How can you use cryptocurrency in real life? If you’re in Venice, you’ll soon use crypto Venetians from your local NFT Gallery! The show’s guest today is Seth Goldstein, the founder of Bright Moments, a DAO-based NFT Gallery. Seth discusses with Eathan Janney, Jeff Kelley & Josh Kriger how they plan on unlocking value from merchants and service providers in the local community. You can use your NFTs to get in the VIP line at the club next door. Or get a special appetizer! Join in the conversation to bring NFT to the forefront.
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Seth Goldstein Of Bright Moments, The Physical NFT Gallery DAO, Plus: Berkeley Nobel Data NFT, NFT High School Athletics, NFT In Travel, Ikonick Bravado Deal, And More…
This episode features guest Seth Goldstein, a founding member of Bright Moments, the Venice-based NFT Gallery DAO that opened its physical doors in May 2021. Seth is an early internet pioneer, visionary entrepreneur, successful Angel investor, mentor, and artist himself. He is committed to creating opportunities that harness and leverage technology for everyone. For years, he has successfully built businesses that evolve the way people use technology to improve their lives.
Seth, it’s great to have you here.
It’s great to be here, Seth, with you in person. This is the first time we have a live guest/host experience. COVID is ending. The gallery is down the street from me and it’s cool to be here. I went to your opening event. That was a lot of fun. People are ready to socialize and drink. That was very clear.DOWs are programmable corporations. Click To Tweet
The pendulum is starting to swing the other way. It hasn’t swung all the way the other way, but by the time July 2020 comes, there’s going to be a lot of excesses.
We didn’t get a chance to experience it. Tell Eathan, I, and the readers what the story is with Bright Moments. How did it even come to be?
There’s a couple of factors that went into it. We’re all coming out of a deep, depressing pandemic. In our case here in Venice Beach, the only thing that was open in the dark days of the fall in December 2020 and January 2021 was Menotti’s Coffee Shop on Winward right by the boardwalk. I would trudge out every morning with my partner Christie or whomever and get our coffee. That’s where we meet people who were also trapped for the day. That’s where a lot of the conversation started. I had moved out to Venice from the Bay Area. I started to meet people here in front of the coffee shop. There’s a guy named Stan who’s an AI/ML researcher. There’s a guy named Greg Cipes, who turns out as the voice of Beast Boy and Michelangelo of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
We know the guy who sang the song for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Louie and Liam, his son, run Menotti’s in Townhouse next door. It felt like a community, even in those dark days. As I started to meet people, at the same time, out of curiosity, I was starting to explore NBA Top Shot. I was buying and starting to sell some Top Shot Moments. On top of that, I was taking photographs of the sunset by the breakaway in Venice. A friend of mine used to work with, Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures, suggested that I take some of these synthetic videos I was making of the sunset and mint them as NFTs on Foundation. I did that.
I remember back at the end of January 2021, one of the NFTs that I had minted. I woke up the next morning and it was sold for 1 ETH. I stepped back and said, “This is a new file format.” There’s a big unlock that’s happening with NFTs, where the same type of file or asset class that I was buying and selling on NBA Top Shot, I was also creating and selling through Foundation with my photographs. The light bulb went off. As we come out of the pandemic, wouldn’t it be awesome to create something for the community in the form of an art gallery where instead of having to have physical paintings and artworks, you could have large displays with Wi-Fi and change the art constantly? Given the fact that each of the artworks was an NFT, there could be a QR code attached to it. People coming to this gallery could scan them, learn more about them, and even buy them. That’s a long-winded way of saying how it came about.
I heard an interview with people and he was talking about the idea of, “Isn’t it cool that now with NFTs, you could have multiple galleries showing the same artwork at the same time?” He talked about it in both a very liberal and then a potentially sanctioned way. For example, he said, “Anybody could show my work anywhere they want. That’s a thing and you could do that unless there’s some license around it, but you don’t have to do that. There may be space for artists then to come in and say yes, but if you want to have an officially sanctioned show, there’s also maybe a way to do that as well.” It offers interesting possibilities.
That observation is a good segue to the fact that you went a step further. You created a DAO for this gallery. Our readers are probably wondering, “What is a DAO?” How did you come up with that?
DAO is Decentralized Autonomous Organization. It dates back to 2016, the original MakerDAO that caused a lot of trouble in the world of ETH in terms of a fork. The whole concept of a DAO, in the same way that Bitcoin is programmable money, DAOs are programmable corporations. They are decentralized, on Chain, and all tokenized. They operate and they’re governed by the voting of the token holders. My whole career was doing startups in the traditional sense, which is either a C-Corp, S-Corp, or an LLC with Angel Fiat money, seed capital, venture capital, and then getting acquired.
I’ve been fascinated by not just the currency speculation of the crypto world but the utilities. How do we learn from decentralization and apply that to organizational behavior, leadership, and building holistic, healthy, and sustainable communities that have profit motives but are flatter than your typical startup, where you’ve got 1, 2, or 3 founders with the bulk of the equity and then one investor with the next bulk of equity? It trickles down and the people doing the work have less and less.
One of the hopes here by doing this as a DAO is to be able to engage the community, who are all bringing different values and advantages to this community. It’s not just that you’re an accredited investor because we’re not selling tokens. We are providing tokens to different members of the community who are helping to open up this gallery. Somebody might be the one who’s doing all the physical implementation of the screens, hanging them, and organizing them. Somebody else is curating different artists for display or working on software for displaying the NFTs. There are different people bringing different things to the table, but they’re all being rewarded with BRT Tokens, which are the Bright Moments Tokens of the DAO.
I have a follow-up question about the DAO. I haven’t been part of a DAO yet. I would love to be soon and maybe even build a DAO in organizations where I know there is voting and debating. Sometimes it could get overwhelming. It’s hard to get things done because of all that. How have you seen that play a role or haven’t you? Do you have any experience or thoughts about that in terms of getting things done and also letting people have a voice in it at the same time?
There’s a concept that I’ve taken to heart in terms of what they call progressive decentralization so that it starts centralized. I started this and handpicked a group of people to get involved. That circle of people is expanding, but ultimately, it will be fully decentralized such that I won’t have any more influence or power as anybody else. We’re all going to have an equal amount of tokens in the DAO. In terms of tooling and structuring the organization initially, making sure they’re all good eggs and that there’s a diversity of opinions that’s not all yes people, that’s what I’m bringing to the table as an OG serial entrepreneur. Moving forward, they’re going to be key strategic choices we have to make in terms of awarding artist grants or choosing what other cities we want to expand to, which will be voted on by the DAO.
The way that works in our case, very simply, there are 40 different members that each have 25,000 BRT Tokens. In order to vote on a proposal, you need to be able to show that you have 25,000 BRT Tokens in a token gate to Discord channel to be able to enter and then vote on Chain through Snapshot. The tokens are your admission ticket to being able to vote as a member of the DAO. In the old world of starting a company, you have a board of directors, observers, and cofounders. You have to file things with the secretary of state. The way that decisions get made is oftentimes behind the scenes in a conversation with your lead investor or cofounder. There’s a level of radical transparency here with the DAO that makes it exciting. Given some of the unintended consequences of hypergrowth capitalism that we’ve seen with Facebook, Uber, and WeWork, we all want a kinder way of doing capitalism. I hope and believe that tokenized communities and DAOs, in particular, offer that.
We heard you have your own NFTs, as well as having your governance tokens there. These are called Crypto Venetians. Can you tell us about that?
The primary user experience is as an NFT Gallery. People come in and they can see NFTs that are brilliant and beautiful on large screens and are compelling and engaging in ways at looking at them on your iPhone and desktop. That’s step one. We’re open from n 12:00 to 7:00 every day. We have art openings every Thursday. There’s a lot of programming scheduled. We’re having the TAO of DAO Speaker Series here. The first use case is somebody walks in off the street and scans a QR code, which brings them to BrightMoments.io, which is our website. On our website, you can see what you’re looking at on the screens in the gallery. You can click on one of those tiles and see that piece on Foundation or SuperRare. You can see if it’s for sale or it has been sold. It’s a traditional NFT-viewing experience socially.
For whales or people that are already buying and selling NFTs, that’s fine. They already have their MetaMask or Rainbow Wallet on their phone. They have ETH in their account to be able to pay gas fees. What about the majority of people that are NFT-curious that come in the gallery that may not be ready to buy a $3,000 or $500 NFT? How do we engage them in moving from being crypto-curious and NFT-curious to having a crypto Ethereum wallet opened and owning an NFT? What we decided to do along the lines of CryptoPunks and a lot of these other projects is to mint our own collection of NFTs. They’re called Crypto Venetians. We have an amazing illustrator who has designed them. They’ll be generated as a smart contract on Art Blocks. There are 200,000 possibilities of which only 1,000 are going to be minted and listed.
The idea is starting. Everybody up to ten people a day in the gallery will get a magic ticket, which will have two QR codes. One will be, they’ll scan it with the Ethereum wallet on their phone and it will reveal one BRT Token. They will then send that token to the second QR code, which is an Ethereum smart contract address to mint their own Crypto Venetian that will get revealed to them in the gallery. We’re the art gallery of the future as we are a consumer bank in the future, wherein in the old days, you go to Wells Fargo or Bank of America and they give you a passbook, savings account, and maybe a toaster. In the new world, you have to open up an Ethereum wallet, write down your passphrase or private key, and fund it with some ETH so that you can pay the gas to mint a Crypto Venetian or buy and sell an NFT.
Guys, no morning meetings until I get my Crypto Venetian. I’m hoping there’s one of a Venetian holding a Menotti’s coffee cup because that happens to me. The best coffee in Venice and my go-to spot is the place that Jeff goes. He likes their chai or hot chocolate. He’s not even a coffee drinker and he likes the spot. I need my Crypto Venetian with a Menotti’s coffee. How hard will that be to get?
First of all, you have no control over which one you’re going to get. It’s truly random. It’s generative art. I would love to open up this conversation here in the show. Maybe we’re seeing the evolution from NFTs as being a speculative asset to being something more utilitarian. You don’t just own a Zed horse. You can run them, breed them, and make money off them. It’s the same thing with if you didn’t get Meebits. You could in the open market, but if you had CryptoPunks, that gave you the utility of getting a Meebit when they were minted. Now, we’re seeing with the Bored Ape Yacht Club. You can’t buy the merchandise unless you can demonstrate that you own one.
What we’re trying to invent here with these Crypto Venetians is how they can unlock local value from merchants and service providers in the local community. When you show your CryptoPunk, two Menotti’s, maybe that opens up a secret menu. If you show it at Townhouse the club next door, you get in the VIP line or you go to Gjusta and you get a discount or some special appetizer. How do we make these NFTs like a loyalty card for local experiences and then knowing that we’re only going to be issuing 1,000 Crypto Venetians? Every time we open a new gallery in New York, Berlin, Tokyo, or Miami, we will mint another 1,000 Crypto New Yorkers or Crypto Japanese, which will be local characters that will be tied to that community and try to engage with the local community and not just live in the Metaverse.
Jeff, Sarasota has got a good art scene. Maybe you need to open up one of these NFT galleries over there.You'll earn a token by coming to the Gallery and starting the process. Click To Tweet
It’s a huge one with Ringling Circus and the Ringling College here. It’s a little known but with massive art influence here. I’m already talking to people here about it and trying to bring NFTs to the forefront. We’ll talk about it on some Hot Topics later. There are not a lot of people that know about NFTs, even though it seems like they do. Seth, to clarify, when someone comes to the gallery, that is what affords them the opportunity to acquire a Crypto Venetian. They just have to pay for the gas. It’s their presence that unlocks that opportunity. Is that correct?
We want to tie it to somebody being here and not randos speculating remotely. A lot of what we’re trying to figure out and prototype here is, as the world comes out of quarantine, how do we want to engage socially and culturally? The location of the Bright Moments genesis gallery is almost equally distant from the boardwalk in Abbot Kinney. I think of it like, “Coney Island needs Hauser and Wirth, hierarchy and mass culture.” We’re very much trying to tap into what the world looks like post-pandemic. NFTs and cryptos are not going away, but it’s going to come out into the open. It’s going to be something that we do together as people, not that we do it isolated behind our screens at home. The extent to which we want to be leaders, we want to be leaders there figuring out safe and hygienic ways for people to connect. Not only is there no reason that these crypto-NFT experiences should be solo, but there’s much more richness when people physically and socially come together around some of these ideas and new asset classes.
The coming together thing is so interesting to me. We’re coming out of this pandemic and remote-only environment. The community is at the center of all this. What other plans do you have to help nurture the community for owners of Crypto Venetians and patrons of Bright Moments?
I’ll give you a couple of examples and these are prototypes. One is we had an opening and a great live jazz band. It was a celebration of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who was an out jazz saxophonist from the ’60s who wrote that great album called Bright Moments and a great track called Bright Moments. That’s where the idea of the name of the gallery came from. Carlos Niño, who’s a music producer and DJ, put together three amazing musicians. In almost ad hoc, we had this idea of, “Why don’t we take the flyer for the event and mint it as an NFT on Foundation with all the proceeds going to the live jazz performers?”
While the concert was happening, there was a live auction on Foundation of the concert poster. Foundation didn’t have splits implemented yet, but we would have used that. Instead, I just split the proceeds to four ETH wallets of the jazz musicians. One of whom already had one. Three of whom opened up new ETH wallets to get paid for the gig. Another example, we’ve got a DAO member dinner. Travis Lett, who’s an amazing chef and a visionary entrepreneur who created Gjusta and Gjelina, is going to be cooking. We started talking about, “Do we make these 40 people come to the dinner? Is each plate its own NFT with a QR code on the plate that you buy and then you fill your plate with food and all the proceeds get immediately transferred to the kitchen staff and waiters?”
We want to use this physical location as a way of prototyping new ways of using NFTs in non-traditional ways that are more rooted in day-to-day life and thinking about ETH as a Visa card or PayPal. We want to do as much on Chain as possible. We know there are gas fees and there’s a lot of volatility in the price of ETH. As a community, my feeling is, the more we’re doing on Chain natively using ETH wallets and NFTs as a file format above and beyond artwork, the better we’re all going to be positioned in the future. We’re probably going to build IP and products here that we could roll out in other locations in the future.
Do you guys have a Discord channel or someplace for community members to connect?
We do have a Discord channel and Telegram. The logistics of distributing the Crypto Venetian NFTs start with giving visitors to the gallery a BRT Token. You’ll earn a token simply by coming in and starting that process. That’s a way of getting you into the community as well.
Have you started to get any inbound interests for galleries elsewhere?
We’re starting to. My sense is New York. The locations that seem to keep popping up would be New York, Tokyo, Miami, Mexico City, and Berlin. If there’s any reader out there that is interested in NFTs, galleries, and DAOs, please follow up with us. We’re looking to grow quickly and take a lot of lessons. If you think about what Bright Moments is, it’s an MVP of a product. It’s a pop-up. We have space until the end of September 2021. We’re building a lot of software based on what we’re learning from live people coming through the gallery.
We have realized, for example, that the native way of experiencing NFTs in a real-world gallery format is like a playlist. It wasn’t obvious to me, but now it is that you have 30 to 40 NFTs like you have 30 to 40 songs in a playlist. The playlist can be grouped by genre. It can be 3D rendering NFTs, the most expensive NFTs, the most valuable LeBron James Top Shot Moments, or the most recently purchased CryptoPunks.
There are infinite ways of slicing and dicing playlists of NFTs the same way you would do with Spotify playlists. We’re making tools to make it easy to create NFT playlists across different platforms and then ways of displaying those playlists. Ultimately, if we have 10 to 20 galleries that are all live then one artist, creator, or celebrity will be able to drop an NFT and have it go live to people across multiple locations at the same time. That’s exciting.
It makes me think of SuperWorld, the augmented layer in our physical world. I think of your galleries. If you have an augmented presence also in those physical spaces that are activated by those physical spaces, you could have a physical gallery representing digital goods in an augmented world. It goes on and on. It’s mind-blowing.
We’ll set up Bright Moments’ virtual galleries in Cryptovoxels and Decentraland. The flip side is we could sell virtual real estate in the physical gallery here. It starts to get mind-boggling. NFTs were a big headfuck and now we’re getting used to them a little bit. DAO is the next bright shiny object that we’re all trying to wrestle with and understand the implications of. My sense is, after we all process what DAOs mean, virtual real estate will be the next thing that we try to wrap our heads around. I’m not sure what comes after that.
Who owns the Bright Moments Gallery in SuperWorld? Do you have it, Seth?
I don’t know the SuperWorld. I was talking to a collector who has a beautiful plot of beachside land in Cryptovoxels that he’s going to lend to us to do a pop-up. We’ll have a virtual pop-up, as well as a physical pop-up.
You’ve done a lot of different startups over the years, including the ones in digital advertising and online music. To change the subject for a moment, how do you see NFTs fitting to those worlds as we move forward?
To me, when I think about what an NFT is, it’s a file format with ownership attached to it. The reason I’m so bullish regardless of the price of ETH or a particular NFT is it’s like a JPEG, PDF, or MP3 file. There are so many different uses of those file formats, depending on whether you’re a lawyer, writer, or pornographer. It’s a neutral file format. In the case of NFTs, there are so many different vertical applications of them. We may have seen a bubble in the high-art people, contemporary art NFT world, but that was to get this whole thing going. There are going to be a lot of real-world applications of NFTs. It’s important for us here at the gallery to not just be NFT art but also be NFT collectibles. In the old days, you would go to the Pokémon store, Magic: The Gathering store, or baseball card store. In the future, you’ll come to Bright Moments. There’s no reason why we can’t be the baseball card memorabilia store, Sotheby’s, and some super funky, hot gallery in Venice.
Your NFTs could theoretically integrate brand sponsorships and music.
Sure. Why not? To your point about my evolution, I started as a kid in theater. I was always interested in the arts. I got early involved on the web in 1995. I started one of the first online advertising companies called SiteSpecific. We were the first customer of DoubleClick. I saw that game in that world of web one to web two play out. There’s something magical about NFTs in terms of the way it has galvanized a creative community that up until now didn’t know how to monetize itself. There’s an amount of creativity that’s exciting. We’ll see where it goes. With the combination of the commercialization of ETH wallets, it’s easier to open up a Rainbow Wallet or a MetaMask wallet and start doing things with it. The fact that coming out of the pandemic, we know what to do with the QR code. Years ago, 10% of the people would know what to do with the QR code when they saw one. Now, it’s got to be 80%. That’s another way that this whole world gets unlocked.
As you think about the future as a fan of NFTs, as a collector of NFTs, and as an entrepreneur making waves in NFTs, what are the projects that you see outside of what we’re talking about here that are going to be here making waves in the following years?
What I love is the idea that NFTs enable a re-imagining of old ways. When I was in New York in the late ’80s and ’90s, you had off-track betting, OTB parlors. You had these old guys in polyester suits taking all the money they made, banging their newspapers, and yelling horses to go on the closed caption. We’re going to have live Zed races here, where you’re going to get crypto whales betting on crypto horses. In the same way, we’ve had people come through thinking about ways of taking a gem collection or rare coins and connecting those to NFTs. We talked about real estate. We’re seeing in sports, memorabilia, merch, and ticketing. All these old-world experiences have an opportunity to get re-imagined in the world of NFTs as a file format. It’s a better way of doing business.
Decentralization is the master theme here that connects everything we’re talking about from Bitcoin, Coinbase, Ethereum, DeFi, NFTs to DAOs. It’s going to continue to spread. We’ve seen some examples of Hollywood starting to think in a more progressive decentralized way like, “Why wouldn’t a movie be structured as an NFT with all the cast members and crew members being part of that smart contract? Every time the movie gets streamed, it’s a microtransaction that gets released to everybody involved.” There’s a lot of ways you can take it.
There’s so much good information and content here. Fellows, are you ready to make a move to Edge Quick Hitters to learn a little bit more about Seth on a personal level?
Yes, this is going to be fun.
I’m ready.NFT is a file format with ownership attached to it. Click To Tweet
As a reminder, Edge Quick Hitters are a fun and quick way to get to know you a little bit better. There are ten questions. We’re looking for short single-word or few-word responses, but feel free to expand if you get the urge. Let’s dive in. Question one. What is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
When you say you remember, is that like I purchased myself or I got my parents to buy for me? I have a very distinct memory of getting a big truck, which was this robotic tank thing that I got for Hanukkah. I was insistent on getting it. I don’t think I had the funds to buy it myself, but I got it. My brother broke it on the first night of Hanukkah.
That counts. It has clearly had an impact.
You bought it with your sweetness and extorted them through your whining. I’m sure of that. That could count as some type of purchase.
I’m super curious. What did you buy with your own money? What was the first?
I bought a broken-down Toyota pickup truck from my Aunt Gail for $1,000 as my first car. Does that count?
It does. Number two. What is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
I used to work when I was seven years old. I made $1.50 an hour. I was working at OuterMost Kites in Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It was my first job and I was selling kites.
Number three, what is the most recent thing you purchased?
With purchasing and selling, this was critical for starting the gallery here and going down this rabbit hole. I bought a Jokić Top Shot Moment for $300 or $400 before he was voted to the All-Star Team in early February 2021. A couple of weeks later, I sold it for $2,000. That was a big moment for me to realize like, “This is real. There are real buyers and sellers. There is a real price appreciation happening.” For years on the internet, we always talked about turning things into stock markets. The number of business plans I saw about people saying, “You’re going to be able to buy and sell up-and-coming bonds as if they’re stocks,” none of it worked out. You needed to have the blockchain, Dapper, Flow, and some of these platforms to enable these kinds of transactions to happen in a decentralized way.
Besides the Jokić card or moment, what is the most recent thing you sold?
I have an amazing collection of antique computers like Altair’s, IMSAI’s, and Commodores. I sold an old cryptographic machine called Enigma at an auction house. The most prized possession I have that’s not for sale is I have an original edition from 1690 of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon, which is the canonical example of the Prison of the Future, where there’s a guard in the middle that can see into all of the prisoners’ rooms but the prisoners can’t see the guard. They use the panopticon as the metaphor for the surveillance society that we live in. I have a copy of that.
I got to bring in this funny story. In my neighborhood in Brooklyn, there were some projects nearby where I was living several years ago. Every once in a while, they would bring in this police thing. It had a base and a crane that went up. There was a little windowed thing where somebody could be in there looking out, but you couldn’t see who was in it. It was very panopticon-ish. On top of that, there was this humorous moment for me in a weird way. I was walking from the subway by it and there was a younger guy with a kid, probably a three-year-old walking. The little kid said, “What’s that, daddy?” The dad goes without skipping a beat, “That’s to monitor the populous son.” The kid had no idea, but I got a kick out of that.
That was question five. Let’s move to question six then. If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, or service that is currently for sale, what would it be?
I’m trying to buy less. My partner and girlfriend, Christie, is teaching me to be more minimal. I’m trying not to covet things. I want more nature. If I could buy some beautiful natural property around the world to hang out, that would be nice. I don’t need more toys, technologies, or gadgets. I have plenty of that. I’m trying to think more in terms of buying some peace of mind.
Switching gears a little bit, number seven. If you could pass on one personality trait of yours to the next generation, what would it be?
I’m very comfortable pursuing my visions and ideas. It’s like a holy order of mine. I can’t do anything other than scratch the itch of the things that interest me. In terms of passing that on, that’s important because I have two boys. I want them to be independent, entrepreneurial, and learn from experts. I want them to learn skills but try things. We only live once. The hallmark of my career has been not being satisfied and trying to try new things. Building an NFT Gallery DAO coming out of the pandemic in Venice is a good example of that. It has never been done before, so why not? We’ll figure as we go. The flip side is what personality trait I would eliminate. Unfortunately, that raging entrepreneurial curiosity can also be, if not checked, very impulsive. It’s great to be comfortable taking risks but you don’t want to get addicted to taking risks where you become a gambler and a degenerate fool. How can you be intentional as an aggressive entrepreneur without being impulsive?Decentralization is the master theme that connects Bitcoin, Coinbase, and Ethereum. Click To Tweet
The key is you only do the Zen horse racing here once a month. No more, no less.
That was question eight. Moving on then to question nine. What did you do just before joining us for the show?
I play paddle tennis every morning in Venice. I started last summer of 2021. I’m slightly better than I was. Paddle tennis is like tennis meets ping pong. It’s on the boardwalk, right by Muscle Beach. Fairly, at least, it looks like a very close community. A lot of old guys are wearing interesting different kinds of braces, headbands, and visors. The sound of the ball, because the tennis ball is deflated, is a great sound when these smaller tennis rackets hit these balls.
It’s not to be confused with pickleball.
Don’t call it pickleball. I never call it pickleball.
What are the differences with pickleball then?
I don’t know. I played pickleball. I have not played paddle ball.
Paddle tennis. Pickleball is with a plastic ball usually. Paddle tennis is with a deflated tennis ball. In Spain, they call it padel and you can play off the walls.
The last question, question ten. What are you going to do next after the show?
I’m working with Greg Cipes. He’s one of the members of the DAO. We’re working on a script for the Crypto Venetian onboarding so that when you come through the gallery and get your magic ticket, you come in the back and there’s going to be a retrofitted arcade game that will be tricked out with an LCD monitor. It will walk you through this experience of opening up your Ethereum wallet, sending the BRT Token to the smart contract, and getting your Crypto Venetian. How do we boil that down? We make it fun, make it entertaining, give it a voice, and give it a character. We’re doing a Hollywood approach to it so it’s not just for nerds who studied Computer Science.
I can’t wait to get back out to Venice and check it out. I’m looking forward to it. Are you guys ready to close out Quick Hitters then and move on to Hot Topics? What do you say?
Let’s do it.
I appreciate the answers, Seth.
I’m very curious about Seth’s opinion on what’s in the news. The first thing we have here is, “Ikonick signs NFT licensing deal with Bravado, Universal Music Group’s Merchandise Unit.” Apparently, Bravado hasn’t signed any particular deals with any artists. Bravado’s roster includes some of the leading names, Ariana Grande, Adele, Billie Eilish, Blackpink, Elton John, and The Strokes. They’ve got quite a catalog. What I’ve been impressed with is these bigger players jumping in. There are ones that aren’t, but there are ones that are. They’re ready to hit the ground running.
They felt like they were late to the game a couple of times and they’re like, “We’re not going to do that again.”
Also, from a timing perspective, if this recent wave of NFTs bubbled over in February 2021, you can imagine all of the biz dev, corp dev, strategy groups within all the labels, and entertainment studios working overtime to come up with a strategy that will probably show up over the course of this summer going into the fall. These are some examples of things that have been in the works for a couple of months.
Seth, have you noticed anyone? You’re stepping forward. The people that you’re working with are stepping forward, jumping in, and coming to you for assistance and consultation. Anything along those lines or are you guys trying to keep to yourselves with your heads down?
We’re making ourselves available to any artist, creator, or entertainer that are interested in exploring NFTs. There’s a learning curve for anybody. There are people that own crypto because they have Bitcoin in their Robinhood account. That’s very different than someone who knows how to send ETH to a certain address or use a dApp. There’s Crypto 101 of any entertainer or artist. It’s understanding the basics of how this new world works and how to be flexible and fluid with it. As an artist, how do they want to express themselves? How do they want to do something unique that’s not derivative and look like they’re jumping on to make a quick buck? We’ve talked to awesome hip-hop stars, different artists, activists, and painters who are trying to get their feet wet and learn how to mint and list their own NFTs. Part of the gallery is we have creator grants that we give out to help either existing NFT artists exhibit in the gallery or artists that haven’t done NFTs do their first NFTs. The answer is yes.
The people like Bravado that are starting to get in the mix are iconic. You’re bringing another level of marketing and community building expertise to space, that when combined with the technical expertise of knowing how to navigate the world of NFTs and the community that’s already supportive of artists and brands like what is listed in the article, these are recipes for some fun and innovative things that we’re scratching the surface of so far. We’ve had some cool releases, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
When we go back into the point of the news about Universal to in-person concerts, events, and festivals, you’re going to see a ton of QR codes that lead to NFTs in merch booths. Even on stage, you’re going to have artists that, as part of their visuals, are showing NFTs behind the main stage that are for sale. By the 100,000 people at Coachella in the audience jumping around, they can scan and bid on it. When we do come back from this pandemic and start to re-aggregate with each other at these festivals and sporting events as well, that combination of NFTs and the adoption of QR codes is going to add a different commercial layer that never existed before in the States that we always knew was there in China with WhatsApp in QR codes, but never quite broke over for us the way it will now.
Let’s hit the next piece of news here, “Nobel-prize-winning data on cancer treatments is the focus of a Berkeley NFT contest.” Apparently, Berkeley owns data that is Nobel-prize-winning. It was something that was purchased as an NFT or it talks to be purchased. There’s a talk on the topic of what we’re talking about of formation of a DAO to purchase that by alumni. Jeff, do you notice any other interesting aspects in this article?
For me, when you see an institution like Berkeley get into the world of NFTs, you know it’s making its way into the mainstream. Educational institutions, as innovative as they try to be, tend not to be the first people on the train for these things. This is early for a university to start to get involved in something like this but it opens the door creatively to, “How do we generate revenue and support for the university with the resources that we have?” Plenty of universities have partnered with venture capital firms and private equity firms to take the technologies that they develop and the research that they do and make a profit from them. They license it or run joint ventures. That has been there for a long time. It’s exciting to see that they’re jumping in on the NFT side of things and viewing it from a very similar lens, especially in a time when a lot of people are opting not to go to university.
That’s what comes to mind for me. Colleges are going to have to change it up to survive in the same way they do now. This opens up a much bigger question around co-investing and co-creating with students and alumni and generating creative sources of revenue for colleges while not cutting out others that are contributing to that ecosystem. The idea that we sell our data to Facebook is not too much different than people that create ideas and inventions. While at school, similar athletes have performed where the colleges get all that revenue.Don’t be satisfied. Always try new things. Click To Tweet
Before the pandemic, you were seeing some interesting innovations in the income-sharing arrangements in Lambda School and ways of effectively treating students as if they were products that you could invest in, in lieu of them paying full freight. I know the Indiana University was doing some interesting stuff. It’s going to be interesting now to see whether it’s Berkeley or other places. Why wouldn’t a seminar be structured as a DAO? Why wouldn’t the students who were studying Computer Science each be an NFT that people could invest in or buy a fractional piece of? We’re going to see a lot of these concepts that are playing out in the Metaverse, CryptoArt, and DeFi world, start to be applied in real-world university environments because Berkeley and the schools that know how to navigate this are going to be way better off than those that don’t.
You’ve done some venture capital. Doesn’t it come down to the team at the end of the day? The team is a big part of the equation.
The team in how they’re incentivized, how ownership works, and how decisions get made.
I’ll jump to the next article here so we can squeeze in the next two here. We’ve got a question as the title of this one. “Is there a role for NFTs in travel?” IoTeX introduced a new product that allows travelers to mint exclusive digital assets based on proof of travel called Pebble Tracker. The hardware is able to capture and cryptographically sign real-world data such as location, climate, motion, and light using a built-in secure element similar to the ones used in smartphones for Face ID. The first place I think of NFTs and travel is travel rewards, but I guess that’s already nailed down. I don’t know exactly if they’re going to convert those to some cryptocurrencies. It might be down the pipeline.
To me, this is all about proving what you are where you say you are. It’s like proof of attendance or proof of participation tokens. It’s saying that, “I am at Bright Moments.” It’s being able to legitimately say that without having to take an action, scan a QR code, or take some type of active step to prove that like your presence there. It’s geolocation. It’s combining all those things together. What does that open up for travelers? There are all kinds of momentos that people like to take with them from their travels. They buy things or take photos at a certain location.
Imagine all of those things taking the form of an NFT, being able to be shared, traded, or sold, or being the binding element of why somebody is part of a community because they visit Bari, Italy, and the other members of Bari all have this one particular thing. There’s something there around that’s special about travel and also other fun things like geocaching or treasure hunts, proving that you’re at a particular location, and having some interaction that’s demonstrable that can then bind you with other people as part of a community. There’s a lot of stuff in there.
I can think of dozens of companies that have tried to make this a thing over the years but it becomes another check-in. If this can be done seamlessly with an easy tool and NFTs make that better then it’s going to work because there’s friction there that NFTs could potentially cut out of the equation.
It makes me think if you’ve ever gone to a beautiful foreign location or a third-world country and you’re interested in real estate, it’s so complicated to own a piece of land somewhere. My mom was in Dominica in the Caribbean. There are beautiful places, but how do you know what you’re buying is the rights to the property? What NFTs are going to provide over the years to come is a common framework to crowdfund and crowdsource some of these opportunities and give it a common language back to QR codes, NFTs, and ETH. We’ll be able to do things around the world much easier with much less friction than we have been able to.
Let’s hop to the next article here, “NFTs for High School Athletes? BallerTV’s New Plan Pushes the Conversation.” What if you could trade trading cards for the local kid who you think is going to be the next Kobe Bryant? Would you do it? Would you think it’s right?
To me, this conversation is all about ownership of who you are, owning the rights to yourself to everything you do, what you put out into the world, and having a piece of it. The NCAA has been constraining that for college athletes throughout its entire existence and that’s shifting now. One of the things that the article talked about was Governor Newsom in California signing a law that will go into effect in 2023 that will allow college athletes to hire agents and profit from endorsements, which is the right thing to do. High school athletes should have that same opportunity or high school entertainers, whatever their talents are. If people want to share their talents, they have every right to be able to do that, earn a living, make a profit, and not have their creations taken or governed by third parties without their consent.
That’s an interesting piece of it. Drawing the line a little bit more, particularly between the individual, their ownership of it, versus others who might try to take ownership of it.
If you’re a fifteen-year-old star running back, why wouldn’t you spin up on Chain LLC, mint ten million tokens under your name, and create your currency and economy? There are going to be workarounds where people are going to be able to do this and have a lot more control. There has always been a moment of pride if you see, “I watched Zion. I saw his early mixtape before he was on the radar.” What these tokenized communities are doing is they’re rewarding the early adopters with a financial stake. RAC has done a great job with this, tokenizing his music followers in the community. I imagine younger athletes can use these kinds of token strategies to create communities where the first adopters are stakeholders.
It’s going to be also interesting what technology they adopt. You got Rollie, who we’ll have on the show, that has some cool options for creators what these guys are doing. You got whatever Tom Brady is cooking up, which I’m sure will be awesome because it’s Tom Brady.
Having control of your likeness and creations to me is paramount. NFTs and crypto are helping to make that a reality quickly. It’s cool stuff.
Before we wrap up here, there is a controversial aspect to it. There are reasons why we don’t want kids in school engaging in commercial activity to a certain degree because different kids are progressing at different rates. It could put a lot of social pressure between kids having these things go on, especially around the sports that they play at school. I don’t know that I would be on that side of the argument, but it’s interesting to bring that in and see that as something that might want to be avoided. Also, if you look at kids that have become superstar entertainers from an early age, we see that kind of thing can mess around with their development.
It’s inevitable. It’s going to be challenging for the local economies. How is the grocery store going to convince kids to bag groceries and work the cashier’s systems if they can make money playing video games and doing what they love? This is going to be a capitalistic crisis opportunity for the evolution of our job market.
In some senses, maybe it’s fitting right in with the way the economy is going. Robots are taking our jobs anyway. Now, we’ve got bag-your-own grocery for the most part in a lot of stores. Soon, there will probably be a robot where you hand them your cart and they’ll take care of it.Make it fun, make it entertaining and give it a voice and character. Click To Tweet
That’s Hot Topics. Seth, it’s amazing chatting with you and learning about everything you’re doing. I can’t wait to get out there in person, hang out over there at the gallery, and come to some of your events. It’s exciting stuff.
We’re open from 12:00 to 7:00 every day. We’ve got lots of good art openings. Jeff Davis’s show is on June 24th, 2021, Thursday. Jeff is the Cofounder of Art Blocks. He has ten new pieces that he’s going to be minting we’ll be auctioning off here in the gallery. We’ve got a bunch of good stuff happening over the summer.
Tell people again how they can get a Crypto Venetian. That’s a fun way for people to engage.
Starting that week on the 22nd of June 2021, we’re going to be dropping our first set of Crypto Venetians to visitors to the gallery. If you come here, it will be first come, first served. You will walk out with your own NFT and have to pay for the gas fee, but otherwise, it’s free. You’re free to resell it. We’re trying to connect it to the local community and making it something that’s useful and valuable as a passport or loyalty card above and beyond. It’s speculative interest.
Where can people go online to learn more about Bright Moments and also the other projects you’re working on?
They can go to BrightMoments.io, which is the gallery website. Instagram is @BrightMomentsGallery. SethGoldstein.com will tell you more about me. I have another project I’m working on that will play off of all this in the future, which is NFTInsurance.io, which is a way of underwriting insurance for your NFT assets in the same way you can purchase flight insurance or buy insurance for things in your house. You’re going to want to insure your digital crypto assets as well. Otherwise, I would love to have people come by and show up in person here in Venice. Thanks for the opportunity to share some of this.
Get out there, everybody. We’ve reached the outer limit at the edge of NFTs. Thanks for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventurers on this starship. Invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey all so much better. How? Go to iTunes right now, rate us, and say something cool. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Thanks again.
Seth, we love what you’re doing and would love to help our readers get involved. If anyone wants to reach out and talk with us about potential art galleries all over the world, artists that they might want to feature, or would recommend for the gallery, hit us up at Edge of NFT on social. If we can be helpful and support what the gallery is doing, we would love to contribute.
- Bright Moments
- Greg Cipes
- Rainbow Wallet
- Nobel-prize-winning data on cancer treatments is the focus of a Berkeley NFT contest
- Is there a role for NFTs in travel?
- NFTs for High School Athletes? BallerTV’s New Plan Pushes the Conversation
- @BrightMomentsGallery – Instagram
- iTunes – Edge of NFT Podcast
About Seth Goldstein
Seth is an entrepreneur, investor and mentor. Over the past twenty years, Seth has created a number of pioneering companies, including SiteSpecific which was one of the first Internet advertising companies, and alt data pioneer Majestic Research.
In 2011, Seth co-founded Turntable.fm, the pioneering service which made music listening social, and which evolved into his next online music product, Crossfader– the first global remix community.
Seth is an active angel investor, and in recent years he has worked with the US State Dept to foster entrepreneurship in emerging markets such as Egypt, Turkey and Greece. He lives in SF.