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SPI 555: NFTs, Crypto, and Its Potential Business Application with Justin and Gene from Braindrops

You’ve probably heard words like, “cryptocurrency,” “blockchain,” “Ethereum,” and, of course, “NFTs” a lot lately. It seems to be all the talk for some folks.

But to everybody on the outside, it just sounds like another language. That is definitely me, and perhaps definitely you. Which is why I’m really excited to bring on NFT artists Justin and Gene, from

Before we potentially have people like Gary Vaynerchuk on and others to talk about NFTs and their applications, I want to hear where they are being used right now, which is mostly in the artist community.

How can NFTs help artists? What are some of the rules? What are some of the basics—the foundational things that we as regular folk, if you will, can understand about it?

We talk a little bit about Gary Vaynerchuk. We talk about utility within businesses, and I start brainstorming some ideas as far as utility within communities.

Community, as you know, is something that is very bullish in my world, and I’m very excited about the future and what’s possible here.

Today’s Guests

Justin Trimble & Gene Kogan, from BrainDrops

Brain Drops is an NFT platform and community for AI-generated art. Their goal is to shine a spotlight on artists and innovators who’ve been experimenting with this technology for years without fanfare, and help enthusiasts learn how to make AI Art. They hope to foster the ideal community and environment for collectors, artists, and learners within the AI-generated Art space.

You’ll Learn


SPI 555: NFTs, Crypto, and its Potential Business Application with Justin and Gene from Braindrops

[00:00:00] Gene:
I’ve been working in AI art for a long time and NFTs. There’s a lot of us out there who have been sharing art on social media, on Twitter, Instagram, wherever.

NFTs have come along and made it possible to turn this into something that you can make money from as an artist.

[00:00:41] Pat:
You’ve probably heard of words like, “cryptocurrency,” or the “blockchain,” “Ethereum,” and, of course, “NFTs” a lot lately. It seems to be all the talk within a certain group of people. To everybody else on the outside, it just sounds like another language. That is definitely me, and perhaps definitely you.

However, with as much chat about it, and with people like Gary Vaynerchuk using it as utility within his business, I can’t help but be more curious about what this is, and see if there’s any application here.

Which is why I’m really excited to bring on Justin and Gene, from They are a couple of NFT artists. Before we potentially have people like Gary Vaynerchuk on and others to talk about NFTs, and applications, and business specifically, I wanted to hear where this is being used right now, which is mostly in the artist community.

How might this help artists, and what are some of the rules, or what are some of the basics? What’s some of the foundational things that we as regular folk, if you will, can understand about it, so we could see what the use case might be.

Obviously, we are very early on with this, and a lot of people are talking about it the way many people spoke about the internet back in the mid 1990s. Or how they spoke about the cloud in the early 2000s, and other things that eventually became a part of our everyday lives.

I envision a future where NFTs, and blockchain, and crypto are going to be a part of the everyday language for people.

But we’re definitely not there yet. If you listen to this episode and you’re confused, and if you listen to this episode, and you’re like, “Well, I’m, don’t even know what’s going on,” that’s okay. This is a learning experience, and this may be the first introduction to this sort of world for you. If it is, thanks for sticking around with me, because it can be a lot in a short period of time.

But again, to get ahead on this, just our understanding it to begin a discussion about it is really the idea here, and then Justin and Gene. Justin is somebody who has a lot of experience with crypto and NFT, and its use within the artist community. Gene is an AI-based community artist who’s using NFTs.

It’s just really amazing. We talk a little bit about Gary Vaynerchuk. We talk about utility within businesses, and I even start brainstorming some ideas as far as utility within communities. Community, as you know, is something that is very bullish in my world. I’m very excited about the future and what’s possible here.

So sit back, relax. I hope you enjoy this. Keep an open mind. I will tell you again, there’s a lot of language in here that you might be confused about. This is the start of hopefully a discussion, and more clarity with this down the road.

Hey Gene. Hey Justin. Welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thank you both for being here today.

[00:03:23] Justin:
Yeah, absolutely. Pat, thanks for having us.

[00:03:26] Pat:
I was going to be a lot of fun. If you happen to be watching this on YouTube, you’ll notice that Justin’s face. Doesn’t look like a human face right now, Justin, for everybody listening and watching, like what’s going on here? What am I looking at?

[00:03:36] Justin:
Yeah. So I feel like it’s kind of appropriate. We’re talking about the metaverse and getting into rare digital assets and these things. So I figured. Well, lately in General, I’ve just been wearing it regardless, but it seemed appropriate today, but it’s based filter a crypto I think they pretty much will do like anything you want.

In terms of like animation, I think a lot of people are gone with their NFTs there. Obviously the NFTE PFP space is, has kind of blown up in recent time. So I think a lot of people want to take their.

Their digital identity that they have on Twitter and then move it into the video realm of however that looks, whether it’s inside of VR or if it’s just on like video chat.

[00:04:24] Pat:
Yeah. I mean, it looks really amazing. It’s tracking with your face. I mean, you’re not hiding your identity though, right? Like this is just where are you?

[00:04:31] Justin:
No, no, no, my name’s out there. I’ve done like earlier, earlier podcasts, like without a face filter, like it’s been a while, probably a couple of years, but yeah. I’m not like totally, but also at the same time, I mean, you know, it’s not a terrible, I don’t mind my name being out there as much, but like it’s, it’s not a terrible idea.

I don’t think to share my face all the time. I mean,

[00:04:54] Pat:
Right, right. Well, I mean, this is, we’ve heard about the metaverse and what Facebook is doing and creating this sort of secondary world. And this is how we’re going to be meeting people in the future apparently, in some way. But speaking of meeting people, Gene, why don’t you tell us a little quick story about how you two met up and how you guys have been working together?

[00:05:10] Gene:
Sure. Yeah. well, I guess the story started with, we got introduced by, by Pindar. So to the other artists who dropped it on the, on the first day of friend drops and Justin was interested in, you know, creating basically spearheading this platform idea to get AI. You know, a place to shine. And, I’ve been working also on another projects related to NFTs.

I’ve had this project in the pipes for, for a long time called Abraham and, and also just releasing NFTs and being active in AI art. So this is. The whole idea was to make a platform for AI art. And so I think the combination of those things kind of, you know, connected us basically led, led Justin to me.

And, I was super into the idea from the beginning because I’ve been working in AI art for a long time and then. You know, they’re kind of almost feel like a missing piece a little bit because there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of us out there who have been, you know, sharing, you know, art on social media and just doesn’t just apply to artists.

But, but since we’re, you know, it’s just digital artists in General, but, but for our case, like I know a lot of AI artists and we’ve all been sharing on, on Twitter, Instagram, wherever, and, and if T’s have come along and made it possible to. To actually turn this into a, you know, into something that, that you can, you can make money from as an artist.

And so, you know, the, the platform for AI artists was missing, you know, there’s an, and you know, for, for actual, because there’s now, there’s now been, you know, a handful of AR projects that are popping up, but they’re usually, you know, led by entrepreneurs and, or maybe, you know, like, like the artists don’t necessarily have a, a way to plug into that unless they’re also entrepreneurs.

And so this kind of lets artists to be artists and, and release, you know, NFTs to collectors and, and kind of focus on the art. And so it’s been thinking it made a lot of sense, you know, from the beginning,

[00:07:07] Pat:
Thank you. And you know, there’s probably a lot of language that the audience listening or watching right now is just not understanding. So I definitely want to bring this back home, but I, that already has provided a lot of clarity into, you know, why this is important, right? There’s a lot of people creating, but not necessarily people being able to, validate ownership of certain things as well as to be able to Generate income from, from their art and their work.

So this is a great thing that’s happening. I know this. A lot of us on the outside and I I’m definitely on the outside still feel like just there’s this huge tsunami of, of, of randomness coming out of nowhere. It seems. And it just feels like there’s this other, there’s like a new language now. And, and, and it’s like, is this even real?

Like, it doesn’t even make sense. And of course we hear those examples, like. Wait, you can own a digital piece of art. Like what does that even like, I could take a picture of it and look, it’s on my phone now. Like, look, I own it now. And it’s like all these arguments against it. Right. That that’s just like the normal person like myself do not understand.

So Justin, can you give us like layman’s terms as far as like how could an, a digital asset be rare? Like how, how does this work and, and, and, and how, like, how is it used, break it down for us.

[00:08:19] Justin:
Yeah, of course. So I think that the easiest way to start that. Nation is just to start with crypto in General, and then you work up to rare digital assets. So

[00:08:29] Pat:
Okay, so relates to crypto, like cryptocurrencies and stuff.

[00:08:32] Justin:
Right. Exactly. So crypto in the way that kind of behind the scenes, how it works is it’s digital money that basically has a public record of who owns what?

So, crypto, like Bitcoin is what’s called a, it’s a word called fungible. It sounds kind of intimidating at first, but it’s really, simple to understand. So basically what it means is. That you have like two or more identical items. So if I have a $5 bill, you have a $5 bill, we can swap $5 bills and we’re swapping the same value.

Right. But when it comes and we don’t need a middleman, like a bank to transfer value to each other. So that’s why that’s one of the biggest. Things that think that people find cool about cryptocurrencies, that you don’t have to have this middleman or a bank or trusted third party, right?

[00:09:22] Pat:
That’s where the word decentralized comes from. Right.

[00:09:24] Justin:
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And so Bitcoin kind of came along, introduced us to that concept. And then after that, there was a theory and kind of expanded upon. With these things called smart contracts. And so with smart contracts, you can use the Ethereum currency to trade for another asset on the blockchain with no middleman, but didn’t have to be a fungible asset.

Like the $5 bill to $5 bill example. It could be, I have a piece of art and you decide that it’s worth. Yeah, however much money to you. And then you trade me your Ethereum currency and then in exchange with, without having to have a middleman in between the art that I am selling or the rare digital asset that I am selling is transferred to you.

And so that’s really where the idea behind NFTs and that’s what NFC stands for is a non fungible tokens. And the NFT is basically just a token to verify the ownership of these rare digital assets. And they’re rare because you can trace the origin on the blockchain it’s public, and you can trace it all the way back to the creators wallet.

[00:10:37] Pat:
So the actual ownership, that’s where the, the smart contract thing comes into play. Right. So, Gene give us an example of a very basic example. I am an artist I want to create, and then I want to turn it into an NFT and then, and then we can kind of go from there.

[00:10:53] Gene:
Yeah, there’s a, I guess there’s a few ways of doing it. I’ll maybe start with the most straightforward, like if you’re, if you’re a digital artist and you’re making a lot, I should say this isn’t strictly speaking, just for digital artists.

There’s there’s ways for analog artists to, to plug into this system. It’s definitely slanted towards visual art because, you know, because we’re the digital visual assets, on some level. So, so there’s kind of a. I think at least for now. it’s digital art. Most prevalent here, but if you’re, so let’s say you’re an artist and you’re, you’re creating these digital assets and you’d like to be able to just sell them as artworks.

And you, you, you, you can mention NFT on the Ethereum blockchain, which represents that the ownership of that, of the actual assets. So, you know, it’s a JPEG or an MP4 or something, and, it can be. Minted in a variety of ways. So like usually the, the, the most straightforward is to mint it on, on the platform.

So there are open platforms, for example, like open, see referable. So you, you just need an Ethereum wallet and some ether to, to be able to do that. There’s also, you know, there’s also some platforms which are. either not open, but, but kind of invite only, or, or curated.

So, you know, they might come with, with, like a collector base or something like that. So, so it’s probably the best, most well-known one is super rare and there’s lots of others. So, you know, you can mint on those and then, and then there’s also, you know, the, the beauty of, of Ethereum is that, you know, it’s all, it’s all open standards and protocols.

So it with, you know, the, the harder route is that you can actually do it all yourself. You don’t need a platform in order to mint NFTs onto Ethereum. now without the help of a platform, it’s, it’s a little bit more. you know, you have to figure out how to do that, but it’s, it’s certainly not rocket science.

You know, it’s something that lots of people have done. There’s a lot of NFT projects out there that are trying to plug directly into the. Ethereum, you know, you don’t need an open C or a super rare in order to do so, but the most accessible, you know, are, are those platforms and, you know, the trade off is that open seat.

You know, for example, open seat takes a, a small reality, you know, out of your sails.

[00:13:10] Pat:
Sure. Sure. Okay. So I’m a digital artist. I create a piece of art. It could be anything, right. It could be a 3d rendering. It could be a, on Microsoft paint. I mean, it could be anything. Right. and then I put it on one of these platforms and, and, and then it just like, I know it doesn’t, but like, it just sells millions of dollars right now.

Probably not, but that, like, I know some of them have, I mean, there’s, there’s been very popular ones in pop culture that have sold for millions of dollars and, and, and. And, and why, like, maybe let’s answer that. Like, why are these selling for so much? And, and, and like, what’s, what’s the idea there, Justin?

[00:13:50] Justin:
Oh, wow. so just to give a little backstory on me a little bit. So like in 2015, I was tinkering around with virtual reality and art kind of seeing how. The technology could intersect with the art world. art and tech have always been an interest of mine, in addition to finance, really. So the things that I found the most interesting about, virtual reality and art together were preservation and accessibility.

So you have the ability to scan at the time. I was thinking traditional. and scanning paintings and sculptures and stuff like that. And I’m putting them into a virtual reality world, which, which would make them less susceptible to being destroyed through a natural disaster or war or, you know, all kinds of things that have happened throughout history.

And then in terms of accessibility, obviously not, everyone’s able to travel around and go to museums. And so if you have, a headset, you can go into a museum, you can experience this artwork just seemed like a really cool thing to me in traditional art, in terms of a scan of a sculpture or a scan of a painting, like really high scale.

That’s a fAI art amount of data, but it’s pretty low bandwidth when you compare it to other forms of media, like long form movies and stuff like that. Right. And I was interested in VR, so it just seemed like a good, like initial, immediate fit. but I was also into cryptocurrency at the time and pretty active on crypto Twitter, over the following couple of years.

So that was 2015. Head forward a couple of years being active on crypto Twitter was lucky enough to find out about, crypto punks, which is probably one of the most, famous in Ft projects. cause it was so early on, this was like June of 2017 and pre, it struck me pretty quickly. How important this could be main things that stood out to me about adding blockchain to the VR.

And art concept was the additional preservation and permanent value. So we kind of touched on that a little bit. Like, well, you have a de-centralized blockchain. You are it’s, it’s more preserved than if you’re like stored on a centralized server that in that server could be destroyed and then all that stuff’s gone.

So in a similar way of a bomb being dropped on a museum, if you only have all the artwork stored on in one server, Ella, it would take is. Those servers to be corrupted or destroyed in some way, and then they’re no longer preserved. Right? So decentralizing everything and having that information spread out is pretty key.

And so that’s, that’s me really quickly. And then there’s the permanents value too. And the Ethereum blockchain has been around, not quite as long as Bitcoin, but it’s been around a long time. So I feel like it has a strong permanence value there. And I think that’s one thing that’s kind of resonated with.

Collectors and, and then wanting to spend, if they’re willing their willingness to spend a lot of money on an NFT and these like historical NFTs, like crypto punks kind of caught on quickly, but then obviously a good example of another like newer NFT that’s caught on, it would be like the board API club for insurance.

And they just did an amazing job. I think branding just in a similar way that like a. Brands like Supreme or just any, any really like a cultural, they created a kind of culture around in the community. it attracted a lot of people to wanting to belong to this community. There was only 10,000 of them and 10,000 seems like a lot, but it, it has ended up being like the most popular number, for these, profile picture projects.

Because it’s just tended to work in terms of like the supply and demand. And maybe it’s just having to do with like how many people are interested in. Now, you know, we’re still, you know, yeah. We’re a few years in, but we still are pretty early into the ecosystem. And I think it was kind of, it’s kind of a scramble because a lot of people.

Are really interested in technology. they’re interested in art. They maybe don’t know a whole, whole lot about, art history and stuff, but they can see maybe, especially because they’re so interested in technology, there’s something about the idea of art and tech. Intersecting and merging that they want to be involved with it.

So I think it created a really high demand and the supply was pretty low in terms of that. And it’s just pushed the price up pretty astronomically. and then you also have just the other thing that goes along with crypto, which is, some people do a really good job. They have popular YouTube channels and, and their age, and they are pretty active on Twitter and they’re just able to create a buzz and a hype around things.

And, and then, that drives the price up as well. So it’s really just a supply and demand thing more than anything else. which is one reason why I think like It’s interesting because like initially you would kind of think that it would be low supply will be super important for an artist to, you know, keep their supply down.

But the, and that’s always been like the intuitive thinking, I think for like, at least the initial couple of years for me, but then I saw there’s a platform called our blocks, which is kind of. The basis, it’s really what inspired our platform, but BrainDrops, because the saw how interesting it was.

It’s Generative art as well. So our ours is AI Generative. They have algorithms, but the idea is you have a collection. And the cool thing about Generative art is that you’re able to. How you’re able to create lots of different pieces, but they’re all, they all can have a cohesiveness. and so it’s kind of similar to back in the day when artists would have a whole, like, say they wanted a thousand additions of a painting that they did, or a piece that they did.

And they would all be the same, you know, but they would just be numbered. Well, this is a way to have like a, a thousand piece collection. And, but everyone gets their own unique piece. And so because you have so many people involved, I think what happens is it’s just like a network effect. It, it actually.

You have all of these people who are interested. It’s not just one person out there saying, Hey, check out this artist. This artist is really cool. You have like 500 or a thousand, you know, depending on how big the collections are, you could have, you know, several thousand people out there. They’re talking about something and just more people are naturally going to hear about that.

And so it’s become

Like a cool. Way, to create a large fan base for, for these Generative artists, like

In a pretty quick fashion.

[00:20:34] Pat:
That’s so cool. I think when we can make comparisons to the real world and the like physical art, it starts to make a little bit more sense to me. Like when you said, okay, you know, an artist is gonna know print a thousand and only a thousand of these and they’re going to number them and they’re going to sign them and whatnot. There’s obvious li rarity in that, because there’s only so many. Right. And I love the idea of BrainDrops and having the sort of Generative stuff so that every, you know, unique number is actually a real unique piece. That’s like, you know, an ad on there. That’s kind of cool. but you know, it almost makes me think of, you had mentioned Supreme and when we consider like, well, why are people paying $500 for a brick that has the word Supreme on it?

Well, it’s the brand and it’s, it’s the feeling that people have a little bit of ownership in something that maybe others do not get to have. Right. That’s this is why, you know, rare Pokemon cards are, you know, very expensive because there’s only so many and there there’s some clout that comes with the ownership of those things, right.

Is that, is that a huge piece of the, of the, why people are even interested in this to begin with? It’s just a digital version of having something that maybe other than.

[00:21:39] Justin:
Yeah. I mean, I think so much of our lives are being more and more of our lives are being spent online. That it only makes sense. And it’s a very easy way. Like he used the word cloud. I mean, it’s a super easy way to, for people to not only say, Hey, like I’m part, this is kind of part of like, you know, my belief system, but also like, these are the things that I own in.

And yeah, like it’s a quick, it is a cloud, like it’s fast cloud. I mean, a lot of people got a lot of followers on Twitter basically because of the profile picture that they use or like the NFTs that they bought. So it was like an immediate yeah. Immediate social cloud. That’s a perfect way to describe it.

[00:22:22] Gene:
I think there’s also this kind of network effect, that goes into it. So, you know, all of the, just to use crypto punks, as an example, all of the people who, who buy crypto punks, you know, they, they have a common interest now in, in crypto punks, like obviously they’re all incented to, to coordinate in such a way that.

If they have cloud together, their network has cloud. And that, that might translate into an appreciation for, for crypto punks. And so, you know, there’s also this kind of like implicit incentive for coordinating together to maybe create value around that brand or around that collection. I think, I think, you know, crypto punks and, you know, Bard apes, and they all, they all seem to do that really, really well.

Maybe they have a lot of activities. You know, it’s not just the, the artworks, but the, the, those networks of people there, they’re in constant dialogue and, and they’re constantly, you know, I think board apps in particular, they’re, they’re famous for, for, you know, having lots of activities in the real world.

And I think that all comes from this network effect.

[00:23:26] Pat:
I love that thought, you know, and I wanted to talk about that. With relation to, you know, we’ve seen in our world, in the entrepreneurial world, we’d heard of Gary Vaynerchuk and what he’s done with V friends. Right. And, and, and how, you know, he’s drawing these little drawings, like, you know, emPathetic elephant and all these other, you know, characters and whatnot.

And that’s like the art piece, but it isn’t even about the art. and many people will argue, well, like the art’s not even that good, it’s just Gary’s joins, but that’s not the point here. The point is. Having that particular NFT or, or buying the one of, you know, 100 of that kind gives you special access to something that others do not get access to.

And that’s where it’s really interesting for us listening, where it’s like, You are building a brand online, you have followers, you have fans, you have subscribers, and this becomes another way to potentially bring even more fandom into your world. there’s even like a imagine if there was a Smart Passive Income, token of sorts, where if you had access to that, and there were only 500 ones and we can verify whether that was real or not.

Right. Maybe it does take the visual form of a piece of artwork. Maybe it’s like a pixalized version of my face or something. That again is not really what matters. What matters is that gives you now the ability to go to my event and that’s your ticket in, or it gives you the ability to, you know, come to a webinar that only you, if you are a verified user can get access to.

And Gary has now demonstrated this in a way. And it’s really interesting cause he sold these for a certain amount, right? And there were only so many and there are no more being made. So the fact that more people want them now, the price has gone up and I think it’s been. It’s like the minimum price of one of those tokens now at the lowest price, like $38,000 now.

And I think correct me if I’m wrong, smart contracts also give you away as the creator of that NFT, such that if ownership changes hands and money is exchange or Ethereum is exchange, you can build in the ability for you to get some of that as the artists, right. Like, that’s where it’s really powerful to me, Gene.

Right? Like, are there, are there any, like you had mentioned the community with, with the apes and, and, and, the punks and like, is that kind of what you guys are doing to over raindrops creating that kind of feel for it?

[00:25:43] Gene:
I think so. Yeah. you know, we certainly inherited a lot of those same, same incentives and properties, you know? So, so for example, you know, we’ve had, we’ve had, I think six, six now I believe drops in. So. You know, each drop has a collector base and those collectors are, are, you know, there’s, we have discord channels for them and they’re, you know, in, in dialogue.

And so there is kind of a network effect that forms around each, each collection, as well as, as well as the platform in General, all of the artists are now connected as well. And, you know, we all, we all kind of benefit from, from brain jobs doing well. So there is kind of a, I think that that inspires some, you know, interaction and we’re still pretty young, you know, we’ve just been around for two months.

And so I pretty excited. I think, you know, we have lots of big ideas, like where this can all go, you know? And I, I look at something like art block. You know, after one year, you know, they had, they had a whole, festival, you know, for example, and you know, that, that, that’s pretty, that’s really awesome. I think their, their community really enjoyed it.

And so I’m, I’m hoping that, you know, we get to that point as well.

[00:26:51] Pat:
Community is the future of business, in my opinion. And I think that with that combined with things like this and technology, just like, tell me more, a little bit about what you’re going to see in the us, what we’re going to see in the future. Like if you could, based on your experience. The sort of meta and what’s going on, like, what do we have to look forward to?

And what could we act on now to get ahead on things, especially as business owners potentially.

[00:27:12] Justin:
Yeah, for sure. I mean, just to touch a little bit, like on the metaverse it’s like, I think people tend to over, like, it’s such a, I feel like it’s an intense word, like Metta in General. It’s just like, kind of like intense, you know, but I really feel like the basic gist. I mean, the word’s been around for like 30 years and the basic gist of it is really just like having a digital life becoming.

It’s not as important, but like more and more important in terms of relation to our physical lives. Right. And I don’t think there’s many people who would disagree that we have definitely headed in that direction. I mean, it’s something that doesn’t happen overnight, but like over the pandemic and with the affordability of smartphones.

Just the adoption of all this technology has really, it’s just, it’s exponential, right? Like technology is not a linear thing. It happens in like an exponential curve and we’re seeing so much happen really, really fast. I mean, I think I heard somebody had the analogy the other day and just like, if the history of like human civilization were a novel, like an 800 page novel, just like the last.

Invention of like the light bulb down to like where we are right now would be like the last two lines maybe in the. Maybe. So, I mean, and it’s hard to art and most of the time you would flip to page 178, and it would be very similar to page like seven 50. I mean, Generally not a lot had changed, you know, but, so I think there’s a lot of people who say, oh, well, people always think they’re living through crazy times where there’s exponential progress.

I do think that it’s different now. I really do think they we’re in, you know, and we’ll talk a little more maybe about AI and how that works into things. And Gene is like the AI expert, but, like for me, in terms of the metaverse and where we’re heading, I mean, it’s like, I mean, if you, you talk about like areas of our digital lives, like just breaking it down into four categories, like working, playing, socializing, and shopping, I mean, Most people probably do some of those things digitally already working your ears, you like zoom meetings or remote work or Google meet.

Remote work is becoming super common. Now I think, almost all companies are pretty much, giving it as an option because it kind of have to, to keep competitive and get good employees and then playing, you have roadblocks and Fortnite. I mean, kids are growing out now. Really, I think a lot of plays done online socializing, obviously Facebook’s been around.

It’s crazy to think, but I mean, it’s been around for over 15 years. Yeah. Again, close to 20 and obviously Instagram, Snapchat and all that. And then shopping with Amazon and I think what’ll happen. It seems to become like. I think things are definitely going to head into a more immersive experience. And that’s one of the reasons why Facebook changed its name to Metta.

I think you’ll see, like, I don’t know if Facebook has tons of incentive to innovate. I definitely think that they have a lot of incentive to keep eyeballs on their platform. So I think what they’ll end up doing is when competitors come along and they’re, and they’re doing some cool stuff, on the immersive front.

You’ll see Facebook gobbled them up, but I don’t know how, innovative there’ll be in terms of like software, obviously they’re, they’re doing a great job in terms of like making affordable headsets, like the Oculus, they make those. And they’re like, I don’t know, like two or 300 bucks now for a pretty good.

Yeah, and they’re pretty good. very good. but then you, it’s not just Facebook. I mean, Google has been working on metaverse stuff for a while now, too. They’ve they have Google cardboard, you know, few years ago. And, Twitter just is, has. Very recently, you know, even Gina and I were just talking about it before we hopped on like a, they have the Facebook profiles.

I’m not Facebook, the Twitter, where your profile picture is like a different shape and you can use an NFT. Now, if you subscribe to Twitter, blue, and then. Microsoft just bought a, she, a digital shoe company. They make digital shoes itself, like up to like 10 grand or more, the same Microsoft I’m at Nike.

But yeah, Microsoft’s been around doing HoloLens. A while. And Microsoft just bought Activision, which is like a game, a game company. and Walmart is getting into selling rare digital goods too. So when you see these like big companies getting involved in like seeing the things you’re going to add towards more immersive experience, I think, you know, it raises a lot of eyebrows and it makes you think, you know, yeah.

Things are definitely heading, this way. So maybe. I mean, I think it’s an, I understand. I do, because like, I remember years and years ago when I first heard about Bitcoin, I thought it was like the dumbest thing. I mean, I did not understand it. Like, I thought, well, how could, when I heard about it, Bitcoin was like $3.

And I was like, how could this be worth more than a dollar? I didn’t understand. There was a supply cap or whatever, but I was just like, this doesn’t make any sense to me. it wasn’t a for like a few years later, so I came back and like actually gave it a chance and like, you know, let somebody explain it to me in more detail.

So it’s a human kind of inclination, I think, to write things off the don’t necessarily understand right away, but also at the same time, you know, it’s like, when enough people are talking about something after a while, I mean, just, I would say, just keep an open mind. I think, And don’t feel like you’ve already been left behind and there’s still so much left to be built and so much left to, take part of, I mean, we’re still in like just such, such early, early times, obviously prices have, and we’re again a crazy bubble right now, the prices, but like with brain jobs, I mean, we try to keep our prices low.

Like you say, I think there’s an opportunity building in those secondary royalties, like. Like with our, with our pieces, we, we price them at like 0.18, which is around $300 right now. which obviously, you know, it could be seen as not affordable to some or super affordable to others it’s relative. But, in term, in relative terms in the crypto market, it’s affordable.

And so, and we kind of see the opportunity of the blockchain and having like the secondary royalties for the artists and for the platform. We’re cool with, with that. Right. And kind of letting the collectors and the artists, all of us grow together because we see a, our AI art as being a movement and are in this for the longterm.

You know, I’ve seen artists that have been around for years. They sold pieces for like 20 bucks. And like X copy, for instance, you know, and now as pieces are selling for like, he’s got piece of selling for like $6 million in the royalties that he’s making from them, just like that one piece is more than he made in the first couple of years, selling all the pieces that he ever sold.

Right. So it’s really cool to see the artists be able to benefit as they become more popular, be able to benefit from some of those secondary royalties. It’s something that it could maybe. They could try to replicate it in the traditional world, but you don’t have to worry about the verifiability and everything.

When it comes to, to the technology and blockchain, it just makes it like super easy. And it’s also verifiable. You can see, okay. That money went to the artists. Okay, good. You know?

[00:34:51] Pat:
Yeah, there’s just so much more to unpack. I’m sure. In, you know, I know this is over a lot of people’s head, but I think it’s worth having the start to just discuss this and understand the, really the utility of something like this. Again, I think a lot of people see it on the outside and they’re just like, people are throwing their money away, or this is just for.

You know, the crazy people who are technical on the internet right now, but I thought similar to you with Bitcoin. When I first heard about the internet, I was like, that’s weird. And I don’t understand it. And it just doesn’t even seem like anything like that’s possible or, or there’s no utility to it. And obviously it’s become something we all use every single day.

And now crypto is becoming something that is becoming a part of everyday, everyday language and people are starting to understand that. So, you know, a big lesson here is like, you know, be open to. Things that are happening and understand what the utility might be, because we are definitely headed in that direction.

I think there’s some scariness to, with some people, you know, a lot of people go, oh, you know, if we’re all in the Meadows, I mean, we’re just all sitting in chAI arts at home and not getting any exercise and people are forgetting to eat and, you know, it’s like, Movies that we often see and, you know, Hollywood likes to, you know, black mirror, a lot of this stuff sometimes, but, you know there are some good things.

And I think for right now, we’re seeing some really good things happening to artists who had once deserved a lot of credit and wants, deserved a lot of, of fame for their work. And now, because of the verification of the ownership of a lot of these things, it’s, that’s, that’s really cool. How Gene, how do you, how do you like if somebody is like, Telling you, yeah, I own one of those things. Like how, how can you actually verify that? they’re being truthful about that? Like, I’d love to know how that works yeah, because I can, I can say I own anything and like, I mean, you just have to believe me, but is

[00:36:34] Gene:

[00:36:34] Pat:
Check on that? Or how does that work?

[00:36:36] Gene:
I guess there’s, there’s different levels of security, you know, if someone, the actual ownership is publicly available. It’s there. The, you can look up, you can read the blockchain there’s there’s different services like ether scan, for example, that lets you verify that a particular address owns a particular.

You know, NFT, let’s say now. now of course, like that leaves open, you know, maybe that leaves open the possibility that someone lies about them having that address. So if you, if you really need to know, then there needs to be some kind of a way that someone can prove. You know, and there’s, there’s a bunch of different ways of doing that.

A lot of it right now, I would say is kind of just reputation based, you know, it’s, it’s kind of like, like with Twitter, how do you know that? Even without verification, like how do you know that at Gene Cogan on Twitter is, is me, you know, there’s, there’s kind of this. well, there’s a network effect and enough people seem to believe it that, that you can more or less trusted.

And if, you know, if you have different levels of trust settings, you can escalate that, that process of verification all the way up to, you know, providing a cryptographic signature that proves that you own a particular address, which is like the most extreme version of that. But usually it’s that it

[00:37:51] Justin:

Yeah. I was going to say like, you can do, you can, you could actually sign a transaction and put the link in your Twitter bio, which is some people do if they want to. I mean, it just depends on your level of nerdiness really,

[00:38:06] Pat:
But yeah, I mean, everybody listening, if you want to explore this a little bit more, you know, you could obviously check out is it Dot cloud. Got it. And then also like for anybody who’s like, okay, this sounds interesting. I’m still a little confused, but I want to learn more, you know, what would be your recommendation for just, you know, learning more about this and getting to understand it a bit more,

[00:38:28] Justin:
It’s like drinking through a fire hose, honestly, So one cool thing is like about discord. It’s kind of interesting. So in discord you can have, different roles assigned to people. So if people aren’t super familiar with discord, it’s basically like Twitter, but it’s like a little more intimate of a setting.

So you have like, right. So you have the. Private rooms. And then inside those rooms, you have different channels and then your, your name actually can show up as a different. and so inside of that discord, you can actually sign, a transaction. you don’t even have to sign a transaction. Actually. You can just like hook up your wallet.

It shows that you own that wallet and then it sees what you own inside of it. And then you, you can actually change the color of your name. So that’s a really easy way. That’s one of the reasons I think a discord kind of caught on there’s multiple reasons, but that was one to kind of have a fun thing to do inside of discord.

The Twitter kinda was late in the game about, you know, in terms of like, yeah, I own, I own a piece of whatever this collection is in this discord. And I can sh I can improve it because you can see, like, my name is a different color than just a regular user.

[00:39:40] Pat:
So I could, I could, for example, have like a Flynn coin, I’ll just, just call it like a fill-in coin or a token of some kind. And maybe there’s a piece of art related to it or not, but you know, the audience listening could purchase it for example. And I set the price and I said, how many are available?

Let’s say like a hundred, right. At a hundred dollars or what have you. and then that will give you access to. a special, you know, discord, not just server, like maybe everybody in the communities there, but maybe there’s a special sort of VIP area that only people who are verified, who have purchased that particular token, like discord would know and only let those people in to that particular.

[00:40:16] Justin:
Yeah, you can have, you can have a channel that’s just for particular roles and those roles have been, can be assigned depending upon what they own in their wallet.

[00:40:25] Pat:
And then the cool thing is like about the marketplaces. Like, okay, maybe a person doesn’t want to be a member anymore. Well, they have this token. They could sell it to somebody on the outside. For maybe $200 and then they get, you know, a little bit of money

Back and somebody else gets access. And this is where the supply and demand and sort of economics of this can kind of take off and why be friends is just exploded.

And so you, you see the overall market capitalization of something like be friends and I mean, it’s in like the nine figures. As a result of just people wanting to get into these events and wanting access to Gary, and That’s. where for entrepreneurs and community builders, it can become very interesting. I would imagine that there’s going to be a lot of other things like discord that will check for verification of, ownership of, of things in the future. And not just for things you own, but maybe you are the owner and you want to have people, you know, have access to or not. That’s. That’s really cool and very new.

And I think yes, over a lot of people’s heads are going to listen to this and go, I have no idea what that. what I just heard, but I think there’s going to be a few who are like, okay, there’s actually maybe some opportunities here. I’m going to explore this a little bit more. any final words of advice from either of you for, you know, this world and, maybe something to look out for or something to be, aware of in case, in case somebody is excited about that.

[00:41:39] Justin:
Yeah. Well, I would just, just to piggyback on what you were saying too, I would say like, like Snoop Dogg tweeted out the other day that like ticketing in the future is going to be NFTs. One, one interesting thing, like I think anybody like. You can see these certain examples where you, you kind of have to rely on people like you have to trust that they’re going to do like a bank is going to do something or, and owning things.

There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with the centralization. And I think that’s, that’s definitely a scary thing. And so. Necessarily for everybody at this point, honestly, because there’s a lot of responsibility and you can lose a lot of money accidentally. If you make a mistake and you send a Ethereum to the wrong address.

I mean, there’s no, you’re not, you can’t reverse that. Right. So they there’s serious consequences. And so that’s not something to take lightly. So just, wanted to say that, but like, yeah, I know that your audience is really interested in like, business and, and, and things like that. So it kind of, I think, just to touch on a few things, like in taking part of the commerce side, like learning to create virtual assets and environments wouldn’t surprise me at all.

If you’ve talked about like unity, 3d or unreal engine. those are like super affordable software programs. Some you don’t even have to pay anything until you. above like a hundred thousand dollars in a calendar year, then you, I think the software’s free for unity. I’m pretty sure that’s still the same way.

Unreal engine five also is coming out like some crazy. If it hasn’t come out already, it’s coming out with some really crazy updates with like, they make, it makes it just way easier to use. So you can create these huge environments in. It’s not as difficult as it used to be, where you had to create multiple versions of things like this is what it looks like when it’s zoomed in.

This is what it looks like when it’s far away. Like it’s much more scalable. I’d also say like, and these, this is kind of for people like more on the technical side, like, learning solidity and other object oriented programming languages for, writing smart contracts that is in massive, massive demand right now.

If you can learn solidity. Or an object oriented programming language and learn how to write smart contracts. You can make a lot of money because they’re highly, highly, highly in demand. Good ones are. And there’s just not enough good programmers out there for all the projects. They can do it to create their own projects where they can work with other people.

If they just want to be on the technical side, they can collaborate. It. Won’t be hard for them, to, to network around. And connect with other people who can put all the pieces together. Right.

[00:44:20] Pat:
Yeah, that’s a great opportunity.

[00:44:22] Justin:
Yeah, it’s just so it’s there’s massive opportunity for solidity developers right

[00:44:27] Pat:
You know, I’m, I’m thinking of, so I have this Pokemon YouTube channel. I don’t know if you, you know, but it’s, it’s grown quite big in the Pokemon space. There’s a lot of collectors and, you know, they, I have this like vision for maybe there’s like this virtual world that we create for the channel that certain people can get access to.

And it’s, you know, in the meta and, and, and certain events happen there, certain drops of new things happen there. And it just becomes this like, You know, almost like fortnight, how they run concerts inside of, inside of their, a platform every once in a while. And they do these cool collaborations and, you know, even talking about Fortnite, right?

They sell digital, like skins or digital, like backpacks, digital, other things that you can put on your character. And they’re only a certain number of them, or they’re only available for like a certain day. And there’s so much transaction. I mean, this is why Fortnite itself was like a billion dollar company at one point.

And it was only selling digital assets. Literally didn’t even change the games

[00:45:20] Justin:
Right. You didn’t even have to have it play the game without it.

[00:45:23] Pat:
Yeah. It’s kinda crazy. So, man, there’s, there’s so much to unpack here. I’m I’m sure this won’t be the last time we talk about NFTs in the future.

[00:45:30] Justin:

VR chat too, is a good place for people to look at. Like VR chat is it’s a it’s free. Like people can use it. And if you can look at it inside of VR, and they’re just doing a lot of cool things, because it’s a lot of builders who are just. They just are passionate and they want to build cool stuff. I mean, I think that a lot of times, like the coolest things come out of that initial just passion to make cool stuff.

And it’s not necessarily like the idea of monetizing. It comes later, but like less technical, you don’t even have to be super technical that to check something like that out, maybe. about like creating community within, they’re linking up with, with people who are builders inside there. and then try not to rush into, like, if you’re interested in like NFTs or yeah.

Like investing in NFTs and stuff, I would say. Definitely like be Patient, try to find the people that you can trust in the space and the people that are building the things that you would build yourself if you had the technical tools to do so. Right. and then as time goes on, like the barrier to entry for creatives is becoming lower and lower.

With the, as these tools become more and more intuitive. And I think that’s something that like, especially Gina and I being like in AI, It’s super exciting for us too, to see people who are gonna, who are less technical, but have just amazing ideas for creating stuff. You know? I mean, I don’t think it’s going to be super far off where you see.

Instead of like a Netflix curating and saying, Hey, you liked that show, check out this show that we have in our catalog, but like, literally like on the fly, creating something that’s like customly custom and tailored specifically to you through AI, through the use of AI. but you can kind of dive into if even like non-technical, people can look at tools like art breeder or Wombo or wizard, w R which is, one of the artists, Zander, who had a drop on our platform a couple of weeks ago.

There’s there’s tools out there that people can play around with who aren’t super, technically savvy too, but they want to get involved right.

[00:47:42] Pat:
Yeah, this is really cool. I’m on right now, GM seeing some of your loops, they look really amazing. and it’s cool that those are all AI Generated. It’s really, that’s awesome.

That’s really.

[00:47:53] Justin:
Yeah. And Gene out just to toot Gene Gene’s horn a little bit before we go, I would say like one of the cool things and a Gene is like our, so also have, there’s three co-founders and AI art, punk 2, 5, 1, 3. He does all of the. He’s like our technical co-founder on the. The, web development side and the solidity side.

And then there’s like Gene that does all the AI stuff. So Gene is like super plugged into the AI world was one of the first people to create GaN artwork. I think he and another academic in 2014, 2015, around that time, created, some gang stuff and Gene kept with the art art stuff. So. He’s an G when it comes to AI artwork, you know, so it’s really, fortunate.

We all, all the pieces kinda came together and we all serve our different, I kinda come from like the collector perspective and in the NFT side, and then Gene’s the AI expert. And then we, we have 2, 5, 1, 3 of this doing all the backend stuff. So yeah, there’s a lot of points that feature and other were, were cut short a little bit on time.

This, hopefully wasn’t too, too technical, you know, for, for your audience, but, yeah, they find it interesting. It’d be fun to come back, maybe in talking about.

[00:49:12] Pat:
That’s great.

Well, it’s exciting to see what’s happening. It’s cool that you guys are sort of on the forefront and being innovative. Thank you for a lot of the education, and bringing it down to normal terms for us and for the others that still might be in a little over our heads. But I’m definitely interested, especially as a community owner and somebody who wants to build fans and create this idea that we all belong together. It’s just really exciting.

So thank you for helping out, both you, Gene, and Justin. Thanks for your time. We’ll talk soon, I hope.

[00:49:40] Justin:
Thanks a lot, Pat.

[00:49:43] Pat:
Alright. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Justin and Gene.

Again, you can check out their website and their NFTs that they have available. Just start exploring that world. We have a lot of resources in the show notes, as well. If you want to check them out, A lot of Gene’s work is fascinating to look at.

And again, the application of this in a community, in experiences, similar to what Gary’s doing, is just really fascinating. I imagine that we’re going to see a lot of that in the future. There is a podcast that I follow on YouTube called Colin and Samir, and they just came out with an episode that talked about how you could own part of Mr. Beast, and whether that actually happens or not, is not the thing. It’s about what is possible, and how you could sell your assets as a creator through the world of blockchain and NFTs. Aagain, just starting those gears going.

Sometimes it just makes me more confused. Other times I get really jazzed up. Again, this is just the start of a discussion, and I wanted to get the artist’s perspective first. We might interview people like Gary V. and others who are using this in business, later.

But we’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know on Twitter @PatFlynn and on Instagram @PatFlynn.

Thank you for listening in.

Justin, Gene, I appreciate your time today. You’re the best. Thank you so much.

The show notes are available at, and I look forward to serving you next week, where we’re speaking with somebody who knows a lot about NFTs, but we’re not going to dive into that too much. It’s mostly about how to grow and start a business from scratch, and how to best validate your ideas, which is obviously very, very important.

So, make sure you subscribe, and we’ll see you then.

Cheers, peace out, and as always, team Flynn for the win.

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