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LIFTED Grant – Phase 2 by Sperax – AMA

$50,000 to women-led projects

This year, Sperax kickstarted a grant series, LIFTED, and wrapped up Phase – I with Polyient Capital.

We are glad to have initiated Phase – II with Oasis Protocol. The theme was STABLECOIN. Together, The Bigger Pie, Sperax and Oasis Protocol threw an AMA on Thursday (May 13) at 6PM BST on the Sperax Telegram group chat to answer all application-related questions.

The grant programme is designed to encourage more women into the sector as well as support those in it.

A grant of $50,000 was up for grabs in USD to women-led projects.

Catch up here on what happened:

Host: Faad (Sperax)

Guest: Alec (Sperax), Frida (Sperax), Andrew (Oasis), Jon (Oasis), Jorge (Oasis), Bridget (The Bigger Pie)

Hi everyone and welcome to our AMA! Today we’re joined by Andrew Miller, Jon Poole, Jorge Cueto from Oasis, Bridget Greenwood from The Bigger Pie, and lastly our very own Alec Shaw and Frida Cai from the Sperax team. We recently announced that we’re partnering with Oasis on our LIFTED grants program, giving up to $50k USD to support women-led projects in blockchain. Meanwhile, we have The Bigger Pie as our major partner as well. We’re excited to have them with us today!!

We’ll start with some questions and then open them up to the community!

Jon: Good morning everyone 👋🏼! I’m Jon Poole, Community Manager and Business Development for Oasis! I’ve been part of Oasis since June 2018. My blockchain background comes from the private investor side, before shifting into CM & BD. I was introduced to Oasis, and the rest is history 🌹. When I understood what Dawn Song’s vision had in store for blockchain, like so many of our team, I felt I had to be a part of it!

Andrew: Hi folks! Sure, I am head of marketing here at Oasis, I have a background working in startups, and have always been passionate about privacy — Oasis and it’s vision really resonated with my interests. I joined about two years ago. Excited to be here!

Bridget: I’m Bridget Greenwood, founder of The Bigger Pie. In 2017 I saw blockchain and crypto technology being another massive transference of wealth, and didn’t want to see half the population left out, once again because of their gender. The Bigger Pie is about supporting the women already pioneering in the space, making sure our role models are visible, getting female founders funded, and attracting and supporting more women into the space.  We have a global, active and supportive community for women and gender minorities https://t.me/TheBiggerPie

If you’re a male ally and would like to participate in the community then message me directly @BridgetTBP or email [email protected]

Alec: I’m Alec Shaw, Partner of Business Development at Sperax. 

As a Finance undergraduate at Marquette University, I founded Marquette’s Blockchain Lab. After graduation, I worked at Marquette University’s business school: managing the finances of student startups at Marquette’s Student-run Business Program.

I have been fully committed to the crypto space since 2016

Outside of financial technology, I’m passionate about snowboarding, digital privacy and delis!

Frida: Hi, my name is Frida Cai, Partner of Global Strategic at Sperax. sperax.io 

I hold a bachelor degree in Foreign Affairs and a history minor from University of Virginia. I am a fresh graduate from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism with a Master of Science degree in Data Journalism. With extensive experience in reporting the latest technology trends in Asia, I was mesmerised by the potential of crypto and blockchain industries and have been devoting my career into the space ever since.

Sperax builds the world’s first interest-bearing stablecoin USDs, a community mobile app Sperax Play, and a PoS public blockchain. We are founded in late 2019 and are supported by FBG Capitals and Outlier Ventures.

Andrew: A bit of background on the Oasis Network. Oasis is a privacy-enabled scalable blockchain network. The network seeks to use a combination of privacy technologies as well as a pretty novel architecture (better than sharding) to enable private computation on the network and to do it at scale. 

We’re working with a number of developers interested in protecting their data ranging from consumer tech, fintech, automotive companies, healthcare, private DeFi and more to do this

Some examples of developers on the network today:

– Nebula: https://medium.com/oasis-protocol-project/giving-users-control-of-their-genomic-data-3354a3b89d56?source=collection_home—4——2———————–

– Binance: https://medium.com/oasis-protocol-project/oasis-labs-joins-forces-with-binance-to-launch-cryptosafe-alliance-and-decentralized-platform-for-1e3964d8531

We’re really excited to be here with The Bigger Pie and Sperax to talk about the LIFTED grants program, and to support women in blockchain.

Faad: As I said at the top of the AMA, we partnered on the LIFTED grants program. Can you tell us a little about LIFTED, Alec? 

 Alec: LIFTED is a year long grants initiative designed specifically to provide women-led teams with practical resources. Recipients of the LIFTED grant receive a financial contribution and advisory support from Sperax and partners!

The grant is broken into 4 phases. Each phase follows the calendar quarter and has new partners and mentors! 

Phase 1: NFT

Phase 2: Stablecoins on Oasis

Phase 3: Blockchain at University

Phase 4: Interoperability

Phase I, in partnership with Polyient I had the honor of supporting three women led teams in the space. If you want to learn more about those recipients, check out this blog! https://alecshaw4.medium.com/lifted-grants-phase-i-recipients-98f2ecf3bcdf

Now we are ecstatic to work with Oasis for phase II

Faad: Very cool. Can you tell us a bit about Phase II? Who’s involved, how do folks get involved and who are the judges?

Alec: Of course! The theme of phase II is Stablecoins on Oasis. Applicants should consider ways to launch or bring stablecoins to the Oasis protocol. The best way to do this is to launch directly on Oasis or bridge stablecoins to Oasis through their Ethereum<>Oasis Paratime (bridge)

Folks can get involved by submitting an application by May 31st at https://sperax.io/lifted

Alec: From Sperax, Judges will be Frida Cai, Susu Pu and myself 🙂

Jon: From Oasis, We’re delighted to add to the judging panel our team members Jorge Cueto, Gina Tiriakidou, Anne Fauvre and myself!

Faad: Are you looking for additional partners or mentors? How does that work with LIFTED? What about any volunteering opportunities, Alec?

Alec: We are looking for additional partners to co-host future phases, particularly companies that are interested in hosting a collaborative grant with the LIFTED community, companies can partner to support an additional cohort of LIFTED grant recipients.

The best company are those looking for access to talent and those seeking specific product development or research

We welcome volunteers too! We welcome advisors to work with the grant recipients to help them bring their product to market

Anyone with experience in blockchain development or architecture design or business development mentorship. Community, marketing, go to market all that good stuff!

Anyone interested in volunteering, we are seeking additional advisors for the following 🙂

Technical – Blockchain

Technical – Design

Business Strategy

Faad: Alright! Let’s open up questions to the community. Today we’re giving our rewards for the top 5 best questions asked! Each winner will receive 20 USDT for their contribution.

Okay! Opening up the questions now.

Jon: Thank you, I do see a question here though! I think I read your question as “what more can be done by other projects to help in this amazing cause of neutralizing the gender gap in Blockchain?” 

Glad you asked. 😊

I think just having a conversation about this with their communities and internal teams is something that would spark the question of “are we doing enough to represent the change we want to see not only in the technological space, but also in the way our teams and opportunities are shared with equal and fair evaluation in the blockchain space as a whole.

Charlene: I’m all for anything that helps speed up getting more women into blockchain and cryptocurrency. 

It has been very good for me. I do what I can to encourage women in tech to get into blockchain development, and women who aren’t as technical to at least learn to use cryptocurrency. 

Recently I’ve become excited about helping women artists and creatives learn to mint and sell NFTs using affordable NFT platforms. Because I think it’s a great way to introduce women to crypto.

Zara zamani: Hi everyone and thanks for the information!

I have two questions:

  1. At what stage should the projects that apply be? Is ideation good enough to apply? 
  2. Can one apply for the grant and work with you as advisor both?

Frida: We encourage all projects to apply. But if a project applies with a detailed and concrete roadmap, it shall be a strong application.

Jorge: For sure! You can apply at the ideation stage, before actually having written any code, but grant recipients are expected to meet key milestones that include code to receive grant funds.

Jorge: For the second part of your question, you can for sure apply for a grant and also contribute as an advisor. We are always looking for talented developers who are passionate about building a better internet to contribute to our developer community and help others out.

Samantha: Hi! Interested in applying to this grant. What steps can I take? Thank you

Alec: Here you can find the application form, we will accept applications through May 31

https://oasisfoundation.typeform.com/to/HtYql2aN

You can also find this link at sperax.io.lifted 🙂

Elie: Thank you all!

I’m Elmira, blockchain and crypto enthusiast mostly interested in Edtech and got invited to this event by the wonderful founder @BridgetTBP of The Bigger Pie community. I’ve been a member since 2019 and the experience has been very empowering and a privilege to be amongst such inspiring women. Interested in applying for this grant.

I’m based in Toronto, Canada 🇨🇦 

Is this grant of US 50k for Canadians as well or only Europeans or Americans?

Jon: Just to bump this, the grant is open to all corners of the world! 🌹 Especially Canada 😉🇨🇦🤝

Elie: Go team Canada 🇨🇦🙌🏽

Elena: I’m working with Intercoin that is paving the way the next step in the evolution of money. There are many economic and technological hurdles that make a global blockchain currency unsuitable as means of making micro payment.  Intercoin needs a platform that gives localities the ability to create their own economy backed by Intercoin’s native token, the ITR token.  My question : If Oasis is committed to make blockchain transactions a part of everyday life? Are there the solution for ERC 20 tokens?

I appreciate all the information here today!

I have two questions:

  1. If Oasis is committed to make blockchain transactions a part of everyday life?
  2. Can we apply for the grant if our ERC20 tokens are implemented as smart contracts and executed on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)  to work with Oasis ?

Jorge: Thank you for your questions, for the ERC-20 question, your stablecoin for the grant can be an ERC-20 token as long as it is deployed on the Oasis-Eth ParaTime on the Oasis Network.

Elena: Thank you Jorge 😉

Andrew: Great question. For your first part. Yes, we see blockchain taking a larger role in our everyday lives, especially as it relates to keeping our personal data private and secure. For many, this transformation will happen largely behind the scenes, as companies shift their products away from centralised infrastructure to instead run on decentralised networks like Oasis.

We’re trying to speed up this transition by making tools for mainstream developers that make it quick and easy to integrate their application with Blockchain. We see this as the fastest way to get mainstream adoption of blockchain. 

For the second part of your question, Yes! An ERC20 token would be acceptable. The only requirements is that it must be a stable coin and it must be built on Oasis (likely on the Oasis-Eth ParaTime)

Jorge: For the first part of your question, Oasis is hoping to build a better internet that gives user more control over their data. Our goal is to empower users by leveraging the Oasis Network’s key privacy and scalability advantages, and this includes applications and use cases that users engage with on a daily basis. We are excited about collaborating with developers on a wide variety of projects.

Vinay: Hi there 👋

What type of support will Sperax provide to grant beneficiaries besides the financial incentives?

Frida: Like Alec mentioned above, we will offer mentorship, business development advice, and technical advice in token economics and engineering.

Vinay: Sounds exciting. I have a second question. How will the yield be determined for the stablecoin you propose?

And what would that yield be approx..?

Alec: Yield will be earned from yEarn yield aggregator in the short term, eventually migrating to Sperax aggregator. 

To ensure returns are constant, Sperax will be subsidizing return with our governance token $SPA.

Expected return shall be in the range of 15-30%

Vinay: Thanks..and will the governance token back its peg to the US Dollar?

Alec: The governance token, $SPA will be subject to to the market, no guarantees on that price

USDs will retain the peg and earn interest

Frida: SPA is our governance token, while USDs is our stablecoin.

SPA is not pegged to anything.

Alec: Regarding the 15-30% APY, USDs will earn this yield simply by holding USDs

Vinay: That’s correct. But I was curious to know how is USDs’ peg kept 1:1

Alec: This is a fairly technical question, but the peg is kept through arbitrage and the protocol market making with SPA

Happy to have an extended conversation about this! [email protected]

Anitha: Does the winner of the grant need to build their blockchain with Oasis even if in our case we do not utilize a blockchain at the moment?

Jorge: Thank you for your question. The grant project has to be on the Oasis-Eth ParaTime, consequently it has to be on a blockchain (the Oasis Network blockchain). But you have flexibility with the libraries and frameworks you choose to use for creating your stablecoin.

Zafer: We know that there is occasional gender discrimination in the blockchain industry. A mentality based on male domination should always be criticised. How does Sperax and Oasis bring this problem to the fore with LIFTED?

How do you aim to increase the number of women participating in the blockchain industry so that women are more involved in Finance and technology?

Jon: Well, for starters we’ll continue forward as a leader in the Blockchain space as one of the few projects founded by a Woman (Professor Dawn Song), we also have Anne Fauvre, who is Oasis Labs COO and we have Gina Tiriakidou, who is the Oasis Protocol Foundations Marketing Director. The list of female team members is quite long! 🔥💪

We will continue to provide equal opportunities within our hiring process as we’ve proven time and time again that we take the best candidate for the job and we’re very proud of this!

We have the largest University Program in all of Blockchain and as you can imagine this is a powerful recruiting platform for our ecosystem that will provide both genders equal opportunity to represent and participate from their respective Blockchain Clubs. One of our previous Interns was the former President of the UC Berkeley Blockchain Club and she was also a woman, as is their new President! 

We will continue to set an example of best practices and look forward to growing our ecosystem with fairness and gender neutrality at the forefront!

Bridget: A question was emailed in:

We are building open-sourced self-sustainable parenting community which will act as DAO’s thus working together to make the local economy stable and providing parents the village they miss.

Happy to discuss further if needed the technical aspects.

 I have a few questions:

  1. Do we need to have a team? Can a solo founder apply?
  2. I am building the project right now with someone mentoring me, do we need to check in the code during the application submission or we may do it later?

Jorge: You can apply for a grant as either an individual developer or a team. You don’t need to submit code as part of the application, but you will need to submit code as part of the milestones that you need to show to receive the grant funds later.

Zafer: Will there be any restrictions for applying for the Grant program for women-led initiatives? How will you evaluate the proposals they will create after being awarded a grant? Will the boilers be free to present research content or an innovative project?

Jorge: This is the judging criteria we are using to evaluate proposals:

– Strength of the team, based on past projects, resume, GitHub, etc. 

– Written quality of project proposal, based on details described, content, etc.

– Tech & product quality of project, based on technical implementation details and product vision, design overview, etc. 

– Relevance to the success of the network, based on whether this is a product that could help us grow, an app that is in-demand among our community members, etc.

– Community interest and excitement generated will be a factor considered in the selection process, as an input into the “Relevance to the success of the network” scoring category. We’ll post project overviews on the Oasis GitHub discussion board to allow Oasis community members to share feedback, ask questions, and offer suggestions for each project.

Jorge: In your proposal, you will need to include a description of project milestones. You will need to submit completed milestones in order to receive grant funds.

Zafer: How is the yEarn return collector different from other return frameworks and what advantages will Sperax provide in subsidizing the return with the management token $ SPA? What criteria determine the increase in expected return?

Alec: Please reach out to [email protected] I can share our decision making criteria for choosing yEarn! Currently, from a risk/return perspective, it is the clear choice.

Blockchain EdX : How to bring more wisdom into the scene: The Pursuit of Blockchain – Part 1

Blockchain is the future. And it’s making way for the women.

Blockchain is a new technology that has the potential to change how we do business, interact with one another and live our lives. It’s important for women to be involved in this emerging industry as we see another transference of wealth happening in the tech sector.

In this talk you’ll hear from three female blockchain game changers as they share their firsthand insights fresh from the industry. You’ll get to learn to see the role of blockchain education from the eyes of the mindful strategist, the crypto-catalyst, and the inclusive educator.

Women are a powerful force for change in society but we have been left out of many technological advancements that have shaped our world so far. It’s time for us to take charge of our own futures and the future for all.

This is part 1 and focuses on the background of our speakers and why they decided to pursue a career in Blockchain.

Here is part 1 of the conversation:

Bridget Greenwood:

We have with us today, Yip. She’s a co-founder at Unit Ventures. She researches the question: how to do good and do well at the same time.

She’s a certified mindfulness trainer and executive coach, VC and founders advisor and author of a leadership book called, “Beautiful Brains Change Tomorrow… Today.” Yip has worked for and in government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, investment firms, management consultants, startups and large corporations including family businesses.

And she’s got more than 15 years of experience in designing and facilitating peer to peer learning journeys. And co-founded the incredible DLT talents at Frankfurt school of blockchain center. Previously, she’s been a project leader McKinsey and holds an MBA from NCED and her area of expertise is in strategic partnership building and in complex ecosystems. Welcome Yip.

We also have with us this evening, Eléonore Blanc.

She is a cryptocurrency industry. She says the cryptocurrency industry has made the visionaries and ruthless moneymakers and it’s the perfect mix for money monetary revolution and Eléonore is all in. She’s thrilled to be part of an ongoing social and financial experiment and is passionate about peer to peer cash volunteerism and economic freedom. With a background in political science and public management, she could only fall in love with cryptocurrencies disruptive narrative of financial and economic freedom.

Active with the crypto community in Amsterdam, she began working in the wallet mining industry btc.com and she’s found a crypto canal in 2019 to offer educational marketing and business development services. She’s worked with industry leaders such as Luno, OKEx Shapeshift, bitcoin.com, Cyber Capital, Edgeworth and have security.

And from across the pond we have with us Samantha Mullet. She’s a writer, blockchain consultant, and founder of the Blockhead.

Blockhead is a beginner friendly resource for all things crypto. It was created to break through the tech jargon and help people learn about cryptocurrencies in an easy and entertaining way. Samantha has worked in technology for over eight years and published material for startups, tech giants, nonprofits and government agencies. And she became involved in blockchain in 2016, where she saw the need for an educational resource that lowered the barrier of entry for everyone, regardless of industry or educational background.

Outside of the Blockhead, Samantha has created blockchain educational courses for Afro Valley, a free educational program running in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya to spur in financial inclusion.

She’s also an active member of the SHE256, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing diversity within the blockchain industry and her areas of expertise include cryptocurrency, blockchain analysis, criminal investigations and cryptocurrency hacks. Before we launch into my first question that I have with our panel, I’m actually gonna ask; can you each take it in turns to just tell us a little bit more about what you know about blockchain and crypto, where you’re dialling in from, what was your main motivation for attending today and say in the chat what’s your professional background but let’s start the conversation and we’ll leave that up just for a few moments.

Yip, tell us about your journey into crypto and blockchain space and what keeps you excited in it?

Yip: I joined after I went to the world economic forum and I was trying to understand, how can we shift from shareholder capitalism to ‘stakeholder capitalism’.

I’ve been a big advocate of social entrepreneurship since my early days in university. I worked with Professor Yunus to research and understand better how we can alleviate or lift certain parts of population out of poverty –  ‘mechanisms of capitalism’. And then I looked at sustainability and I realised, there needs to be some different mechanism of how to make the shift. I’ve been looking for years to understand better in the startup space, in the governmental space, in the consulting and corporate space to look for ways to have better coordination of efforts in markets for example.

Then I was at the world economic forum and I heard these leaders from the blockchain space sharing about the technology and the economic incentives, the mechanisms behind it. That was just like, “wow, this is really cool” because I’ve heard so many CEOs and corporations wanting to bring sustainability, but having really no clue about how to make that happen.

I saw these people have the capital and the technology and the intention to do it. It was, “this is where I want to be.” What is really fascinating for me is, we are at the time of technology where we can actually use technology for good and help solve some problems that we haven’t been able to solve as a global population before.

Bridget Greenwood:

And Sam, do you want to tell us what attracted you into this space and what keeps you excited?

Samantha Mullet: A couple of years ago I was in San Francisco just working in tech and I had heard about blockchain and Bitcoin, but I think I saw an increasing use case.

I noticed that the majority of the people in the U.S felt a little distant from the financial sector. Money supply continued to increase, the threat of inflation got bigger and all of a sudden blockchain and Bitcoin became this really interesting alternative system. But I think what really hooked me was when I started going to Meetups and lectures, I just knew in my gut, this is going to be the future and this is going to be massive.

I think at that time, I also noticed that most people in the room looked the same. Most people were in tech using the same language. I really wanted to make an educational resource that spanned other backgrounds. I think I saw in order for blockchain and crypto to reach mass adoption, we would have to lower the barrier to entry. That’s what hooked me and brought me in. I think over time, I just saw that use-case grow and I saw how blockchain can really be applied to so many different systems.

Bridget Greenwood: Absolutely. I’m always hugely impressed by the vision that people have had throughout the years.

Especially when there was really little to believe in apart from what you could imagine. It’s always fascinating hearing people’s stories and understanding how they got into it and what they see.

Eléonore, I know that you’re very passionate about this. Please share your story.

Eléonore Blanc: Just a little bit, I fell in love like you, like my bio says and a bit like Sam, through the Meetup space. I went by accident to a meetup in Amsterdam and just was thrown into this world where people were telling me things and I didn’t understand anything.

I didn’t come from a tech background. I came from a political public management background. I did at that point, want to have an impact, whatever I would do in my work, I wanted to make a change. That’s how it was driven. I realised that in cryptocurrencies definitely there’s so much to do. I was just attracted by the energy and the tech and realising that, maybe before diving into water policies, which was actually my first love that the problem, the economical problem is actually the root of everything.

I thought that if I would actually start there, start by empowering people financially, then; water, electricity, and those other problems actually could maybe resolve itself in a different way.

Especially when I understood the power of having money outside of the state, that’s really what just made me go all in. And I thought, “okay, this is it. I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life.”

I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and I’m really honoured to be here on this panel with Sam, with you, thank you for having all of us here.

Buying a coin is a political statement.

Bridget Greenwood: My absolute pleasure. Now, one of the things that you say is buying a coin is a political statement. Do you want to share more about that? I think you can use Lebanon as a perfect example of what’s happening right now as why that might be the case.

Eléonore Blanc: It’s stuck with me.

It’s something that I started saying in the early days and it’s stuck. It has different meaning all the time, but for me, I think right now it has two meanings. One when you’re buying a cryptocurrency and using cryptocurrency, that in itself is a political statement because you’re basically using money that is not backed by legal tenders. It’s not backed by the state so that’s already in itself, a statement.

Then the second interpretation of that quote basically is. There’s so many different cryptocurrencies out there. They all have a different story, a different value proposition, different token economics, different consensus algorithm. Based on your portfolio, based on what you’re buying, it’s a statement in itself because you’re expressing yourself through money. Whatever you’re buying, whatever you’re using will tell something about you as a user and can itself be understood as a political statement.

I’m not going to start listing cryptocurrencies here, but there are personas attached to different cryptocurrencies and different value system I think. That’s why I like to say that.

Bridget Greenwood: Yes. I think that’s an important point that you’re saying that every time you buy something, every time you spend something, depending on what you spend, what currency you’re using and what you’re buying does say something about you, which is why I think that there is also the interest in privacy coins.

I tend to weave privacy at some point into a conversation because for me at the moment too many people say, “I’m not doing anything wrong. Why am I worried about privacy?” But I think it’s a much much bigger subject matter than that.

How cryptocurrency can help!

Do you want to share a little bit about, I know that you’re very passionate about what’s happening in Lebanon and how cryptocurrencies might be able to alleviate some of those restraints.

Eléonore Blanc: I was very lucky in 2014 to be an exchange student in Lebanon.

I had another phase in my life where I was very passionate about Middle East and I thought that I would work there and I would solve conflicts. That’s why I was learning Arabic and did this whole phase. By living in Lebanon, I also realised the scarcity of water and scarcity of electricity.

Right now, it’s not the same monetary system that I was in in 2014. And for a long time, their money was pegged to the U.S dollar.

Since October 2019, the peg has been dropped and it’s been just a constant struggle for people in Lebanon currently to be able to gain access to their money.

The value of their own currency, the Lebanese pound has dropped more than 90% at this point. Imagine having a bank account and you’ve lost 90% of your value over a year and a half or so, you don’t have access to your dollars account anymore either. There’s a lot of capital control.

When the blast happened sadly last summer, it was really hard to support people on the ground.

We couldn’t donate any Fiat.

It was really hard for the Fiat to actually reach them and for people to be able to then withdraw funds, et cetera. I’ve been basically teaching people in Lebanon about cryptocurrencies and about international remittances.  Usually when I do a class, I always end the class by giving a little bit of cryptocurrency to just show people how easy it is actually to receive funds from abroad.

Bypassing the banking system basically, and also telling them to maybe onboard local merchants for them to be able to stay and create that circular economy with cryptocurrency.

Lebanon has sadly become a prime example of when a state and the monetary system that’s behind it fails and fails its people. And we’re talking about hyperinflation and famine and really deep financial distraught over there. I’m really passionate about helping Lebanon.

Bridget Greenwood:

Yip, you’re also passionate about looking at stakeholder value and bringing that in. What’s needed for us to facilitate the shift to stakeholder capitalism at least?

Yip: So that’s a form of capitalism in which the stakeholders contribute to creating value.

What I actually love much about the crypto space is when you look at it from a bird’s eye view, it’s the shift from an intranet that was basically the internet of information to the internet that is the internet of communication, where we use technology to connect with all people from all across the world. I mean to my family in Vietnam, for example, at zero cost, that was not possible when I grew up as a child, talking to my relatives in Vietnam, for example.

Now we have the opportunity to use the internet as an internet of value.

I can actually send money to relatives in Vietnam almost instantly at super low cost. It’s actually not even money which is so revolutionary, but it’s a way of measuring value because it goes beyond money. That’s actually the opportunity for us as a global society to define; what do we find valuable? What things do we actually attach a value to? And when we look at economic models, what we can do is optimise for contribution. Contribution can be much more than profits.

Just as simple things that we can optimise for the bottom line. What is the bottom line when we go beyond profits? And I think this technology like tokenisation of things or thinking about value in a different way, enables us to attach a value to things that have not been really possible to attach value to.

We make intangible things tangible, and we give them a space in our economic models to be seen and then to transfer.

This is actually the internet of value the way I see it. When we think of cryptocurrency systems, because we have better ways to make transactions across the globe more cost efficient, we now have a tool to help people contribute even in very, very little ways and assign value to them.And we can support a lot of people in ways that would not have made sense from an economic point of view because it would have been too costly.

Reinventing Banking

It’s a bit similar to how Muhammad Yunus brought, for example, banking to the poor by reinventing lending. He invented micro-lending and all of a sudden it became profitable for banks to do that. Because he had systems in place where default of loan repayments would reduce.

These kinds of things we can currently figure out with all the different systems and the markets right now, everything is very new.

There will need to be a lot of testing before it can have mass adoption, but we already see so much money flowing into the market.

And it’s our time actually to take action and to go from consumer mode into not only creator mode, but actually to contributor mode. What makes me really, really passionate about it is we can create a contributor society and we can actually agree on a global world on how to measure contribution in a new way and in micro segments.

We don’t need to rely on one size fits all solutions, but we can have different solutions for different segments and different needs.

It’s up to us to design how much value we want to attach to certain things, right? If it doesn’t take a lot of effort to attach micro values to little acts of service, for example, then why should I not do it? It should be effortless, convenient.

Ultimately we are all human beings. And most of us, including myself, like to have comfort. I actually can feel with myself that when something is very cumbersome, there’s less of a probability I will do it. We can use this technology and include a UX design to make sending, for example, a tip or something to micro acts an easy thing to do, a default thing to do without needing to go the extra mile.

 

Blockchain EdX : How to bring more wisdom into the scene: Education is Key – Part 2

Blockchain Education and the Future of Bitcoin

Following on from Part 1 in this series,  Yip, Samantha and Eléonore discuss blockchain education and how they are teaching people about blockchain and cryptocurrency and where they see Bitcoin in the future.

Bridget Greenwood: All three of you are incredible educators who are in this space.

Samantha, how does education in the blockchain and crypto world differ from the traditional learning paths?

Samantha Mullet: When you’re first interested in the space, half the time you’re just learning by osmosis and conversations around you. There was no courses at the time, there’s no class you could take at a local university. I think since then we’ve made a lot of headway. There are a lot of online certifications.

Now, there are several books you can read and documentaries you can watch. However, the space moves so quickly and I believe there was a quote recently that, ‘it’s like riding a bicycle as you’re inventing it.’  Education in crypto and blockchain, it’s ever evolving.

It’s actually a constant educational learning path rather than, “Hey, I’m going to go read this book or take this course and then know everything.” It’s fast moving and you either are in the stream and keeping up with it or you’re falling behind.

People learn in all different ways. Some people are visual, some people are audio. I always saw humour as the great equaliser. I really wanted to create a resource that broke through that tech jargon.  I saw so many people get intimidated and frightened by crypto in the early days.

I wanted to add humour. It’s a little bit easier to absorb, this doesn’t need to be dull academic material.

I use memes, I use gifs and other tools to make it a little bit easier to sink in. And then I think doing panels like this, the educational program I did with Afro Valley was huge, being able to incorporate videos and other different resources within that, infographics.

I think embracing a long-term learning path and then also making sure you have varied media sources throughout that really helps.

And the more that technology comes into our lives, the faster we are changing and the more important it is for us to continuously learn.

Eléonore what’s missing in the crypto education market today and how are you filling it?

Eléonore Blanc: 

I wanted more content that was a bit more down to earth and that was focused on beginners because I think there’s so much content out there that’s for traders and very focused on the price.

I wanted to bring it back to the fundamentals and the philosophy of what cryptocurrencies are. I think that’s what maybe sets me apart from other classes. I love what Sam just said about humour. I think with memes and gifs and emojis, we can express so much today and I try as much as I can and the telegram group.

I started with offering these classes for specific countries. Lebanon was a big focus of mine and then other people reached out and I did one for Vietnam and I did want for Italy and Yip saw me also in that journey. And so me hosting these different events for these different countries weekly, which was not a good plan.

Now what I’ve done basically is concentrate all of that material and offer it every last Wednesday of the month for free for anyone. That sort of allowed me to just sort of have a home base for anybody that’s  starting and has never heard about crypto. I feel  with that class, you have like a little bit of everything.

I’m not saying you’ll learn everything, you can’t.

It’s just one hour to just open your mind a little bit to the space. But I’ve been loving teaching that class. It’s been wonderful. That’s where I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy and then learning a lot as well from the people that are joining.

Because every month it’s a different crowd. It’s different questions, which forces me as well. You learn from your students, right? It’s a very positive circle that I’m having right now.

If you join one of us or one of our courses, you will just speed up your process of learning.

We might be able to sift a bit the information for you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Not only with new words, new semantics, new terms, but also making sure, why would YOU need crypto?

What is important for you as an individual? Because it’s not the same for everyone.

Yip: Just wanted to follow up on what Eléonore just said. I love your energy. It’s just amazing. Very contagious.

Empowerment is such a powerful gift. And at the same time, I think before we can actually tap into our real power, we need something I call literacy, just the capacity to have a conversation, to give names to certain concepts so that we can actually tap into the power of the wisdom of the crowds, for example, because if I’m not able to express and relate to another person, then basically this crowd intelligence won’t really work out.

The way I’ve designed courses is how can we actually, from a bird’s eye perspective, look at an ecosystem and navigate through with a map.

Understand the basic vocabulary so whenever I want to learn more about a certain topic, I know where to look and how to dive deeper.

I have a brief understanding of where this concept was developed. What were the principles of it? Because I think principles are not separate in itself. The people who wrote the principles, they had a journey that they came from. They had a certain worldview that was shaped by the environment in which they grew up in.

It takes a little bit of understanding and contextualisation to be able to really understand the ecosystem. Unit Masters is a six week programme. Each week has a different theme where you look at a map of the ecosystem and understand what is the role of exchanges, what is the role of consensus mechanisms, security, and who are the players? What is actually their incentive to participate in the system?

If you understand what might make people participate in the system, you understand how to play the game and how to not even play the game. How to actually change the rules of the game if you don’t like the way they are or because they have certain inefficiencies.

We have life mentoring sessions every Tuesday and Thursdays with people who’ve been in the field. What we ask them is just to share their experience about how they got into the field, their passion, so that we can understand what makes them think that this industry is so powerful or so important to our everyday life.

Then we have coaching sessions. Every Wednesday there’s a person who will answer your questions and discuss assignments that are done every week. And then there’s peer learning in the sense of, we invite participants to connect and study groups to do certain assignments together and check in on each other so that they can go through a six week journey all together and grow a little community.

Samantha, what’s the end game for cryptocurrency?

How do you see this growing into mass adoption?

Samantha Mullet:  We’re definitely far from it. And I think it’s going to be a long journey to get to mass adoption. We’re still very early.

Bitcoin is still in its infancy. I know it passed the 1 trillion market cap, but gold is 10 trillion and we definitely have a long way to go. The point in the chat about gas fees is definitely real.

We’re still learning, we’re still improving, we’re still making upgrades. I think Ethereum has a lot of promise, but again, we have to see how it grows. We didn’t see the momentum of DeFi pickup until just last year.

Even though Bitcoin has been around since 2009, it’s still young compared to currencies in general.

In terms of the end game question, what does that journey to mass adoption look like?

People will slowly see the benefit of a store of value, especially if their home countries Fiat currency is even more volatile than Bitcoin, or if they see massive inflation and then they all of a sudden have an alternative store of value.

I always think about it like, “okay, how’d my grandmother get into Bitcoin or crypto. Would she ever get there?”

It would start as a store of value. Then more of a medium of exchange. I think the more companies that include a very easy UI and user experience for people, the easier it will be to actually start transacting in crypto and moving those store funds into our everyday transactions.

Then the psychological adoption of what is a token? How can we use a token? We live in a completely global, fast moving society these days. The internet has basically democratised communication and information.

And we can see since the beginning of the internet where we are today. We can call a ride share on our phone and be across town in 20 minutes. We can book a plane ride halfway across the world and leave tomorrow. It’s insane how quickly it’s moved and how powerfully it’s affected our lives.

With cryptocurrency, it will follow that suit. It’ll take time for it to weave itself into our everyday lives. But I think before we know it, we will be transacting in different cryptocurrencies and swapping them around like it’s no big deal.

Just like we’re calling an Uber or booking a flight to Europe or the U.S.

 

Eléonore, where do you see the next five years?

Eléonore Blanc: Well, I saw the last three and I can’t even believe how fast we’ve grown.

In 2017, it was a bit weird to be that crazy person that would say, “one day the government will fail.”

It’s a bit of a dramatic narrative to walk around the street and you’re scaring people. Sadly, with what happened in 2020 and when we see how interconnected our economies are, by seeing how dependent we are from certain supply chains, by seeing how your local economy is crucial to your wellbeing and for you to have access to certain products.

In five years, I can only see it being accelerated sadly by the crisis that we’re going through now, which is making us so much more acutely aware of the limits as well of our current economies.

And just to be aware that 40% of the dollar supply has been printed last year.

The FED has been printing like there’s no tomorrow basically. This is not a free system right? You can’t just print. You can’t just press on a button and expect no consequences or negative externalities to stimulus packages and QE measures.

I think post pandemic days, we’re going to see a wonderful era like the roaring twenties. I can see everybody getting out and going crazy. And then we might have to deal with the consequences of the very thing that we’re going through right now. Financially and economically I just hope that people walking around with smartphones realise the power that they have, that they can be connected now to this new internet magic money, but it’s also more than money right. But I think in five years, it’s the literacy and there’s gonna be more people using it.

Like Sam mentioned, better infrastructure so better UI UX, just more avenues for people to easily go from Fiat to crypto, more merchants adopting. I’m pretty bullish, I’m pretty positive.  I think we’re just in the beginnings and we see these hypes of tech.

We go through all these moments and phases and fashion moments in crypto let’s say, but we’re just testing.

This is an ongoing social experiment with some commentators and educators. We are here. But we need so much more talent. It needs to be more than the developers out there.

We need all the business developers, the content creators. Oh, and something I really want to see as well is like you mentioned Uber before but it’s just so easy that you can just call your Uber. I can’t wait for it to not be an Uber anymore. And for me to tip my driver directly. To not have these intermediaries that are taking so much out of their pocket. I mean, it’s a great product. I’m a user today, but I would love to just be able to tip my driver directly.

That’s the peer to peer economy that I’m seeing coming up. Why not with crypto? Let’s do it.

Bitcoin was the first mover, but I also loved my Nokia, my 3210, it was a great phone, but I’m not using that today. It was a great phone and I loved it. For crypto we can improve it and it’s an open source world. So people, if they see a good product and a good idea and a good piece, a good piece of code, they take it, they make something better. We’re really still in that phase where forking and being able to test different models.

But it’s the beauty of this space, the diversity that there is and that it’s still moving and we’re still not done with testing, basically.

NFT from an Artist’s view: Doing It All – Nanu Berks Part 3

Work-life balance, Income Streams and Partnerships.

Following on from Part 2 in this series, Nanu talks about how she goes about managing her day-to-day life of being the creative, the marketing person, the manager and overall being a jack of all trades. She also discusses the various income streams she has from creating artwork and shares ALL 9 of them.

Besides working on art, she is hoping to expand through getting investments and partnerships and is looking to hire CEOs/CFOs, social media manager, assistant and forming a team for future projects.

Here is part 3 of the conversation:

Bridget Greenwood: This seems like an awful lot of work. How realistically do you manage to find the creative space to come up with your art? Then you’ve got to create your art, there’s the technical side, and there’s a marketing side.

Are you doing this on your own? Do you have other people to support you? What does that look like?

Nanu Berks: It’s a nightmare, but it’s also the dream. It’s both, we live in a polarity planet when everything’s both end. But yeah, it’s really hard. I have been doing mostly by myself for the longest time.

Now there’s partnerships that are starting to show up that are really amazing. I had good partnerships in the past to either a brand that’s really cool and that really buys what you do and they’re willing to cross promote. I like cross promoting a 50/50 split.  It doesn’t matter how much work I’m doing, if I’m going to work with somebody else using their music or they’re animating something for me, or I’m making a shirt for them and they’re promoting for me, I feel like the split should be fun for everyone and then everybody goes above and beyond. Those are the partnerships I like.

Right now, I’m so grateful the space has changed so much from the beginning where it was all competition based. Now it’s very much, I call it cross investing, better than cross-promoting because we are investing in each other all the time. I genuinely want everyone I connect with to do well, beyond me and in their own ways.

I think that’s attracting the same people that have good interests for my brand as well. Because I’ve attracted plenty of unhealthy connections before and got burned a lot.

Now I am in the process of revamping and I’m putting together a pitch for a couple of investors, have had some really good meetings and I’m basically locking in some budget to have a serious marketing campaign for the next two years.

I am looking to hire a CFO/ CEO

I think I can start small, get some type of lawyer and some type of assistant. Those are the two roles that I’m going to be populating first because it is crazy. Doing everything, being an entrepreneur and wearing every hat from CFO to CMO, to lawyers, all the things, it forces you to understand your workflow. And that has been so amazing and useful for me in life in general.

What I’ve noticed is that I have about four months where I am creating with my hands. I like to paint and I like mixed media. It’s two to four months, but then I go into this low when I want to travel because I’m tired of being in the same space. I’m very nomadic. When I travel, I mostly just draw.

I just draw and go into poetry and content creation. I’ve learned to write my blogs and the content for marketing in those months while I’m drawing. And then I’ve learned that in the months that I’m hyper creative with my hands. I don’t need to do anything about marketing because my brain is just not there.

And I need to channel those 17 hours a day of obsession, creating a piece like these ones behind me. These big resin pieces in the back, I need to channel that and just stay awake and paint through the night, whatever needs to happen. Then some of the things, overlap a little bit, but then also from feeling your waves of productivity, you’ll feel your waves of down and like lows and what you need to do to avoid those. For example right now I’ve been mostly marketing and promoting a ton and I’ve gotten pretty burnt out.

I decided to stop that and give myself two weeks, and have some of these talks that are more fun and interactive. And also set goals for myself. I have the Bitcoin conference coming up in three weeks. I need to finish contracts and law. Just an insanity of things I don’t want to deal with. But after that, I get to hang out with people in person. It’s going to be fun. I get to sell some stuff. And then I come back and I’m going to paint.

I’m promising myself that in a month from now, I’m going to go back to creating with my hands. But you do have to gently nudge yourself into the waves of how you work. Otherwise, everything will go out of balance. You can’t be marketing all the time. You can’t be painting all the time.

But it’s crazy. I wanted to be a full-time artist. I never wanted to be a CMO. Once you realise that you ask yourself “okay, how do I go back to being the artist?” Otherwise you created this whole dream and then you’re trapped in a role that you hate. I’ve been trapped in that role for five years and struggled with that.

Do I quit?

In the early days you don’t have the capital to delegate and you have to do it all. Do you love what you do enough to do these six roles that you hate for a while until you can cross back over to doing things you love?

Most people don’t have that commitment and it does take 10 to 15 years to build something sustainable. Everyone would tell me that “I’m on year three. I put so much work in. Why is it not happening now?” and year six, now the team is showing up.

Now the capital is showing up. It’s been real humbling.

 

Bridget Greenwood: Thank you so much for sharing that, of using the energy when it comes to you and being productive in those moments as you can. Talk to us about the various income streams that you’ve got coming in and what you’ve set up.

Nanu Berks: I have about nine right now which is fun because all these things I’ve been developing for a long time. Some of the main ones, I have a crypto clothing and a graffiti swag clothing, most of the paintings I have, I turn into fabric and I make that into clothing.

For me, for the type of art I make, it makes sense to extend that into every single technology outlet. I go from painting a physical piece to making a video of that, making that video on NFT. Using the NFT video to augmented reality enable my piece.

That gives value to my art from two different angles.

Then I take a still photo of that same painting, and I turn that into fabric and I sell that as clothing. I sell the physical painting that is AR enabled. I sell the NFT, that’s two. I sell the clothing, that’s three. Then I can sell prints, for example, that’s four. And I can make all of those collectibles.

If you own the painting, you might want to own the leggings and you might want to own the actual print. Then you might want to own the NFT. And then if you only have the NFT, you might want to flaunt that and be excited that you have the only original.

Courses are definitely a fifth. I’ve been allergic and resistant to courses. I’ve written five or six in my notebooks and I’ve never been able to get one done. Until recently, an amazing old friend who has an amazing podcast decided to produce it. A lot of these things need to plug into the right team. It’s taken me three and a half years to put out my first course ever. I have them in my journal. I’ve never been able to push it until this NFT course that’s the right time. That’s the fifth one right? Fine art, clothing, NFTs, prints, courses.

I write books as well. I have three books out there. I like writing short guides. And this is one of those where I could be making so much money and this is what I say to people.

“Come exploit my brand with me. Can we please make money together?”

I’m leaving so much money on the table because I literally don’t have time to sit down and write a 30 page guide that I know would sell so easily that it’s accessible for everyone because it could be $20.  I’m optimising that channel a bit more. The other one is probably speaking, I’m going into schools and  corporations and bringing information there. Those subsidise, or those pay for the ones that I do for free or that I do for the community. That’s seven, right?

Eight, I do workshops that are interactive. I do them online, but also in person. And these are creative flow shops to help you hack back into your creativity mode. I teach anyone how to freestyle rap in 20 minutes, or how to get back into your inner child creativity. These things seem so silly, but they’re actually very freeing and liberating and healing. I love doing that work.

That’s eight and then nine, I guess I have a healing arts part of my company as well. Where I channel poems, I channel symbols for people help them get in touch with blockages in their body.

There’s millions of things we can do for revenue. And right now, the easiest ones to optimise are to market the online shop more, the NFTs, the fine art and the public speaking. But every everybody can create at least four income streams. I could see at least four for any one, a photographer, a coach, there’s at least four ways you can monetise.

It’s a good idea to find at least four streams that you can monetise and cross promote.

Bridget Greenwood: I have two more questions for you, and then I’m going pass it over to the audience to be able to have chance to ask their questions.

Question number one. Can you be a little bit more clear for anyone who’s listening who says, “actually I would like to be able to work with Nanu. I recognise her vision. I appreciate who she is. She’s put a lot of work in. This is something that I am very excited about.”

What are the roles? What are the partnerships that you’re looking for with regards to that?

Nanu Berks: Yeah, for sure. Thank you so much. I’m definitely looking for an assistant that is excited about learning everything.

I’m on top of deadlines and I’m doing 10 million things at once and it’s a lot. The feedback is, “Hey, I’ve learned so much, you’re a master marketer and I’ve learned, I feel like I just went through a marketing course and now I can see everything I didn’t see before.” I know that the value in just learning, being in the trenches of any brand, that’s going to bring you a lot of value.

I’m looking for somebody who genuinely cares and genuinely wants to learn. I’ve done a lot of trial and errors.

If it’s just for money, it’s not going to work.

And if it’s just for the brand, that’s not going to work. It has to be a combination. I’m looking for a marketing plugin, whether that is a big company that wants to market this or whether it is a couple of people, a social media person that knows her stuff, analytics person, marketing person that knows her stuff.

I’m looking for collaborators that want to start with a really big revenue split. I’m finishing up my pitches to lock in some hefty marketing budget. I also plan on hiring people as well. But I’m open to collaborating with people and see where it goes.

Everybody that I’ve collaborated with I’m still friends and we’ve all made money and we’ve all continued to grow together. I just like long-term friendships, it’s just better.

Bridget Greenwood: Wonderful. My last question, before we turn it over to the audiences, you’ve mentioned that you need to get another 200 subscribers.

Is it subscribers to your YouTube channel? And then you can monetise it. Please tell us the different ways that we can support you and thank you for the fantastic information that you’ve been sharing with us on this conversation.

Nanu Berks: Thank you so much. I so appreciate that. I think you need to be at a thousand YouTube followers to be able to monetise.

I will be posting weekly, best tips and best practices. This is the reason that I want a team, because if I have the time to take all these questions and do weekly or biweekly bits, 15 minutes or something, it’s going to be helpful. I really want to do that. Sharing my Instagram posts and sharing the Twitter and any outlets that you have that you wanna connect with me there and share those posts. You can subscribe to Nanu’s Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeGlr1vZLFT6VokLpH4S6AA

My biggest hindering

I guess, my biggest roadblocks is, one that I started posting about crypto really early on. I got shadow banned by my Twitter, my YouTube, all my channels got shadow banned. This means that people don’t really see my content unless they search for it.

For me, integrity’s first.

If it resonates with you. The energy follows energy. I really believe that.

If you’d like to purchase Nanu’s course you can discover more about it here: https://podcastfarm.mykajabi.com/sales-page-f22627c0-2fe0-49e5-826a-8726bccb411b

NFT from an Artist’s view: Pricing and Marketing Strategies – Nanu Berks Part 2

How much for an NFT & Effective Marketing strategies

Following on from Part 1 in this series, NFT from an Artist’s view, Nanu talks about how she goes about pricing her NFTs and her marketing strategy for her artwork.

Bridget Greenwood: What’s your preferred platform?

Ether is where the original NFT is and it has the smart contract. You’ve got the ERC token that is designed for NFTs. But of course we have huge issues when it comes to the cost of the fees. What’s your experience in terms of using Ethereum? What other platforms are you looking at?

Nanu Berks: Ethereum is the best one so far because most people are there. It has gotten quite complicated now. In a lot of platforms, you have to use wrapped ETH and not really ETH. The fees have gotten crazy so I started minting on Rarible because I really like their smart contracts, though they’re always changing. I sold my first real collection recently, three months ago.

But it started on there because I really wanted to push for artists advocating for a percentage of their secondary market sales. That’s one of the best functionalities of NFTs in just in building the culture, artists should have control over what comes back to them. And every time a collector makes money on their art they should make money and collectors and artists should rise together. It shouldn’t be people exploiting the artists. It should be people helping the artists build time and space so they can create their masterpieces and better art. And we can all evolve together.

It’s a win-win.

When the prices got really crazy and everything started getting glitchy (about March 2021), I started switching to Opensea. There’s a lot of technicalities. I can mint something on Rarible and relist it for sale on Opensea. Opensea pulls the art from all these different places so it shows up anyway on Opensea. But the difference is with Opensea you can do do half minting, fake minting, where I post a piece of art and I have minted it. And then it finishes minting when it sells. It doesn’t charge me anything upfront, but the fees do get crazy.

Right now I’m advising, this could change tomorrow, but right now I’m advising people to not list anything for under $600 because you would most likely get $300 in fees. If you want to mint your first drawing and it’s something as simple as a still image, and you want to sell it for the minimum version just to play, get your money back and get more to reinvest, sell for $600.

I would say sell it for $600.

You have probably a $100 – $150 in selling fees and probably $50 converting the Wrap ETH to ETH. And these things change sometimes at two in the morning, it’s $15 to mint something, but most of the time now it’s between $50 and $100.

It really depends, Foundation for example, charges you up to $600 to mint something. And then there’s other things to keep in mind, for example,  do they give you the option to have a reserve price, a minimum price? On Foundation, I can put something there, but then once it gets one bid, it opens for 24 hours. What if I’m asleep when it gets the first bid and then I lose 20 hours of promotion? That’s a horrible, horrible way to do business in my opinion, for the artists, especially.

I’ve definitely undersold my first piece there, sold for two ETH and it was supposed to be much more, but it was a good learning experience.

I made that mistake and now we can help people not make that mistake. On Opensea, you can set a reserve price and you can set a minimum bid. Let’s say you set a minimum bid of a hundred bucks, but the piece won’t actually sell and the token won’t transfer, unless it hits $30,000. There’s a lot of learning and little best practices going on.

For example, at first I was setting my minimum bid out at $2,000 for a piece that would sell for $10k. But then I realised that collectors want to have a chance to bid and play. And also other people that might not eventually buy the artwork, want to be able to bid and play as well. And there’s a fine line with integrity there. Not collecting fake bids just to hype your piece, but also allowing people in the community to play with it. And maybe you go purchase another piece and also show their support because at the end of the day, this whole auction and who wins, it also has an element that has been true from the beginning of culture; “I was a part of this”, “I helped this artist create this”, or “I bought this piece”  and that’s part of the fun part of the art world that I don’t want to miss out on.

How we get to support each other and show support, however we can is important.

There are so many details on this. Creating the NFT course, I swear I’ve never had so much trouble creating a course before because as I’m helping somebody mint and zoom record it live, 10 new issues come up that weren’t in there the week before, and I’m just trying to edit it and make sure it makes sense, but it’s just so crazy.

Bridget Greenwood: How do you go about selling your artwork? How do you go about getting the recognition? Not just the technical side of things you’ve sort of addressed for us a little bit already, but how do you get to become known?

What does that marketing machine look like?

Nanu Berks: Yeah, it’s a fun one because it doesn’t exist. And I started asking questions to people recently, “Hey guys, what’s going on? We’ve done this and this clubhouse and this and this. Why can’t I get a straight answer from anyone about how to market this?” And then somebody said to me, “Nanu nobody knows how to do it.” And it hit me that I’ve been doing this for six years. I know it’s A plus B plus C, and then you do this and this.” But it keeps shifting. Right now the best advice I can give:

Be your genuine self, because that really, really shines through.

And this is a community particularly that is decentralising and disrupting the fakeness of the art world and the fakeness of Instagram. We’re all over this cookie cutter, perfect persona. The more raw you are, and the more real you are, and of course you’ve got to be business savvy with that as well, but the more raw you are, people will respond to that.

Posting on Twitter and on Instagram, as you learn, “Hey guys, I just minted my first beats. I have no f**king idea what’s going to happen with this.” or, “Hey, I just made a mistake and lost $300.” and ask for help.

The other one is to play with your audiences and your media presence and see what is most useful to you. What’s more natural to you and what brings in more numbers. I hated Twitter, so I wasn’t using it very well. And then after years of learning to love Twitter, now I get it. You can do polls, you can do contests, you can engage people and it’s actually fun. You can develop pretty genuine connections with people.

Instagram is more visual, so it’s more fun for me, but it feels like screaming into an empty void of nothingness.

I don’t even think my content is being shown to people that don’t follow me. I think you have to go find me because I was shadow banned for posting about crypto in 2016, 2017, whenever. There’s YouTube and LinkedIn and all these places, but maybe for you is going to a local meetup or maybe for you is doing your own zoom group. You’ve got to figure out where you have two way engagement.

If you enjoy it, that’s going to show through. If you hate it, that’s going to show through. That will attract the quality of people you interact with, and it’s better to have way less and quality engagement to have 20 people that you really vibe with than to be posting and promoting a tweet or a post or on Instagram or Facebook to 5 million people who don’t even scan it through.

For me right now it’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Clubhouse, Zoom calls, interviews, podcasts, doing my own podcasts. I’m doing 10 to 15 things a month usually to get my art artwork out there. And then you start to see your workflow. At one point I realised I was doing about 15 podcasts a month and I was just working for free a bunch, it’s hours and hours and hours of content that does bring you promotion.

But I was pretty much giving all my content away for free. That’s why I made the course. You learn as you go, try everything and see what feels best for you.

Bridget Greenwood: If you’re an artist who has successfully marketed their traditional artwork, does that transfer across into this or are we talking about a whole new audience that we’re in?

Nanu Berks: It does and it doesn’t.

If you already have an audience, talk to them in their language

If you have an audience and you want to sell NFTs, you don’t really need to explain to them what the NFT does and you can slowly start merging the crypto audience or the technology audience. You can put a piece, let’s say you you go to your Instagram, you can post “Hey guys, I just finished a new painting.” It’s up. And then there’s a note about it that says, “this is logged on the blockchain it has an NFT smart contract. If you want to know more, ask me”. You can slowly start seeing which of the people that already follow you, get it. And which ones are interested and start talking to that audience a bit more.

If it’s the opposite way, if you’re new in the crypto space, but you have recognition and you want to tell your collectors in the crypto space, that you already have a valuable brand to invest in. You’ve got to position yourself and you’ve got to ‘shill’ your stuff. Shill is a term that means to just promote your stuff.

And it’s uncomfortable. Even for me I don’t like it, but I was advised to put in my bio, “I was one of the original co-founders of this movement.”

I was a crypto art OG from 2016. I don’t like saying those things, but it’s business after all, you’ve got to promote it. A lot of people new to Twitter, for example, are putting in their bio, “I have 125,000 Instagram followers”.

The people that see your 500 person Twitter account can understand that  your brand has been building for 10 years and that you already have a 100K audience or whatever. Bring in whatever that is, whether it’s your LinkedIn, that you have 2000 people that follow you, whether it’s that you’ve done three keynote speeches, your main thing is, put it in your bio and just say, I’ve been doing this for a while.

Bridget Greenwood: Wonderful. You said that you’re doing 10 to 20 things a month. Can you walk us through maybe one or two examples of, do you have actual campaigns that you do if you’ve got a piece coming up, do you do a campaign around that? How does it work?

Nanu Berks: They vary a lot, but usually if I have a piece I will post about it and pin it on my Twitter. And also this is the other thing, a lot of people ask these questions and I say, go study the artists that you think are doing things well, I do this every day.

I go to other artists profiles that I think have their act together and are doing well. And I try to learn from their techniques. And one of them we’re seeing all these crypto OG artists blast and promote that they’ve been here since the beginning. I’m like, “okay, I guess I’ll do more of that.” I thought I was done with that, but I’ll do more of that.

And it keeps on making sense. I’ll post something on Twitter. I’ll come up with an idea. I’ll mint it. I’ll put it on the blockchain or finish it or whatever your version of that is. I will set a clubhouse event for three days in the future. And once I have the link to my artwork, the link to my clubhouse, and I know when everything is happening, then I promote and pin it on my Twitter. Then you have to choose which links are you going to feature. Is it going to be the clubhouse link or is it going to be the main piece? I’ve been trying a lot of these different things.

What seems to work best for me right now is I will pin a message that says new collection dropping or dropped, it’ll have the link to the piece to purchase a piece, everything else I put in the thread, and I try to empower that one thread as much as I can. I ask people to retweet without a quote, so they can retweet the same one. I ask people to, comment and like, and run campaigns through their run promos, talk to people, retweet, follow, like, and you’ll win an NFT and we’ve been doing a lot of those campaigns. Those are fun for everyone it seems.

As the days go, this is what’s hard about it. I’m doing an event three days in the future and I post something that now has a hundred retweets, then I want to post the clubhouse link because that’s what’s happening today. It’s been three days, now today’s the clubhouse party. I’ve been posting a tweet with the invite to Clubhouse in the original thread, then also the same exact tweet, just copy paste it as a new tweet. It’s just crazy maths, crazy weirdness to try to keep everything in one thread. But that has been helping a lot and give people an easy way to find everything that you’re doing.

I use linktree, for all my bios, there’s six links.

But it’s an ongoing, constant learning technique and things are changing all the time. Use the hashtags.

It’s not all about followers and exposure.

Be open to living miracle to miracle because crazy stuff happens. Siddhi connecting us. I love her. I met her years ago. We’d stayed in touch. You’re amazing. I didn’t even know this whole group existed and that’s not necessarily for my followers.

It’s just an awesome, genuine human connection they made years ago.

Bridget Greenwood: That’s wonderful. Thank you Siddhi for making the connection.

If you’d like to purchase Nanu’s course you can discover more about it here: https://podcastfarm.mykajabi.com/sales-page-f22627c0-2fe0-49e5-826a-8726bccb411b

NFT from an Artist’s view: The Early Days – Nanu Berks Part 1

Nanu Berks, the Crypto Artist.

This is the very beginning of us designing a better system.

Nanu is the first woman to live-paint and create crypto art in the bitcoin conference circuit, as well as fashionable art crypto clothing.

“Crypto art is an art movement based on the symbology and ethos of cryptocurrencies, but mostly about the underlying technologies for decentralisation like blockchain.” – Nanu Berks

Originally from Argentina. Mixed-media artist (up-cycled, graffiti, healing arts, social-tech & AI) Color maps, wearable art, NFT fine art, street art, and art installations. NFTing since 2016.

Join us as we hear from Nanu Berks to understand what it takes to be an NFT artist, what technical skills she’s had to learn, the platforms she uses, how she goes about selling her art, how she sees the industry developing from the early heady days of 2016-2018 with the last hype cycle and the opportunities there are to work with her.

Here is part 1 of the conversation:

Bridget Greenwood: Welcome everyone. My name is Bridget Greenwood. I am the founder of The Bigger Pie and The Bigger Pie was set up to be able to support women in blockchain. I could see the technology from Bitcoin through to crypto. We have DeFi now, DLT, et cetera, that this was another once in a lifetime generational transference of wealth that could happen.

And I didn’t want to see half of the population left out just because of their gender. The Bigger Pie is here to support women who are leading in the space. To be able to make sure that they’re seen, they’re heard, they’re funded, they’re given opportunities, they know where they can advance their careers, to make sure that we can see these women and also attract more women into the space.

I’m absolutely delighted today that we have Nanu with us. Nanu was introduced to me by a mutual acquaintance Siddhi Trivedi who hopefully will be joining us. Nanu is the first woman to live-paint and create crypto art at the Bitcoin conference circuit, as well as fashionable art – crypto clothing.

She said that crypto art is an art movement based on the symbology and ethos of cryptocurrencies. But most importantly about the underlying technologies for decentralisation like blockchain. Originally from Argentina – mixed media artist, upcycled, graffiti, healing arts, social tech, and AI, colour maps, wearable art, NFT, fine arts, street art and art installations. Nanu has been NFTing since 2016.

Today Nanu is going to share her experiences so we can learn what it takes to be an NFT artist, what technical skills she’s had to learn, the platform she uses, how she goes about selling her art and what we can do to support her and the opportunities there are to work with her.

Nanu, please tell us how you got into the space and what you’ve witnessed in the industry? Since it’s been developing from the early heady days when we saw the last huge hype cycle of 2016, 2017, following the crash that we had in 2018 to where we are today.

Nanu Berks: Well, thank you so much for having me.

Yeah. I really love being here. And you’ve said some really amazing things. It is really cool to see women doing, standing up for women and men standing up for women and all of us bringing more diversity into the space. Definitely when I got into it, early days, you would very rarely see another woman walking by.

A lot of them were scientists and engineers. And it was very few that were more on the creative side, even though engineering is so creative. But yeah I’m from Argentina. My family unfortunately lost all of their life savings. And  throughout the 2002 crisis where the banks closed down overnight, we were on the street, it was a crazy experience as a nine-year-old to go through and even younger, all the frustrations of the economic system there.

I didn’t believe in the system. I went off on my own backpacking and then I found Bitcoin and it was explained to me that it had this very similar values. The de-centralisation values were similar to me wanting to be an outlaw, but just even better because you can act from within the system and help.

And this helped me heal my relationship with money and with abundance and realise that these tools of power are not to be villainised, they’re just tools right and we can do whatever we want with them. The industry has changed a lot since I was in it. I think part of my role as one of the early co-founders of the crypto art movement was to create synergy between the conferences and explain why having interactive art experiences and just art in general, beautifying, creating the culture and the symbology was really important for mass adoption.

I got laughed at a lot.

I got asked a lot of weird questions when I was life painting. I was the only one there. People didn’t get it.

People would come up to me and be like, “why are you selling this for this much money?” And, “why are you here painting?” and now we look back with all the other crypto art OGs and laugh at the fact that we’re finally here.

NFTs are the tool to mass adoption, for Bitcoin, for everything else and for the technology. It’s amazing. It’s really gratifying to be here to be able to see this. I’m very grateful.

Bridget Greenwood: In terms of the journey, what does that look like for you. It’s a familiar story when you talk to people from just a few years ago as to what they could see and what their vision was and what they wanted to manifest and what we’re seeing today. But can you walk us through a bit more detail in what that looked like, more on a sort of everyday level. So back in 2016, when you first started NFTing, how did you get to learn the technical skills? What were the marketplaces like then? How has that changed to what we’ve got today?

Nanu Berks: Yeah, these are great questions I appreciate it.

Because when I think back of all this whole journey, there was so much that happened and it’s easy to reduce it and say, well, everything is working great now, but it was really, really difficult back then. Let me see if I can map it in my brain, visually. At first, I was painting murals.

I was graffitiing, spray painting everything from messages of freedom like, “be love, be free” which I still tag everywhere with the Bitcoin B to just questions like, “are you happy?” I was just trying to intercept people’s brain and help them be present and check in with where they’re at and what’s going on in their lives and then give them solutions to that, “join this community, join this art project.”

And then taking that into the integration of the conferences was a crazy switch because I’ve always been business savvy or happy to activate that part of my brain. But in all, a lot of artists really don’t like to do that. And so I’m grateful that I had those skills. That I studied communications and marketing in college, that my family really pushed me to pursue other things other than just art. Because there was a whole period there where I was just a business person and I was emailing every single conference and pitching them and writing pitch decks.

There was such a huge learning curve and learning how to write contracts and talk to people the right way and pitch and sell and close something, because you’ve got to sell people on your vision and it has to be genuine. But also you are the one that carries this energy of potential to finalising a project.

If you’re the one who sees it and nobody else sees it, that’s on your shoulders, you’ve got to sell it and you’ve got to pull through. It was really nerve wracking. I orchestrated this whole thing to one of the big conferences, “You guys need art. It’s going to be amazing.”

Then I flew myself to San Francisco for one of them. I arrived there, bought painting materials and an easel, and just went to the conference. It was just very guerrilla style. And it was really nerve wracking. I was excited, but at the same time thought, “okay, well, if I fail at this, what am I going to do?” But thankfully people received it well, even with the skepticism.

Then there was learning how to negotiate.

I couldn’t do these things out of pocket anymore. I started pitching to the conference, “this is why you need to fly me out. This is why you need to put me up at a hotel. This is why you have to help me sell this on stage. If you do that, I’ll give you this percentage. But if I sell it by myself, there’s no percentage for the conference.” All these different things, trial and error. And then another huge learning curve was how to connect these to the blockchain, right?

How do you connect the physical piece? Most of my pieces are physical pieces of art, 3D, heavy things to ship. I started playing around with NFC chips, which are these little things. NFC chips, you can buy them online, super simple, and you can put them on your artwork and log into an app called NFC tools, there’s a bunch of them.

These little things, NFC chips, you can scan it with your phone. You can load in the data connected to a smart contract. I started doing things like that really early, but the technology was super over my head.

I’m not technical. I wasn’t technical. I didn’t care for technology.

I traveled without a phone, a computer. I didn’t care about money. I didn’t care about anything. I just wanted to paint. It was a hard learning curve and I had to learn to fall in love with it. But at the end of the day, I feel like, we just got to go with the times. As much as we hear this, and it’s frustrating to hear, “Oh, you got to learn to do illustrator.” I’ve been so resistant to all these tools, to get an iPad. But once you do accept these tools, it just makes your life easier.

At first I was connecting art to the blockchain through other companies because it was all over my head. These companies, a lot of them went under, 0.01% of the companies that start are still here from back then. And then I started learning more and more.

I was also helping  the Super Rares, the unknown origins, all the beginning platforms, the Raribles. I was doing consultations with them and helping them with their user interaction. It was interesting because I was giving them feedback as an artist to use their platform.

And then six years later, I’m helping artists onboard onto these platforms. It’s now I’m giving technical advice to creatives when, before I was giving creative advice to technical people. It’s a really nice full circle. And I feel I can help from all the different angles now, which feels really wholesome.

I’m putting together an NFT course as part of all the million things that we’re doing. So hopefully we can help answer a lot of questions with that.

Bridget Greenwood: You had to learn the technical skills. Can you walk us through how you did that process? Was it finding other people? Was it researching? Was it a combination of both? If someone else is in your position and they don’t have a network of people, what would you recommend to them to be able to go from where they are right now to the next stages?

Nanu Berks: For sure. Back then I just hopped on the conference circuit and I literally followed these events and these conferences in real life. I got swept into the rabbit hole and it was cool. It was a group of us that were randomly bumping into each other, all these events all over the world.

I put all of me into it, all my money, all my time.

It was just one of those things where I’m a million percent into the space and that’s really hard to do if you have a traditional job, that’s hard to do during quarantine. The best version of that today is joining clubhouse, joining these events, joining every telegram group that you can, Twitter and play around with all of these tentacles and find your people. Because if you’re in telegram groups where they’re talking about hyper-technical stuff or other platforms are too noisy, you’re going to get discouraged.

But there’s so many levels in ways that people talk about the same technology, find the one that speaks to you, learn there and then you can branch out.

There’s a lot of beginner talks on Clubhouse that are great. I just say there’s a lot of people also talking that don’t really know what’s going on. People that have come into the space two, three months ago, and there’s a lot of misinformation and misconception.

It’s very important to remember that de-centralisation is about taking your power back, being your own bank, being radically responsible. It’s really beneficial and fun eventually. And also it’s a learning curve and it’s studying.

If you want the power to create your own life, you need to learn how to build it.

That’s something that I tell myself again and again, every time that I got to learn something new. Right now I’m learning how to code smart contracts.I never thought I would have to do that, but I want to have more control over my royalties and the opportunities. And I don’t want to depend on a company shutting down and then not knowing what’s going on. I want to learn how to put those smart contracts into my legal contracts so I can be sustainable and aware of what’s going on in my business beyond these platforms.

It’s constant learning, but joining all these groups is great, as many talks as you can, asking questions and just getting your hands dirty and trying it. That’s the thing too, you gotta learn how to set up your metamask. Super, super basic. A browser extension, wallet. Got to set up a Coinbase account or something and just learn your super basics, how to send, how to buy Ethereum, how to send it to my metamask and how to connect my metamask to platform and then you just start playing around, make mistakes. And it has to be fun too right.

Bridget Greenwood: Very much so. There’s various ways that we can learn. What are some of the mistakes that you think that some people coming in right now could avoid by listening to you rather than having to make those mistakes themselves?

Nanu Berks:  Yeah there’s a lot of I guess rushing. Because of blockchain and in technology and all these new economies moving so quickly. It’s true that if we don’t act accordingly, we miss waves. If you are not on Twitter for three days and you missed a meme and you come back and everybody’s about this meme, you’re going to have no idea what’s going on.

And there’s going to be thousands of dollars, millions of dollars sold already of this art. You gotta be on it. That’s one thing, find life work balance, and try to not be online every weekend. However it works for you, but also be diligent because that’s the best way to stay on top of it. At the same time, this rush of, “okay, I need to mint something now because the wave is going to pass.” I believe in universal alignment. However you want to make that comprehensible in your own value belief system.

But if you’re pushing really hard, if I’m pushing really hard to release an NFT at a certain date, because I don’t want to miss a wave and I make mistakes, even energetically, put it out with stress, not check all my metadata, etc. It’s not going to carry through and it’s not going to bring me the opportunities I expect and it might backlash on me. It’s better to miss a wave, but be consistent in your learning so that when the next wave comes, you can be ready. And this applies to the bull markets and the bear markets as well.

For example, right now we’re still in a pretty amazing bull market. I haven’t had any time to invest. I see a lot of my friends, flipping and becoming millionaires overnight, and I just don’t have the time, I’m minting NFTs and I’m preparing courses.

FOMO is real!

My role is to help educate in this space as well. Money comes in other ways, I trust that as well. The first bull market or two bull markets ago, I was able to make initial capital a little bit, messing around with some coins. And now I’m feeling FOMO about not being able to invest as much as I want to, and people are feeling FOMO about this in the NFT world, I’m just saying to myself, “okay, the next run, I’m going to be able to be more prepared.”

Hopefully the FOMO is the motivation to learn now because these things will continue to come back. NFTs are just the underlying technology to the creative economy. NFTs plug into Instagram, into Twitter, into everything you’re doing right into everything we’re doing, websites are 2D and then we have the metaverse and the decentralands and all these things.

And those are 3D versions of our websites or interactive versions of our websites.

Eventually everybody’s going to have a way to walk through with an avatar, through these worlds and it’s going to be normal. It’s not going to be the separation between the VR-AR world and the people that don’t want that.

It’s integrating with each other. And I’m saying this coming from a place where I didn’t want any of these technologies. NFTs are the tech layer that allows us to buy things in that world, see ads interact with ads. It’s worth learning this technology, even if you never planned on minting an NFT.

Keep learning through the waves and use FOMO to motivate yourself, don’t rush and put things out. Just specific ones.

If you mint an NFT, and it’s your very first one, that’s your Genesis piece.

Don’t be in a rush to sell that because you can keep that one collecting bits for the rest of your eternity, or never sell it.

That’s going to be your most valuable piece because it’s earlier stamped in the clock. It’s earlier in technology. If you go earlier in the.com boom, everything is better. If you get earlier in the NFT boom, everything’s better. I sold mine. It sold. I didn’t pay attention to it. I minted it and then it was gone and I was like, “Oh wow. I was not expecting that.” And it was really cool and it helped me at the time with some capital I needed.  There’s no mistakes that you can’t come back from really. But I would say if you can keep your Genesis, keep it.

Don’t be afraid to play around with pricing and rarity, because right now there’s this whole thing about rarity and scarcity.

If you have one of ones they are more valuable, but also you’ve got to find your audience, maybe you can do a one-on-one and a 10 of 10, or maybe you can do a hundred of a hundred. And it’s really good for you, but for another person, it devalues their brand.

What are you trying to mint? Why are you minting it? Which is the most important question and that you have to be really honest with. Am I minting this because I want to make money? That could be the sole reason, “I’m trying to make money and I want to monetise my art. That’s why I’m minting it. The other reasons; I really care about this technology and I want to learn, or I want to help decentralise the art world for everybody that’s going to come after me, whichever your reason is.

Your why is going to drive you so much more, and it’s going to sustain you through the ups and downs because people think that you just put an art piece on the blockchain in itself, but it’s like anything else, you can get TikTok famous or YouTube famous or crypto famous or whatever it is and build your audiences from there or “known”, micro-influencer known, famous, whatever you want to call it.

For me, I’ve been building this brand for six years. As soon as I post a collection, it’s sold in 14 hours. I wasn’t expecting that because I hadn’t been in this space in like a year and a half, but it’s because I’ve been building those brands. The most important thing is to connect with community and build your tribe and find out what they want. And then you can sell it.

Don’t get frustrated if you put something out and it doesn’t sell.

There’s so much more to learn.

Bridget Greenwood: Thank you so much. Before we sort of move away from the technical skills and that side of things, there’s the question that is being asked. What’s the value of embedding NFC chip to the arts.

Nanu Berks: NFTs in one of their functionalities are just a digitalised version of a contract that proves authenticity, right? We have a Van Gogh with a little piece of paper. It says that it is a real Van Gogh and then you can check the paint and everything, do your due diligence and the actual technique to see that it is a real painting. With some of these pieces,  I can have a regular piece of art and I can put one of these one of these chips on it. When somebody let’s say that, even if it’s not an NFT, let’s say somebody just buys this for me. And I ship it to them. They can scan the chip and make sure that all the information makes sense.

Even if this piece gets burned or gets lost or whatever, they still can prove that it was an original, or even if they sell it to somebody else in a secondary market, they can prove that it’s an original. With the NFT it’s a really cool connection because if somebody buys my piece and it’s NFTed, they can trade it as an asset on the blockchain.

The issue I guess, is that it can come with the physical or not. And of course it doesn’t have GPS, I can’t continue to track it, right? I can sell an NFT and someone resells it and they don’t send the physical piece and that’s on the collector’s mind.

But the thing that’s amazing is that this culture is so transparent that that’s eventually going to resurface. It’s very difficult I think, to be trading art from artists that are in the public eye at all and to not have that eventually resurface. You can just Google it and see the description if it comes with the original piece or not.Also for the artists benefit,  it keeps me connected to the prominence. And it keeps me connected to see where my art switches hands. And of course, that’s not just the chip. It is the chip with the smart contract, with the NFT on the blockchain. But at this point I would take everything as, ‘pioneering into the future’ and just learning practices of disruption. None of this is a solution.

This is the very beginning of us designing a better system.

If you’d like to purchase Nanu’s course you can discover more about it here: https://podcastfarm.mykajabi.com/sales-page-f22627c0-2fe0-49e5-826a-8726bccb411b