Welcome to Episode 86!
Our guest for STIMY Episode 86 is Roy aka Zeneca.
If you’ve been following STIMY recently, you’ll have noticed our recent Web 3.0 trend.
Yes, the market is bearish. Crypto is crashing. But more companies & individuals than ever are entering the space. NFT NYC just ended. Soul tokens are coming…
To make, hopefully, some sense of it all, STIMY is proud to present its latest guest – one of the most prolific NFT content creators & thought leaders around – to provide his take on all things NFTs:
Zeneca → a former professional poker player (15 years!) turned NFT founder, investor and educator. He has nearly 300k followers on Tweet that follow him for his opinions and analysis in the space. He is also the founder of ZenAcademy, an NFT community that aims to create a safe learning environment for people discovering their place in web3, has a newsletter, YouTube channel and 2 podcasts!
We had such a wide-ranging conversation that the episode has been split into 2.
This is Part 1.
Want to learn about more inspirational figures/initiatives & stay updated on latest blogs about Web3 law?
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Who is Zeneca?
Zeneca grew up in Australia, wasn’t altogether sporty and got really go at poker (which put him in the perfect position to enter into the NFT space later, as you’ll learn):
- 4:22 Becoming a professional poker player
- 6:27 Money is a tool
- 10:24 What success means for a poker player
Getting into NFTs & the Art of FOMO
One of the standout moments for me in our wide-ranging discussion on all things NFT investments: how Zeneca continues to leverage on FOMO when buying into a new NFT project. He doesn’t go in small, oh no.
Within 10-15 seconds, Zeneca will decide if he’s interested. And as was with the case of Goblintown, he ended up purchasing 60 Goblins off the secondary market!
- 13:58 Going back to crypto in 2020
- 16:35 When everything “clicked” for Zeneca about the NFT space
- 21:57 Best NFT learning resources
- 24:13 The “infinite regret” behind Zeneca’s 1st NFT purchase
- 25:20 FOMO
- 30:42 Deciding on an NFT investment in 10-15 seconds based on gut instinct
- 31:44 Goblintown.wtf
- 33:56 Why no roadmap?
- 36:42 CC0 NFTs have no copyright?
Cryptopunks, BAYC going to 0?!
Chances are even if you aren’t deep in the NFT space, you’ll have heard of the likes of Cryptopunks, Bored Apes Yacht Club etc.
Well, Zeneca happens to be a member of both communities (hello, Jimmy Fallon & Paris Hilton!) and is extremely bullish about generative art.
Also, if you’ve heard my previous NFT episodes (e.g. with Jamilia Grier), you’ll know how I have so many questions about the so-called “IP” rights around these NFTs as an IP practitioner myself.
So we delve into all that too!
- 39:37 Why Cryptopunks got so huge
- 41:52 Cryptopunks v Bored Apes Yacht Club
- 45:27 What it’s actually like being part of the BAYC community
- 48:14 Is BAYC overhyped?
- 50:49 What would it take for BAYC’s valuation to crash?
- 53:28 Buy a Punk, Sell an Ape?
- 55:04 What is generative art & why is Zeneca so bullish about it?
- 58:05 No copyright for generative art like Artblock?
If you’re looking for more inspirational stories, check out:
- Debbie Soon: Co-Founder of HUG (Web3 accelerator, discovery platform & pre-mint fund), and former Chief of Staff at ONE Championship
- Mai Akiyoshi: Co-Founder, Curious Addys’ Trading Club NFT
- Lily Wu: Co-Founder of WOW Pixies – the first venture DAO focused on women-led NFT projects. Previously founded two 7-figure businesses in the shoe/sneaker and edtech industry.
- Nicole Yap: Co-Founder, 8sian NFT – the first NFT collection focused on Asian women (including the creation of a Chinatown in the metaverse, Fashion Week & high profile collaborations!)
- 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
If you enjoyed this episode with Zeneca, you can:
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If you’d like to support STIMY as a patron, you can visit STIMY’s Patreon page here.
Some of the things we talked about in this STIMY Episode can be found below:
- Zeneca: Twitter
- Power to the Person
- Finematics YouTube channel – Zeneca’s #1 crypto study guide
- Subscribe to the STIMY Podcast for alerts on future episodes at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher & RadioPublic
- Leave a review on what you thought of this episode HERE or the comment section of this post below
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STIMY Ep 86-1: Zeneca, Founder of ZenAcademy
Zeneca: last night I FOMO into a project, it was Goblintown. And I literally did buy into this based on 10 or 15 seconds. So Goblintown, it's a meme that's running in the crypto and nft space when the market is bearish.
I'm a big fan of memes carrying value and being powerful and in life and in NFTs and stuff. So already, that was good. The website it's fun. It's got some good music. It's well-made the art is nice it was a free mint. Which I like, generally speaking, I actually didn't mint it.
I bought a secondary.
One per wallet. there's no roadmap, no discord, no utility. It's CC0 so the IP is, anyone can use do whatever they want with it, which I'm personally a fan on. I've written about a bunch. Other projects have done very well with that model. I think the art is fairly high quality and unique.
It's not similar to most. It's not like a derivative project. It's not just a copycat of something else. Like this is something unique that has had a bit of work put into it. And yeah, so based on, literally 10, 15 seconds looking at the website, I decided, all right. I am in, I want to get in.
Ling Yah: Hey everyone. Welcome to episode 86 part 1 1 of the So This Is My Why podcast. I'm your hosting producer, Ling Yah, and hello from sunny London!
If you're listening to this episode, it's probably because you are either really interested in the world of NFTs, web three or at the release are intrigued by what all the buzz is about, particularly with the recent NFT NYC that's been flooding Twitter.
Well if you are, do I have a treat for you because today's guest is Zeneca or Roy, one of the most prolific NFT thought leaders out there with almost 300,000 Twitter followers. And is also the founder of his own NFT project called Zen Academy. Has a YouTube channel, newsletter and not one but two podcasts. So who exactly is Zeneca?
Well, he was a professional poker player for 15 years and the experience lead him to think of money in a very interesting way. A thinking that's proven to be really helpful as he's entered into NFTs. He owns Cryptopunks, Bored Apes, generative art from the likes of art block, 60 goblins from Goblintown.
And thanks to his wide ranging NFT investments, his net worth has x100 in one year. So how did he do?
What is it like really being a part of the crypto punks and board ape community? What would it take according to Zeneca, for Bored Apes to completely lose its value and drop to zero.
And why is he so bullish on generative art? We cover all that and more in part 1 1 of two of this interview with Zeneca.
Do stick around, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode, so please do leave a rating and review on the podcast platform you're listening to this on.
To leave a review, you can follow the link that's also left in the description for this podcast episode. Every review does allow more people to find this show and allow the podcast to grow. Now, are you ready?
Zeneca: So I've always loved games. Playing chess when I was three or four. We played a lot of cards growing up. My grandma's big card players. So whenever we'd visit my parents from India, whenever we go back to India to stay with her, it was just always playing cards, cards, cards, cards, and I mean, it still is.
Even now if we go back, we play cards, we play Rummy. So yeah, just always love games, board games, video games, card games. And so I knew how to play poker a little bit, but I never like properly played. And then when I was, I think, 16 or 17, so it was my last or second last year of high school. Poker at this time in 2004, 2005 were starting to like blow up.
It was really popularized because it was shown on ESPN. They were like showing it on TV, really making it almost quote unquote sport out of it. Like it's televised activity that people were making it entertainment, I guess. And so, you know, it was blowing up everywhere.
I was at a friend's house on the weekend, we were playing halo, like there's four eight of us playing halo. It's a video game. And then during the break we ordered the pizza and turn the TV on and poker was on.
I had never really seen it like that, but one of my friends Glen still remember him, he knew what it was and he sort of told us about the rules and how it was played and just like sort immediately fascinated me because obviously I like games and stuff.
So yeah, from there I went online. I tried to like find out material and learn and play poker and be better at poker. Then I ordered a bunch of books and just sort of went down the rabbit hole basically.
And I was like playing with my friends and I started playing online a little bit just for free. Playing money and not really any real money, especially. I mean, it was difficult that I guess, 16, 17 to even deposit money online. And then eventually I did deposit I think, $50 and was able to make money from it and just kept doing that, I guess.
Ling Yah: You eventually go pro.
Ling Yah: It must've been an interesting conversation with your parents as well.
Zeneca: Yeah. It wasn't a specific, Hey, I'm going to be a professional poker player. I finished high school and then went to university and I was studying commerce with a view to do law. But at the same time, like last few months of high school and certainly as I started getting into the first few months of university, I was really playing a lot of poker, making pretty decent money at this point: two, three, $4,000 a month, which, you know, as an 18 year old kid, that's a lot of money.
so I was just not paying as much attention to university and not enjoying it. I would go to my classes and my laptop play online poker. I would travel a bit and just really was enjoying life. At that point in my mind, I was pretty sure I just wanted to sort of go pro and that's all I wanted to do.
But I sort of framed it for parents. I'm gonna take six months off. I want to travel. Then I'll probably come back. So after the six months I went back for about 45 minutes. I went back, I had my first class and I think it was an accounting class and they were sort of teaching us how to use Microsoft Excel.
40 minutes and I was just bored and not interested. And again, poker was still going well. So I decided to, at that point, really just drop out and focus on poker. And that lasted about 15 years basically.
Ling Yah: Did you think at that point when you dropped out, I'm going to do poker for a bit and I'm going to hit this particular goal. Or was it just, I like poker, I don't like accounting. I'm just going to go with it.
Zeneca: Yeah. It was more go with the flow I think. In my mind I had like dreams and aspirations to is just play poker, make ton of money and then retire and not have to do anything else. And I think if I were smarter, more disciplined , wiser with my money and more frugal and all that kind of stuff, maybe I could have done and set myself up a lot more favorably, but it was really go with the flow.
This is fun. This is relatively easy compared to other options. And I was enjoying life. So then I just said, let me just see where this goes.
Ling Yah: I imagine as a professional poker player and as you said you've played it for 15 years, you see money in a very different way from how most people would.
I mean, when people get money, the spending of the money is very emotional. But I imagine you can't possibly do that as poker player, let alone a successful one. And you once said that you see money as a tool. So what is that mindset that poker has given you?
Zeneca: Yeah, you're absolutely right.
Most jobs you go to, you don't work 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, work for a month or two and lose money. Like that's just usually never an option. You can be unemployed and not making money. You can get a pay cut but it's very different. You don't go to work and then work for all day and then come out with way less money than you started with.
So I think that's different when it comes to poker and trading, you can very much realistically lose money, even though you're working, playing well during all the right things, quote unquote.
So you need what I sort of call a healthy disassociation to money. When you're sitting down at a poker table, for instance, and you're trying to decide whether to call a bet or raise, go all in, fold. If you're looking at the chips as what the utility of that money would do in real life.
Like if you say, well, if I call this and win a big pot, well, maybe that's a holiday or maybe this is a car, or if I lose that's two weeks rent, or this could be a nice meal, or this is a movie.
If you're just constantly thinking about what that money can get, you, drive yourself crazy. Your emotions are too intertwined. You're usually not gonna be able to think logically and make the best decision, because you're thinking about like the emotions of it.
So finding a way to detach yourself from that and view money as a tool, as like chips, as numbers and not sort of the utility of what that money can do is important for, I think staying sane and not just having your emotions affect your decisions too much.
And I think that's something that is really necessary in poker and then in, NFTs, crypto web three trading, investing in general. Really important.
Ling Yah: This mindset, did it take you a while to get it? Is it possible for someone to not play poker, but still develop that sort of mindset? I imagine the basic way would be to put and use money that is not your entire net worth. It's money that you expect to never see again.
Is that a healthy way?
Zeneca: Yes! Yes. That's healthy. That's actually exactly what I was about to talk about. It fell out of my head, but I was going to talk about like bankroll management and separating sort of a bankroll that you used to play poker with or invest in crypto and NFTs and your real life funds and money.
One of the most important and first steps to take, I think is setting aside rent money.
Six months of living costs, 12 months living costs and having a separate bankroll and basket of funds to use to play poker with, or invested with and trade with and gamble with basically, cause it is high risk.
So that, if that fluctuates, you know that you have a separate allocation of funds to put a roof over your head, put food in your mouth and all that kind of stuff. So I think that, yeah, it is really, really important to have a bank roll and have a delineation between, living costs and investing or gambling or poker costs.
Is it possible to sort of have that relationship with money without poker or entities? Probably, but don't think that many people would, and I'm not even sure it's beneficial to have that.
If you're not trading or if you're not investing in anything high risk or playing poker or taking high risks, it's probably better to take, I guess, money more seriously, and to not be as flippant with it as maybe a poker player or an investor might be.
like Certainly there are poker players who are better at, I guess, being frugal and using money more wisely. But for me, it's difficult.
I guess just like going out for a meal or like ordering delivery or taking an Uber somewhere instead of walking or public transport for me, it's like alright. That to me is an acceptable expense and that's like, okay, so money, it can save me a bit of time.
Whereas it might make sense, it's like save that money and put it into investments and like compound interest and really just be a little more savvy with finances.
In terms of like setting yourself up and security and long-term stuff, it probably makes sense to be that way, but I found it difficult. it gets back to that healthy disassociation of money concept.
Whereas like on the one hand, you don't want to respect money so much that you are afraid to like bet or gamble with it or trade with it, but you don't want to respect it, like nothing either, because then you treated it like water and you just make bad decisions because money is meaningless.
So it's finding that middle ground and I'm somewhere on the spectrum. I think for me personally, I've found a good, good space. I guess everyone in life is somewhere on the spectrum. Like some people just don't care and they'll rack up tons of credit card debt and all that kind of stuff. And then other people just save every penny . in.
Ling Yah: Do you have any idea of what success looked like? Was it, oh, I want to make X amount of money because if you're in a traditional white collar job, you know where you're going. But for poker game, I don't think so.
Zeneca: Yeah. It is different. I had various goals over the years. There's various different metrics.
One of them is just sort of like the games that you play in, in terms of like the stakes. There's small stakes, medium stakes, high stakes, very high stakes which have different buy-ins and blinds and amounts of money that you need to play realistically.
The goal was largely just move up in stakes and be able to play highest stakes and do so while having a bankroll that is like adequate and comfortable. So I would say I never had a extremely specific goals saying, I want to play these stakes. I want to have this much money, but it was just generally just moving up and progressing through the ranks in that sort of way.
Ling Yah: So you were in space no strangers to the online world. And I learned that you first dabbled in crypto in 2016, 17. How did that first happen?
Zeneca: It was pretty much because of poker or like just talking to people in the poker space. A lot of poker players, I think were fairly early to crypto I remember back in 20 10, 20 11, 2009, very, very early. When Bitcoin was first a thing and people were talking about it. There was, or there still is, is very popular online poker forum called two-plus two, where basically everyone would hang out and talk about obviously poker, but then off topic, things, investing and anything under the sun.
And there was, you know, a threat on Bitcoin. Actually there was a poker site that people would play in Bitcoin as well. I think it was called seals with Cubs or clubs way back in the day. don't believe I ever played there. so I was aware of Bitcoin, but I never really did anything with it until 20 16, 20 17.
Just then Bitcoin, Ethereum was around crypto was like more commonly known. People were talking about it more as more in the zeitgeists. And so I was playing more live pokers. Prior to that and most of my poker was online, say for a couple of tournaments here and there.
Online poker laws changed in Australia where I was living. Basically poker companies could no longer offer the games to Australians. So I had to look for alternatives and that's where I went to play more and more in person.
And just around the poker table, people started talking about crypto and online chatting to in group chats with poker, friends and stuff, it just became more of a conversation. And so I looked into it and it started to interest me like a bit. it It appealed to me from the perspective of obviously you can make money and numbers going up and people are talking about it.
It sounded cool, especially Ethereum and things like smart contracts and dApps and all of these concepts that when I read like an article or something about it, it sounds really, really cool, but I wasn't tech savvy enough or forward thinking enough to really conceptualize the use cases.
I was like, this sounds really, really cool. That's the end of it. And so I had a bit of conviction. It's like, I like it. And I trust it because all these smart people seem to like it and trust it. But I didn't really have that conviction myself. So I dabbled a bit, I bought some coins as I would take some of my poker winnings and buy some Ethereum and dabble with some old coins and no real idea of what I was doing.
I made a bunch of money because it was impossible not to if you got in, like before that bull run. But for the most part, I kept it in crypto. So then it came crashing down it was almost like, alright, that was fun. That was a good experiment.
Whatever, let's go back to relapse, back to poker. Because I didn't have that conviction or understanding of the space that the builders and the people who stuck around for years and years, and really laid the foundation for what is all around us now had, so yeah, 20 16, 20 17 got into crypto.
Then really from, I guess, 2017, all the way to late 2020, early 2021, I was pretty much out of it save for the fact that there was one online site I played in Bitcoin towards the end. But basically all I would do was withdraw the Bitcoin back to Australian dollars. And so like, I didn't trade in any other coins that didn't really care about following Bitcoin's price too much.
Other than when it went up. I, I was making a little bit more money.
Ling Yah: So what changed at the end of 2020, 2021?
Zeneca: Well, yeah, so obviously numbers started going up a lot and that just sort of made me more interested, especially going into early 20 21. I still had some coins and so I was like, oh, let me go check on these coins that I thought were basically worthless.
I kept about, I think 20. 20, 25 Eth? I guess in the back of my mind, I always sort of had this inkling that Eth is going to come back. I was more bullish on Eth and Bitcoin back in 20 16, 20 17, then anything else. while I didn't really take profits when Eth hit all-time highs back then. I didn't really panic or like sell when it hit $500, $200.
And it's sort of like, well, yeah, okay. I'm just going to hold it and see what happens. When all that stuff happened, I was like, okay, so now there's real money here. I need to figure out what I want to do with it. Do I hold, do I sell? And I think for a reasonable part, a lot of the altcoins that I had very little understanding or conviction of that I thought we've written off. I started selling off bits and pieces there just to take profit. But that's sort of when I started thinking about crypto more again, because I had some assets to manage prices of going out more and more people were talking about it obviously.
And it was in mid February that I had my friend, Jamie, who I've known for 15 years, my best friend, and we've been through poker and everything. We now have our own podcast. He asked me if I knew what a hash mark was. So obviously referring to hash masks and NFT project that launched them. But he, you know, he said, hash mark.
I had no idea what he was talking about. He didn't really know what he was talking about. I said, no, I'd never heard of it. Sort of like drop that for a week or so. And then, he started mentioning NFTs a little bit to me again, over the course of a couple of weeks, because he had some friends that had sort of stayed in crypto for the last four years.
And they went to NFTs and talking to him about it. And I think for the most part we did not get it. We thought it was a scam, it was a college.
It didn't make sense. And then these other friends of his word just like burning money basically, not an uncommon thing for players to get into something totally crazy and ridiculous and burn money. But on the flip side, it's also not uncommon for them to be at the forefront of, of something brand new and big and make tons of money.
So I think eventually both he and I realized, we should maybe take a little more seriously and dig deeper and he found a really, Turning point, basically an article written by Patty McCormick called power to the person. And it was all about the creator economy and what entities can do and why they might be value and why there might be value in the punks and these early NFTs.
And so he read that and he told me that I needed to read it. So I read that and that's sort of when the shift started to happen in my mind where I was like, okay, maybe it's not totally a scam. Maybe there's something here. There's something powerful here. There's something different here.
Ling Yah: What was it about that article that you describe it as everything clicked for you, what was it that clicked?
Zeneca: I think it's been a long time since I've read it, but if I'm remembering correctly, there are two key concepts that I really took away. One being that with NFTs, we're really moving into this digital age of ownership where it's almost like a new asset class being creative with, let's say art, or even collectibles art and crypto punks.
And it was sort of like, well, imagine being able to go back a thousand years, 2000 years, and by like the earliest pieces of art or like of a genre or something in that ilk. And so realizing. That the technology was run on the Ethereum blockchain and the Ethereum blockchain is, or whatever, blockchain, but focused on a serum likely to be around.
And, you know, they've been building and it's now as well as salvaged thing. And there's a lot of cool things you can do with it. You can verify ownership and provenance was a huge thing that, obviously there's value there. So that was one thing where I was like, oh, okay. Maybe, there's a lot of value or that there will be in the future.
I'd have no idea when to own or to have exposure to these really early assets.
But the other thing I think, which was even more fundamental to the shift in my mindset was in the title of the article, the whole creator economy aspect, where all of a sudden now anyone from around the world could create anything, whether it's art, whether it's music, whether it's this, that, or the other and sell it as a digital asset as an NFT to anyone in the world and, creators could connect with fans, collectors and sort of bridge that gap and reward creators more.
While at the same time, like eliminating the middle person, you know? But that's one of the best, key things about crypto. You get rid of these intermediaries and middle people, and, reducing fees and costs and it's a shame for the industries that have been taking a cut of everything just to provide these services. But if we can conduct transactions in a permissionless trustless manner where we don't have to trust a third party, we can, we can trust code code is law and technology then yeah, it's just a huge win.
So really understanding those few things and, how it could and would has unlocked all this potential around the world and talent really as well. understanding that there's so much talent out there in the world that for many reasons, because people focused on putting food in the mouth and a roof over their head are unable to, spend time creating art because no one's going to find or buy their art in.
If they don't live somewhere where art is a big industry or they're in a bias, all of a sudden now maybe if they can sell online, then we can Just unlock talent it's a great article. Everyone should read it.
Ling Yah: Yes. I will link it in the show notes as well.
So you discovered and understood the potential behind the technology of NFTs. What was the next step? Purchasing one?
Zeneca: Yeah. So honestly the next step was I wanted a P unk cause in that article that talk about punks and then very quickly saw the price of them and it's like, okay, I could spend basically all the crypto I had I don't even know if I had enough ease at the time.
It was like, I could put everything in a punk. But I didn't like, Hey, that's really risky putting into one single thing. And B I still didn't really understand, like, All right, this is really smart. Okay. I get that all my smart friends and really smart people now believe in, crypto and NFTs.
So it's probably a smart thing to get into it, but because I didn't yet have that really strong conviction myself, it would have been very difficult to sort of go all in on a punk. But there was the punks token and ERC 20 token that basically I think using NFTE X or one of those pools where people basically fractionalized or like tokenized punks, was possible to buy, say 3% of a punk will have exposure to 3% of punk.
And that was basically the next step. Jamie and I together, Jamie was talking about wanting to do that. And I said, okay, I'm interested in this. I have a little bit of Eth. how might I go about it? And. the next step is really funny because he, I think he actually sent a screenshot from one of his friends who had been in the space for awhile.
And it was like, all right, so we want to buy some punks tokens. How do we do it? And this friend that said, oh, it's really easy.
Here's sushi swap, just go to this site get some Eth into metamask, and then connect, find the, token pool, wrap some Eth.
And I didn't know what metamask was. I didn't know what sushi swap was. I didn't know what wrapped eth. I didn't know what any of this was. And it's just like, think about this often, because I think for those of us who've been in the space for six months a year, we sort of take for granted some of these things and how common it is.
But then when you think about someone new to the space, just these terms, it's just so foreign and different to our way of thinking. That, yeah, I was just like, all right, so I'm going to need handholding. and then honestly it was a lot of asking questions, a lot of doing research myself and a lot of fear as well, because when you're sending money to minimize, but signing a transaction and paying gas, you know, it's real money.
And if you make a mistake, there's no taking it back as well. So I think the next month or so it was just really just figuring out basic terms. And I remember I literally sat down one day. month plus or after really having that Mindshift change, I made it like a conscious decision.
All right. I really want to focus on learning and then understanding this more because it does seem real and there's a lot of opportunity here. So I sat down one day and I just wrote down a list of just different phrases that I'd heard, but it had no real understanding of, and just wanted to know better.
And they were things like layer, twos, liquidity pools , sushi swap so many different things. And I just started going through them one by one and, trying to figure out what they all were. Actually, I should try and find if I have that list somewhere, because that'd be fascinating to go back and see.
Ling Yah: Hey, there dropping in to say, if you've been enjoying this conversation so far, would you consider buying STIMY a coffee, You can find the link in the description of this podcast episode.
Every little coffee that you buy does help this podcast to grow, and it will be much appreciated.
Yeah. And it would probably be very helpful for you when you're doing your own education as well. Since you also recently sent out a tweet, what was it that you wish you had learned when you first entered the space as well?
Zeneca: Yeah. Yeah.
Ling Yah: When you first started learning, were there particular sources that you use that you found very helpful that people well listen to this now, and they are also facing the exact same dilemma as you, but you think would really benefit from.
I honestly, probably the. Best source for my learning about crypto in general back then was this YouTube channel Finematics.
It was run by this amazing educator who would spend 10 to 20 minutes each video going over one concept and, and really just doing it in an easy to understand way. And I would watch those again and again and again, because just watching a once, it's usually not enough to understand something like liquidity pools and farming yields and all that. But yeah, I really went back to those a lot. And actually when I first started Zen academy, which we'll get you later, I had the idea of creating videos in the same fashion. So it's sorta like that whiteboard style where he's talking and there's, animations being drawn.
Ling Yah: It's a huge YouTube channel right now. And it's very helpful, even for me as well when I discovered it was such a goldmine.
Zeneca: Yeah. It's so good. So yeah, that, more than anything. And then obviously talking to friends and, and asking questions and then just regular Googling and stuff. but nothing I think was as helpful at that time, then the Finematics channel.
Ling Yah: We are not afraid because there is all these words of scams and people are rug pulls where you're not worried that you might be talking to people who might have intentions that were not aligned with yours?
Zeneca: I was really, really lucky. No, because I sort of knew the people that I was talking with. So Jamie, obviously we were sort of chatting back and forth. It's learning together. And then we had a group chat that we created with some of his friends. Then now I would consider them my friends now as well, that, you know, we'd known for years and years through poker and trusted with our lives, basically tons of tons of money.
I knew that they were good people and trying to help us. And they were offering their experience and like we have questions and they would usually answer. And I think I was still naive back then. I didn't really realize how many scams and rug pools and just how prevalent that was in the space.
To me, the biggest risks were not interacting with a malicious website or a scam website. It was a user error. I was like, well, interacting with legitimate websites, but doing the wrong thing. And I certainly wasted a good amount of money just doing the wrong thing, signing transactions to approve tokens and stuff like that that were unnecessary and just wasted gas.
Ling Yah: Speaking of waste of money, I found this tweet you sent on 15th, March, 2022. A year ago, you bought your first NFC and you described as infinite regret.
Zeneca: To me about that. So my first NFT was, it was so out of the same group chat, which I've just been praising there was a conversation about, and NFT projects would come up occasionally.
And at this point there were very few that were open for mint. It was very difficult to find an NFT that you could mint by and large. For me, it was OpenSea where obviously everything was secondary. And I love the idea of maybe getting it or mint. I was like, oh, I missed the crypto punks. I missed hashmasks. I missed avatars. I missed, all the projects, et cetera. And so in the group chat, it wasn't even directed at me that I was just listening to like fly on the wall, this conversation. And they were talking about this energy project that they had mentored. And I just sort of basically FOMO it in.
And I followed the link, went to the website and minted a couple. And it just, was clearly not going to be successful. It was almost a meme project back before meme projects were a thing. And yeah, I definitely had a load of regret for a while after that. And I learned a valuable lesson to not just FOMO in because people are talking about it.
But you know, now it's, just fun looking back.
Ling Yah: I love that you talked about the word FOMO, because that's probably the first thing that you hear when you try to get into the NFT space. And it reminds me of a tweet. I saw recently that someone sent to you about how they saw a tweet.
You send about this particular project and they didn't do any research. They jumped into it and they bought it and I'm sure FOMO drove as well. How do you think about FOMO because it's inevitable, but at the same time you need to manage it as well.
Zeneca: Yeah, it's really tricky. I think obviously it's ever in this space because of how quick the space moves and how quickly people are able to two X, five X, 10 X, a hundred X, their money with just the right mint.
And it sort of makes people feel as though any mint could be that mint or any purchase could be the purchase. So if they see people buying one I think the mindset is, should I also be buying this as it's going to go to the moon? I don't want to miss out. I have that fear of missing out on profit, basically where it comes from.
So it's a, certainly a problem because obviously most projects are not going to perform exceptionally well. Most projects are going to go to zero and that's even legitimate projects, let alone, the malicious projects, the ruck bulls, the scams that you mint and then team disappears and the money disappears.
And if you FOMO into those, it's even worse than when FOMO into something a little more legitimate. So yeah, it's prevalent. And I think it requires a level of like almost constant vigilance to sort of recognize when it's happening and identify that it's happening.
That's the first point. And then maybe take a step back, take a breather and, reevaluate your, decisions. And so FOMO creates all these emotions and you want to trade and buy or even sell based on emotions and try to separate that and think logically through the situation. And in many instances I would say firmer can be a good thing because it's almost like if everyone is talking about a project and you feel a bit of FOMO, maybe it's because the project is legitimate. It's fantastic. You just hadn't heard about it and you need to be paying attention to it. I always say I go back to the example. I have three board apes. I bought them all after mint on secondary, but a month after people asked me, why did I buy it? It was FOMO.
It was a hundred percent FOMO.
If you're on Twitter, in the crypto and NFT space, especially the NFT space in may 2021, everything was Bored apes. Everyone was talking about it. And to begin with, it was a little annoying to me cause like I didn't quite get it. I had previously bought a different eight project that hadn't taken off.
And so I was a little bit salty. And I was like, well, why is this one better than my one Apeonly, yeah. Which is amazing. thought it still is I like the art a much lower supply, 999. You could burn the NFT for a physical metal print of it, which, even today that's really cool utility.
And then yes, so Bored Apes came along. I missed the mint. They were going slightly crazy, but not totally crazy. And I just didn't quite get it. And so I sort of ignored it and was stubborn. But then at a certain point, it became on ignorable.
Everyone was talking.
I was like, okay, I have FOMO. I want to be a part of it, but I certainly felt that I don't know, consciously thinking, well, it's not just for me. Like if everyone is talking about this project there might be something to it and there are all these derivatives being created and it just seemed fun as well.
It's just like the community is vibing and passionate and on Twitter everywhere. And yeah, I just wanted to be a part of it. So that's an instance where FOMO obviously went well and treated me well, but I mean, there's plenty of instances where it's, not had a good result.
Ling Yah: Did you also jump into their Discord court to do some research and analyze whether this was a community you wanted to be in?
Zeneca: I actually can't remember if I joined the discord before buying or not. Certainly afterwards. So I bought the three, but they weren't like all one after the other. I think it was within the space of a couple of days. So certainly after buying the first one, I would have jumped into the server and spent some time hanging out.
but I think for me, I sort of engage with the community more on Twitter than in the discord server. But yeah, I mean, it seemed really positive to me just based on how the community was engaging with one another back then.
Ling Yah: Before we jumped deep into the Bored Apes world, I wanted to ask, since you have clearly benefited from FOMO and you understand it, but you've also been in that space for a long time.
You've seen the drawbacks as well, would they ever be a project in the future where you would jump into it without any research, but because you felt that there was a potential and you didn't have time to do the research.
Zeneca: Yeah. I mean, all the time I still do it. I still do it sometimes because, Hey, yeah, I just don't have the time sometimes.
but again, it all comes down and as long as you're conscious and aware of what you're doing, so if I'm moving in or buying into a project, meeting in without doing a lot of research, I understand that it's high risk and that I might be minting a rug pool and there's some percentage chance to go to zero.
But I think that Asymmetrical bet. So it's sorta like if you're in something 0.05, for example, 1.1 and what's the worst that could happen? Well, it goes to zero. Okay. That's kind of bad, but then you think that what's the best that could happen. Well, what if it goes to one east 2 8, 5, 8, 10 Eth?
The upside is. Yeah on. Whereas the downside is capped and obviously most projects are not going to mint at 0.1 to go to one eighth and, and et cetera, et cetera. And it's a little more complicated because some centers, the time it drops 50%, 30% sometimes when it goes up, it only goes up a little bit and then there's tax and then there's royalties and fees and other things.
So there's a whole mess of it, but just the crux of it is, what's the worst that can happen. It goes to zero. Okay. Am I okay losing this amount of money? Am I only FOMOing with funds that, I am comfortable losing, I have in this high risk bankroll allocation basically.
And if the answer is yes, then I FOMO in, or I mint without a lot of research and usually try and do that research later. there's a fun saying that goes around, which is when the market is bullish, that's when people mint first and research later, and then when it's bearish, it's the other way around.
Ling Yah: I feel as though you must surely have some kind of checklist, even though you were FOMOing in. For instance, I hear a lot about this project, but probably because they are from people that I really trust what you say you had that kind of checklist in your mind as well.
Zeneca: Yeah, no, for sure. It's not a conscious decision, but I feel like I've gotten to the point where I can look at, say a project, the website and Twitter.
Literally 10 to 15 seconds. And I have a gut feeling about whether it's a good project or a project that I'm going to be happy to mint or not. Obviously there's infinite exceptions and sometimes I'll miss things, I'll make wrong decisions all the time. But for a good part, that gut instinct and reaction is fairly accurate.
And it's based on, a year of experience of looking at hundreds, maybe thousands of projects. and just identifying, going almost as you say, it is mental checklist subconsciously where I just notice and see whether the team is there and whether they've got LinkedIn and real photos or not see whether the roadmap, what the arts, like how much thought they put on the website and mid price and all that kind of stuff.
It's just sort of take a snapshot. Yeah, so sometimes I do that.
Ling Yah: I feel like it's almost a crime to not ask you to be more specific about what this gut feeling is and how it looks like. Are there particular projects that you don't mind sharing in terms of how you analyze within 10, 15 seconds and decided it was great.
Zeneca: I can give you an example from last night, because last night I FOMO into a project, it was Goblintown So their website is goblin town.wtf. And I literally did buy into this based on 10 or 15 seconds. So Goblintown it's a meme that's running in the crypto and nft space when the market is bearish.
I'm a big fan of memes carrying value and being powerful and in life and in NFTs and stuff. So already, that was good. The website it's fun. It's got some good music. It's well-made the art is nice it was a free mint. Which I like, generally speaking, I actually didn't mint it.
I bought a secondary.
One per wallet. there's no roadmap, no discord, no utility. It's CC0 so the IP is, anyone can use do whatever they want with it, which I'm personally a fan on. I've written about a bunch. Other projects have done very well with that model. I think the art is fairly high quality and unique.
It's not similar to most. It's not like a derivative project. It's not just a copycat of something else. Like this is something unique that has had a bit of work put into it. And yeah, so based on, literally 10, 15 seconds looking at the website, I decided, all right. I am in I want to get in I think if this was a bull market as well, I think this would have taken off really well because it's bearish market.
It's, a little more risky, so it was a free mint and on secondary, I think there were at point or two or 0.03 when I found them. And yeah, I bought about 60 of them. And they went up to like point are eight. Something. And now they're like 0.0 6.7. So that one sort of paid off, worked out in terms of very, very short term.
I haven't sold any and I guess my general strategy with things like this is I don't necessarily want to make it to X and just mint and then flip and then do all that. I'm a happy to hold a bit longer and try. And, you know, if it goes to five or 10 X, then I'll start selling a bit to cover costs and all that.
But certainly like eight months ago, 10 months ago when I was actively trading a lot, this sort of thing would have been regular regular night where I found a project like this, I mentored a bunch. And then over the course of the next few hours, I started listing them to COVID costs and making a profit and build my bank roll up.
And yeah, those like the thoughts that went through my mind with goblin town.
Ling Yah: I found it interesting that you said no roadmap and you were okay with that, but that seems to be a factor that most people would take into account. You need to show that you've put thought into it, a roadmap before I decide whether to buy into it.
Zeneca: I'm the opposite. in many ways. So my project Zen academy, there's no roadmap.
I'm a fan of no roadmap ideas in general. I think that A well thought out, innovative roadmap that has a team behind it that can execute on it and, and sounds really great.
That's almost priceless. That's fantastic. But I think 95, 90 9% of roadmaps are not like that. They're sort of copycats of other roadmaps. They're really low effort. There's nothing innovative. There's nothing mind blowing or revolutionary. And to me that is a really big strike against a project a project roadmap is the same, as we've seen everywhere, where they're saying, we're going to release a comic, we're going to airdrop companion NFTs.
We may be going to have an ERC 20 token. We're going to do some live event. We're going to put some money into a community treasury we're going to donate to charity. that's great of course, but it's nothing new. And partnerships and we'll give them lists allocations.
And that's below the bare minimum. I think these days we're going to be much of what we can expect from a project. And so that, to me a says the team hasn't isn't innovative or like really doing anything revolutionary in the market. But B the, sort of the general issue that I have of roadmaps are that they sort of force a team to sort of do certain things because people have mentored and bought a project based on the roadmaps, and then rightfully so the team is obligated to fulfill that roadmap.
and in our space, which moves so quickly and it's constantly changing and evolving. I really think that the, ability to remain flexible agile and change with the market, doing new things go, oh, okay. So we were thinking of doing a companion NFT drop, but that doesn't seem to be at gunna, like it's going to add values to maybe we're not going to do that anymore.
And just sort of adjusting to the market. Maybe you come up with a new idea three months off to mint that you hadn't even thought of it before, and you want to execute on that. So I think yeah, it's just general under promise over deliver type things and Also with no roadmap. It kind of in a way allows the community to have more ownership and control over the project because they can come together and decide what they want to do.
And again, this is, this is a larger discussion as well, but it's sort of like how much of a project is, owned or run by the team. And what about the community? Obviously the community owns the NFTs, but then the team launch them and has a vision and a treasury and the excuse of things. So I guess I'm, I'm fairly bullish on communities and, it's trite and it's a buzzword, but I think community is really, really powerful.
when there's no road map, when the IP is CC zero, so anyone can do whatever they want with it. That, to me unlocks the ability for a mean basically an NFT meme to really take off. And so we saw that with MFers basically no roadmap, no real teams. Satoshi is the person behind it, but he said, there's no discord.
I'm not doing anything. Is this community owned? And that again, back to government down, that's sort of what appealed to me from that.
Ling Yah: I found it very interesting. We talk about CC0 because I'm an IP lawyer, so this kind of space really interests me. And for me when I hear a CC0, I just think, yeah, but does that mean that you don't really care about the commercialization of the IP?
I mean, of course there's a big benefit, which means that everyone can work on it and create their own variations, but that line becomes blur in terms of how much effort you put in to qualify as being an IP, and then you can commercialize it and create your own much. For instance, if you buy an nft, it really is quite difficult, I would say.
Zeneca: Yeah, difficult. It's, fascinating. Honestly. I love thinking about it and talking about it. And I think that I'm not an expert, certainly nowhere near as much as you, but in the little reading that I've done, it seemed like a lot of the stuff that was CC0 prior to entities and stuff was like educational content and material that no one wanted to commercialize.
They were free for everyone to learn when it comes to NFTs and an IP. When in many instances, projects are thinking about like building a brand, telling a story and having value in that. I love the different projects or experimenting with different models, so full commercial rights and then limited commercial rights and all that kind of stuff.
I think it really does change the incentive structure and more than anything. It unlocks freedom. For creativity and freedom for creators to sort of take a base character or a base idea and do whatever they want with it. if they want to monetize and commercialize it, they can with whatever they've done to it.
And if not, then they don't. And I think when it comes to the team that created it and decided to, not withhold any, licensing or rights and just say, all right, CC zero. I think it's obviously a very conscious decision and I think perhaps they're not in it for the money, perhaps they just want to see this brand, this idea propagated around the world and, and see more people build upon it.
And I think that also can sort of work where they themselves want to create sort of a vision, but they think that it will be beneficial if the community can do also whatever they want with it. do you have a main story and narrative that the team is working on and building and then anyone else can do whatever and for whatever reason they think that, all right.
So there will be value in, I guess, the original underlying assets. So again sort of an example that I saw the bulletin mat project used was, King Arthur Excalibur sword, you know, imagine if that was an NFT, so it's CC0. Anyone can tell a story with that, but owning that one, I mean, there's tremendous value.
I think collectors and historians and everyone really would find that valuable. So I think, I don't know really, really fascinating discussion about incentives and, all of that. But I'm a fan of Caesar. I don't think it's right for every project or maybe even most projects. And there's a lot of reason not to do it, but I think it's just cool and interesting.
And it is like, I love when project experiment with new ideas.
Ling Yah: I mean, it's a very huge topic that we can easily spend two, three hours. So I wouldn't go there, but I hope that people, when they do use CC0 or they do actually do the necessary research because not all creative commons licenses are created equal and they have different rights every single time.
So I wanted to go back because you've been in that space for so long. Earlier, we talked about crypto punks and that was one of the first projects that went really big and it's become the status symbol identity because if in a space for so long, why is it so huge?
Zeneca: Yeah, so it really was the first NFT project that blew up and had sort of, astronomical prices I think say for maybe a couple of early art pieces and rare things like that. But I will guess it was the first 10 K PFE projects. So like that's something that's everywhere now.
Bored apes and like thousands of projects since then have done 10 K PFE projects. And I think that because they were first there's value in being early, being the first and there was so early, they were 2017. So four years before the board, apes and years before most other projects like that. And as we've seen now have sort of identified value in having a online PFP, whether it's personality identity to represent yourself online and because they were so early, the crypto punks there wasn't really much else out there.
They just naturally became valuable and almost like a status symbol and a collector's item and merge into one. Also the fact that those who were collecting them early in 2017 these were the most serious people in crypto, but by and large, and, and if he's like no real casual retail, anyone was minting privileged punks.
I remember. obviously I didn't mint them back then or even know about them, but I've heard people talk about how so it was a free mint and you'd have to pay gas and gas is really cheap back then, but people still felt like it was wasting money. Like, why am I going to spend a couple of dollars in gas to mint a cryptic on $5 per crypted funk.
That's crazy. But some people had the foresight. Some people minted a bunch and then some people bought them on secondary over the years and they really became yeah, a status symbol plus a representation of identity and the collectible and a collector's item like that. There's no two doubts about it, that they're a collectible item.
And you know, they spawned so much in terms of innovation and ideas. And so much of the entire space is built by people who either still own or have own crypto punks and, you know, cause they were early in, they went on to build amazing things. maybe it was almost like a proof of concept as well.
Like the fact that crypto punks could take off from it's available, unlocked, you know, this ability for everyone to go, okay, well they've done it. It can work people value collectibles and people value PFAS and they were so OG that they really blow up.
Ling Yah: And how does that differ from that craze around Bored Ape Yacht Club?
Zeneca: When I got in again, February, March 20, 21, cryptic punks were already. I don't know what they were 20, 30, 40 eighth floor very, very high. I'm sure most people were thinking, oh, I'm too late. I wish I was around back then. W you know, why didn't they get into this space? Even six months ago, I could buy for a couple of months and everyone always wished they could go back in time and, be earlier.
When in reality, I think we're all still very, very early even today. But these Cryptopunks that were valued very highly. A lot of people wanted them wished they had them could not afford them. And then board apes came along at a time when sort of more and more people were entering the market.
And there are a lot of new market participants. for the most part, I think those who had been in crypto and found success since 2017, if they want to do that, could afford a pump. they had the money in many respects, it's the new participants that could not, and could not justify and couldn't have elements.
So then that's when new mints became sort of something that people gravitated towards is I can afford different prices. And I guess specifically with board apes, so they mentored at 0.08 E when eith was, I dunno, two two-ish K maybe. And. Prior to that maybe the month or two, before that the model for projects minting that's had sort of become the status quo was these FOMO ramps or what people call bonding curves, where the price basically went up, the more that people mentored.
So it could be like the first you meant at 0.02 and the next GK 0.85, the next UK 0.1. And basically it's just the FOMO internationally. You want to get in early and early and early. And then for whatever reason people decide, they also still want to mint the last ones. It was made famous by the hash mosques.
Cause I believe the last hash mosque was a hundred Eth to mint for something that other people have mentioned for way less. And that was just crazy. Keyboard monkey, I believe is who bought that one way back then. He's a big trader in the space and a lot of projects said, all right, this is a great idea.
Let's do this model. Let's just mint out 10 K and make the price go up as time goes on. And people, the market fairly quickly said, Hey, we hate that. That's awful. why is the same item cost double, whether you mint 2,601 versus the 2,401, like, why is this just an artificial jump up in price?
why did people who were there earlier the insiders get getting beneficial treatment? So when bought aids released a flat pricing of 0.08, it was sort of at a time when not too many projects were doing it. So I think that appealed to people. But then, yeah, I guess it was this whole new community of people that sort of wanted a PFP and identity in the space could now afford one.
And it was almost which is kind of ironic now, but there's always this counterculture where apes are sorry, punks were these elitists, this, you know, high price thing that no one could really get into. They weren't really engaging with the community as much say for a few and then apes come along, low price.
Everyone can get in, everyone's having fun doing what they want. The commercial rights element, I think was huge. Whereas with punks owners, didn't quite have the rights to create derivatives and artists couldn't create derivatives with them. And then apes came along and then all of a sudden, you know, cause there are a lot more artists in the space that were creating fun derivative pieces and sharing those around on Twitter.
And it was almost like a new generation of people came in and, flop to apes as just the new version of crypto punk because crypto punks were unaffordable it really just became this counter-cultural thing, which again is ironic now because now people think of apes as elitist and, Which is it's really funny and there's validity to it for sure. But it's amazing how fast things change in a span of a year.
Ling Yah: When I speak to crypto friends, a lot of them to say this underdog mentality of people, wanting to support underdogs, that's very much a part of the whole crypto community.
And that's why, people really jump in.
Zeneca: A hundred percent. Yeah.
Ling Yah: What is it like to actually be a part of the Bored Apes Yacht Club?
Zeneca: So I'd say it's evolved over time to begin with. I personally had a lot more fun because I was more active and involved in the community. As I mentioned before, I, personally was more involved on Twitter than in the discord, but it was just fun.
I maybe had a few hundred followers on Twitter, but then I go to board ape, and then I would just seek out follow anyone who had a body avatar and they would follow me. And I'd see them in my timeline and chat with them and see what they were up to and what they were doing in the space and get to know them.
And it was really this sort of almost instant community and everyone was so welcoming. Everyone was warm. Everyone was like, by and large friendly happy to have you in the club. most people that got in there and we're getting in at roughly the same price and it wasn't astronomical.
So it was fun and it was just cool over the course of the next several months as well, seeing what different members were doing in the space, because. Because of the full commercial rights, a bunch of people had ideas and started doing various things. Some people started selling coffee that was branded with their body.
Some people Jenkins obviously started this amazing, amazing journey of storytelling and, IP and licensing. And following that, and then there were artists who just created driven as there was eight hours.
There was someone who created like neon ape signs and there's Ape-esthetics and there's a ton happening.
It was just cool seeing, sort of all his creativity unlocked and, just being part of that and feeling part of that community. that's what it was like then.
Now it's interesting because I think a lot of apes, especially the RGA apps have sort of gone on to create their own projects and do their own things.
just get involved with many more communities like back then, by and large, there was one community one or two, and now we're all in so many discords.
As you spend time in space, you might buy more NFTs and be part of more collections and part of more communities and your time gets a bit more split up.
And so it's, less focused and less centralized than it was then to just this one community. As well as you, as I said, a lot of people have their own projects and are doing their own thing. So it's, I guess, a little less intimate. Also it's grown in size in terms of holders. And especially if you include mutans and now other deeds and everything, it's a much larger community.
But it still feels, special. It feels nice to have been part of, or to be part of something that has really captured the narrative of the space for so long. And certainly, I would say now when big events happen, that's when. Enjoy the space or like the community, the most, cause everyone's like buzzing and there's excitement, everyone rallies around certain events.
Like if Jimmy Fallon is showing off his ape and then people having fun, or if when apes were being auctioned off at Sotheby's crispy Christie's, everyone was on Twitter and, and putting like suits on their apps and having fun like that. And obviously it's in real life events. I've never been to any yet, and if the NYC Ape Fest, there's going to be a bunch of ape events where the community can meet each other and have fun in real life.
And it's certainly different than as evolved, but it's been by and lodged a fun community to be a part of.
Ling Yah: It sounds like, the true value is that you can say I'm a part of this elite, you can't get in, club because it's sky high, it's like 95 eith right now.
but then at the same time, you you'd have to talked about the whole commercialization pot, which is great, but any other project out there can also provide full rights to anyone else and they could also rise. So still struggle to see what the real real value is. Since normally you talked about community and as you said, most of them have gone off to do their own project as well.
And they're really, really busy. And you can't say in a hundred discount communities, you can join them by you can be active in all of them. So would you say that maybe it's a little over-hyped.
Zeneca: Yeah. I mean, it's really tough to say. I think when you really start looking at almost any of these entities and what they're valued at, it all gets crazy and it all starts unraveling.
I would say if apes are overvalued, probably everything is ever evaluated, which might be the case very, very, very much likely to be the case. it's really hard to say they might be over-hyped, but I would say part of the value, as you said, sort of like being able to say you're part of the Board Ape Yacht Club there's just inherent value in that because of how humans behave and think.
I think I always go back to sort of the example of country clubs in the physical world, it's like people will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, maybe more to be part of a golf club or a country club. Not because to play around a goal, like anyone can be a play around a goal for a hundred dollars at any course or even a good cause a few hundred dollars.
It's really just about the networking opportunities and to be part of this place where other people are paying that amount to be part of the space, or maybe you have to be sort of referred to get in or apply to get in. And it sort of like creates these communities of people that are rare, that most serious, most successful focused on building, et cetera, et cetera in life.
That's just a proven model that has worked for. Forever, basically in the traditional world. And now we're sort of seeing these clubs form in the digital world. And people are valuing them at various levels and obviously board apps are the highest valued one at the moment. And I think a large part of the evaluation does come from that sort of exclusivity of being part of the club.
And, some tiny amount of it obviously comes from things like the in real life events and future NFTs that you get airdropped or playing for free. then you think about well, why are those valuable and sort of starts to unravel a bit again there as well. But think that's sort of where the value comes from.
while a lot of us do you ever in projects with thousands and thousands of people in the community, obviously it's a very diverse pool and everyone has different opinions and Just speaking personally, if someone has like a Bored Ape, I'm just personally going to be more willing just to hear them out and talk to them because I know that they're part of the same community as me and, and try and help them if I can.
Obviously the apes I disagree with But yeah, I dunno. It's just crazy, the valuation. There's no doubt about that, but so are a lot of things in this life.
Ling Yah: The valuation is so high and you've said before, it's hot to see the price of Bored Apes crash. What do you think it would say for it to actually crash hypothetic.
Zeneca: Yeah, it's a good question. I think first of all, we have to define what a crash is because we've sort of seen a few times the price go down 40 to 60%, which is in most markets, a crash and it's pretty, pretty hefty. But I guess in NFTs and crypto, that's a little more common and received prices and, and like a true crash I would say is like 70, 80, 90%.
It is difficult to imagine it going to zero, but obviously it's possible.
It's hubris to think that Apes are immune to a crash or like something catastrophic. I mean, a lot of people didn't think that they were myself included, like flip punks and that'd be high floor price.
A lot of people didn't think punk would ever not be the number one PFPs. So, you know, who knows in a year, maybe something new comes out that captures the attention of the next generation and they overtake it. that's one way that I think, it's also like. Maybe the price won't crash per se, but maybe all the projects will leapfrog and go even higher.
And then in comparison, it's the people will be like, oh, well apes aren't number one anymore. The sort of, whatever. But I think in terms of an actual crash, it would need to be some sort of black Swan events. So either some really awful regulation litigation SCC comes along and says, these are a security, you're an American company, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, really bad.
Or a series of errors, series of mistakes, series of mistakes that really annoyed, not just the larger community, but the ape community as well. And we sort of saw that for the first time, I think with the other deeds drop, that was not what people were expecting from a company like Yuga labs.
Certainly there was a lot of negativity towards them and apes as a result. And so I think if we see another, several fumbles like that or issues like that, then people will very quickly, I think it's not to lose trust in the whole ecosystem. And it sort of does bring up a slightly different conversation as well because so there's Yuga labs as the top and then Bored apes is one sort of entity and then other deeds.
The other side metaverse while they're very much interrelated, they're separate entities and it's quite possible that there's different teams running the two. And I think that even in, interviews from the team of Yuga, they've mentioned about how going forward going to be sort of much more than Bored Apes.
Bored Apes will be one part of it, obviously flagship key cornerstone part but they're going to be doing many other things in the future. And hopefully it gets to the point where they sort of relatively independent of each other. So, maybe they experiment and have failed projects, but it doesn't necessarily reflect as poorly on the board apes.
And similarly, maybe projects aren't immediate smashing success. And simply because they're from UGA or socially, the board apes, people evaluate them more on the merits of the project itself. And not just that association.
Ling Yah: You said before that if board apes hit the punk floor, then you would sell an Ape, buy, buy a punk, but then you changed and you said I'm more bullish about apes rather than Punks.
Why is that? Is it still like that?
Zeneca: Yeah, it is still like that. I still have three apes and I had zero punks. I, for the longest time, my goal was to own a Punk. You know, I think for a lot of people have like flip up to a punk. I mean, now I think a lot of people want to get an ape.
So I thought it ever gets to the point, I'm so bullish on punks, I really won't want, I'm going to, if that ever happens, which I don't think will, I will sell an ape, buy a punk. And then when it did happen, I obviously I didn't do that. And I think it was just sentiment shift. I also, I think over the course of the last six to 10 months, I guess lava labs, the company behind punks sorta made several errors.
Like we were just talking about with H what would it take for them to crash a series of errors? I would say lava labs did that. if they basically just sat on their hands and didn't do anything, I think a lot of people would think that the value of punks would have remained really high or higher the names and, and not faltered a crash, but they sort of defended their IP sort of aggressively in ways that the community didn't necessarily love or some of the community didn't love.
They didn't have the most open commercial rights for holders to begin with. They communicated poorly in a couple of instances. They made a really big misstep with the V1 punks where they sold some. And so they shouldn't have sold any and just a series of mistakes by Larva Labs caused that to happen.
So then when the floor did get to the point where apes are higher than punks. I just felt a little more comfortable in the ecosystem of the punk, so I didn't want to just trade for the sake of it. I thought about what I wanted more and it was apes for sure.
Ling Yah: Aprt from the Apes and the Cryptopunks ecosystem, you are very bullish about generative art.
Why is that?
Zeneca: Yes, I would say more than anything in this space, generative art is what I'm most bullish on and I found it relatively earliest. In the first month of minting, first few weeks, I was buying Art Blocks generative art.
I think it's just such a perfect use case of blockchain technology and NFC technology to merge with. So generative art as a medium, it's not new. It's been around since I think the sixties and it's always been sort of using computers and machines and technology to create art, in conjunction with an artist, writing the code But the way it has sort of worked, if someone ever wanted to sell their art, it was basically, they would generate a lot of outputs, pick the ones that they liked the most, or that looked the best and then sell those as, prints or pieces or whatever. With the introduction of blockchain technology and NFTs, it's allowed this merging of technology where now someone can not know what the art is going to look like before buying it.
And mint an NFT, a piece of generative art, where it's sort of part of the same collection. it's from this artist, from this collection, but you don't know exactly what the output is going to be. So there's this fun element, this randomness element, where you get a unique piece of art and it is sort of etched into the blockchains there's Providence, and then there's all the good stuff regularly comes from generative art.
I think it's just fun and fascinating as someone who only really started to appreciate art over the last 12 to 18 months, I mean, prior to that, I liked art and would visit a museum if I was traveling to the city, but I would never say I was an art collector or a fan. I really I'm fascinated by just the technology behind it and the way that people create beautiful aesthetic outputs based on code.
And I think that living in the digital age, it's, a really novel use of creativity and ingenuity. And then you added the fact that, especially on the Ethereum main net. let's say Art Blocks, for example, the generative art lives more or less on chain. if you're in blockchain will exist plus like a couple of other dependencies, in some instances, but by and large, as long as they, if you're in blockchain exists, your art will be reproducible.
So the code to reproduce your art is uploaded to the blockchain. And to me, that that's really powerful. it's more historic and immutable than say a Bored Ape where you mint a token, the NFT has like some metadata and within the metadata, it points to URL that has the image file.
And if that URL goes down or where it's hosted goes down, you can lose access to it. Now, I don't think that's going to happen either because there's pretty good decentralized solutions there, but it's not quite that same level of robustness as generative art. That's basically stored on chain.
And yeah, I mean, just watching how it has evolved over the last 12 months or so since I've been in this space and seeing people discover generative art, similar to me, appreciate it. Fall in love with it. Enjoy it. I think where honestly, The beginning of some sort of art revolution, whether it's specifically generative art or digital art as a, as a whole, it's probably digital art, but I think generative art is a really important part of that.
And I think that as time goes on more and more people are gonna see that more and more people are gonna want to collect generative art. to me, it is the pinnacle of NFT collecting.
Ling Yah: I wonder, and this is from my perspective as an IP lawyer, in certain jurisdictions, copyright doesn't exist.
If the art, for instance is not created by human and that's the beauty of generated art. So you could have copyright over the code, you could have copyright over, but the art is not a concern that if you buy this particular NFT, you, the owner, the author could say, I give you all the rights to generative art, but actually there really isn't even any IP rights behind it in the first place.
Is this something that concerns people or is just not in discussion so far?
Zeneca: That's a really interesting point. I actually hadn't heard of or considered that angle. But I would say that by and lodge those who buy or mint generative, aren't receiving the full commercial rights.
Usually the artist is withholding a decent amount of rights, so you can display it for yourself, but you can't commercialize it or you can display it you can use it for non-commercial purposes, but you have to reference the artist or like credit them.
With art blocks and with any other platform the artist gets to decide what license that they have for the IP.
it really varies. But I would say that at least in my experience, those who understand generative art space at the moment, they aren't expecting to buy or mint a piece of generative art and then have full rights to be able to do what they want over and commercialize.
It. It's very much similar to buying art in the traditional world. I can't go out and buy a Hearst and, then start selling prints of it and make profit of that. It just doesn't quite work that way. And to think as a collector, I'm okay with it personally. It's very different, I think when you're collecting art compared to a PFP project or a collectible project where there's more of a focus on the utility and what can I do with it? And do I want to build a brand out of it? Whereas art, it's more about a appreciating the art, the aesthetically, having it on your wall, appreciating the code of the history supporting the artists, being part of the culture and just, yeah, I think it's different, but I'm now keen to look into more sort of the IP behind what happens when the art isn't technically created by an artist it's like code creates it at the point when someone buys it.
Ling Yah: For instance, if it's proven that there is no copyright, then all these things about you only have things, certain limits that rights they don't access because those rights only exist because you have the copyright in the first place. So technically you could do anything you want, it doesn't matter what kind of rules they've put on you, but that's a whole separate discussion,
Zeneca: Well, I mean, yeah, as someone who's collected a lot, I guess, happy with that.
Honestly, anything that propagates generative art more and gets more people seeing it. To me, the value, if we're talking about like financial value comes from holding the actual underlying asset, and that's something that no one can take away because it's etched into the blockchain at the time, I mint. Yeah.
Ling Yah: And that was the end of episode 86 part 1.
The share notes and transcript can be found at www.sothisismywhy.com/86-1.
And stick around for part two, because Zeneca is gonna be sharing about things like how did he increase his net worth by x100 in one year through NFT investments? How does he think we should support females in the space?
And if you remember, we actually talked to quite a few female leaders in the web through space, like Lily Wu of WOW Pixies, like Nicole of 8sians, Mai of Curious Addys and all of them faced this strange discrimination against females. We have lots of crypto bros, but not enough female representation for some reason. So what are his thoughts on that? And is it actually more supportive for you to just let projects that you think is gonna die to just die quick death?
We also talked about this current bear market and what his thoughts are, the kind of legacy he wants to leave behind and so much more.
So if you haven't done so already this subscribe to this podcast, so, you know, when part two drops, I'm gonna be honest and say, I can't guarantee exactly when this part two will drop, because I'll be traveling.
But if you've enjoyed part one of the conversation you are going to love Part 2.