Nicole Yap - co-founder, 8SIAN NFT collection, Chinatown metaverse

Ep 76: 8SIANS in the Metaverse | Nicole Yap (Co-Founder, 8SIAN NFT Collection)

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Welcome to Episode 76!

Welcome to the 2nd episode of STIMY’s mini NFT sub-series! 

Our guest for STIMY Episode 76 is Nicole Yap.

Nicole is the co-founder of 8SIAN: a NFT collection that consists of 8,888 NFTs of beautiful, Asian women painstakingly-crafted where even the most intricate details are steeped in historical significance. 8SIAN became the number 1 project ranked on OpenSea in 24hours based on percentage increase of traded volume with over 3k+ Eth!

If you’ve ever been curious about what it’s like to launch an NFT collection, from hustling in the lead up to the launch to building a team (reputable, experienced web3 developers aren’t exactly easy to find!), building a community on Discord with 15k members, and continuing to bring value by purchasing virtual land, building collaborations, setting up a legal entity and more… then this is the episode for you!

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    Who is Nicole Yap?

    Nicole shares how she began her cryptocurrency journey back in 2013 when she stumbled across an article on digital currency and its future implications while she was in high school.

    Despite its challenges & the dodgy sites available then, she figured out a way to purchase Bitcoin (it was being sold for $60!!) and soon after, managed to buy a Chanel bag from her crypto investments!

    • 3:29 Getting into crypto/Bitcoin in 2013 & buying her first Chanel bag
    I saw the opportunity to be the first NFT project to represent women and Asian culture in the space.
    Nicole Yap - co-founder, 8SIAN NFT collection, Chinatown metaverse
    Nicole Yap
    Co-Founder, 8SIAN NFT Collection

    Getting into the world of NFTs

    She joined the world of NFTs in early 2021 after noticing the serious lack of representation of Asians and Women in the space. 

    Together with 2 other co-founders, she launched 8SIAN: 

    • 6:48 Discovering NFTs
    • 8:17 What is an NFT?
    • 9:10 Not a scam?
    • 10:30 Being told she didn’t belong in the NFT/crypto space because she was a female
    • 12:49 How Nicole figured out the way to create and launch an NFT collection
    • 14:43 Finding a Web3 developer (that doesn’t rug pull!)
    • 16:42 Why NFTs?
    Nicole Yap - co-founder, 8SIAN NFT collection, Chinatown metaverse

    Roadmap for 8SIAN

    Selling out 8SIAN’s Main Collection is just the first step in 8SIAN’s journey in building a space for Asian women in the meta verse.

    And we dig deep into the roadmap (aka business plan) that Nicole & her team have for 8SIANs, as well as the challenges that come from having to manage a Discord channel with over 15k members while being a young mother of two!

    • 17:57 The roadmap for 8SIAN
    • 19:31 The launch of Genesis and Goddess collection before the main 8SIAN collection was dropped
    • 22:24 Marketing 8SIAN & the hustle you don’t see
    • 24:14 Launching the main collection & getting Steve Aoki as an 8SIAN NFT holder 
    • 25:09 What’s next for 8SIAN?
    • 26:33 Why companies in Asia haven’t jumped into the NFT space yet
    • 27:36 The plans for building Chinatown in the metaverse
    • 29:37 Managing a 15k strong Discord community
    • 30:59 Creating value while still generating revenue from royalties 
    • 32:56 How the 8SIAN 8% royalties are split
    • 35:02 Why 8SIAN is setting up a legal entity
    • 35:49 Are we in an NFT bubble?
    • 36:29 Advice to females looking to get into tech
    Nicole Yap - co-founder, 8SIAN NFT collection, Chinatown metaverse

    If you’re looking for more inspirational stories, check out:

    • Red Hong Yi: Artist who paints without a paintbrush. She has worked with Jackie Chan, Google, Facebook & Nespresso, was featured at the World Economic Forum & more recently on TIME Magazine’s 26 April special issue on climate change. Recently completed Malaysia’s most successful NFT collection, Memebank
    • MoonHMZ aka Mumu the Stan: Co-Founder of MalaysiaNFT. Mumu is a young Muslim mother/artist who first got into the NFT space because of her Stan account & sold her first NFT to Mike Shinoda (lead singer of Linkin Park)
    • Benjamin Von Wong: Photographer/social artivist whose works have generated over 100 million organic views
    • Kyne Santos: Mathematician, drag queen & Tik Toker who makes fun educational math Tik Toks to nearly 1 million subscribers, and was a contestant in Season 1 of Canada’s Drag Race!
    • Darrion Nguyen: Aka the Asian Millennial Tik Tok version of Bill Nye the Science Guy with over 600k Tik Tok subscribers

    If you enjoyed this episode with Nicole, you can: 

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    STIMY Ep 76: Nicole Yap [Co-Founder, 8SIAN NFT Collection]

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    Nicole Yap: I saw the opportunity to be the first NFT project to represent women and Asian culture in the space.

    I feel that because I don't see any representation in the NFT scene. And So this is why, like, to me, I felt that like, okay, even though I don't know how to draw, I'm not an artist, I'm just gonna make this work. I see that gender gap and, the gap between the east and the west.

    At the same time I have this vision to bring more people in Asia in the NFT scene because people in the Asian region are not as exposed to the NFT scene. A lot of them, they know what it is, but they just can't find a reason to jump in.

    So hopefully with my collection too, when someone see that there's an NFT collection out there that looks like them resembles them and probably, wear like the traditional clothings, because we do have a lot of cultural representation from Asia. We have like the baju kebaya, we have the outlier, you know, and then all that kind of traits.

    So hopefully with that I'm able to get on board more Asian people in the space.

    Ling Yah: Hey, everyone! Welcome to episode 76 of the So This Is My Why podcast. I'm your host and producer Ling Yah, and today we're meeting our second NFT guest, Nicole Yap, co-founder of an NFT collection called 8SIAN with a number eight instead of an A. Now if you haven't listened to the previous episode, we met Mumu there, who is a Malaysian artist and a pioneer of the Malaysia NFT space.

    She had shared about how she got into the NFT space and what it means for her as an artist.

    For Nicole, it's different. She got into crypto early and managed to buy a Chanel bag as a result of that. And after seeing the rise of NFT, she decided to take a plunge in launching her own NFT collection after realizing that there wasn't any NFT project existing that quite represented who she was -an Asian female.

    We dive deep into the origins of 8SIAN, how she first pulled together her team, which included sourcing for her artist, because she isn't one, and also finding a Web3 developer. How she hustled to market her main collection before it was released or dropped the crypto community would say. How she builds community within her Discord channel, which has almost 15,000 members, whether we are in an NFT bubble, her plans for 8SIAN, which includes setting up a legal entity and why, and also building a Chinatown in the metaverse using the virtual land that has already been purchased.

    We also about charity and so much more.

    In case you are unaware. The NFT/Web3 space is growing and changing rapidly. So please always, always do your research. There are lots of interesting projects out there, but those are a tremendous amount of rug pulls, which is basically a crypto term used to refer to scams where the founding team suddenly disappears and takes away all its funds. Not something you want to get caught in. So are you ready?

    Let's go.

    I thought we would start our interview by going to 2013, because I understand this is when you were in college and when you first discovered crypto. So how did that all begin?

    Nicole Yap: Yeah, for sure. So before that I want to thank you for having me here.

    So going back to 2013, when I first thought I was actually in high school, I was about 16, 17 years old. I came across this article online talking about what is crypto and the future of currencies. And then that, then after I read this article, I was just so intrigued by it.

    And the next thing I know, I was Googling how to buy Bitcoin. That was like the next thing I did. I learned there was so many ways you can buy crypto. And most of them are like pretty dodgey. You'll need to like transfer it to someone like via PayPal and then you just wish and hope that he will transfer you Bitcoin.

    And that is what I did. I bought a few Bitcoins back then. I think bitcoin was about $60 back then. So I grabbed a few and then it was in my wallet and I was just holding it. And then a couple of months later when I checked the price, And at that time when I saw that I made some money. I didn't even know how to sell it, right, because I was just such a newbie.

    I then had to go back to learn how to sell. you know, everything. And then, that is where I first made my money. you know, I then went to buy like my first ever Chanel bag. So back then I had a dream. It's like, I really need that Chanel bag. And that was just like my life goal.

    So at 17 I bought my first Chanel bag thanks to Bitcoin. And then that is basically what kickstarted my whole crypto journey. So I have always been so passionate about this space. I took the opportunity to learn how to trade, how to look at graphs So I came a long way, I would say. cause you know, about all the ups and downs of cryptos since then, all these bans and then all these regulations. And then it's just like highs and lows but I have always been there I have never sold any of them.

    I mean, I'll just sell them a bit, but then when it goes down again, I will buy them back.

    That is what kicks off that my whole journey.

    Ling Yah: I'm sure a lot of people would have read about this thing called Bitcoin. It's one thing to read about it, one thing to believe it, and then spend money.

    You say it was $60, but there's still not an insignificant amount of money. So was there something about it that convinced you that this was something to go into? Because at the time, as you said, everything was dodgy, there wasn't a way to buy and to sell it. So it was the wild, wild west. And there was no guarantee you'll ever see anything come back.

    Nicole Yap: Yeah, definitely. So back to the article, I explain like how we actually. trade humankind since then we, used to do like system barter, right. And then lead later on, we had like gold coins and then paper money, and then all that kind of things.

    The article said that in the future, everything is going to be in digital form, nobody's going to hold cash. Cash is lame. Credit card is lame as well. All you need is just your phone or an apple watch. And that is what you need.

    So back then to me I was like, this whole technology is so amazing. And imagine if I can just go out without my wallet, I can have everything in the tip of my fingers. Just having my phone on my watch with me. So, yeah, I think that is what made me so intrigued about it.

    Back then I may have scam who knows. But the fact that I foresee that this is the future. And if this is something that is available in the future, I want to be a part of it.

    So this is why I jumped on, even though it was so dodgy and it was only $60 back then.

    Ling Yah: I understand that in February, 2021, that's when you discovered NFTs. So how did that come about? Do you remember?

    Yeah.

    Nicole Yap: So as I mentioned, I have been in the crypto scene since like 2013. In the beginning of last year, I was actually introduced to this whole NFT scene.

    One of my friends, which is Asians co-founder as well, James, he actually minted like Bored Ape. So Bored Ape Yacht Club. And then yeah, he told me, he said, Nicole, it's like, you need to get some ETH. You meet to mint Bored Ape. Okay, there's this monkey NFT, you know, and this is, going to moon hot.

    You better like get on it . So that is what made me jump on and see what's happening. At that time there was so many other news outlets talking about how crypto punk is so valuable and there's even really funny things like invisible rock.

    So it's basically an NFT and they call it invisible rock. It's just blank because it's invisible, right. And I think that went up to about a close to a million dollars.

    The whole scene was just so insane to me.

    But at the same time, I was intrigued by the whole scene. So this is what made me jump in. Later on, I found out that NFTs are not profile pictures or invisible rock. There's so many things that we can use to improve our lives in the future. Thanks to NFTs and thanks to the blockchain technology.

    At the same time I saw that there is not much women representation in the space. So that is what inspired me to start my own collection.

    Ling Yah: You said that NFTs so much more than JPEG. So in your own words, what is an NFT to you?

    Nicole Yap: NFT can be any form as long as it's a digital form, like photos, music videos, even a screenshot.

    So basically NFT is just a digital art piece or a digital media that lives on the blockchain. That is trackable. There is a unique number to it. It's opened up in the web and once you put it out there, you can't amend it. What makes everyone so insane about this whole technology is the fact that you don't need to go through any third party to validate the ownership.

    If you are the sole owner , like music, if you're like a musician or an artist or even if you're just a creator , there is a way where you can track that this photo or this digital asset belongs to you and you created it.

    Ling Yah: You said that the invisible rovk was a million dollars, even now it sounds insane.

    And I think a lot of people, the reason why they're not into NFTs, or haven't entered is because they would think, isn't it a scam. I imagined that as a question that must have crossed your mind as well. So how did you jump over that barrier into believing that, oh, actually it's not a scam. There's something real here.

    Nicole Yap: I would say with every advancement of technology, I'm pretty sure there is a lot of people that are skeptical about it. And of course in any way, even outside the NFT world. There is scams everywhere, right? Like bank scams where people call you and pretend to be the bank. And that has been happening like decades and people still fall for it.

    So for NFT, of course there is scam. There is a lot of them and I have been a victim multiple times. Because people will send you like a link and if you click it they will put a bug on your account. And then that is where you will lose your funds.

    Or, there is also an NFT project launched by scammers. They'll give you a lot of promises saying that this is an NFT collection. All the funds, we will donate it to a charity or do XYZ. And then after selling out, they disappear . And this is what we call kind of like a rug pull project. So this kind of things do happen. It happens every single day in the NFT scene. I mean, this is why we should always be cautious, not just in the NFT world, but also in the real world.

    Ling Yah: So we're going to talk about that a little bit more later, but you mentioned the other thing, which is that when you were looking around, you realized there wasn't something that was more feminine. There was supposed to be Asian as well. Didn't you also say in another interview that you also tried to get into the space and you were on Discord.

    And you couldn't even use your name, Nicole, because they were very, yeah.

    Nicole Yap: Yeah, definitely. So you know, back then when my friend actually introduced me to NFT and I was kind of like exploring the space. You know, if you were to explore the space, you will need to jump in the community and really get involved, right? Not just like reading it on Google.

    So what I did was I went full on, I went to join the discord community.

    So Discord community is a place where each project usually have their own individual discord for their community to post announcements, mingle around play games and whatnot.

    There was a couple of few projects earlier on. Last year I joined with my name Nicole, because that is my name. actually, Most of the time when I jumped onto the general chat room, I said, Hey, everybody, you know how is everybody stuff like that?

    And then a few of them, they'll be like, Hey, Nicole, are you a girl? And I'll be like, yeah, I am a girl. Then they'll just be like, okay you know, you don't belong here because this is not a women's play. This is only for guys. If you look at the NFTs, it's so robotic. It's male NFT and you don't belong here.

    At that time it happened so frequently that I just got frustrated and I told myself, okay, you know what, I'm just going to give myself a anonymous name so that I wouldn't have to face this issue. And that is where I realized that something has to change in this space, because half of the world is women and that should replicate in the NFT world as well.

    So this is what made me more motivated to start my own collection, especially a collection that is not only dedicated to female, but also to represent the Asian cultures. Because imagine like women in the NFT world is already a minority. Imagine In terms of like an Asian cultural element, it's basically non-existent.

    Even right now to find a collection that is really rich in the Asian cultures and really represent us well, there is none. That is something that I can probably say 8SIAN is the first NFT project to represent the Asian cultures.

    So yeah, that is something that I'm really proud of.

    Ling Yah: You saw there was a real need. And how does one even start a collection? What was your initial game plan? How does it work?

    Nicole Yap: I would say back then, I was kind of clueless as well. Although I have been in the crypto scene for some time, starting an NFT project is not easy because I don't know how to code and everything is so technical to me.

    And back then nobody even know what is an NFT, let alone to find people that understand how it works or even tell you how it works. So I had to learn the hard way. I had to do a lot of research myself. I looked onto a lot of the successful projects. I go to the website and read about it and try to reach out to one of the team. Hopefully they would kind of like guide me how to start.

    Back then, there weren't a lot of YouTube videos telling you how to do it as well.

    Ling Yah: Were people willing to share with you their knowledge or where they're like, no, this is our success. We don't want you to replicate it.

    Nicole Yap: Maybe because at that time, not a lot of people know how to do it, I would assume the team member were kind of like bombarded with a lot of requests to ask them how to do it. So I didn't get a reply from them.

    I basically picked up along the way together with my co-founder, because he has been in the space. He actually reached out to his contacts as well.

    And basically that is, how we started our own collection, you know, by trial and error. For the artwork, I got our lead artists, which is our co-founder as well. We have two co-founders, one is Jackie and one is James. Jackie's the one that does all of our artwork.

    He has no idea what is an NFT back then. He just trusted me along the way. And with that, we kind like figured it out. We then tried to look for a dev. That was like the hardest part.

    We just went along and picked the people along the way. We started with the 3 of us, and then we got the dev, then we got an advisor and a copywriter and a Discord guy. Total, we have 12 of us, including like another three support artists.

    Ling Yah: I wanted to talk a bit about that Web3 Dev. How did you find him? Because it's one thing to get a software developer but for web three, that's a whole other field as well. So how did you even find the right person because that's where the whole project hinges on.

    Nicole Yap: Yeah, definitely. So the first dev that we contacted didn't go well. I found him on this random Twitter. He said, my name is Alex and I'm a Web3 developer. He said that he had deployed four contracts before.

    I just DM him, will be like, Hey, would you be interested to be out there? We started working together for a couple of weeks until I found out that he actually rugged his past wall projects.

    So what happened is he actually did 4 project in the past and after they sold out he just like abandoned the whole discord and the whole project. Like they weren't responsive and he changed his name and whatnot. So later on when I found out I then told him that, okay, you know, this is not going to happen.

    You know, we've got to stop working together . And that is where we found our project advisor. So Adidas was our project advisor. He's from London. And he's actually part of other projects called the hash mask. We asked him , Hey, do you have any dev that you can recommend to us?

    And that is where he recommended, our dev, which is, DefCo. He is from Egypt. That is basically how we found our dev and He was a good one because our project Adidas, has actually worked with him before he has never rugged.

    Ling Yah: And devs are not cheap, right? I think they were also quoting 70,000 USD for one contract,

    Nicole Yap: So, that was way before. That was what the first dev, Alex actually quoted me which is insane.

    Because right now average market price would be about like a thousand dollars and you will be able to get like a really good dev already. So yeah, back then, because of the shortage of dev, and there's so many people that are so desperate to do like their own project. The devs just started hiking up the price and started charging all these really insane amounts.

    Ling Yah: Sounds like there's so much work just to start the collection. You need this whole team with this very, very, very rare set of skills. Is there a reason why you want to start an NFT rather than like a traditional digital art collection?

    Nicole Yap: I saw the opportunity to be the first NFT project to represent women and Asian culture in the space.

    I feel that because I don't see any representation in the NFT scene. And So this is why, like, to me, I felt that like, okay, even though I don't know how to draw, I'm not an artist, I'm just gonna make this work. I see that gender gap and, the gap between the east and the west.

    At the same time I have this vision to bring more people in Asia in the NFT scene because people in the Asian region are not as exposed to the NFT scene. A lot of them, they know what it is, but they just can't find a reason to jump in.

    So hopefully with my collection too, when someone see that there's an NFT collection out there that looks like them resembles them and probably, wear like the traditional clothings, because we do have a lot of cultural representation from Asia. We have like the baju kebaya, we have the outlier, you know, and then all that kind of traits.

    So hopefully with that I'm able to get on board more Asian people in the space.

    Ling Yah: When I was trying to learn what NFT was, a friend of mine said, think of NFT as basically a startup and the roadmap as their business plan. So you have a really interesting roadmap that you put on your website. Can you share with us how you came up with it, what that roadmap is?

    Nicole Yap: There wasn't any roadmap.

    I know that there's a lot of projects before they launch, they will set up a roadmap, and give out all these things that they want to achieve. And most of them it's really hard to achieve.

    They just set really high expectations, say that, okay, we are going to donate this much, right? We are going to help this concert, or we are going to do this, this, this, and I feel that once you set such high expectations and if you can't fulfill that people will then start to flood.

    People will say you lied to us. And some of them will even say that this is a rug because you committed that you will be doing ABC. And it has been so many months, you can't even deliver.

    For us when we started that we don't have a roadmap. We only started to put that roadmap , that you see right now kind of like a mind map after we have sold out.

    So the mind map that we have, there are 10 things on it. There is physical events and a metaverse . There's just so many things we even wanted to do an education thing where we will be educating people about the NFT space that we don't see in Asia.

    There is a lot of things I want to do in the mind map and we are currently trying to execute it. It's gonna take some time to execute like all 10 of them, but we're actually working towards on that.

    Ling Yah: You mentioned that dropping the main collection, which happened in December and before that you actually launched several collections like the Genesis. You also launch Goddess before.

    I wonder what's the plan in dropping the smaller collections prior to the main collection in December?

    Nicole Yap: The main collection has been something that we have been working on. But because our collection was kind of big, you know, 8,888 we need time to develop that. So we started our brainstorming and all that kind of artwork on September At that time, we have already started to launch our and social media so we can put our name out there and they kind of start to build the community even when we were still working on the artwork.

    We created a discord and then on Halloween, we actually did like a little fan of just an Asian woman with a pumpkin head. So we posted that on Discord and everyone, our members like, oh my God, this needs to be a collection. This needs to be an like a Halloween collection.

    That was never planned at all. And back then, our members were only so small, I think we only had about like 15 members on Discord.

    And because of that, we actually did 50 pieces of the Genesis Asian Halloween collection. Yeah. So that is what happened. We did it because people ask for it.

    We have the bespoke collection. Later on, we realized that there is so many prominent figures that reach out to us and be like, Hey, your collection is so beautiful. I really want to have a piece of me in an 8sian lady.

    We do have Pia, which is like the miss universe, or like in Philippines in 2015. And we do have other like beauty hosts and entrepreneurs and influencers as well, that reach out. So we decided to do the bespoke collection piece. So that is like an ongoing piece that we will be adding on.

    The latest one was Kelly Chung. Kelly Chung is an actress. She is from Hong Kong.

    Ling Yah: You said you're putting yourself out there. You have your social media. Marketing is a huge, huge part of launching a new collection. What was the plan like? How were you making sure that people were knowing what you were doing prior to and leading up to the main collection drop?

    Nicole Yap: We started in September, back then even up till December, our traction was kind of bad. Not everyone liked our collection. Back then there was so many collections and I feel that the majority of the people in the NFT scene back then, we prefer something that is genderles.

    Something that is like animal and stuff like that.

    Ling Yah: A lot of people didn't believe in what you were doing, so what was it that allowed you to push through? Was it because you thought I'm in too deep, already have invested too much. I have to see this through? What was the conviction bringing you through it?

    Nicole Yap: I wasn't confident back then, but I believed in my mission, I believed in my cause.

    Like, I'm just going to go ahead with it.

    because I'm pretty sure that's a lot of other women that would resemble, how I feel as well.

    You know, I'm pretty sure there's people that would want to use the profile picture that looks like themselves, so this is something that I have always truly believed in.

    Ling Yah: Just wanted to drill down a little bit more about the marketing.

    So was there anything specific that you felt helped to bring the collection to greater prominence? Was it just continuing what you're doing on Twitter on Instagram? Was that what really helped or was there something more?

    Nicole Yap: What I did was I was jumping onto Twitter spaces every single day There was a few times I was there for like eight to 10 hours a day, just talking to people.

    Ling Yah: That is a huge investment.

    So you were just present and just anyone drops in, you just talk to them.

    Nicole Yap: Yeah, basically.

    So, I met so many amazing people. Most of them are from the west. I mean, most of the time I'll need to like stay up to 3am 4:00 AM, even like 5:00 AM, right. just to connect with people.

    So that was the grind and hustle and the hard work that people don't see. A lot of them, they always think that, okay, you know, she was just lucky because you are the first Asian NFT and then people just bought into it and you know, that is not how it worked, right?

    Ling Yah: Were they common questions that came up during this Twitter space? I mean, eight hours every day for two months is huge. I would be so exhausted during just one week. And you did it for two months.

    Nicole Yap: Most of the people will ask me, why are you doing this? There was a phase where I even got like a hate tweet, somebody got really nasty. Yeah. So this guy, I'm not going to name his name.

    I didn't even reply to that tweet, but he is kind of like an influencer. He lives in the states, he's Asian.

    He started saying that my collection was a disgrace to the whole Asian community. And then there was so many supporters of him and then, you know, they even screenshot my face.

    One of them, they even said I hope this woman get choked on a burger. They even kinda like sent me like death threats in my DM.

    So yeah, I would say like, there are a lot of nasty people as well in the space. But regardless there's also lot of supportive people as well.. So I just block out the noise and I look at the positive side of things.

    Ling Yah: Then you had that launch and that happened 26, December, 2021. What was that like? Because I think seeing after Steve Aoki also tweeted about it. Right. And was that when things exploded for you?

    Nicole Yap: Yes. So we actually launched on the 28th of December. At first it was a slow mint.

    Like people call it slow mint, cause in the NFT space, the lifespan is quite short. So if you don't sell out in three days or in few hours, people say that this is a slow mint.

    But in the real world to sell out 8,000 items in a few days is insane, right?

    We sold out on the 15th of January. Steve Aoki noticed our project and jumped in, he grabbed 25 of them. He even got a few special rare ones. He got one of our goddess, which is the rarest piece. So he has been our supporter.

    We actually connected with him. He's a really humble guy and yeah.

    Ling Yah: Since you have sold out, what is the plan? How do you keep going?

    Nicole Yap: Yeah, so I mean, I do get this question a lot. A lot of them, they ask me, okay, Nicola, now you have sold out, like, what do you want to do? Right. And for me, I'm trying to establish myself like our brand not only in the virtual scene, like in the metaverse in the Web3 scene, but also to create a presence in the world world with people that don't know what is an NFT and also with other retail brands in the real world.

    And my whole goal is to educate more people in Asia about NFTs, educate more businesses in Asia to jump on board and hopefully with my guidance and telling them, what is the future and how your company can evolve and grow with the help of NFTs, you know, there'll be able to jump on and be a global skill because you see there's so many brands in the west, like Facebook, like Tesla, Binance, like all these big brands, they are all in the NFT scene.

    Like even big fashion brands, right. You see like Gucci. Though gabbana Adidas, you know, all these brands, they're all jumping into the scene already.

    And to me, I feel that in the Asian scene, it's still so slow, like we have so many huge brands, right? Like one of them is like Uniqlo though. Everyone knows what is Uniqlo. And they have yet to join the scene. So this is just one of the examples that I can give.

    Ling Yah: Why do you think that companies here haven't jumped onto the scene?

    I mean, a company that Uniqlo, they don't just have Asian presence, right. They have presence in the west as well. So surely that will be more aware, educated. So what are the common, I suppose, concerns that these companies have?

    Nicole Yap: I would say firstly would be the regulations. Compared to the west crypto and NFTs are more welcomed there, but then in Singapore in Philippines, the government is actually quite open to crypto.

    So I think that really helped, to actually get the citizens to actually jump on board. At the same time, I think it's more towards like a cultural thing. We, Asians are generally more reserved and we would be the one to kind of like, okay, let's just wait and see what happens, you know? But to me, I feel that we shouldn't wait that long because there's a lot of other brands already jumping in.

    And if we don't jump in now and we are still stuck at all the banning and all of these things, like we might even be so far apart and. Once we are at that stage, it's going to take us many months to like catch up, you know? So yeah.

    Ling Yah: I noticed as well that you've also purchased virtual land in Decentraland and also sandbox.

    So what's the plan behind all that?

    Nicole Yap: As I mentioned we are trying to create a presence not just in the physical world, but in the virtual world as well. Everyone's so crazy about this whole virtual reality. You can shop online, buy food, join concerts, or even go to work right in the metaverse without even leaving your house.

    So this is why we have bought a 3x3 land in central land, which is one of the oldest metavers that is live, and one of the most populated as well. So we have plans to create this chinatown in the metaverse because we have China town in every single country.

    So it make sense that we have Chinatown in the metaverse as well.

    So This is something we are planning to do.

    At the same time in the metaverse, there's avatars where you can buy clothes. I have a goal to make traditional clothings, like cheongsam, the sari, the hanbok.

    We are able to experience our own culture and the metaverse but also at the same time, right. This is the future. So hopefully with my collection we will be able to pass to the future generation to hop into the metaverse in this futuristic world.

    But at the same time to not forget like roots and cultures, you know.

    Ling Yah: You mentioned kids. You're a mother as well. And is that an important thing for you to promote in the metaverse as well?

    Nicole Yap: Yeah, for sure. I mean I'm a mom of two and my daughter, she is into Minecraft, right.

    Minecraft is like this 3d roadblocks game. So this is pretty similar to metaverse. She plays the game, she watched YouTube videos about it every single day, every single night.

    So to me as a mom, I feel that if this is the future that we are heading, I might as well make it a safe place for her and at the same time to do something that she can be proud of as well. being Asian, you know, yeah.

    Ling Yah: Amazing.

    And one other thing I want to talk about is discord, that's a huge part of being an NFT holder. What is it like to manage? You mentioned before you only have 50 people in, you discord. Now you have 15,000. How do you manage 15,000 people?

    Nicole Yap: Yeah. Managing 15,000 people is not easy.

    We do have a mod like moderators in the chat room to help out like the flow of things and to make sure that everyone's in the same page and there is no nasty people that say some nasty things.

    I mean, the internet, it will be a place. So, you know, there's weird people everywhere. And once we spot these people, we kick them out. Kind of like a housekeeping. For discord, we have our team member we call him the discord hero. So he makes sure that our discord is all in order. There is no hack and stuff like that.

    Ling Yah: I noticed one of the common, I suppose, complaints that people would come out with and you've publicly acknowledge as well is that you don't communicate enough. And I wonder how you think about that question because you also have a life.

    You can't commit yourself fully to the discord, but at the same time, they demand so much of you. You need to also give back and not make them feel as though this is a rug pull. So how do you find that balance?

    Nicole Yap: I'm still trying to balance my life. Obviously I I'm a full-time mom. I need to take care of my kids. make sure that they are fed.

    Each time, something like that happens, one good thing about discord is that there is an announcement tab.

    So I would just write to clarify anything that I needed to clarify and put it up in announcement. And if they are unhappy about it then we will find another way to keep them happy and informed.

    Ling Yah: As I was exploring NFT, my understanding is when an NFT collection of first sells out, that's not how you make the money. The money actually comes from the royalties from the resale.

    And so for me, I just thought, okay, in order for that to happen, that means you must be providing a lot of value within the community, but you can't give so much value that the original holders don't want to let go of their NFT.

    So how do you manage that balance of giving lots of value, but only to a point where people are still willing to resell.

    Nicole Yap: If you have a large collection there will be people that are holders, where they buy, they keep for the long game. And there are also some people that are here to flip, which is to make like the quick money.

    Some of the people actually do this like full time jobs. We call them like NFT flippers.

    And thanks to them we actually have trading volume and that is where we have our royalties, from each sale.

    There's actually not much to manage because I can't stop them from selling. And at the same time, I feel that to have an NFT project, trading volume matters as well.

    So you do need this kind of flippers in your project to succeed because without the trading volume you won't be known. You won't be in the chart in OpenSea and we won't have royalties. So there's also a lot of other projects where they claim that they have strong holders.

    And what happens is that most of the project will kind of like struggle because there is no trading volume, there's nothing happening. Nobody's talking about your project. Your discord is quiet. And once you get to that stage, it's really hard for you to save it, like what would people talk about in the chat room?

    Most of the people that sell, if you look at your transactions, they will sell 10 and they will buy 20 afterwards, because they want to make up the difference and then they would still hold the NFT. It's going to be like free for them because they make the money back. So that is how NFT is.

    Even I do that. I'll buy 10 and if the floor price go up, I'll sell it all and then later on, I will buy again because you know that it's free for me. Hey, you know.

    Ling Yah: Oh, that's a whole world that you really need to spend a lot of time to really research and understand.

    I wonder, as one of those, who's leading this project, you are obviously providing lots of value. You're giving to charity, you're creating the digital wearable, building the virtual land committee lab fun. How do you find that balance between, I have this non-profit obviously it's a full-time job. You need to pay yourself. You also need to give back to the community.

    But to what extent?

    How much do you decide to invest into the community and how much do you keep for yourself?

    Nicole Yap: If you go to our website, we actually have the royalties breakdown. We have 8% royalties.

    In the NFP world, the average percentage is about six to seven. So ours is slightly high because 2.5% of royalties is paid to the team as monthly salary to us. It's based on performance. If there is no trading volume, then you don't get salary. It makes us work harder. And you know, that is what made the team motivated every single day.

    So 2.5% to the team and we have 2.5% to the community led fund. So this is the fund that we have for our Asian holders. You partially own this fund and you can do whatever you want with the fund with it but you will need to go through this voting process.

    Maybe you can propose to donate one ETH from the community lab fund to this charity. Or, we want to take out 0.0 ETH to everyone. If we have the majority vote for that proposal, then we will need to execute it.

    This is what makes the community like united. So that is part of the community building as well. We have a three percent, which will be towards our Asian company fund.

    We do have a company fund where we would buy land, filing all of our trademark. We will be paying all the legal side of things because we are in the midst of establishing ourselves like a company.

    We would want to be in the whole world. One day we will want to have an office, like a virtual office or a physical one.

    I'm not sure yet, but we will want to operate in every single countries that we would want to collaborate with next time, you know.

    Ling Yah: Why is it important to have a legal entity?

    Nicole Yap: Because in the real world, if I'm just an NFT project. And like, most of the time they would just laugh at you you know?? And that is what we have been experiencing in the past of months.

    They always tell us do you have a company, um, do you pay your taxes? And unfortunately, I mean, we are all about the Web 3 world, right?

    But in the real world, most of us are still in the Web2. So this is why we will still need to pull back and go back to the fundamentals and make sure we have like, you know, solid things that we can prove to people that, Hey, we are a legit company.

    For me, in order for us to go global, we will need to be established, like, to be on ground. To have an on ground office, something tangible. So that is the approach that we are going.

    Ling Yah: So we've talked about what you're doing, what is in the future as well. I wonder because there are so many of these projects launching at the same time.

    Do you think that we are in an NFT bubble?

    Nicole Yap: This is a good question, I would say yes and no. I really depends on how you look at it and which project are you looking at?

    So if you are stepping yourself into a random NFP project and you don't know who is the founder. What are we doing? Where are you from? Then that is the bubble. That might pop because the NFT project is purely hype.

    So I would say there is two types of NFT projects. One that is here to stay that is here for the long term. And there is another one that are here to just make the quick buck. That would be the bubble that I'm referring to.

    We are not in that bubble.

    Ling Yah: And just before we wrap up, do you have anything to say to young girls, especially who are Asian, who would want to explore the tech view because there are not that many females in the tech even today?.

    Nicole Yap: I would say I have attended a few NFT events even in Malaysia you can see that 95% are guys.

    If the boys can learn and get to know, what is this all about I'm pretty sure we girls can too. So I would say keep your mind open. You know, If you want to know more about NFT, you can actually Google them.

    You can go to YouTube, you can read more about it, or you can just reach out to me.

    My handle is Asian mom. You can just DM me. Just be, hey, you know, I want to learn more about NFT, then I'll be happy to guide you. Because there is so many guys in this scene where I don't have any NFT girlfriends. That is a fact, you know?

    Women that are in the NFT world, I think there is only 3 that I know. So yeah, I would say just come and explore the space. The space is not as scary as it is and you might have fun.

    Ling Yah: There's so much out there now when I was trying to research what is NFT. So many resources. Do you have any recommendation in terms of where to look for, to start to learn and also who to follow to learn even more?

    Nicole Yap: There is no specific person that I can recommend, but there's heaps of videos on YouTube, on Google, even Tik Tok or Instagram. There's a lot of pages where they teach you how to set up your own Metamask, how you buy your first NFT.

    But I would say finding a project that you like, just jump on their discord, go to the chat room and say, Hey, I'm new to NFTs. Make sure it's one of the mods that reply you or like one of the members and not scammers. I'm pretty sure a lot of people would be willing to help you.

    Ling Yah: Well, after this discussion, you're so involved, so passionate about this space. Do you feel like you have found your, WHY?

    Nicole Yap: Yes, definitely. So to me, I feel that being able to inspire other women and other girls to create an NFT project, I think I have found my WHY. Each time whenever someone reach out to me and be like, Hey, Nicole, I'm new into this space.

    I want to know how to buy my first NFT or even start my own collection. I would be so happy for them and I'll be like, oh yes. And I think that is what keeps me going.

    As I mentioned what I had expedience last year where I was a woman and I was in the space and I had to hide my identity, right, just to fit in with the guys and in the NFT world.

    To me, that is so ridiculous.

    So I don't hope anyone to go through that as well. And I'm so happy that the NFT scene is not as what it is before.

    There are more women jumping in. So this is why I'm so excited for the space.

    Ling Yah: Is there any situation in which a person shouldn't launch their own NFT collection?

    Nicole Yap: I would say if you're here just to make a quick buck or if you're here with the idea like, okay, I want to make a million dollars, then you are definitely here for the wrong reasons.

    The NFT world, people are really smart. People do their own research .So if you have no idea what you're doing people will be able to see that eventually. This space will never grow if you are just here for the quick money You should know what you're doing and have a clear goal of what you're trying to achieve and how can your NFT contribute to the exposure of this technology?

    How can this be beneficial to mankind?

    That is the thought that creator should have, and not just here for like the quick money.

    Ling Yah: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

    Nicole Yap: To be the first woman in the NFT space to represent Asian cultures. This is a title that I'm proud of, and this is the kind of legacy where I want my kids to know. Like, Hey, you know, mommy did an NFT project back then and it was the first Asian representation in this space. So to me that is something that I'm really proud of.

    Ling Yah: What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful person?

    Nicole Yap: That is a good one. I would say basically just believing in yourself, even when the majority of the people they tell you that you can't do it, or like your idea is bad, and not letting all these kinds of noise stop you from doing what you want to do. It's your life and you are the only person that is steering the wheel in your life.

    So if you want to do something, you should just go ahead with it. I notice that there's a lot of people. They are so afraid that people will laugh at them for failing.

    it's not good, right? Because If you have that thought, then you would actually never do it because you're just so afraid that

    people would judge you. and stuff like that.

    So to me, the qualities of a successful person is to not listen to all these noise and then just do it, you know?

    Ling Yah: And where can people go to find out more about what you had doing, what 8SIAN is doing as well?

    Nicole Yap: You can head over to our website. It's 8siannft.com and all of our announcements is on discord and our Twitter as well.

    Ling Yah: And stay tuned for next Sunday because we will be meeting our third female guest in the NFT crypto space.

    But this is different because she has launched the first female led investment DAO which stands for decentralized autonomous organization. Think of it like a company where purchasing NFT gives you voting rights within the organization. They set the terms of course on what that means. And in this instance, their mission is to invest in other female-led NFT projects.

    Perhaps most excitingly, the DAO is also a part of groupHUG, which is a creator accelerator founded by Randi Zuckerberg. Yes, she's Mark Zuckerberg's sister. And is aimed at growing the next billion dollar woman led crypto business.

    We explore the process of her setting up a DAO, and also the earlier part of her life, where she succeeded in founding two, six, and seven figure businesses, the first while she was still in high school.

    This is not an episode you want to miss.

    So stick around, subscribe and see you next Sunday.

    External Links

    Some of the things we talked about in this STIMY Episode can be found below:

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