’s like, yes, like I don’t really have to debate like, you know, why it is worthwhile for me to be owning this NFT. It’s like the ability for me to like do something with, it is like. critical, and like inherent to the token itself. Starts to be like, pretty exciting when you think about, you know, a bunch of other used cases that I’m sure haven’t even crossed their mind yet but we’re excited to see.

Yeah, super exciting, man, I love the consistent level of experimentation that comes from decent. And I think if there’s one thing that, one thing of many things at decent, that sort of solidified itself, as is like the experimentation platform that welcomes all in any types of experiments. And I remember very early on, you guys, sort of were the first to, I want to say commercialize, quote unquote, even though we’re not at that scale yet. But like bonding curves for creators, right, and pegging their social token to their NFT. But doing it in a way where it’s like it’s scalable, to an extent, right, where it was very much like, in a way self serve, like any critic can come to you they could do or they can release that token on a bonding curve, and go all sheets to the fan. So, I feel like it’s like a progressive, sort of, like lineage into that level of experimentation that I love to see. And something that I talked about on the podcast, like the more you experiment, the more you put yourself out there. Even if you fail, there may be instances where you succeed, and then you’ll come out as like this, this innovator to the community of collectors, you know, and they will just boost your social capital in the space. So working with platforms that align with that, I think it’s very cool. So shout out to decent.

Charlie Durbin: Yeah. Thanks so much. Definitely, definitely appreciate it. It’s something that like we’ve we’ve worked hard on and you know, a persona that like we definitely like individually, I think even as a team all ascribed to, so it’s nice that that comes through. But yeah, I think like empowering creators to continue experimenting to push the limits of, you know, like what is possible today. I’m not sure that like anyone is super excited by like, the status quo, or at least like believes that the status quo like will be sort of what web three can be in the feature, like web three to its fullest extent. And only get there by, you know, trying, you know more experiments with increasing velocity and making all those accessible. So, they something for us to probably work on as a company is like the, you know, keep describing, like really compelling case studies to like some of these more abstract concepts that we’re throwing out there. But hopefully, like, you know, we have some great creators lined up for rentables, for example, and we’re super excited to see where they take it and, and push space for.

What’s Next On the Decent Menu?

Let’s go. That’s super cool. So, I want to know what’s next, what’s up next on the decent menu? Because we use the analogy of cooks in the kitchen earlier, so I gotta continue it.

Charlie Durbin: Yeah, let’s get it, I’m hungry. So ,I think that like, you know, right now rentables is, it’s definitely worth noting, like they’re only available as like 4907 NFTs, will very soon be releasing a rentable rapper as well. So, one of the probably aspects about decent that we’re most excited about would be these rapper contracts that we have. So, right now, let’s treasuries and staking that’ll soon include renting as well. I think that like we’re really eager to continue introducing, like these new utilities to existing NFT collections where, you know, someone like a doodles, awesome community, a lot going for it, that community is probably ready to like, try something new. And, you know, test out whether it be like a new revenue model, a new access mechanism, new mechanism for even like releasing content from the community itself. And they’re gonna need like contracts that are kind of like backwards compatible with what’s already there. So, that’s something that like, you know, we’re particularly excited about and then moving farther into the future. You know, we spend a lot of time thinking about what web three unlocks and for us, I think the answer we always come back to is like, interoperability between applications sort of this like self sovereignty of the Creator and collector to move seamlessly between them as well. And think that there’s still a decent amount of work to do in uniting all of the super exciting applications that exist today and giving new ones like the shared audiences to come in and do quite well. So, you’re spending a lot of time in that regard, too. It’s a bit more of a vague description, but yeah.


I like it. I’m excited for you guys. I’m keeping an eye out for sure. Charlie, before we wrap up this awesome conversation on rentable NFTs, where can we find you personally? And where can we find decent as a whole?

Charlie Durbin: Yeah, so you can find me personally probably on Twitter, it’d be the best place, that’s C Durbin XYZ. And then for decent, you find us a decent.XYZ on Twitter and decentxyz.mirror for our blog, then decentxyz on lens as well. 

Let’s go.

Charlie Durbin: Probably the three biggest platforms. 

This was great, Charlie. Well, we’ll do this again soon. But until then, appreciate you and have a good one.

Charlie Durbin: Awesome. Thanks, Adam.

Podcast Transcript

Balancing One-of-One Releases and Edition Drops: Peter Saputo’s Take on Web3 Music Success


Mint Season 7 Episode 11 welcomes Peter Saputo, a dynamic and innovative web3-native music artist. We delve into Peter’s fascinating journey as a creator in the ever-evolving world of NFTs and crypto. From his early days of building relationships with the likes of Grady and Good Karma, to cultivating a devoted fan base through his creativity, Peter shares his valuable insights on navigating the complexities of web3. 

He also candidly discusses his decision-making process for launching on various minting platforms, balancing one-of-one releases with edition drops, and engaging with his web2 followers on NFTs. 

Peter generously provides tips for success and offers his unique perspective on the most underrated music artist in web3.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 05:31 – Immediate Performance After Meeting Grady and Good Karma
  • 09:20 – Group Chat Creation and Management
  • 11:14 – Acquiring Fans Before Releasing Music
  • 13:27 – Translating Charisma From In-Person to Online Interactions
  • 14:16 – Evolution in the Crypto Space Over a Year
  • 16:23 – Balancing One-of-One Releases and Edition Drops for Community Building
  • 17:34 – Decision-Making Process Launching on Zora
  • 20:25 – The Shift Towards Edition Releases Over One-of-Ones
  • 21:57 – Relationship Differences with One-of-One Collectors vs Edition Collectors
  • 23:01 – Plans for 2023
  • 25:08 – Engagement with Web2 Followers on NFTs and Crypto
  • 27:12 – Mental Model for Cadence and Strategy
  • 28:30 – Tips for Success
  • 33:12 – Most Underrated Music Artist in Web3
  • 34:29 – Outro

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Hey, Peter saputo. Welcome to mint, longtime coming. How you doing? Thanks for being on.

Peter Saputo: Yeah, I’m doing great. Thank you for having me.


I’m excited to have you. I’m a collector of yours. I really enjoy music and I remember it towards the end of season six. We were just kicking it, I think it went to like the LA creator houses and crypto. I forgot which one. Well, we should run an episode on this project coming up and you sold me on this idea and really got to tap into the way you think. And I was like, wow, this kid really gets it. This kid, not a kid. And I was like, this is cool. We should we run it, so I’m excited to have you on Peter. Peter 30 seconds, who are you man? Give us a quick intro.

Peter Saputo: Yo, I’m Peter. Make music, produce out of my studio at home in Los Angeles and just been making music for as long as I can remember and recently gotten to like web three over the last year. And honestly just just live in life trying to make music and and have fun. 

Let’s go. Living life, living life in web three. How’d you get into web three? What is that story?

Peter Saputo: So, I mean, I got into crypto. They started investing in crypto kind of beginning of quarantine, and kind of didn’t experience with any NFTs or anything, did not have the energy to like pay attention to any of that stuff I was going on. And I just randomly had a friend come over, kind of once we could socialize again. And he was actually hyping me up on Daniel Allen’s overstimulated project. And he’s like, dude, like, I don’t know if you’ve heard of like, music NFTs or Daos or anything but like you should really like you know, get into this stuff. Like this could be a way that you could kind of find your life essentially and your music and whatever and I was very skeptical to be completely honest. I was like, this seems too good to be true and whatnot. But literally, here we are. We made it through, so, it’s kind of wild. But yeah, I honestly hit up like a manager and asked them or asked him what he thought of like music NFTs. And he pretty much gave me like the green light. He’s like, dude, just like dive into it like you won’t forget it. And that kind of how we get here right now.

What was your first step after you hit him up? What did you do next?

Peter Saputo: It was really, really quick. I discovered Good Karma. Like right after I kind of started diving into the space, and Good Karma records run by Grady, who actually listened to Grady’s music for a minute before ever, like getting into music NFTs and loved his music. So, when I saw that he was like diving into this, I was like, oh, that’s sick. I at the time lives in Hollywood like across the street from the Fonda theater. And he happened to be playing at the Fonda theater, literally the next day. And the next day after like the Good Karma, like the initial, like crowdfunded. And I just frickin walked over to the venue, bought a ticket, and I was like, I’m gonna be great and I’m gonna talk to him about Good Karma. Ended up meeting Cooper Charlie, Cooper.


Peter Saputo: And that night which was sick and migrated later on. We had some Mutual’s and just ended off. Turns out Good Karma had the first ever like LA in person meet up the very next day. So I just naturally just showed up. And yeah, just kind of got really connected within Good Karma, which was sick. Yeah.

I would argue that something that’s special about you, Peter is when people try to think like, how do I get into the space? They don’t know where to start. And your default sort of step was to go find people that know more than you do. Yeah, go ask them questions. Go shake their hand, go try to break into some type of circle and figure it out. It’s very entrepreneurial esque to an extent. It is in like you’re laughing because probably you don’t think about it like that, right? Compared to all the people that I have on the podcast, right and listening to their story and how they got started. It’s very much okay, I don’t get something I want to figure it out. I’m gonna go find people that understand it and break my way into the circle. Right? Why do you think that’s like your default sort of reaction compared to other people, where they’re just like sitting at their computer, like they don’t know what to do. They were trying to read blogs or encrypted Twitter, they don’t know what communities to join. You’re like, I’m just gonna like I’m gonna break into it somehow.

Peter Saputo: Yeah, I think honestly, just being in LA made it very easy. I think if I lived somewhere else, it would have been a little bit harder to get into this space. But I think that the, I don’t know, I just had a very few people that I really trusted that. Like I said, gave me that push to get into it. And I was like, I don’t know what I’m doing because like ever since COVID. It was like, okay, like, releasing music felt weird. You couldn’t really go on tour. I mean, you couldn’t, so it’s like, kind of what can you do as an artist other than just like make music and at the end of the day, it can’t only be making music, as much as some of us would like love for that to be the case but it was honestly, I think the reason why just kind of went on just like went for it was, I didn’t really have anything better to do honestly. You know if that makes sense. Yeah, just I was like, might as well just try it out. 

Immediate Performance After Meeting Grady and Good Karma

Might as well, might as well. Okay, so you meet Grady, you meet Good Karma. Do you immediately perform at a showcase?

Peter Saputo: So, I think crazy because literally, I think a few weeks later after I met Grady and Cooper, Miami Arbaaz was happening. And I literally just bought a flight and went in and popped in. And I was like let’s see what’s happening and it just really dove into it there and ended up meeting like blockchain Brett, which was incredible, love that guy. Few other like amazing like people who like are my friends now. And I think that like through kind of all that, then Grady when they were doing a showcase, he had asked me to play and I was like absolutely. So, yeah, it was kind of like I definitely put in like a lot of work. It wasn’t like this immediate like, oh, you popped in come you know play showcase. I think Grady probably hadn’t even like listen to any of my music after we met a few times and like whatever but it definitely took like a minute of just like being involved in this space before like, you know, I got a text to play.

Fast forward. How long a year have you been for a year now?

Peter Saputo: I spent over a year which is okay.

So, fast forward a year. What were some of those initial misconceptions, that you’ve had getting into this space that have now become so like obvious and cleared up that it’s a no brainer?

Peter Saputo: Dude, the biggest one is how like, much I was overthinking how to drop a music NFT, like how much I was like thinking like to do this whole strategic like, thing and like whatever. 

Oh, interesting.

Peter Saputo: Like Google Docs of like all these things that I wanted to do and how I was going to present them and like whatever. And now I’m at the point of like, dude, like I have a song coming out in a month that I’m going to drop on sound and I right now I don’t know if I’m doing an open edition or if I’m doing capped editions or like I have no idea what I’m doing with it yet and I’m just kind of like winging it. And it’s sick now because I have enough of a collector base that I can just kind of send a text and be like, yeah, what do you guys want me to do? And they’ll kind of be like, do this and there’s a lot less like thinking. So, I think it’s more like do than think

What a weird concept to say out loud. I have an art collector base. Like I’ll just text them Yeah, they’ll give me what like what, like if you tell us anybody outside of the circle, they’re like, what did you just say?

Peter Saputo: They’re like, what are you talking about? It’s like, Oh, your team is like 100 people in the chat. It’s like boom, kind of like it’s crazy.

How wild is that? Like, put that into perspective of all these other artists that are just trying to keep up to date with the Spotify algorithm or not to say that you aren’t as well trying to get distribution for your music. But you now have this community, this fan club, whatever you want to call them, whatever you call the Saputos in the group chat. You know, I think it’s pretty marvelous to be honest. And I think having that level of community that you can directly DM, send them a track, hit them up for ideas, drop a link for a drop, drop a link for a new job that you’re, that you have rolling out and get the whole community hyped about. It is something super unique and super special. And I feel like well definitely not many people have that.

Peter Saputo: Yeah, no, definitely, definitely not. Which is, it’s so cool being part of something so like, niche or like, it’s just, it’s definitely, it just feels good, honestly, to have community like that because I think that yeah, I mean like not many people have a chat where they can hit up their like top fans.

Group Chat Creation and Management

So, it’s talking about that. So, when you have a chat, for those who don’t understand what that means, okay. Because a lot of people listen to mint, they’re either already like web three native or getting into the space, using the podcast as a guide to navigate that. So, I want to break this down because you’re very relatable  you’re in this space for almost a little bit over a year. And you figured it out, like you made it on sound, you have your group chat, you’re selling out drops, paint out the sort of like roadmap, right? The steps, what does that mean to have a group chat? How the hell do you funnel people into a group chat? How do you even get somebody to collect your stuff to begin with and then bring them into the, you know what I mean? Like, lay it out for me?

Peter Saputo: I mean, definitely, like, it took time, and that’s the biggest thing. It’s not like an overnight thing. It’s not just over a couple of weeks. It’s like, I mean, I spent so much time networking in this space before I had sold anything, before I go on to any platforms. And it was honestly at the point of like, I had been around for so long and people were questioning like, why isn’t Peter on you know, XYZ? All the why isn’t he on all these platforms? Like whatever and it’s just like, it kind of showed how much work needs to be put in. And it’s not even necessarily like work. It’s just making friends. Honestly, at this point. I kind of just, I’m gonna shut up everywhere and started meeting people and by that time I dropped anything. I already had fans that wanted to be collectors. And once they were, you know, collectors of mine, I just went hey, I’m making a telegram. I started out with like a discord, which I honestly barely invited people to. It was mostly like, my web to fanbase and discord. But yeah, I just started inviting people do a telegram chat and I was like, yo, we can hang out here. You know, you guys will get info on whatever first and yeah, I don’t know it’s a good hang. the GMs every day.

Acquiring Fans Before Releasing Music

The Gms everyday, but how did you get your fans before dropping? That’s like, that’s the golden question.

Peter Saputo: Yeah, I mean, like I said, it’s getting fans before dropping anything is, that is the work and it is just showing up. Like I legitimately shut up any possible place that I could. I was buying tickets putting them on my credit card and being like, I’m probably never gonna see money or I’m never gonna get this money back. Like I’m literally like just winging this. And just showing up like we met at, where did we meet? We met in Denver, Eth Denver.

I think so.

Peter Saputo: Yeah, we just pulled up and networks there because just like meeting all these collectors and the I pretty much every event and the states are pretty much pulled up to which was wild, who’s sick but it was definitely like, in person talking to these people and not everybody necessarily has like the luxury of like, being able to do that or not even the luxury but like the lucky, like the balls to just put everything on a credit card and be like YOLO, Like I don’t know, like it was honestly stupid. decision but like, it worked out. So, not stupid. But yeah, I mean, I just think it’s just a matter of networking with people and you can do that online and by being in discord or hanging out on Twitter spaces and stuff like that. And like, you know, I was doing all those things too. So, it’s kind of I just put myself everywhere I possibly can be, to the point where you kind of couldn’t miss me, if that makes sense.

Yeah, I agree. 

Peter Saputo: I was able to, you know, when I did my first like, sound drop it was gone instantly, which was mind blowing. But it kind of made sense why that happened? Because I like I knew and everybody knew how much time I spent in this space. So yeah.

Do you feel like you’re better in person or online, when it comes to meeting new friends?

Peter Saputo: Oh, definitely better in person. Yeah, definitely.

Translating Charisma From In-Person to Online Interactions

How do you like translate like your charisma in person to interacting with people online?

Peter Saputo: I honestly the, it’s interesting, like the way that I text people is the way that I just speak it. So, like my messages are like all sudden like four or five messages, just the way that I would like talk. 


Peter Saputo: And I feel like in a sense, it’s almost, it’s almost the same. But it’s definitely easier to like, I mean, you’re having conversations in person, whereas like online, it’s like you’re not necessarily going to have a conversation with, you know, Adam Levy, you know what I’m saying? Like, it’s not like, I can, you know, if I see you at an event, it’s like, yo, what’s up, you know, we can have a chat like, whatever. It’s a lot easier than just trying to get through your DMs or something to that effect. 

Evolution in the Crypto Space Over a Year

Right. Right. Yeah. Right. Another cool thing, Peter, that makes this conversation super unique is, like you said, you’ve been in the space for a little over a year now. You’ve seen music, NFTs and it’s like make it original form. And you’ve seen it, you see it today. Walk me through sort of how you understand the evolution within that period because a year in crypto is like 10 years elsewhere. Everything moves so fast. Anything stands out to you throughout that period that you’ve been involved to date, that you’ve sort of learned from, that you can reflect on. Anything of that nature?

Peter Saputo: Man, I feel like when I first was kind of getting in his space, who was I mean, sound didn’t exist yet. And it definitely went from just like one of ones in like a mirror crowdfund, to what it is now. And when I was initially getting into, like music NFTs, I didn’t necessarily think of it as like doing additions or anything. It was kind of like oh one of one’s like, you know, having like a super fan like your, you know, top in wanting to like your one on one song or whatever. And which is still sick. I still love one on ones. But I think fast forward to like now with doing like additions and be able to do like giving your music NFTs away for free and like stuff like that. It’s definitely grown the space a lot and I’ve definitely at a point now where like I prefer editions. And, like, I think I like people being included. I want to include as many people as possible. It shouldn’t be necessarily the same that like only a few because if I. For example, I dropped nine songs in 2022, if I had only done one of ones out of had maybe nine collectors, whereas now I have almost 300. That’s like, that feels like way, way better and that feels way more like community which I’m loving.

Balancing One-of-One Releases and Edition Drops for Community Building

So, how do you find the balance between dropping the one on ones and getting that single collector versus dropping editions, like capped editions and building community through volume?

Peter Saputo: I think that for, at this point, the way that I’m kind of thinking about it is kind of songs that are on my back catalog, that like I’ve dropped while ago. I think make a little bit more sense to exist as one on ones and like I only have ever dropped to one on ones on catalog. I’ve done a couple on like Zora but I’ve definitely just done way more editions and typically those are just like newer songs. And I think it makes a little more sense to you know, if I’m dropping a song on you know, Friday and I’ll just do a sound drop the day before and try to get people to end listen to it and boom song comes out, instant traffic to that song on Spotify. It converts a little more but what I love about one on ones with my back catalogue is like kind of when you drop a song, a year goes by and it’s like okay, this song doesn’t necessarily have much hype around it. You can kind of build new hype on. So yeah.

Decision-Making Process Launching on Zora

Another question I have for you is, artists struggle with deciding which platforms to launch on. Should they launch on decent? Should they launch on Zora? Should they launch on sound, on catalog? When do you launch on sound? When do you launch on Zora? How do you understand that whole dynamic and what is your decision making process look like?

Peter Saputo: I will honestly say I don’t think it matters where you start. It just matters that you start. I started out on Zora because I wasn’t on catalog. Again, sound didn’t exist yet. And I just wanted to have my music on the blockchain and I just put up, I minted the song and it went months without telling nobody, like I tweeted about it like once or twice. I wasn’t trying to be like super aggressive with it because I was like, you know I got it. I gotta meet some people first. And I kind of like learn more to you know, really understand what I’m getting into. But yeah, I mean like starting on Zora was not a not a bad decision. I think that even when sounds, you know when sound launched. I wasn’t on sound till April and sound launch in December I think. And so, when I did get on ,I kind of already had like a lot of time just like waiting, like what do I do next kind of thing because it’s like I’m still on catalog. And when I, even when I got on sound in April, you couldn’t just like do another drop. And Zora had allowed made it. I don’t know what the term necessarily would be but basically they made it so you could do additions on. And I saw that as like okay, like, you know, Zora probably doesn’t have like a built in collector base for music NFTs but you can do addition so, I’m just gonna experiment with that. And I just did a couple of drops there and they were you know, they were all pretty successful. And it was just a matter of like, doing like, I didn’t want to wait around. I didn’t feel like I needed to necessarily wait around. But it definitely, definitely like just I don’t know. At the end of the day, as long as you start somewhere and our minting stuff, that’s like really all that matters. Obviously make sure you can represent this base well enough before you mint anything but but yeah, I mean just like starting anywhere. Like I think that if you want to do a drop in decent, go for it. If you want to start in sound. If you can start on sound, you know like definitely go for it but it doesn’t necessarily matter. It’s, even if you’re dropping on the sound now, it’s like you’re not gonna get an instant sell out. You’re still got to put in some work. So, whether it’s on Zora, sound, like doesn’t really matter. So, you just got to, you’ve got to do it.

The Shift Towards Edition Releases Over One-of-Ones

That makes a lot of sense. Another question I have for you. It goes back to kind of reflecting on the year, you’re in music NFTs. Remember about a year ago, even like halfway into that year like one of the ones were very hot. A lot of artists were kind of pushing towards them. It feels as if like one of ones, they still have like their dominance. They still have their like raw uniqueness. But it seems as if artists have sort of shifted towards doing editions over one of ones, is there any particular reason? Are you feeling the same thing or am I just in my own head, on my own Twitter timeline?

Peter Saputo: Low key, I think it’s just a hype based thing. Like there’s really just more hype around editions right now. And I think I mean, there’s people that are trying to like flip these music NFTs and like whatever, you’re not really flipping one of ones very easily. And so, I think it’s just like a high base thing. And I think also, starting out it makes way more sense to just do editions because you can get more people, whether it’s free or paid it doesn’t matter, like you’ll get more people in by doing edition. So it kind of just like makes sense, but I still think that one of one should exist in the sense of like, you know, if you have one sign that you really, you know, absolutely adore, a one of ones maybe it makes more sense for that and for it to be in one person’s wallet. Rather than like a ton of people that maybe you know, maybe you don’t know.

Relationship Differences with One-of-One Collectors vs Edition Collectors

Do you feel like your relationship is different with those who collect your one of ones versus those who collect your editions? What is that like?

Peter Saputo: Definitely, I think the people have collected my one on ones have been essentially my like day ones. And those people I’ve just like no longer and the more relationship with and if anything now, even since you know those one of ones sales it’s like I become close to those people. And there’s definitely a little bit more like value in them. I mean, they’re like inherently is more like value in them. But I think with editions, I try my absolute hardest to track every single wallet down, get them on my telegram, have a conversation with them. And I really tried to but it’s definitely way harder to keep track. And so, therefore like it’s way easier to pay more attention to those people who have collected my one on ones.

Plans for 2023

That makes sense. That makes sense. Okay, I want to talk about the future of Peter saputo okay. You’ve been active in the group chat. I always view the group chat. I’m always in there watching what you’re doing. You have the balance between doing paid editions, dropping random free editions. I’m curious? What’s next, like what do you have coming up? You have a song coming out next month, you told us yet? What is 2023 look like for you?

Peter Saputo:  2023, just as 2022, is me just figuring things out. I think that as much as it’s amazing to have like set up plans. I hate being put in like a box essentially like boxing myself in. And so, I mean, I have so many songs that I’m planning to drop this year. All of them will be tokenized. And yeah, that’s the plan. The plan is just to drop as much music as I possibly can. And to allow people to collect it. I think there’s not necessarily anything like super big that I have like, currently planned out. I think it’s just a matter of like still just growing my collector base, as it kind of was the last half of 2022 where I was like, you know what, like, sure would be amazing to like price my music NFTs like higher, but it feels a lot better to press them lower and get more people. And just make new friends and just kind of just vibe out and I think that I’m kind of carrying that energy into into this year. And just figuring things out as I go, like I definitely don’t want to box myself in and just kind of like trying to, you know, work my way through web two, Tik Tok and everything and still like having sessions every day and like just making the best music of my life and just like doing the thing. But I think that I can’t like I don’t want to put too much emphasis on like a plan. Yeah, we’re just kind of, we’re just kind of winging this year and just like going for it, like let’s just.

Engagement with Web2 Followers on NFTs and Crypto

I’m here for it, part of winging, it means that you’re focusing more, I guess focusing your time both on web two and web three. I follow you on Tik Tok as well. Your content is very unique. And I’m curious if any of your web two followers have ever approached you and asked you questions about NFTs, crypto, everything that you’re doing in that world and if they have, what do you tell them?

Peter Saputo: Yeah, I mean, my discord. I initially started out to make like web three like discord. And I ended up being like, you know what, like, how sick would it be to onboard like people from my DMs into discord and you know, I spent like a wild trying to like really get people in there and did not grab musIc NFTs, didn’t do anything. Occasionally, I would add a few people that have like collected stuff into my discord and we would just kind of just get more people in there. And I just started announcing, like, oh, I’m doing an NFT job. You know, like, you come into here on this day, whatever. And I had a few people that were actually like curious, and I actually AirDrop a couple music NFT of like random web two fans, that were on my Discord that like created wallets. Which was sick. Which I think.

That’s pretty cool.

Peter Saputo: I do, it’s super cool. I was like, what is happening right now? Like, let’s go. And it definitely like at that point, it became a goal of like, okay, like, I would love to fill this discord with people. And not only just have like a community just around my music, but also a community with people that support me enough to like go mint something. And I almost set out like a goal essentially to onboard people to web three through that discord, which has been somewhat successful, you know, like, I’m not converting everybody, I’m not trying to shove it down their throats. But like, just like I’m doing this, you know, if you’re interested kind of a thing, and you know, I’ve had some success which was tight.

Mental Model for Cadence and Strategy

I want to also address another thing you said in your 2023 goals. Is just drop it a lot of music, tokenized all that music. How do you think about cadence, like dropping at a specific? Like you’re gonna drop every single week, you’re gonna drop every other day, you’re gonna drop once a month. Do you have any mental model for thinking about cadence and strategy around that?

Peter Saputo: He like yes and no, it’s kind of in the same thing of like, if I boxed myself in and say I’m doing something every two weeks. It’s like, well, what if I want to drop something else then it kind of like ruins my schedule. And I kind of hate that. But I think that like I’m hoping for you know, one mixed mastered song every month, which would be ideal. But I don’t want to like sit down and be like, yo, I’m doing this and then A, not be able to follow through with it or B, have so much music I’m sitting on, that I want to drop more and it feels like I’m like I don’t know. I think that one thing that like could happen too is if I did say like, oh, I want to do a drop every month. I do that drop and I’m like cool, I’m done for the month. I don’t want to like put myself in that mindset. I don’t want to like get near there. I kinda want to just like try to grind as much as I can. And you know whenever I have something ready it’s, you know, I’m hitting upload.

Tips for Success

Right, right. Yeah. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Look, I’m super excited to watch what 2023 has in store for you. I’ll be collecting. I’ll be listening. I keep saving. I keep saving your music and I really enjoy the stuff that you’re putting out. I guess, last thing I want to leave you off with, Peter is, if you have a few tips to share with artists coming into web three. They probably look at you as somewhat of a leader kind of like pioneer in the space. You found your collector base, you’ve made money through tokenizing your songs. What are some tips you can provide beyond the ones that we already talked about?

Peter Saputo: I think one would be think less about the money and more about community and it sounds really. Like I think like some artists might be like, well, why would I get into it? I’m not going to make money. Like why would I put the time in? But there’s like something so, so sick and like so special about having, like I said, like about like a group chat, just having your fans in a group chat. That if I say, hey, you know, I need people to presale the song. Send it in the frickin chat. Boom. I’m getting pre-sales from everybody. It’s like a direct line to my fans, which is something that I think should be like, your like, one of your main goals with getting into this space is because, I think that it might be a little bit harder to get like kind of web two fans to get into a group chat. But with like web three fans, it’s like everybody wants to like hop into it. And maybe not a discord right now but like telegram chat with like some homies and so, it’s definitely something to like focus on, is just building out your community and being like, hey, like it doesn’t have to be only a web three money thing. It can literally be something that’s going to also affect you with web two at the same time. And I think that’s definitely something that I would say like, for sure focus on because you probably won’t even see money immediately, like you won’t, you know, it’s definitely like so.

How do you stay motivated? Like you got to, like I feel like that’s difficult because at one point you need to like on one end of the spectrum, you have to spend time study to space, dedicate, even invest money, goings, booking flights, hotels, going to conferences, kissing babies, shaking hands, just like you did. But on the other end, you have to go in with the openness of not making a buck and just like overloading your credit card and taking a loan with a high interest rate like you did you know. And like having that pressure to figure it out like and majority of people will probably not, like go all the way to the finish line with this new field, right? Only a select few will actually figure it out. I feel like it’s like a big, it’s a big hurdle because there’s so many keywords, so many terms, so many new faces that you need to meet, a new culture that you need, a new sub internet culture that you need to understand, like so many moving parts that majority of people will just get the turret. How do you even approached that?

Peter Saputo: I think one thing too, that definitely, or I hope will like motivate some more people is like, getting into web three helps me out more on the web two side, than if I just stuck on the web two side, like I’ve met so many people through like after party where, like the like the song I’m putting out in a month like I, my mixing engineer and his brother were at after an after party event and you know if I’d hold up to the event as I do. And I ended up like hitting it off with my engineers, brother and he ended up producing a song with me. And it was like, it went from like web three events to like, oh, like okay, this is actually helping me out, just making music. And I think that there’s so many people in this space that are so incredibly good at what they do. And that I mean there’s it’s such like a niche thing that it’s like low key very easy to kind of get into this like community if you just put in the time, and you might see a lot of like benefits just like popping in. Regardless if you make money or not. You’re gonna make some cool friends, cool connections. And yeah, I mean, that’s definitely like a huge motivator for like, some of my other friends who have like in the web three is like it’s not just about the money. It’s not necessarily just about community. Like there’s so many things that come with being in this space that I think you wouldn’t expect, but you don’t really know until you dive into it. So yeah, you kind of got to dive into it. But yeah, I mean, so many people out here trying to just like make money and get in and get out and like, there’s so much more than that. As cheesy as it sounds, there’s so much more than that.

Most Underrated Music Artist in Web3

Yeah. Who do you think is the most underrated music artist in the web three space right now?

Peter Saputo: Man. Is it bad if I say one of my homies. I have a brand new just dropped on the sound and it’s his first ever like music NFT drop or anything. Incredible kid, he’s like one of the first people that I met when I first moved to LA. And he’s the reason why I’m even decent at producing. He made me switch to frickin Ableton from logic and show me, you know, show me the ropes and he’s honestly insane. Like I’ve known this dude for three, four years now. And almost every week, he just sends me like five or six demos of just songs that he’s like fully, like honestly, not even demos just like fully finished songs. His output is insane. I think that now with him getting into this space, it’s like, dude, if this dude just keeps dropping music NFT, which he will, like there’s no stopping him. He’s got so much.

What’s his tag?

Peter Saputo: N Mathews everybody. 

Okay. Alright.

Peter Saputo: Absolute, absolute legend. And, yeah, he’s very underrated in the sense that he just did his first drop . So, we got to.


This was great. Thank you for the tips. Thanks for the insights. I’m excited to see what 2023 has in store for you. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more? Show it away.

Peter Saputo: Let’s go. You can find me on Instagram at PJ Saputo. Spotify, Peter Saputo. And Twitter, Peter Saputo under PJ Saputo. And you’ll see me, I’m everywhere. 

Let’s go. Thank you for your time. Thank you for been a part of season seven. We’ll see you next time. 

Peter Saputo: Let’s go. Thank you for having me. 

Podcast Transcript

The Future of Where Podcasters Meet Crypto


Mint Season 7 Episode 10 welcomes Diana Chen, the Host of Rehash Podcast. Diana shares her approach to the bear market from a content perspective and talks about her experimentation and future plans for her show. She also discusses the importance of collecting long-form audio files (aka Podcast NFTs) and shares her thoughts on the rise of Web3 social. Tune in for valuable insights on optimizing content growth and important considerations for creators in the Web3 landscape.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 06:34 – Approaching the Bear Market From a Content Perspective
  • 08:35 – Experimentation and Future Plans
  • 09:37 – Importance of Collecting Long-Form Audio Files
  • 16:40 – Spirit Animal Representing the Idea of Rehashed
  • 18:18 – Understanding the Shift in the Landscape of Rehash
  • 19:29 – Understanding of Podcast NFTs and Why They Should Be Collected
  • 21:54 – Optimizing Content Growth vs Viewership and Virality
  • 23:06 – Thoughts on the Rise of Web3 Social
  • 37:30 – Considerations for Creators in the Web3 Landscape
  • 39:10 – Lessons Learned From Previous Seasons
  • 42:00 – Adoption of Web2 Features in Web3
  • 43:37 – What to Expect in the New Season of Rehash
  • 46:40 – Outro

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Diana Chen on the mint podcast migrated over from rehash. What’s up? Welcome.

Diana Chen: Hey, Adam. I am so happy to be here and very honored to be on the mint podcast. Being a longtime listener and fan of yours and so I feel great. I mean, slightly nervous because you know, I’ve been listening so long, but I feel great. I’m excited.


Don’t be nervous. This is a safe space. I’m excited to have you here part of season seven, all about creating content that’s worth collecting. That’s the infamous tagline. And you’re no stranger to that. One of the OGS, if not the OG for podcasts NFT. One of the OGs that helped bring it back to life. I know Kevin Rose randomly just like tokenize one of his episodes and did nothing with it. But I remember when you came into the picture and had this idea for rehash, you had this idea for like a content Dao, podcast Dao. And we’ll get into it a bit more. But I think your background is really interesting because when we connected, you were working at unstoppable domains, and then you left that joy to start the rehash podcast, right? The rehash Dao vision that you had. Am I getting that correct? 

Diana Chen: Was it that long ago? Wow. 

It was.

Diana Chen: Well, yeah. So, you’re totally right. Yeah, I was podcasting and leading content initiatives at unstoppable domains for almost a year, which you know, is in crypto time is equivalent to at least five years. And then I went over to rabbit hole for a brief time to kind of work on similar things there, but also to help them think through how they centralize their content function into a Dao. And then back in April of 2022 is when I started rehash. And I mean, you pretty much nailed it. Like I was thinking about starting some sort of a content Dao. I think there’s not too many content and media folks in this space still, and so I wanted a way to pull all of them together and do cool stuff with them. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time. But I combined that with my you know, passion for podcasting and my experience in podcasting, and thought I would start a podcast Dao. First ever podcast Dao and it has been a ton of fun.

You know, when I tell people I left a fund to start a podcast, they look at me like I’m crazy. But there’s purpose and reason behind our content abilities. What would you say yours is?

Diana Chen: I mean, podcasting, I think is first of all, like one of the biggest ways that people consume knowledge nowadays. And I think, you know, especially on a topic like web three, or crypto, that a lot of people still don’t understand much about. I think the more we can talk about it in a mainstream format like podcasting, the more we can spread the word and help onboard the masses to web three, which is I think the goal that we’re all striving towards here.

I hope so. I think that’s a little bit of my goal. My goal was starting mint initially, I’m only bringing up my example because I want to hear what your sort of like long term goal is, but I knew very little about the creator economy space. I was just intrigued by different keywords. Like social tokens Daos and web three, and I got started into crypto by basically reading the Bitcoin white paper and then teaching others about it. So similarly, when I came into the creator economy space, I was like, I’m just gonna say I have a podcast. That’s I feel like a good segue to get anybody on the podcast and like, just tell him you have a podcast or just you know, just so they can speak with you. And then document that process and then publish it in a very like nonchalant way. Maybe I like an intro just to make it a little bit more formal. But that was sort of like my gateway and playing music. I know that concept of like consistency and I know the concept of just like repetition, and just kind of like ingrain that into my process. I feel like it’s very similar to your story trying to onboard a lot of people into web through your content.

Diana Chen: Yeah, absolutely. I think I started my journey out a little differently from yours. I love your story and I tell people that all the time. If you want to learn about web three, create content in web three, because it’s one thing to listen to podcasts. It’s one thing to read articles, but it’s another thing to have to regurgitate that information and teach somebody else, that’s when you really test your knowledge of that. So, I love that that’s how you did it. And I encourage you know anybody out there listening to do the same. But for me, I got my job at unstoppable domains as a podcaster. When I knew almost nothing about crypto and web three, I was creating content in the web to tech world. And that’s how I got found by Matt the CEO at unstoppable and for whatever reason, he had all the faith in me to podcast on a crypto podcast, to host a crypto podcast. And that’s how I ended up there. So, for me in the very beginning days of my journey, podcasting for me it was more about learning. More so than trying to onboard other people. Because at that point, I was still trying to onboard myself. So, the first I would say six months or so of podcasting. That was really when I had the biggest opportunity to learn about concepts like decentralization, the creator economy, all of that stuff super quickly because I had no choice. I had to host this podcast, I had to learn about what these guys were doing. I had to learn how to speak the language. And then over time that eventually evolved into, you know, more of my goal now, which is onboarding the masses and I think is a similar goal to what you’re striving towards.

Approaching the Bear Market From a Content Perspective

Yeah, I think it’s like, onboarding the next million or billion people into web three, like that’s the tagline that I see reoccurring. And I think the bear market really shows that, that people who sort of like stick through the thick and thin, are the people that are hopefully going to stay through the next rise, right? I also I also believe that the best builders and the best entrepreneurs and the best projects come out of the bear market. I’m curious how you are approaching the bear market from a content perspective. Because you’re very much like an entrepreneur yourself, right? Leaving a gig, coming up with an idea, bootstrapping it, bringing it to life. You know, using these crypto primitives, like the mirror article that used to crowdfund the initial days of rehash, like what are you focusing your time in the bear market doing?

Diana Chen: Yeah, I think the bear market gives us a lot of opportunities as builders. And I think the biggest one that, maybe not enough people are taking advantage of is that I think bear markets are the perfect time to experiment. You know, there’s not a lot of money flowing around, can’t really get VC funding. So, you have very little at stake at risk. You have, you know, just all the time in the world to experiment. Try new things, really figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, so that when the next bull market comes around, and everything is go, go, go. And there’s so much pressure to deliver, then you know by then what works and what doesn’t and your best setup for success in the bull market. So, for me like bear market is time to really like get back to your foundations, your fundamentals, figure out what it is that works for you, that doesn’t work for you. And also, not be afraid to try new things because like I said, the stakes are low right now. So, now’s the time to experiment and try new things and you know, by the time the bull market comes around, you’ve got all these innovative, cool things that people are like, whoa, this works so well. How did you do it? And you’re like, a bear market.

Experimentation and Future Plans

The bear market. So, where’s your experimented of brain sitting at the moment? What do you want to experiment on?

Diana Chen: Oh, gosh, I mean, I’m still experimenting with podcasts NFTs. So that’s been an ongoing journey since we first launched back in April. We’ve done something a little bit different with our podcasts NFTs every season. The first season we did kind of like a batch drop at the end of the season, where we sold you know, limited editions of the audio version of the podcast. And then we had one of ones of video podcast, we tried all these different things. The following season we released the podcasts NFTs, in real time when the episodes were released. And then this season, we’re trying something different. So, I think continuing to experiment with that, seeing what works for people, think podcasts NFTs are still really new. You know, not many people have heard of it or are familiar with it. And so, figuring out the best ways to help people understand what they are, the value of them and get people to you know sign on.

Importance of Collecting Long-Form Audio Files

Why should people collect along form audio file?

Diana Chen: Yeah, there are a few reasons I think, for us, for our community. The biggest reason is to have a piece of ownership in rehash. And what that looks like for us is, you know, I think a lot of people when they think of crypto, they think of ownership in the form of financial returns. And it’s not, that’s one way that you know, you can have ownership in a community and as founders, you can reward your community. But I think another way is just to give your community as voice in what you’re doing. And so, for us, our NFT holders are the ones that help shape the podcast. They help decide which guests come on the podcast and they get to decide, you know, any other big podcast changes that we have. Like in the future if we decide to or you know, if I have an idea to introduce a new segment on the podcast, that’s something that would go to the Dao, go to our NFT holders. And I would say hey, you know, I’ve got this idea, this is what it is. This is the funding we would need to make this happen. What do you guys think? Yea or nay? Do you think this is valuable to people? And I think that that sort of structure not only gives you a more engaged listenership and audience and community, but it also helps to make your podcast or your piece of media, whatever you’re working with better. In the sense that you know, you’re crowdsourcing knowledge and insight from a ton of different people instead of just from yourself. Sometimes I think as the podcast host, we might not even be aware of, you know, the conversations we’re having that people are picking up on and that are landing with people the most. Sometimes the episodes, the conversations that I think, you know, are the most insightful for me, I end up not doing too hard. And then the episodes that get the most downloads are ones that are a little unexpected. 

That’s my biggest challenge too, I swear. 

Diana Chen: Not just me. 

No, it’s 100% me too. And I feel like I create content on subjects that interests me and those that interests me, I can perform the best on, right? But then it’s like people just want to hear like oh how you raise a million these. You know, and create like, or like the jaw dropping thumbnail content that you see on YouTube, that gets the most clicks and attention. And that’s why I’m so excited about season seven, because I want to, experiment in this new realm of like, what does it mean to create content that’s worth collecting? How do we create content for a collectible audience versus a viewer-based audience? You know, and maybe that puts less pressure on us to sort of perform on the standards of the algorithms and more so on our creative endeavors.

Diana Chen: Yeah, it absolutely does. I think it helps make us better as hosts because like you said, you know, I’m just glad it’s not just me that you experienced the same thing. But I would much rather are my listeners tell me which episodes they like and what kind of content they like, so that I can create more of that, than creating content for myself that I like, because I’m not the listener. So yeah, I think it’s really a two-way street. It helps your community feel more engaged. Like they’re not just passive fans of yours, but they’re active community members in your community. And then on the flip side, it makes you better at what you do too, because you’re getting constant feedback from your biggest fans.

Definitely, when I think of rehash I think of Diana Chen. And when I think of Diana Chen, I think of a campaign manager, why do I think of a campaign manager? Because when this new season comes around, and people are casting their votes for speakers, you’re literally out there, kissing babies in networking, trying to get people to vote, tagging everybody and just hustling on the streets of crypto Twitter, to get some action to bring this season to life. And when people think of content creators, I feel like many people look down on content creators. They’re like, oh, you’re just sitting at your desk. You’re just looking at the camera, speaking into a microphone. And I’m like, It’s not that, look at Diana Chen. She could literally be a presidential campaign manager, campaigning and tagging people and reaching out and knocking on doors, like that’s what I think when I looked at you on my Twitter feed.

Diana Chen: Wow, I’m so glad this is being recorded. I’m gonna ask you to send this clip to me and I’m just gonna play it over and over and over. Whenever I’m having a bad day, Adam Levy. I could be a presidential campaign manager, that feel so good.

There’s a level of hustle to run an operation like you’re trying to bring to life. Running a Dao and trying to create content through that Dao and ingraining your community’s voice within many layers, whether it be cosmetic level governance or really intricate level decision making. It requires a level of like, tension organization, like you need to be put on people’s radar to get them to participate in the assets that they collected, you know, or in the collectibles that they bought. I don’t want to call them assets, but you know what I mean? 

Diana Chen: Yeah, absolutely. And I think you’re spot on, you’re hitting something like really, really well on the head, which is that a lot of creators out there, artists, musicians, content creators even, they are professionals at their craft. They are really good at making music or they’re really good at designing things or they’re really good at X Y or Z. But when it comes to selling your work, you know monetizing your work, in order for you to stay a creator and keep doing the stuff that you love to do. You have to be able to monetize that somehow, right? And I think that’s where we see a huge gap in, this has like really nothing to do with web three, even like in the web, in the traditional space, creators are typically not the best business people or marketers. And I think that’s kind of like the seat that I sit in and have sat in for a really long time, is like I’m not the most maybe creative person out there. Like all of these shitpost videos that you see posted on the rehash site, that are stitched together creatively and like paired up with audio in the most perfect and intricate way. That’s our editors, you know, and that’s like the other, the rest of the team. That’s Tyler and Ellie primarily who are doing those things and I’m so grateful to have them on my team, because that is what they do. They just want to heads down, edit podcasts, create these funny videos, you know, make memes, do these things without having to go out there and hustle and be tagging people on Twitter all the time. And dming mean people and I think that’s, you know, that’s kind of why it’s worked for us because we make the perfect team, because, you know, I’ve got the campaign manager hat on all the time and they’ve got you know, like the really high quality creative stuff nailed down. And that’s really what it takes. I think to create good content is you want high quality content, and you want a way to get it out there to people.

Spirit Animal Representing the Idea of Rehashed

If there was a spirit animal that would represent your idea of rehashed out in its current state, what would that spirit animal be?

Diana Chen: I’m so disappointed in myself right now for not having an answer because I asked everybody this question on my podcast, and you would think that I would have thought of an answer for myself. Man honestly, I just like I think of a dog. Because we.

Wait, wait, wait. Which dog? Like a golden retriever or like one of those nasty devil Chihuahuas?

Diana Chen: No, no, no, it’s gotta be something like my dog. Who is a cattle dog husky mix. And he is a super, I mean, super loyal like all dogs are, really smart. Very easy to, very. Okay, maybe not my dog, but a dog. That’s like very adaptable. You know, like a fast learner. Yeah, what breed would that be?

You know what I’m imagining right now?

Diana Chen: What?

As you figure out the breed, I just imagined that imagine a discord of just puppies just running around everywhere. Like that’s literally what comes to mind visually. And I think of like, a back in the day used to drop my dog off at like, vacation, daycare, you know, and all the dogs would be in like the behind the plexiglass window and they’d be running around, like that’s what I imagined in the rehash community now.

Diana Chen: Exactly. That’s exactly what it is. That’s literally what it is. Yeah, we’re big dog people here.

Understanding the Shift in the Landscape of Rehash

I love it. Can we go back to the early days of rehash, you kicked off rehashed Dao by writing a mirror blog post in crowdfunding it’s initial few steps, right? The landscape has changed since then, you’re not seeing too many mirror crowd funds. You’re seeing maybe Juicebox crowd funds and other platforms sort of experimenting with what raising money looks like on an independent level. How do you understand the shift in that landscape, from when rehash came to life to where we are today?

Diana Chen: I would probably credit most of that to just the bare market that we’re in today. So, rehash, we looked out a little bit, we launched in April of 2022. We’re still like full on bull market mode. I think the market didn’t really crash until the summer, so we got a couple of good months in there. And then you know, everything tanked, but I think a lot of it is just attributed to the bear market. There’s not as much money flying around all over the place anymore. I think people have to be a little more strategic, a little more thoughtful with, you know, raising, when they’re trying to raise money. So, I think that is probably, I think that’s probably the main thing.

Understanding of Podcast NFTs and Why They Should Be Collected

That makes sense. And then on top of that, using podcasts NFTs as a vehicle for crowdfunding, additional revenue for the Dao. I think it’s a really cool concept. I want to talk more about podcast NFTs. We sort of touched upon it a little bit earlier, but I want to bring it back because part of this conversation I want to focus around content Daos. And like I said earlier, you understand the concept creating content worth collecting, but we’re still in that weird uncomfortable phase. People trying to understand what is a podcast NFT. is it just a bridge of like music NFT? Is it’s own category? Like what are they in the grand scheme of things, and why should people collect them?

Diana Chen: Sure, yeah. It’s podcasts NFT is just a podcast episode that is minted on chain as an NFT, a non-fungible token. And I think there are, you know, the reasons why somebody might want to collect a podcast NFT, similar to the reasons why somebody might want to collect a mirror post on chain or collect a music NFT on chain. It shows that you are, you know, a supporter of that piece of work, first of all, and that artist whoever or creator or whoever made that piece of work. It shows that, I think over time, it can show your level of fandom. So, whether you’ve collected you know, maybe one podcast NFT, one episode of rehash because you just liked one guest, versus somebody else who may be collected every single podcast NFT that rehash has ever released because they’re a fan of the podcast, I think that is a big distinction. And I think what that allows also the creator to do is to reward these people in various ways. You know, and so the way that we might reward somebody that’s collected one podcast NFT, versus somebody that’s collected all of our podcasts and NFTs might be a little bit different. And that comes in, you know, not just in physical rewards, like monetary rewards or maybe rewarding in merch, but also rewarding by way of giving you more governance rights. And the way that we’re set up, you know, we have different tiers of governance that our NFT holders are able to participate in. And I think that is something to that, that sort of distinguishes our super fans from our, you know, average fan, and makes everybody happy at the tier that they’re at.

Optimizing Content Growth vs Viewership and Virality

Do you think it makes more sense to optimize content growth, to increase your number of collectors or to strive for viewership and virality?

Diana Chen: I think those probably go hand in hand. Right? But I think in the ethos of web three, you know, with legions piece on 100 true fans, I think in web three, the mentality is more about focusing on those smaller subset of collectors, those true fans of yours versus focusing on the virality. But personally, you know, from my personal experience, and just observation of the space I think right now we still sit in very much web 2.5 world. And so even if what we’re striving for is these 100 true fans concept that Legion wrote about, I don’t think we’re there yet. And I think in the meantime, we still sort of are at the liberty of a lot of web two tools that are out there. And if we can leverage these web two tools to get a bigger reach and to bring more people into the space, then you know, who are we to say that these tools are bad or that we have to stay away from them.

Thoughts on the Rise of Web3 Social

What is your overall thesis on like web three social, because I understand web three social as this new world where our collector count is going to surpass our follower count. Like that’s my belief in how do you now optimize for building a large collector base. Maybe not all of them are gonna fall into that 1000 or 100 category. But the new sort of like proof that you were there is by collecting something, whether paid or free. Do you have a similar thesis on this whole new rise of web three social or what are you thinking about? 

Diana Chen: Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. But again, you know, I just don’t think we’re fully there yet. So right now, we are leveraging web three social tools like lens, all of our videos are on lens tube, you can collect the videos on lens tube, they come with a difference. They don’t come with the governance rights that are NFTs do, but that exposes us to you know, sort of move towards this model and experiment with it as well and see how well web three social really works. On the other side of it, we are still on web two social, we’re still using Twitter and Instagram and Tik Tok. And we’re actually in this upcoming season, shifting our thesis a little bit towards broadening our, you know, target audience to more of a broad web two tech audience. I think when we started rehash, we intentionally started really small with a small web three community, who understood what we were doing and who supported our values. And now that we’re, you know, nine months into rehash, I think, you know, what we’re focusing on for the next season is growing, is finally branching out of this community, the solid foundation we’ve built and building on top of that. And so, we’re going to be focused more on, you know, sort of explaining how web two bridges into web three, how tech is going to evolve overall, instead of siloing these web three topics into their own conversations. We want to sort of paint the bigger picture for people and help people understand better how tech is evolving. And why web three or web three concepts will come into play and tag in the future.

I think just to reflect on that for a minute, something my team and I we’ve been realizing too is that even, like ever since the entrance of the bear market, attention and sort of reach of your content has decreased. And it actually makes a lot of sense to broaden up like your target audience as to who you’re documenting for. But I feel like the challenge is, it’s like you still need to focus on a type of user and create content for that type of user. And I’ve always struggled with creating content that excites the web three user and the web two user. And a good example, this is when I post web three content on Tik Tok and maybe my content sucks. Let’s go with that. Okay.

Diana Chen: No, it doesn’t. 

It doesn’t reach the right audience on Tik Tok, you know. And that’s, and I post a lot, like looking at my feed, like I’m going ham, my team and I every single day we’re pushed pushing out content. I feel like at this point, Diana, we’ve pushed, we’re pushing out like one on Twitter, at least one on Twitter, at least one on Instagram, two on Twitter. So, it’s three or at least one on Tik Tok. And then doing that like every day, you know, every day, Monday through Sunday, posting content on all these platforms. And maybe my form is just not adequate enough for the Tik Tok algorithms, you know, like, I don’t know. But if I start bridging and creating just web two related creator content, then may lose the web three audience, you know. And me personally, I’m more interested in the web three stuff and that’s how I know I’ll be the best at it because I’ve only done things that I’m, that I feel like I’m interested in, you know what I mean? That’s my like, push and pull sort of struggle. Are you feeling something similar? You guys you guys got through a same sort of feeling? 

Diana Chen: Yeah, so first, I think with regards to the different platforms, I think different types of content do perform better on different platforms. Like for example, our super ship posty meme videos do extremely well on Twitter, but kind of tank on YouTube for example. Whereas are more, you know, just kind of vanilla, like educational content. Those pieces do really well on YouTube, because I think there’s more of a mainstream audience there than they do on Twitter, because Twitter, our Twitter followers are primarily crypto people. So, I think, you know, maybe part of it is just strategically posting certain types of content to certain platforms. I think another piece of it too, and maybe this is just you know, the stuff that we talked about on rehash kind of, I kind of think of it as like a liberal arts crypto podcast. You know, like we talked about more of the more human side of crypto and web three, than the technical side or the financial side. And so, what I think when it comes to things like this, when it comes to things like talking about governance in Dao. Like governance is not a topic that is new in, since web three, governance has been a topic that has been around since the beginning of time. And so, we’re talking about a lot of things like governance, ops, you know, people management, organization, things like that. These are topics that are understandable to everybody who’s alive today. And so, I think that makes it a little bit easier to introduce crypto topics, like Daos and NFTs, but to talk about it in a way that.

Digital collective.

Diana Chen: Normies. Exactly. You can understand as well. Yeah.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I guess another thing I’ve been thinking about too, is there’s also like the Mr. Beast approach of just dumping all your money and creating, whether it’s not, maybe not in a cadence, but creating really high-quality content, that people want. And not focusing on velocity, just focusing on quality, you know. And one thing that we have yet to see in the crater world in crypto is, people crowdfunding budgets for Mr. Beast like videos. Like crowdfunding 1000 Eth to create, like a 4 or 5, 10-minute video, you know, like we have yet to see something like that come into action. And that’s something I’m really excited about of like the concept of creating content that’s worth collecting. If that primitive sort of evolves, maybe we don’t have to perform for the algorithms, you know, because I personally, I feel tired, like I feel drained. And I’m not even at the same level that a lot of these full-time creators’ kind of like pursue content in web two. Like there’s people posting three, four times a day on Tik Tok, you know, and spending thousands of dollars on editors. And it’s very hard to scale that right on a like a small business level, you know, so, I don’t know I’m ranting a bit here as you can tell, any thoughts on that?

Diana Chen: I’m with you. I think I would love to see one day where we can, you know, better understand how to manage a shared community treasury. And I think you know, things like nouns Dao are really interesting to me and I think about ways in which, you know, we could, for example, make a, we could fork nouns, the nouns contract and create this creator Dao, where, you know, there’s an auto generated NFT, one per day. And all the proceeds of that go to a shared community Treasury, and the Treasury goes to fund projects, like the one you just described, like a Mr. Beast style, four-to-five-minute video, super high quality, and the community votes on these proposals. So, you know, Adam levy could submit a proposal for, to create the super high quality video on podcasts NFTs, like fully explaining what they are with full production value and everything, that’s going to cost X amount of money and the community of NFT holders votes on you know, if we put this money towards that or not. I can see something like that happening, like spinning up and the next bull run. I think right now might be a tough time but next bull run, like I could totally see something like that and you know, that’s, I think there are models that people are coming up with to make this happen.

I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s, I don’t know if it’s a bad time. Like last week we see, I forgot his name but really talented artists that’s been here since the nifty gateway era. Raise 2.2 mil from his open edition. You know, and then another artist by the name of Victor, I’m blanking on his last name. Also, like 250k easily in like a few hours, easily. They put a lot of work into it. I don’t want to discount that. But on the surface, it looks like wow, that was like in a few hours. You know, you raised 250k, you know x copy, Jack Butchers. You know, like the activity is still there. People are like, I feel like the bar for content that’s worth collecting has increased, right? Because the noise has decreased. So, people are still looking for higher quality signals. And it’s up to us as creators to match and be at that same level as what they’re expecting. That’s what I’m sort of like piecing together during this time.

Diana Chen: I think you’re right. I think you’re right. And I think part of that, too, is that most of the people left in this space during a bear market are people who’ve been here for a while, right? Are people who really understand what we’re doing who really believe in it, and these people are going to have a higher expectation of quality. I think then, you know, a mainstream audience that kind of just a listen to music NFT, because that’s the buzzword that’s out there right now. And just buys up any music NFTs just to say that they have a music NFT. So yeah, I think you’re right. I think the standard and the expectations are a bit higher during this time.

Now I can’t help but think is the market prepared for a Mr. Beast like character, who wants to raise the mill, a thousand Eth, you know to create a 10-minute video. And they create like really interesting, funny content and try to find people who lost their NFT, so like a fishy link, you know, and send them 10 Eth as like, as like a gif, you know what I mean? A documenting stuff like that.

Diana Chen: That’s the kind of thing that I think is going to have to wait for the next bull market.

Okay, all right. Interesting.

Diana Chen: You think it can happen now?

I don’t know. I’m being surprised left and right by all these creators. 

Diana Chen: Yeah, but all the people you just named like those are people who have established themselves in this space for years and years.

That’s what I’m saying. Why can’t it be, like we’ve been in the space for a minute you know, why can’t it be your eye or another podcaster or another content creator.

Diana Chen: We haven’t been here long enough. We haven’t been here long enough, I think.

We’ll think about it. Let me let me counter that. Okay, let’s have a friendly argument here because the fuck renders of the world, right? They came in around the NFT craze and then nifty gateway era, as I like to call it you know. When open editions and in dropping NFTs and all the Instagram and corporate artists migrated into the world of web three, to finally realize what their art is valued at and what it’s worth. And then they later transitioned into Christie’s and Sotheby’s and sold her pieces for millions of dollars, that happened in a very short period of time of them entering the space. So, I don’t think I’m there yet personally, and I won’t talk about myself like that. But I think maybe there is an opportunity for something like that and an opportunity worth exploring and experimenting with, maybe it’s a group of people, maybe it’s like the web three hype house, you know, and a bunch of digital content creators come together, you know, to crowdfund 1000 Eth. To create an X long beta video, you get some Treasury funding from nouns Dao, you get some Treasury funding from FWB and all these other kind of like groups contribute to it. I don’t know what could come out of it. I feel like I’m onto something here. I don’t know. But I’m speaking up my ideas. Out Loud.

Diana Chen: Okay, I’m gonna Yes, but you, so yes. But if you think about that, not just the amount of time that it took somebody like Fogg Render to make it to Christie’s but what time it was, you know, they came about at a time when, first of all people understood art. People still don’t understand podcasts as collectibles. You know, we’re still talking about what are podcasts as collectibles. What is the value, like we as podcast hosts, like people who are in the space and understand it more than anybody else are still trying to fully figure this out and nail it down. So, I don’t know that the market is ready for it yet. Also, at the time when you know fog grinder and people were making it to Christie’s, that was bull market times, like that was 2021 when NFTs were, that was like the you know, like NFTs were king and everybody, like everybody in the mainstream, at least like has heard of NFTs now and knows what an NFT is. You go and say, you know, podcasts NFTs to anybody. I mean, like I can’t even explain, like I tell my friends. I’m a podcaster. But beyond that, they’re like, oh, how do you make money, you get like ad sponsorships and stuff, right? Like, I can’t explain the rest of it to them, you know. And so, until we’re at a place where we can explain what you’re even doing to our Normie friends. I just don’t know that we’re ready.

All right, I’ll counter it. I think music NFTs fall in a very similar category. Everybody understood art, but many people didn’t understand the concept of collecting music and it took a village have a few thousand collectors to prove other people wrong. And now we’re seeing music NFTS as a collectible, quote unquote, asset class doing really, really well. And artists, even though it’s like 1.25 Eth but they’re doing that and raising that on a consistent basis. You have like you have artists like Daniel Allen and Reo Cragin, ranking in 110 Eth in a matter of like a few days, you know, for their criteria drop. And people starting to understand the value of collectible music, you know, and that took a village. It took a few companies; it took funds betting on entrepreneurs to create the platforms and the primitives to enable that energy. And then it took a bunch of ship posters to tweet music NFTs for it appear on everybody’s timeline, to make it seem like something is going on here that’s worth paying attention to. So, I don’t see why we can’t do that with content. Why we can’t do that with podcasts. 

Diana Chen: I think we can, but I think that it’s, that’s what it’s going to take you know, it’s going to take what you just said it’s going to take a village, it’s going to take a few funds coming in and investing in podcasters. It’s going to take all of those things and none of that has happened yet.

Shows you how early we are.

Diana Chen: It’s too early. 

Considerations for Creators in the Web3 Landscape

So, what other things are on top of your mind that you think about as a creator in the web three landscape?

Diana Chen: Oh, man. So much my mind is a jumble of thoughts. I think.

Recently look at the last week, what has caught your attention and your idea and your question? If any.

Diana Chen: I’ve been, honestly, I’ve been thinking a lot about distribution, you know, and you kind of talked about this already. And I think Raffa tweeted this out the other day, he was like content is 20% creation, 80% distribution. And I think that’s absolutely true. And that’s something that we’ve been thinking about a lot at rehash is, how do we take all the content that we’ve created and make the most out of it? Like we are definitely not putting our content to maximum mileage that we could be. And that’s something that we want to focus on and do a better job of in the upcoming season. And part of that is you know, expanding to, it feels like taking a step backwards. Like we just revamped our Instagram account and our Tik Tok and we’re posting videos there now. And you know, the thinking at the beginning was like, our listeners, our audience is mostly like a crypto native or a crypto curious audience. We don’t really have a big normy audience. So why would we be on Instagram or Tik Tok or any of those channels? But now that we’re sort of shifting our focus and shifting our thesis a little bit, we want to be aware, you know, those people are. So that’s just been kind of like thinking through what the strategy is there and making sure that all of it feels good, still with our values and what we’re about is something that has been top of mind for me.

Lessons Learned From Previous Seasons

Throughout this conversation, you’ve been vocal about a new idea, a new strategy that you want to pursue, branching out your audience reach right and creating new types of content within the tech sector. I’m curious what other things you learn from previous seasons that you can share?

Diana Chen: Really, I think that’s been a huge trend lately, is people kind of turning their backs on even the word web three. Like one of the questions, I asked each of my guests last season was if you could rebrand one thing in web three, what would it be? And the most common answer I got was web three, like the word web three. We don’t need that to be here, that should not exist. And usually when I asked, you know, okay, so if we don’t call web three, like what do we call it? Like, nobody has a better idea. And I feel like that’s why we still use the word web three, but I think what web, the maybe one reason why people are starting to turn their backs on this is, people are starting to realize that there are a lot of people out there who kind of see it as like web two versus web three and put these two things against each other. When web three really is just like the next iteration of the web. that we’re using today and that we’ve been using for the last decades. And so, what we should be thinking about instead of web two versus web three, and you know, is what we’re doing web three native versus like, too much so in the web two direction, is how do we best use the tools that are given to us by web three, to make our current version of the web and what we’re doing better? You know, how do we use the tools given to us by web three to make social media better, to make us you know, instead of the product, to make us actually the customer and the user? So, I think that really has been the biggest takeaway, and there’s so many applications of that too, like different spaces, I think of it most in the creator economy space and the social space, but you can think about that in you know, the financial space as well in the tech space, like how are we? What are we doing to protect our privacy, for example, when operating on a public blockchain? There’s a lot of things I think we need a square with, you know, bringing in some of the principles of web three, but also I think it would be to our benefit to also reflect on what are some of the good things that happened in web two, you know, that we don’t need to get rid of, because it’s not this like dichotomy, web two versus web three. It’s really how do we make our current version of the web better?

What’s your vision for that?

Diana Chen: You think I have an answer to that?

No, what do you enjoy about web two?

Diana Chen: I wouldn’t be the campaign manager of the President.

Adoption of Web2 Features in Web3

Well, no, let’s uncover that with what we have left over here. What would you like to see us adopt from web two? Concerning all the cool shit that’s happening in web three.

Diana Chen: I think one thing right now with creators is that we still need web two tools for reach and distribution. You know, we’re not, like we talked about earlier, we’re not at a point where we can rely on those 100 true fans thesis just yet. Or, you know, it’s maybe it’s possible, but it’s very difficult to do that. And so, in the meantime, for the majority of creators, I think, relying on web two social platforms, web two distribution, that’s just something that we still have to do until we figure out how that’s going to work in web three. I think, you know, one thing I’ve thought about a bunch is, how is search going to work and web three? You know, without Google sort of like, digging through all your data and understanding you best. Like how will search work? If I want to know something right now, you know, like, if I just want to know, okay, my back really hurts. I bent down and now my back feels like it’s broken. I can ask Google that and it can maybe tell me what’s wrong with me. How am I going to do that? And when there’s no like, you know, like, I’m sure there’s a solution to that, there’s an answer to that. And I think sorry, a zoo is working on something like that was startup being and other people are thinking about it, but there, I have questions like that, you know, like there are tools like search that kind of, I’m happy with how it works in web two, and I’m not sure how that’s gonna look in web three just yet.

What to Expect in the New Season of Rehash

Well, I think search in web three, you’ll be searching for something else. You’re not searching for content like you are on web two platforms. You may be searching for more crypto related insights, but I may even redact that statement down the line because if a lot more content ends up being tokenized, right, then we’ll actually end up having to search for content, you know, and for articles and blog posts and information, if the world ends up actually becoming fully web three. So yeah, a lot to think about. Yes. Okay. So new season of rehash. Okay, what are we to expect other than a branch in new content? What else is on the menu?

Diana Chen: I think, you know, one of my focuses this season is going to be bringing everything back together, is going to be zooming out into the big picture and talking about how these individual things fit in. So, you know, like we have a guest coming on that is, has been deeply researching different types of blockchains, layer twos, how they all work together. And my goal with a conversation like that would be to explain that in an understandable way to somebody who’s not in the space or somebody who is in the space like myself, like I couldn’t explain how all of that works to you. So really, like zooming out, talking about these concepts in the context of the bigger picture is, one of my personal goals. But yeah, like the guest lineup is set already. We just finished our guest nominations and voting. So, if you go on our Twitter page, you can see the full list of guests that are coming on this season.

We need to get the Airdrop and I voted NFT sticker, so that we can have that and show it off online. That’d be sick.

Diana Chen: I think I’ve got to make that now that you’ve you know, really just spun this campaign manager narrative. 

I’m telling you, it’s all in there for you, I swear.

Diana Chen: All right, that’s gonna be our next. We actually did just create our first batch of merch which if any of you will be at Eth Denver, you’ll be there, right?

Yes, likely, yes

Diana Chen: Okay, so come find me and I’ve got a eanie for you. But for any rehash, NFT holders, if you can find me at Eth Denver, you get a free beanie. We’ve got some stickers as well. And now I’ve got to go and make an “I voted” sticker in addition to that.

Let’ go. I want that. I want an “I voted” sticker with my ENs on it. I’d be so sick, and I’d wear it proudly. Think about it. I’d be so cool. Like you campaigned for someone to be on season, and you contributed to that. Like I want to show that off.

Diana Chen: Do you want to sticker, or do you want to pen?

Whatever, it doesn’t matter, I want something to show off. That’s what I want.

Diana Chen: Okay. I like that. You know what else I can do is, I just also issued our first set of disco credentials to all of our past guests, as like a you know, as a proof that they were a guest on the podcast. So, I could do that as well for people that voted on the podcast. Yeah.


Okay. Diana Chen, this was great. You’re an all-star. Thank you for being on Season Seven, excited to watch further seasons progress of rehash and all the little puppies running around in the discord. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more?

Diana Chen: Thank you so much for having me. This was so much fun; this hour just flew by. If you want to find me, you can find me on Twitter at DDW Chen. And you can find rehash @rehash web three.

Amazing. We’ll have to do this again soon but till then, have a good one.

Diana Chen: We’ll have to do it the other way around. Yep. 

Yes, I’m gamed. See you next time. 

Diana Chen: See ya.

Podcast Transcript

The 3rd Pillar of the Creator Economy


Mint Season 7 Episode 9 welcomes Robin Schmidt, aka SuperMassive, the founder of BasedAF. Discover his unique approach to simplifying complex subjects into engaging videos, his passion for cryptocurrency, and the evolution of his creative voice. Robin shares insights on his content creation system and the differences in creative freedom from working at Harmony and The Defiant. He also dives into the third pillar of the creator economy and the concept of full-time fans. Get ready to learn what makes great content truly worth collecting.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 04:11 – The Ability to Simplify Complex Subjects into Fun Videos
  • 07:14 – Getting into Cryptocurrency
  • 18:56 – The Process of Finding a Creative Voice
  • 25:09 – Robin’s System for Creating Content
  • 30:24 – Differences in Creative Freedom Now vs. at Harmony and The Defiant
  • 36:01 – The Third Pillar of the Creator Economy
  • 45:28 – The Concept of Full-Time Fans
  • 49:06 – Defining “Great Content Worth Collecting”
  • 51:52 – Outro

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I caught you off guard right there.

Robin Schmidt: How dare you. How dare you. We go live in three seconds, I’m set man. I’m ready.

We’re live. We’re live and in action. Welcome, supe, supe supermassive. That’s what it says on your name tag.

Robin Schmidt: It is. I had a stutter when I was typing. And so, you know, that’s what happened.

I think it’s fitting. It’s the name that fits your entire energy. And ever since I’ve met you, I think like what, like two years ago or something like that. You’ve had this energy to you, and you just brought it on the introduction. And I’m super happy to have you here, a part of season seven, supe, supe, supermassive.

Robin Schmidt: Welcome to me. Yes, I’m very happy to be here. Thank you for the quote. So, my energy it’s like it’s a weird thing. Like I don’t really know where it comes from, because most of the time I’m extremely quiet. And I have my headphones on, and nobody hears from me and then like, when the cameras on me, it’s like, boom, bullshit.

I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it.

Robin Schmidt: It’s a little bit of that self-preservation. I think more than anything else. If I was gone the whole time, I wouldn’t survive. I would need so much sugar, work would be angry with me.

I feel like you’re just having sugar IV and you’re 24/7. At least that’s what feels like publicly. 

Robin Schmidt: Yeah. My diabetes is coming on. Nice. Oh, yeah. 

Do you remember how we met originally?

Robin Schmidt: I started to you. There was an event in LA, some kind of thing you were working on.


Robin Schmidt: Virtual, yes. Who are you working for? You were working for Yes. And you reached out to me and said this. We want to do a review of the year; do you fancy doing something? And I said yes. And then I realized that I couldn’t deliver it and then I came up with something else very quickly, which we delivered for you, which was just like this fun review of the year. It was working at the time. And that was when I came up with the Andre Konya perfume ad, which is like the, probably my most favorite thing I’ve ever made in web three. And it’s weird because it’s divisive. But at the same time, like as a pure piece of kind of satire. Andre Konya as a perfume. It’s like probably the thing I’m most proud of in web three, which is bizarre really for like, yeah, so that’s how we met.

Ever since I saw that video. I’ve been in love. I gotta tell you. I feel like I was watching your content. I know. This is why I brought you here to confess my love to you and to see if you will take me in this web three metaverse.

Robin Schmidt: I take yours. I take you wholeheartedly. My ring is your ring. 


I’ll take it, just leave that as expression. Okay. No, but seriously, real talk ever since I saw that video and you created a custom for that event that ended up going on YouTube and being this really, really funny ass meme, I’ve been a big fan of your stuff. And if there’s one person that understands content creation, it’s you. All the work that you do that define, to what you’re doing now with base media. For those who don’t know you. I want to give a quick intro. Can you introduce yourself? If no one’s ever met you, how do you actually introduce yourself?

Robin Schmidt: So, I might as well be just me. I go by the name supermassive, which gives you an idea of the superhero persona that I put on when I’m in front of the camera. I guess in a sense, all I am is an entertainer. I make fun content. And I make it about subjects which inherently are not fun, like defi for instance, defi is not fun. And I guess my challenge to myself is to take concepts like technology. Concepts, which are inherently nonvisual, and turn them into things that can be consumed by people visually and given a sheen of pop culture that makes them memorable, makes them entertaining, and makes people want to come back and see more. Because these are concepts that I’m trying to absorb and understand myself. And so that’s the lens through which I view them and I’ve spent 25 years becoming the best kind of filmmaker I could. And it was only once I stepped into web three, that I was able to cast off the shackles of what other brands want me to do for commercials or what funding agencies want you to do in order to get funding and just kind of be the filmmaker I wanted to be. And so, when I put myself in front of the camera, I started presenting the videos instead of just directing them. I guess that’s when it finally became the truest most authentic version of the filmmaker that I am where and I am today.

The Ability to Simplify Complex Subjects into Fun Videos

So, looking back 25 years, are there any specific experiences that you can attribute to your creative simplicity of taking complex subjects and breaking them down into really fun, endearing videos? Anything you can look back on and kind of reflect on?

Robin Schmidt: Well, probably when you’re learning to be a videographer or filmmaker, you find ways to fund yourself and you find ways to keep doing the job because otherwise you have to do another job and it’s very difficult to make films. That’s not true. It’s actually very easy to make films though. It used to be very difficult to make films when I started. Getting your hands on the cameras, getting your hands on the equipment. So, what you did was take crappy jobs and those crappy jobs in my instance, were karaoke videos. So, if you ever karaoke bar, there’ll be a video sitting behind the lyrics of some cheesy dude, and some cheesy girl in black and white, and in slomo, which has it, I made that video and that’s how I learned, but we used to churn out about like, five or six of these a day and we challenged ourselves to shoot them for 10 pounds. That was the budget we give ourselves because we received 300 pounds for making them and it was just to like to knock out five or six a day and you know, try and shoot them as quickly and as cheaply as we could. But man, you learned so much in that process. And that was basically film school. Where that led to was then, well obviously, we can make instructional videos. So, we made instructional videos for the likes of gyms and things like that because we were doing a lot of extreme sports stuff to begin with. Skiing, snowboarding basically, that’s kind of how I got started just filming not as throwing themselves off cliffs and other cable cars. And that led to TV work, doing explainers, basically breaking down tricks and how to do them for viewers of the extreme sports channel. And we did a buttload of that, like a really a lot of different kinds of types of explainers. I guess that’s kind of where it came from, just you know taking tricks and tips and turning them into content but that was like before we even YouTube. So, I guess also the other half of it is I’m naturally curious. I went to the University of Oxford, believe it or not, my father was a professor at the University of Oxford.  So, I’m flexing my non-Ivy League as a proud bred. So, I guess it’s academically I’m fairly woke and enjoy learning new things. And crypto was always a challenge like how do you play this game because it was the right game, right? And then he began to shake when trading you get into the darker arts of growing your, quote unquote, network which is like who’s got the tip on this next shit coin that’s gonna go up. And last off and then gradually growing into actually a proper network of people, who are building staff, who are doing things. And then parlaying that into my case, a defi network, which became the basis of how I kind of got hired by the defi. So, all of that, it’s just a natural curiosity about playing games and trying to win those games and seeing how best to do that.

Getting into Cryptocurrency

And then there’s the game of defi that entails your transition into working with the defi, but how did you actually get into crypto, like what was that story that got you into the space?

Robin Schmidt: So, it’s kind of partly tragic, partly true, mostly true. Some of its fictitious. I am a storyteller after all. No, it’s I had directed a feature film before I turned 40, which is like one of those milestones. Like if you’re a filmmaker addressing a feature from, it sets you like above 99% of the rest of people who make films because it’s very, very difficult to make a feature film. And very few people actually get to do it. It’s sort of worth less these days than it used to be, but it really was when I grew up. It was the gold standard. Have you done that? You’ve made it. Except the fact is you haven’t made it. You’ve made a film, so what? You go to the Cannes Film Festival, you go to the market there, and there’s 4000 other people selling a product that is basically indistinguishable from yours in the market. And then there’s like this tiny veneer on top, where the money lies the money there, but most of the other products is garbage. It’s being sold to TV networks, and you’re part of that garbage. You’re in that garbage pile as a horrifying realization that actually, the thing that you thought was now your calling card that you’ve made, it was actually no more than a tiny, tiny, tiny bit of print in a catalogue, that would be basically turned into pulp in two weeks, and that as a horrible place to be. So, after that, I kind of went, well, what do I do now? And I realized that I would have to kind of get real, get back into the grind and making work that I didn’t want to make. And I had two kids at the time. And so, basically what happened was, I surrendered meekly to the God of commerce and said, I will now be a commercial director, and I will make commercials. That’s what it will be. And so, I just ended up making shit I hate it. And it sounds so entitled because I had budget. I had all the tools I needed. I had nice cameras and lights. I had all these other things that I had access to shoot things two or three times a month, that was paying the bills and by all accounts should have been happy made it. But every job you just like where’s me in all of this? Where’s the honesty Where’s the idea that I can take to the set and say, wow, that was a cool idea, we did it. And like it was so few and far between it, just grinds you down after a while. There’s only so many times you can go into a meeting about a coffee product and debate whether the vase next to the coffee machine should be this shade of blue or that shade of blue, because tell me? Who gives a fuck about the color of the vase? Nobody except the brand Nazis. So yeah, so that’s just kind of where I ended up. And I realized that in order to make the move back into the creative stuff that I wanted to do, I was gonna have to spend at least a year, probably two years putting every single penny I owned, into making a completely brand-new set of work. Just a completely brand new just, you know what the reflective what I actually wanted to be and wanted to do. But there was no guarantee that I would even be able to pull that off because it’s really hard to get those kinds of projects off the ground. You have to produce them yourself. You have to kind of get favors from everybody. It’s just expensive. And so, I was just thinking, like, how do I do this? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? And the question in my mind was always about money. It was like, the problem is money. I don’t have enough money. I’m smart enough to be able to figure this out. What I’ve been doing is chasing the stupid crazy thing and not using my brain properly. I can do this. No, I couldn’t. What happened was, I went down to a job in Belgium with my boss and while we were driving down, he told me about this thing that he bought, this cryptocurrency. And he told me, you know, I bought this thing, and now I could pay off my mortgage I was like, what is that? What Is a Cryptocurrency? What is this thing? I kind of knew about Bitcoin already and actually randomly bought some when I was researching some ideas about Silk Road, funnily enough back in the day I ended up buying Bitcoin, no idea where that Bitcoin is. So, while it’s somewhere I can’t access, I don’t even know how much I had. But I know I bought it off a site called pretty vicious in the UK. I don’t believe you know. No, it’s true. It’s absolutely true. It’s back in 2003. 

Okay, wow. 

Robin Schmidt: Yeah, madness. Absolute madness. I don’t know where it is. And, but then I completely forgotten about it. He told me about this thing. And I was like, I need to understand what this is. And then my brother-in-law just randomly said, you know, I might just give up my job as an architect and mine Bitcoin instead. Those two points triggered an idea. I went down the rabbit hole, and I never came back out, and I was just, that was 2017. I was just really just before the bull run really took off in 2017. Obviously, this thing is when, well, this is how you do it. This is how you solve money. I was taught a horrible lesson later in 2018, when it all came crashing down. But what I did learn during the course of that was, that this was a space like it’s thriving, that there were people here who were doing some interesting things and if I made friends with them, maybe that would lead to other things. The ICO craze was going on and there was so much to learn, so much to absorb. It was really fascinating and then off the back of that, just by random chance, a syndicate that I was a part, a major investment in harmony, had their seed rounds. So, they got access to the seed round of harmony and I was like, alright, I’m in. I mean, whatever this is, I’m in and just kind of became obsessed with this project called Harmony. Not because I thought it was going to be the greatest project in the world. I was actually a little skeptical of it to begin with, but because it was really easy to see who they were. They were this team in Silicon Valley, it was kind of fascinating how they had these Saturday barbecues. It just seemed interesting. And so, I just called them up and said, I was a seed investor. I think I could tell you a story in a really interesting way, would you be interested in that? Because what I’ve been thinking about was, crypto is powered by means, it’s powered by storytelling. But the storytellers in the space were either scam artists or just kind of meme artists. And there wasn’t anything in between it was more substantial but wasn’t scammy at that time. And so I thought maybe if I’m good at content I’m I have a place in this space. So that was it. I rang out harmony, we discussed it for about a year, weren’t able to really kick it on. They wanted to do a documentary about the project. I said yeah, we can definitely do that, but we need some budget. And then I just took a chance, bought a ticket, flew over and went to meet them. Well enough the back of their in the room, I pitched them a different idea and they bought it in the room. About three months later, we realized that the best place for me to be probably was working for harmony. So, I joined them as their creative director and that was 2019. So, that’s kind of when defi was just emerging and harmony was a layer one shading protocol. It was about high speed. It was about exciting, new blazing fast applications. EOS was still big back then and defi was starting to emerge. And there was this growing narrative around defi. Funnily enough, it was another grain narrative around a kind of exciting Korean project, that was really gaining traction that no one was really paying attention to, but everyone thought it was going to be a big deal. Especially our Korean team members. It was called Terror, believe it or not. And so, in my role with harmony, I quickly pivoted to video because I was their creative director and I was helping write communications and shipping with ideas around marketing, but I realized that the best job I could do for them was video. So, we just got the office here. We got a little camera. I started producing videos for them. And then I just realized that we would have no footprint in defi, we would miss the entire defi movement unless we did something. There was no way we hear any protocols to build on harmony at that point. It was to say, we were just about to kind of build a bridge that was the first kind of instance of the harmony, right edge. And so, I thought we may complement the best content about defi and tell the story of defi, then we might have something. So, in order to do that I needed to partner up with one of the two defi newsletters at the time, one of which was bankless and the other was The Define. So, those are your two sources for defi, and I just decided I would get really good at understanding Define, really good at explaining defi. And I called them both up or I emailed them both. Brian Sean Adams messaged me about once, he laughs about this now on Twitter. He ghosted me after that, because I was working for harmony, didn’t want anything to do with it. So, I could have ended up working back this didn’t. I ended up working with Camilla at The Define. And he always just started telling the story of what was going on, like the car launch with Wi Fi. With all these products that now just seem kind of weirdly established and not that exciting. But you forget like when defi summit happened. They were the most exciting games in town. It was just, there was this incredible energy around fair launch. We were just coming out of the PTSD of like an extended, painful bear market. And suddenly there was this rush around food tokens, like sushi and like pickles and like all this stuff and just bizarre, yams like all this stuff, so much experimentation. And ponds omics around these yield farms, everything else It was wild. So, we were telling those stories. And what I realized was, there’s a Bloomberg way to tell that story. And there’s the shit coin channel way to tell that story and then it was a different way which was, how did they feel? They were like, yeah, the really random weird way. And so, I just started doing stuff like, I would be really seriously telling you a story and then I just get hit in the face of the banana. So, like with the curve launch, because curve is curved, and bananas are curved. I thought this story is bananas. What I just tell the entire thing using bananas as a metaphor, and I had a banana was a ton of fun and I got hit in the face of the banana. Just riffing on that. And it became like a little signature thing. I just do these really weird videos and I we spent nothing on them. But the creativity was there for people to see, and it became a kind of running thing. And then when the sushi, chef Nomi rubbed on sushi and ran off with a million bucks. He just really painfully awkward messages on Twitter, how he’s not a bad guy. And then we turn that into a country and western song because Tiger king just come out at the time and there was a song; I saw a Tiger. So, I turned the story of sushi into a country in western ballets and people just went nuts for it. And they just kept doing stuff like that. And then we did a story of pickles, pickles is an amazing one. We did the whole thing in rap. So, just like I learned how to rap and then we recorded like four different rap songs, to tell the story of this stuff. And then we did one where was like this, the world’s longest most involved hack as an R&B slow jam. So, I just improvised like Drake slow down thing, because like why? Who does that? Like that was the medium expression for me. So, I was just taking a thing, that doesn’t deserve to have any creativity whatsoever, that isn’t interesting and just doing that. And I think that’s just kind of what got me on people’s radars and got me into a position where, when it came to launching my own thing, I was in a position to ask for investment in a way that they weren’t going to love right? So that’s what we ended up doing.

The Process of Finding a Creative Voice

Which we’ll get into in a sec. But during this entire story you were telling me prior to defi, you had trouble sort of finding yourself, you were asking yourself, where’s me and all this? And when you got into crypto in web three you found that me. You found your creative voice, your creative self in the content you were creating. I’m curious sort of like what was that process like for you. Because I feel like a lot of people they go through their mundane jobs, trying to find them in their work, and they can’t really discover that and you found this outlet with this level of freedom, right? Where you could explore that. What was that process like?

Robin Schmidt: Well, you’re gonna say my life has been a succession of modest successes that present as failures. So, I started this journey back in 2002 with no experience in filmmaking, but a lot of kind of creative energy. And I managed to parlay that into being good at editing and so I was always able to kind of take my ideas and express them through editing. And it’s always been, it’s always been kind of in there, but it was never schooled. And so, what I, what I’m really good is pastiche. So, it’s taking something that’s already out there and satirizing it and making a pastiche version of it. I’m really good at that. And it’s sort of a superpower, but it actually gets in the way because what it doesn’t force you to do is come up with your own idiosyncratic way of doing things. And so, I think a lot of my work, probably up to, like 2012 was that. It was a really capable pastiches of things that looked credible and was credible, wasn’t that original. And then in 2012, I met my kind of partner in crime, Simon, who was the other half of Supermassive. The Supermassive is actually two of us, and he unleashed the beast of me and the only I was able to kind of just really go after creative stuff. We launched on YouTube and went massively viral, and never did anything with it. And it was one of the greatest regrets of my life that we just weren’t able to take that viral success and run with it. Because I had two kids and I decided to prioritize my family and Simon went off and became an actor and did really well with that. But we really nailed it. Like we really probably nailed it in 2012. Imagine that we, if we kept going, we would have been Mr. Beast, before Mr. Beast. I have no idea, who knows, probably would have given up within a year. But that was the moment I realized that I knew where I was, what it wants to be. The hot pie is then convincing people who have money to back that, because what you end up doing is then shaving off the edges to sanitize it, so that they will back you rather than sticking to your guns. And that’s just because being a filmmaker is the fastest way to get poor. It really is, you just bring you broke because everything is just a struggle to make money. So, it hasn’t, wasn’t necessarily a question of me finding me. It was finding the mechanism by which I could continue to be me and would not bankrupt me. Again, solving the money problem. Because, you know, I promised my wife I wouldn’t just go chasing windmills again and crazy ambitious stuff. Because I’d been trying to get into Hollywood and trying to get a feature film off the ground. And every time it just felt like this impossible journey. And I think what I hadn’t realized was that there was a different way. And if I was open to that different way, then it would happen. I realize that it did happen. I was open to that different way but where it came from was a list, she was creatively dead, I think around about 2019. All the creative energy in me have gone, because I just been making crap. I hated it. I’m being forced to just churn out this crap I hated. And it sounds ridiculous, but I’ve been doing it for like two and a half years at that point, just making mindless coffee commercials and mindless vacuum cleaner commercials and like, it’s fine. It’s good when you’ve, when you’re like a youngster and you’re learning the craft and everything else and it’s good discipline. You learn good craft with the agencies, everything else but like creatively, it’s horrific, and it just grinds you down. So, I was completely dead and the thing that I did was I just started making the most ridiculous gifts. The most ridiculous gifts I could possibly make for, like for anyone. I call them Deluxe gifts and they were like 40 seconds long these gifts. And they had like full storylines, that exquisite visual effects and then there were the gifts that no one else would make. And just absurd things I’d lifted from different films and put different heads on and stuff. Like they still exist on telegram, so you can, let me just see if I can find it now. If you’re gonna telegram, there’s a channel called Deluxe gifts, I think.

Just created a bunch of gifts and stitch them.

Robin Schmidt: And they’re all in it. Yeah, no and I just made like a shit ton of gifts, and I would do them on the train on the way into work. And they made me happy. It really is.

Can you share your screen? Can I see this?

Robin Schmidt: Yeah, I can share my screen.

Where do we find this? Bottom, at the bottom.

Robin Schmidt: So, there you go. That’s Deluxe gifts. Yes, it’s true. 2019 like, wow, ridiculous. I mean, these gifts will be like 300 megs, like just entirely stupid and try with tons of visual motion graphics and stuff out. Yeah, just so much stupid stuff. So yeah, you can still find that and yeah, so that’s what I did. 


Robin Schmidt: So, that reignited the creativity of man and it’s kind of saved me to a degree. Staged for what I then ended up doing, which is just the same thing but just amped up and ramped up. And then more, more regularly, there’s the insane frequency with which you have to produce when you’re doing a YouTube channel. Especially when we’re you’re chasing news stories and like it’s every day you have to come up with a new story, you have to come up with a new script, you have to come up with a new piece of content. Here’s a new protocol that you have to learn in an hour and then present a video and as if you know exactly what it’s talking about. And like some of the stuff in defi, it’s pretty high-level stuff.

Robin’s System for Creating Content

So, let me ask you. Have you developed sort of like a lien process and being able to understand a topic, build a storyboard and turnout content, recorded, edited and published? Is there a certain system you’ve built for yourself?

Robin Schmidt: So, at The Defined we did have that. Yes, because it was the only way we could survive. And just to break it down, like on a Monday, I would have to come in and write the story of the weekend. Called a quick take, knock it out. That was a write that presented and then it would get given to the editor and he would edit out. On a Tuesday we’ll have a tutorial, so we’re trying to do the tutorial on the Monday as well. So, then I sit down, go through something that I thought was interesting, and then try and figure out how to do a tutorial on it. It might have been a presentation that I’d have to do. Then on the Wednesday, we would have first look, so we take something new, something interesting, break it down and try and understand why it was interesting. We turn that into spicy ones. So, we looked for something that was particularly spicy in the market, and that I would do that review while eating hot sauce. That was interesting. And then on a Thursday, we’d have a live show, so we’d have to put the guests for the live show. Who would come on in the night, we’d have to prep to interview them. We also did a show for real vision, where we take topics and break them down, with the team at real vision, whether it’s Ash Pennington or Rob Howell. And then on Friday, we do what we call the fire weekly, which was a longer film, a longer story. So, maybe I was breaking down the Cardanol ecosystem or I was taking a look at specific types of hacks that have been going on. Something like that. And with that one, we’d have we shoot like a minute and a half of a cold open, which is basically just a disconnected piece of creative content that would just lead in. And that was a chance for us to flex some creative muscles. And that was always something that we try and come up with early in the week, but it would always end up be like Thursday afternoon to have to write it. And then the scripts themselves to fire weekly script is usually about 10 pages. So that process was just write, write, write, write, write, write, you have to kill the analysis paralysis, you have to be able to sit down and start writing. And then this is the thing that I think will shock people. I never edited my scripts. 

Really, not once. 

Robin Schmidt: I gave him a long script for The Define weekly. Then there needed to be quotes and things going in. I would do that, and I’d write them asynchronously. So, I’d have like a chunk here that I wanted to write, but like anything else I didn’t rewrite it. And like the tutorials the first looks, they were literally recorded as they came out. No readers. That was it. That was our Lean process. I just got really good at reading off and off the queue, writing a script and being able to present a topic without stuttering.

Wow. Impressive.

Robin Schmidt: But that’s the lean process and the rest of it in terms of the writing is just my tone of voice and the way I do things; I think comes out quite analytically. So, I’ll start a sentence when I’m talking and I kind of go okay, this is what I want to get to. This isn’t where I’m going next. And this is how I make it round off to a conclusion. It’s just in my head now. So, that’s it, that was the lean process. And then for the rest of it, just knowing that basically, when you get stuff into the edit, you need to shorten the time between hitting the editor’s plate and the time they can publish. So that’s why we scripted everything if we need, if he wasn’t able to piece with scripts. So, you know you see YouTubers who do lots of jump cuts because they just get on, they talk. And then they cut out the bits of the boring and they just get this all the time, but I’m sentences and it’s unwatchable for me. So, I scripted it. And then the editor can look at a script and you’ve put the links to all the payroll in the scripts. And again, it’s literally pieced together from that script. And even when they start editing, you can still be piecing together new bits of payroll dropping it in. All the links are there, and they just have a blueprint for the edit and then it’s like pretty quick to put it together. So that’s how we did it.

So, fast forward a bit, Robin, you leave The Define, you start BasedAF media. Congrats.

Robin Schmidt: Thank you big time. I am now a founder.

You are now a founder. How does that feel like?

Robin Schmidt: I know it feels good. It feels like the natural point to get to. I think all of the things that I’ve been learning to do, and I’ve been working on over the last three years from Harmony, were even from the vacuum cleaning commercials to be honest. There is a reason I’ll come back to that. But it was all leading up to this point. I always wanted to have my own version of a web three property. And I’ve just been able to meet so many interesting and amazing people along the way, that it would have been a shame if I hadn’t gone this route. As hard as it is because it is hard. It’s been kind of gratifying to see how good the conversations were with the first round of investors, the people we talked to initially to get going with this, to see where we could go with that and that’s been really good. And now, all the crazy ideas I have or the crazy things that I want to do, I’m allowed to say yes to them. And I have a team around me that gets a little scared. But they say yes to them too, because they will want to try doing interesting and weird things. And then like, you know, that comes with it’s own challenges, obviously.

Differences in Creative Freedom Now vs. at Harmony and The Defiant

Is there an example of something you wanted to do while working at harmony or The Define and that you couldn’t do, that you can now do now?

Robin Schmidt: Yes. There was a very good example of that. So, I recognized that the metaverse was going to be a thing. Like a really big thing and a really juicy topic summer 2021. And coincidentally at the time, because it was during the pandemic, there was more of a focus on V tubers, and on indie mocap, most of motion capture. So, I was following a guy called Matt Webb and he was building a motion capture studio in his basement basically, but he wasn’t building it using a suit. He was building it using multiple cameras arranged around his room and at the same time we were seeing all this stuff coming out of the Mandalorian. So Unreal Engine being used in like full Hollywood productions as digital backdrops as a digital studio in a sense, and all that stuff was fascinating. Because one of the challenges I had here was that I always shoot in the same room and it’s very difficult. The moment we leave the office and go and shoot externally, we lose half a day. It’s just the nature of the beast. Even if you just step outside for a bit, you lose so much time in the process of packing up a camera, going outside, going to a location, even if it’s nearby. It just wastes a ton of time and under the schedule that we run. We can do that. So, I was always looking for ways to add more value into the studio that we had. Unreal Engine was clearly a tool that was going to be a major component in production in the future. It’s a way of transporting you to different places. It’s a way of saving money. It’s a way of you know, having a smaller environmental footprint when you’re producing and it’s photorealistic. And it’s all these incredible things. What we also saw as these PFP characters, that had these 3d assets attached as well, I was like we can connect these two things. We can tell stories about the metaverse, from within a platform that feels like the metaverse. And so, that’s what I wanted to do, and we went quite a long way in exploring how he would do that and building digital sets, trying to film in Unreal and every time we did it, we would just hit this massive wall. It’s just on the one hand on Unreal is incredible, because it allows you to bring in all of these incredible, photorealistic assets from the mega scans’ library, the mega scans library, this huge ever growing photo scan library of anything you want, really, and they keep adding new things to it, but like it could be a cocaine. It could be a rock, it could be a tree, it could be a desert. It’s all there. It’s all free. It’s part of Unreal Engine, you can use Unreal Engine for free. It’s this incredible thing. And it’s very, very easy to assemble a scene and add environmental things to it and get built up. For once you start getting into the world of having a character and having a skeleton and retargeting motion capture data onto that character and having that character function in the way that you want it to, exponentially the world gets a lot a lot harder. So, you can’t just pick it up and use it, not the way we want it to. And so, what I wanted to do was build this digital backdrop, build a motion capture studio and be able to tell stories in a Metaverse like environment with the same rapidity and the same ease as we did all the live action stuff. I have now built that studio, because that’s what I want to do. But what it’s turned out to be is it needed a significantly larger investment in order to make that happen. One has to define, wasn’t in any hurry or any needs to make. So, it was always gonna be on me to find that, so that that’s been the biggest thing. And if you’re looking for a USP for what BasedAF will be about, it’ll be there. The live action stuff, we’re really good at it, like I think I can present pretty well. I can make a good kind of funny video of me tripping over my ass or running a marathon in the metaverse and all these kind of things. And that will always be important because, you know, people still need to see real people and real things going on but the work we’re doing to hook up game engines, were three native properties, motion capture, and live streaming all together, plus some form of chat GPT powered environment modeling at the same time. There isn’t anybody else doing that right now. Certainly not in the way that we’re planning on doing it. And we’re only ever going to be able to get good at it by doing it badly every day for the next year, until the point at which we go. Now we’ve got it because that’s so difficult and it’s so idiotic to do that, that nobody will try because it’s too difficult. And there’s no way of monetizing it unless you’re doing what we’re doing. But as of course over the course of doing that, we’ll end up, I think coming up with a brand-new entertainment and a way of making shows that is completely original and completely new. And that’s what I’m excited about. It’s taking models of entertainment and using the metaverse as a canvas to explore what those can be and how they can be and that for me is really exciting. As much as I love the live action shooting beautiful videos. It’s not exactly something we can share, claim ownership of, even though in the web three spaces, mobile video production is terrible. That kind of complete kind of reimagining of how we make stories and how we make particularly live stuff, plugging in music, everything else. That’s what gets me up in the morning.

The Third Pillar of the Creator Economy

So, your vision of this new world of entertainment when an end user encounters it, what is your goal with making them feel?

Robin Schmidt: So, I want them to feel that they’re experiencing something that they’ve never experienced before and that they can be part of that. What are the, one of the key things about them I suppose is, it’s about social presence. It’s about being able to share something with somebody else. And you only have to go back to the testimonials of people who were at the fort like Travis Scott concert, and even that, even though it wasn’t actually thousands of people in the same instance of the game at the same time, it was quite kind of guarded all of that. They still felt like they were part of something very special. And that has always stuck with me, how we create that experience meaningfully and repeatedly. So, I want people to feel like they’re in a room with other people. We’re already experimenting with VR, and particularly VR chat and how to create experiences in there. But it’s that sense of togetherness. Like you’re with your mates at a rave that kind of thing, except there could be anywhere in the world and that could be a tomato or cucumber, or you know, a monkey, whatever. That is the thing but the world that you’re in is alive and responsive to you, as much as you are to each other. That should be really, really entertaining. Again I don’t really know how it’s gonna play out because I don’t but what we’ve been given is the opportunity to experiment and figure it out. 

Yes, this concept really quick and not to cut you off but you kept emphasizing that you want it to feel like people are part of something, right? And the best way to integrate that is through NFTs right? Have them collect something, have some upside and some incentive to be a part of the community, have a tool to vote on things depending on what your goal is. Right? Is that where I’m getting at or you’re envisioning and another form of integration?

Robin Schmidt: No, you’re absolutely right. We have a community with the base heads. We have a 10k collection, which we dropped beginning of January, and that represents our superfans. It’s our core audience. The reason we did it that way is, we didn’t have to because just build this thing without is energy is a really fun way of bootstrapping a community. And like you say making a community feel like they have ownership of something. What that is, I don’t think anybody really knows because we’re co creating it. We are the creators and like I think we’re amongst the best content creators in web three. And so, right, we should lead the way. And when we have products like fries Cola, which we make the commercials for, or fries primer, which we made the commercials for. These are real products that we make a really fun, nice fake ads for and these are what we call anti brands, they’re not brands, they’re anti brands. But they’re things that we’re gonna be able to give to our community to have ownership of as well. And I’ll get into more of that in a second. But the idea of having these NFTs, they’re amazing distribution mechanism as well. Because they let you know where your audience is, and they allow you to give them something very quickly and painlessly. And we were looking at things like live streaming and having live, minting during a stream and understanding the shape of your audience in terms of their wallets, which is a data point that’s never been available before. But a really interesting one. And when people look at our collection, they see the blue-chip holders index is really high, even though distribution is relatively low, and the floor price is where it’s at. They can see that the quality of the actual owner is very high relatively speaking in the space, and that’s pretty meaningful. So, you can do this similar kind of thing with your analytics on stream. And one of the things I’m really keen to explore and keen to try and build is what I call the third pillar of the creator economy. So, the creator economy is like, it this weaponized cloud machine where it’s build an audience and monetize the fuck out of that audience by doing X, X and X. And those three things are, you know, you watch a million YouTube videos that like you should be doing this, you should be doing this, you should be doing this. And it’s all about retention hacks and retention tactics and keeping your audience and treat, you know, treating the algorithm like your bitch and all this stuff. And none of that sounds like creativity to me. It all sounds like extracting the maximum revenue from each click that you possibly can. So, what are you going to do? You’re just going to engineer those clicks. I hate that shit. I honestly do. I understand it’s a game. I do. But if I watched like Mr. Beast videos, I find it impossible to enjoy them anymore because I know that I’m just like a toddler. And he’s determined to make me not look away. And it makes it really hard to enjoy them. And that’s, you know, that’s just attention to ethics and you know, building an audience taken to like the maximum level. So, this idea of monetizing your audience. I mean, it’s fair enough you’re building a business, you’re doing all these kinds of things, but it becomes it’s such a cost and it feels unwholesome. There are like these influences called Andre Jake and Graham Stefan and I was in the similar space doing defi and I you know, I used to see them talk about Bitcoin surpassing utter rubbish about this space and what it was about, and I used to call them out. But like these kinds of massive audiences, their CPM cost per million to advertise them, is massive because they you know, they’re there for influencers. So, a credit card company will pay a lot for another on their channel to reach their audience. Just like this is whole shit. I think they; Graham Stephens, probably earning like, seven, 8 million a year on AdSense and deals that he makes, she just paid it. So, my third pillar is what I call share the spoils. So, it’s like yeah, build an audience, monetize that audience. That’s the game. Okay. Well, what can we do to share those soils with our community? Like NSC is not the perfect solution to that, but they open up a dialogue with the community in a way that will start to help to make that possible. You know, there’s this concept of full time a fan that I’m really excited about, which is if someone really loves your content, and they’re willing to go to bat for you. Like, share it, spread the word, maybe contribute ideas, then that could be considered a job and if it’s a job then they get paid for it. Isn’t that weird? Like web three goes, no, that’s not weird, we can do that. And then they spit out a token and you go; I don’t want a token. I want a token. This guy again will cut off my balls if I have a token. So, what’s the option? The answer is we don’t know at this point. There is no regulatory clarity and that’s the problem. So, until we have that, we won’t know how to do a sensible token model for this. So, we had to figure out other ways of doing it. And one of the things that we looked at before we even launched was, creating a wallet that we had no control over, giving it to a Dao and all the AdSense revenue or the click base revenue that we’ve made. Because that’s what AdSense revenue is and you can call it whatever you want, but it’s that, it’s performance related pay, and it should be a bonus to everything else you’re doing. We convert that USDC, give it to this wallet, walk away. But we can’t do that. As simple as that might sound, it just ends up then being a sales pitch for a product based on the work that you do, and not the work that someone else does. And so, we have to think of ways for our community to do work and be rewarded for it. Rather than them just getting a share of what we do, because we run afoul of securities laws, which we don’t need at this point. So, you know, we’re looking different ways to do that. And obviously, there are perks that come with it. You know, we will have content that only token holders can access. We will have exclusive drops, like when we do fries, there’ll be a drop for that, physical drop as well as a digital drop, and there’ll be benefits to token holders. But one of the things we actually are doing and trying to integrate as much as possible is, having token holders be part of the show. Because we in the metaverse you want them to show up and what we want is for our base ads to be a mob, that show up on mass in areas that we designate and say right basically here, now it’s a party. So, we’re training them in how to use VR chat and turn up and be part of it with us. They when I ran an ultra-marathon in the various Metaverse last weekend, there were like six people that ran with me. I say ran but there was pushing forward on their joysticks for six hours, more 7, 8. One of them ran me the whole time. She literally couldn’t move her thumb the next day. That is wild but that’s, you know, that made it all worthwhile because we prove the point. We didn’t just put on an event; I didn’t just run in a digital game. It was the actual act of being socially present with other people while suffering my ass off. That was really meaningful. So, I think for me having the ability to bring other people in, bring community members into a game. So, we do like a Mr. Beast type game where you know, it’s the first to let go of an object. So, the last leg of an object wins 10 grand or something. We’ll be building those in the metaverse, and they’ll only be accessible for holders of the NFT. So, you know, the core audience. So, all sorts of things like that.

The Concept of Full-Time Fans

I’m curious, this concept of the full-time fan. So, first time I hear about this keyword, the full-time fan and it actually makes a lot of sense. I feel like there’s other analogies that people use in web three that kind of allude to this idea of shared ownership and aligned incentives. My question to you though is, do fans want that because it seems as if like they’re doing just fine, and showing up to the Mr. Beast small impacts without having any sort of rev share with them or maybe the slight chance to win a million dollars from Mr. Beast in the rare scenario, they have been up on his video, right? And he’s an outlier, but this concept of the full-time fan, do fans want that and why?

Robin Schmidt: I think if you offered it to them. If you said to Mr. Beast’s fans, you can be a full time fan, they would jump at it. Because most people who say they want to be a YouTuber lack the talent or the persistence or the creativity to pull that off. Let’s be honest, they can do it. You know, they can find an audience but to get to that scale, because that’s really what they want. They want to be at that scale and be that successful. I think they really struggle, so having a chance to be part of a successful creator’s life, endeavors, be part of that. I think they would. Yeah. 100%. So, it’s not my job to persuade other creators that this is a meaningful path forward. All I can do is advocate for a more holistic version of this relationship, because any creator of any size will talk about the para social relationship, which is your audience thinks they know you. They think they are close to you. They think they have a window into the secrets of your life, because you choose to share so much with them. And that relationship is very much one sided. But for the audience, they genuinely feel that way. I’ve had this thing where people come up to me, and they will be specific and like, I don’t know you, but they feel like they know you because they’ve spent so much time listening to talk about stuff. Right? And the thing they say is, you’re a bit taller than I thought you were. You be sure, she couldn’t see the guys are bankers then, remember we tall here. So yeah, so that relationship is it’s definitely, I think it’s 100% the case. But it’s very difficult to pull it off. It’s very difficult to make it worse. You have to run experiments. I didn’t come up with this by the way. It’s called Blake Robins. You can check them out on Twitter, Blake IR, he’s one of those guys. It’s just like, you know when people are just like they’ve got it. This made it, they did it. He is a principal at benchmark. He’s an investor. He’s like 23 or something, sickening, horrifying how successful he’s been, but what one of the things he did, I’ve got the wrong Blake. But yeah, he’s the guy that invested in 100 Thieves and became obsessed with eSports and just nailed it. And he started writing about this during the pandemic and because obviously everyone was writing tons of threads during the pandemic because that’s all they could do. But he was specifically talking about how NFTs might be able to empower that, like social tokens might be able to empower them. Personally, I hate social tokens as a concept. I won’t touch them, don’t want to go there. But there’s definitely a mechanism by which this might be able to play out. And so, all we’re trying to do is, work with the community that we have to try and figure that out in real time. And being as blatantly honest as we can about that, as well. 

Defining “Great Content Worth Collecting”

if there’s one community that comes to mind or one person that comes to mind that fits into the context of season sevens theme of creating content that’s worth collecting. You’re like the first person that pops up in my head, from the content that you created on The Define and all the creativity and energy that you put into actually constructing these videos. It’s mad, it’s content that’s worth collecting. When you hear that phrase, what do you think about that? Because I think we’re getting into this new primitive of web three media, with tokens enabling so much more, that we actually couldn’t have in sort of like traditional industries. So, when you think of that phrase, great content worth collecting, what comes to your mind?

Robin Schmidt: I hope that’s what we’re doing. That’s what I’ve been trying to get to, like I make compilation tapes, we used to make compilation tapes of The Define of all the funny little bits that were just kind of scattered throughout the videos. Because we’d often just insert a joke for no apparent reason and spend like three hours shooting it, when we only had an hour because we wanted them to be like memorable moments. Video is this kind of throwaway thing and like digital art has like a GIF, or an X copy GIF, somehow more artistic value and artistic merit than the short form stuff that I’ve made. And I kind of always find that a bit weird. I know whatever so what we did in the same light, so you’re likely the first person who’s ever said that to me, and it’s kind of nice to hear it. But I hope that we have, we’re able to make stuff is worth collecting. We’re certainly trying to build out a type of performance art that is 360 and is weird like, like again running the ultra-marathon, that was a piece of performance art. Obviously, it was a nine-hour livestream, and it was mad as tats, but it was you know, it was the thing. Is trying to create an image of yourself or a legend of yourself that transcends and that is worth collecting, 100%. If you told me, for instance that I could gain access to Nick Wilding reference notebook, or his sketches for drive, the film, I’d be all over that. Like I have the jacket from Drive. It’s this gold Scorpion drivers jacket quilted. I wear it without shame in public and people go; I love your jacket, where’d you get it? So, what it’s actually from this film, it’s from Drive by Nick Wilding, Raven. So, but anyway, I’m a cinephile. I love their shits. So, what I’m trying to do is become the wilding ref and who’s an obscure director. There you go.


All right. I’m excited for your journey. I’m excited to see all that base media has in store. Robin, before, I let you go, and we wrap up the interview. Where can we learn more about what you’re working at? What should we look forward to in the coming months? Show it away.

Robin Schmidt: So, we call ourselves a metaverse content monster. As a big promise, it demands, it is a lot of content. So, it’s a three-prong strategy, right? So, we’re doing live streams, long form YouTube content, and short form vertical. So those three prongs are basically what they call the triple threat and the content itself will be arranged around. Firstly, big stun ideas hooked into and connected to the metaverse, but not always necessarily set in the metaverse. But think, like Mr. Beast from like three years ago, because no one can compete with his scale right now. But I think three years ago, we can gather so big cash giveaways, big kind of crazy challenges, that kind of thing. And then my own unique brand of storytelling around that, that’s the long form. So, that’ll be a really juicy like alternative to Netflix for you. The kind of thing you should tune in using your TV’s built in YouTube app. Like sit down, watch it, enjoy it, we’re gonna blow your mind with what we came up with. Then, we’ll have these vertical videos, so we’re developing vertical formats, but we’ll also do like sidebars, which would be like for running a marathon metaverse. How do we do it? Like how do you run in VR? So, we can do a little feature on the machine itself, teach a little bit. There are concepts in the metaverse coming up all the time. We’ll do a little short form videos about that. And we’ll probably have some news as well. Probably quite soon, because there’s always stuff to talk about the metaverse, I think people are interested. So more regular short form. And then like I said formats, so one of the ones we want to do is called metaverse mansions. Is basically cribs, and we’ll just go through and rip the shit out of people’s metaverse bills, and you spent 200 grand on these bollocks. There’s anyone there, do you use it? You’re an idiot. It’ll be along those lines. And then the live streams will be, there’s definitely going to be some gaming in there because like there is some okay guy’s games that we need to live stream, to figure that out. Or like, you know, the marathon event was a nine-hour live stream, that was nuts, with lots of entertainments thrown in as well. So that’s the kind of Triple Threat, metaverse themes, which is like a niche, which is the biggest niche of all time, because it covers everything, which is why I love it so much. It’s like, you know, everyone treats it like this tiny little subcategory, but actually, it’s the big category of everything. So, from an advertising perspective or brand integration perspective, that’s exciting. So, sort of partnerships there to be had. And just like make a ton of really entertaining videos, basically.

All right. I’m excited for you. I’m rooting for you. We’re gonna have to do a check in soon sometime. 

Robin Schmidt: For sure. You’re going to treat your class of season seven with respect. 

Yes, yes, absolutely. But until then, I wish you the best. Thank you for being on season seven, and I will see you next time.

Robin Schmidt: Thank you much for having me.