NFT 82 | DCentral Miami 3

 

Dive into another episode of exclusives from key NFT tech and culture leaders at DCentral Miami and Art Basel. In this episode, your hosts Jeff Kelley, Eathan Janney, and Josh Kriger sit down to interview Wall Street Bets Founder Jaime Rogozinski, musical artists Ayo and Teo, and Gutter Wang and Voxel Blaze (Blaze Games and Sandbox) of the Gutter Cat Gang. They discuss exciting possibilities in the future of NFT, from finances, art, and music, to building a growing community within a decentralized platform. Continuous integration and mass adoption are bound to be inevitable. Don’t miss the chance to get ahead on what’s coming next in the space by tuning in!

Listen to the podcast here:

Jaime Rogozinski (Wall Street Bets), Ayo & Teo, And Gutter Cat Gang Members Gutter Wang & Voxel Blaze (Blaze Games) @ dCentral Miami & Art Basel

NFT curious readers, this episode is one of an incredible series we are sharing from our visit to DCentral Con Miami and Art Basel from November 30th through the first week of December 2021. Keep reading for exclusive access to conversations we had with key leaders in NFT, tech and culture. These sessions are cut right from one hot interview to the next without much chatter in between to give you the feeling of being there and reading on various key conversations. We will introduce our guests as they enter. Enjoy.

Remember, NFT LA is coming up from March 28th to the 30th, 2022. It will be an unforgettable experience featuring the crème de la crème in the NFT space. Head on over to NFTLA.live to get your tickets as early as possible for the best pricing. If you are someone you know wants to partner with us to co-create a special unforgettable experience, there are still opportunities to get involved. They are also going fast. Please reach out at Contact@EdgeOfNFT.com.

Thanks, everybody, for joining. Jaime, it’s great to see you from Mexico City.

Thank you. My last name is Rogozinski.

The rise of retail investing, meme stocks, meme coins, DeFi, NFTs and all this stuff tie back in some way in its DNA to WallStreetBets. Let’s talk about the origin story. How did the ethos evolve?

The ethos of it mirrors that of the crypto world. It was born around the same time as Bitcoin was. It was a post-financial crisis. I created it out of frustration. I personally lost my job to the financial crisis. I was left unemployed for a while. Eventually, I got a job and decided it was a very well-paying job. I had a lot of extra disposable income. I could afford the risks because I was single. I didn’t have any kids at that time. I said, “I’m going to take the extra money and risk it. I hope to make enough money, so I don’t have to be in that situation again.”

That’s where the spirit of this thing came. At the same time, we have the crypto revolution starting with its own whole centralized system, banks, fiat currencies and government control. Let’s try and get away from that as well. Both of them started off in the same direction but on different paths to get there. I can see how now they are starting to merge.

Tell me about the ethos, like the underlying support for the little guy and helping them to come up, rise up, take on these institutions and succeed.

WallStreetBets starts off with this idea, “These big banks were gambling with the money that they are not supposed to gamble with.” The term casino has been used to describe Wall Street as far back as Google lets me search. I have been able to find instances in the early 1900s. They usually talk about that in a derogatory way, “These investment banks are being irresponsible at gambling.”

It’s clear that these two worlds, crypto and stock market, are going to merge. It’s inevitable. Click To Tweet

I decided to embrace that and say, “That’s right. Maybe they are gambling and setting up tents outside of Wall Street and occupying. It’s not going to do very much good. Perhaps if we are able to wear that on our sleeves and show that individuals, not just large institutions, are the ones that can also play with this thing sometimes irresponsibly or in an incredibly educated and intelligent manner, but also embracing a ton of risks that the people everywhere are able to participate to.”

Right around the same time, you start getting these discount brokers, eventually free like Robinhood. Now, they forced all the other brokers with no minimums and instant funding. These barriers to entry have been going down. Pretty much anyone is able to participate in the financial system and the stock market. This allows people to come together and say, “We are going to go ahead, take a risk and call Wall Street what it is, a casino, have some fun with it and hopefully make some money too.” Throughout the years, the community has figured out a lot of ways to outsmart, most notably GameStop in 2021. Prior to 2021, they had done a lot of high-profile things that were just as sophisticated.

Let’s fast forward then to the present day. We’ve got WallStreetBets DApp. Tell me about what that is, what the offering is, and where things are going.

For a little bit of context, I do a lot of speaking. Half the speaking that I do is to these investment groups. I was in Vegas at Money20/20 and Stansberry Research. I spoke at London Stock Exchange. I speak at a lot of DeFi, crypto and NFT-type conferences. When I go to these investor forums and talk about crypto, I get this response of, “Crypto, do you think Bitcoin is going to go up or down?” That’s the extent of crypto. I get frustrated like, “I made that mistake too. Crypto is not just Bitcoin, I promise. God help me if I bring up NFTs.”

When I come to this type of event and say, “I like stocks,” people look at me and say, “What is a stock? Where does it get its value from? Why would anybody pay money for one?” I get the exact same face like, “There’s no reason why stocks should exist when you have crypto.” It’s an interesting dichotomy that exists. These two worlds are incredibly powerful and big. There’s a lot of money and influence on both. WallStreetBets DApp is an effort to try and merge these two worlds together.

It’s inevitable that it’s going to happen. The power of crypto is unfathomable, more specifically, DeFi. They have created sophisticated, intelligent, smart, contract-based and trustworthy systems that can do things that normal Wall Street cannot do. It’s anything from the automated market makers to the way that have these intelligent ETFs that have variable leverage components and real sophisticated stuff. They trade 24 hours a day, which is one of the most basic things that a healthy market needs.

There are also a lot of great things in the stock market, so does crypto. The stock market is still a way for companies to grow, raise money and reinvest jobs, goods and services. It’s putting these two things together. What we are doing with the WSB DApp is we are doing several things. It’s a DAO, so people can buy the token. They become part of the governance. They can vote on making these decisions. We are tokenizing stocks. You take the stock and put it on the blockchain. We pass on the voting rights and dividends. You are participating in the stock market.

We are creating these intelligent ETFs. We are calling them ETPs. You can have these mixes. You can buy an ETP that has a little bit of Tesla and GameStop but also has a little bit of Ethereum, Solana and whatever else you want to put in there. NFTs should be on the table as well. That’s the crux of it. We are trying to stay ahead of merging these two worlds together.

You are bringing people in originally through WallStreetBets. You are bringing people in now on the blockchain and doing the same thing but at a whole other level. It seems game-changing for sure. Let’s think about the future then of DeFi and traditional finance. Where does it go from here? How do you see the next several months or years evolving?

NFT 82 | DCentral Miami 3

DCentral Miami 3: These barriers to entry have been going down and down, and pretty much anyone is able to participate in the financial system and the stock market.

 

I don’t pretend to be smart enough of what is going to happen in a few years. This thing moves so quickly. At the time that I came here, I didn’t know how much I had already missed out by not checking Twitter. It’s clear that these two worlds are going to merge. It’s inevitable. The last speaker said, “It’s a train that’s on its way and you can’t do anything to stop it.” Both worlds are going to learn the best of practices. There are still a lot of great things on Wall Street and crypto.

I can see them starting to merge to the point where you don’t have to make that distinction of, “Do you like stocks or crypto?” If you are using stocks and/or crypto for investing purposes, YOLO or whatever, they are part of the same thing. It’s like, “I own a little bit of Bitcoin, Microsoft and whatever other types of asset that you want NFTs.” In the last panel, they took physical things and put them on the blockchain. All that stuff is fair game. I can see those two things no longer being different.

It’s the merging of traditional with DeFi and NFTs in place. There are many cool things happening. It’s amazing the influence you have had on the space so far. I’m excited for you to be here sitting next to me and talking about this with the crowd. I’m sure a lot of people may have questions for you about your history and what you are working on. We wanted to open the floor in our limited time here to some questions on the floor. We will take it from here.

Who has got questions?

The metaverse is a place where people congregate for x number of reasons, and they can actually interact meaningfully and have full-blown economies there. Click To Tweet

Considering that a lot of the younger generation was involved in that experience, what are some things you think that potentially the project you are working on can do to educate the youth a little more on investments, including cryptocurrency and stocks? Considering that, there’s a large youth influence that’s growing on your platform essentially.

I’m not so convinced necessarily that the youth has to learn a lot because the youth is defining. If you look around what is happening in this convention center, you can see that there is a change in the air and things are different. I’m talking with a group of older individuals who are lifetime auctioneers. These guys said, “I have auctioned a total of a billion dollars worth of stuff in my entire life. I don’t understand what this NFT is, but it’s clear that I need to do something with them. Help me merge these two ideas together.”

The symbolic point of that is here you have the older, wiser and experienced people saying, “Dear young person, teach me how this works.” To some extent, it’s not as relevant as passing the knowledge of the previous guard. Stocks used to be transported on horseback across Manhattan. It will take two days and somebody has to reconcile the things. That’s why we have two-day settlements, which ended up causing the Robinhood debacle. There’s no reason to teach that to someone when crypto does instant settlement. These things are archaic and gone.

To some extent, this is here to stay. It’s a lot of power and it’s going to change. The young people have to educate the older people on the bigger brands that want to come in. On the other hand, something fundamental is going to transcend these two generations, which is, “How can I be wise about my money? That doesn’t change. How can I store the value that I do stuff to generate money, wealth or value? I want to store some of that so that I can buy bigger stuff, pay for my kids’ education or whatever it is that you want to do. I want to have these assets work for me.”

That fundamental concept is not going away. Making things easy to understand is fundamentally important. These mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations are multisyllabic complicated words that don’t mean very much or they do, but you can describe them with a meme. You take your CFA test. It’s jargon. You know these concepts already. You know them with Pepe, GIFs or whatever animated JPEGs are. That’s not difficult. You take that sophistication. When you make it fun, you can embrace the risk and whatever it might be, allow people to take control and realize, “This is not that complicated.”

I know that for most of this industry, everything is relatively new. When it comes to learning in your personal experience, what has been the best way that you have been able to grasp true and accurate information rather than false information that could be around on the internet?

There are two things that you said. Maybe you can clarify. One thing you said is learning and the other one you said is acquiring information. Which of those two things or both?

I feel like it’s both because you are learning from certain information when you are learning. Whether you are learning from accurate or false information, that appears a lot.

What I meant by information is like, “Which stock is going to go up type information? Where do you learn? What is the best way to do it?” There are some truths out there that are objective, but it’s not so clear-cut. When something is going to go up in value, you can say it’s supply and demand. Once you get done with that one explanation, if you say, “Why did the stocks or crypto go up? Why did they go back down,” it’s not going to be whatever news article you found that day. Rarely, that’s the case. More often than not, there are one million factors that are affecting whatever is happening. You can find a lot of competing truths around it.

NFT 82 | DCentral Miami 3

DCentral Miami 3: It brings freedom to everybody.

 

What I recommend for people who want to learn whatever type of system is to find something that is a simple explanation with which you can relate to. One of those explanations will be true. It can be true at the same time as something else is true. As long as you continue down that path, you can keep digging and understand it more. Let me give you one example of what I mean by that because I realized that was abstract. When I started trading, I was like, “How do I make money? Somebody teach me. Experts, please tell me when it’s going to go up or down and how short or long.”

I had in a chat room three professional traders that were all wealthy and successful. One guy that was a technical trader drew astrology charts and said, “This thing is going to go up because it’s head and shoulders.” The other guy was a news trader. This was back in the day. He paid $20,000 a month and he had this vibrating bracelet. He would get the news wire twenty seconds before the actual news people would get it. He would run to his computer and make a trade. The third one, who was an algorithmic trader, used statistics and quantitative analysis.

I said to the three, “All of you guys are always competing with each other. Tell me whether the stock is going to go up or down. Let’s have the competition to see who is right.” One day, we decided on a Wednesday at 2:00, which is one of the Federal Reserve. On certain Wednesdays, they announce news about the interest rate that usually causes things to happen with the stocks. I said, “At 2:00, this thing is going to go on.”

The three of them, ahead of time, said, “This thing is going to go up to this value and then it’s going to drop here. I’m going to short it.” The other guy said, “You are crazy. I’m going to wait until my thing vibrates. If the interest is higher, then I’m going to buy-in. If it’s whatever, then I’m going to sell.” The third guy said, “You guys are both dumb because if you look at the volatility component of this, as far as what we are expecting in the average volume, we are going to stay within this range. I’m going to short or long it into the mean.”

Sure enough, 2:00 came across and all three of them had different trades. One of them was shorting. One of them was longing. I don’t know what the third guy was doing. All three of them made a ton of money in front of me. I was like, “I give up. I could have shorted or longed it. I don’t know what the hell is going on.” That’s when I realized you could have multiple ways or approaches, but their conviction was so real for each of them. They have learned this. They had trust in themselves and the system that they were able to do it. My recommendation for people who want to learn is to find something they are comfortable with.

The importance is knowing your value and bringing your art to life so everybody can enjoy it. Click To Tweet

We are going to do one more question.

Can you tell us anything about the metaverse that you are building? Is it going to be like what you are talking about now? Is it easier to understand the finances behind how you make money in this world?

The metaverse is still being defined. I can explain metaverse the way most of you guys will probably understand it. In this metaverse, most of the ones that I have seen are digital representations with some caveats or differences from the real world. That’s how this interpretation is taking place. It’s so early on that it’s not fair to say, “Now, you are going to have a shopping mall in the metaverse.”

You probably will because that’s the first thing that comes to our minds. There are going to be smart people who are in high school or middle school that are going to come up with something that’s well outside of this whole, “I can understand a shopping mall and video games. I can understand those two things together.” Somebody is going to come up with something crazy. I don’t know what that is and what that will turn into.

The shopping mall works. What is a metaverse? You have a place where people congregate for X number of reasons. They can interact meaningfully and you can have full-blown economies there. If you were to have a property in a metaverse with a lot of foot traffic, it’s easy to see how selling an ad on a wall where a lot of people walking by would make a lot of sense because that’s what the model can allow us to do.

If you want to build a digital store, you can order your pizzas and get them physically at your house or buy your merchandise online. I can see how people could make a living in a separate space. It’s a separate office. It’s a different location. I can understand how that’s going to be the first iteration, but I do not think that’s going to be what we are going to end up with. We are going to end up with something much more efficient, sophisticated and fun.

NFT 82 | DCentral Miami 3

DCentral Miami 3: This whole NFT profile picture and Web 3 social club craze or whatever you want to call it has a way to connect people from all different types of backgrounds and all over the globe and unite them under a common banner.

 

I love that answer, “We don’t know what we don’t know. Don’t limit ourselves by what we do know.” You guys give it up for WallStreetBets and Edge of NFT.

I’m doing a short interview with Ayo & Teo here in beautiful Miami. These are great guys I met at a nice yacht party. They are excited about the space like us. I wanted to get some thoughts from them. Let’s start with who you are and what got you excited about the space that got you into it.

This is Ayo & Teo. We are multi-platinum artists. We are super-viral dancers and originators on the web and beyond. We have billions of streams of music and users dancing. I’m going to keep it at that. You can look us up on all platforms. We are excited about the NFT space. I’m not going to say fully involved, but we have been watching from a distance and close at the same time. A lot of the things we have been doing are already NFTs. It’s time to capitalize on the NFT art.

You guys have been ahead of the curve in gaming too.

We work closely with Epic Games and Fortnite. We have five live emotes because we created two slides for Drake. He is one of the biggest artists in the world. You all know who Drake is. We created two slides in our living room. We made an NFT off of that. We are excited about the whole intellectual property, knowing that you can own your own art or visual. Anything that you can jot on some paper, you can turn it into digital art that people can either keep for the years to come and is worth something of the value of how important the art is. Dancing is important. It’s how many views and who we work with. I tell many people that if Picasso was alive, he could sell his art for $40 million because of what he would create. People would love it.

You mentioned dancing. I met a cool dancer, Snap Boogie, in New York. He is going to come to our event in LA NFT. That’s an example of a form of art that you can’t necessarily monetize as easily without NFTs.

He wanted to involve us in making it come to life the first dancing NFT because he was one of the first to do it. This is a example of what is to come and how small the world is. The space is very small. You can run into anybody any time. I hope you are all inside it for the metaverse so we can meet each other there just like how we met.

You guys talked a little bit about what got you excited about the space. What are the projects that you look at that you respect in the space? What do you guys want to do next in the space? Give us a little bit of a sneak preview.

We want to create NFTs. I personally know how to make 3D NFTs off of Blender. That’s at home on a PC. Other than that, we are going to do some dance NFTs with bigger companies. We are going to do some fashion NFTs and all of that. I heard at the conference that they are doing NFT shoes and clothes. Whatever that’s about to be like, we are getting into that.

I have seen a lot with Space Jam, Camels and Bored Apes. All of those NFTs are amazing. I can’t wait for our NFTs, the Ayo & Teo NFTs, our characters and our little imagination.

The ability to integrate music, art, dance and physical merch is right there. This is Web 3.0. That’s what it’s all about. You guys are creators and you have more tools in the toolkit now.

Metaverse needs to follow the same route as Ethereum, Bitcoin, and crypto and remain decentralized and interoperable to the point where you can build on top of it because that's one of the best things about crypto. Click To Tweet

It brings freedom to everybody. That’s the main key. It’s everybody’s art, not just us. The importance is knowing your own value and bringing your art to life so everybody can enjoy it. They can be the first ones to grab it.

How can our readers stay in touch and follow your NFT and non-NFT journeys?

It’s always Ayo & Teo. You can find us everywhere. Look out for us.

Thanks, guys.

I’m here at this interesting space that has been designed by the Gutter Cat Gang here in Miami during Art Basel. Edge of NFT brings you the top 1% in NFTs and what will stand the test of time. I’m sitting with two folks that are deeply embedded in the Gutter Cat Gang culture. I’m going to let them each introduce their selves and say a little bit about what their role is in all this. We will get down to some interesting questions about the metaverse, Sandbox and how all this is integrating into the future of NFTs.

I’m Gutter Wang. I’m the Community Manager for Gutter Cat Gang. I serve as the liaison between the community and the Founder and dev team. I make sure everything runs smoothly in Discord and Twitter.

I’m Voxel Blaze. I’m the correspondent for The Sandbox with the Gutter Cats in the partnership there. We are building out Gutter City for everyone. I hope you have a mad time there.

Voxel Blaze, we had a little bit of a chance to talk beforehand. It’s a fascinating story of how you got involved in all of this. The first thing that comes to mind is not exactly to describe it as a rags-to-riches story. You found yourself in a stuck situation and made the best of it about some interests. Life treated you in a fun and interesting way. Why don’t you go a little bit over about how you got involved in the Gutter Cat Gang?

The way I got involved in the Gutter was I was working in The Sandbox early on. COVID happened and I lost my job in hospitality. I had nowhere to work. I had to find a way to make money. I found through The Sandbox that I could make some money that way and then worked at it. The Gutter Cat came along. It was the first PFP I have minted. I made the Voxel Cat and posted it up on Twitter. From there, a whole bunch of stuff happened. I partied with the gang. Everything went crazy. The Glitch in the Metaverse Game Jam, we won 150,000 $SAND with my team. We cofounded Blaze Games together.

I’m going to interrupt you because you mentioned something that deserves a little bit of explaining. You are getting involved in the Gutter Cat Project. You worked in Cryptovoxels and learned how to program in that space. You said you want a grant. Go to a little bit more detail about how you found that, who that came from, and what that entailed.

We won the Game Jam and that funded our company, Blaze Games. I got to start it up with my two other mates, who had been all working their normal jobs. They were able to quit and go full-time with Blaze Games. The 150,000 $SAND came from coming first in the Game Jam and trying to change our lives. From there, it made us be able to go full-time 24/7 on The Sandbox and Gutter Cat Gang. This developed for everyone here.

NFT 82 | DCentral Miami 3

DCentral Miami 3: The metaverse with Sandbox almost becomes non-compliant. You can just go do what you want to do on a decentralized platform and work with who you want to work with. There’s no red tape.

 

We are seeing this over and over again in the NFT space, the story of people who are following their creativity. You are working as a bartender, which I’m sure has its own fun and interesting world. It probably gives you some very interesting inspiration for the Gutter Cat Gang culture. You sat down and did something that you felt was creative and touched you. You started to learn how to program within the Cryptovoxels space and it turned into something magical. We are all happy that you were able to do that to bring your creativity and share it with us.

I would like to talk a little bit with Gutter Wang. You said you are in community management. It’s incredible what we see in NFTs, like how important community management is. Even outside of the Web 3.0 space, being able to connect with the community is important. Without making it too heavy, people are very skeptical. You’ve got to give to the community and help them understand that these NFT projects are not money grabs and there’s something that’s oriented to the community. A lot of respect for your role in all this, Gutter Wang. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into this project and became a community manager?

I have been in crypto for many years. I discovered crypto back in late 2013 and early 2014. I found Bitcoin and started mining. I have been in crypto in and out for the last couple of years. I got very excited by NFTs when I started seeing them around in about January or February. I hopped in with Top Shot, ZED and all the different things. I was exploring the ecosystem. In early June 7th, I found Gutter Cats, luckily. I wasn’t a part of the team yet. They were minting that day. I managed to luckily mint one. I love the community. I resonated with the art. Something stuck with me and I want to be a part of it.

I offered my services to the team as a moderator. I had moderated for Reddit forums, CSGO Boards and stuff like that a while back. It was cool to see how they let me in and helped them develop this early stage of the community back in early June when we were trying to get off the ground and even when NFTs weren’t even as big of a deal as they are now. This was a month into Apes and all that. It was a new frontier. Over that month, I worked as a moderator for them, helped them grow and built the community. At the end of June, I took on a full-time position as the Community Manager for the Gutter Cat Gang.

This is an aside that I don’t think a lot of people are seeing that I’m noticing from the NFT space. People are getting involved in these communities and expressing their passion like, “I love this project. I want to help with this project. I want to do cool stuff. I want to manage the community. I want to participate.” They are finding they worked their way through the system in such a way that their value is recognized. It’s not like you filled out a job application, which we all know is BS in the end. Big companies like Google are not hiring through the traditional job application process. They are going through a lot of non-traditional ways.

I find this interesting this model of getting involved, engaging and proving your value. Maybe you are not even doing it intentionally. You catch the attention of whoever is running things and become a part of the team. I want to ask you one question about expanding upon what you talked about. We will move a little bit further into this metaverse concept. This is exciting with Gutter Cat Gangs like mood into Sandbox, Cryptovoxels and doing interesting things. Gutter Wang, was there a turning point in all this or has it been full steam from the beginning? Did you see the community grow or change in a specific way or point? Any thoughts on that?

For the first 3 or 4 weeks of the project, it was a close and tight-knit community. This is in large part due to the fact that there are only 3,000 cats, which is unique in this space. At that time, it was all 10K projects. It was interesting to have a more tight-knit community and a much more family, it almost felt like. You still recognize the same people in Discord every day. We would always be hanging out and talking about sports or whatever alpha there was. We are sharing tips and tricks. We built this close core family almost over the first 3 or 4 weeks.

Around the end of June and early July, we started to take off and get a lot of new members in the gang. It’s amazing to see that this sense of family has stayed even as we have spread into thousands of owners. This is the first time I’m meeting Voxel Blaze in person, but we have this communal sense of belonging from the community. Even though we have never met, he lives in Australia and I’m from New York. It’s crazy to think about it. This whole NFT profile picture, Web 3.0 social club craze or whatever you want to call it, has a way to connect people from all different types of backgrounds all over the globe and unite them under a common banner, which is cool.

I see this grin that emerges on Blaze’s face when you mentioned all these things about hanging out in the Discord. Talking about sports and all these things is fascinating. I was going to call it out, but you did it yourself. You live in completely different parts of the world. You have this joyful connection to each other. We are moving on into the metaverse. We have seen that Facebook wants to own Meta. I met someone who owns the Meta brand and has an interesting way. They are going to fight back on that. Blaze, I would love to hear your opinion on what it means to take this project and move it into a metaverse. Give me your thoughts on that.

For me, it is the next frontier. We have it all in Discord. It’s cool we get to hang out, but it has that 3D space where we can and do more. There are going to be even more activities in the metaverse that we can all do together, earn money and all those kinds of things. This is a cool way to have a community and do giveaways. You see it all on YouTube all the time. Let’s say it’s people like MrBeast where they do something like, “I’m doing a Minecraft game and giving away this much money.” There are all these things away in the head and all these legal things you’ve got to jump through. Whereas with the metaverse and The Sandbox, it almost becomes non-compliant. You can go do what you want to do on a decentralized platform and work together with who you want to work with. There’s no red tape.

Can you share with us a little bit about what you needed to learn to create the art you have within the metaverse system?

For me, I found the program quite early. I got interested in the lens. I invested a bit of money and I was like, “I want to put some time and effort into this as well because of the whole thing that happened with COVID.” From there, I had to learn VoxEdit, which was building the voxels in the Voxel Cats and all the avatars, equipment tools and wearables like that. Our team at Blaze Games has done an amazing job of all that.

The other part of it is the game maker, where you have the world builder and build the world. I remember the first trailer we did out for the Gutter Cat Gang. When we had that thing, it went crazy. That was so good. The response we got from it and everyone saw it was heartwarming. We see a future in this now. I can do this and see the plan coming to fruition. It was like me back, maybe in 2020, with this crazy idea like, “What am I doing?” Now, I’m here in Miami Heat, halfway across the world from Australia.

I have to point out the contrast here, which I find humorous. You are talking about things being heartwarming. We all know tongue-in-cheek humor around the Gutter Cat Gang, “What is heartwarming?” You showed me voxel footage of garbage fires and cats running down the alleys with a chainsaw. It’s all fun. Let’s dive into this territory because we should. It’s maybe some of the negatives that we see in the metaverse territory. We can at least pick a straw man here that we all might have an opinion about.

Facebook bought VR goggle technology. When they bought that technology, they promised you wouldn’t have to have a Facebook log-in to use it and then it transitioned to that. From my understanding, with that technology, there’s eye-tracking. Who knows where that data goes and all the stuff? You may not be an expert on this, but I’m curious. What are your thoughts? How do you feel about this? Maybe eventually putting on some VR goggles and participating in this stuff? What does that mean for our sense of independence in decentralization?

VR and AR are both going to have really large places in the future. VR and AR are both going to have really large places in the future. Click To Tweet

For me, it is the company you want to go with. I’m being honest with you. If I saw it was Meta, I probably wouldn’t go for it and do it because it’s a centralized platform. I don’t trust Mark Zuckerberg further I can throw him. The biggest thing for me for Sandbox was they offered me any artists who wanted to sign up for their art program. They would pay you to make a voxel character. Also, you get 100% of all the rights of what that sells for later on. The only thing they take is a 5% cut in the bank.

They want to be this decentralized platform where they let you do what you want to do. They want to promote you that way. I can say that from what my heart basically said and the team with The Sandbox and Gutter Cats as well. They are being so open. Every time I’m going through a thing, it has always been like, “How can we make this work?” It’s not being like, “What is the roadblock? How do we get rid of it? How do we move forward?” It has been amazing.

Gutter Wang, any thoughts about us moving into the metaverse and maybe some of the drawbacks of that?

There are a lot of concerns with centralized platforms like Facebook and these other big companies that are trying to brand over. Square branded as the Block. There are a lot of concerns with them having too much power in a metaverse where we spend a lot of our time, live, interacting and then the data access that they would have. For me, at least, I’m looking at the metaverses that are open, permissionless, interoperable and that you are able to do what you want and do it how you want. There’s not a concern of data scraping or people selling your work. It needs to follow the same route as Ethereum, Bitcoin and crypto in general and remain decentralized and interoperable to the point where you can build on top of it because that’s one of the best things about crypto.

Let’s talk about VR and AR. It was interesting to me at first and now it’s a no-brainer. When I talk to AR people, they say, “They sound similar. There are some similar technologies. They both can integrate with the blockchain. AR is not VR because VR is its own virtual world and AR interacts with the real world.” Let’s talk to Blaze about this. First of all, is there anything going on with Gutter Cats and AR? What is your understanding of VR versus AR? What are your thoughts about that?

My thoughts with VR and AR, I would personally say I like VR more because it’s more immersive. AR is still a cool technology. I can see AR is more of a thing where you wear glasses and you have maps everywhere. You can do whatever you want. Maybe there’s something cool like ads. Maybe you don’t have to have signs anymore because you have virtual signs that get linked straight into your glasses. You don’t have to have that waste that comes with building a sign anymore. It’s a bit more recyclable and eco-friendly.

Also, with VR in The Sandbox, I know there are always plans to do that. They want to add it. It’s going to be one of those big features that’s like, “If you want to do the full thing, put the goggles on and go in there.” With the data, it’s the same as the blockchain. If you want to see where the data was going the way The Sandbox runs it, you can open the source and see where it goes. If they did steal it, you would be like, “I know what you have done.” You can get them straight away. Whereas somewhere like Meta with Facebook, you probably would never ever see that data ever again.

Gutter Wang, any thoughts on AR?

Honestly, I’m siding with Voxel Blaze here. I’m a big fan of VR. It’s much more immersive. There’s a place in the real world for AR and how we can interact with that. Voxel Blaze was saying signs. Even when you are going shopping in the mirror, you can try on clothes in AR and see how they might fit on you. It’s stuff like that where it enhances your experience in the real world. There’s a big place for it. The technology is not as advanced as VR. As we go into the next 5 or 10 years over, developing the metaverse out and seeing what it holds, VR and AR are both going to have large places in the future.

You are building within Sandbox, but there are other metaverses. I would love to hear your thoughts about the competition and cooperation between various metaverses. Blaze, as someone who has been exploring programming within one metaverse, have you thought about others and looking into that?

I will be honest. Sandbox had me sold. I was a Sandbox boy from the beginning because of the fact that the way I got introduced to it and the way they helped me out. I was easily able to slot in there and become part of their team. The way my workflow worked was I got hired as an artist for them and then I got hired as a sales leader for them. My role evolved into this Gutter Cat Partnership thing with Blaze Games. I have this relationship with Seb, the CEO, and also Arthur. We are close. I can message them on my Discord when I want. It’s a good promotion.

There was a game that we did for another Game Jam that came out. It’s a test play-to-earn because it’s not out there. We wanted to do something out there where Seb gave us 10,000 $SAND, which is like $60,000 in valuation. We made a Dark Souls Game. We called it Rockfall. That was made by Young NTO. He is a person on our team. We all worked on it together, but he mainlined that one. The promotion for it was the first ten people to beat it got 1,000 $SAND each. A bunch of kids got $6,000 for playing a game, which helped them out.

The next topic I would like to cover is what we are looking forward to in the future. I would like to hear from each of you. We will start with Gutter Wang. What are you looking forward to dreaming up for Gutter Cat Gang and your community? What are you excited about going on in the general world of NFTs?

I loved this whole Web 3.0 social club idea that has been pioneered by the Apes almost. I’m excited to see how far both them and us, especially with the gang, can take it and what we can do in terms of building a community that’s universal around the world and that’s connected and feels like one. I’m excited to have it for the potential of IRL events like this. The metaverse is in The Sandbox and House of Kibaa that we are building.

I’m excited to see the NFTs burgeon out of this early stage that they are in, where a large portion of the population ignores them. They thought of it as stupid even by a lot of people because they say, “I can right-click save it.” As we develop out especially these Web 3.0 social clubs with benefits that can’t be right-click saved, that’s going to be one of the first early use cases for NFTs, the killer app almost. That’s going to drive a lot of innovation and attention into the space, where people are saying, “This is cool technology. What can we build with it? What can we do with it? How can we take advantage of this to the fullest extent?”

Blaze, how about your thoughts on the future of Gutter Cats and the space in general?

My thoughts on the space are I got into NFTs and it exploded. I can see it continuing to happen. Mass adoption is going to come on board and the fact that people see that there’s this community now where there aren’t these roadblocks that hold you back from each other. It’s more free rein. The thing I’m most excited about is when The Sandbox fully launches with their play-to-earn. It’s all the things that we will be able to do to help out people in overseas countries, the promotions we will ever do and the money we are about to give out.

It’s the taste that I had of it at the start. It’s the few promotions at the start, even with the Gutter Cats. Even the event we did at the Gutter Bar, we did it with the Kibble Klub. This is a real-life creation of that. The giveaways there have been amazing to do because some people are like, “I made whatever amount it was from what we gave away.” It does affect people’s lives. A couple of hundred dollars or even $1,000 here and there is a big thing for a lot of people.

It has been special talking with you. I want you to share a little bit about where people can find out more about you and the Gutter Cat Gang and your specific projects and the things you are working on. Where do you suggest people go, Blaze?

The best place to go to is Blaze Games. If you can find Voxel Blaze, you will find my profile. Blaze Games is our main profile. We post all our games stuff with The Sandbox. It’s our cofounder company between me, Young NTO, Sandbox and Atomic Vox, which are the Cofounders of Blaze Games. That’s the best place to go to find any of the stuff we are working on. If you want to partner with us, that’s the same thing as well. Give us a message. We are happy to talk to anyone.

Gutter Wang, where can people find out more about what you are up to?

You can find out more on our site at GutterCatGang.com or on Twitter @GutterCatGang. You can join our Discord. We will be happy to answer questions on anything you could want. We love meeting new people who are interested in the gang. We are happy to help you out and let you discover what we have to offer and what the future is looking like.

It has been a pleasure talking with you both. This is a magical world that has clearly been co-created by not just you guys, but all the people we are sitting with here in this space and even more around the world that couldn’t even be here. Thanks again for sharing this time with us. We look forward to what is coming in the future.

Thanks for having us.

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