Categories
Music

The D.O.C. Discusses “NFTs With Attitude” Project and Rap’s Generational Gap

Among the many quotes and beliefs that have existed in hip-hop, only fewer lived longer than “it’s a young man’s game.” And while it may be accurate due to the youth being the culture’s most active participants, a veteran and legend such as The D.O.C. often serve as a reminder of how the past can impact the present and future.

Alongside prolific videographer Matthew McDaniel, the proud West Coast duo has partnered with Hip Hop Archive and NFT Genius to release NFTs With Attitude. Consisting of 200+ hours of never been seen footage of legendary hip-hop group N.W.A. and South Los Angeles, the NFT collection offers fans a chance to get a greater glimpse at the times and environment that influenced their music and lives.

“Way before the music became popular, McDaniel had the vision to document what was happening around us,” D.O.C. said. “So he’s finally letting some of that footage go and the people who loved those guys [N.W.A] will see cool stuff.” Even in 2022, hip-hop is still adjusting to letting its legends and environments be seen more intimately. But given the success of various documentaries, podcasts, and biopics, NFTs offer another step in encouraging the culture to advance.

“It’s beautiful,” The D.O.C. said as he briefly overlooked the gloomy view of the Hudson River. “People don’t always see the behind-the-scenes stuff which ultimately brings us together.” A perspective like this is not only at hand when it comes to integrating NFTs in hip-hop but in another prominent area: Age.

While hip-hop sees its most active participants on the younger side of things, primarily because of the influence and power of the dollar, it doesn’t mean a generational gap should exist. NFT projects such as this D.O.C. and McDaniel-led endeavor provide all millennial and Generation Z rap fans the opportunity to initially learn or gain greater context about those before them and why their impact still exists.

“Our connection between this generation and my generation isn’t what it should be,” D.O.C. said. “But with all of these opportunities, numbers, etc., we should be to come together and win since there’s enough for everybody.”

Categories
Sports

Terance Mann Explains His Interest In NFTs And Why The NBA Will Embrace It

Even in an environment where nearly everybody was a celebrity, those in attendance at the Krause House 3V3 basketball tournament couldn’t help but be excited when Terance Mann arrived. Not only is the fourth-year player/critical contributor of the Los Angeles Clippers talented on the court, but he’s exhibiting the same dedication to the NFT space— a slowly but surely trend amongst his NBA peers.

“It’s been a great week seeing everyone with their NFTs, networking, and learning more about the space,” Mann told me. Throughout this week, the Brooklyn, NY native was busy— ranging between speaking about sports leagues and their intellectual property on a panel during Tuesday’s session at NFT.NYC and further building with Chibi Dinos, the very popular basketball NFT project he joined in April.

And while other NBA players and athletes are getting into NFTs (Spencer Dinwiddle is a co-founder of Calaxy, and Ben Simmons is a Perion ambassador), it’s still uncharted territory for those who are either novices or don’t understand it. But upon speaking with Mann and others this week, I learned that one of the following steps with NFTs is making it more accessible and easier to understand– a sentiment the LA Clippers guard believes too.

“For so long, not many people understood how accessible it is,” Mann said. “But when you’re in a setting like this [NFT.NYC], especially for a week, it helps out a lot.” As sports fans learn more about NFTs and their impact on the games they love– between how tickets get bought and the rewards they’ll earn– Mann lastly expressed how it won’t be a surprise when it significantly changes leagues of the NBA’s caliber.

“When you look at the trends of what’s happening digitally, it’s only going up. So you shouldn’t be surprised when the NBA, MLB, and others will further embrace it.”

Categories
NFT

Huda Kattan Wants to Empower Women Through NFTs

Huda Kattan loves taking her passions to the next level. She took her love of makeup and turned it into Huda Beauty, a billion dollar makeup empire. To this day, her makeup and beauty products are stocked in more than 1500 stores worldwide. 

Now, she has another passion— web3 and NFTs

Kattan first entered the web3 space toward the end of 2021 when her husband sent her an NFT as a gift.

The NFT was World of Women, a collection currently revolutionizing the male-dominated NFT space through its art, diversity, and community.

Both her and her husband loved that the collection aligned with Kattan’s values.

“The World of Women community celebrates representation, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all, something I’m also super passionate about,” she said in a recent blog post. “So choosing to support artists from the World of Women community felt super authentic and natural to me.”

Afterwards, she started to become more intrigued and did more research on NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and the metaverse.

“NFTs have given us the ability to distribute wealth in a way we’ve never seen,” Kattan said. “You can mint a project for hundreds of dollars and then later sell the asset for hundreds of thousands of dollars.” 

Some of her favorite NFT projects include Dead Fellaz, Doodles, and Bored Ape Yacht Club

While she already had a growing interest, Kattan said it was a conversation with a woman she met in the investment space that ultimately led her to fall down the rabbit hole completely.

“She was telling me about how there’s not enough women,” Kattan said “And that kind of pissed me off.”

That was when Kattan decided that she wanted to make waves in the NFT space and prove that women deserved a seat at the table. 

Getty Images

What Huda Kattan Looks for in an NFT Project

Kattan is excited about innovation, but she’s also realistic.

“That redistribution of wealth [through NFTs] is fascinating and I think it is wonderful and needed,” Kattan said. “But, the reality is not every project is going to that.”

She says not every project is going to succeed, and that’s okay. But, it’s important to do ample research to see if a project has potential.

The first question the beauty maven says she looks for when looking at an NFT project is: What is the utility?

Huda Kattan

I’m not into just the profile picture. There are projects that resonate with me, but these are also assets. We can’t forget that.

When she mentions utility and non-fungible tokens as assets, she’s referring to the value that an NFT project returns to its owner for buying and holding longterm. 

Depending on the project, holders can be rewarded with exclusive access to merchandise or in-person events, membership in private communities, opportunities to be airdropped other NFTs, and much more.

“When an NFT has utility,” Kattan said. “It’s not just a pretty picture, it becomes so much more than art.”

The Future of NFTs and How Its Culture Will Evolve

Kattan says realistically, it’ll take time for mass adoption to happen. 

“The market is scary right now,” she says, referring to the current bear market. “We hear all these stories of people making money, but there’s another part that people think it’s a sham. It’s still very intimidating.” 

She thinks that many women still don’t feel confident in the crypto space and wants to empower women to get there.

I think it’s going to be a slow change,” Kattan said, citing the lack of female representation at VeeCon. “But women coming to events like [Veecon] is very important.”

On Beauty Brands Entering the NFT Space

With many beauty and makeup brands making announcements to enter the metaverse or create their own NFTs, Kattan thinks it’s important for brands to actually have genuine knowledge of and interest in web3 before jumping into the space.

“In my very humble and honest opinion, I don’t think they know what they’re doing in the space right now,” Kattan said. “They want to be relevant, to be seen, to be a part of the next generation of where the world is going.” 

However, she says that’s not enough of a reason to be in it.

“The space is so new and changing, in a year it’s going to be different,” she said. “So if you’re in it just to be in it, it’s really a big mistake.” 

When asked if she has an NFT project for Huda Beauty in the works, Kattan says she is taking her time to bring something of value.

“I want to launch a project for Huda Beauty, but I have a vision for what I want to give to my community,” she said. “It’s going to be all about THEM, not the company.”

She said many companies are not approaching NFTs the right way, but she will when the time comes. 

“I think when we end up doing NFTs,” Kattan said. “We’re not going to be doing what everyone else is doing.”

Watch the full interview with ONE37pm and Huda Kattan at Veecon here:

Categories
Art NFT

The 15 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold

These are the top 15 most expensive NFT sales as of May 2022. As the NFT market continually and inevitably changes through time, record sales will change rapidly. These stats were reported based on the ETH price at the time of the sale. Many of the top sales were through NFT marketplaces such as Opensea, SuperRare, Nifty Gateway or through private auction.

15. Ocean Front ($6 Million)
Nifty Gateway

“Ocean Front” by Beeple was sold for $6 million in March 2021. The piece of art aims to speak to the current earth’s climate change issue. All proceeds were donated to the Open Earth Foundation, a non-profit organization that is raising funds to develop innovative open digital infrastructure for improved management of planet Earth.

14. All Time High ($6.2 Million)
XCOPY

This animated image, by artist XCOPY, sold for about $6.2 million (1,630 ETH) in January 2022. Its previous sale was sold at $2.9 million. It is currently listed for 33666 ETH.

13. CryptoPunk #8857 ($6.63 Million)
Crypto Punks

CryptoPunk #8857, a zombie punk with 3D red-and-blue glasses sold for 2,000 ETH ($6.63 million) in September 2021. Its last sale was $1,717 in May 2018.

12. Beeple’s ‘CROSSROAD’ ($6.6 Million)
Nifty Gateway

The 1/1 from Beeple’s ‘CROSSROAD’ drop on Nifty Gateway was resold on the secondary market for $6.6 million. The NFT shows former President Donald Trump lying in a heap after losing the 2020 presidential election. 

11. Right Click Save As ($7.02 Million)
SuperRare

‘Right Click Save As Guy’ was sold for 1600.0 ETH ($7,022,000.00) to Twitter User Cozomo De Medici, who many speculate is rapper Snoop Dogg. It was made as satire to people who are skeptical of NFTs, saying, “Why would I buy it when I can right click and save as?”

10. Ringers #109 ($7.12 Million)
Dmitri Cherniak

Ringers #109 was purchased for 2,100 ETH or $7.12 million in early October 2021. It is currently the largest Art Blocks sale to date.

9. CryptoPunk #7804 ($7.56 Million)
CryptoPunks

This pipe-smoking CryptoPunk sold in March 10th, 2021 for 4,200 ETH, the same as Punk 3100, but the ETH was valued at approximately $7,566,173.88 USD at the time of sale.

8. CryptoPunk #3100 ($7.58 Million)
CryptoPunks

CryptoPunk #3100 was purchased on March 11th, 2021 for 4,200 ETH, approximately $7,584,485.82 USD. This broke the record set by Punk 7804 the previous day.

7. CryptoPunk #4156 ($10.2 million)
CryptoPunks

CryptoPunk #4156 sold on December 2021 for 2,500 ETH ($10.2 million). It was previously sold for 650 ETH on February 2021.

6. CryptoPunk #7523 ($11.8 million)
CryptoPunks

CryptoPunk #7523, the only punk in the collection with a mask, sold for at Sotheby’s sold for $11.8 million in June 2021. It is one of nine rare Alien Punks.

5. CryptoPunk #5822 ($23.7 million)
CryptoPunks

The sale of CryptoPunk #5822 serves as the biggest CryptoPunk NFT purchase in history. The NFT was purchased by Deepak Thapliyal, the CEO of Chain for 8,000 ETH (approximately $23.7 million USD).

4. Beeple’s ‘Human One’ ($28.9 million)
Christie’s

‘Human One’ is Beeple’s first-ever physical sculpture that evolves over time. The seven-foot-tall box-like sculpture features four large LED screens depicting a helmeted astronaut jaunting rhythmically through dystopian environments.

The sculpture was auctioned off as part of Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale in November 9, 2021 for $28.9 million USD. Beeple maintains remote control of ‘Human One.’

3. ‘Clock’ by Pak and Julian Assange ($52.7 million)
Pak

Clock’ is a piece created by Pak and Julian Assange. It is an NFT clock counting the days of WikiLeaks founder Assange’s controversial imprisonment.

The goal of the NFT was to raise funds for the Wau Holland Foundation, Julian Assange’s legal defense. It was purchased by AssangeDAO, a group of over 10,000 Assange supporters, for 16593 ETH ($52.7 million).

2. Beeple’s ‘The First 5,000 Days’ ($69.3 Million)

Beeple’s ‘The First 5,000 Days’ sold for a record $69,346,250 on March 11th 2021. It was the first piece of purely NFT artwork to be offered by a major auction house.

1. Pak’s ‘The Merge’ ($91.8 Million)
Pak

Digital artist Pak’s Merge drop on Nifty Gateway set the world record for most expensive NFT ever sold in December 2021 when 28,983 collectors pooled $91,806,519 to purchase 312,686 units of mass.

The Merge collection allowed collectors to buy as much units of mass as they wanted during a two-day period. At the end of the sale, owners of mass obtained an NFT that merged all the mass accumulated by each collector.

Categories
NFT

What is Decent.xyz?

Music is one of the many industries that has benefited greatly from Web3. While the music business has traditionally favored digital platforms and labels over artists, these system-wide changes have come at a perfect time. From Distrokid to TikTok, access to distribution and promotion has never been so democratized for artists. Web3 has taken it a step further.

What are masters?

In the music-making process, artists record original takes over a beat, which is usually mixed by a mixing engineer at a studio. Then the “mix” is sent to a mastering engineer, who turns the mixed studio recording into the “master recording.” Thus, “Masters” are the master recording of a song, which is the best sonic rendition of the music. “Composition,” or publishing, represents performance and mechanical royalties, specifically based on the melody, beat, and lyrics of the song.

The typical artist/label relationship has been defined by a contract, in which the label offers an advance to be recouped (paid back in full). In return, the label is given 80-85% of their masters, and artists need to pay back the advance using just their side of the rights (producers and songwriters have musical rights too).

Prince

If you don’t own your masters, your master owns you.

As Web3 has been introduced, skeptics have served as a buffer between those who are actively utilizing its features and those who are unaware of them. However, for those making the most of Web3, music’s outdated model is a thing of the past.

What is Decent.xyz?

As artists have traditionally given away ~80% of their masters to “make it” in the industry, it’s become clear that this route isn’t beneficial in the long-term. All sorts of companies have emerged as middlemen in the breakdown of artists’ musical rights, and have left artists with the least prosperity of everyone.

Music’s “rent-based” economics have been relatively backwards thus far; even after paying back the advance they “rented,” labels continue to hold onto their percentage of the masters in perpetuity.

Decent.xyz is a platform that enables artists to list their music as NFTs, while adding additional value to collectors and fans by collateralizing the NFTs – staking them with Decent to accrue streaming royalties, among other things.

It’s only natural for the company, too. One of their co-founders is an artist himself, starting as an independent artist releasing music from his dorm, to eventually signing with a major label. He released the first song on the platform and even performed at Ultra Music Festival this year. His experience and understanding of the independent artist’s journey was crucial in what Decent knew was needed in this space.

Having an artist at the helm of a music platform is immensely beneficial. Empathy is essential for proper execution of creating meaningful solutions for real-world problems, and Decent has an abundance of it.

The company makes it easy for artists to financially flourish. Artists get to distribute their music on the platform, and include percentages of their streaming royalties in the sale of the NFTs. To support artists in their mission to sell on the platform, Decent has implemented the “Crescendo” dynamic pricing model, which is a stabilized solution to growing each individual asset among other innovative and new solutions like NFT staking, Engage to Earn NFTs, etc. This economics-savvy approach is something that’d typically be out of reach for artists.

Decent has become known for its flexible time-bounded royalty listings, giving artists maximum control of their careers, setting higher valuations for artists through their unique approach (compared to the label standard), and much more.

One of the most interesting things about Decent is the notion of up-and-coming artists making way more money than previously possible. Through the sale of streaming royalties via NFTs, artists are able to gather significantly more funding than in the previous music business model.

With their dynamic pricing and trading mechanisms, like Crescendo, Decent has found a feasible way of supporting the higher valuations that they are creating for artists, which clearly demonstrates the sustainability of their particular business model. It’s actually really impressive.

Here’s a timeline of Decent.xyz:

August 2021: The founding team forms.

September-October 2021: The team prioritizes back-end development on product structure.

November 2021: The Decent team is accepted into YCombinator.

December 2021: Decent.xyz has its initial launch with 20% of Forester’s royalties to the song Spark for the next 3 years.  Forester raised at an implied song value of ~$20K, 3-5x what any major label would value the song at.

January 2022: DCNT vault wrappers are published.

February 2022: Relaunched the platform with A-SHO and Allan Kingdom.

March 2022: Onboarded three more artists and published Crescendo, which debuted at the YCombinator demo day.

April 2022: Onboarded another five artists and developed NFT staking.

May 2022: Continuing development and revealing community engagement mechanisms to support minting/pricing innovations.

This Thursday, Decent is debuting a single from Jon Waltz, called “RIOT,” in which 25 NFTs will be sold for .1 ETH each. Jon will join a coveted list of artists who are enjoying the full benefit of integrating Web3 into their careers.

Decent.xyz has continued to demonstrate a heavy interest in innovating all things music, and is a primary contender in the Web3 music space. If you’re an artist, manager, or anything in between, definitely take a deeper look at the forward-thinking world of Decent.xyz.

Categories
Music

Rap Legend Jim Jones Diversifies His Portfolio from Music to Crypto

Jim Jones knows a thing or two about diversifying his portfolio. A Jack of many trades, the founding member of legendary rap crew, The Diplomats has BEEN juggling multiple hustles. For more than two decades he’s crafted noteworthy rap music, while also helping launch the Saucey cannabis brand, his ByrdGang and Vamp Life imprints and other business ventures.

He’s held executive roles at record labels and currently hosts REVOLT TV’s Drip Report — a show where Jimmy gives an update on the week’s weather, as well as trending hip-hop news. In support of the digital show’s latest season, the “We Set The Trendz” rapper brought his unique approach to weather forecasting to FOX5’s Good Day New York.

“They let me do my rendition of the weather, which is pretty big,” says Jones. “To be on Fox News, especially coming from New York and being somebody like myself coming from the hip-hop culture, yet being able to infiltrate the corporations off of a show I started on Instagram is pretty dope.”

Although Jim has made it rain on more than one occasion and has created tracks like “Weatherman,” he insists that his weatherman vibes were manifested by chance. The Drip Report came into fruition organically, according to Jim. “I was in Miami while a hurricane was going on and I was able to capture the moment,” he recalls. “That moment ended up going viral, which eventually turned into what we have today— a television show and people seeing me on Fox.”

When it comes to getting money, Jim Jones is really about that life. An expert at getting to the bag, he’s an avid supporter of digital money. He details his futuristic hustle on tracks like “Mack Truck,” his 2021 collaboration with Young Thug. He has even gone as far as creating his own crypto coin. Named after one of his monikers, Capo Coin, as Jim describes it is a “social currency to be spent inside of our inner city communities at a discounted price.” You can cop it on UniSwap.

He credits his homie Noel with introducing him to the worlds of crypto and NFTs, while stressing the importance of taking the time to do independent research. “It’s where money is going,” he says. “There probably won’t be no physical dollars in the years to come. So I encourage everybody to start now on doing their research and learning what benefits them the most when it comes to these forms of currencies.”

Jim Jones’ biggest hit to date is 2006’s “We Fly High.” The get money anthem which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 featured the classic adlib: ballin’! Nowadays, the Harlem hustler has a particular outlook on what it means to ball. “The most important part of ballin’ is taking care of your responsibilities and your family. And after that, whatever you choose to do with your life and your money is on you.”

With more than twenty years in the rap game, Jim shows no signs of slowing down. The recently released remix to his Migo-assisted “We Set The Trendz” single features an all-star cast of ballers, which includes Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled and Juelz Santana. The original version was featured on his well-received 2022 DJ Drama-hosted project, Gangsta Grillz: We Set The Trendz.

From drip to lingo to all around swag, Jim and his Dipset fam have had an undeniable impact on popular culture. When asked if there are any trends that he felt he deserved more credit for being the originator of, he had this to say, “Um, no, I never looked for credit. I look for debit. I’m about cash. Credit never got me paid.” As always, Jim Jones has his mind the money.

Categories
Gaming NFT

Dr Disrespect and His AAA Games Studio are Embracing NFTs

Even though he no longer streams on Twitch, the first-person shooter overlord known as Dr Disrespect (real name Guy Beahm) is still a major figure in the game streaming space thanks to his highly entertaining exploits on YouTube. But he’s not just relegating himself to content creation these days – he’s also delving into the competitive game development space thanks to the creation of his own AAA development studio, Midnight Society.

The gaming world recently found out Midnight Society’s first project has some bold plans attached to it. A recent blog post from Robert Bowling (who previously served as the community manager for Call of Duty development studio, Infinity Ward) went into great detail about the Midnight Society’s ambitious plan to give its “Day Zero community” the chance to become Early Access recipients. And one of the benefits tied to that opportunity is the implementation of NFTs.

Midnight Society

“The first series of Access Passes, known as Founders Access, is limited to a select group of 10,000 community members. Anyone who holds an Access Pass becomes known as a Variant,” Bowling’s blog post stated. He also noted that “if you’ve been awarded an Access Pass or are able to purchase one, you unlock permanent utility within Midnight Society for as long as you hold an Access Pass.”

The Founders Access Pass comes with a wide range of benefits, which include:

  • early access to Midnight Society’s still-in-development PVP multiplayer first-person shooter
  • voting rights when it comes to deciding on newly implemented elements for the game
  • the chance to “mint a one-of-a-kind and tradable VisorCortex ID,” which is a procedurely generated Variant helmet
  • placement on the Midnight Society guest list, which provides invites to in-person and digital events at gaming conventions and special community meet-ups
  • access to exclusive merchandise gear drops
  • early access to the “Industry Pass,” which gives Access Pass owners the right to become apart of a special society known as “The Eyes”

He also detailed how every series of Access Passes will be integrated as NFTs: “Access Passes are released in limited series, using environment-friendly NFT technology, and each with a unique theme. They will be sold for a fixed affordable base price to approved applicants. Once you own an Access Pass, it is yours to do with as you wish.” Access Pass owners will be afforded the ability to sell theirs after 30 days within the Midnight Society marketplace and even outside of it.

The application process is currently underway for those within the Midnight Society community. Fingers crossed that one of its members is lucky enough to earn the right to purchase a Founders Access Pass to become one of its 10,000 recipients.

Categories
Finance NFT

How NFTs Play a Role in Corporate Brands

Many corporate brands are starting to utilize NFTs in their business strategy, and we are beginning to see how NFTs either positively affect a brand’s reputation or negatively impact the brand. So, how do NFTs play a role in the corporate world?

“Just Do It.” “I’m Lovin’ It.” “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

You know who I’m talking about without naming the organization. A simple slogan is powerful enough to convey a clear connection to a corporation and communicates with us information about this brand.

“Just Do It” is more than a fitness encouragement from Nike; it is a trigger in our minds that Nike sells clothing and equipment engineered to the exact specifications of championship athletes. 

“The Happiest Place on Earth” calls Disneyland to mind, but more than that, it makes us want to go experience Disneyland because we trust and believe going there will make us happy.

The words “I’m Lovin’ It” motivate me to drive to the golden arches because I know a tasty burger and fries are waiting for me (especially late-night).

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It is not just the mental bridge between slogan and company that matters. It is the belief that the company can deliver on its word.

If executed well, a simple phrase and a jingle can spark belief and spring us to action for buying a burger or booking a trip. This is the power of a positive brand. Brand is communicated to us through many avenues. 

Why do I trust and believe that Nike, Disney, and Mcdonald’s will deliver a quality service? The following is an inexhaustive list of ways we shape our thoughts about a company and its brand:

  • Atmosphere and perceived culture of the store or website
  • Quality of the product or service
  • Credible opinions of others
  • News about the company
  • Personal interactions with company representatives
  • Company advertisements
  • Comparisons with other companies we’ve experienced

Our trust is built through many factors, and it is also built over time. My grandma used to say to me, “Trust is built in drops and lost in buckets.”

We may require several positive promptings before we’re willing to give a company a try, and then several more before we’re won over by a brand. However, it usually only takes one bad experience or story for us to cut a brand cold turkey.

Building a strong positive brand is one of the most important things a company can do and should be a priority for any company. But, how do NFTs play a role in the corporate world?

How do NFTs affect corporate brands?
Getty Images

In 2022, NFTs are following a similar meteoric rise as the network effect seems to show a familiar adoption rate as social media. NFTs have become a new way for corporations to engage their supporters, form defined groups, and create new revenue streams.

NFT ownership and engagement has skyrocketed in the last year, and there are no signs of slowing down as more and more prominent corporations and retail investors begin collecting and launching their own genesis NFT projects. Many have compared this boom to the social media spike in the 2010s.

Over the course of that decade, we saw Twitter become a nascent idea where people questioned “Who wants to read my personal thoughts,” to becoming the matured melting pot for thought leaders and everyday folks to exchange ideas (and memes), while also mounting into the central hub for the geopolitical landscape and corporate communications.

Twitter, and other social media platforms, have become a conduit for non-stop, highly strategic branding. And now something similar is happening with NFTs.

How corporate brands are utilizing NFTs
Getty Images

NFTs are a way for thoughtful brands to rapidly make a splash in their respective sector and cultivate a mass following in a short period of time, and allow corporations to reward their most attentive supporters through limited-edition access and utility.

Furthermore, NFTs might also affect brands negatively because of their short-term focus, extractive behavior, greed, and a lack of understanding of the technology and use cases that prevents a successful project execution.

Some companies will use NFTs to create communities within their supporters, defined by the advantages of holding a certain token. If an NFT allows for discounts, meetings with executives, additional physical products shipped, or digital products airdropped, the token will be more highly coveted and, as a result, may increase in price.

The ability to effectively deliver value through the streams of communication that NFTs offer will grow a brand’s reputation and prominence. The inability to effectively deliver value to customers and believers who buy tokens and invest in the community will hurt corporate brands.

If done effectively, the brand is spread and strengthened. If executed ineffectively, the brand is spread and harmed. NFTs currently have an outsized (and growing) level of attention that there is certainly the spotlight will shine bright on corporations who enter the space – for better or worse.

Getty Images

Many see NFTs today and doubt their longevity, believe they have no place or compare them to a pyramid scheme. Simply put, NFTs are the newest in a long line of tools to be utilized by companies for the positive advancement of their corporate brand and reputation.

As corporations begin to launch NFT projects, it will become clear which companies do so in an intentional way that brings real value to their customers, and which companies squander the opportunity by releasing an NFT project that offers little to no actual value.

The organizations that release a quality project will further their brand using the contextual technology of our day, and the companies who poorly execute their NFT project will be forced to spend time rebuilding their brand and reengaging their disgruntled customer base.

It may be hard to believe, but I am certain we will see several blue-chip or Fortune 500 organizations severely botch their first NFT project by chasing the short-term dollar signs.

Mark Osis, Blockchain and Digital Assets Consultant, Deloitte

More than NFTs are a way to create cash, they are a vessel through which to distribute a trustworthy brand. And trust is lost in buckets.

This will have negative ramifications and ripple effects throughout their whole business. For your sake and mine, reader, I hope we avoid purchasing those NFTs, and I really hope we avoid creating those NFTs.

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

How Alex Stemp Went From a Desk Job to 23 Million Followers

The world is abundant with opportunities, and if you are willing to listen, learn, and put in the work, then you can literally turn your dreams into reality. 

I had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Stemplewski and talk about his transition from living at a desk, to becoming one of the greatest influencers on the web, here’s how it all started.

Who is Alex Stemplewski?

Alex Stemplewski is a short-form video content creator with over 23 million followers across all his social media accounts. He is known largely for his unique portrait photography, and for sharing his journey on TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube.

To be fair, Alex hasn’t always been a super-successful content creator, he had to first get a taste of what he thought he was destined to do, before realizing what he truly wanted to do in life.

Before Alex started creating his own content, he went to school to study statistics. He was always great at math, so after college, he got a job working as an insurance actuary. To be an insurance actuary requires an exponential amount of time dedicated to studying and passing exams that are often compared to the bar exams required to become a lawyer.

Oftentimes, Alex would spend over 400 hours studying for a single exam, just to make sure he didn’t have to retake it. You could say he spent the majority of his life studying for his exams and preparing for his career as an insurance actuary.

It didn’t take long for Alex to realize that sitting in an office staring at spreadsheets all day wasn’t what he truly wanted to do.

How Alex turned his passion into reality
Alex Stemp

It planted the seed that would then allow me to find this new life.

In 2018, Alex began listening to Gary Vee. In fact, Alex remembers the exact day that his life changed. “I’m walking to work, and I’m listening to Gary Vee on YouTube, in my headset, and I remember him saying something that planted the seed that would then allow me to find this new life,” he said. “You can turn your passion into your profession, you can make a living doing what you love, and the way to do that is through social media.”

From that point on, Alex became an avid Gary Vee listener. Although he was still working his 9 to 5 job, his curiosity kept him seeking more knowledge from Gary.

He didn’t know if he’d ever use the information he was gaining from listening to him, but the thought of a new opportunity in life kept him coming back.

By 2019, Alex had been graciously brainwashed with wise, yet simple, words from Gary Vee.

Gary Vee

More content, more content, more content! 

On a complete whim, or perhaps it was a mixture of boredom and the desire for a creative outlet, Alex decided to buy a camera. Before that day, Alex knew absolutely nothing about photography, or even what camera to buy, so he asked one of his friends to help him choose the best setup.

After purchasing a Sony A7R 3 and a 50-millimeter portrait lens, Alex got to work. 

He started by taking photos of random strangers on the streets of beautiful downtown San Francisco, with their consent of course. The very day he took his first photo was the same day he created his Instagram account and posted his results there, as well.

He continued to do this for more than six months, while at the same time reaching out to some of his favorite photographers to learn how to improve his skills.

Alex would pay these photographers simply to learn a thing or two about how he could improve over a quick Zoom call — a true indicator of his passion for photography.

With that, Alex quickly developed his skills even further, eventually hiring a mentor to help him decipher how he could turn his love of photography into his career.

In his early stages of photography, he would book photoshoots with models, however, oftentimes they would cancel, but he didn’t let that stop him from taking pictures.

Alex said that his routine was to head downtown if someone canceled on him, and would offer people on the street a photoshoot, which he would then send to them if they wished.

Throughout all of this, he continued listening to Gary Vee and put his advice to use. Then, one day in October 2019, Gary started talking about TikTok religiously. It was at that point Alex knew he had to get on TikTok!

He posted his first TikTok video in November, which was simply photos that he took with some background music. But, his third video is when he decided to try something different.

He decided to continue doing what he had already been doing — taking photos of strangers — but this time he had his friend Derreck record him asking people, and then sharing his results. This led one of Alex’s TikToks to gain 10,000 views! Now, that might not seem like much compared to the views he currently receives, but to him, that was a sign that he was onto something.

When things really changed was when Alex filmed Derreck walking up to a stranger doing the same thing. Derreck then posted it to his TikTok and got over 1 million views, and he went from practically zero followers to over 10,000 followers instantly!

Alex Stemp

This is the day that has officially changed my life forever!

Even though it was his friend’s video, Alex knew that if he stayed persistent, he would attain the same results. Sure enough, a few posts later, Alex got his first million views on TikTok! Within their first month on TikTok, they both had over 1 million followers!

The level of attention Alex was receiving led him to be skeptical about his followers being real. Getting that amount of followers, that fast just didn’t make sense to him.

Alex Stemp

I still kinda don’t believe it in a way, because it’s so crazy!

Both of them continued to share their journey using TikTok, and after three months, Alex had racked up over 3 million followers! That was when he decided to quit his job as an insurance actuary to focus on creating short-form video content.

Alex said, “The content world sort of shifted after TikTok blew up, now we see every platform shifting towards short-form video format. The short-form video content is taking over on all the platforms, not just TikTok.”

As soon as Instagram reels came out, he quickly gained over 300 thousand followers in his first month. Then, the same thing happened when YouTube shorts came out, gaining over 1 million subscribers in just 50 days!

This explosive growth that Alex has experienced across multiple platforms is due to his passion, but also because he put to use what he learned from Gary.

Alex Stemp

I got really good at it because I jumped on it early, I jumped on it when Gary Vee said guys there’s something up here.

Of course, Alex continues to listen to Gary, and always strives to execute what he learns from him. Hence why Alex is now exploring many avenues in the NFT and Web3 space.

Future plans for Alex and NFTs

Alex didn’t know what an NFT was until Gary mentioned them back in February 2021, and again, he took Gary’s advice and bought his own VeeFriends NFT. From there, he continued down the rabbit hole and began creating his own NFT content and expanding into more verticals than just photography.

Alex Stemp

If this guy is hyped on it, I’m hyped on it!

Alex didn’t know what an NFT was until Gary mentioned them back in February 2021, and again, he took Gary’s advice and bought his own VeeFriends NFT. From there, he continued down the rabbit hole and began creating his own NFT content and expanding into more verticals than just photography.

He actively runs an account called NFT News on Instagram and plans to create his own one-of-one NFTs in the next month or so. 

His NFTs will be minted on SuperRare, which will include some of Alex’s best photos, but his main focus is putting a strong emphasis on providing real-world value to his NFT holders.

The way he plans to structure his one-of-one NFTs is to offer holders their own promotional package. What that means is he will promote, and help his holders grow their brand by utilizing his 23 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. This includes your own viral video, for whatever it is that you want to promote.

Additionally, Alex is going to give his personal number to his NFT holders to help guide them through the world of social media.

Alex’s story is nothing short of incredible, it just goes to show that if you are willing to learn from others, taste different things, and be persistent with the things you want to do in life, you can achieve great things too!

It won’t always be easy, nor will it always make sense, but at the end of the day, the journey is what makes it all taste so sweet.

Categories
Music NFT

Snoop Dogg Reveals Plans For Death Row As First NFT Label

Snoop Dogg has been making noise in the NFT space for a while now, especially after recent news of people buying real estate in the metaverse just so they could be ‘neighbors’ with Snoop. Snoop’s album was just transformed into NFT assets, selling for $5,000 each, and sold $44 million worth of them in just 5 days. He also just made recent headlines for purchasing Death Row, and revealing plans to bring life back to the infamous label. Well, the LA rapper and entrepreneur just made it clear that Death Row will be revitalized in a way that music has never seen before: Snoop is making Death Row Records the first NFT label in existence. The NFT drop for his album, ‘BODR’ (Bacc on Death Row), is a brilliant proof-of-concept using the first Death Row release since the early 2000’s.

When asked about the purpose behind these intentions to make Death Row an NFT label, Snoop said,

Just like when we broke the industry when we were the first independent [record label] to be major, I want to be the first major in the metaverse.

This is groundbreaking, both for music and for the NFT space. Artists have been notoriously limited by the music industry in their ability to retain ownership of their assets, and this opens the door to an entirely new world full of assets. While plenty of artists have developed and minted NFTs of their own, no label has committed to the digital medium in the same way Snoop has with Death Row.

Snoop is not only one of the most notable artists of the early days of Hip-Hop, he’s proven to be an innovative entrepreneur with a one-of-a-kind ability to adapt and execute in this ever-changing cultural landscape. His work goes beyond informing the new era of artists – he’s showing them just how to elevate their business approach and create a stable, lucrative future for themselves.