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HODL Podcast Episode 9

Ariana Layton
April 5, 2023

HODL Podcast Episode 9 was originally published on April 5th, 2023.

Join Drew, Skyler, and Joel with special guests Stef and Lauren from the Allowlist Podcast as they talk about the Allowlist Podcast, Arbitrum airdrop, mainstream web3 adoption, Gucci x Yuga Labs announcement, and fashion in the metaverse. Stef Caldwell is a sales and GTM leader who has worked in several high-growth startups and tech companies. She is also the author of ManifestHer, a peer-to-peer guide for women navigating the abyss of adulthood. Lauren is an investor at Decasonic, a leading blockchain, and web3 VC firm based in Chicago. She has a deep marketing background, most recently at Atlassian.

Episode Rundown:

  • Stef and Lauren share their web3 journey and how the Allowlist Podcast was born.
  • Arbitrum airdrop has happened, quick recap and thoughts on airdrops as a marketing strategy.
  • What does mainstream adoption look like in Web3? 
  • Gaming and metaverse leading the way for the adoption of brands.
  • Gucci's announcement of a partnership with Yuga Labs.

About Holder

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.

Podcast Transcript

Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below:

 Welcome back everyone to the hold on for Dear Life Podcast hosted by the holder team here. If you aren't familiar with us at Holder, we are Web three CR R M and Marketing Automation Platform.

And this is our biweekly weekly ish podcast where Reg just share updates on the latest headlines and in web three and crypto. And oftentimes we'll have some guests and friends of the business join us for the podcast, which we do today, which I'm very excited about. So today we have joining us, Steph Caldwell and Lauren Tierney the co-host of the Allow List podcast which is where I originally got to meet them.

Also, fellow Midwesterners, which is really cool to see other, and meet other people in web three here in the Midwest. . And so just real quickly, I'll share a little bit about Steph and Lauren. Steph is a sales and go-to-market leader. Has worked in a number of high growth startups and tech companies. A lot of recent experience and kind of the AI and ML space, I would say before AI and generative AI was hot.

So definitely ask her around all of that. And then she is also, which I think is really. The author of Manifest Her a Peer-to-Peer Guide for Women Navigating the Abyss of Adulthood. And Lauren is an investor at DECOS Sonic, which is one of the leading blockchain and web three VC firms based outta Chicago and has a deep marketing background most recently at Atlassian as well.

And so is very familiar with startups and technology companies. And really incredible to have both of you joining us. 

 Steph is the OG in AI. She was talking AI before it was hot. Oh yeah, so Lauren is the reason why I officially, decided to do projects in web3.

She was definitely  the person that was my go-to during the NFT boom. And what year was that? 


Yeah. It's crazy. Forever ago now. 

It's, you don't find as many people in web3, I think, in the Midwest. And especially women. So when Steph and I started geeking out about NFTs together and talking about potentially buying land in the Metaverse, I'm like, you are my friend.

We have to start a podcast. 

I feel like everyone has their like, onboarding buddy into web3. I feel like I have a similar story of someone, that I was following them or, that I could talk to about this. And it's always great. The so also we, I didn't touch a ton on this, but you two were also the co-host, which kind of your relationship and talking about things Web three I'm sure led to the launch of this podcast.

The allow list, which is a show about the future of all things consumer the companies creating IT, technologies, powering it VCs kind of funding the future of consumer experiences. And so I actually had the pleasure of joining as a guest a couple of months ago. And so maybe just to start our episode today, could you two share a little bit more just around what is the allow list, how it came to be?

Yeah, absolutely. We all have our onboarding ramps into crypto web three. Mine was 2017 in. Working in ai, I was working with some really smart people and hot crypto dude, as I like to call him, told me that he had invested in Bitcoin and was making a ton of money. And I was like, I've heard about this thing.

I'm really confused by this thing. Tell me more. And he pointed me to, An incredible book called the Blockchain Revolution, which really deep dove not only Bitcoin, but Ethereum and Light Coin at the time. And I just remember thinking about Ethereum and the idea of smart contracts and how that could really change a lot of technology.

And so at the time being 2017 in Chicago as a woman talking about crypto, there was a lot of people that were like, That's weird, confusing. Go basement dwell for the next five years until this becomes more mainstream. At which point I woke up in 2021 with a relationship with Lauren and she also working in tech but following Web three closely.

And I started texting about NFTs and what she was seeing in really the world of web3. And Lauren, I'll let you pick it up from, 

Yeah, I was like a silent group chat dweller of my family group chat talking about crypto. And listened to a ton of crypto podcasts, but never really talked about it with anyone until s Steph and I's Friendship kind of blossomed and we were like, let's take a week off work and go to NFT NYC.

And if you've ever been to NFT NYC, you don't buy tickets to the conference. Steph and I bought those $600 tickets and booked our days of sessions and went to all the side events and had a blast. But yeah, we've been playing in the space and, launching the podcast, hosting events in Chicago and really just trying to bring more people into the community because we felt to Steph's point, even not in 2017.

In 2021, you bring it up in a tech. Like a tech company. You talk about Web three, you talk about NFTs. People literally look at you like, oh, she's into those NFTs. And it's no, the, this is the future. Blockchain's the future. It just, most people don't understand how this technology's gonna affect their life.

Just like most people don't understand. How the internet works, they just wake up every day and use it. So Steph and I were really determined to bring consumer use cases of web3 Tech to the mainstream, and that's how everything came to be with the allow list. And we fell down the web3 rabbit hole.

I will say when we started down the rabbit hole, our aim was exclusively  bring consumer use cases to  consumers to help them onboard into Web three. And what we found really quickly is in our own discussions with the different companies we were interacting with, that we don't think that we're gonna call it Web three in the future.

We don't think that we're gonna be talking about. Intricacies of the blockchain in the future. We think all of this should fade away into the background, and that is when we will see mainstream adoption. And so our interests, started with just exposing the, parts of the engine, so to speak, and has really evolved to how can we help consumers understand that the future is definitely more digital, more internet based than it's always been.

Because of that, there are complexities in terms of how we transact in those digital spaces and want to bring things from one digital space to another. And because of that, we imagine that the future is more global than it is today. And if all of those things are gonna be true, then new technologies need to exist to enable all of these things.

And those technologies will be used by the brands that we love and wanna interact with. And again, we shouldn't have to know how the blockchain works in order to do those things. It should. All works seamlessly and we can continue to exist as consumers of our favorite things. And really that's where the podcast is now, is talking about those types of things.

I absolutely love that. I actually have sent and used specifically the allow list website and your  intro to web3 page to employees or people in the past of how you all break it down and talk through just very simple language kind of onboarding into, what the heck is web3.

I find really compelling and so I actually, I have used that as an example. Myself, which is really funny. The one thing we all ask and I'd be curious, how are you all thinking around, so you've done a handful of events and in-person things as well. How are you thinking around kind of community building around the allow list and what you all have built with the allow list and particular in this web three way and not maybe to have to divulge any kind of secrets or roadmap items, but just thinking of are you thinking about things like you.

A NFT membership pass or how do you think about kind of community building with the allowed list and kind of in maybe in a web three native way in the future? 

I think we started out hosting a ton of community events here in Chicago because we wanted to test the waters. We wanted to see who was interested in having maybe different conversations in web3.

If you're in the Midwest or in Chicago. We have an incredible web3 community here. But what we saw was it was a lot of the same people on the same panels talking about the same topics, at the same style events, and we were like, let's shake this up because when we're gonna bring new people into this space, it's not gonna be in these ecosystems that we've already seen, these silos.

It's gonna be by doing things that meet people where they are, whether it's a wellness and web3 event, whether it's just a happy hour. We have a short panel, but it's really about just hanging out and it's, we don't frame it as a web3 event. And that's really been our aim to bring new people into the conversation.

And to probably just drop the word web3 because if you ask, Steph and I, web3 needs a rebrand, and that's what we're aiming to do here. We're looking at the future of consumer. Includes the future of tech that we believe is blockchain that we believe is web3 as it pertains to NFT memberships, who knows what the future holds.

But right now we're just focused on building really great content for our community and continuing to, educate and onboard more people to start thinking about these things. 

I love it. I would five star review for the allow list and highly recommend everyone also go and subscribe and and give it a listen.

I just did good. Yeah. I'm not kidding. It's great. Yeah, you two have some incredible guests and just the topics and the things you're thinking about I think are pushing the boundaries with Yeah. To your point of like where we're heading as consumers in a global digital society. And and I think it's important for people.

To understand and be thinking about those things. So yeah. Any person interested in the future of trends and technology would highly recommend to jump into some of the headlines over the last couple of weeks here. I'll kick us off with the first one. Being that Arra one of the largest L2s, I think, if not the largest L2 on Ethereum launched their native token and their transition to a DAO officially.

Last week, they announced this a handful of weeks ago, but this is the long waited ARB token that kind of, you're able to participate in the governance of this DW by holding the token. The it already has exploded into a top 40 token, fully diluted market cap was somewhere north of 10 billion and prices remained pretty steady between.

A dollar 10 and a dollar 40, which to me, I'm actually very optimistic around. I think oftentimes when we see, this has just been the airdrop marketing real honestly in many ways it feels it is, like there's some structural things around, like this is a DAO and it's a governance token and things.

But really in many ways I feel like all of these airdrops are really just really advanced marketing campaigns. And so we've seen this with optimism, which is another L two, the blur airdrop ENS and then even rumors around, meta mask or ZK sink and others doing aird drop.

It's a really interesting marketing strategy and I would say I was just I was happy to see the price. Like usually you see this happen and the price of these tokens just goes bonkers for the first like couple of weeks. Making like a hundred, two, 300% kind of moves basically.

And so anyway, I was happy to see that the price really is stayed a little bit stable. Just if that's any indication that maybe how the token was distributed and how people are thinking about it. Is maybe not quite as much just in kind of a cash grab, but just curious to think and maybe ask around the room kind of the impact and that we're seeing with all of these kind of airdrops into the ecosystem and do we think that this will be a long-term sustainable kind of continuing marketing channel that these, web three native brands and blockchains L1, L 2s continue to move down or not?

Yeah, I've seen two things. 

Recently in some of the communities I'm in, one of them is that everybody's screenshotting like Arro or people from Arro literally saying, yeah, we're not gonna do a token. Which is hilarious. And then there's all, and then they have screenshots of all these other places, of all these Meta mask and Zike, Hank and all these other ones that are rumored to maybe have something coming down the pipeline saying we will not do one.

And so everyone's so these are not true or but I did see something official from meta masks saying that they're not planning to do one and people should be careful. And I think this is obviously something very prime for scammers to jump on to. They already try to do this even when there's not an airdrop planned and there's not rumors of one, they always try to do this.

But whenever there's rumors that kind of go around, it makes it even easier for them to capture people's attention and get. Scams through. 

Disclaimer to more careful. Yeah. I think that's why they all say and there's, they're partly like even legal SEC  type stuff that you can't sell, it, these are, and some can they be, construed to be securities and things like that.

So there's also you can't preemptively talk about it. Yeah. So I'm sure that there's interesting ramifications there, but I think that's why they're also like always adamant of until we say there's gonna be, there's not gonna be because of the scams we're seeing. Yep. I'd say the reality 

Is as a marketing strategy, it works very well.

And this has been proven. Blur is probably the best example of this. All the things that they did as a marketplace were not necessarily new. Looks rare, right? With 0%, and they did an airdrop as well. They never really surpassed open sea in market cap or market share. And same thing with some of the other, like X2, Y2, they had been, I think 0% fees since the beginning and they just, never really took off.

But you throw in the airdrop in there and all of a sudden it's like the de facto trading platform for NFTs. And I think it's just gonna be continuing to prove that these airdrops are just an excellent marketing strategy to get people to not only use your protocol, but incentivize them to, Hey, here's this reward at the end of a stick if you use our stuff.

And hopefully along the way they really enjoy using it. So I think it's a good strategy overall and we'll continue to see that play out, in the ecosystem. Yeah. What do you guys think about, what do you guys think about blur? I think to your point, it was a really good marketing scheme.

It was there was a lot of hype and I would go as far to say there was not a lot of substance. It just felt like this hype scheme, this block, block open sea and you'll get to keep this volume and like the 0% fees, but at the end of the. I think some like I, I admire how Arbitron did their drop.

It took a long time and I really believe in what Arbitron is doing given the fact that they've surpassed Ethereum in, in transaction volume. But when I look at something like Blur, they didn't build over long periods of time. They just had this hype token. And I think we'll see with a lot of these more hype, less substance tokens, that there's a spike, but I think I wrote about it in something for work a few weeks ago, and I haven't seen much more about blur since. So what do you guys think about that? 

Yeah I completely agree. And even Skylar to disagree with you I actually think airdrops are.

One of the worst marketing strategies like you, they can be done well, but a lot of the data, and we can show some of these links in the notes too, but it's so like the unis swap token, I was trying to find this article, the unis swap token costs them $350 million and their kind of CAC payback on that basically is five, 5.9 years.

Typical startup CAC payback is one and a half years public company is like 1.6 years. And so if you're netting it, just on that aspect, like they're actually pretty atrocious in terms of how much they cost the company. And the weird thing, and this is learned a little bit to you for to your point, is like they do, it's because they don't feel like it's a cost.

You know what I mean? Because they're just giving away the token, but in reality, they're giving away, equity and the business, which is  a cost. It's, Oh, whatever you call it, the statements of  your cost of  your shares issuance  to  employees.

That's a real, bottom line cost to the business. And that's basically what this is. And I think with Blur we saw the same thing with looks rare. I viewed the drop as a marketing strategy to subsidize user engagement. In many ways, and I think. Arguably the blur has been much more successful than, looks rare was when you saw, looks rare and their kind of rewards, decrease significantly.

It just dropped off a cliff in terms of like volume and activity and there is something to blur where. They have captured the like high volume trader and the very advanced like day trader type of tools very easily. And so  they're targeting this the 1% of users that spend 99% of the volume and they've captured that kind of really well.

And I, I don't know. And the blur stuff, it. 67 wallets or nine, I don't know, some small amount of wallets doing like 90% of the activity in trading. So it's people that do this for a living. It's not mainstream adoption, it's not consumers. It's like date traders. 

It's very exactly. This reminds me a lot of a book I read I think it's Andrew Chin, the Col Start Problem.

I mean bootstrapping networks or bootstrapping two-sided marketplaces, anything like that. There, there's gotta be some way to get off the ground. And it seems like that's the playbook that they're all running to various levels of, Success. But yeah, it, it seems like that's just what everyone's trying to do with all of these, airdrops or whatever is just repeat that playbook that, Uber played out really well and, lots of other, like Reddit lot, lots of successful companies have played out, in the past and it seems like they're all just trying, they're like, yeah, tokens, that's the way to do it and we'll just airdrop everyone tokens. And they're, I think there's other ways to probably do that, but it is a way to bootstrap user engagement to really get something off the ground. 

Yeah, they are it does prime the pump in terms of the marketplace specifically and The challenge though, is  when I compare it to a lot of other tech companies that have done this, that have been in marketplace stuff, it wasn't like overnight on day one you have billions of dollars of like transaction volume.

Like it's just on a whole different scale. I feel like too. And that's what's so wild where like it's just so hard to even make the comparisons to like how they're priming the pump is because. Uber could not do that. Or, GrubHub is a prime example on a lot of the food delivery ones too, when they were like basically charging less than what the food, cost them with the delivery and things like, and they're, they had real costs that they had to put out to to sell the product.

And in this space, like they don't actually have like real costs if they're just like minting the token or issuing the token. And that's where I think we start to get in trouble a little bit.. I think it'll be really interesting to see where it goes. I think I am more bullish on people, Lauren, to your point of building for the mass consumer kind of build for the 99% user, that's gonna spend maybe 1%, but those are gonna be the people over time, the long tail.

That where you bring in those are the people that are gonna bring the creators along and build the loyalty with the creators. And I think that we'll see the winner be the one who has the deeper relationship with the creator at the end of the day.

Yeah. My only 2 cents on this is I think Overall, all we know is we know nothing, and these will continue to evolve over the course of the next year. If you look, at Arbitron versus optimism, I think you could argue that they executed probably better. Their technical roadmap was further along before they executed the drop.

And those are good things. But at the same time to, Drew's point, I love that stat about the payback period on something like this and what the payback actually is. That being said, if you look at this as a marketing ploy alone, you know they got tokens to a ton of users. Those users are talking about that, and by virtue of just talking about it in their communities and their networks, more people are leaning into the conversation, probably people that otherwise wouldn't.

So lots to learn. Lot more evolution here, and we'll see,  what the future holds. 

Totally. And the thing I like most about it is, Like reinventing the game, they're just writing a whole new playbook and that's what got me, so excited about web3. And this technology in general is just how many companies are completely redefining, what you can do with the blockchain, with how you connect with that customer.

And like some of these things are like airdrops and like in general This is a completely new style of marketing that, just has not been seen from an innovation perspective in the last 10 years, I feel. And so that's what kind of still excites me, but I wanna make sure that kind of in a long term for the industry, how does it help?

How does it help us grow and achieve more of that mainstream adoption? Which which maybe leads us to our next topic more we wanna to spend some time just talking about kind of mainstream adoption in general and I know that Lauren and Steph have thought a lot about this and talk to a lot of people around this.

And maybe I'll start with both of you, but just what do you both think it will take for web3 to truly impact. The mainstream consumer, what are some of the consumer use cases that you will, that you both and all of us are really bullish on that we think will, we'll start to see some of this, mainstream adoption among the consumer.

Yeah, I can start. Steph and I love talking about this and both have different theses around the, when I think about mainstream adoption, I, one of two things. One does this technology. Make someone's life 10 times better, meaning it's solving a problem, is it gonna fundamentally change their actions because a new product or tool makes someone's life 10 times better?

And two, does this product or business use web3 technology to solve a problem that web2 tech. Could not solve. And that weeds out a lot of these companies that are building solutions, looking for problems. And we saw a lot of that, in the bull market, we saw a ton of people saying, NFTs for this, NFTs for them it's Actually, I don't know if that's necessary.

So when we really think about mainstream adoption, those are two things that, it has to check those boxes. And then some of my thesis are around, digital fashion data ownership. Healthcare is a huge one. Fitness. Those are things I love to think about and talk about.

I. In healthcare there's two big things. Data ownership. Why do I go to the doctor and fill out the same form every single time? Why do I go to the next doctor and they don't have my scans, they don't have my blood work. Why don't I own my health data? Why am I not able to monetize on my health data?

Because the doctor's monetizing on it. Everyone else is monetizing on it. But I’m, on it. So I am obsessed with that use case. Always looking for founders building in that. So if, you know anyone send of my way, but love that. And then on the fashion side I think AR and VR really aligns with Web three principles and web three fashion, whether it's in real life or digitally.

And when I meet, what I mean by this is I went to the mall this weekend and I haven't done that in a while cause I'm a big online shopper. And holy, I hate being in dressing rooms. I hate trying on all these clothes and then I can't find the one that fits. So then I have to go look for a different size.

AR tryon is huge. I believe there's a future where we'll be able to try on clothes and AR and VR from home in our sizes and then hit order. We'll never have to go to the store and sometimes the, a nice experience, but I think. In our world technology's just gonna make things a lot simpler in fashion and having authentic onto authenticity, like people go and hunt for vintage bags and why is there no proof of if it's authentic?

And blockchain is a huge piece of that. So those are some things I think about. I could geek out on use cases forever. That's all I do every day. And I think about these things, but I'm thinking about, the mainstream consumer. They don't need to know about the blockchain. They don't need to know how it works.

They don't even need to know that the product they're using uses blockchain. They just need to have a better experience and then they'll keep coming back. And that's what I think about every day because. Blockchain should be in the background. And if I have one thesis, it's that. And I think as this technology evolves, it's not gonna be about, everyone says we need a better UX.

No. We, of course, we need a better UX, but we need to build products. That change lives and make things better if you're building a better UX, but it solves the same problem that a web through Pro Web two product does. There's no need for it. We need to fundamentally use this technology for new use cases that didn't exist in Web two.

And that's what I think about when I think about mainstream adoption. 

I love hearing that other people are talking about this healthcare case, because I talk to my wife about this regularly. She is a nurse. Oh my gosh. And I'm like, what? What do you mean I can't just take my information to somebody else?

See that's not how it works. 

I'm like, why though? It's like I have this thing called a wallet. Call it what you want. Why don't I own my data? Like it's, if you think about it, it's scary that we don't own our data, that other people are profiting on it. I wanna, one, if everyone's else is making money, let me get it on the action.

Two, for the, for my health, it makes sense that I own my health records and I get to decide whose hands they're in so I can have a better healthcare experience. 

Yep. Yeah, I love that. And just like anecdotally, share my own experience thinking about this cuz I've not really thought much on the healthcare side of things and you've got my brain going, when I exited the military, I had to go to the va for some paperwork and some information so I could go to some civilian doctors.

And they just handed me a bunch of CDs, a bunch of different pieces of paper and whatnot. That was like, all right, here's all of your stuff that you can go give to your other doctors. And I. Really like that is a process you're giving me. And yes, it was a cd. I like, can you believe that? 

And I still have that studios plug that into said, our computers don't even teach you anymore.

Fortunately, they had the machine that accepted it where I was taking that information. But that was very recently, within the past four years. And I hope to God they're not still doing that. But like the thought of doing that with a. That gets me really excited. Not only would that have saved me time having to drive downtown, going to pick it up myself because I wouldn't ship it to me.

Again, don't know if they would do that today, but I just would save so much time to be able to own that data and bring it with me and give it to the people that I want to give it to, and then revoke it when I want to revoke it. 

Yeah. I think the portability of identity and the information that we leave, like bits and pieces of ourselves all around, whether that's healthcare or elsewise.

I've heard this put really eloquently, and I'm gonna try to regurgitate it to some extent, but I think like when we talk about mainstream adoption, there's product market fit and then there's narrative market fit. So as an example, narrative market fit is talking about crypto and how exciting that is and the globalization that, could employ and like it's the future of economic freedom for everybody and that's hot, right?

And like we could talk about that. But realistically, when Lauren asks me for 50 bucks because we have to pay somebody for some service, I'm gonna pay her via Venmo until I'm overseas, I'm in Switzerland, Venmo cancels my transaction. Chase won't process the transaction, and now I'm paying her an eth. And that is product market fit.

And to me, that's so much hotter than narrative market fit. And I think that when we seek. Anytime you have an innovation cycle, narrative market fit kind of has to proceed product to market fit cuz you gotta try a lot of things until you have that use case that hits so freaking hard that you can't turn away from it.

Another example of, the product market fit versus narrative market fit does relate back to this idea of ownership over our data and the portability of, our digital identities. So I'm sure you guys have had a friend or I know I at least have that. Some level of following on Instagram and then got kicked off and couldn't get back on the platform to reclaim that following.

And if you're monetizing that following, that's actually a business issue. You've invested so much time, energy, and money into the building of that audience that you don't own. That's a rented audience. And until you get kicked off the platform, you don't have the foresight. Damn, I should have collected emails or phone numbers or some other version of interacting with that audience.

And so the ownership of identity and the ownership of that audience that you've curated on those platforms only matter when you have that product market fit problem statement, which is, why don't I own this audience? And I think that one of the things I think about often is like TikTok and the tumultuous relationship between, our governments basically the one that runs TikTok and ours that interacts with it and provides so much data to it.

And God forbid, like what would happen if TikTok went away overnight and these huge influencers that are getting these tons of brand deals that never prioritized owning that audience, lost them. What would happen then? And. Again, when I think about Web three mainstream adoption, it isn't narrative market fit.

Again, I think that has to proceed. Product market fit to some extent. Cause we have to talk about these problems and pontificate on how we solve them before we can build products that do solve them. But again, once you have that hard-hitting use case, we're like, it becomes so evident that this is how you will do this thing in the future because it's so seamless and easy.

That's when you start to get mainstream adoption. 

It's interesting you frame  platform risk in such a way that is not the way that I or without. Calling it platform risk which is what, like not owning your audience, being on Instagram, TikTok, and those just go away.

And that's fundamentally different with blockchains, or particularly public blockchains like Ethereum because it's decentralized and public and anybody can run a machine. And so if you want it to not go away, go run a note. And so that, that's one of the interesting things that I don't think you're making that argument directly, but in a roundabout way, you are.

And it's Hey, we should have decentralized. Platforms that people don't have to risk everything on some private company still existing in, a year or being shut down by the US government. 

I think it's like these things don't make sense until they make sense, right? 10 years ago we weren't talking about, oh my gosh, there's so much risk for brands that are operating on these platforms that are privately owned until we.

Wait, I think that this could actually be better. This seems to be a problem. Maybe we should talk about it. So yeah. Yeah. I agree with what you're saying. 

I think also, building on this point, it's like, You don't own brands, don't own their relationships with their consumers, but we live in, the younger generations, like they, their values are shown through their dollar.

They like die by these brands, whether it's their food brands, whether it's their like clothing brands. They're very focused on sustainability. They're very focused on understanding the founder's story and mission. And that provides this opportunity that blockchain shows of being able to invest in your brand and be a part of your brand, whether it's through a Dow or a token or what Ty Haney building with.

Try your best where you can buy digital collectibles, cuz let's not use the word NFTs and be a part of your brand from the beginning. Get perks for being an early supporter. Get perks for promoting your brand, get perks for shopping for your with your brands. I think the loyalty aspect of web3 is massive.

Because as someone who's obsessed with all CPG food brands and is the first one to show my favorite Cookie Dough brand, and literally the Brando, I'm like, everyone in Chicago eats dough, eats it because of me. Not true, but I'd like to think it is. I don't own anything in that brand. I'm just genuinely so passionate about how good this Cookie Dough is and how good for you it is that I tell everyone about it.

And I care cause I love the founder and I love her story. And web3 offers this opportunity to really own that relationship with a brand, make me feel more a part of it, give me rewards for being a part of it. And that doesn't happen in web2. So I'm really excited about this future, both for brands.

Yeah. I also think like the convergence of different technologies is really exciting for me right now. Like Lauren knows this, I talk about this often on the podcast like I was a Metaverse maxi before we had the term metaverse before, long before one of your report Coast trademarked it. I think like when I saw the Matrix, I was like, whoa, like this is the future.

People be plugged into digital environments and will be able to create worlds that defy the laws of gravity. And that's gonna be a really cool thing. But then you take that and you merge it with the technological innovation of the blockchain and what that can enable from a consumer perspective.

And all of a sudden now we. This is like a ridiculous use case, but like an aloe yoga store where not only can I go and interact with the aloe community, but I can have an entire store built entirely for me based on the fits that I would be interested in, the designs that I'm interested in, all based on the data that I've allowed the brand to interact with on me as a consumer.

And that's really freaking cool. Yeah, I think just like taking one, one more step back, like problems proceed, and narrative proceeds products. And I think right now we're talking a lot about these things and innovation like has yet to come. And innovation proceeds regulation, right?

Like we don't know what the future is of how data will be managed around these new digital lives and digital, pieces of ourselves that we're leaving everywhere. So there's tons of problems to be solved in this space. And again, I think we believe in blockchain in the background and that's really what we get most excited about when it comes to mainstream.

I completely agree. And just to highlight, there's a handful of other like headlines that are on our list to, to talk about here this week, but I think they're all like, related into this of how we're seeing. Particularly traditional brands try to drive more kind of mainstream adoption.

So Sony, this is a little more kind of speculative, but particularly around like the metaverse side of things filed a number of patents for NFT transfers and in particular around how you can transfer, like in-game assets basically between kind of games or were some of the patents show.

Patents are, they'll fire file patents for just like the inkling of an idea for everything. So who knows if this ever actually makes it. But I think we're starting to see some of the largest, game manufacturers and publishers in the world also think about how do we start to think about an open ecosystem where the assets that people are spending, The video game industry is many, multiple billions of dollars of an industry larger than, the music industry larger than the film industry.

And people are spending significant amount of money here and there's lots of, it's Lockton, walled garden systems. And so there's some really interesting things there. I think also we're seeing. Just over last week Ticketmaster and Live Nation have had Web three teams and been playing in this space for quite some time, but made their first  official consumer focused launch of a use case with Aven Sevenfold recently over the last week where at one of their upcoming or one of their previous shows they let people who owned one of the A7.

NFTs, they did a token dating experience where they could verify that they owned the NFT and they could go in and purchase their tickets, and I think have a VIP experience ahead of the show. And they're rolling this out to other shows on their tour and probably out to a number of other kind of artists.

But just this idea of fando and what does it mean for co-creation and co-ownership. The members, the people who own the I'm not even a Aven Sevenfold fan and now I. A7 x NFT. But like this idea of being able to co-own, part of the experience with the brand that I'm a fan of I think is like just very powerful.

And I think those are some of the experiences around in consumers. They want that ability to, geek out with a brand and kind of be a co-owner, be a co-creator in the experience with them. And I think that's just That's really huge. And then kinda like the third two over last week Gucci and Yugo Labs announcing a partnership.

There's kind of lots of, not many kind of details. Public live yet, but Gucci made the announcement. In particular, the only thing we know is that the fashion label's gonna have an active role in other side and  10 K tf which is their game and metaverse play. So whatever they're gonna be doing is definitely something in the, metaverse and metaverse fashion.

Related space. And so I just think that there's a lot of  momentum here in this space. Today, literally this week is the metaverse, the decentralized metaverse fashion week,  over the last two or three days. So it's just all these things. I think we're starting to see, we've had so many headwinds and web three and crypto over the last year.

It's fun to start to. Some tailwinds pushing a lot of this momentum forward and more of the consumer oriented use cases around how do you make the consumer experience better as well. Yeah. 

On your point on gaming, I know you kinda started out talking about gaming.

Gaming was 48% of blockchain activity just a month ago. So that's half of blockchain activity, just being in gaming. Gaming is a massive use case. As an investor I look at very often. But also, If gaming's, 48% of blockchain activity, most games, not all games, and not saying it's ma all men, but is geared towards men.

And the interesting thing here that's happening is Metaverse fashion is becoming huge. We're seeing Gucci, Tommy Hill, figure, GU and Gabbana, Estee Lauder, forever 21, Clinique. All these  more female focused brands. Coming into this space. And that's important because women are 50% of the population and if we're gonna reach mainstream adoption, we need to build use cases that aren't just gaming that bring women into these spaces.

So I'm really excited, about the future of web3 fashion, about the future of web3 Wellness, which I think is going to be a big thing coming as well to bring more people into the space because we need to build use cases for both genders. And I think that, These pieces are all coming together to build that.

Yeah not related to the fashion use case, but like what I get my jollies over is like the ticket master token gating use case. Yes. It's like bridging our digital lives and our IRL lives and allowing. Growing ownership over our experiences. I am, again, talk about this all the time, huge. John Mayer fan, probably like his OG fan in Chicago.

We've been to so many concerts, it's actually ridiculous, but I have no proof of that. So every time John Mayer comes back to Chicago, I feel like I should be front row for free. John, if you're listening. But I don't get that opportunity. And then the other thing too is I have friends that I've just made friends with over time that are also huge John Mayer fans.

So if he's coming to town, we can talk about wanting to meet up, grab drinks ahead of time if we're going with others. But how great would it be if I could connect with the whole community through that shared ownership of our experie? And there's not applications that are built yet that allow me to do that, but I know for sure that's coming.

And how great would it be if not only was I the John Mayer fan, but let's say for example, I was also a Taylor Swift fan and I was part of that community in the same way that I'm part of the John Mayor one, and you could help me connect with dope women in my, local community that are both of these things together.

And now I've made a real life. From some information about myself that exists on the internet anyways. And I get really excited about how do we make our real lives better through these new technologies that are 

coming. I completely agree. And I think to, to your point Steph, earlier around like the narrative market fit I feel like the idea around like digital tickets, governed by a blockchain has been, has had narrative market fit forever.

That was, when I first got into Ethereum in like 2017, the idea of like smart contracts and like digital ownership, like of an MP3 file or of a specific ticket. That's what. It got me super excited about smart contracts back in yeah, 20, early 2017 or something. And it's funny, like that's had narrative market fit forever and we're just now starting to see glimpses of some of that come into products that are addressing that.

And I don't think that we're even really still there, and I think there's a little bit of, yeah, just some catching up to do, but I think it's a massive opportunity. I got to work on a company also in the half a portfolio called Mando. That that was doing some things in this space and started off in the pandemic doing live streaming for artists and worked with thousands of artists and hosted thousands and thousands of shows.

And they started a platform called My Keeps, where I could have an NFT kind of ticket stub basically for my, the virtual shows that I attended, which is, there's a lot better kind of data in that kind of experience, and it's not quite as much in a walled garden within. The Live Nation Ticketmaster kind of ecosystem.

But I think there's some interesting things happening there and even if Sound XYZ and some others in royal and things too around just how do we think about that? It's super exciting.

 All right. And with that, I am going to wrap us up here for the latest epi episode of the podcast. Lauren and Steph, thanks so much for joining us.

Maybe to, to send us off, where can people learn more about the allow list? Where can they subscribe or can they get in touch with both of you even?

You can learn everything about Allow list at, allow List dot, vip. We're on all platforms. You get your podcast, so give us a listen. If you're super kind, give us a rating and review. But most importantly, reach out to Steph and I, we'd love to hear. What you think of the episodes. We love to meet you.

We love to chat about what you wanna hear next. And as an investor at Deon, please if you're building in this space, please reach out. I shared some of my thesis. I have a ton more thesis, so please reach out if you're building. Always happy to have a conversation with a founder and really excited about the future of this space.

Awesome. And that is a wrap. Thanks so much everybody for listen. 

Listen to more HODL Podcast Episodes: https://hodl.simplecast.com/episodes 

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