Ryles and Joel talk through their view of current web3 adoption hurdles, presenting problems and solutions for generating a better industry reputation and adoption for NFTs, the metaverse, and more. The best way to increase adoption is to solve real human problems with new technology. Without a genuine utility or purpose, most NFTs are viewed as digital collectibles. The NFT industry has faltered due to speculation and trading volatility, but what remains and what course founders and projects take next by solving real world, human problems will help the web3 industry mature. Tune in for thoughts and opinions on how to bridge the gap to mass adoption in episode 202 of The Nifty Show.
WATCH ON YOUTUBE
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
FULL SHOW NOTES AND TIME STAMPS
S1: The nifty show. If this is the nifty show, it means you must be here for something nifty. I’m Joel. That’s Riles. And today we have no guest. Instead, we are going to dive topically into how we bring Nfts digital collectibles. Main stream. How are you doing? Good, sir.
S2: I’m doing great. And, you know, I’m excited about this change of pace, particularly because I think what we have to talk about today is perhaps the single most important issue pertaining to the future of the space that we’re all we’re all playing in right now.
S1: I want to also address an elephant that maybe nobody saw in the living room. There was an elephant here and you may have missed it. And that is that the nifty show skipped from episode 198 to episode 200. And I want to tell a brief story without revealing any names about why that is. Episode 199 is now officially the last episode. We had actually had a sponsor that we interviewed for the show and they were creating Surprise a metaverse and a game and we did the interview and Rails in particular was struggling with the interview. And after we were done, I asked him why and what did you say?
S2: What I said was that the contents of the interview and the way that the products that was being created was communicated to us led me to the realization that. Part of Web3 is I’m emphasizing part of it. Okay? Part of it is the most catastrophic waste of resources in entertainment history.
S3: How’s that?
S2: Because the metaverse as we are being sold, it is a complete it’s not a scam. I don’t want to say I don’t want to use the word scam because that implies that the people building it don’t believe in it. I’m sure that they do. But it’s a losing proposition. It’s not happening. Nobody is actually building it. And the entire metaverse industry has just been perpetuated on the basis of virtual estate sales and the hype in the dream.
S1: You know, what you said.
S2: As it is, is already serving all of the utility that the metaverse is promising. And the people who want a really immersive experience already have superior places to go to get it.
S1: And if I might, I think approximate paraphrase what you said, you said they are building something that nobody is asking for and nobody wants. And I think that that’s really important. You’re right that we’re using this word metaverse, you know, my beef about using it the way we use the name, because you’re not building your own metaverse. There’s no such thing as your own metaverse. There’s only a metaverse. Other than that, you’re building a virtual world or you’re building your own verse. But these guys were are trying to plug in to what’s trendy. And rather than take their money, we told them that we’re canceling the episode and we just it is now the lost episode. It has gone forever. You’ll never know who it was. We’re not going to name names. It’s fine. We actually I wish them luck, you know, in doing this. And who knows, we could be proven incorrect. It’s possible that they could succeed, but it just. It didn’t feel right. And so so that elephant has now been duly recognized. The other elephant is if you’re watching the video, you may have noticed that the screen said Bad crypto podcast when we started and have now changed the branding to the Nifty show because I was recording with Travis earlier for for bad crypto. And anyway, now we’re here and we want to talk about this very important subject about how we bring Nfts which have been poisoned in the minds of so many people as little more than a right click save as stupid monkey jpeg or a scam or tulips, a fad. And now we have the extra hill to climb on top of just bringing people into it. We’re actually battling against some false narrative.
S2: Yeah, I do want to clarify a couple things there, because I think we want to avoid the appearance of sort of undue cynicism, one being that it’s obvious that the standout profile picture projects like Bored Apes have had a definite utility and that they are sort of offering a combination of social status and access to an exclusive club of of big enthusiast. So for that purpose, the right click save as monkey jpegs I think have their their place. It’s just very limited. Well, the whole.
S1: Notion though of right click saving ads is incorrect from the beginning. This idea that people are actually just buying a JPEG is is wrong. And just that amount of education there for people to understand what is digital ownership, what is the difference between me owning this JPEG and me having a copy of it on my computer of the same image? That right there is a barrier. So we’ve got a number of points that we want to cover here to to talk about how this bridging can take place. And I’m going to let you lead on this riles, because this is your brainchild and from your thinking and philosophy.
S2: Yeah, of course. Obviously, you know, I’m here just like the rest of you are. I’m in this because I believe in the tech. I believe in the use cases, and I believe in how this can benefit the world. But we have to acknowledge the current state of things. We are in the midst of a nasty bear market that’s been running for quite a while, and there’s no pretending that that isn’t primarily a result of the dominance of speculation. Trumping any sort of actual utility when it comes to all of this technology. And of course, you know, I was just having a conversation like this with Joel yesterday, and we were talking about how well a lot of this is sort of at the behest of the welfare of Bitcoin. Which reinforces what I’m saying because. That wouldn’t be the case if Nfts were actually improving people’s lives in the way that we believe that they can’t. Right. So things aren’t looking so hot right now. We know a lot of the solid tech has been built. We know that the potential is there. But the utility isn’t yet. Or we’re totally agreed on that part, right?
S1: Absolutely. And there are projects that are building that utility, and I’ve got select ones that I can point to. But, you know, it’s so funny to me because when I was a kid, when I heard your kid.
S4: You have my lawn, I would.
S1: Go to the store and I would buy baseball cards or wacky packages. You know, you buy and get bubblegum in there and you open them up and you see what you got and you look at them. You would never then look at those cards and go do something. Come on, collectibles, do something. Put on a show for me. No, you just. You knew what you are buying. You’re buying collectibles and you got stuff. Some of it you really liked. Some of it it was common. And maybe some of them were treasures to you. But you never once expected those collectibles to then do something. Even to this day, if you go and buy a Funko pop, you know, from Game of Thrones off the shelf at your local GameStop, you don’t look at that Funko pop and go do something. It’s purely a collectible. You stick it on yourself.
S2: You also don’t expect it to eventually spike ten x or 100 x in value so that the utility that you actually wanted out of it, which was to make money off of it, can finally come to fruition. Right? It goes back to the whole speculation issue. Right. But it seems to me that the reason for why all of this effort has gone into, quote unquote utility and hasn’t manifested in real utility at large is because we haven’t been trying to use web3. When I say we, I mean the entire industry hasn’t been trying to use Web3 to solve common problems for people that aren’t so tech savvy. And that sort of created this alien world situation, which I find unbelievably on the nose. And I’m going to stick to that metaphor for the time being where we have Planet Web3 that is all of these tech savvy people who understand the value of these systems and the software and the new relationships that we’re bringing about between those systems. And then you have the real world. It’s not that the Web3 world isn’t real, but the real world is what we’re doing all of this for in the first place, right?
S1: Yes, I agree. For real people that live in the real world. And it’s just.
S2: There is a language barrier between those two worlds that is insurmountable as it currently is. And you need look no further than the reputation that web3 terminology has gotten in the mainstream. Just the word NFT is like a four letter word rather than the three letter one. There is gonna be.
S1: An NFT then. You know what I’m saying?
S2: I love all the jokes that people tell about it though, right? Like some ordinary gamers, a really big YouTuber who talks about gaming news and he covers Nfts whenever they sort of encroach on the gaming space and he always says NFT stands for No fucking thanks. That’s yeah, that’s nice and nice and witty. I like that. Yeah. But between nfts and crypto and blockchain, it’s like an ordinary person. We’ll see one of those words and be like, Oh, I actually want nothing to do with this. And that’s a combination of the fact that this has largely been centered on speculative value rather than actual utility, and the fact that none of the actual utility that exists is serving those people.
S1: So that is the problem, right? How do we bridge that so that we solve that problem?
S2: We have to design with the end in mind. Right. So what is it? What is it that we actually want to give to people? How do we want to serve people like value? Sure. But what does that mean? Because every great, phenomenal product that gets mass adopted, especially in human history, was solving some kind of real problem that almost everybody had now.
S1: Let me guess, because I don’t know exactly where you’re going, but when I think of the problems to be solved, I think, well, fun. I think community like these, these are problems. Not making money with your nfts isn’t the problem. Right? Because we shouldn’t be looking at these as investments. But the things that people want are connection with other people. They want belonging. They want to feel like they’re part of something, which is why we have, you know, tribes within the NFT community. Am I on the track that you’re thinking?
S2: I can see those as being valid problems, and I should have seen that coming because you’re obviously a much more socially oriented person than I am. But two of the the other major problems that I’m looking at are the lack of ownership of assets That is becoming the standard.
S1: You’re talking about in the game industry. When you.
S2: Mean everywhere, don’t I don’t just mean with games, I mean everywhere. I mean, it’s increasingly a renters economy no matter the vertical that you’re talking about. And that goes all the way down to home ownership, right? That’s that’s a huge that’s a real issue for sure. And the other one is central banking. That’s the other problem that I was talking about. Oh, So.
S1: Yeah, you’re looking you’re looking at the big financial problems. You’re you’re really right about this whole renters economy. Even, you know, the games that we buy, we don’t actually own those games. We own a license to play those games. When you buy a skin in Fortnite, you don’t actually own that skin. You own a license.
S1: That skin. When you you buy a movie online, you don’t own the movie. You got a license to it. Same thing with music. So kind of along those lines to bring it down to entertainment so people understand that you’re not actually buying that thing that you have. I can’t I can’t go buy a movie on Amazon and then sell it to somebody after I’m done with it.
S2: Right. And we’ve gotten over that part a thousand times, right? So everybody knows that this is an issue. But if we tie all of the above together, there is this obvious need to commit to to. Breaking down the language barrier and not trying to convince people, Here’s why you want to buy Nfts and here’s why you want to engage with Web3 services, but rather by proving it to them, by by offering them that benefit in a way that they understand. And we’ve talked about consumers where they are.
S1: So we’ve talked about not using the word NFT because it’s already poison and because a lot of people have trouble understanding that. But digital ownership, well, everybody understands ownership.
S2: Do they? Does everybody understand ownership?
S1: Sure. You own something, it’s yours. And you could do what you want with it. You can keep it, use it, not use it. Throw it away, donate it, sell it, rent it. It’s yours you own.
S2: But there is this this pretty huge misconception that things that people do not actually own, they they believe that they own those things. And a lot of that is driven by this sort of sales of licenses versus sales of actual products.
S1: Well, even in home ownership, you know, they ask you, you an owner or a renter, and if you’re still paying the mortgage, guess what? You’re not really an owner, right? You you win The the lending institution are co-owners to some degree, but you can’t say it’s 100% yours.
S2: Right? Absolutely. And so there’s this this very clear challenge that’s been set before. Everybody who is who was trying to bring on mass adoption. And I mean, let’s let’s admit. Right. We all have selfish motivations for bringing mass adoption on, especially, you know, like I want to be the one to make it happen because I want to profit off of that innovation that actually solves the problem and serves millions, billions of people. Everybody wants to be that person. So here’s here’s how we can be selfishly motivated to solve this issue. We need to devise a system. Where the products and services that we offer are educating people that don’t understand this, yet again, using language with which they are familiar, building systems that prove to those users why this is superior than dealing in state fiat or continuing to give money to institutions that are not actually supplying ownership.
S1: But bring it home to entertainment and gaming in particular, because you speak to other gamers all the time, How would you communicate? What type of educational approach would you make to help somebody to understand why all of this is ultimately for their benefit?
S2: When you talk about games, there is like no easier place to to educate consumers than in the realm of gaming, because gamers are very easily motivated. They just have to be given something worthwhile to pursue. And oftentimes that’s as simple as like a little notification dot on the button that usually doesn’t have a notification on it. Other times it’s the completion of a challenge. Other times it is a bribe like XP for completing a specific task that’s within the scope of the game. Not like here’s XP to go follow us on Facebook or some bullshit like that. That’s not what they mean. So the idea is gamify the education experience for the users directly and find a way to prove to the user through action, guiding them through minting, for example, an off chain asset onto a chain for the first time, and then perhaps even selling it. Prove to them how this game item is more than just a Fortnite skin and that they have agency and control over it. And that’s an example for gaming. Of course, finding ways to apply this principle everywhere in Web3 is the key, and this is going to be the switch that brings about mass adoption.
S1: Excellent. And I concur. So we’re going to use some different language to educate people. And what are some of the other terms that we should not be using?
S2: It’s not about not using terms. I think that’s probably a mistake that we’ve made. It’s about using the terms that people are already familiar with. It’s not about finding the right words to to not say. It’s about finding the words that people already know.
S1: Well, for example, do you feel like, you know, we talk about these virtual worlds, the metaverse. Do you feel like people actually want to engage in these virtual worlds? We’ve seen, you know, how popular things like VR chat. Yeah, VR chat. And, you know, there’s my my brain is not functioning at the moment. There’s another a virtual reality app that’s been around for a long time where people meet and get together. But do we really want to work in live in play in this virtual world as opposed to the real world we’re in?
S2: If it looked like ready Player one does, I think a lot of people would and that that ready player one and its consequences have been the disaster for web three.
S1: Yeah, too many people trying to connect it to that and then we don’t have that.
S2: There’s a real fantasy there, right, that that was successful as a property, as a story, because that fantasy was something that people found engaging. So if the virtual world was convincing and fulfilling enough, yes, people would plug into it and they would go exist there. I think this is this is a side all of the other philosophical problems that come from substituting your physical life for a purely digital one.
S1: Do you know if if we had had the technology that was more advanced than we had these past two years during the lockdowns of the pandemic, Then we would have seen a lot more people migrate to that. But instead we ended up with Zoom and people being caught doing nasty things on Zoom. Yeah.
S2: There’s there’s a lot of problems that would need to be solved in order for any sort of digital reality to have even a fraction of the legitimacy that real reality has. And those are some ugly problems to solve. We’ve already written extensively about speculative speculative fiction about what that might look like. And it’s not pretty. Whether it’s it’s The Matrix or the Interface series, it tends to look like somebody plugged into some sort of sustenance pod so that they don’t actually have to use their body. And I don’t know, I feel like if we’re if we’re going into the philosophy of things, people should be asking a few more questions about what that actually looks like and whether that’s something that’s actually desirable.
S1: Okay. That’s a topic for another day. Then let’s get back to bridging the The Gap. What else do you feel like we should be looking at in order to help bring this world that we love into the mainstream.
S2: Lowest common denominator this should it be targeted at people that already have some sort of special competence? This should be targeted at a generation of individuals. And if you want to talk about smart targeting for such a use case, targeting on a general generational basis is probably going to be the easiest way to onboard a large number of users. Because while I would be of the opinion that generational labels are rather arbitrary, there are definite behavioral patterns and mannerisms that emerge over the course of periods of years where you can find similarity between generally speaking groups of people that are the same age.
S1: Yes, I concur. So what does that look like? How would you target generationally here? I mean, you’re certainly not going to go after my generation. I’m an outlier. Right? I’m actually technically a baby boomer, believe it or not. I am a last year boomer. The 1964 was the last year of baby boomers. That zero is born. I share no characteristics of the general baby boomers. I’m definitely more of a generation X, so I was just like, I’ve been on the leading edge of all the technology. I was the leading edge of Gen X. I was there before they actually were born, so I fit more in that camp. So how would you target generation generationally.
S2: If I were to strategize which generation would be ideal for targeting, I would be contrasting millennials and Gen Z? Zoomers Right. And there is a a very real divide between those two generations, which you might not quite expect. You would sort of make the assumption that because younger generations tends to be more technically savvy, that Gen Z would be the most technically savvy. But that’s actually not the case. And the reason for that is because millennials grew up. During a time when they actually had to learn the technology before these super easy, seamless, frictionless user experiences like you can see in iOS became the standard where you only have to know which obvious button to push rather than having to actually type information in and figure out different parameters.
S1: And I would also say maybe for the first time in history as far as technology is concerned, that they learned it before their predecessors, that they learned how to use some technology before their parents knew how to use technology.
S2: True. It was sort of a sweet spot just in terms of the timing of things. So if you are looking to to create an experience without having to to try to make things obvious on the same level that Apple does in their consumer products, millennials might be the more ideal target. They’re also more likely to have resources to spend just just on the basis that Gen Z is younger and older. Generations tend to accumulate more wealth because they’ve had more time. Right. So this isn’t a statement of superiority.
S1: Yeah. Do you feel like millennials might be a bit more jaded though?
S2: That’s real. I mean, the scope of that question is perhaps the largest asked on this episode so far. I couldn’t tell you. I’m not super in touch with with how Zoomers are feeling about the state of the world. There is a cultural consciousness I think that has become clear where Gen Z tends to be a little bit more, what’s the word nihilistic? And that’s manifested in sort of peak absurdist humor as an expression of a lack of of anything being sacred and other factors that have clearly gone into this particular generational divide. So nobody’s saying that this would be easy in the case of pursuing either generation, but it’s worth considering if you’re going to undertake this this challenge to bridge that gap and the way that it’s going. It’s never getting done. I think the whole reason I wanted to have this episode is because Web three has been trying to sort of incrementally compromise. It’s been trying to inch closer to consumers very slowly because so much of the money that’s being funneled through the space is driven by investors and speculators. Right. That’s that’s where the control is. And so the goal has been, well, we want to keep this group of people that’s giving us these funds happy. We need to attract investors and attract speculators because they’re the ones putting money into the space. And you can’t actually do that in most cases while delivering a truly user focused experience. And that’s why we don’t have mass adoption. So there’s this challenge I’m issuing because this is the challenge that I see, which is to say, fuck it to the incremental progress and build from the ground up a system that directly targets end users and directly educates users on the benefits of Web3 and Nfts by proving it to them.
S1: And you’ve shared with me your vision for what that is and how it would work. And we’re not going to reveal that here because it is a new concept and may very well be ground breaking. So more about that in the future, right?
S2: Very likely.
S1: Yes. Yeah. So I know you have. Was there one more point that you wanted to address here or do we cover it?
S7: It’s it’s the sort.
S2: Of painful truth. I would say that that deserves reiteration, which is that as long as Web3 and Nfts are primarily driven by speculation. Mass adoption will not happen. This whole industry will be relegated to this weird combination of securities and futures and oddball assets that the the governmental entities that are in charge of regulating are going to continue to scramble to regulate. And that’s just where the space will be until somebody delivers real value to people outside. The basis of speculation delivers to a lowest common denominator and approaches non-tech savvy users in a way that they understand the benefits.
S1: Do you think. I would imagine that there’s plenty of projects out there that believe they are building that. In doing that.
S2: Everybody certainly wants to be able to say that they’re doing it right. We’re the ones driving mass adoption. Hell yeah, that’s why we’re going to succeed. And yet what are we seeing?
S1: Yeah, well, I mean, you know, nifty gateway, which is one of they’ve been the purveyors of art now for several years. The the company that the Winklevoss twins purchased. You know, they say we will not sleep until a billion people are collecting nfts. And so that is their mission. It’s very explicit that people are going to buy art, damn it. That’s why that’s what they’re going to do. You know, I think they will definitely play a hand in that. But there’s never going to be a billion people that are buying nfts for art. Just not going to happen.
S2: I would agree with that. And I’m quite impressed that the sleep deprivation has not utterly ruined them.
S1: Well, there you go, gang. A little philosophical and topical dialogue for you on how we bring Nfts to the mainstream. We are here for the long haul. There are people who see a trend and they jump on the bandwagon and they start a show. And then when the market starts going sour, they disappear. Travis and I have been doing bad crypto for almost six years now. The nifty show is coming up on it’s third year. We’re not going away. We’re going to keep talking about this space and keep helping you be on the leading edge of those who are doing it right. And we’d appreciate it if you would subscribe and hit the bells and ring the buttons and do all the things. And if you got a moment to go, give us a five star review. If you like the content that we’re sharing, then we’d appreciate that as well.
S2: But if you’re only going to take one action today, something that I would I would want even more than a five star review is Tell us how you feel about this kind of episode, because you are used to as a listener of the Nifty show, more guest and project oriented episodes. And obviously there’s no shortage of things to discuss in Web3, both on a small and a large scale. So if you like this kind of conversation, let us know and you can do that content you want to see by.
S1: Sending an email to the Nifty show at gmail.com. Pretty straight up and easy. The nifty show at gmail.com. Write us, let us know. And of course Riles does twitch streaming. You can go and subscribe to his channel and watch him play games and develop games and talk about other things that are near and dear to his heart at Twitch.tv forward slash Riles Meta. So go check him out there. I thought when you were telling people that there’s one thing we want from them, I thought you were about to wrap up the show. I like what you did instead. What’s the other thing we want them to do?
S2: We want everybody to keep it nifty. Damn it.
S8: Looking into the future, what do we see? It’s lined with digital collectibles. We call them nfts games, trading cards, digital art. And those CryptoKitties.
UU: Joe Riles are the host. You’ll no trolling, I’ll say this won’t blow them locked and loaded. So ready, set, go. It’s the nifty. Really kind of.
S10: Nifty show.