HODL Podcast Episode 15 was originally published on September 8, 2023.
Join Drew from Holder and special guest, Thomas Pan from the Ethereum Foundation and author of the newsletter Web3 with TPan. In this episode, they discuss OpenSea royalties, the Grayscale court win over the SEC, the Uniswap lawsuit being thrown out, and an overview of Friend.tech.
- OpenSea is sunsetting the Operator Filter which is changing creators' fees and royalties. (link)
- The court sided with Grayscale in the lawsuit against the SEC which had denied the Grayscale’s application to convert the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust to an ETF.
- The court dismissed a lawsuit against Uniswap, claiming that Uniswap was responsible for the scam tokens that were on the protocol. (Hayden's Twitter Thread)
- A deep dive into the new web3 social platform, Friend.tech. (Friend.tech Part 1 from TPan) (Friend.tech Part II from TPan)
Holder is a CRM and marketing automation platform for web3 brands and creators. They help businesses engage and communicate with their customers on the blockchain. With Holder, companies can manage customer data, track user engagement and automate marketing processes. For more information visit our website.
Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below:
Welcome back everybody to the Hold On For Dear Life podcast. This is brought to you by the Holder team. We are a web3 CRM and customer engagement platform. And we love web3 NFTs and everything in between.
We recently started a podcast about 14 episodes ago just to kind of share the headlines around news in the space and kind of what they mean for businesses for brands and everything along those lines. And today, we have a very special guest joining us our good friend, Thomas Pan, also known as TPan in the web3 world.
He's a web3 growth and marketing consultant and deep growth background at Uber and many early stage startups in San Francisco. Today works with the Ethereum Foundation, but then also has just an incredible newsletter, I would definitely highly recommend it is one of my must reads on all things web3 and nfts tpan. substack.com is where you can go and subscribe to that.
So Welcome Thomas super excited to have you on the podcast. Thanks so much for joining us and being our guest co-host here today.
Yeah, Drew, thanks for having me. Great to chat and hang out and very humbled with that great intro.
I'm just on a journey, like everyone else learning, absorbing, trying to be up to date with the million headlines and all the different opinions and thoughts happening and trying to find some signal within a lot of noise and, you know, noise that's still valuable because it really shows the diversity of thoughts, opinions in such an exciting and fast moving space.
I love it.
I had this in my bullet points of the intro too, and I forgot to mention this, but Thomas is also a part of the jump community. With me and a number of the Holder team members, which is where, I believe you and I first originally met. And so that's just another shout out.
I feel like to jump community and the folks behind that Jeff and Chris and everyone, but then just to the community itself, that's kind of built there. It's pretty incredible. And I feel like I've had so many great people like Thomas along the way. So it's fun just to see that continue to be a convener of awesome people and awesome ideas.
Okay. So to hit off our podcast today, one of the big news items we have is all around royalties. So open sea, this was last week we're recording this on September 6th. So it may have been, you know, a week and a half or so ago for most people, but. OpenSea announced that they are sunsetting the operator filter kind of completely changes the way that they originally took their approach to creator fees.
Originally they created the operator filter, which is basically a smart contract parameter to enforce royalty fees. Originally they made this to give creators more control by how they restricted the sale of their collections to web3 marketplaces that did enforce the real, royalties that they wanted to collect on their contracts.
On August 31st OpenSea made all of these creator fees completely optional saying that it reflects the core aspects of decentralized technology, ownership, and choice. And then I think just like broadly, you know, this has been happening for months now, all the way back to the launch of Blur that was completely royalties optional, you know, you could pay 0% royalties on Blur. Blur was just eating OpenSea's lunch, OpenSea went all after, like, we're going to take a stance, you know, we believe in creator royalties and kind of just even in the post that they outlined, which we'll put kind of the link in the show notes, I think that strategy just is not, Worked, you know, I mean, in that the market has not kind of responded well to that strategy.
And so they're kind of updating with like what they need to do to survive and I think kind of find new ways to live. But all of this, I think kind of begs the question of. What happens to the future of royalties and like what happens to the future of these NFT projects to artists if Royalties are no longer a thing.
So maybe yeah thomas I don't know if you want to kind of start us off with just what was your kind of reaction when first reading this What's kind of been your thought around royalties, you know ever since blur really launched and kind of how are you thinking about? You know the future of royalties
Yeah, I think from a headline perspective, it's absolutely a bummer.
And I think market forces is probably one way to put it really led to this. Like you mentioned, blur was a catalyst that didn't necessarily come out from, come from left field, especially probably from open seas perspective, but, a lot of the players in the space understood that there was going to be, and there has been, and clearly as a result, there has been some degree of competition from a pricing standpoint with the percentage of those fees and transactions on secondary that go to either the company or the protocol itself and as well the creators.
So some of that initial promise you know a new and better way to monetize as a creator Exists in concept, but I think in reality today has faded away quite significantly especially over this year and late last year. So because as a business you know, imagining being in their shoes That they have had to compete and make these adjustments and announcements and going back to the creator standpoint many creators probably came in not only seeing web3 as a new avenue to create proliferate to market themselves to interact with a new community that really believes in digital goods, digital creations, things like that, but also to monetize and have a better means and potential for living everyone sort of understands that, you know, to a degree, the concept of a starving artist is true, and it is hard to really, quote unquote, make it right in any type of art form, and this provides better guardrails or ways to be more sustainably monetizing.
So this does take away and handicaps a lot of what that original promise is, and it's very disheartening for sure. I think the beauty of this space and what will probably happen in the coming weeks, months, and years is that because this technology is so powerful it can give and it could take away.
And so if we see that pendulum swinging towards this world of like, Hey, there's a new way to monetize secondary sales can really benefit creators. Now it's being taken away. People will respond. Right. So after the OpenSea announcement and even in the months leading up to this with the competition from other marketplaces and decreasing marketplace fees and royalties being sort of adjusted and messed around with we have seen responses from a creator standpoint and also from a marketplace standpoint.
So a few examples. One is actually Yuga labs responded a few days after this announcement mentioning that one, they clearly and understandably as creators themselves as a company don't really support the direction that this is going. So they're going to make moves. It was sort of a broad statement, but they're going to make moves to more or less create their own marketplace ecosystem.
And for Yuga you know, creators of board API club, crypto punk not creators, but now they own. The rights to the CryptoPunks collection, MeBits, Mutant Apes, Kennel, et cetera. And they have the resources to do such a thing either at least for their own Yuga ecosystem, but potentially also for something maybe white labeled, maybe built as a public good for other creators, collections, builders, etc..
So that's something to keep an eye out on because for Yuga they've, probably I don't know the exact number, but from a royalty standpoint or rather, you know, OpenSea takes a percentage of fees as well. You know, OpenSea has benefited definitely in the tunes of , at least low hundreds of millions of dollars in terms of their revenue from Yuga Labs.
So Yuga understands what that stake for themselves and they want to protect their own well being as a business on that front and hopefully for the rest of the industry. Another way that creators a little bit more on the individual level and pertains a little bit more for artists have responded to this is adjusting how they quote unquote get paid.
Right. If they can't rely on secondary one thing they can rely on is for example, if they have additions which is basically one piece of work and maybe they have a hundred copies of them, or they maybe release a generative art collection with, let's say a thousand pieces. What some of them are doing is actually, they hold back a percentage of that mint.
Right. So assuming that the price either stays a little bit more stable or it increases over time, they can actually mint and sell the remainder in a methodical fashion afterwards. Let's say, you know, if a certain. price point is reached or after a certain time has been, passed, they might mint the, you know, next 10 pieces out of the 200 left and then sell those at whatever the adjusted rate would be.
So that's another way to monetize. And it's not quite the same as like royalties from secondary market sales. But it's a way to create their own market based on the effort that they've done with their existing work and their own reputation that hopefully grows over time. So we're seeing more artists actually employ that approach as well.
And even collections, right? So, you know, you have, this isn't very common anymore, but like a 10 K profile picture, it does well, while the team actually might reserve 500 or 1000 of that mint for the team treasury. And then they might sell it strategically at a later point in the future so we see more of that, at least in the sort of proposed distribution.
Then lastly we're actually seeing other minting or other sort of creator platforms be more thoughtful about how they can reward or share revenues, or fees from their respective protocols to the creators themselves with this changing ecosystem.
A great example of this is Zora. Zora is a number of different players, but Zora is a platform where creators can come to mint collections, sell the collections on Zora, etc. They establish a pretty great brand and very creator friendly and aligned with those values. They actually have a protocol fee.
Manifold, I think started this, but essentially the, the context was like, okay, how did these platforms make money? Well, they charge approximately an ETH equivalent of like a dollar per mint. So even if it's a free mint they charge a dollar just because you're using the platform, which is great and understandable.
And it's a dollar, right? Like, I don't think anyone's going to complain per se about that. And it's to support that protocol on the platform. So what Zora has done, they recently announced. They actually have a revenue split of that protocol fee directly to the creator and they're incorporating other mechanics like referral mechanisms, which maybe the creator is the refer as well.
So they get to actually have an increased proportion of that fee. I think there's some creative approaches happening. To summarize it one, the creators are taking into their own hands. Like I mentioned, they reserve a portion of the mint two, larger organizations and corporations from the creator standpoint, for example, Yuga are going to take those matters into their own hands.
So fragmenting the ecosystem, but maybe a way to bring it all together because they build their own white labeled system or protocol to support all the creators. And what better than creators themselves finding the right solutions for themselves. And then lastly. Platforms themselves finding more reasonable, sustainable and middle of the ground approaches to maybe not sustain the original promise of, you know, secondary royalties because there is this aspect of permissionlessness where people who want to maximize their profits flipping or whatever it might be, just do what's best for them.
But then that can be addressed in these multiple different ways. It's very unfortunate, but at the same time, it's exciting to see how creators and other players in the ecosystem respond. I think that's the beauty of innovation.
Oh yeah. I think the sad cons case for me is artist royalties was like the one killer use case that we had that like nobody had to argue with, it was just, it made sense.
You know what I mean? It was like. It's artwork and like royalties get paid like clockwork programmatically, you know what I mean? And you could tell anybody about that and they got it and they're like, oh, yeah, like that's a good use of a blockchain.
It's just kind of sad to see like that was like one of the use cases that was real world use case, provided value to the world, and now kind of we're seeing it evaporate.
Even personally like that's where I came into a lot of web3 from is more on the music royalty side of things. I don't know if I've talked about this on the podcast before but I studied music business when I was in college early on and wanted to go work at you know, like Sony Records and stuff and be like an A& R rep and things and then I ended up pivoting into software and startups and marketing instead.
But I still love that world and just the business of that industry is really fascinating. And that's what a lot of web3 kind of what hooked me there was like thinking of music royalties, like ownership performance rights, you know, organizations, all these kind of things that start to get really complicated, especially when you're talking about IP and copyrights, royalties, and who gets paid what. Like, it should all just be programmable and on a blockchain and, you know, on a public ledger that everyone can see and verify that this payment was made because a sale happened.
And anyway, I loved that use case. It is a bummer to see all of that.
I think the exciting part is the kind of new creative ways that people will come up with to make money kind of in its place or to continue to extend royalties. Like the idea of this is programmable, you own the contract too.
And so how do you think of like, yeah, if you wanted a 10% royalty for every 10, you know, do it nouns now style, every 10 that gets minted, you know what I mean? Every 10th one gets minted back to your wallet or after every, you know, certain amount of money that exchanges and ETH on that contract, then maybe like you could kind of program it in even that then it mints another one on the contract to that vault wallet.
I mean, just this past week or two weeks ago Snowfro just minted the last two, Chromie Squiggles, even. And so, you've seen some of that.
If he kept a lot of them away and he had minted like 65 or so that he gave away to a bunch of friends and partners and Artblocks employees and things like that.
It's been really unique to see how he uses, the remaining crummy squiggles, even though that minted out, you know, year and a half or even more two years ago. I think there's a lot of uniqueness in there and kind of opportunities for really creative ways to do that.
Creative ways to find how to, reward people as well, like for paying royalties. Like, that's where I think too, like, we'll see more people lean in. Hey, I'm going to do an open edition. It's going to be a, burn to mint something new and all of this is on chain. You can see if people paid royalties or not or if they use Contracts and so if you you know use these contracts that makes you in the allow list to be able to you know, engage with my brand in the future.
The underlying technology I feel like it's all about just programmable incentives. And so like I think it just brings a lot of new creative ways for artists, for creators, for projects, companies, brands to figure out how do we incentivize the behavior we want? Then thirdly, I'm really excited for like just brand new revenue streams. Things that aren't even related to NFTs.
And so like we were talking right before the call, maybe if you want to share more about this Thomas, but like what pudgy penguins has done with their line of toys. It's just incredible. I think we'll see more and more brands like that's always been the goal.
I saw Bobby hundreds who started the hundreds streetwear brand.
I think this was at consensus this year, he was doing an interview with Kevin Rose and he was kind of joking about the fact that he created a streetwear brand that was trying to become an NFT company and all of his friends that are running NFT brands were coming to him like, dude, you're doing this the wrong way.
Like we all want to be streetwear, streetwear brands like you. And so, you know, for a long time, NFT projects have been wanting to be, bigger brands, wanted to sell physical goods and things like that. And so I think this will just push them more and more in that direction. Yeah. Allah Bobby hundreds and Adam bomb squad and their whole ecosystem.
But anyway, kind of Thomas, you want to maybe touch on, I think you said there was something like 10 million that pudgy penguins is going to do this year, just in top line toys.
Yeah, I think really quick before that programmable incentives that was something that you touched upon that I didn't add initially when I, was responding to that sort of headline, but that's going to be very big and it goes towards just creatively finding the solution or response to this, where it's sort of the carrot versus the stick approach, right? Or like if you're a coach of a team, whatever it might be in sports, like, do you want to have positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement? All of them are valid solutions or responses. Don't get me wrong, but generally positive reinforcement is just better or more encouraged, or longer term, more sustainable.
So like you said, this is all in the blockchain. When you purchase NFT or you sell something like I could see what I sold, whether there were royalties that were sort of, you know, X percent that were provided split up or, you know, it was a much smaller percentage.
I imagine there will either be certain tools or platforms that will help creators better understand the behavior of their sort of holder base and maybe allow them to have more insight into, okay, well, if I create something else or a new collection, if I'm an artist, well, of course, I should be, you know, at least giving priority to or maybe even specifically just an allow list for people who have shown that good behavior and reward that good behavior.
By doing so, that leads to hopefully more good behavior. So you know, definitely curious and interested to see what happens there. I wouldn't say this is as much of a stick per say, but it's like a combination. It can be a stick and it could be a carrot.
The founders are from X machines zone, really big web2 mobile gaming company back in the day.
So, there's also something called ERC 721c that was created by the team at Limit Break, Limit Break is a large web3 gaming company.
The founders come from MachineZone, which is a web2 gaming company from back in the days, really big on the mobile side of things. And they released ERC 721C, the C stands for creator. And basically there are different ways that you use that token standard to program built in royalties or other types of criteria whether it's sort of allow listing or blacklisting and things like that.
So I think there are going to be a lot more tools that again, help creators among those other strategies that we've already discussed to compensate for some of those unfortunate pieces.
I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens there. And of course, got to support creators. I am one myself.
And you guys are one of yourselves, you're building and creating in a different way too. From a tech standpoint. And going back to pudgy penguins. So this is quite a recent headline. Korea's blockchain week is happening this week. Luca nets publicly spoke in one of the sessions that he was a speaker at that Pudgy penguins which is a consumer NFT, you know, collection, right?
Cute penguins. They also have an awesome sort of social media presence. They've done a lot more growth. I wouldn't even say growth hacky, but one of their core growth tactics and strategies was also around, you know, having a ton of great gifts that now on pretty much every social media platform is visible.
In very, generic keyword terms too. So a lot of, folks outside of this ecosystem just might search for like, dancing and that you might see this cute penguin dancing and you use that GIF cause it's cute and it's like, Hey, that's a pudgy penguin regardless of whether you know what they are or not.
But it's been brilliant. Yeah, it's super good. And, to your point, people are, web3 folks that are trying to like. Look at more traditional sort of business models and strategies, same thing here. We're starting to see a lot of I like to say a little bit more of the cute meta.
So like collections or brands are a little bit more cuter, more approachable in that, from that point of view follow a similar strategy on social now. Yeah. But basically, Luca Nets, the CEO, shared that the company and the brand is on track to have about 10 million in top line revenue just from toy sales alone.
And keep in mind that they launched their toy or plush line of goods and merchandise right around May. So the run rate is off like what seven ish months, eight ish months really depends on the exact dates, but they're on track for 10 million at the end of the year. And what's really interesting here is a couple of months ago, he was on a podcast with, I believe block works and there's a nice summary by someone in the space, and it was like three pages of notes just about the story, about some numbers, like Luca's vision, where the team's doing, you know, where they're headed, etc.
And he was quoted at that time to be on track for about three to three and a half million. In toy sales, so a few months later, that trajectory has significant effectively two X, right? Assuming everything holds steady. And that's not even so that's just holiday numbers too. You know what I mean?
Like this is a, maybe it's, maybe that's factored in. I think they're going to, yeah, yeah, it might be. But yeah, like my gut too, is the holiday numbers are going to be huge for them. Like that's a traditional, you know, e commerce business where yeah. Black Friday to the end of the year is like you know, 75% of your business too. So I think it is going to be really interesting to see yeah, where they go. The thing I hope for is, like, even Pudgy and Yuga like, I get this feeling a little more with Yuga, like, I don't know if you all remember when Taylor Swift, took all of her songs off of Spotify.
And it was this whole big deal and it was kind of like a, you know, like a FU to the man and to the system and everything. But it's like that didn't help. Now she put them all back on and like, that hasn't helped anybody in terms getting more money per stream really. And it's like one of these, like, is Yuga creating its own marketplace or like some of these other ways of like building, you know, products, like just a something that only the big companies can do.
Like I hope it's not kind of that, You know, Taylor Swift, Spotify saga, where it didn't really help any of the little guys, you know?
That's what I think was really exciting with NFTs, too, was that it could be an up and coming artist and, for , the vast majority of their wealth creation around the actual artwork is, like, posthumously, after they've died, and so, and they never really collect any of that, you know what I mean?
They never really, see any of the value of that brand and the wealth that's created in that anyway. And this is like the one kind of way of kind of rectifying some of that. And that you could kind of the, the rags to riches almost story. And so anyway, I just, I kind of hope that the ability to do some of that kind of as not just monopolized at like only the big brands, I guess. It's kind of just where some of my mind goes, but I think it's really exciting. And I mean, and also anybody can launch, you know, maybe not like as quite as definitely to the degree as pudgy penguins, but like anybody can launch something on Amazon, you know what I mean?
And start selling kind of physical products, you know, related to a brand. And granted there's some, you know, overhead and things, but the, the barrier to entry for a lot of that stuff is so much lower nowadays than it even was five, 10 years ago.
Yeah, yeah, agreed. And this is where it gets interesting with Pudgy Penguins, you're totally right.
Anyone can start a merchandise line, you know, you have some designs for some cute plushies, things like that. However, what is much harder to replicate is the fact that... Pudgy penguins, you know, has its own unique story lots of highs and lows for anyone that's, been an OG penguin holder or part of the community since you know, mid late 2021, but you basically bootstrapped like a diehard community, maybe not every single member of that community, but at least a couple thousand, serious, serious fans.
So, once it launched, there was initial support. also that combined with Luca and his team not everyone is aware, but Luca Nets and, and his team are very well versed in the e com space. He, he was actually, he's worked with a lot of different influencers, celebrities has probably under his belt, a total of like, low to mid nine figures and merch, merch sales.
Like he understands Amazon e comm very, very well. He knew out the gate, like he knew how to optimize reviews, not to game the reviews, but again, partnering with the community to create a very strong sort of feedback loop for reviews on those public sort of facets of where those products were distributed, particularly Amazon and then actually, already mentioned the word, but distribution.
You know, within a few months, very large footprint that went from just like Amazon us based to, I think there's been a lot of different pieces of social media showing like, Hey, I see pudgy penguins in Singapore at my local gas station chain, like that requires a different level of sort of expertise and sort of network and capabilities to really build up to that.
So I think there are a lot of different factors that led to that sort of public number that is now publicly quoted and a big number. So that's like, that's really interesting. And then can't forget how that really interfaces with the technological standpoint where, you know, the greater vision is not only building a very, very beloved IP and hopefully it succeeds just for the broader space, not just Pudgy Penguins itself, just to show it can be done, but also sort of the marriage and handshake between those two worlds of web2 and web3, the traditional tried and true strategies and tactics to like, okay, what does it mean to actually do a rev share of some of the toy sales.
So also you know, fun fact is all those toys are actually based on actual pudgy penguins, you know, actual pudgy penguins. Like they're not just trying to look for the, like the. Best aesthetic combination, but like every single item that you see being sold is like there's an actual pudgy penguin in that generatively created collection.
And those holders actually get royalties from that. So we're talking about royalties. This is really interesting where there is more control because it's like merchandise, like you sign a contract, it's a little more old school, but they do get, you know, I don't know for a fact, but probably like, low six figures, if certain numbers are hit. Supposedly average person with the right pudgy penguin and signing certain contracts can get rewarded as well, which is actually pretty crazy to think about that in terms of IP, in terms of rev share, just holding something can really provide benefits. So You know, there is a lot of not as savory stuff, but there's a lot of great ways to see some interesting stuff happening in regards to what it means to have utility, to be rewarded, to participate in a community that really cares about its community members.
And, you know, of course, money is one, you know, very easy way to show that, but, you know, utility beyond some just traditional sort of structures.
Oh, yeah, I totally agree. Well, I think it'll be interesting to continue to follow what happens with, royalties and then even just NFTs and artists in general and how they kind of continue down this path.
A couple maybe real quick headlines. These are kind of interrelated in some ways. But just over the last week, we've seen two specific court rulings related to crypto and crypto regulation. So the first is last week, a court ruled that the SEC's decision to reject Grayscale's application for a Bitcoin ETF was arbitrary, and it re kicked off the 45 day clock for the regulator to approve, disapprove, or institute procedures to make such a determination around that ETF. Specifically they own today the world's largest Bitcoin trust, grayscale Bitcoin trust which is, which has actually been trading below the amount of Bitcoin that they actually own for quite some time.
There's an interesting arbitrage opportunity there. No, no financial advice here, but but it's been funny to see, like, if you just held GBTC versus just holding BTC this year, like, the difference in gains, and you would have, you would have made more just by holding GBTC, but but they want to transition this into an ETF, and so the court sided with Grayscale, so Grayscale actually sued the SEC saying that when they denied the application to convert this into an ETF that yeah, that was, arbitrary and it should not have been the ruling.
Anyway, the court sided with Grayscale and we have yet to see kind of what happens from this, but broadly, there are a handful of companies now, BlackRock being one I think ARK as well have applications to start different crypto ETFs and kind of, I think the biggest thing, and I'm not too versed in kind of traditional finance, but I think kind of the biggest thing here is just.
An ETF, a spot Bitcoin ETF would open up the floodgates kind of around institutional money coming into crypto and how it invests and buys crypto assets. And so I think a lot of people just think this is going to completely change how the traditional finance world invests in crypto and kind of what happens there.
So I think that that's kind of what the market is kind of saying generally.
Another maybe just real high level lawsuit decision that also came out over the last week was that there was a lawsuit against Uniswap that was thrown out of, the courts decided to throw it out. So on August 30th New York court dismissed a proposed, specifically a class action lawsuit against Uniswap, alleging that they are, you know, the leading decentralized crypto exchange but alleging that they were responsible for causing harm to investors by allowing scam tokens to be issued and traded on the protocol. The judge, who is also going to oversee the SEC lawsuit against Coinbase, which I think is really interesting classified Ether in this ruling as a commodity, in her opinion, on the ruling, which I think is also really big.
Because the SEC itself hasn't even kind of said this yet. And so, specifically this ruling is saying the court is declining to stretch specifically it's saying that, like, the SEC does not define what to really do in this kind of scenario, and we are not going to make that definition for them, basically.
And so they're kind of declining to stretch the federal securities laws to cover the conduct alleged, and concludes that the plaintiff's concerns are better addressed to Congress. And to this court and that no plaintiff, for example, would sue the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq for tweeting that it's exchange was a safe place to trade after that plaintiff had lost money due to an issue or fraudulent schemes and kind of that it's more on the onus of, you know, whoever the issuer is and the purchasing party.
Hayden Adams, the founder of the Uniswap protocol, had a really long kind of tweet thread around all of this. Would, would recommend kind of going and reading it, but kind of his final statement in that tweet thread was just that defi is here to say to stay. And yeah, I am no legal expert by any means, but I think both of these are just kind of interesting.
And I think broadly this whole year a lot around regulation, around clarity with the courts and kind of how this is all going to impact crypto, the growth and consumer crypto, the growth and people investing like time resources and attention, not just money in this space. And so that's where kind of my mind goes to these may be kind of a little off topic for us to talk about, but I think that they're still pretty important.
So curious of your initial thoughts or reactions or why this kind of might be important or not important.
Yeah, definitely. With the grayscale SEC sort of headline, definitely it's huge. I think it will still be some time, whether it's weeks and who knows, maybe in the, few days, there'll be another major development in, in what's going on here. But it's a very positive development and one that I think has a lot of implications for the broader crypto space and industry and just trust.
At the end of the day, and it's funny because crypto theoretically, and in many cases is trustless. However, I think when humans are involved, of course, there still needs to be that sense of trust. And, I think this provides a lot more of that legitimacy, whether it's institutional, how that impacts the perception to more retail and even to, to us in regards to what that might mean in terms of secondary order effects with, okay, well, if there's even legitimacy from a financial standpoint, what about the technology itself and the applications of the technology, maybe not like specifically the crypto as it pertains to the use case of it purely as a financial instrument, which is Massive and the OG use case.
But then when it comes to the technology of blockchain and of itself and whether it's as a digital collectible, something that's just fun to something that's serious in terms of, you know, what holder is doing the future of, you know, CRM and like communicating to users, to communities and like different ways to do that more reliably or in just as, as an additional way on top of existing channels so that gets very, very interesting and that's what gets me excited.
Because hey, yes, sure. Price goes up. Everyone's happy, you know, regardless of when you enter, that's a win. Can't complain about that. But what gets me, honestly, a little bit more excited than just that is that hopefully gets more folks to be curious about what else can this thing do? Because yes. very large, maybe for many folks, primary use cases as, as money understandably and justifiably, but it's also technology that can, that can have many of the use cases.
Like I'm sort of making this up. So please don't challenge me on this per se, but like gold, right? Gold is a store of value, but gold can be jewelry. Gold is used in, you know, All these other types of use cases are like precious metals, right? In technology, silicon, whatever, chips. And I think that's something that gets really interesting when you sort of expand the definition or the potential of what can be done with that X thing.
And with Uniswap I'm grateful and glad that I think the judge just sort of went to first principles like, Hey, yes there are bad instances of scams or bad tokens being bought and sold and then basically going to zero or being rug pulled on this platform called Uniswap or on this protocol, Uniswap, but it doesn't mean that the, that Uniswap, the protocol itself is bad and a great example of this is recent headline, Richard Hart, who is a crypto influencer you know, notable personality, etc.
He's had his own blockchain and tokens that he sort of pushed and sold and promoted significantly over years. Basically. He was charged by the SEC recently and, you know, the token price went down a lot. So what's interesting is Uniswap actually delisted the token on the Uniswap front end, but then from a protocol standpoint, you could still buy and sell, you know, those tokens, right?
Because the protocol is separate from a front end in that it's meant to be permissionless. It's meant to, you know, give people the choice. At the end of the day, it's It's people's choice to make certain decisions or purchase or sell or trade certain tokens or swap them. And that's a great example of Uniswap actually adhering to what the right thing was, but also still as a protocol being credibly neutral to let other parties just do their thing.
And that's actually, it's great with this type of result from the courts because they understand that.
Yeah, I think it's a big distinction between, the Uniswap example. Uniswap Labs, the company, runs Uniswap. org, I don't know, whatever, you know, app. uniswap the Uniswap app. The protocols, all of the infrastructure and the code that runs that app, you know what I mean, on the backend, is all, yeah, at the protocol level.
It's it's like SMTP, that sends all of our emails. That does not make any distinction of like whether this email should be sent or not. But Gmail makes the distinction of, is this incoming message spam, you know, or is it a phishing email? so I think it's a really interesting world that we play in.
And I think very exciting around, we are at the opportunity, You're at the stage in this development where we're literally building the protocols and we're building them in a completely different novel way than what web kind of 1. 0 that runs all of the Internet today was built on. And so I think just even on the regulatory side from how we operate, like everything is different, you know?
And so I think kind of we need a new a new lens, a kind of way to look at and think about it that doesn't it. disincentivize, real innovation and things like that. And so that's that's a kind of ultimately hope happens with all of this is that it gives very clear, rules and guidelines.
We just haven't had for quite some time so that People, I think there's lots of people sitting on the sidelines that when they have kind of clear guidelines or are super interesting, leveraging this technology and kind of where we're going with it.
Moving on to our next topic, this is probably the bigger, one of the bigger ones, at least for today.
Friend tech Friend.tech is a new web3. I don't know if you'd call it a social media network social network social platform I'll call it that We can make some we can make some analogies there But but I guess it had launched a while ago, but it's just exploded Over the last, you know a couple of months month really in August.
It just kind of really has There's a lot of different kind of unique elements to it. I think it's kind of one part Patreon or only fans. It's one part kind of Twitter. And I don't know, it's just a really interesting social experiment and platform. Thomas, I know you've written quite a bit around this on your sub stack and would highly recommend everybody maybe pausing and even just going back and reading some of those in your archive over the last you know, two or three weeks.
But maybe if you want to just give like a quick kind of high level, I feel like you've got just a really deep understanding around kind of the, the growth and you know, what is seemingly now everyone today is talking about like, oh, front tech is dead. You know, where it's dying and the kind of the engagements falling off a cliff, though also, it's looks like the same curve that we see with many other, crypto companies of, you know, hyper speculation explosion and then kind of back to normalcy.
But yeah, maybe do you want to give just kind of a quick overview and kind of what, what some of your thoughts have been over the last month, watching this this ride?
Yeah, totally. All right. It's going to be hard to do a quick overview, but feel free to redirect and I will do my best to do more of a TLDR.
We could dive into specific aspects. For myself, I find it very interesting. I think because I think the key here as a theme is to look beyond the financial aspects and the financial motivations and the financial speculation of what is going on with the front tech. If you're able to do that, then things get interesting.
And that's sort of my point of view. Right. And that does not mean friend tech is going to make it. That does not mean friend tech is going to be the next really big social platform. However, what I do believe is that friend tech is starting to I would say discover or uncover. And this has been variations of this have been done before.
I think one particular name that comes to mind that many people early on called out is like bit clout and I won't get into detail about them. So it's not like, Hey, it's never been done before. Like everything is like a hundred percent brand new. But what I do think is happening is like, I think the light there, there's like a light that's being or sort of like a new door that is leading to a new potential creator paradigm.
Right. And that could be broken out into a couple of different ways. So like a new creator interaction paradigm, as well as a new creator monetization paradigm. And it's going to probably look like a flavor, right? I just want to be very clear, like a flavor, it's not going to be friend. It could be friend tech because they could, you know, change a lot of things, you know, over time as they continue to grow, hopefully, et cetera.
And I'm rooting for them just because it's something new and interesting if done in the right way. But I think that's what I try to get at, at the heart of with something like friend tech. And is it dead? You know, regarding headlines, headlines or headlines, I totally get it. I mean, I come from the marketing growth where you got, you got to get those click through rates up and those views and engagement and just get people talking about the thing.
But it's important to remember it's all relative. So, let's get into that more of that TLDR. So friend tech came about just, just shy of four weeks ago, right? So like. This is quite new. And also this came off the heels of the base chain main net launch, which is Coinbase's sort of L2 EVM compatible blockchain.
They launched during the month of August, a sort of on chain summer marketing campaign, but also sort of activation campaign, getting a lot more interest and energy and sort of Builders, creators, et cetera, to build on base or launch new things on base, right? So a lot of it was already prepared.
And then some of it was sort of independent, like friend tech, where they knew this was happening and they were already sort of building for a little bit of time in preparation to sort of. capture some of that attention, energy and also financial liquidity. That's a very important metric in a lot of different ways when it comes to block chains.
And what that might mean for a business and potential for success. So this launched, you know about in the first week of the on chain summer campaign, they weren't officially part of it, but it got to the point where they were so big and everyone's talking about it that, you know the campaign sort of, you know, mentioned them a few times in different ways.
Oh yeah , I think even Brian Armstrong tweeted it, mentioned just, yeah. It's hard to ignore, right? Like when, when a large percentage of volume comes from like this thing, no one can quite define it yet. But, essentially there are a few elements that really help to bootstrap the starts of such a product or protocol.
One was, like I mentioned, just there's a lot of energy, liquidity and interest and eyeballs on base, you know, whether people were doing that for financial gain or just people like myself are like, Hey, what's going on here? Clearly a lot of effort and resources are being put into it.
Like, what's new? What's interesting? Is it worth writing about? Is it worth playing around with. But also when this launched, there was, and these are standard, you know, mechanics or strategies and tactics, but against the confluence of all these things that really sort of hit it in a different way. And again, web three, ironically, is somewhat reverting back to web two in terms of borrowing best practices while web two is, you know, leaning into web three in terms of like, Hey, what are the new interesting things that this tech can do for my existing business or capabilities, et cetera.
So they implemented a invite code, standard referral feature. Everyone had a set number of invite codes and you could only get onto the platform if you had one of these codes, simple as that, we know how that goes. Everyone wants that status of getting that invite being early, etc.
One interesting parallel is there some elements that remind me of clubhouse back in the day. Clubhouse blew up very successfully, really confluence perfect storm of factors and events, but and somewhat similar with frantic. So that was 1 thing. The 2nd 1. And this is where the speculation comes in for sure.
Impossible to deny and and very notable part of the growth is the airdrop. So it was publicly known and shared on the Twitter account that there would be some form of airdrop. It's based on a point system with a sort of an evolving set of criteria. Every Friday, those points would be airdropped to each account based on, you know, changing criteria.
And there would be, I forget the exact number feels a million or something. So, apologies if I misspeak, but basically a lot of points, a hundred million or something like that spread out every Friday over six months. This is sort of the beta period and people like based on their activity, we'll get points and allocation of points every Friday.
As a result of those few things, got a lot of people interested, you know, everyone, especially on X slash Twitter, started talking about it, wanting to get a code just like playing around with the thing, also knowing that there's airdrops. So that lets the initial spike of activity, buying and selling keys, initially called shares, but just to reduce any confusion or even more speculatory behavior, call them keys.
So how does it work? Basically, you get onto the app, you need that referral code. You also need to at least bridge over 0. 01 ETH, which is probably around 16, 17 right now onto the base onto that wallet. And also relatively easy to onboard.
This is something called a progressive web app. So it basically functions like an app. it's a website that you open. So I'm an iOS or if you're on Android, it's on Chrome, but you can actually turn a website or a page into an app like on your your home screen or into a folder.
This is a new not new technology, but I think there have been recent updates over the past several months that made progressive web apps just more logically even something to build off of so that sort of bypasses some of the limitations of like a crypto app, you know being in an app store, which more or less isn't really a thing because 30% take rate and also just certain guidelines, etc so friend.Tech is able to to live on your phone in a more dynamic way, but once you onboard and bridge over a small amount of money You actually can explore a lot of different accounts and these accounts are tied to your Twitter account.
Basically a username is tied to the Twitter username. You can purchase keys and a key by accessing a key. You access that person's chat room. Basically, it's a gated chat room. And then the more people. Who are in that room? The higher the price goes, and it's a somewhat exponential. There's a there's actual formula to this.
It's called a bonding curve. So the later you join, and the more people are in there, the price to enter for each incremental individual goes up. Once you get to a certain point, let's say, you know, a couple 100 people, it gets actually very expensive thousands and thousands of dollars. And the same goes if you sell.
Right. Then it goes down that curve where it gets cheaper to get it right. Because of the combination of all those different dynamics and just, Hey with everyone left in the space right now, there is a lot of financial incentive. There's a lot of volume that happened initially. And then on that Friday, when the airdrop came, then that revived a lot of interest in the first weekend or I would say like first weekend after the first week, so to say there were some more notable names. There's a couple members from phase clan, which is a very large gaming collective that joined there was NBA players that joined after, after that initial wave. You know, there's a, there's a wave of Onifans creators that joined many of them have probably left since just because they have better ways to make money if that's their focus and I would totally agree.
They were also, you know, a fun, really interesting one is like Tory Lanez, who's a rapper who's actually in jail right now. He actually ended up on there, probably his social media manager or someone on his team ended up on there. So I doubt that that's actually him, but you know, just anyone with a Twitter account can connect and get onto the platform.
And you can verify that they've connected this Twitter account. To that account, right? Yes. Yeah. So like it's verified. So you can click on the username. This is the Twitter account that's signed in to this account. Yeah. Yeah.
Exactly. Yeah. So what you could do, and fortunately there's still relatively easy ways to validate this.
It's not as like pure scammy, but some people initially very early on, you could create a fake Twitter account, but you have the handle or like the display name be like. You know, someone famous LeBron James, for example, he's not on friend tech to be clear, but you could have that name.
But then the Twitter account is like, Oh, only 10 followers. This isn't the real LeBron James. I'm not going to buy that key. Right. So, so it's a little less opaque in that sense. And you could still verify. But yeah, so I think what's interesting here is there's still a lot of speculation going on, but I think with the people that are staying I myself am.
Pretty active on there is that we're starting to see early signs of product market fit. Right. And to be clear here is with this product market fit, I think the question is, well, really how big is that market? Right. To be fair. Cause there, I believe personally that there's a fit, but what does that fit look like for the whole creator space?
Video creators are very, very established because that's like every single social media platform, particularly YouTube, of course. And like, that's a very, very large market. So with this, it's text based now you can upload photos. I imagine there's going to be audio eventually video, other things, and that'll come again, products less than a month old, but.
there are some limitations functionally and also, okay, this bonding curve thing. So let's say I have a hundred people now, it costs like 500 it does get quite expensive to, to get an audience and more, you know, each incremental person to like join that. So like, at what point is it just not worth it?
Like I could just get free content or, you know, pay 10 a month for your other content. So, so I think a few things here. One, the use case is sort of different than standard social media platforms or creative platforms, right? So I actually wrote about this. So for anyone interested, the two pieces are number 227 and number 229.
The titles are about friend tech. So if you want to, you want to look at, I'd really break it down a little bit more. But when we think about social media platforms, they're more open. In terms of supply and demand, anyone can be a creator. Anyone can sort of watch your content. Let's say YouTube, very easy, right?
And how do YouTube creators make money? Sponsorships, in a more manual way, they might mention, Hey, this video is sponsored by blah, blah, blah. Right. Cool. All right. Get it. Creators got to make their money. They got to eat. But also could be programmatic through Google itself, right?
Through their ad serving platform so that they could strategically, you have pre rolls, all the other stuff before you watch the video then you can also have like merch, all the other stuff that's integrated, lots of different sort of additional features for creators now. So juxtapose that with something like friend te where supply is hypothetically unlimited, right?
As long as you have a Twitter account, demand is capped. Right? Because like, you can't imagine like the thousandth person that enters like paying 100, 000 or something ridiculous or something really high to enter. But, what is interesting is the access is closed. The demand is somewhat capped, but it's sort of a dynamic.
Monetization model, which leads to figuring out what is the type of content that would make sense and what types of creators would even want to be on there. So for myself, as an example, my written content, my sub stack content is free. My goal is for it to always be free, right? Because I believe education and information is important, especially from my sort of point of view.
To help other people understand what the hell is going on in the space. However, I've always struggled with where do I put my raw thoughts? Like it shouldn't even belong on Twitter. Cause that's not my brand. Frankly, it shouldn't belong on LinkedIn. That's not my brand. And it's more of a professional platform anyway.
But like as an example, I've written 231 pieces now over a little under a year and a half. But what many people don't know is I have like a constant backlog of like 60 plus items that I don't have the time nor energy to write, and I'm not. Even though I can, I don't really want to create like a premium content platform or like on the sub stack because I just don't want to write more content, like frankly, that's it.
However, I don't want to, have all these other interesting thoughts that don't make it onto the sub stack or observations and opinions get lost. Right. I don't want them to just get buried. And like the older it gets, the more, the more irrelevant it becomes. So for me, I'm finding personally some product market fit with friend tech being a hub or a little, cave for myself to just share those raw thoughts.
And some people who follow me, some people subscribe, understand that there is this interesting sort of value here where it's worth paying for right now. For example, my friend tech key costs about 35 To join where I could just be like, literally the moment of I'm like, Hey, this is a really interesting tweet.
Here's like in 30 seconds, my quick thoughts about this thing. Maybe I'll write about it more publicly. Maybe I won't, but like, I just want to share with you guys first. And that doesn't even really belong in like a sub stack premium content newsletter, because that's not timely. That's not polished enough and that's not you know, necessarily what the audience would be looking for.
So that's just a very simple example where there could be. So what, what the term is called, there's like a creator middle economy, right? You're not like a mega influencer and you're also not like someone that only has a hundred followers, but you maybe have a few thousand and you have a small audience where like.
You could just find a place to sort of share something that's work in progress. And we've seen other examples of this. There's artists that are onboarding and frantic where it's sort of their place to be like work in progress but not the final product and also just a place to interact with some of their bigger fans.
Going back to what the point is here, there is a new creator interaction paradigm happening, whether it's friend tech or it looks something that rhymes with friend tech. And there's a new potential monetization paradigm here where again, even though currently this bonding curve makes a prohibitively expensive after a certain amount of maybe people purchase a key.
That can be changed, Just like how you know, you can upgrade a smart contract, even though it's locked, you can migrate it over, or someone else is going to come and build something that's a little bit more flexible using the same parameters. I think the last thing for creators is, and I don't think this is the intention of FriendTech, but I understand psychologically why you automatically think about, you know this heuristic is there's a dollar sign, so to say, next to your name, What I think is important to distinguish here is, That dollar sign doesn't mean that's how much the creator's worth. Like Thomas Pan, T Pan is not worth 35. That'd be a shame. And that, that would be sort of funny if that, that was really like my cost. But what it does cost is the access to join a small, intimate conversation with me.
you could pay 35 for that, which for some people like, Oh, rip off. who the hell is T Pan? Screw that guy. Right. Let me read a sub stack. Or it could be, I got actually a lot of questions. I know this guy's responsive because I've just seen how he writes. I see how he talks. And I would pay 35 to get in a small room with him.
And Every week just ask him three questions, and I believe that's a lot of value, And I would do that if someone was like, hey, I just asking a bunch of questions So I think those are just some thoughts to to have outside of the headlines Yeah, friend tech is down in terms of transactions and all that.
The last thing to mention is The lower the transactions outside of net growth is actually a good thing for front tech because what that means is creators are finding their audience and people aren't selling keys just for financial motivation. They're actually not transacting anymore because the rooms that they're in are valuable to them and they're actually sticking around.
So that's actually a better sign of retention versus just having very spiky transactional volume. that's the last thing to mention where. That's a very different situation than like how you measure retention in other ways for other platforms and even in web three specifically. So again, go into detail on those concepts, high level and in those two pieces, but keep an eye out.
It might not be friend tech, but there's something going on here for what you know, some people are calling creator economy 2. 0.
Yeah, no, I definitely agree. I think too it's been interesting to compare and contrast. Yeah, I think I'd put this in the bucket of like social applications social media in that kind of space And so I think it's interesting to kind of compare and contrast it as well to Lens and Farcaster in their, like, growth and journeys as well, which are two of the other, on Ethereum based social networks as well.
Farcaster just recently announced that they are going to be bridging to the OP stack as well, which is really exciting and interesting. They've been on I believe the chain they've been on the Mumbai test network actually is like what they've been like on so far and lens is on polygon as well.
And so it's just been interesting to see a, all of these moving to. L2s, but then I think also just like their own like growth like journey. It's like, it's been a lot of them have also employed very similar things. It's closed ecosystem. It's not kind of entirely open. Far caster is going to when they move to optimism.
So we'll see kind of what happens there. But like it's had, it's had an invite code system as well for a very long time and you haven't seen this kind of like explosion there and they've been like much more kind of almost like restrictive in terms of like the, the kinds of people that they want on the platform, the, the conversations, the engagement that they want to encourage they've just been really intentional and methodical, around it, which has been interesting as it is, one way to definitely build a business and build a product that people love.
But anyway, it's just like interesting to kind of compare and contrast all of these and like how they. compared to, FriendTech, which arguably is like, you can do kind of the same thing on Lens. They have a similar concept of being able to sell posts or even like access to posts in these kind of private communities.
You have to collect a post in order to get access to it. And all of these, you know, posts are basically just NFTs and, shares of, that sale go to the ecosystem or to the protocol shares of a go to the creator. You know, all of that kind of very, very similar mechanics that exist in that ecosystem.
And frintech is like just the bare minimum of that. You know what I mean? It's just DMS and this like chat room, which is like, I don't know, one of the first, web 1. 0 kinds of products like this chatroom style Which is I know it's just really interesting to kind of see how it's evolved and like, you know The different mechanics and to your point, it's like a whole different I love this or write it down like it's an entirely new monetization paradigm and kind of like engagement, Paradigm too and I think that's what's kind of really key with with friend tech here And I think it'll be interesting to see kind of what What happens and kind of where this goes in the future, but regardless, yeah, you can't kind of hide the fact of how much a volume that it's producing on base, which is just absolutely absurd.
And then just kind of what the engagement like we're seeing. on it, which has been, which has been fun as we, as we speak on the podcast right now, I'm going in and buying a TPN key. So that's what, that's what I was doing the last 30 seconds here was bridging some money into my wallet because I was all out of my bases.
And I believe you can see chat history, so you're gonna get some, you know, interesting tidbits here and there. But yeah, a lot of the stuff doesn't make it on the sub stack, so if that, you know, people, like if anyone likes the sub stack content, it's just like you get a much more informal live stream of all that stuff.
And you know, a good portion of it doesn't make it. So it's, it's a fun time. And I think there's going to be a lot more ways that creators, especially as more features are added and that's the beauty of the progressive web app in a way, because it's like web pages basically that turn into different parts of the app itself.
updates happen multiple times a week. They just pushed to all users, so to say and you can see if you've joined since the very early days of friend tech, you could basically see how they've progressed and sort of improve the app and all the features. So you're joining at a time where the creators or the people who in their own room, you can't reply to specific messages.
And now I can reply to, so for example, if you say hi, I could reply to you saying hi. And then the whole audience sees like what specifically I'm replying to versus I have to quote you and then address like to Drew You said hi. Hi back, you know or something like that So, you know, it sounds so basic and simple and dumb but I think the fact that it's just like so broken in some ways frankly is like almost like fun because you could see how things improve in a rapid fashion and how you know, going back to what we discussed earlier, like the open sea standpoint, again, terrible situation.
Don't get me wrong, but like you innovate, you, you get a little creative and you make it work. Right. And that's the beauty of like the space we're in. And just like us as human beings we sort of find a solution. So there are people. Who, and like some big names, like I I'm in, I'm in a room with just like a top VC, I think he's a general partner at the VC and like, he's active.
He shares a lot of his thoughts, personal, a little professional, but more on like the art side. Cause he's a big art fan, you know, other creators too. There's like some trading chats, a lot of the most valuable keys and accounts are like more just like, they're more alpha based on like the five, like, you know, coins and Alf like.
DeFi side, which makes sense, right? you'd be willing to pay like a few thousand dollars to potentially make like 10x back. But you know, there's other creators too. It's just like they made a name for themselves and it's just like their, their own little corner with more informal thoughts where and you get access, right?
So the other thing is like I joked about this and I deleted it from Twitter because I'm like, I don't want people to get mad at me. But like, if you're, if you're like hustling as a founder and you need funding, like what, here's a fun strategy, right? And this is where it really does get interesting because if you think about this is like a, it's like a direct access DM room, right?
So if like, you need to find funding for your next seed round series, a or whatever, like buy up the keys of every single VC fund, and you don't need to like have one ETH to do this. You just buy a key. Then you see if the, the, the person of like, let's say the VC at a 16 Z is on the platform a 16 Z crypto.
You buy their key. See if they're active. Like, Oh, they're not active. Okay. You leave. You had to pay a small fee because that's how the protocol makes money and how the creators make money. Then you go to another one. Like, Oh, they're active. You literally can just, you know, send a message. The whole, the whole room doesn't see it.
Only the creator sees it. And you just got a DM, pitch. If I were a VC you know, one that's creative to your hustling, you're trying to find every single channel to get in touch with me three, I'm active. So like, I will read that a hundred percent versus like, you know, an email inbox, right?
Like that's an automatic arbitrage win. And for like, you're trying new things on chain. And like, if I'm a crypto VC, like that's exactly what I want, from the founders I work with. And five, they're going to do what it takes to get in touch to make their business successful. That's an automatic response for me if I were a VC.
So it's just like you can find the use cases if you you know Sort of like align yourself beyond just like hey, I need to airdrop farm blah blah blah and that's what gets lost in the sauce
Yeah, it's so good. And I think you're right. It's just an entirely different kind of engagement and creator platform.
It's not just like more of the same and even, and I love, love lens, I love Forecaster. I'm active on both of them. We work with the lens team actually specifically even, and we have an integration into their, into their product, into their platform and they're great, but the thing I love about this style, it is and lens is really kind of pushing the boundary here, too. But is that frantic? It's a completely different kind of creator platform, you know? And it's not just, social posts on a blockchain or, you know, a network on a blockchain that you can take with you anywhere you go. And things like that.
It's just kind of really pushing the boundaries. It makes you think about too, like. Like, yeah, the whole, idea of what is the demand here and the supply demand curve and it's just so wildly different and how I think about network and how we think about yeah, like I probably only want to follow people who are.
active, you know what I mean? It's not like Twitter or things like that where I just want to follow even just all of my friends, like I probably don't want to follow some of my friends, you know what I mean? Like I'd rather follow like a very more select group, not everybody I know, you know what I mean?
Where on Twitter, if I know you, if I've met you, I'll follow you, or on LinkedIn, like want to be connected. Like it is a much more, exclusive almost kind of view of how you think about the yeah, the inputs that you're putting into your kind of feed. But yeah, I I'm super excited to play around with it quite a bit more and just kind of see where this goes.
we'll just continue to see, and maybe. we'll see in the next month what happens with, FriendTech, but I, I don't think it's going anywhere. I think it will obviously evolve quite a bit and hopefully kind of won't be quite as focused around speculation and things, but Yeah, we'll see.
Yeah, I was, I was looking just for, for context on the demand side, like I was looking at Kevin Rose and I believe you're probably talking about Derek at a collab currency in, they're already keys are up to 0. 11 ETH and 0. 16 ETH. And so, you know, now you're already talking about just a couple hundred bucks and they have like.
50, 60, 70 followers, you know yeah, so what happens when you know, I remember the Ashton Kutcher raced a million Twitter followers or something back in the day, you know, what happens? you aren't going to see that style of platform here to your point, it's going to be really interesting.
And I think really quick with like the Kevin Rose, Derek Edwards thing. Derek's yeah, I have a key of his, I just randomly found it. I'm like, Oh yeah. Like he, he's a big name. And the thing is the worst case is like you can sell your key, right? Like you have to remember you're not paying that amount.
You're paying that amount to purchase the key, but like, you can sell it too. Assuming it's like relatively stable costs. You don't lose like. 50. It's not like an NFT. You don't lose like 50% in like a few days or something like that. If something bad happens granted, you know, if people just start selling it, then yes, you will have to sell it for less.
But like, again, once that sort of, you know, you find that audience, like it's actually quite stable, which is fascinating. So like, I imagine the Friendtech team is starting to see like what creators or what individuals are starting to actually have very high retention rates for the keys, right? Like this is super, super interesting stuff.
Cause like, similar to like YouTube, like basically if you're a creator, you want to know who's watching every single freaking video of yours, like from the first second, not even skipping the ads, maybe for example, and then watching till the last second, right? Like that's a very different type of individual, a viewer and fan, right?
But, but going back to the whole price thing, it's like. Derek Edwards cost 0. 11 or whatever, or 0. 12. Like again, going back to like, you're having, you can have an intimate conversation, maybe not intimate conversation, but you could ask questions like in any other channel. First of all, like, would he even read it?
Second of all, like how much would even cost to get like a three minutes of this time, but like in, in this scenario, just because it's new and novel and like he's on here and he's active, you can ask him a question, probably not like, Hey, can you invest in a company, but. You can ask him a question about something that like you think he would answer to and like it just cost you 100, you know, 50, 100, 70, 80 to like enter that room and you could do that consistently and have a conversation with him, right?
And like, I think that's a very powerful thing that people, you know, are still hopefully, you know, starting to understand with like, what is going on here again, this can evolve a ton, this could go to zero, probably a little bit more likely goes to zero than something super big, but like, there's something interesting going on here.
And that's the point I'm trying to make.
Yeah, it's worth paying attention to and watching. Derek and Kevin, I think on one of the more recent Proof Podcast episodes too, specifically talk about, all of this and I don't know, I think he was making some kind of joke of like Derek, why didn't you tell me before you were gonna blow up on Frentech so I could have grabbed some of your keys?
Exactly. Yeah, but I think it's just, it's it's interesting. It's, I think it's, Just these are the kinds of new products and paradigms that just excite me about web 3 granted it's still pretty technical, my mom is not gonna get on friend tech or be anywhere interested in friend tech But my wife is not gonna be you know Interested at all in friend tech or get on friend tech, but I think kind of it showcases what's possible back to you're talking about the beginning when you're on a technology, you know an infrastructure technology Where you can program incentives where, you know, it's immutable public ledger and it's this trustless system and, you know, that's what I think kind of is the beauty of this technology as a whole and what excites me and gets me up out of bed every day for sure.
Well, with that, I think we were right about at time. I just want to say thanks, Thomas, for joining us here on the podcast today. This is an incredible episode, a ton of fun. We really covered a lot, I feel like, and definitely, I think opined on a lot of different key themes that are happening in the ecosystem today.
So thanks so much for joining us. And with that, I'm going to be signing off for the HODL podcast. Thanks for tuning in.
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