A new world of technology is coming your way! Today’s guest is Eddie Ibanez of CryptoZoo, an autonomous ecosystem where zoo owners breed, collect, and trade exotic hybrid animals via NFTs. Eddie has an extensive background as a tech entrepreneur, a pioneer in computer tech, and a cybersecurity specialist creating software to help the government catch terrorists. In this episode, he joins hosts Eathan Janney, Jeff Kelley, and Josh Kriger to break down how CryptoZoo works and its allure in the NFT space. It’s not only a fun game for crossbreeding animals and yielding tokens, but the potential to earn real money makes the project even more enticing. Want to know more? Tune in and get an inside look at this exciting new addition to the digital ecosystem!
Listen to the podcast here:
Eddie Ibanez On Crypto Zoo, Logan Paul’s NFT Game Of Mating Digital Creatures That Hatch From NFT Eggs
This episode features Eddie Ibanez of CryptoZoo, an autonomous ecosystem where zoo owners breed, collect, and trade exotic hybrid animals via NFTs. Eddie is a tech entrepreneur and pioneer in computer tech and data patterns. As a teenager, he successfully hacked AOL from his bedroom. He continued to pursue Computer Science until attending MIT. He was then recruited out to work for a government agency in cybersecurity, developing software that reverse-engineers the location of known government and terrorist threats. Eddie, thanks for coming to the show. We’re excited to hear about CryptoZoo.
Shout out to our good friend, Zach Kelling, who I know is grinding and working on this amazing game that you guys have been putting together for introducing us. We appreciate having friends that are on the cutting edge of NFTs, keeping us alert to things like CryptoZoo and what you’ve been working on. Kudos to you for finding Zach as well. He’s a great guy.
Thank you very much.
Eddie, the bio said it all. You have such a deep tech and blockchain background. You could probably do anything in the space that you wanted. How did the idea for CryptoZoo come together? What about that concept has made it an attractive way to spend your time?
It’s all from Mr. Paul. It’s his idea. I’m lucky to be a part of it. He came up with the idea. We were talking and then we decided, “This might be something that we can venture with together.” I’ve done a lot of interesting things in my life and I’ve always gauged them on how much money you can make versus if it’s cool. If it’s cool, it usually wins in my book. I could probably make more money starting an insurance company or something like that.
When the idea of breeding animals came up, I remember thinking to myself, “Keep talking. This sounds interesting. It sounds cool. What do you mean by breeding these animals?” That’s how it came up. It’s been one of the most fun projects. I’m almost finding purpose in life from it. Not only we’re creating a fun game, not only opening up a new world of technology through NFTs to a different crowd.
The way our game works is you have an NFT. You can breed an animal. You can hatch an animal and you can grow the animal. You can yield tokens that can be swapped for real currency. We’re giving people an opportunity to perhaps make money and, for themselves, a different path in life and success than perhaps maybe they started out with.
I love how you self-bleeped yourself for our audience. Eddie’s reaction to this idea was, “Holy moly.” I get it. The things that are possible with NFTs are infinite and unparallel.
I want to thank Josh for bringing those phrases that they overdub on to things that would get bleeped out in TV, movies, and stuff like that.
CryptoZoo had a lot of early attention and traction. Logan Paul’s public involvement helped to create this rocket ship. I’m curious, where did you meet this guy? How did you connect over this?
Throughout my life, where I meet someone has always been interesting.
Later on, it’s going to be asked, “Where did you meet Eathan, Jeff, and Josh? How did those guys get you into trouble?”
I’d say we met through a mutual friend.
That’s boring. Give us some details. At a party or an introduction or New York City?
No. it was in Los Angeles. We met through a mutual friend. Logan has a great passion for the NFT. In the crypto space, I had a little bit of background. It’s more like, “Maybe you two should meet.”We’re giving people an opportunity to make money and afford themselves a different path in life and success. Click To Tweet
It’s an example of how organic some of these project launches are and where it all begins. Let’s dive a little deeper into CryptoZoo and go into the Zoo. One of the more notable aspects of the game is this ability to make crossbreed NFT animals that can yield these ZOO tokens and then you make money from them. Can you tell us a little bit more about how that works and where that came from?
NFTs were a word craze and art craze. We wanted to come up with an experience that’s a little bit more gamified that would have a little bit more long-term sustainable value. Inspecting this technology, these non-fungible tokens, there were a few things that would make them last a while. This is my opinion. Flame me, say whatever you want, call me an idiot, I’m fine with that. I get called that on a daily basis.
I see art. Everyone knows art is cool. Appreciation is cool, tax deductions, all that type of stuff. Especially being able to track back and then to give back a portion to the originator, I was thinking, “Do you know what would be cool? You could do that on a secondary market with tickets.” Meaning you create an event, something cool. People save tickets. They love going to concerts. You have that experience and that memory. If I’m the Miami Dolphins or if I’m on one of these sports teams, every time I sell you a ticket, I make money. Every time you sell him a ticket on StubHub, I don’t make money anymore. It’s a benefit to the underlying user.
Going back to the Zoo, we were thinking, “That’s cool. What do we have here?” We have building blocks for that built-in on the back end may be for that and for others to slap on other types of games. You buy an egg with ZOO, which is a token that we’ve created on the side, and these tokens will be yielded. There’s a certain allotment saved to be yielded for in-game play. A user purchases with a ZOO and then they have an egg.
There are then these in-game actions that they do, such as to hatch the egg and you get your animal, which is based off of rarity, you get yielded tokens. If I have a common, let’s say I might get yielded the flat no multiplier tokens. If I have an epic or mythical, that multiplier may be 5X off of what that base animal’s yield was. That’s pretty cool. We’re thinking, “How do we make this even more gamified and then have the animals breed so then you can have two types of animals?” If you had a rare and a super rare, that might be a 200X multiplier off of yield.
Most people don’t even care about the yield as much. They just care about seeing these images. You should look at their faces light up. Here’s when I knew that I had to give everything for this project. I have three kids, Coda, JJ, and Vince. I showed my daughter the game and she loved it. She’s hatching eggs and everything. I get a call from my ex-wife and I get it three times in a row. I know I have to pick up. I’m like, “What’s going on?” She’s like, “What are you doing in the office?” I’m like, “What do you mean?” She’s like, “I got a call from my daughter’s science teacher and Coda is going around saying that you can take a bear and a shark and make them and that it’s real.”
The pictures are real. They’re not fake because we’re not using cartoon images. She’s telling everybody, “It’s real. My dad does it for work in his office.” I got an interesting phone call. I saw the way the kids lit up. I took it to a few 60-year-old billionaire friends. We’re talking about a ton of projects and then the one that kept sticking, everybody’s like, “Eddie, what’s up with those animals? Can I see those animals again?” That’s what I knew, “Wow.”
They’re thinking, “Baby Shark was popular. Why not bear shark?”
All that credit goes to Mr. Logan Paul. He has an eye for virality. I was like, “I’m a believer.”
Its inception was this idea that these animals that people breed could be showcased on social media, given that it is a key part of his DNA.
Let’s go a little deeper on that subject. How else do you anticipate users being able to engage with these hybrid animals that they’re creating? Are there other features or cool things on the roadmap that double down on that concept?
There’s a ton and then I can give out a few. Let’s say you have that 5X multiplier yield, you only get that if you keep your animal happy. Think back to the Tamagotchi phase, the animal is fed or whatever type of thing we’re doing. What’s cool is the way that Zach and those guys have written the SDKs. We can layer games on top of them. You can take your animal into these games that are relatively open source. There’s a bunch of functionalities there, whether it’s a race and you can bet, whether if your animal is within a Sonic game engine and you can take them through. There’s that whole type of functionality that’s coming out.
One of the coolest things to me, which may not be cool to anyone else because I’m an old nerd, is that we’re creating products around these animals. You own the trademark to your animal or a fraction of it. When we create a product, the product has an animal on it, whether it’s a t-shirt, a hat, or a portion of those sales will get rewarded to their yield and tokens to the user on a percentage basis. It’s like a commission structure.
We were big fans of some of the elements of the VeeFriends drop when that came out. One of the cool things we’ve been following is the thread of being able to take all of those characters and develop that IP. Create a backstory for them, create merch, videos, and all these different forms of revenue-generating content around these storylines that are developing. I can see many fun things come out of CryptoZoo. It’s a similar thread of opportunity.
I remember having a meeting with Gary and you hit that home as well like merchandise.
With a project of this size, sophistication, and attention, what are some of the challenges that come with that territory that you’ve had to confront along the way and leading up to the launch?
There can’t be many challenges, Josh. Are you serious?
The technical challenge is to make sure you have the best product out there for users. There’s always that balance of timing of release and having all the functionality you want whether or not we see it. There’s a great book about it called The Captains of Finance by Thorstein Veblen. It’s about an economist talking about like, “The engineers will always engineer the best possible solution. The financers will always try to bring it to profitability.” Granted the struggle is alive in every tech company.
Was it difficult to figure out how many animals to include and what traits to include in those animals?
No. It’s the opposite of that. This thing was not the easiest but the most fun project to work on. The crew that we had assembled, we were all like, “Let’s do that. That’s awesome. Let’s go. Cool.” It’s the easiest management group I’ve ever worked with. Everybody’s on the same page. Everyone respects each other in what they bring to the table. It’s been a fun and great partnership. A lot of those things would be deemed tough. It’s been eerily a lot of fun.
You’re deep here and you’re digging yourself deeper in NFTs by co-creating the future of it like we are here. You’re a great person to ask, what do you think the future is looking like? You’re creating a little bit of it. Let’s say we were to look down the line here, 5 or 10 years, do you have an imagination of what we might see or at least things you think will stick around?
I don’t know about the years. Ticketing on your phone is a thing. Passing tickets off and having authors and creators always being paid in perpetuity as this transaction happen is a thing of the future. It’s a long-term sustainable and economical metric for this type of technology. People talk about having what you’ve created into the metaverse. That term gets thrown around a lot.
Whether it’s through NFTs or not, that’s the way the world’s going. We would be playing a video game and I sit down in a conference room and that’s how I sit and work. The gaming element, in general, is I go there, I sit, I push a button, and this Zoom meeting happens. It’s more like the Ready Player One-esque type of thing. We’re getting closer to that. I’m not sure if it’s in ten years, I hope.
We need to allow our show to earn NFTs by being an awesome guest. We could gamify the whole thing. Every time you say, “Holy moly,” you get an NFT or something like that.
You guys are never going to let me live that one down.
It has nothing to do with you, Josh. It’s the fact that the word Holy moly is funny.
We’re going to have a proof-of-Holy-moly-was-stated-on-the-show NFT.
By the way, when people say Holy moly, I think of macaroni. Is that a thing?
Holy moly macaroni. No. Those don’t go together. By the way, we don’t have censorship on this show. You can say whatever you want.
As our audience has grown, I’ve been a little bit more conscious of the words I use. I feel like I was tossing around the F word a little bit more in those early days. I don’t want to offend anyone.
By tossing it around, Josh means saying the words the F word. It’s from the Holy moly guy, hockey sticks. Why don’t we move on to the next segment?
Eddie, I appreciate you giving us the details on CryptoZoo. We couldn’t be more pumped about it. We’re big fans of it and excited to see where you guys take this thing. We wanted to shift gears a little bit and ask you some questions and get a sense of your personal perspective on some things. Edge Quick Hitters is a fun and quick way to get to know you a little better. There are ten questions.
Is this speed dating? Are you trying to take me home after this?
You never know. It depends on your answers. We’re looking for short, single-word, or a few-word answers, but if you want to indulge and get a little expansion to these answers, feel free to do so. Are you ready to dive in?
No, but let’s do it.
Question number one, what’s the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
A Ninja Turtle, Michelangelo, hard plastic.
Do you still have any of those physical things floating around?
No. I wish I did.
It’s going to be good collectibles. Question two, what’s the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
What’s the back story there?
Who wants to buy ramen noodles?
I went to a military boarding academy pretty much my whole adolescent life. The food was okay. I don’t want to disrespect the school. It wasn’t my favorite food. I remember we could go to BJ’s Wholesale Club. You get out every weekend. I’d go out and spend $10, $15 on a bunch of ramens. I’d flipped them for $2 each because no one will like the food there either.There are always technical challenges to make sure that you have the best product out there for users. Click To Tweet
It’s saying something when ramen noodles are an upgrade. Jeff, was that your experience?
At West Point? No. We had good chow up there.
Did you go to West Point?
I did. They stuffed us full of all kinds of yummy calories all day.
I went to New York Military Academy.
You’re right up there. That’s awesome.
When I was in college trying to save money on food, not only eating the ramen noodles but only eating half of the serving and then saving the rest of the serving for another meal, do not do that. When you eat leftover ramen noodles, you find out that they turn into some other chemical properties. It’s some type of chalk.
After ramen noodles, I made a quick upgrade. Do you remember GTA but when it was a looked-down version? It’s the same era when StarCraft was out. One of my buddy’s dad worked at Novell or something like that and he brought back these burn discs and then the game was on it. You didn’t need the CD-ROM to play. The whole game was on it. I was going around installing GTA on people’s computers. They went for $50. I was at $10. That’s when I learned that the marginal cost in software right is small and you can make a lot of revenue off it.
Let’s go to question three. What’s the most recent thing you purchased?
Shoes. The Nike sign is a shark.
Too bad it’s not a bear shark though.
Is that an exclusive drop? Did you pick those up?
In SoHo, there’s a store stadium goods and then I go there. They are way more hip than I am.
Question four, what’s the most recent thing you sold?
That says a lot. Eddie knows something we don’t know.
We’ll move on from there. Question number five, what’s your most prized possession?
I have a Philadelphia Phillies bobblehead of Phillie Phanatic. That’s probably something I take with me.
Question six, if you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service, an experience that’s currently for sale, what would it be?
It would be on the experience level. The physical stuff, not as much. I’d probably get a private show with Pearl Jam or something like that if I could buy anything.
We need to introduce you to our previous interview. He has a close relationship with Pearl Jam.
I would love that. I would do that.
Do it on a cruise and invite all your friends to those concert cruises.
I don’t want my friends there. Maybe a special someone or something.
Pretty soon, you’ll be able to do that holographically with NFTs.
Question seven, if you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would that be?
Probably none of them. It probably would be better for everyone. It’s weird talking about yourself. I live in one little space in the mind and it’s between pain and sadness. I live right in between. What’s cool about that is I feel like everybody’s got that type of stuff. Some people forget it and they put it on a shelf. In between that, there’s power. If you can turn your tears in the energy, you can go three nights straight. It’s the ability to regurgitate that or turn that into strength.
A lot of self-awareness around that as well. Let’s flip it on its head. If you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would that be?
Most of them. Where do you want to start? Some people who know me think I have a flip switch. Maybe I’d probably get rid of that one.
Question nine, what did you do before joining us on the show?
I was helping someone with an eCommerce problem that they had.
I’m glad you didn’t have to help somebody sign up for a MetaMask wallet.
I was doing that, too.
Part of the deal of starting any NFT project is spending hours on your phone with your friends to get them to figure out how to use a MetaMask.
We don’t know anything about that. We’ve heard of that happening.
That’s why I love the Zoo community. These guys are rock stars. I’m sure all the communities come in and they help each other educate and then make our job easy. The fact that we have so many who’ve gone through those thirteen steps to purchase ZOO, we appreciate that.
You also had a credit card option.
We did. We tried working with that until the merchant shut us down.
You didn’t mention that as a challenge. It flows with your energy and everything that you’ve talked about on the show. It also shows that this is still a nascent technology. Not everyone is on board yet.
Hopefully, Visa is.
That was a symbolic gesture, for sure.
Question ten, an easy one, what are you going to do next after the show?
I’m going to use the restroom.
That’s a wrap.
You should do it during the show. We’re good.
That’s Edge Quick Hitters. Thanks so much. I appreciate it. It’s been great chatting with you and getting to know you better and learn about the project. I want to keep people posted. Where can people go to stay abreast of what’s going on and get the hottest latest info?
Some special inside info there. Go check it out and see what the latest and greatest is. How about you yourself? Do you have any socials or anything like that you’re active on? Is it primarily company stuff?
Given my background, I always tried to stay away from social anything, social gatherings, talking people. I have an Instagram account, everybody does. It’s boring. It’s me and my kids. It’s not anything worth following.
We’ll be putting a little giveaway together, something fun for our followers. We’ll do something cool. We’ll share details on our socials. We also love doing some fun things like that and doing some contests and whatnot. Keep an eye out for that. We have reached the outer limit at the show. Thanks for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventures on the starship so invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey all so much better. How? Go to iTunes, rate us, and say something cool.
Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Want to help co-create Edge of NFT? Got a guest you want to see on the episode? Questions for the hosts or guests? An NFT you’d like us to review? Drop us a line at Contact@EdgeOfNFT.com or tweet us at @EdgeOfNFT to get in the mix. Lastly, be sure to tune in next episode for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
This is Eddie Ibanez from CryptoZoo, where we’re breeding sharks and bears and much more. Josh, Jeff, and Eathan are my favorite animals in the NFT space and they know what’s up. If you’re lost in the NFT zoo, stick with them and you’ll find your way.