HODL Podcast Episode 16 was originally published on September 29, 2023.
Join Drew from the Hold On for Dear Life Podcast and Thomas Pan, the founder of tpan.substack.com. In the episode, they discuss the Nouns DAO fork, the settlement made between Stoner Cats and the SEC, MetaMask Snaps, the global sentiment of crypto, and a quick update on Friend.tech.
- The Nouns DAO fork happened because of ongoing disagreements regarding the power of the founders and the DAO’s treasury — the split resulted in over half of the Noun holders joining the fork.
- Stoner Cats' parent company was charged by the SEC with security fraud. They now have to pay a one million dollar settlement fee.
- MetaMask Snaps are add-ons and features made by third-party developers to further enhance transaction insights and enable interoperability for MetaMask wallets.
- The global sentiment of crypto is widely positive — Asia’s excitement for crypto is exploding.
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, everyone, to the Hold On to Dear Life podcast, brought to you by the team at Holder. We are a Web3 CRM and marketing automation platform. My name is Drew, your host here on the podcast, I'm the CEO here at Holder. And today we have a special repeat guest in the virtual studio with us, our good friend Thomas Pan, also known as TPan.
He is a web three growth marketing consultant, deep growth background. If you listened to our last podcast, you know this. At Uber and a handful of other companies and now works in growth at the Ethereum Foundation. And he also writes an incredible sub stack publication T Pan, p a n dot sub stack.com.
Would definitely recommend you go and subscribe, and I am thrilled to have you on the podcast again. So thank you so much for joining us.
Thanks for having me again as a repeat guest, always fun and excited to dig in more with various insights, headlines, and never a dull day, week or month in this space, even though it seems like from a lot of headlines and whatnot that, you know, we're, we're not doing too hot, but we keep moving forward.
We keep building, we keep doing the thing.
Oh, we keep building. We were just talking right before the show that we're definitely going to talk around the global sentiment of crypto too, but is there a 24 seven global you know, industry and economy. So there is always something to talk about.
Maybe quick I'll start us off with just a very quick holder commercial, if you will, and product update just to schill for a second, because this is the podcast that we produce. So I'm allowed to do that.
But we recently last week just launched a free product and creator version of holder. It's something we've been working on for a very long time, but now anyone can start using Holder for free. Using our form builder or CRM, we just have a cap on the number of contacts in your CRM. And we decided to do this just to give creators the tools you felt like they need to successfully manage their communities, whether you're a creator, artist, developer.
You know, especially in web three, it's been the struggle, the last 12 months plus. And so this has been top of mind for us for a while and just how do we help grow with our customers and help them grow and support more careers and artists. And so we believe not only will this be valuable, for us as a business, obviously, but we think that as we can grow with our customers in this way.
We're super excited about it. So if you want to learn more holder dot X, Y, Z, but we're super excited to launch that creator tier last week and beginning a lot of good feedback. And if you have any feedback after testing it, anyone listening, feel free to shoot a note support at holder to X, Y, Z, or my emails just drew a holder to X, Y, Z as well.
But we're super excited about that launch and how do we work with not just big brands and in the space, but also more early up and coming creators and companies as well.
To jump into the news for this weeks episode, the first one that I am just really fascinated with.
So I'm excited just to dig into a little bit is the nouns DAO fork. And so if you're unfamiliar with Nouns one Noun every day forever. Every single day on the nouns site they auction off one of these fully on chain, I believe even NFTs, and they've been going for long time.
It's a stalwart, I would say NFT project, but specifically they've built a really robust DAO out of this community. And basically what makes up the treasury of this DAO is the 10th DAO or every 10th Noun goes back to the Nouns treasury and so then if you own a noun, you're part of the DAO and you're able to vote on how do we use these funds.
And so, they've spent probably millions of dollars worth in grants and fundings and building products and things like that. And it's, I would say one of the like more successful DAOs to date even. Over the last handful of months, there's been growing disagreements and, you know, especially prices being down so bad, it is understandable that there's always gonna be some strife in communities. But specifically, the Nounders are the group of 10 builders that initiated Nouns. They're the DAO council, if you will, the founders.
And so a lot of people in the community had disagreements with the Nounders on how the treasury should be spent and how much power the Nounders even had. And so they ended up voting to do a split and the initial vote was if 20%, I think of Nounds holders agreed, they wanted to do a fork mechanism.
It would actually create a new fork of the Dow. And allow then any Noun holder to vote. Do I want to stay in the original Dow or do I want to bring my Noun to the new DAO? There's a lot of nouns and DAOs and words that hopefully you all are tracking with me, but it's incredibly, I think, monumental for the space.
So they ended up voting. Yes, we're going to split. They did the split on September 15th at the time of a lot of the articles I was reading, it was over half of the nouns decided to join the split and join the fork. And so the fork resulted in taking, you know, 17, 000 ETH, 27 million worth at the time with them from the current nouns, Dow treasury into a new Dow organization.
So they took with them the percentage that was in the treasury over to the new DAO. And then every Nouns holder got the choice. Do I want to keep my Noun in the new DAO or do I just want to trade it in for my percentage of the treasury basically. So there's also this like really interesting you've seen this in other DAOs, this idea of call quote unquote rage quitting in the actual docs were like, Hey, at any time I can just rage quit and basically sell my percentage for a very, for a locked in sell my, you know, Dow ownership for a locked in amount.
And so essentially that's like what it unlocked. And there was a massive number of people that the majority of people that actually took that just took the cash out basically in ETH. And so anyway, I've been following this a bit. I think it's really, really interesting.
I think you've seen a lot of the core Nouns, builders and supporters stick with the original DAO. I think there's lots of ramifications on, you know, what happens with the two different DAOs, what happens with the original Nouns DAO with the original announced product and ecosystem, but curious to me, Thomas, I don't know how much you've followed this, but maybe just in general too, like What ramifications do you think they were going to see from this?
Or how do you think it impacts the web three and NFT ecosystem and your just overall thoughts? Have you been seeing some of this in the news over the last couple of weeks?
Yeah, definitely. And this is still, I think one thing for the audience and for people to understand that is that this is still Largely a developing situation and story the large headline here is that there was this initiative that was voted on and passed and this forking mechanism went live you know, a week and a half ish ago.
And as that went live, particularly the first few days that was when we saw a lot more of the volume of that rage quitting or sort of individuals deciding to leave the DAO and they got refunded a certain amount of ease. And it was calculated, I think at the time was about like 35 ETH if he decided to sort of leave the DAO you know, happen.
And, and based on a Dune dashboard I have up right now by C Launch, a pretty reputable group of folks that do analytics work and they have about 63 percent of tokens have rage quitted or decided to sort of participate. in this split which is approximately 298 for Nouns consisting of 60 wallets or Nouns holders.
And a large majority of that happened over the first few days. And then there's been a little bit. You know, in waves and more of a trickle for the rest. So I would say in the first few days, it got close to about 200. If it's one holder that holds a ton, you know, that really sort of shot up a bit. But we still see over the past few days, even that there's maybe one Z's two Z's still deciding to You know, leave or rage quit as well.
So it's not quite over yet, but it seems like those that wanted to participate in this fork have done that. And there still might be a couple trickling. I think in regards to what Larger themes that we can sort of glean so far again with this is that one with the basis of why Nouns even started and what Nouns has done, it's decentralized autonomous organization as well as a large social coordination in some ways, an experiment, but also in other ways you know, effort and nouns have done as a brand, as a group, as a DAO, a lot of great things via their proposal mechanism. So people or participants of the DAO holders are able to propose different things. And this was actually the way this fork even came about. It was a proposal voted on past reached enough votes and really shows the, the things that can be done, right?
Which also means Maybe winding down a portion of some of these efforts. It doesn't mean that this is, this is over or anything. Nouns will still continue, but it's really evolving. And sometimes that means not everyone's going to be happy and there's a way for them to sort of, to a degree, gracefully leave that.
And that's what we're seeing. Right? Members, you know, in a traditional setting can pay their dues, they could be a part of a club, they could do, you know, those things, they could participate and maybe they can decide to leave. And traditionally leaving means, Hey, you just sort of forfeit your membership.
You don't pay that. Let's say, for example, annual fee. In this case. These individuals contributed to the treasury and they actually, when they leave, they get to take back a portion of that treasury. So it did decrease a healthy amount over half. I think that number, I mean, based on the number of tokens that have left, you know, probably the treasury on an ETH basis declined about accordingly, probably the same.
So about 63%. Currently the treasury. Is about 13, 500 ETH, which based on the current prices is about 21 and a half million. So to be clear, as, as large as that departure has been from the past week and a half or so, this is still a very sizable treasury to be clear. I think any organization or body that has 21 million to spend or to use that's still a lot.
So this isn't over yet, but at the same time it's very much developing.
Oh yeah, definitely. I think it's been interesting to, to watch, like I'm just looking at winning bids, you know, pre split, they were pretty much, you know, right around 33, 35 for the last like month or so. And then after like the split, you know, we've seen 30, 29, 16 ETH was a winning bid.
20 ETH, 19, 20. You know, so it's also been interesting. Like you can just. You know, all of it's public, you know, and open so you can just watch all this unfolding in a very public manner. Like it's really interesting to see, you know, you think of corporate takeovers and you know the barbarians at the gate style of like the old school and the.
You know, 80s, 90s and early 2000s and things you know, you had no like look into what is happening inside of like an organization and things like that. So like, I think it's really interesting to look at organizations built this way and like it's in full, you know, open transparency and the whole world can see.
What's happening, but my mind just goes to, wow, these look like major steals to get a Noun for like 2016 ETH. I'm very bullish, I think on. Yeah, just Nouns in general and the ecosystem. A lot of their biggest supporters too, like they have quite a few institutional investors and nouns and people that own nouns, a lot of like big name VCs and investors and collectors, believe in nouns and the ecosystem and have gone in.
I have not looked, I'm curious, Thomas, if Budweiser did anything with their Noun that they own.
You're saying in general?
If they, if they, if they went with the fork or not, I haven't actually even looked to see what they specifically did, but that would be one that would be
interesting because it was one of those that
had like traditional brands, you know, they had purchased a noun.
It was one of the Nouns with like as a beer Noun, a beer mug noun. And so it was perfectly on brand. It was actually like just incredible from like a marketing. Campaign at the time too, but like bought a noun, if you were part of, if you own one of the Bud Light NFTs, you actually get to vote on Nouns votes.
So they like take snapshot votes. If you're a Bud Light NFT owner, which I, which I am funny enough, I can't remember like how I, how I got it, but you can vote on snapshot like every single Nouns. Proposal they'll put up and they'll let the Bud Light community vote on what they should vote on, you know, what their multi-six should vote on with the Noun that the, the Bud Light team owns.
And so it's really, I don't know. It's been interesting and I, I'm curious what some of these corporate entities too have had to make, you know, decisions on, on some of that as
well. Yeah, that's a great question. I'm not entirely sure to be honest in regards to you know, Budweiser's Noun.
They actually featured in I believe it was a super bowl commercial earlier this year. There was a quick cameo of a noun and. As a refresher for folks or for those that might not be familiar, nouns are CC zeros. So if I wanted to print a t shirt with just a random noun or my favorite one, even if I don't own it, that is definitely allowed, that's legal and something that's supported by the broader group and DAO, just because one of the core initiatives is to grow and spread the brand.
And sort of the message that nouns has. So yeah, I would love to know what's going on on that front. My gut tells me I don't think so, but if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. There might be a plenty of reasons why they decided to also participate or leave the Dow in regards to the price, which is actually a very interesting dynamic that initially Because I believe the refund was around that sort of low thirties, mid thirties, ETH mark when people decided to leave they were refunded that amount, which resulted in many of the winning bids in the succeeding days to be right around that point.
But As you mentioned drew that number has decreased a healthy amount to the mid high teens is partially also a sign of sentiment about some of the uncertainty now after these later developments are starting to settle a little bit more that people aren't necessarily sure there's going to Be this period.
And we see this in many other shapes and forms in this space, whether it's NFTs or types of efforts in the industry where things have to be figured out, right? There's going to be some volatility and there's still clearly an audience. Whether it's a little bit more financially driven as an incentive or whether it's people realizing I really still believe in what's going on with nouns, this is just good value now.
And I still want to participate and I'm willing to put in 15, 20, maybe even a little bit more when things are a little bit more clear with next steps that this is just a great opportunity to now participate, actually purchase and hold your own Noun. And be a part of that ecosystem as they move forward from this event I think we will see what's going to happen, but it is important to take note that this is a form of sentiment, right?
And if things improve over time, then we'll see that price or the closing price of these daily auctions actually revert back to some sort of normalcy or maybe even above you know, the more recent prices, and also there's going to be more developments and I'm just looking at the Noun style governance page where regardless of whether you hold or not, you can see all the different proposals.
They're actually on 388, which is again, super cool. The transparency of it, seeing the diversity of proposals coming in, but naturally, some of these proposals are more related to these recent developments. One of them, 384 is titled lower the fork threshold to 10%, meaning if people want to AKA an example of that is continue the rage quitting.
You only need 10%. If, if I'm understanding it correctly it's not loading for me right now either, but that would be much lower than the existing amount.
Yeah. Forks can seed new ecosystems and just nouns in general like I'm a part of a DAO Purple that is specifically focused on proliferating. Farcaster and, and and how do we help builders build on Farcaster and promote the projects and the people working on Farcaster, you know, on top of that protocol. And it is a Noun ish DAO, so it uses like Nouns have taken their entire tech stack and basically made it open source.
And so a lot of the DAOs that are built on even Nouns software, they will donate a percentage back to the Nouns, treasury, even of that DAO. I think in ours, that's something like every 10th goes back to Warpcaster itself actually. And then like the very 11th or something like that goes back to like the nouns Denouns DOA treasury of, you know, every 12 tokens on like the purple DOA.
So just in general, I think they contribute to our society. Also there's just a lot of other areas and technology they built that they have shared as well, which I think has been, has been huge. And I think we'll see just how this plays out over the coming, you know, months and hopefully it's years to come that Nouns is still around alive and doing very well.
Yeah, it's been really exciting to watch and see and unfold because it's been one of the largest. You know, and granted, you know, there was a fork in Bitcoin, obviously, and, you know, in Ethereum, there's Ethereum classic and Bitcoin cash and, and others like forks are not new to crypto, but definitely new, I think, and not new to DAOs either, but I think new in this.
Yeah. It's going to be very interesting to see how this situation progresses. And I think there's full confidence. I imagine a very large number of people, myself included, yourself included, understand and believe that nouns will continue. The question is with these developments, how does that impact the DAO that still will remain today?
What will happen with people who have left? Will they eventually come back in in some other way, shape or form and what types of proposals, whether they pass or not, will come about from this event?
Totally. And keeping on the NFT topic. And another topic that Thomas, you've written around quite a bit too is the stoner cats versus the sec and the settlement at least that they reach.
So the sec charged the stoner cats, which is an NFT project. That was tied to an upcoming show that was being produced and they were selling NFTs and they, the sec has charged him a securities fraud and they reached a million dollar settlement claiming that it was the under registered offering of NFTs.
And to date, this is now the second largest sec enforcement specifically just in the NFT space. The first was being a 6 million settlement with Impact Theory. I think major differences between Impact Theory and Stoner Cats too, just to be clear. And in terms of like, where they, crossed the line or, you know, or things were gray, but you know, we've started even seeing now some NFT marketplaces starting to restrict Stoner Cats from being traded.
And I know that you wrote quite a bit about this already, but I'm just interested maybe like, what impact do you think this has on the NFT ecosystem on brands, you know, moving into NFTs and leveraging NFTs? I think a lot of them are already scared of this exact, you know, scenario playing out.
And so I'm just curious, now that the dust has settled, even, on this a week or so, what is your sentiment overall?
Yeah, definitely. I think you open it up and introduce the situation pretty well. And to start with higher level themes and or what operators in this space, particularly in the U. S. Understand and are aware of is one, there is still a lot more regulatory clarity needed specifically when it comes to all things crypto, when it comes to the extension of crypto, when it comes to the consumer side of things, what it means in regards to all the good things, I think many of us understand, which is the ability to participate more deeply as a consumer, the ability to create more broadly, richly, and in a more creative way.
And building relationships with fans and audience collectors, et cetera. There's a lot of these edge cases that I think maybe a year or two ago, it's just like, Hey, we'll figure it out. We'll figure it out as we go along. And now we're seeing regulatory bodies, particularly the sec start to lay down some of that hammer, that proverbial hammer, which is scary.
Right. So when you're talking about brands who have been thinking about entering the space, or even brands that have already entered the space, how do they think about what's going on? How do they respond or position themselves to be more insulated or less likely to skirt along the edges of what is maybe a gray area or even past a line that has not necessarily been defined yet that would put them into these crosshairs.
There's a lot of considerations. So specifically with Stoner Cats, the sec and the details were publicized. There was an actual sort of enforcement action with some details from the sec that came out early last week was around one how this collection was marketed and two the fact that purchasing these digital collectibles or these NFTs helped to create a product, which for Stoner Cats was effectively a show this online show that was token gated for these holders.
So. I sort of think about it in two parts, right? One, the marketing where I've worked in FinTech before, not on the web three crypto side of that, but I worked for a robo advisor product and company and the parent company of that startup fortunately had legal resources and a team of legal folks that I work with closely to better understand the space.
And the simplest way to put for those that are less familiar is You can't make promissory statements, right? You can't say, Hey again, in the robo advisor world, Hey, you know, we have these super smart, optimized portfolios based on your preferences, your financial situation, et cetera. And our returns on average are like eight or 9%.
That might all be true. But when you advertise that there needs to be a lot of disclosures because just because historically performances like that does not mean performance in the future will always be like that, right? So there's been a lot more established rules, guidelines, and regulations on how you can market something, how you can position that to a prospective customer and what you need to do to make such an opportunity, something that's positioned a little bit more realistic for folks.
Case in point with Stoner Cats, case in point with what was mentioned earlier, impact theory, where it was a little, let's just say a little bit more egregious, won't get into details on that front. One clear example that was actually in the enforcement action. So they had like, I don't know, like a 10 page PDF with a lot of different sort of screenshots and all that stuff was Stoner Cats team or the account tweeted out a meme.
Right? Like a standard meme template. There's so many out there, but it was one showing like, Hey, it's like if you basically sweep the floor, then basically it's suggesting that the floor price of Stoner Cats will move, which is true, right? If someone doesn't matter who buys up, let's say 10 NFTs or a hundred NFTs of a collection, that price, the floor price, the lowest listed price will increase.
And hypothetically, everyone's going to be happy. Hypothetically, that means everyone has a higher valued collection for that item, right? That's not allowed because not to say that I was explicitly said not allowed by the SEC, but just based on what they've, you know, presented in the past, what you're allowed to do or not, that's definitely in that very gray area of like, you're making a somewhat promissory statement.
So this isn't exactly the same with web three, but something that you can argue for those that are more experienced or a brand. Yeah, you don't mention that. You might mention what the product is and that it's fun, or maybe that there is some utility associated with it, but not necessarily the value of that specific thing.
And that's one thing that gave the SEC a little bit more evidence and ammo to say that this was marketed in a fairly deceptive way. And there were, there were other examples of that. The other piece, which I think made a lot of other existing incumbent as well as prospectively other brands or other people considering entering the space is that they effectively suggested that NFTs are securities.
Won't get into the exact quote, but they made it clear in the way they positioned the wording and what they indirectly claimed Stoner Cats was, was that these are securities. And that has a lot more overreaching impact if that were actually the case and why after even the day of and the days after this headline came out, a lot of legal experts were pushing back on that potential suggestion because one way to interpret it is Stoner Cats was effectively a way to crowdfund, This happens to a degree in Patreon. This happens to a degree in oh my gosh, the name is escaping me. Help me out. Kickstarter, there you go. I participate in Kickstarters. There's so many cool things that happen there. And that really changes regardless of Web3 or crypto or blockchain or not, you know, what could be considered a security.
And actually that same day, I believe two of the commissioners on the SEC actually filed a public statement dissenting against that decision. So it was fun to actually do a little bit more research and dive into how this all works because The sec consists of five commissioners. So folks. You may have heard of the name Gary Gensler, who's the chair of the commission, but there's five commissioners.
So what actually happened with this decision, it was a three, two split majority rules. So this enforcement went through, you know, this was published Stoner Cats and the company behind it had to pay a fine and, you know, definitely take action to refund those impacted. But this wasn't black and white, even internally with the SEC, the body that made this decision.
So the argument in the dissent was that this really hampers creators and the emerging space that this technology provides in terms of enablement for creators as a whole, doesn't mean everything is. Okay. For example, impact theory is a little bit more clear, but stoner cats definitely got to a point where it is not very black and white.
And they actually cited an example from the seventies for star Wars, where they basically pre sold these passes or these tickets or coupons, And by purchasing these coupons, you were basically able later in the year, probably around the holiday season, able to redeem that for actual collect Star Wars collectibles.
As a result, this happens in many other things, like sneakers is a great example, or maybe even like you could buy a PlayStation 5 the month that came out because you got lucky. You could sell that for more if you want. Is a PlayStation 5 a security? Is that pre sale ticket for a 1970 Star Wars collectible literally 50 years ago?
Is that a security that really changes what we should and or shouldn't consider security? So I think it's again, also a highly developing situation, but one that a lot of folks, especially those building or, you know, operating this ecosystem should follow a little bit closely, but that this is not an end all be all, but also to tighten up some things going on operation.
Again, on the social media side, how you promote your collection, how you promote utility, how you promote the pricing, how you promote and or consider publicly sharing information or on socials, you know, the price of your collection needs to be cleaned up if it isn't necessarily tight. And that's much more black and white than, Hey, NFT is a security, which is where some folks are viewing or positioning.
this basically broad stroke sort of statement. So I, think you guys have an idea of where I stand with this. There's a lot of nuance, but this is going to be a very interesting chapter. in regards to regulation, in regards to the space with what is an NFT, what can it be? How should it be presented?
And in regards to what some larger brands and organizations are doing to maybe protect themselves a little bit more that I think there's a few things. So one is actually having free mints. If you can't profit off of it, or if it's a free mint that changes some of that calculus of why is considered security because typically that's sold at a particular price or there's something associated on that front.
So if there's no funds raised. That completely changes, I think the other thing that's going to be very interesting is ironically blockchain is actually very helpful. Even if there's an unfortunate enforcement or something like that, because blockchain can transparently tell you who was actually impacted with this.
So for me, I went. In a slightly different direction as well in regards to some of the implications of this, because if you think about historic and this still happens there's been situations, for example, Wells Fargo, Equifax, whatever, you might be notified via mail or email or something that, hey, you've been affected by this.
And by the way, there's been this huge class action lawsuit and you happen to be impacted. So if you provide some information, you can respond. Be entitled to 20, 100, you know, a small amount of money shared amongst maybe hundreds of thousands or millions of people that participate or sign up in this case, we know who was actually impacted by this via the blockchain and would you use the.
You know, let's say wallet to wallet messaging to notify folks, how do you define who is impacted? How do you refund while using the blockchain? It's hypothetically much more programmatic much more transparent, and also provides a new channel for communicating these types of updates. So ironically, there's actually a lot of interesting things that show that.
Blockchain can really help with how do you facilitate some of these steps that happen afterwards?
Oh, totally. I think the ability to understand the impact permissionlessly, refunds, wallets and things too, like is, wild. They're actually going through this right now with FTX settlement and I think like their claims period is ending in a little bit and they had to do some work to like you, quote unquote, don't have to KYC yourself in order to put in a claim and everything even.
I received it via email and everything, I actually didn't have any funds in FTX account. And so, but it's, yeah, the claims process is all still snail mail style. Granted a lot of their stuff is not actually on chain. So that's, you know, that's, that's part of the challenge, but back to on the NFT side of things, I think it's still just back to the value of like the core use case of like an NFT is it's a digitally verifiable, good, it's a digital asset that can be digitally verified, like the ownership and the history of that asset.
And I think there's just so much use case and value just packed into that, the ability to do that period. And that is one of them. And I think a lot of NFT projects yes, I think they, they need to think twice around their marketing. But also I think too, like we don't want to let this stifle innovation and creativity in many ways too.
Cause it's like, I mean, people do that all the time with buying artwork and you don't treat that like it's a security, you know, in like a technical sense. And so, there are, more Regulations around some of that stuff and especially tax purposes, which is probably one of the biggest things I would say is like, you know, from a government regulation perspective, like that is probably the most interesting or most important to them is like, well, how do we make sure that we, see the, the revenue, the taxes on the side of this if we can regulate it, but I think, you know, how do we make sure that things like true artwork and utility and things like that on chain aren't stifled by the fact of, there may be some bad actors, which like there definitely are, but that are just selling these and treating them like securities.
And I think most consumers, if they were honest with themselves too, of like NFT degens are treating them like securities, you know, like did you buy the Stoner Cats and NFT in the hope that the price would go up or for the actual utility. and that is challenging, to divorce those two.
I think one of the unique things that makes web three so interesting though too, is that those two are coupled, you know what I mean? That there is like utility and a little bit of financial incentive. So there's this aspect of like. I think it's Paki McCormick wrote about this and it's like still one of my favorite essays of his, but it's like the curve of making money and having fun.
And those don't usually map with each other, the jobs that make the most money or not the jobs that have the most fun, you know, and, and things like that. The web three and crypto and some of this way was like, Some like novel innovation ways of having fun while at the same time like making money.
And it's pushing out that curve that you sit on of like making money and having fun and anyway. And so yeah, if all I wanted to do is have the most fun, like you don't really make. Money, just having fun, you know being on vacation all the time or whatever. And so anyway, I loved that analogy.
I would highly recommend people go look it up. I'm sure, you know, Googling Paki and making money while having fun. We'll, we'll bring it up. It's a, it's a really good one.
Moving on to the next item on our agenda though, to over the last couple of weeks met a mask. They've been working on this for a long time.
They announced it, I want to say a handful of months ago. And we actually one of our clients is one of the companies that launched with their snaps on September 12th, the MetaMask launched their snaps product and essentially is their version of an app marketplace.
And like right now it is very locked in. They had only a couple dozen developers that were pre approved. They've been working on this for a long time, but essentially they are add ons to the MetaMask wallet. That bring new features, new functionalities from these third party creators into the MetaMask wallet.
Things like making it Solana operable or the client that we work with is a product called SafeRoute built by staging labs. And it is a eject button for safety procedures for your wallet. You know, if you get hacked, it can automatically transfer things out of your wallet into a cold storage wallet.
You kind of set up all of these rules and it builds out a smart contract, but they built a MetaMask snap that can be able to integrate directly into your MetaMask wallet and do all of this. And there's lots of, lots of other snaps around messaging and marketing and security and safety.
But regardless, I think the most interesting thing around this and Thomas, you've written about this and talked about this in a handful of other apps with. Grab and telegram and others recently, but this idea of wallets evolving into the global super app. And we've seen a lot of this in Asia around the, the emergence of these super apps and why those have been so popular there.
where it's like, you know, one app with the application layer that does everything from, you know, digital identity and social and payments. You know, we, we don't really have an equivalent of that. I would say in the United States quite as much you know, Facebook meta has. I think we wanted to build something like that, but it just hasn't, it's not hasn't taken off from a cultural perspective quite as much, but I think we're seeing some of these crypto apps started to move more in that direction too.
And starting more from the financial side of things, which all of our web two predecessors have not really had, you know, Facebook, there's no Facebook wallet, you know, or Google is another scenario, but. They haven't started from that financial end and then grown into the consumer application.
But anyway, I think the, the minimap snaps, I think is monumental both for like how we're innovating on the wallet, but also how we're innovating on consumer products that have to deal with, with crypto and where they're going in the future. So Thomas, I'm just curious, how do you think this is important?
Have you tried out the product yourself at all in any snaps and then even maybe highlight the headlines with grab and telegram moving? You know, into some of the rep three space of, you know, what is the future of this a web three super app potentially?
Yeah, definitely. Great overview of what metamask has been doing with snaps And this is a development that's a couple weeks old in regards to when it was publicly announced I think when it was announced was pretty big news in regards to the fact that A wallet a self custody wallet of this kind hasn't really done this before yet.
And it really is probably a preview of how these more established companies and products and platforms will grow their ecosystem over time. And with MetaMask, it's interesting because, it depends on how you look at it. But I sort of call them instead of a super app, which I think they are, but to be more specific, they're like a super extension.
Now, what do I mean by that? A large number of the MetaMask user base uses the self custody wallet as a browser extension. They do have a mobile app. You know, they're also integrated in other things but they are a browser extension predominantly in terms of how people use them, So they're building their own app store or the snaps directory that superpowers their extension and its capabilities. So I think it's really interesting and I can't say it for a fact that no other extensions do this. It's like. Outside regardless of crypto or not, but I think it's really interesting that an extension is doing this because of their the size of their user base, how they're sort of thinking about growing that ecosystem and also from a business standpoint, their mode.
But like you mentioned, Thanks. This is something that they are going to grow in regards to the number of snaps and the types of snaps in the directory. Currently, it's more in beta meaning not everyone can create their own snap just yet. They do. Want to eventually create a permissionless marketplace or directory where anyone can create on top of it, which would be super cool, but naturally there are a lot of considerations around security, safety, and all those things.
I could imagine some, you know, more nefarious folks could see this as a large opportunity to create more Bad things are scams and we definitely don't want that. So I think it's a smart move that they're being more thoughtful internally and also independently auditing each of these initial snaps first and then figuring out the best way to open this up to more developers.
But the, the core categories they're focusing on to start off with their launch is one transaction insights to interoperability and three notifications. Right. So transaction insights which could also be related to security. So what you mentioned true with safe route, which I did hear about recently.
So that's really cool that you're working with them. I think it's a great concept. And again, you know, having more tools to help with security are just super important. So that helps you understand, like, Hey, I'm signing a transaction or I want to double check for security purposes what I'm connecting to, what this transaction exactly does.
I actually installed the wallet guard snap, which is security helps to, you know, turn, you know, maybe sometimes what looks like code in regards to signing signatures or transactions into something a little bit more readable for an average person like myself. It's actually pretty cool in the sense that it's quite smooth in regards to its integration.
So at least for wallet guard, when I am about to create a transaction, there's actually different tabs on the MetaMask browser extension UI. So there's an extra tab that's added, which is the wallet guard snap that tells you what you're putting out, which is probably. In my case, oftentimes some amount of ease to transfer to mint, to do something and then what you get back, which might be an NFT or it might be nothing because you're just doing a transfer maybe to someone else or something like that, but it makes it much easier from a UI standpoint and just helpful as another layer of security or whatever you want to get on that front.
Interoperability. Very interesting because Metamask is an EVM compatible wallet. So it lives within the Ethereum ecosystem and all other blockchains are built on that . This changes now with snap snaps where. You can install other snaps from other blockchains that are not EVM compatible.
Simple example is Solana. There are multiple snaps that help integrate. Hey, well, I'm primarily in Ethereum. I think Solana is cool, but I don't necessarily want to keep switching wallets, creating new wallets. installing a new extension, something like that. Well, you could just use meta mask and do that now.
And I will speak for myself. Definitely want to be a little, at least a little bit more involved in the Solana ecosystem. And how will I do that? Well, I'm going to install, and I did install, I just haven't tested and played around with it yet. But I installed the sole slayer. Snap and I'll just be setting up and creating wallets from there and then you can bridge Ethereum to Solana via those tools.
There's plenty of other ecosystems and blockchains that have been integrated to be at that notifications. So we mentioned briefly wallet to wallet messaging. There's additional snaps that make that way easier. This is going to be pretty big in regards to again enriching the broader ecosystem.
And just for a crypto consumer, a user that you could do a lot more than with one thing. And two looking at the forest instead of just the trees, this is a huge win for MetaMask where their product becomes stickier. they get more active users from all different sort of Parts of the ecosystem and they're giving a huge hand to other ecosystems.
Like I mentioned, other blockchains, et cetera to explore other tools, explore other ecosystems while staying within Meta mask. And from a stat standpoint Meta mask has approximately 30 million monthly active users. So. That is a big number, first of all but also something that they want to continue to grow over time.
And the space is getting more fragmented in many ways. But at the same time, ecosystems like this actually create hubs, right? And also a hub and spoke model that allows there to be a home base. A lot of other places to explore with just one tool. So I'm excited to see what happens next in regards to expanding the snaps directory how that impacts MetaMask as a whole, and what really comes next on that front.
Now zooming out even more. So let's say instead of just the trees to the forest, now let's look at the whole geography because you know, there might be mountains, there might be rivers, streams, whatever. Now we're looking at other. Super apps, right? So you mentioned grab also mentioned I'm at token 2049.
There was telegram with two very large announcements from each of them. And this was just several weeks ago. So relatively recent one grab announced that they're introducing an integrated web three Wallet, and that will be used in a variety of different ways. This was a partnership, a circle, a pilot program that following weekend.
So the week, the week of token 2049 people could collect NFT vouchers and redeem those at partnered merchants and basically use those NFTs at discounts. So that's sort of fun because one.
But grab has a lot more than 30 million monthly active users. They have actually no 32, so 2 million more monthly active users. They operate in eight countries in Southeast Asia. And they are able to now actually do a lot more with that, right? So they initially started actually as sort of like Uber.
So you know, ride share, then they expanded to a lot, a lot more forms of sort of the gig economy, whether it comes to food delivery and other things, and then expanded into payments. discounts, loyalty points, et cetera. And that's where that Web3 wallet integration was probably somewhat obvious to them, but also very natural in regards to Asia being at least for the time being more open to crypto supporting that ecosystem.
So it sort of was a little bit more of a green light. To move in that direction. So I'm curious to see what they do next in regards to getting more people to use their wallets, because that is already a concept that existed for some time with grab, right? Similar to Uber, you sort of have a wallet, you have different ways to pay.
There might be promos. If you pay with different methods you could get discounts. For example, Uber has a credit card, a partnered and branded credit card, but you know, they're looking at payments in different ways and maybe not as richly as grab, that's sort of a natural evolution to sort of grow that ecosystem as well.
So I'm really curious to see what happens next there. And again, already alluded to it, but they're based in Asia. Their headquarters is Singapore. So naturally more friendly in regards to what happens there. Telegram they also had a big announcement at token 2049 announced that they will be launching their T O N wallet which stands for the open network.
So that's not necessarily directly associated with Telegram. But that's sort of a partner that is creating a web three wallet on top of the Telegram ecosystem. So Telegram. A lot larger than grab and metamask 800 million monthly active users globally distributed. And they're based in Dubai, also a jurisdiction that is much friendlier in general to crypto.
So we're seeing probably an integration of a lot more capabilities when it comes to payments, payments on top of messaging, other quote unquote mini apps that can really enrich the capabilities of what. Historically has just been a messaging app, So it's going to be pretty interesting to see what develops from there.
Also, because there are a lot of users in our industry that use telegram as a means of communication.
Totally. I think this is all. Just incredible momentum and interesting for the space. But I think maybe just one other thing to hit on and in this may can bring us into even just a new topic or line of conversation.
But both of these companies launched this at token 2049 you know, which was held in Singapore two weeks ago or so. I spent some time In New York last week during main net in East New York over the weekend. And I've been speaking with a lot of folks that have attended token 2049.
I've been hearing a lot of people say token 2049 has been like one of the best crypto conferences that they've been to, but even just like more specifically the stark contrast in us Western crypto conferences like main net. Or permissionless that was in Austin the week before, and the conference is happening in other parts of the world and not just Asia that we're seeing tons, I would say like just the Asian market is exploding with around crypto right now, particularly on like interest in crypto, you know, that's where really, I feel like have exploded as well.
But also at conferences, even in Europe I've heard from the same people that It's just night and day difference in terms of the sentiment that you're hearing among people in the space and working in this space in Asia and Europe versus those of us in the U S I think. And so anyway, it was really interesting hearing that and talking to a lot of folks over the last couple of weeks around that and why we think that is, you know, I think.
We've talked about this earlier, but like regulation has been really interesting. And a lot of these other countries have specific regulations, specific laws regarding crypto break more clear guidelines, you know, at least for the U S has been lagging definitely on that front. But I think too, just the I don't know, there's also just a difference in the excitement and interest, like they're very bullish on like, you know, we're just about to hit another bull run and you know, this is going to go wild.
And I think you talk to anybody in the U S and I don't hear many people, you know, other than some Bitcoin maxis super excited about a Bitcoin ETF. I don't, I don't, I don't think you hear a lot of people like, you know, that bullish on the future of, of web three, which is interesting, but Thomas, I'm just curious, your thoughts and sentiment and, and anything you've been hearing in this front too.
And I think it's just been, it's interesting just to be cognizant of those the differences and just be aware of them, I guess is like the only thing that I'm taking away from it. I have no, it would be super cool, but I have no interest of like, you know, moving my company to Singapore or out of the United States or anything.
That's still, you know, love being in the U S and I think there's lots of opportunity here, but I do wish that we could bring some more of that excitement back here. And so that, that's just where my mind goes as well in terms of, and how do we work more with. You know, global citizens around the world as customers, as partners, et cetera.
Yeah, definitely. I, I share a similar sentiment with you first of all, in regards to the observations and sort of secondhand hearing some insights or just for people that have been going to more conferences globally and domestically here in the U S just, you know, how they feel about for lack of a better word, the vibes, and then secondly, also what you're talking about, the regulation.
Or just sort of like regulatory sentiment or even just what they're hearing from, you know, other bodies. Again, we, we talked about sec and sort of you can, you, it's not even just, assuming you can sort of tell that there isn't exactly the most supportive approach as case in point, this is all regulation by enforcement that we're seeing, but.
Yeah, it's very similar. There's a lot of excitement internationally. And that is somewhat unfortunate. And I would really personally, in my opinion, I would attribute that to regulation at the end of the day, whether it's the approach, whether it's From innovation and sort of keeping the talent here in the U S standpoint, it's just more friendly in other parts of the world.
I mentioned telegram based in Dubai. They're just full steam ahead. And guess who is not part of that while at launch in November, the U S among a few other countries, but most notably the U S right. Like, why is that? Right. So, so long as this continues we just become sort of like, not The first person picked for that, you know, that schoolyard game, right?
Like we want to be joining in that arena as Chamath likes to say, or sort of like be in that game, like a hundred percent, not to say we aren't by any stretch of the imagination drew great point. Like I, some people may decide strategically to leave and headquarters somewhere else or move offices, but many of us are here.
We're going to, you know, fight in our respective ways and I think in terms of other waves that are interesting gaming historically has been you know, certain types of trends have historically started from Asia most notably on the fashion side, Europe, Europe leads that.
That's not an argument, especially on the high fashion side. France would definitely you know, make that known with a lot of, you know, luxury brands there. And I think with the US there is just more uncertainty. And I think the, the silver lining here is if and when that clarity comes or maybe some type of pressure that makes folks or the powers that be, be a little bit more open.
I'm in certain ways, I think, you know from a broad brushstroke standpoint, it will take a lot more time. But if and when there's a little bit more clarity, I believe that there's going to be a large influx of interest behind the scenes, which I think we both know for a fact that there is a lot of interest, but I think it might become a little bit more explicit.
And those floodgates will open and you know, for in the meantime, we're going to see more of that come externally outside of the U S with what I mean by externally. And the last thing I would say is there are more consumer specific brands on the NFT side that also realize these trends where there's sub communities for simple example pudgy penguins, right?
That fully recognize that significant and material parts of the community are not us based. And Luca Nets has made that very clear that there's pudgy Europe, pudgy Asia, and even breaking pudgy Asia. Down to more plenty of folks in Singapore, plenty of folks in Hong Kong, folks in Australia, folks in other parts of Asia that he is calling out and recognizing and making sure that they are heard you know, shown love and appreciated for what they do.
So even on the consumer side brands or companies based in the U S are. Are really distributing themselves in different ways, not to mention board APR club, whereas Ape Fest 2023, well, it's in Hong Kong for a lot of reasons. So you could even read between the lines of what's going on there.
Totally. I think yeah, you just have to read the room and some of it. I totally agree. This has been an awesome episode. . The only last thing that I had on the agenda and maybe, you know, we'll just do this real quick. So rapid fire, but is there any shout outs carve outs?
I don't know. I love the acquired podcast. They call this carve outs at the end. And it's basically just like unrelated to anything in the podcast, but just like fun things you've been watching, reading, or just like shout outs basically. So I'll leave it to you, Thomas, if there's anything as we close this out that, that you've been really into over the last couple of weeks.
Definitely. Yeah. friend tech, quick hit had been following them, been an early user for some time.
They're just building really quickly. They're, they're the first sort of product and platform of its kind in this more recent wave. And we've been seeing some other similar types of platforms pop up. There's one on Bitcoin, there's one on Solana, there's another one on Arbitrum. Very interesting to see some one way to put it is copycats.
I think, you know, being inspired by what friend tech has done. However, typically the first mover is probably the strongest and they, they have some advantages over some of those other platforms, alternative platforms that are coming up. The TVL, the total value locked on the platform, which is basically how much money is with on that protocol based on defy Lama as of, you know, pretty much right now is at 40 million.
So this isn't small, like this is not small potatoes. And there have been people saying that this is going to increase significantly more, maybe at a slower pace, but we'll continue to grow over time. So don't sleep on it. It doesn't mean you have to just. You know, put a lot of ETH into it, but just.
Maybe keep a little bit of a temperature pulse on what's going on. It is a volatile to a degree, any type of metric space or product, but it's one that does have at least for now some staying power. I would say pudgy penguins has started to officially start PR push for what they are saying, which is interesting.
One of the biggest web three announcements in the space for the year. And they call it brave new world. So keep an eye on that. I am a full disclosure, a holder of pudgy penguins as well as little pudgies. So I'm excited. Yes, as a holder, but just in general to see what Luca and his team cook up. And then lastly is later this week, and I'm sure there'll be recaps of various forms coming.
But seed club which is a consumer crypto accelerator is holding an event called the event, which is fun. I sort of love how it doesn't work for most folks, but like when you just call like, Hey, I have a coffee shop called coffee shop. It's sort of funny. This is for their batch six so sort of like you know, pitch day I think it's going to be interesting.
They've been previewing Some sneak peeks of what they're doing in regards to that batch. And I'm going to be attending that later this week. So those are just a few things on my timeline that I'm curious to follow.
I'm registered for the event and I'm super bummed. I'm going to miss it because I'm at this like all day offsite thing in Cincinnati, but yeah, the way they marketed that just brilliant.
I loved it. It was super fun. I wish that that was on my highlight list. I'll have to get the, yeah, get the recap from you and some other friends that are going on the front tech side too. I've been following Taylor McKnight, who's the CEO and founder of perk shop lately. He's a good key follow.
And when the hold, he's just been doing some fun things around, using perk shop and the products they build to like, you know, do drops for people based on if they own your key and intimate some other things that I think have been really fun. Another interesting friend tech follow is Thomas Mancini he started WGMI.
io sold it to floor, the floor app. And he's been doing some, some unique product things, very similar to WGMI with friend tech keys. And it's been really interesting. And I do not own one of his keys is up to like, Point five, seven, six Ethereum, now that's a little, that's a little expensive for my liking on front tech keys, but we'll see.
But anyway, some of the products that he's been building around front tech stats and things that that have been, you know, really, really interesting and would highly recommend people checking out the other, non web three carve out maybe you know, I'm super excited about is.
I've been listening to slash reading the books that the TV show silo has been based on. And I just finished on my plane ride home, the second book in that series called dust. So the first one's actually called wool and the second one's called dust. And I'm super excited to jump into the third one. Would highly recommend they're a good read the TV show.
I think I'd like the TV show better. It's on Apple TV, Apple TV plus. I would highly recommend the TV show, but the books have been amazing. So those are, I don't know, the last couple of weeks, things on my mind.
That's awesome. Quick, quick shout out to a perk shop and Taylor too. I've been talking to him behind the scenes and we're chatting about some potential ideas and it's just cool to see people build legitimate products, supporting that ecosystem to.
Provide more legitimacy, whether it's for friend tech or other similar versions of that coming out in the future, if they do.
And just like leaning in super early, you know what I mean? Like I think, you know, he's one of the first that was like just super early of like, I'm just going to play around with this and see if we can do some, you know, token gated based on a keys.
And and I love it with that, I will sign us off. So this has been a hold on for dear life podcast. Thank you all for listening. Thank you, Thomas, for joining us as a repeat guest. This is. So much fun and just really appreciate you putting in the time and hanging out with us and we will see you for our next episode coming very soon.
All right, take care.
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