Scalpers are hurting artists and fans. Is there a better way to sell tickets? There is – by using environment-friendly music NFTs! Eathan Janney, Jeff Kelley & Josh Kriger welcome Josh Katz, the CEO of YellowHeart. Josh explains how YellowHeart allows artists to sell their tickets, albums, and merchandise directly to fans. The platform is autonomous, fully decentralized, and runs on a public blockchain. YellowHeart gives tremendous freedom to artists on how they want to sell their tickets. They can even decide who shares in the profits! Doing so allows artists to reach their fans in a more authentic way. Tune in to learn more about the future of NFTs in the music industry!
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Josh Katz From YellowHeart—Environmentally Friendly Music NFTs, Tickets, And Community Tokens, Plus: KOII Garden Party, MoNA, Immutable Raises $60M, And More…
This episode features Josh Katz, Founder and CEO of YellowHeart. It’s the first socially responsible live event ticketing platform. The YellowHeart platform is autonomous, fully decentralized, and runs on a public blockchain, which enables artists and teams to identify the market and sell directly to their fans. Artists can define a set of rules to govern how their tickets are sold, traded and who shares in the profits. Artists can set a maximum to resell prices, ensure tickets are distributed to genuine fans, elect to earn a share of tickets resold and YellowHeart’s secondary marketplace.
Josh Katz, welcome to the program.
It’s great to be here. Thank you for having me.
It’s great to have you. We are big events guys. We throw a lot of events, we attend a lot of events and we are also huge NFT guys. We have been talking and hearing about how events, tickets, and NFTs are all going to intersect but we have yet to see something come to life. We are super pumped to discuss YellowHeart and what it’s all about. Let’s dive right in. How did the concept come about? Tell us a little more about where you are at now?
It came about in 2017. At that time, I was hosting the New York Ethereum Meetup. I was deep in the Ethereum ecosystem, fascinated and caught the bug. At the same time, I am a diehard Phish fan, meaning the band Phish, who I follow. That summer, they played something called The Baker’s Dozen, which was thirteen shows at Madison Square Garden in New York. Needing to go to all thirteen, I was forced to buy tickets for thirteen shows in a row.
Those tickets, that summer, you would think would be less expensive because of how many shows there were but they kept getting more and more expensive. It’s one thing if you go to a show when you buy a scalper ticket, spend a few hundred dollars, and have a great time, the next day you forget about it. It’s a different story if you wake up the next day and you have to buy them again and then the next day.
In going through that experience, I said, “Scalpers are hurting artists and fans, there’s got to be a better way.” At that time, I was getting super deep into the distributed ledger and I realized that tickets issued on a distributed ledger with a smart contract governing them could potentially get rid of scalping. That’s where the whole idea came from.
What was the first project you did with your platform?
The first project that we did on our platform was Kings of Leon.
What was that like?
I should back it up a little bit because there was a lot of stuff that happened before Kings of Leon. People must understand that this has not been easy. We started building this in Q4 of ‘17.
You’ve got to make it sound easy. That way, people who try to compete, once they see any obstacle, they will quit.Scalpers are hurting artists and fans. There has to be a better way. Click To Tweet
Going back then, we built out our ticketing platform and we launched it in Q1 of 2020. We launched it with a bunch of beta events around New York, and they were all going well. Of course, our first one had a lot of bugs. The second one had fewer bugs, and the third one was no bugs. We were off to the races and we had planned on launching production in June of 2020. Unfortunately, in March, we are a New York-based company and COVID hit us hard.
Basically, we’ve got lumped into the live event industry, even though we were an NFT mint and wallet system. We’ve got sidetracked in 2020 off of live events. I spent the summer of 2020 speaking to every artist and band you could think of, trying to convince them to put out music as an NFT, not tickets, but music. Kings of Leon are one of the first ones that bit and said, “We are off the tour. We have a new album. We can’t promote it. We could use something to get some visibility and this might make sense.”
We began that conversation out of not being able to use our ticketing product, raise money, being lumped into live events, which returned off, furloughing almost our entire staff, and pretty much going out of business. I’m waking up every day hustling my ass off, leaving no stone left unturned, calling every band, whether you are Kings of Detroit or Kings of Leon. I didn’t care. I was talking to everyone. They happened to be the ones that stepped up first.
The hard realities of entrepreneurship and the grit, persistence, and curiosity take the relentless pursuit to get some of this stuff done, even if you have the big ideas and the team to back it up.
We enjoy those hard realities. Don’t we?
In retrospect, yes. Sleepless nights, doing the Asian calls all nights, the European calls all morning, the American calls through the day, leaving no stone left unturned yet everyone telling me, “The platform looks amazing. Tech looks great. When live events come back, you should call us.”
What an accelerant COVID ended up being for everything virtual and everything NFT. This is such an advancement that we have made like a decade-plus on this front. It’s all opened this whole world of possibility.
It’s crazy because I circled the entertainment and the music business through ‘18 and ‘19 and the first quarter of ‘20. We literally took NFTs. We were calling them nonfungible tokens. We took them out of our deck in the summer of ‘19 because people were glazing over. I will never forget going to a meeting with one of the top people in entertainment. I’m not going to say who it was. He turns to me and goes, “I want to sell digital merch. What the hell do I need a blockchain for?” We walked out of the meeting. We were like, “We give up. This is not going to work.”
Times have changed. Here we are now. Give us a view on the world of ticketing now. What’s the industry look like now? How does ticketing on the blockchain fit in? What are the use cases that you are trying to drive forward and differentiate from the pack?
It’s an interesting question because live events are coming back. They are coming back on incumbent or older ticketing platforms. When you look at the US, in particular, it’s dominated by Ticketmaster. They hold 80% of live event ticketing for concerts primarily. They are using very old technology. They are still using paper. TicketWeb, which is their small to middle-sized venue platform literally does PDF over email. This lends itself to rampant fraud, counterfeiting, and middleman population to the tune of, before COVID in ’19, secondary market ticketing in the US was $11.5 billion. It’s a huge industry that got built off of bad technology.
Fans pay a 40% premium for that wonderful experience.
It’s usually more. It’s funny when you look at fees alone, which have no description other than service fee, fees on the lowest end are 12%. On the high end, we have seen fees over 50%. There’s no rhyme or reason. It’s all just a game. It’s a game to get the fans to pay more anyways they can.
I hate seeing that line item on my ticket purchases. It’s the worst.
Obviously with problems like this creates opportunity. What do you see as the big opportunities as events ramp back up?
We are seeing the opportunity of using this new technology to foster in Web 3 for live events, where when you buy an NFT, you have proof of ownership and authenticity. Our tickets have a ticket history or a ledger, as we know it in crypto, where you could see who’s minted it, where they minted it, how it traded, who paid what for it, and full transparency around it. That opens up the opportunity for the fans not to get ripped off and not to have middlemen jacking them up.
The other thing about the state of ticketing, which is very disturbing, is the fragmentation where StubHub does not talk to SeatGeek, Vivid, Ticketmaster or any of these companies. They are all completely fragmented and walled off from each other. You had cases in ‘19 before COVID where BC, you would have 11% of tickets bought on secondaries were fraudulent or double sales.
I had spoken to Mumford & Sons at one point or their manager. He was telling me how he would go to shows. The shows would be selling out and there would be a huge pool of people that would show up with their tickets that were already be scanned. The reason it would already be scanned is that person would sell it on StubHub, SeatGeek, Vivid and maybe somewhere else if they could.
They keep pushing over the PDF and someone would show up, and someone would have already used it. That’s a big problem. If you are a fan and you are going, getting a babysitter, going a meal, taxis, meeting friends, and putting all this expense and energy into doing something, you show up and your ticket was scanned already? It’s pretty crazy.
I literally had to wait on hold for two and a half hours to talk to somebody from StubHub because they sold my tickets that I listed on their site twice, and then charge me back for the second one an extra couple hundred bucks or whatever. It’s because of some tech issue on their end, you can’t even get through to them, never mind the fact that they allowed the same two tickets that are designated the exact same way to be sold twice on their platform. It’s nuts.
That’s what’s going on. There’s no rhyme or reason, no checks and balances. It’s a Wild West out there. The issue has been that live nation and Ticketmaster, where the majority of these tickets route from and where they are born, do nothing about this. They benefit from an open ecosystem where it’s a Wild West because they have one goal. Their goal is to sell those seats out no matter what. Who cares? Scalpers are our friends. We want to sell our inventory and move to the next show.
Doing that, you look at who the customers are, and you realize that in that pursuit of selling every ticket out in the stadium or arena, they stopped thinking about who their customers are. Who are the fans? What are the fan’s needs? I will never forget where I went to a ticketing conference in ‘19. At that time, I’m still a newcomer. I don’t have much experience in the space other than building this platform. I had spoken to one of the heads of a major ticketing company. He told me that people go to 1.4 concerts a year, and that’s the number. I said, “Who the hell wants to go to 1.4 concerts a year? You make it impossible for people to get tickets and feel confident in you.”
We could talk all day about this. I heard a radio story where somebody went through the trouble to expose a service that would sell basically the opportunity to buy tickets. People thought they were buying tickets and they bought the opportunity to buy a ticket. They have to get on the phone and go through this thing. It’s a little bit more expensive to get that ticket. It’s not in the area that you thought it was. It’s crazy.
Going back to what you said about giving that investor presentation and having someone look at you deadpan, too. It reminded me of hearing William Quigley on another podcast talking about WAX. Back in the day, he was selling websites before websites were something that you needed. It was the same exact story. “You are going to need a website.” “Come on, get out of here. I don’t need a website. What are you talking about?” It’s great to see that we are getting some momentum in the space you worked so hard to co-create. That leads me to my question about wallets. We have a wallet like a YellowHeart Mobile NFT Wallet that does sound like something is functionally important for ticketing and potentially other in-person use cases. Can you tell us a little bit about endeavoring to create that wallet? What it’s good for?
There are a lot of wallets out there. Obviously, you have Coinbase, MetaMask, and all these traditional payment companies introducing their wallets. What we realized was we are looking at NFT now in a 1.0 space where the first iteration of NFT has been this boom in collectible art or digital collectibles as we are calling it. We believe that the 2.0 or 1.1 of NFTs, it’s moving quickly, will be utility-driven NFTs and the ability to use the NFTs for something.
In doing that, we realized that we needed to create a wallet that allowed a ticket to have a rotating barcode, correspond to the redemption of a seat for ticketing, and open up additional long-tail engagement. When your tickets are in our NFT wallet, were engaging with you from the minute it comes into your wallet. Now, if you are opt-in where you want to be part of that event community since you are in our wallet, we can message you.
We can send you deals from sponsors. We could essentially give you more opportunities to see upgrades. Maybe you want to upgrade your seats in there, some empty seats or a couple of sections in front of you. You can upgrade through the wallet but it’s basically creating utility around the NFTs. That’s the purpose of our wallet. The wallet is a Layer 2 wallet. It runs on Layer 2 Polygon. It also runs on Layer 1 Ethereum. It will also be interoperable into additional blockchains in 2022 but we thought the utility portion was incredibly important where we want to give people the ability to use the NFTs. That’s where the wallet comes into play.
I think about the Ticketmasters of the world. I’m trying to take a step back and incorporate NFTs into their world somehow. That’s hard as a big organization to try to deconstruct what you are doing and incorporate these things. I feel like building this from the ground up is a major advantage for anybody looking to make a dent in this space. If you are thinking about it, right along the right lines, form follows function.
We need certain elements of functionality here to make this thing work well. That’s amazing. You guys are already putting so many of these things to use. You are already out there doing it. We heard about an NFT only album that you collaborated Kat Graham AKA Toro Gato on. Tell us about that. What was the story there?
It’s a great project. It’s for sale on YellowHeart. Kat Graham came to us with a vision, and her vision was to embrace this technology and the world that’s behind it. She thought that what we were doing was the next wave. Basically, it was like, “I have this album.” She’s a very famous Hollywood actress with major accomplishments but she has this altered personality called Toro Gato. She’s done quite a few albums as Toro Gato but realized she wanted to embrace the NFT community.
She brought us the album and insisted on us doing a two-week window before it is available via NFT. The only way to get to this is to buy the NFT. It’s a $15 NFT, minted on Polygon. No gas fees, unless you buy with Layer 1 but you can buy with a credit card as well. It’s exclusive to YellowHeart as an NFT, plus there are six videos. Once you get the album, you can redeem six corresponding videos that work with the actual album.
What’s most interesting about it is that we are building Kat’s community around Toro Gato. That’s what’s so compelling. We did a release party in New York City where she had fire eaters and contortionists. The party was absolutely dope as hell. It was a sick party. The community came out, at least the local New York community. Through selling these tokens where in the past, you take your music, you give it to a third party, which gives it to another third party. If you are an indie artist, and then another third party, if you are a major artist, you only have 2 or 3 people in the middle. It goes out to a streaming service, and the report comes back to another third party.
You then have to ask what your streams are. You then have to ask where your money is. By the time it gets to you, you collect a tiny portion of the money. In this case, we could sell a fraction of the albums. We give Kat 90% of the money on the primary and 10% on the secondary. With that, she potentially can make more money and self-defense directly. It’s a win-win for the fans and her. The best part about this is that these records are sellable on a secondary market.
You can take a stream that you are renting from Spotify or Apple and resell it. I could buy a Kat Graham record for $15 now. That addition is going to close in five days and it’s going to be memorialized. That’s it. Anyone wanting this record again is going to have to buy it on a secondary, plus me, as a fan, if I bought one, and I say, “I listened to the record. I love it. Now, I’m done with it. I want to sell it or I need the money.” It’s resalable across secondary markets, which is amazing.
Can I ask a clarifying question there? I want to make sure we don’t gloss over but one of the remarkable things about what you are doing is to decentralized public blockchain nature of it. There are a lot of closed-looped NFT marketplaces now, like NBA Top Shot, for example. Are you saying that people can buy this on any platform or do they have to use the YellowHeart platform to make the secondary purchase? How does that work?
We are full EVM compatible. We mint on Polygon on YellowHeart, it goes into our market, you can take it and go anywhere you want with it. You could sell it anywhere. We are not like Top Shot that stuck on Flow. Flow is a closed blockchain. We are fully open to any Ethereum-based blockchain. You could go anywhere. You can take it to the open sea or anywhere around the world to resell it.
That’s such a bold move. I have to give you some kudos for that. The standard response to why start with the more closed-loop system is you have to ease into this decentralized world. It sounds like you decided, “No, not really.”
I can give you a great example. In May 2021, we did a drop for XXXTentacion. Now X is a deceased rapper. He’s an iconic rapper, a genius in my mind. In my world, as a hip-hop fan or a rap fan, it’s all about moralizing Biggie and Tupac. I have a son. In his world, it’s all about Juice WRLD and XXXTentacion. I was introduced to X through my son. That happened through COVID because we were locked in quarantine. My wife and I are saying, “What the hell is our eight-year-old listening to? This is obscene. He can’t do this thing with the music like this.” It turns out it’s X. I then caught on to X and became a fan myself.When you buy an NFT, you have proof of ownership and authenticity. Click To Tweet
I went out and I sought out his unreleased tracks and we acquired them. We released the first five. We have fifteen more that we are going to release as well. When we put out that drop, we put it out where we did daily moments, where every day for five days, we had a live moment. No one had ever seen him live before because he was murdered in the middle of his first tour. There was not a film crew there.
We had basically taken cell phone footage from bodyguards, his mom and other people. We pieced together digital moments from the tour. We put those out as a free moment for 24 hours where this would be an open edition and be free. People came in and bought them in droves. We did 30,000 minted in five days across the different formats.
What we found was that we were ready when that came online. When we announced it that day, we announced it on the Thursday before the Monday drop. We did it with a YouTube video. That video trended, number one on YouTube that day and the entire weekend. There were massive amounts of views. We had our discord and all of our channels ready to go, figuring we are going to need a ton of customer support on this drop.
There are a lot of people coming in. Our website was averaging 300,000 unique visitors every five minutes. Our customer support was crickets, nothing, zero. What we realized was that the younger generation is super tech-savvy. They know what they are doing. When they want something, they figure out a way to get it. A public blockchain is a future. No question.
What is it that we hear about Maroon 5 style? That sounds really cool.
That’s another great project that we launched with them this summer of 2021. That project revolves around climate change and environmental initiatives. When Maroon 5 came to us wanting to do an NFT drop, it was primarily around the release of their album, Jordi. They had the person who was doing the album artwork work with us and create some NFTs around the album release, which was great. We sold through those but we said to them, “You guys are so inclined on charity,” and every single conversation we would have been like, “What charity can we link this and link that too?” YellowHeart was super charitable as well. Every single drop, we give to charity as well. On the X drop, all the money went to a school being built in Jamaica.
That was close to X’s heart. In Kings of Leon, we gave 500,000 to out of work for workers. We have been all about charity. The Maroon 5 was uncharitable on the next level. They had all these ideas on where they wanted the money going. We proposed to them doing a DAO. We explained to them what it was. Jesse Carmichael from the band is very crypto savvy. He has been in the space for a little while. He was immediately receptive. We built it.
What we are doing is for $50, any fan could come in and buy a token. They can join the DAO starting around October 15th. That’s when the DAO launches are October 15th. Shortly after that, the band is putting initiatives forward to the community to fund various charities, starting with climate change initiatives, and then moving into environmental and social initiatives. I have personally been dealing with quite a few of the charities now that we are going to be supporting.
They are all incredible. They are all people that Maroon 5 has already been supporting for years with donations, support on tour and things like that. Maroon 5 in their mind, the most powerful thing they could do would be to start this for their fan base. It’s allowing the fans to all have an equal say in how that charitable money was dispersed and allowing for the community to help others together.
That seems super powerful to us. When we explained to them how a DAO works and how it’s autonomous, there are equal voting rights. We explain that in most DAO, you have ten members. They each put in $1 million and vote on financial initiatives. This one it’s going to be how charitable dollars are allocated but keeping it at a $50 threshold allows any fan to participate. Anyone’s voice to be heard.
Once again, being EVM compatible, if you decide you don’t want to be part of the community anymore, you can sell your token to someone else and let them join the community. Now, it’s open for anyone to join for $50. You have a vote in the community. The other thing, since it’s Maroon 5, is you will have a vote on the charitable allocation of those dollars. There are also a lot of other benefits that will come clearly being in the Maroon 5 DAO if you are a fan. Access, utility, and other things that we are planning for that group once we get through some of the charitable endeavors.
It’s clear at this point in the interview, seeing all the things you are involved with, all the places you are trailblazing, that you don’t sleep. That’s interesting. Congrats on pulling that off.
Thank you. See the bags in my eyes. You are right.
You have another project. I’m curious about hearing more. You did a partnership with the Jerry Garcia family. This digital artwork series is titled A Little Piece. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
This was super close to my heart. This was a great one. I had started speaking with Mark Allen, who runs the Jerry Garcia Estate, back in February 2021. He was super interested because he felt like Jerry being the leader of the Grateful Dead, the icon he is is super well-known for everything musical. Everyone knows every word, every song and everything about him musically on stage.
What’s not that many people know about was the fact that Jerry came off stage and was a consummate artist. Jerry would paint. He literally brings paint on the road with him. I heard from Steve Parish, who managed the Jerry Garcia Band and was Jerry’s roadie, that before shows, he would go to dinner and literally bring paper or on the placemat and doodle the entire time. Jerry was constantly creating art. He would even see art. He would see art in the clouds, the horizon and the trees.
He always saw art. The estate felt as if this art had never been properly presented, sold, etc. Yet, they haven’t been looking for opportunities. They have been waiting for them. When NFTs came about, and we started chatting about it, they were intrigued. We started looking at Jerry’s art. The Estate Manager and I spend an exorbitant amount of time on Zooms, going through Jerry’s entire artistic portfolio.
Jerry created hundreds and hundreds of works. They are incredible but they are all types of mediums. One day in March, he and I got on Zoom to look at more art. He goes, “By the way, do you know that Jerry did some art on a Mac computer?” I go, “Excuse me? What?” He goes, “Yes, he made some digital art.” I go, “Where are those computers?” He goes, “Let me find out.”
Two days later, he texted me. He’s like, “I’ve got the files on the computers. Let’s get on a Zoom now.” We get on Zoom. He pulls up digital files created on two Mac computers from 1990 to 1995, where Jerry was so deep in technology. The guy was fanatical about technology. He and Steve Parish literally put two computers together so it would have enough memory to go do all this digital art. He was obsessed with going on the Mac, using early programs to make art.
Meanwhile, this was like an unbelievable treasure find because this was intrinsic digital art created on a computer, meant to be displayed digitally, not a scan of a canvas or something, which I was very hesitant to do. I couldn’t get my head around like, “These are awesome but we are going to scan them. It doesn’t make sense.” When we found this, this was the treasure trove we were looking for.” Most of it had never been seen before and never been published.
It literally went from Jerry’s house to a storage facility to us pulling them out and pulling the files out. Here are these digital files that we turned into NFTs. That made perfect sense. At that point, I said, “This is unbelievable.” What’s even more incredible is that nobody knows about this. We need to tell the story. Being that as Jerry Garcia, we took utmost respect, caution around this and took our time. We wanted to tell the story properly. I’ve got Steve Parish, who was his long-time roadie, his best friend, the guy that literally carried his guitar and traveled with him everywhere.
His daughter Trixie, Mark, who runs the estate, and we all went to San Francisco. Jerry used to study at the San Francisco Art Institute. Not a lot of people know this but he spent a lot of time there taking art classes when he was off tour. Trixie, his daughter, also went to school there and studied. One afternoon in June 2021, we rented the place out. We brought a small camera crew in. We’ve got Trixie, Steve, and Mark talking about Jerry’s art.
We filmed the whole video series. We use some of that video for the introduction around the drop but we have a ton more video. Hopefully, there will be some more stuff we released but a big part of this drop. It’s important for anyone doing this is telling the story of the artist. This being an existing icon, it needed to get told properly. I didn’t want anything going out that was misconstrued or Jerry’s family is trying to make money. Trust me. The last thing they want is money.
We did about $250,000 on this drop and the Garcia family does not need $250,000. They did this because they wanted the fans to see the art and that’s it. The reoccurring theme through this was, “This has to be done and presented right. If it’s not right, we are not releasing it. We don’t care.” We agreed. It was a real labor of love that we took our time with. It worked out beautifully. The drop was almost sold out.
We had twenty additions. There are five left that are still on our platform but some additions are for sale. A lot of the other ones were sold out. In time, these are going to be incredibly sought-after works because there won’t be any more of these. The last thing I’m going to leave you with is once we were doing this and moving forward, I put a call into Greg Harris, who’s the CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and told him what we were doing. He went crazy and he’s like, “You’ve got your hands on that article.”
Not only did we get our hands on it but we were releasing it. They then joined. Now, for anyone who’s reading, all twenty NFTs are on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. They are on display, not only as NFTs but I’ve also got the family to include most of his guitars because I’m a guitar fanatic. I’m a player and a collector. I said, “If I’m doing an exhibit here, we’ve got to have the guitars, too.” The guitars were there and the NFTs. It’s attributed to Jerry Garcia, the artist.
It’s crazy opportunities you are coming across here. The idea of taking one’s time in the crypto and NFT space, I don’t even know how that works but congrats on pulling that off.
You hear about people finding old Baseball Cards in their Grandpa’s Attic. There are all these like little things. It’s literally going in someone’s old Mac or hard drive, and coming up with stuff that legit was made decades ago. That’s special. That’s the next treasure find in NFTs.
Do you want to hear a great story? This is amazing. Back in April 2021, I was on the phone with Jon Bon Jovi. He’s going on and on, “What can we NFT?” I go, “Do you have your Livin’ On A Prayer lyrics somewhere?” He’s like, “I have those.” I go, “Do me a favor, get your hands on some of this stuff and call me back.” The next day, my phone starts blowing up from him again. I go, “Jon, what’s up?” He’s like, “I’m on my way to my storage bin.”
That’s it right there. We even talked about somebody who found old Andy Warhol digital images on a computer. It’s crazy. Fundamentally, for a lot of the people that already have community. You have talked about it consistently throughout this conversation. There’s an opportunity to add value, build your community, strengthen your connection to them and between your community members to each other. It’s special if you already have that built-in community. Frankly, it’s also a special platform from which to build a new community if you are a burgeoning artist in any form of art. It’s exciting times.
I don’t think I’m going to nominate that we have a new recurring segment, which is awesome stories with Josh Katz. I feel like we would sit here forever. I want to cover the next level platforms and projects you are watching, existing or yet to be formed that stand out to you, maybe as game-changers, that could be here in 3, 5, 10 years. What do you think about that topic?
That’s a great topic. I can’t talk about ten years. I can barely talk about a month out of the space. It’s crazy. I am a huge believer in Polkadot. I believe in that ecosystem and everyone that’s involved in that ecosystem, YellowHeart will be Polkadot interoperable in early 2022. Ethereum, by far, is the most important blockchain. Polkadot is going to come behind. Solana and Cardano are fantastic but I believe that the Polkadot ecosystem is going to be super powerful. I absolutely love that project.
We’ve got some fans in this group as well.
I will say again, not financial advice but I love the crowd loan concept and how different it is from old school IDOs and launches where you are able to give up your Kusama for 48 months. You get some of it back earlier, and then you get this new thing that grows. You get your original Kusama back for whatever it’s worth at that time. Oftentimes, we get finicky. We meddle with our decisions about what we buy and sell in the world of crypto, having this thing that’s over there somewhere else for 48 weeks that I’m not touching.
You obviously could stay 2.0. I have done quite a bit of that as well. I’m a huge believer in 2.0. Once Ethereum moves through proof-of-stake, it’s going to be unstoppable. There are a lot of incredible projects. What’s so amazing to me about this space is that I spend a lot of my days with my own blinders on because I’m so headed down on the stuff that we are working on.
I will have a lot of early mornings where I’m looking at Apple news and look under blockchain and crypto. I start reading articles. I’m continually blown away by the incredible innovation in the blockchain space and the amazing projects that people are doing. Doing it without worrying about mass adoption now, but doing it for the right reasons. The thing about that as I continually read about cool projects that I go, “That’s a great idea. That sounds amazing.”
They all sound great. What I love about it more than anything is the sense of community. I was young when the web was coming out, but then mobile. Now with 3.0, the community is so symbiotic, supporting each other, not backstabbing and helping each other. It’s awesome. I love our community. It’s so powerful.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s making a bigger pie. This idea of competition in the traditional capitalistic sense isn’t there because there’s plenty of room for everyone in this world and it’s a fun world to be in. Speaking of which, it looks like our worlds are colliding. Sooner than later, we talked about things, opening up a little bit in a socially safe distance way. It looks like we will be hanging out together at the Dreamverse Gallery in New York City at the very beginning of November 2021. We will get to all hang out in person, have some drinks, and hear more of your stories then. Does any sneak peek you can give us at what this is all about?
I will start off by saying that Dreamverse is going to be unbelievable. We are selling tickets for it. It’s literally the second on-sell that YellowHeart has done. The first was for Scope Art Fair at Miami Art Week. They both went up for sale when our ticketing product was relaunched, which I’m thrilled about. It’s years in the making. We are back open for business on NFT ticketing.
With the tickets for Dreamverse, this event is spectacular. The guys from Metapurse are throwing it. They have Alesso and RAC veejaying. They have people’s pieces that they own on display. I don’t know the exact number but they have around 50 or more additional pop NFT artists displaying their works. This is going to be the NFT event of NFT events. It’s in New York City during NFT MIC.
What I do know about it is it’s going to be spectacular. I was on an all-hands call. It’s like a who’s who in our universe of crypto and the people that are doing stuff now involved in this including you guys. It’s going to be an incredible event between the art, the music, the community, the return to New York City of everyone to NFT MIC. It’s an incredible event. I’m thrilled that you guys are part of it. I’m thrilled that we are part of it. The Metapurse guys, I can’t speak highly enough about it. They are spectacular.
They have been great to work with on this. Metakovan is coming to the show soon. We are finalizing that date but there’s also going to be some immersive, VR musical experience from what I understand. That’s something else to look forward to. These guys like to go big. They bought a $69 million piece of art. They don’t mess around.
It will be on display at this event, that piece of art. It’s funny you say that. We were on this all-hands Zoom and Metakovan was on there with his camera on. Someone came on and like, “Metakovan, I can’t believe your camera is on. We see what you look like.”
It was all a setup. It was a stand-in.
We could talk all day about this stuff. You can tell we are super passionate about it. We love what you are doing and are looking forward to getting together in person here soon. Meantime, though, we want to hit edge quick hitters. Learn a little bit more about your personal perspective on some things. What they are is a fun, quick way to get to know you better. There are ten questions we are looking for short, a single word or a few word answers but feel free to expand if you get the urge. Question number one, what is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
It’s probably candy.
Are you more of a chocolate-type guy or are you more on the sweet?
I like it all but I do have a sweet tooth for chocolate.
Question two, what’s the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
I sold baseball cards in junior high school.
Was there some arbitrage going on there?
Question number three, what is the most recent thing you purchased?
I bought a brand-new guitar, which I’m picking up and I can’t wait.
What kind of guitar? Is it customed in some way?
I have been collecting guitars since I was a teenager. One of the things that I have been passionate about is supporting, developing luthiers. I’m mostly an acoustic guitar collector. I also collect Oliver Spits and electric but I have been supporting people like John Monteleone. There’s a builder from the Pacific Northwest named Butch Boswell. I played one of his guitars at Rudy’s in New York City and blew my head off. I could not believe how amazing this instrument was. Rudy introduced me to Butch and I ordered the guitar. He’s a bespoke builder who builds custom in a small shop in the Pacific Northwest. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
I’m obligated to give a little shout-out to my buddy, Danny Koentopp. If you don’t know him, look him up. He makes archtop guitars in the Los Angeles area. I have known him since he was in high school. I have watched him grow. He’s an incredible guitar maker.
Question number four, what’s the most recent thing you sold?
Do you care to reveal what collection it was from?
It was an ape.
Is that a prediction? Are we at the top of the ape market?Anything that you own owns you. Click To Tweet
No way. We are starting. These are going to be so collectible. It’s funny because I have a bunch of meetings, and I keep telling my son that these are going to be yours one day. I believe in not much longevity in these. I believe that these are the Warhols, the Basquiats of our generation. There are a lot of garbage out there now but that’s a whole other conversation but things like apes and pongs. I’m a huge believer.
Question five, what’s your most prized possession?
Could I go on a little bit of a side note on this one? I’m not a huge believer in possessions. I would say my most prized possession is more metaphorical. I’m not a big believer in owning physical goods. I’m a believer in anything that you own owns you. I worked very hard to cut down the number of possessions in my life, not add to them.
When you said metaphorical, was it that answer, was there something that metaphorically you own or is it like the ownership of your freedom or something?
It’s the ownership of my freedom, the ownership the fact that I don’t have to deal with that thing I own over there.
Question number six, if you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service or an experience that’s for sale, what would that be?
It would probably be an experience. I’m all about the experience. I would have to go out there and see what it is. As I mentioned, it wouldn’t have to be something that’s for sale. I would have to look at what VIP super experiences are out there but I have never been to Alaska. I’m dying to go there. There are a lot of places in the world I have never been to. If I could go to some of those places and have top-level experiences, I would be very into it.
The other thing that I’m super into is meeting people. I’m into ideas, hearing about things, and learning new thought processes. It would be around meeting people. I would love to meet the Pope. I would love to meet some of the most forward-thinking people. Luckily, I’ve got to meet some of them but I’m all about that would be something for me would be an experience of meeting someone I might not otherwise get to meet.
Question seven, if you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would that be?
It would most likely be my sense of compassion. Every day I try to take a look at what I have around me and try to be thankful for the little things, for being healthy, having a roof, clean water and food to eat. I feel like a lot of people don’t appreciate those things, the fact that they could put on socks the littlest thing, that level of appreciation for the basics needs to get passed on.
It’s easy to miss, especially in our world, day-to-day. Question eight, the flip side, if you could eliminate one of your personality traits for the next generation, what would that be?
It would definitely be anger. Anger is not something that serves me. I’m not good with anger. I don’t like anger but it naturally occurs when you have a wish that’s blocked and you have something that is told to you that you don’t want to hear. It’s something I have worked very hard on in therapy and meditation through various other practices, having a very clear mind as to what other people’s intentions are, how they think about things and trying to be symbiotic. When you have a block wish or other things, it could cause that emotion. Emotion does no one any good ever.
It’s a tough one, too, when you are trying to get things done or a super ambitious and motivated person. It’s hard when things are beyond our control, too. Question nine, what did you do before joining us on the show?
I was on a Zoom looking, believe it or not, at Rolling Stones NFTs.
Anything we should be excited about?
Hopefully, we will see.
Question ten, what are you going to do next after the show?
Believe it or not, I’m going on another show.
Can you tell what it is?
It’s for St. Jude’s. I’m going to a show with them. Now, we are auctioning off a one-on-one NFT for St. Jude’s, which is going up into space. We are sending an NFT loaded on an iPhone to space on a SpaceX flight called Inspiration 4. It’s the first civilian man spaceship and spacewalk. In that spaceship, it’s the first-ever NFT to go to space.
Question eleven, bonus, who are your top five MCs? Now I’m not going to put you on the spot.
I don’t know.
We will let you off the hook on that one. We do have some hot topics to talk about.
Headline number one, Immutable raises $60 million for NFT games platform on Ethereum. Immutable has raised $60 million for its platform that uses NFTs to help monetize games. Sydney, Australia based company that created a platform to monetize games. It is also the Creator of the Gods Unchained NFT-based collectible card game. Gaming is huge. We have talked with several players in the space. This is off-topic, not news. I went to physical therapy and had a conversation with the person that was getting physical therapy next to me about their gaming habits.
We were talking about games and NFTs. You mentioned earlier, Josh, where I thought it was interesting the next wave of what people are going to pay attention to in NFTs like utility or something like that. The people that see the wave of high-value art are thinking it’s going to go away soon. The people who are familiar with this space see multiple waves, gaming, utility, real estate, whatever, these waves are going to keep continuing.
These guys at Immutable are definitely ones to watch. We had Derek Lau from Guild of Guardians, one of their games on our show. They are thinking ten years ahead. I’m excited to see what they are able to pull off here.
I’m shocked it’s taken this long. It’s a no-brainer. I have a son and he spends a freaking fortune in Fortnite. I see it on my bills every month, and none of those assets are tradable or sellable. He can’t even give them away. The fact that these assets in-game are not NFT yet or on some type of ledger is bananas. I can understand it. Now I get it. If you are epic games or one of these companies, you don’t want it resold.
You want someone to have to buy another one. I would think that you would want to build an ecosystem that keeps people in there. The fact that you buy an asset in the game and it’s useless to you or useless to anybody else, if you don’t want to use it, you then move on from the game. If I was sitting on $5,000 in assets in a game, I wouldn’t walk away from that game so quickly.
The person I was talking to didn’t know much about NFTs and I asked if they had spent money on games. They said, “No, I haven’t done that. What I do is I earned money as I play.” Even the people that aren’t even aware of NFTs, are earning things in these games. It’s like, as you said, “I would rather have it be something that I can keep in trade and have extended utility than something that I have no control over.”
Let’s take a step back here, guys. I had a conversation with some gentlemen about the purpose of college education and the fact that now it’s shifting towards 60% women, 40% males. What are these guys doing? They are making a living, playing video games. We are literally going to moving towards a potential societal shift where there’s vocational training around high performance, video gaming as a career and that’s what I see.
It’s here. That’s where this raise that Immutable did. Many other companies are working on and being funded to explore this. It’s how we are going to reach that next level. There’s no question about it.
One of the companies that is doing an incredible job with this is Forte. You have a lot of people in the space but this is a natural extension. The only question I have is, whether the incumbent gaming companies will support these platforms or fight them and try to do it on their own. A lot of these larger companies do say, “What do we need these young guys for? We copy them or build them on our own.”
That never works. I will be curious to see how this rolls out in the video game space. The video game space is evolving quickly. Obviously, BR, you will have the introduction of AR at the various things we are doing in our day-to-day life at some point soon. I hope. The new realm of gaming is going to explode. I’m curious to see if the old world embraces the new world or if they get eaten up by the new world.
Let’s hit the next top topic. I want to talk about MoNA. It’s a 3D creator economy for the metaverse. It launches with the unveiling of its future gallery, a network of interconnected virtual spaces that provides NFT artists with the opportunity to display their work and its original high res and fidelity format and sell directly to buyers. To market the launch, MoNA has partnered with some celebrated NFT artists, including Foodmasku, Dario De Siena, Alex Maceda, and Mlibty, who is Marko Zubak to curate unique collections for the MoNA Future Gallery. I’m the one in charge of reading these things. When people’s screen names get on there, it’s like, “Crap.” What do we think is different about this versus you can go into decentral land and create a little gallery or something like this? What’s going on here?
There are a couple of things that jump out to me for artists. They can build customized galleries using their own tools of choice. They can travel into the gallery with friends and show them around, which is a cool experience. They can immerse themselves into the art with one click. These all sound cool and new age-y things to me. It’s also that Filecoin stepped up to the plate. This was born out of the Filecoin LaunchPad Accelerator Program. We have talked a little bit about how these programs are out there and available, and so supportive of whatever you can conjure up. I get excited about anything new like this.
The article features some interesting NFT art by this Foodmasku project. I have seen it before but we haven’t talked about it.
You have totally seen it. It’s all over Instagram. This guy basically has all this different food strapped to his face. Jeff, have you seen it before?
Yes. He’s making me hungry.
It reminds me there’s some skit, I forget who did it, SNL or something but maybe it’s the onion. It’s like a mask for fast food that you strap to your face. It’s basically a little basket because people don’t want to use their hands to eat their food. They are so lazy. Anyways, look it up. It’s hilarious.
Was that Chris Farley, Ethan? That would be a nice segue to one of the contests we will be dropping in our newsletter.
No, I don’t think it was.
I want to mention something about MoNA that it’s cool. Anything metaverse now, anyone who’s enabling metaverse is important. I believe in the metaverse in a major way in the future. It’s where we are all going to be spending a lot of time. The one thing I have noticed, though, is it doesn’t seem like the mainstream adoption is happening so quickly. It looks like projects in the decentral land are not moving at the rapid speed that everyone once thought they would be.
Yet every single person you talk to in crypto is the biggest believer, including myself. People like MoNA and I haven’t looked at this future gallery project yet but I will. It sounds like it’s a great stepping stone into what the metaverse is and enabling people to enjoy it and check the metaverse out. That’s amazing.
Let’s face it. We are already living in a metaverse. Here are four dudes talking to their computers now. It’s a matter of escalation of what’s the next stage and making the transition into what the future of the metaverse is. It’s centralizing things.
Three of these guys have JMK as their initials. Tell me we are not living in this simulation.
I was with a big New York City real estate developer. He’s telling me how there’s nothing less to buy in New York and prices, and this. I go, “You start buying in the metaverse.” He goes, “What’s the metaverse?” I explained it. He goes, “That’s ridiculous.” I go, “Watch. You will see.” I guarantee you that virtual land I’m buying now, in twenty years, we will have this conversation, it would be worth much more than your New York City land.
We had the Metaverse Realty Group on our show talking about their whole fund investing in multiple properties in the metaverse.
I have doubled down on that, Josh. I have a plot of land in a super world that is superimposed on the Brooklyn Bridge. I have a piece of New York and a piece of the metaverse.
Let’s hit the next topic we want to cover, the KOII Garden Party. KOII, who we have talked about on the show, had as a guest, and has been a sponsor, unveiled a revolutionary new approach to NFTs that will completely redefine the way we interact with the internet. Don’t miss the upcoming garden party, presentation of the world’s first regenerative artwork.
It’s your chance to earn one of the first NFTs ever created using the do Dynamic NFT standard speakers include Kevin Abosch, Darren Kleine, Carlos Romero, and The Edge of NFT team. I have never heard of them but that sounds interesting. Pre-register for the September 27th, 2021 event is happening soon and post the details on Twitter and share them in our newsletter. We are excited about KOII and what they are bringing to the table. It’s very interesting stuff.Choose what you can keep in trade and have extended utility than something you have no control over. Click To Tweet
Josh, have you heard of KOII before?
I have not.
You will dig it. What KOII Network does is reward attention to beautiful art in multimedia, whether you mint it on their platform or another platform, they are powered under the Arweave protocol. As people check out people’s art, maybe they don’t buy it. That Creator still receives KOII tokens for the views and the leaderboard and everything. It’s another method of rewarding artists for the beautiful things that they create and other people get to enjoy.
It sounds brilliant.
I have heard so many people complain about posting stuff, say on Facebook or whatever, nobody liked it or engaged with it. Nobody made any comments but every once in a while, you can hear somebody or a friend go, “I saw your post on Facebook the other day.” I’m like, “Okay.” People are looking at that. They are not liking and commenting. KOII solves a little bit of that confusion and says, “If people are paying attention to this, you can get credit and earn basically for creating something that people thought was interesting.”
Even more than that though, they have this flower that blooms. The more attention it gets, the more the NFT blooms, which is sick. It’s awesome. You can think well beyond the use case for the artwork or the intellectual property itself. Things that do grow, evolve, and change based on some other trigger. In this case, it’s attention or interaction.
Do you want to hear something interesting? We touched earlier on the Maroon 5 DAO. The Maroon 5 DAO is a living NFT. It’s funny you say that. The Maroon 5 DAO, and it launches October 15th, is tied to the USC carbon index. When there’s more carbon in the environment, it’s a flower that wilts. When there’s less carbon in the environment, it blossoms and mushrooms grow, and the whole environment blossoms.
For all you readers coming out with us on September 27th, 2021, we will have a little RSVP link. If you want to see what we look like more interactively.
It’s a very handsome bunch.
This has to be a wrap at some point, guys, this is one of our longer shows but hopefully, the readers enjoyed it as much as we did.
Josh, it has been great. We have been so excited to have you on the show. It has been a long time coming. It has been well worth it. Where can folks go to learn more about yourself, the projects you are working on, all the forthcoming fun things that you are up to?
It’s at YellowHeart.io or YH.io has our drops. We have a bunch of stuff coming plus, our NFT ticketing platform has already launched. Anyone looking to do events, any venues, any types of great events, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out. We are always looking for great projects.
We talked about doing a little giveaway for readers. Can we give a little bit of color on that as well?
With the Maroon 5 DAO, a token to join the DAO and have voting rights on how the DAO money is dispersed to charities requires a token. We are going to give out five tokens to five different readers here.
For our readers, keep an eye out on the show’s socials. We will get you all the details on that contest and giveaway. I appreciate that.
We have reached the outer limit of the show for now. Thanks for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventures on this starship. Invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey also much better. Go to iTunes now, rate us and say something awesome. Go to EdgeofNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. We want to help co-create Edge of NFT with us, got guests you want to see on the episode, questions for hosts or guests, and NFT you would like us to review, drop us a line at Contact@EdgeofNFT.com or tweet at us @EdgeofNFT to get in the mix. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
- New York Ethereum Meetup
- NBA Top Shot
- Kat Graham
- YouTube – XXXTentacion
- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
- Jerry Garcia
- Dreamverse Gallery
- Scope Art Fair
- Inspiration 4
- Immutable raises $60 million for NFT games platform on Ethereum – Article
- Derek Lau – Past episode
- Guild of Guardians
- 3D creator economy for the metaverse
- Filecoin LaunchPad Accelerator Program
- Foodmasku – Instagram
- Metaverse Realty Group – Past episode
- Twitter – KOII Network
- iTunes – Edge of NFT
- @EdgeofNFT – Twitter