ERC-155 is the only token standard for NFTs today that allows people to create every type of asset, from digital art and gaming items all the way to huge real estate deals. This smart contract changed NFTs forever, and the people at Enjin are the ones behind its conception. Eathan Janney, Jeff Kelley, and Josh Kriger are joined by Simon Kertonegoro, Vice President of Developer Success at Enjin, to discuss what makes ERC-1155 special. He delves into the tools and solutions they provide to users, the importance of cross-chain token network, their work in extending NFTs from crypto enthusiasts to others, and a lot more. For their hot topics, they tackle a wide variety of the latest news that transcend television, sports, cryptography, gaming, and tax.
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Simon Kertonegoro: How ERC-1155 Made NFTs Today
Welcome to the show. We aim to bring you not only the top 1% of what’s going on with NFTs now but also what will stand the test of time. We explore the nuts and bolts in the business side, and also the human element of how NFTs are changing the way we interact with the things that we love. This show is for the futurists and dreamers, disruptors and creators, fans and connectors, and makers and doers that are pumped about this ecosystem and driving where it goes next.
This episode features guest Simon Kertonegoro and a special guest host, Ira Liss, who we’ll introduce later. Simon is the VP of Developer Success at Enjin. Simon plays an integral role in providing development and marketing consultancy for the projects who use Enjin’s tools. A connector within the business, Simon works with the support team to produce documentation, the marketing team to produce thought leadership content, the business development team to assist in the onboarding of new projects, and the development team to understand the needs of the developer ecosystem. We’re excited to hear about all these. Simon, thanks for joining us.
Thanks for having me.
You’re not busy at all.
That’s just one of my jobs.
What is another one of your jobs?
I also have my own project called MyMetaverse, where I’m the Project Leader or CEO. Since working with Enjin for many years, working with many amazing developers, learning so much about development and how hard it is but also how rewarding it is, I was compelled to do it myself as well. I’ve got a team there that’s building out. It’s what we feel will be the first free-to-earn NFT games network. We’re building a network. We’re starting with four games that we’re going to build into the network. We’re going to build that all out and help bring more developers into the ecosystem. Enjin is an integral part of this ecosystem. It powers our entire NFT experience.
What kind of games are these, Simon?
We’re building four games. One is called Meta City: Minecraft, which is a Minecraft server. The next is Meta City: Roblox, which is a Roblox game. The third one is a secret, but it’s within a good game. The fourth one is a completely custom game, which is going to be called Meta City: Multiverse. Meta City is going to be this location where it’s transported through all of these different gaming worlds. The storyline weaves in between these different game platforms and gaming worlds. Most of our items will be integrated through all of the games. If you own one NFT, you can use them in either all four games or at least 2 or 3 of them.
We broadcast globally. Your secret is safe with us. We found out we’re in the top 30 technology podcasts in Dubai, which had us scratching our heads trying to figure that out.
They’ve got good taste.
It’s a great marketing tactic to say something as a secret, but if you tell somebody, then it’s guaranteed that it will get out.
It does sound intriguing.
That’s what got me here.
In terms of the launch time frame, when can we expect to dive in on some of these?
We try to build it in a very iterative way. We try not to build in a vacuum. We’ve already launched the core platform and the Minecraft server. We’ve already got about 1,300 users there. We’re trying to craft that experience first because it’s a lot easier to build a Minecraft server than a proper full-fledged custom proprietary game. What we learned there allows us to perfect the central platform, which is the game’s network because that’s where a lot of the NFT logic happens. It’s like a platform, an API and a database, so all of the transfer logic. We’re trying to handle as much of the tokenomics logic as possible within the core platform. When we build in all of these other games, we can just plug into it and we don’t have to rebuild that logic again in all of the four different games. Once we open that to the rest of the world, it’s going to hopefully be a very compelling system that developers can then join and adopt NFTs and Enjin. The users can learn about blockchain. That’s the small part that we want to play within the wider ecosystem.
What are some hints about that secret?
It’s a big game. It’s one of the biggest games.Everyone should have the freedom to choose the kind of NFT experience they want. Click To Tweet
I know that Enjin developed a partnership with Samsung relatively early on in this game and has also developed several other interesting partnerships. What can you say about how that all came to be, how difficult or easy it was, and what kind of traction that it offers Enjin?
The main thing is Enjin has been around for so long in building NFTs since 2017. We quickly became a household name in this space as far as having good products that are available to the wider population and that are user-friendly. Amazing and very forward-thinking tech companies that are looking for a solution, the ones that already exist generally will come to Enjin and work out a way to leverage that user experience and also offer the immense amount of value that they can offer as far as their technical knowledge and their ability to create product-market fits.
The ways that this benefits both parties are in a lot of ways very tangible because of the story, the public narrative and what people understand. Both parties grow when we work together because working with Enjin shows the innovativeness within the NFT ecosystem, and then us being able to work with great companies. It provides a level of proof that we’re doing something meaningful. The intangible ways that it benefits both parties is what interests me. I can speak to it on the Enjin side. It allows us to have an amazingly strong sounding board based on how we build the products. It allows us to get this super-high level feedback that’s driven by years of experience and incredible teams. As a result, we end up with these products that are getting better and better and also an ecosystem that thrives based on it as well.
Did they bring the shredder to the meeting where you signed the contract, where you get to all dump your iPhones in the shredder at the same time the contract was signed? Did they give you a little window to move your data over?
We gave ourselves the shredder.
I have to address it, ERC-1155. This is the standard pretty much upon which the NFT system that we know that’s in the public eye now was built on and made possible. This was developed as a part of the entire Enjin project. Is that right?
Yes. Enjin started building their first NFTs in June of 2017. For context, the term NFT got coined in about November or maybe earlier when CryptoKitties came out and blew up. When Enjin started developing ERC-1155, they thought that they were inventing NFTs. They were simultaneously inventing them at the same time as these other projects were. ERC-1155 was a labor of love for our CTO and CEO, Witek and Maxim. They had been in the gaming industry for many years. They had seen that the gaming world needed a more tangible form of a digital asset to be able to scale into the future and work within the future economy that they saw would exist.
ERC-1155 was based on the need to solve the most complex forms of tokenomics possible, where you have video games that have economies that are nearly as complex as the real world. They’ve got currencies, items and a whole host of different kinds of items like real estate, furniture, weapons, armor, companions, pets and everything. As a token standard, ERC-1155 is a template for how you construct your NFTs and your currencies as well. It was built in the perfect way to become the final solution in the end. ERC-721 was coined in November when CryptoKitties came out. That has been a driving force of NFT adoption as well. In 2021, some big projects have been seeing the value of ERC-1155 and seeing that it’s more flexible and standardized, and a lot easier to plug into all different games. It also has some cool underlying features. It takes up less energy and everything to create ERC-1155. It has become the fastest-growing standard.
The big topic these days is the energy burn from both crypto and NFTs. We all heard Elon complaining about Bitcoin and saw our portfolios plummet as a result. From a matter of practicality, could you talk more about energy consumption as it pertains to NFTs? What are some of the best practices that you’re bringing forward in that area and advising project teams to consider?
It’s a very legitimate issue that needs to be attacked aggressively head-on. We’ve believed this for a long time already. It’s not just because Elon said it, even though it is good that he does shed a light on it in a way. What Enjin has done is starting with ERC-1155. Minting NFTs on the ERC-1155 saves up to 90% in gas, which requires less share of the Ethereum network and therefore takes up less electricity to create. On top of that, the best way is to move these systems onto more efficient chains until Ethereum can be a more efficient chain itself. You have some good sidechains available within the Ethereum network. Moving your NFTs especially your DeFi projects onto those is a very meaningful way to do it.
Enjin has created their own blockchain, which is Bridge to Ethereum so it becomes a sidechain. That’s called JumpNet. That only takes up as much electricity as one average Australian. It’s 15 tons of carbon produced by JumpNet per year. The reason we’ve done that is to ensure that we can go carbon negative as quickly as possible but also ensure that we can provide the growing NFT ecosystem with a means to transact for free without paying up to $60 in gas every time you want to mint a token and send it. The successful gaming paradigm is free-to-play games and freemium apps. Paying $60 to mint an NFT and then giving it to someone for free doesn’t fit within that business model very well.
You’re being too nice. I think Jeff and I paid $300 for some Gary Vee NFT in gas. It was brutal.
We get the $17,000 quote that I got at one point. That was right down in MetaMask.
With JumpNet, we’re seeing that all of our developers are moving over and minting on JumpNet and sending their tokens on JumpNet to their users. Everything is happening for free at no cost and uses trading there. You can bridge it to Ethereum anytime you want to sell it on some of these huge marketplaces on there as well if you want to access that liquidity. You get the best of both worlds that way. The levels of decentralization on Ethereum are mammoth. It’s very powerful and good. There is that benefit in moving your items across to Ethereum as well. We think that everyone should have the freedom to choose the kind of experience that they want. We need to ensure that people can afford these systems of value as well, but then they have the choice to move them onto the other networks. We plan to be a connector across all blockchains as fast as possible.
Can you explain what this concept of melting is? Do you have that with Enjin Coin? How does that work? Is there something similar happening with other platforms or currencies?
I think this is the only one that it happens with. What happens is when a developer wants to adopt Enjin, especially if they’re doing it on JumpNet where there are no gas fees, they pay nothing. They don’t pay any subscription fee to adopt the platform, mint on the platform, and use the API to integrate NFTs deeply into their games and apps. It’s all free. The only cost is when you mint with Enjin, you put Enjin Coin inside the NFTs that you mint. That Enjin Coin that you put inside those NFTs doesn’t go to Enjin. It goes inside the NFTs and then gets transferred to the users. It’s a way to provide a very base value for their NFTs that you’re sending out and ensure that the users know that these are tangible in a way because there’s all of this Enjin Coin liquidity out there and they can see, “These have a BAT value.”
It’s the same way the USA used to have the gold standard many years ago where they were backing every dollar with gold to ensure that there was a guaranteed and certified amount of value behind the dollar. It would mean that people would see more value in the dollar and trust the dollar. It would also curb inflation, in general, that way. In the same way, when you back an item with the Enjin Coin, you know that no matter what happens, that NFT is going to hold not only its utility value because I own this NFT. I can use it. I can plug it into this game and get all of these benefits, or plug it into this app and access this content.
On top of that, it’s also got Enjin Coin within it. As Enjin Coin rises and falls, that value within it also rises and falls. As more and more NFTs are minted throughout the history of the world, the Enjin Coin that’s put into all of these tokens gets taken off the market and then backed into these tokens. Therefore, Enjin Coin as an on-market currency becomes scarcer and harder to attain. That means that the Enjin Coin within these tokens becomes more significant.
It’s like if I could buy something for an Ethereum and then hopefully, sell it later for an Ethereum. You’re saying in this case, there’s an actual currency where if I wanted to get rid of that, I have to delete the item or something. Melting means I’m exchanging it for those base Enjin Coins underneath and that item is no longer mine. Is that what happens?
In a situation where you own an NFT that has Enjin Coin inside it and you want to trade it, you trade it as per normal. You sell it to someone and they give you Ethereum for it. Melting is what happens when you want to destroy the item and take the Enjin Coin back. You can trade that Enjin Coin on the market or preferably mint more NFTs with it.
What percentage of your team went to Burning Man and came up with that idea?
The percentage that counts.
Simon, I think a lot of our readers appreciate the effort, skills, knowledge and experience you put into the development work that you do. I don’t think they have a sense for what a day in the life of Simon is working on Enjin and your other projects. Fill them in. What does that look like?
I’m blessed with an amazing team on both sides. It sounds like I do a lot but everyone else does all of the heavy liftings. On the Enjin side, I’m the first point of contact when a developer or a project wants to adopt the Enjin ecosystem. I generally jump on a call with them, go through their needs, understand what they want to achieve, and make sure that we can even solve that problem. If we can, then I’ll describe how we can solve it from a business model-wise. Also, I can talk with the developers, go through the documentation, talk about how it all fits in with their user experience plans and everything, and show them which API queries that they will plug into their app.
Once that’s all planned and we’re all confident that we can provide value to each other, then we’ll bring them into the Enjin ecosystem where we have a private Slack channel, where we have all of these amazing developers. It’s a collaborative ecosystem and everyone can work together. Within NFTs, you can create cross-game and cross-app NFTs. You own it in the wallet. Multiple games can see that you own it and give you benefits within multiple games. It’s a good place for people to come together and organize those next-generation gaming experiences.
I’ll also be on the Slack channel. They’ll ping me a lot with different questions. Some of them I’ll be able to help with. Some of them I’ll refer to the support team. Anything to do with marketing, business planning or even some project management planning, I can generally lend some experience too. Any cool collaborative opportunities that come up, that’s the fun stuff where I get to put everyone in the same room, organize that stuff and try my best to take it live, even though I’m not the most organized person in the world. I’ll also help with taking that information or the way that we craft these collaborations, try to make the most amazing story possible that makes people go wow, and then put that into a marketing plan and a press release.
All throughout that process, I’m leaning on many other people to make that possible like the marketing team, PR department, support team, and project management within all of those teams as well. That has been a super rewarding job. I’ve leveled up so much within my own personal skillset by being there. It has been incredible. MyMetaverse is a whole different side of the story where I’m the Project Leader. I have to set the roadmap and vision. We have a great company culture and I try to keep that in place.
I work with the developers to try to plan out their sprints. I try to plan that out to be the most compelling marketing story as well and then plan out the marketing with that. I lean on everyone else to do the groundwork in that project, put the content together and work with each other to make sure everything launches successfully. It’s two levels of the same problem. In Enjin, I’m doing more of the groundwork. In MyMetaverse, I’m doing more of the high-level vision and ensuring that everything is incredible.
How did you first hear about NFTs, connect with Enjin and get into this world?
I saw that Enjin ICO promoted on the Coinomi app in September or August 2017. I was like, “Cryptocurrency is in gaming. That makes sense.” I went in and read their white paper. I was like, “This is a whole different thing. These guys are physicalizing game items. This is incredible. This is the future.” I read about the team. I saw that they had been around for ten years and built the Enjin network, which had twenty million users. I was like, “This is the future. These are the guys. I knew it.” I dove into the community. I got obsessive reading constantly about anything to do with gaming, digital items and Enjin. I started writing articles, building my own content base, and sharing that with the team. Eventually, I came on as a freelance writer. We didn’t even know that they were NFTs until a couple of months later. They were just unique items to us. We didn’t have a name for them. That was how I first found out about NFTs.
It sounds like you’re building a similar ecosystem with the Metaverse project that you’re working on. There are a number of developers, people coming in, spending their time, and building their commitment to the project and passion behind it. You mentioned story, marketing and conveying that as well. It sounds like that’s the roadmap for bridging the gap from the diehard enthusiasts that are knee-deep in Enjin and your project to the mass market. Is that an accurate statement?
Yes. I see MyMetaverse like the Steam for free-to-earn NFT games. Steam is the biggest gaming network in the world where you can go and find all the games that you want to play. You purchase them and then you play them. We want to build that game discovery platform, except create a completely different kind of experience where you can play for free. It’s all about the NFTs that you earn and providing a great trading experience. If you envisioned all of the technology that powers the Steam like the servers, databases and all of that kind of thing, if that was on the blockchain, that would all be Enjin. Enjin is the engine that powers MyMetaverse. MyMetaverse is like a shiny, nice car that’s great to drive. The actual engine is literally Enjin.
We were talking about Enjin and Metaverse. Clearly, you have a perspective on the world of NFTs that’s distinctive. You know the nuts and bolts of it and what makes these things go. As you look ahead 3, 5, 10 years down the road, besides the specific projects you’re working on, what else do you see as being the front runners in NFTs that are going to make this thing grow?
Blockchain, in general, is a clear way to define the truth about something. People do want to know the truth about their digital items, how rare they are, how valuable they are, and whether or not they can own them forever. There’s a decent argument that NFTs could be attached to every single form of digital item that you can even ever imagine, even like musical content, video content and art. I think the big thing that is going to change very soon is that people will start to think of NFTs as a product, not just a license over a product that everyone can enjoy.
We’ll start seeing NFTs like, “I want to buy that so I can listen to this music.” That allows you to envision an NFT version of Spotify where I buy all of these NFTs. I can listen to this music, but the difference is I can resell this music and potentially find undiscovered artists that then grow. I can then sell the NFTs later and this kind of thing. I see a reason for NFTs to be attached to any digital product but also a lot of physical products as well.
For example, if a musician is wanting to create a limited edition run of their album with only 100 versions of it, they can go and sell that 100 records to 100 users, but the users can’t verify whether or not there are 100 of them unless they run over to each other’s houses and count up all of the numbers. There’s nothing to say that there wasn’t a few more created and sent to a few more users. If those items are all on the blockchain, then you can see on the ledger, “There are 100 there. That one is mine.” It becomes nice and clear.Always try to make the most amazing story possible that could make people go wow. Click To Tweet
I see NFTs becoming the product of the digital world. Frankly, I feel like the digital world will become very interconnected. That’s when it turns into a Metaverse when NFTs are flowing through all of these systems like water. On top of that, I also see the benefit of attaching NFTs to a lot of physical items. For example, you own a Tesla car and wanted to resell that right now. You have to go down to the dealership or make contact with someone and go through this entire process. The liquidity is not there and that devalues the secondary market.
If the case to the car was an NFT and you needed the NFT in your app to be able to jump in the car and drive it, all you would do is list the NFT on an NFT marketplace. Someone would buy it without even talking to you, walk up to the car, use the app to open the car and drive away. It opens up this new level of liquidity for physical items that have never been possible before either. I do honestly think we’re going to see a lot of that by the most innovative providers. I’m not sure if that would become quite as ubiquitous as digital NFTs. I see a great future for NFTs, to be honest with you.
We know there’s potential there too when your bartender overhears your conversation about Edge of NFT. He goes deep on them, the future of them, and every last possible option you can imagine he has thought of. I think it’s coming.
We got to get you a third job, Simon, as an ambassador to Elon Musk. Before he tweets about this stuff, he needs to talk to you first to get his messaging right.
Also, integrate them into Tesla cars.
Hopefully, he’s reading this. One more question for you. We could talk about chains for a while and there are a lot of different nuances with what you guys are doing. Talk to us about Polkadot. That’s a chain that people hear about in the news. Even if they don’t know a lot about crypto, they hear about Ethereum and Bitcoin. Now, they’re hearing Polkadot. How do Enjin and Polkadot work together? What are your thoughts there?
Enjin is building a new blockchain called Efinity. That’s going to exist within the Polkadot network. In fact, that’s powered by Polkadot’s technology. Polkadot’s technology is amazing because each blockchain is what they call a shard. It’s like with Ethereum. It’s going to end up being sharded into 64 different smaller chains. That’s what creates efficiency instead of spreading the weight across 20,000 different computers having to process every transaction. You cut that into a few thousand for each transaction. Polkadot is built like that from the ground up, where Efinity is this one shard created for this one specific use case, which is NFTs. Therefore, it is only going to be processing NFTs potentially unless the plan has changed. It’s not going to be that extra weight thrown on it by the DeFi space because DeFi is clearly the thing that sent Ethereum transactions crazy.
Enjin’s blockchain will be dedicated to NFTs. The logic that runs that is built into the core blockchain instead of a smart contract layer on top of the blockchain. It runs more efficiently because it’s running on the computers instead of the computers running this smart contract coding that then runs the smart contract. On top of that, Polkadot also has this amazing infrastructure that allows you to bridge to other networks. Efinity is designed to be a bridge between different blockchains. You’re going to be able to own an NFT on Ethereum, press a button in your wallet, move the NFT to Efinity where you can have lower gas fees, press another button and then move the NFT to another blockchain as well.
That’s revolutionary for people who have been trying to figure out how bound are they to each of these chains when they do the purchasing and having that interoperability. That’s a whole other level we’re talking about here.
It means that you have the liquidity of all chains available to you so you can have an NFT on one chain and then move it to another to sell to all of the users there. I think also from a user experience, it’s super important because as a new user coming into an NFT game, I don’t necessarily care what chain it is. I just want to get an item, know that it’s going to land in my wallet, and then be able to use it in any game that should support it. Having items stuck on certain chains that can’t be used in certain marketplaces and games is confusing. That’s going to be a turn-off for new users coming into the space. That’s why this needs to be addressed now.
It’s making the easy button for everybody. That’s the game-changer.
We need to transition and introduce our guest host. It’s the first time we’ve done this. We’re trying something new. I’ll give an intro to Ira Liss who’s joining us and then he’ll deliver our Edge Quick Hitters. He’s partially responsible for getting us together with Simon. It’s exciting to have him join us. Ira is credited with finding a network home in AMC for Matt Weiner’s Juggernaut series. Ira has worked with Ted Danson, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Waterston, Jeremy Strong, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Tamara Taylor, Tyreek Hill, Jacob Bertrand, Katherine Waterston, David Duchovny and Téa Leoni. He raised financing for features Pittsburgh, The Other Guy, and The First Man-Made Man. Ira also helped launch a social game for good, AOK, Acts and Observations of Kindness, with Adrian Grenier of Entourage. After bringing the founders of Akoin together, Ira found a home in the NFT markets where he’s helping celebrities to use groundbreaking tech to finance and market content productions. It’s great to have you here, Ira. Give us a background on your connection with Simon. After that, we’ll make a transition to Edge Quick Hitters.
Thanks for having me. One of the greatest things about this era of blockchain technology that involves NFTs includes the opportunity for many different types of people to get involved in ways. If they have the gumption and are willing to take the chance and deal with what might be impostor syndrome, which a lot of people contend with, there are a lot of ways that you can get involved. I’m one example of that. I’ve been in Hollywood for many years. The Juggernaut series that Matt Weiner created that you were referring to that wasn’t stated is Mad Men.
When I read that script and fell in love with it, I wondered whether or not it was an opportunity for me to be able to pitch it around town. Anybody that would listen to me was the recipient of my enthusiasm for a show that I envisioned would be someday something that would resonate with Americans and the world. Here I am at the precipice of another era of innovation where I see an opportunity for content creators and creators in general, to connect with fans in a way that is so much more immersive than ever before. The tools that are afforded by NFTs include many levers to get people involved in content creation and content production in the conversations once the content is out there.
I’m going to rewind us to 2018 when I made an introduction for my wife who was an adviser in the ICO era pre-winter. I made the introduction for her to Akon, the global recording artist, which led to the formation of Akoin. That is a blockchain-based solution for entrepreneurs to go from being tribal to being global, using tools within an ecosystem that enables them to have what is called dapps. They are access to ways to be able to use tools that are included in the blockchain solution, where the most common currency in the continent of Africa is cell phone minutes. No matter what you own in that area where there’s so much stress, a lot of people accumulate cell phone minutes. That can be converted into value that can translate into services, marketing and development. Akoin provides a way to take that cell phone value and turn it into other services that enable entrepreneurs to go from selling their goods and services from a local level to a global level.
Akoin has been around for enough time that they’ve been certainly positioned to take advantage of the NFT marketplace. They have their own announcements that they are on the verge of making and some exciting things happening with them. One of which included a conversation with Simon about potentially doing some work around one of their first NFTs. I’m going to call this my bedside education in the cryptocurrency space. My wife said, “You should call Simon.” I’m going to go back to what I would consider being the opportunity for many different people to get involved in this industry. Whereas blockchain is certainly not my background and I know you guys are OGs, there’s a way to get into it if you can see the true value of the tools and you connect with people like Simon who means well by the universe, that we figured out how to do other things.
We were in a position to do something for E3, the gaming conference. They were looking to get involved in NFTs. Maybe potentially create a marketplace for NFTs for the whole gaming industry. That started our dialogue, which then led to a conversation about a filmmaker who I’m working with, who has a nice amount of money raised to make an independent movie. This is a filmmaker who is one of the original members of Super Troopers, the Broken Lizard comedy group.
Simon and I hit it off in a way where we saw the power of these tools to engage fans. As a result, we’ve now been developing a couple of other projects. One of which includes a high-octane, high-resolution metaverse that has captured locations around the world that need permits to be able to get to. Machu Picchu, for example. They’ve captured Machu Picchu down to a grain of sand. The potential to be able to put a game into the actual location of Machu Picchu is something that has never before been able to be done. Simon and I are exploring how to make use of that type of metaverse for gaming, content, and exploration within these worlds that includes so many different ways for NFTs to become a part of that conversation.
We’ll have to have you on in the future to talk more about some of these other projects. For now, this is a great opportunity for you to help us get to know Simon on a deeper level like you’ve had the opportunity to do. Do you want to go for it?
Absolutely. Simon, I’m going to fire off a couple of questions that are going to bring you back to your youth.
Let’s make sure we remind the readers of what Edge Quick Hitters are. We’ll do that first.
Edge Quick Hitters is a fun and quick way to get to know you a little better. There are ten questions. We’re looking for a short single-word or a few-word response, but feel free to expand if you get the urge. Ira, I will turn it over to you.
Simon, what was the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
Paddle pop sticks. I don’t know if you have these in America. Paddle pop sticks are like ice cream. That, to me, was the first time I learned about inflation. When I used to purchase paddle pop sticks when I was a kid, they were $0.60. I became a teenager and suddenly, they were $3. I was like, “What is this? How did they get so expensive?” Now, I know why.
That happened with Snickers bar. That’s how I noticed inflation. I was like, “It’s three times as much for a Snicker bar and they’re half the size.”
Give you a kids candy if you want to teach them Economics.
When you get your first couple of dollars, what are you going to spend that on other than candy?
I forget which actor it was. They went on one of the late-night shows and proved that Cadbury Creme Eggs are getting smaller. Cadbury was claiming like, “They’re not getting smaller. You’re just getting bigger.” He happened to be a big fan of them. He would keep them in his freezer. He brought out two Cadbury Creme Eggs and showed them one from last year that was smaller.
Simon, what was the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
Origami to my mom’s friends when I was a little kid.
Yes, they’re little ducks that you could put your hand in and go, “Do you want to buy this? Buy me, please.”
It’s more creative than lemonade.
It’s a serious skill.
What kind of value were you getting on that? What were the gas fees?
A lot of trees are cut down. Maybe it’s not the most sustainable business.Optimism is not about seeing that the world is perfect but the realization that there's always a solution to every problem. Click To Tweet
What’s the most recent thing you purchased?
I purchased a MetaCitizen token from my own website. We launched this new product called MetaCitizen. That’s the most recent thing I’ve purchased, to be honest.
Can you tell us what does that token do?
We’re going to have four different games and the MetaCitizen will be the cross-game character that you build. As you play the different games, the NFT will attribute to those games. It will be embedded into the NFT. As you achieve ranks across all four different games, the NFT will level up. The image will change. It will become more powerful. As you become a more powerful character across the four games, you will enjoy the benefits of being a more powerful character across the four games as well. It’s a cross-game NFT that affects change across the four games as you level it up.
We talked about 3 of the 4 games if I remember right. Did we talk about the fourth one?
We discussed that but it was a secret.
That’s what it was.
If you played enough for the NFT, you could find out what that secret is.
This is not financial advice, but the founder of the company that has been mentioned is buying the tokens for that company. Take that however you want.
I had to do it first to make sure that the user experience worked and people are going to get the NFTs instantly. Every NFT has a generation number. This is number one. This is number two. This is number three. I have claimed number one. Sorry, guys.
What’s the most recent thing you sold?
I sold that to myself. Before that, it’s a TV on eBay or something like that. Other NFTs, I sold one of Enjin’s multiverse characters called Mike, which is playable in seven different games. Mike is this strangely adorable rock man. He’s an NFT. There are about seven different games that can read your wallet, know that you own Mike, and then will let you use that character in their games. That’s functional right now. I would say that was the previous thing I sold.
We’ve talked about Pet Rocks as NFTs.
That’s strangely adorable. I don’t know why. It’s confusing like, “Why do I like you so much? I’ll go with it.”
The potential there for cross-platform NFT characters is huge, especially when you look at Disney and their whole IP cash of properties. If you could have any character that you could move around in these different places and do fun things with, there’s a huge market for them.
It also gives a lot more power to the creator. For example, if Disney mints the NFT, they own the NFT supply. They can sell that directly to their users. They can monetize that on a whole different level. Those NFTs are then also playable in all of these different games. It’s a new paradigm of a creator economy. For example, you want to collaborate with Fortnite. They’re going to create the in-game item. They’re going to sell the in-game item in their marketplace. There’s no other way to do it unless they created a whole separate marketplace just to enable you to do that.
Blockchain does what it does. It’s how it’s built. You mint the NFT. You have the supply. You deal directly with your customers and then plug it into an unlimited amount of games and apps. The NFT doesn’t only need to provide the user with gaming items. You could use the NFT in seven games as a gaming item, but then you could plug it into an NFT version of YouTube and then allow you to watch a special video or something like that. That’s the big reason why I think the NFT is a matter of time. As soon as people start to realize this potential, it’s going to be unstoppable.
If you could buy anything in the world, whether it be a digital or physical service, whatever it is, what would it be?
Enjin or something more within reach. Probably Lost Relics. It’s one game within the Enjin ecosystem that is experiencing exponential growth because of how great the user experience is, how good the game loop is, and the NFTs at this level of economy on top of it that adds to it and doesn’t detract from it. That’s the thing about NFTs. Most people see them as these super expensive things that hurt the environment and are complicated to use. You take all of that away. You turn them into something good for the environment that are easy to use, free to transfer and potentially earn. Why wouldn’t you prefer something that is probably unique that you can trade for real money that you can own forever in your wallet, and no one can ever take it away from you compared to a digital item that’s the opposite? Lost Relics would be the thing because they’ve nailed that experience.
If you could pass on one personality trait of yours to the next generation, what would that be?
Probably my optimism. Optimism in a way that’s not seeing everything is perfect in the world and like, “Everything is great.” It’s more optimism like, “If there’s a problem, we can solve it. Let’s focus on solving it and then not dwell too much on what should have been and what could have been. Let’s focus on what could be.”
If you could eliminate one personality trait to take away from the future generations, what would that be?
I would say the opposite to optimism, which is fear. That’s an animal instinct that was embedded in us to survive the centuries that have gone past when we had to run away from lions and forage for food. In this world, there’s enough food to feed every single person on the planet and there are no lions chasing us. Fear is what causes a lot of insecurity and that then leads to things like greed. That then leads to a lot of people having a lot and a few people having nothing. Generally, you can think of any world problem or personal problem and then link it back to fear in a lot of situations. Sometimes, it might help you not make a mistake. Sometimes, it’s good to make mistakes as long as you’re willing to learn from them and you have enough optimism to know that you can find the problem in your mistake and solve it next time.
What is your most prized possession?
My dogs, if that counts.
It doesn’t count. Sorry.
Do I own them or do they own me?
They own you.
What kind of dogs do you have?
They’re big and annoying. One is a Bull Arab. I don’t know if you guys have that in America. It’s a cross between a Great Dane and a Staffy. It’s a happy, goofy and floppy dog that jumps around in circles and annoys me. The way that he smiles at you and looks deeply into your eyes, it’s unbelievable. He’s one. The other one is called Dippy. The big one is called Donkey. The small one is called Dippy. Dippy is like a cross between a Staffy and a Bulldog. He always got a cute, worried look on his face, except when he’s playing and wrestling. He’s either worried or wrestling. He’s adorable.
Simon, what did you do just before this show?
I was planning the process of bringing an amazing project on board that you may have mentioned earlier in this show. It involves creating these incredibly virtual worlds that you can then delve into and explore these iconic locations and be lost in the aura of it. If you’re taking this ultimate realistic experience and adding something as tangible and with realistic value as NFTs into it, you have a recipe for phenomenal user experiences. This is one of the most exciting things that I’ve ever been able to see in my life. I’m so grateful too that Ira has been the master connector that he is and brought us together.
Thanks so much. I’m excited to be a part of it. I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of creativity you guys are going to put towards that reality. It’s going to be amazing. Can we share that in the next episode with you, guys?
What are you going to do after this show?
I’ll keep doing that. I’ll be messaging the Enjin team, showing them everything that I’ve learned so far about the project, and getting them invited into the Slack ecosystem channel so we can all work together and collaborate on a day-to-day basis or whenever necessary and whatever they need.Fear is what causes a lot of insecurity that leads to greed. Click To Tweet
Zoned in and focused on what’s important. We’re just a distraction in between of what’s going for Simon.
It’s the best distraction I could have ever wanted.
It’s good to get to know you a little better, Simon. Ira, thanks so much for running the show. That’s an awesome Edge Quick Hitters.
Thank you, guys.
Next on the agenda is Hot Topics. Before we go to Hot Topics, Ira, have any of those questions jump out at you that you want to sneak in and answer too?
I wanted to answer all these questions myself, but the fact is this is Simon’s show. I don’t want to take away his thunder. The first thing I remember buying, I’m sure you guys in America. Simon is an Aussie. He doesn’t know about Wacky Packs, but do you guys remember Wacky Packs, Wacky Packages?
It sounds familiar.
Is this not known to you, guys?
No. What is it?
I know Josh did the Garbage Pail Kids. I did that too.
It’s sort of like that. It’s spoofed products. They had things like instead of Crest Toothpaste, you had a logo for Crest but it said, Crust. Instead of the Ajax product, it was Ajerx. Once I got a couple of bucks, that was the first thing I bought. If I had to guess, it’s NFT already in process type of product.
The next time you’re on, we’ll have to dive deep and get in all these questions. It would be exciting. We also want to get your opinion on these hot topics as well that we’re going to throw out here. I’m sure you got some interesting things to say. The first thing on our list, Fox is to launch NFTs and blockchain-curated animated series.
Ira, you’re a Hollywood guy. What’s going on here? What’s this all about?
When you think about who is poised most to both bring together the fans that would be excited to collect something like an NFT and are properly subversive enough to know that it doesn’t matter whether or not the thing you’re collecting is rational or is it of obvious value, it’s stupid. A guy like Dan Harmon who created Rick and Morty. This guy is one of the smartest guys in the animated and maybe even in the entertainment period. I have to sneak watching Rick and Morty when my wife goes out with her friends so I can get my kids to watch it. They’re probably too young to be watching it, but they enjoy all the F-bombs. Dan Harmon is creating a show called Krapopolis that Fox is investing in. They’re going to be generating a whole slew of different NFTs within that series. I think this is one of the most exciting things to come out of content with NFTs integrated into it.
I could see that. That’s an innovative use case. We haven’t seen something like that evolve yet. I dig it. Do you know the timeline for that?
No. I don’t recall when they’re going to go to market with it. One of the things that I was going to bring up is the use case of NFTs in porn, which I’ve had some visibility too. This is probably more suited for another episode.
We can all talk about our visibility to porn at some point if we want.
In terms of Krapopolis, Ira, do you think this is going to be something we can see on Fox News on a regular basis?
Fox News has already abandoned the whole Republican Party. You’re going to find that there’s going to be a lot more content on Fox that is more not family-friendly. You will be seeing probably mentions on Fox News about Krapopolis.
I liked the statement that you made about understanding that things don’t have to be rational to be human. It reminds me of that famously titled book, Predictably Irrational. It reminds me of all of these things that I’ve learned about how culture works or how we don’t fully understand it all the way from humans to animals. Animals make art. What are you going to say? Why did they do that? I don’t know. Certain birds make mating nests with beautiful colors that are arranged with things. If you look at it, you would think a human made it. Why the hell did they do it? I don’t know. It’s beautiful and fun. Trying to peg some rationality on everything is not going to work. You’re not going to figure it out that way.
It flies in the face of that RSA statement that came out. Who are they to identify what the value is of NFT? What did they say? What was their statement about it being unworthwhile or a waste of time? I forgot what they said, but that’s one of the news items I saw come out. Cryptographers are not going to see the value of collectability of an NFT.
You see guys like Charlie Munger, what he says about cryptocurrencies, “It’s the unspeakable chasing after the uneatable,” or something like that. There’s a room for this, but it’s the room that has happened all throughout history. There are just going to be different personality types. There’s always going to be collectors in the human genome. They’re going to have their own quirks about what they like and what they don’t. Going back to what we said, it’s not always going to fit right in with the very rational hard-edged view of value.
The first thing I think anytime I see one of these exact NFT plans, which is about creating this content and attaching an NFT to it, and then selling the NFT because it owns the content, I think about, “That’s cool,” and there’s value in that, but what are you going to allow people to do with the NFT? What benefit is it going to activate for people? If this NFT represents this character, why not make that character playable in games? Why not allow people to watch a special friendly introduction from that character because they own this NFT? That’s why this argument occurs as to, “Why are NFTs valuable? Why is there a point? This is irrational.” That’s a very valid argument, but it’s not because NFTs are NFTs. It’s because people aren’t using NFTs to create legitimate products and benefits to owning the NFTs and that’s when it becomes irrational. Fox should reach out to Enjin as soon as possible before they do this.
To me, I look at it as the gateway. Collectibles are easy. A lot of people are familiar with it. They get it. It’s the gateway to all this additional possibility that you’ve been talking about.
I love it for it. I’m so glad that it has happened. These arguments are occurring and we have the perfect answer for them. You’re going to say it. Everyone will know soon. You may as well build that into your NFT products now instead of learning about it later.
Also on our list in the media here at ESPN blog article, “New NFTs to feature Pro Football Hall of Famers that are also Heisman winners. The next athletes to enter the NFT space are Pro Football Hall of Famers who also won the Heisman Trophy. Dubbed the ‘H2H Legends of Football Collection,’ it is a collaboration between Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment, which has brand partnerships with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL Alumni Association,” and a couple of others. This is interesting. Now, we’ve seen more applications of sports collectibles in NFTs. Now, we’re reaching back into history, which I think was relatively predictable.
The first thing I think when I see that is like, “Are you going to make those NFTs playable in Madden? Are you going to be able to run through Madden NFL wearing the same thing with the same skin being that Hall of Famer and performing the special moves that only he could do or he performed in that event? Are you going to be able to access an experience that you wouldn’t otherwise own if you didn’t own that NFT?” Unfortunately, the answer is not yet but that’s where it will go.
You’re tapping into something that’s at the essence of collectability, which has not been the centerpiece of this version of NFT collectibles. Most of them are focused on new content creation of new things, even the music NFTs, new releases of music and so on. The reality is collectibles are about nostalgia fundamentally. When you look back over time, this is what it’s always been about. Collecting the Honus Wagner baseball card, Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan or these things. Finding the intersection of nostalgia with real functionality feels like an interesting path. We haven’t seen a lot of that so far, but the future is bright.
Speaking to that, there is an organization that Akoin is working with and it’s not quite an inked deal yet. They have the largest library of collectibles on the planet in the sports arena. One of the things that we’re talking about beyond it being just a collectible, which is interesting in and of itself, but it didn’t necessarily yield as much benefit as what Gronkowski was expecting is, “What else can you do with that collectible? When you buy that collectible, can you go inside and then see some of the life stories of that athlete? Can you get into what a moment was like for that athlete in different times of their career? Can you get into what else they did?” One of the things that we’re also finding is a lot of these athletes, athleticism was just one aspect of what they did. Also, a lot of them are artists in their own right. There are also people who have been educators. They’ve got lots of other stories to share that are not part of that baseball card. That’s what we’re starting to unpack.
It’s collectibles within collectibles and nostalgia about the life that they lived. The first thing that comes to mind when I read this article is this was intentional discrimination against Tom Brady who did not win the Heisman Trophy but is the GOAT. I think there’s something going on here. He has his own NFT company. They’re like, “Let’s come up with a cool concept that excludes Tom Brady.” I’m disappointed on every level.
I thought we are finally going to escape an episode without Josh touting Tom Brady somehow, but we did not.
Simon, you revealed my favorite mobile game. It’s what I do when I need to chill out. It’s play Madden. It’s an incredible game. I can see what you’re saying about additional experiential value around certain players and unlocks in gaming and bridging those two worlds together. It makes a lot of sense to me.
The next article on the list here on CNBC Tech, “People in the Philippines are earning cryptocurrency during the pandemic by playing a video game. Axie Infinity allows players to earn income through non-fungible tokens and cryptos. Players breed battles and trade digital pets called Axies. A new mini-documentary called Play-to-Earn follows several Filipino people who play the game. This is interesting, especially we’ve got Simon here who is in gaming. It’s interesting to hear your perspective on this and to see how this is touching developing areas where the economy has contracted or they’re having problems. I know we talked about Akoin earlier. The complaint here is Cryptos are volatile. Should these people be spending their time engaged in this game as opposed to other things? What are your thoughts on this, Simon?
I read that one of them bought a house in the Philippines from playing the game. It’s amazing. This has been around for a while. Have you guys ever heard of RuneScape, that classic MMO? It has been around for many years. That’s huge in Venezuela. There are some gold farmers that just grind for gold. Someone has to pay them on PayPal. They have to meet them in-game, drop the gold on the floor, and then someone picks up the gold. It’s this long-winded way to make the transfer. Some of these guys are earning more than lawyers over in Venezuela where their economy is in dire straits.
Gaming provides a tangible solution for the problems that the economy is facing now and will be facing even more in the future. This ability for people to collaborate, provide each other services, and get to know each other through the gaming space, all of that is going to be made more tangible by real value connecting them. If we think about our communities, they are so connected by our economy. It’s ridiculous. The economy connects us as humans because it’s how we work together and collaborate. We have all of these systems in place that allows us to function as a collaborative society.
Putting that into games allows people to do the same thing, except you can do it with people all around the world. That’s so valuable for not only people in developing countries who are in need of money but also people in Western countries who are time-poor, but they have too much money or at least have enough money to warrant saving time and doing certain things in the game where they can collaborate with someone else and get them to do those things in the game that they don’t want to do.The economy connects humans together because it's the main driving force in collaboration. Click To Tweet
This is all going to manifest in super interesting ways. We’re going to see a new form of economy come out of it, a more creative-driven economy, a more passion-driven driven economy and a more collaborative economy. As automation sets in and takes a lot of manufacturing jobs, potentially a lot of services roles, this kind of creator economy is going to be something that we will need to have there to fall back on in the years to come. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m glad to see that happening. We’re going to see it happening a lot more.
How profound is the idea that everyone who has access to a computer or a phone can open it up, play a game and earn a living? When you think of it, it’s a great equalizer and it potentially can solve a lot of problems around global poverty through gaming. No one would have ever predicted that years ago. We’ve seen this theme on our show consistently. We had the CEO of Digitalax, Emma-Jane on our show. She’s allowing independent gamers to sell clothing in the metaverse to their fans who are watching the game. I think you’re talking about a possibility that is truly unlimited.
That’s specifically our goal at MyMetaverse. We’re trying to create something that allows people to create value for each other. If we look at the past years, user-generated content has ruled the app and the game space. Facebook is all user-generated content. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Minecraft, a lot of the biggest platforms in the world. It’s all user-generated content except that the user doesn’t get paid to generate it. They get likes and hits of dopamine. The next paradigm is a user-generated value where people are creating value for each other. That can mean infinite things. It can mean content but it can also mean services within the digital space or collaboration and friendship. That’s the next paradigm of gaming and social media. It takes people to work out how to do it because people need and want it. We just need to do it right and provide a great user experience. That will be the new paradigm in my view.
It’s an amazing potential to create social good.
I’m also fascinated with this role that we’re continuing to see of play and fun in a lot of these projects within crypto, blockchain and gaming space. It’s interesting to see how the economy of the future is integrating with things that are both fun and productive. For me, that’s very interesting in terms of what’s to come for the way that we handle education in the future, and also professions and how we serve each other. If we could make learning, training, helping each other, providing a service, being creative and profitable fun, why not? Get rid of the fear side of things. Make everything a game because, at this point, no lions are chasing us. It’s all for fun and extra tokens. The next story here is something from a site that I had never been to before, JDSupra.com. It’s some legal news here, “Proliferation of NFT Transactions Raises Numerous US Tax Questions.” Do you ever have to look at that, Simon, and think about the tax implications of what’s going on? Is that aside from your pay grade?
At MyMetaverse, it’s very central to what I’m trying to work out how to navigate because NFTs are completely unregulated. Whenever they put these laws in place, the laws are retroactive in a lot of situations like, “This is the tax law and that applies for the last year that you’ve been doing business.” You have to predict what they’re going to do before they do it and then try to fit within what you think they’ll do. That’s all good. That’s part of dancing on the bleeding edge of innovation. It’s a big question, very multifaceted and something that I’m always thinking about. That is the biggest fear that I hold as I’m building this. That’s the thing that I’m worried about. It’s good to be scared of it because that allows me to try to navigate and make the right decisions, but I’m also very optimistic that we can do that.
You read it here, guys. If you have tax questions, go to Simon to solve all your problems.
Please don’t. I hate tax.
MyMetaverse is just a tax advice site at this point. That’s what you’re building.
There’s a Metaverse game around being taxed that someone is going to go at some point.
This article raises a lot of interesting pieces, the state and local tax considerations, how these things get reported, and how you deal with the fees involved. It says the IRS is for the time being treating these types of things, both NFTs and cryptocurrency, as property. I’m not an expert on this. Is it property or assets? Can we depreciate these things as well? I think you brought this up, Josh, in a previous episode.
If the NFT or cryptocurrency goes down in value, you claim it as a loss. The problem becomes when every time you get an NFT or cryptocurrency that is a taxable event, you need to record the value in your dollars of that property. When you dispose of it, when you sell or give it to someone else, you have to record that value as well. If you’re doing that 100 or 1,000 times a day, it’s not sustainable. No business can run like that. Whereas with dollars, you get paid, get money and spend money. At the end of it, you calculate it all up and you have what you have.
The way they’re regulating NFTs and cryptocurrencies, specifically cryptocurrencies. They’re not regulating NFTs like that yet but they probably will. The way they’re regulating it is a nightmare for businesses that want to do the right thing from a tax perspective. If they could find a way to allow you to earn, convert it all into your local currency and then pay tax on that, that would be a lot simpler than having to calculate the amount that you gained or lost when you received a dollar worth of Ethereum and then spent it on gas 1,000 times a day. It’s impossible.
If anybody did gain any special insights from Simon’s input here, I’m sorry, but the tax deadline was over. You’ll have to apply that to next year unless you got an extension. We appreciate it. This is great stuff. There so many good insights here. I think the readers are going to appreciate your perspective as well as your desire. Cool stuff is coming. I cannot wait for the future of NFTs. I want to fast forward and see how things are going to evolve.
I’ll take the opportunity to celebrate with everyone that I finished my taxes on time. I can’t believe it happened. I did have to check the box about cryptocurrencies. We’ll see what happens next.
Simon, if people want to learn more about you and the projects you’re working on, where can they go to find it?
You can go to the website, Enjin.io. There’s a good documentation system there. If you’re a developer, you can jump in and start learning how to integrate the API and adopt NFTs within your game or app. There’s a great minting panel there if you’re a creator or a developer and you want to jump in and start minting up some NFTs. You can do it within 10 or 15 minutes. If you’re a gamer and you want to play some games and earn some NFTs, you can come to MyMetaverse.io and experience the next generation of gaming there as well.
What about you, Ira?
I’m more of an email guy. If you want to reach out to me, feel free. I’m at Ira@ManifestTalent. I would be happy to hear any creative ideas you may have around content that could make for a good fit with the NFTs. I’m that kind of guy who likes to hear from some of the craziest corners of the Earth so bring it.
We’ve reached the outer limit at the Edge of NFT. 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.
- Simon Kertonegoro – LinkedIn
- Ira Liss – LinkedIn
- Predictably Irrational
- RSA statement
- ESPN blog article
- CNBC Tech – Article
- Emma-Jane – previous episode
- JDSupra.com – Legal news
About Simon Kertonegoro
As VP of Developer Success at Enjin, Simon plays an integral role in providing development and marketing consultancy for the projects who use Enjin’s tools. A connector within the business, Simon works with the support team to produce documentation, the marketing team to produce thought leadership content, the business development team to assist in the onboarding of new projects, and the development team to understand the needs of the developer ecosystem.
About Ira Liss
Accomplished partnerships and business development professional with cross-sector network breadth and long-term relationship depth. Super connector with big wins putting venture founders, creative resources and funding sources together. Fiercely loyal to many great people. Primary industries and clients served include, entertainment, cryptocurrencies, fintech, capital markets and social impact. Currently developing NFT campaigns for star filmmakers, leading eSports talent and government-sanctioned metaverse dominions.
Cut my professional teeth in the financial world, exceeding sales quotas as Vice President of Institutional Markets at The Reserve Funds, closing more than $1 Billion in new assets under management. Previously served as Compliance Officer for First Institutional Securities, managing sales practices of 65 Series-7 licensed professionals.