We are back with Sten Martin, our expert on all things web3. He is currently working on a new startup to help artists take advantage of the new innovations in web3 and crypto with NFTs and other digital collectibles and products. I first met him working on a similar project for a friend and in this second of two interviews, we are revisiting the subject and talking about why all NFT projects seem to start on Twitter (of all places!) and what that means for things moving forward.
1) Welcome back Sten, today I want to talk about Twitter and the crypto space
Great, let’s get started!
2) Why do you think crypto and NFT people have flocked to Twitter over another social platform?
I can’t really speak about the origin as I’ve only someone recently stepped up my use of Twitter. What I can say, is that Twitter or Crypto Twitter has the critical mass beyond over platforms and its where people come to interact and share or learn.
3) What is your favorite Twitter spaces host in the crypto space right now?
As of now my favorite Twitter Space hosts are Mongoose (@mongooseclub) a great space that is focused on bringing creators and entrepreneurs together for collaborative building, learning and community growth. On the other end of the spectrum I follow Web3 Exposed hosted by Books (@DaoKwonDo)
Swan.com and Wicket (@wsbitcoin) host spaces on educating things Bitcoin (@SwanBitcoin) and self custody respectively. There are plenty of others I listen to daily and weekly.
4) What was the last great Twitter space you attended on this topic? What did they talk about?
A bit of a cop out answer but I listen to multiple spaces every day and in my opinion from where I’ve been and what I’m looking for the spaces mentioned above are great. I am constantly getting exposed to strategies on monetary policy, NFT strategy, peoples shared stories. I wish I had started listening to Twitter spaces on a daily basis going back to last year.
5) How would you build a web3 project on twitter?
Twitter is a wonderful place to connect with like-minded individuals that can help you get your project out there while also learning about better and better tools and strategies.
6) There are so many different crypto bros on Twitter, are there any accounts you follow specifically?
I follow Books (@DaoKwonDo) Dyl (@famousdyl) and FUD (@kingfud)
7) There seem to be a lot of web3 “hype” accounts on Twitter, does that reinforce the idea that some of these “mints” and products are just scams?
I don’t think so. If you want to grow a crypto brand Twitter is where you need to be. There are other ways to sniff out scams. Some of them are very technical others are just spending time to research the team and its community. The reality is that scams will never go away and exist both in web2 and web3.
8) What part will social media play in the future of web3?
Given that Web3 is about community, growth, engagement, and storytelling, I don’t see how you can separate the two. The evolution will come with things like Nostr and other decentralized social media channels.
9) When NFTs came out, many people made fun of them. Why do you think that is?
As with all trends that blow up in the mainstream, haters will undoubtedly show up to express their hatred while making salacious claims. The truth is that many technological advancements are met with criticism, often fueled by misunderstanding. Most people are still unaware that an NFT is more than a piece of art. It’s a smart contract that allows many layers of use cases to be built on top of it. The smart contract allows for the tracking of provenance and ownership of an NFT. Going deeper, an NFT can represent nearly any piece of data, not just cartoon monkeys. Tracking Proof of ownership and the certainty provided by the blockchain allows for NFTs to Proof of ownership and the certainty provided by the blockchain is explicitly valuable not just for funny jpegs but with data, supply chain and personal identity.
10) What is the biggest problem within the NFT space right now?
As I see it, the biggest problem is the continual creation of collections that fail to offer any utility. Don’t get me wrong, making money, in my mind, is utility. With the maturation of the NFT market and its participants, selling out a collection without establishing a solid community or incentivizing the long-term holding of an NFT, pump, and dumps or rug pulls are getting harder to pull off. A related problem has been the exposure of false influencer networks. A recent study exposed just how rampant the problem of influencers and bot accounts was in creating artificial floor prices for many collections.
11) Can you explain some of the use cases for NFTs?
NFTs offer a wide range of use cases (utility). The utility I’m most interested in include memberships, high-end spirit inventory tracking, event tickets, and charitable giving. NFT based memberships allow holders to access exclusive promotions, experiences, and products. Exclusive experiences can include traditionally ticketed events. However, the added value of turning an event ticket into an NFT is the ability of the promoters, venue, and artists to continue delivering value to the NFT holder in ways that a traditional ticket does not. For example, an artist can drop early access to a video shot for a new single or even discounted tickets to future shows right to the NFT holder’s wallet.
Regarding high-end spirits, NFTs allow a frictionless buying and selling of ownership of each bottle without the bottle ever needing to change locations. In this situation, the bottles can stay pristine while allowing people to circumvent regional liquor laws. Finally, when a bottle is opened, the NFT gets burned, reducing the supply, which proves an increase in rarity and subsequent bottle valuations.
Globally, budgets for non-profits, schools, and municipalities are stressed. NFTs create a unique opportunity to align values between businesses, artists, charitable causes, and communities. My company will bring together businesses, artists and non-profits to launch NFT collections. Launching these collections helps achieve multiple goals. Businesses can support charitable causes of their choice by partnering with local or up-and-coming artists and selling NFT’s. A portion of each initial and secondary sale will go towards charitable causes.
12) Can you explain the difference between some of the different blockchains? There seem to be so many!
I can remember when there was only Bitcoin and then when Ethereum launched. Since then, Layer 1, and Layer 2, blockchains have exploded in number. Before going into the key differences here, it’s important to point out that blockchains have many different consensus mechanisms with Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS) being the most popular. Consensus mechanisms are used to validate each transaction as they are added to the shared ledger in a secure and reliable way. PoW chains require network participants to provide significant computational power to mine coins by solving a complex mathematical puzzle called a “hash function.” Once the puzzle is solved, the next block in the chain is added, and the process begins again. PoS blockchains depend on network validators that stake an amount of the native token for that blockchain. Each block is added to the network after a randomized process elects a validator to validate all the transactions included in that block. The validator receives transaction fees and any newly minted tokens as a reward.
When it comes to different blockchain layers, there are vital aspects that define each layer. Layer 1 chains are a “protocol layer” with specified rules, structure, and function. Examples of layer 1 chains include Bitcoin and Ethereum. Layer 2 chains build on top of Layer 1 chains to add functionality to solve critical challenges such as scalability and transaction costs. Examples of Layer 2 chains include the Lightning network (Bitcoin) and Polygon (Ethereum). The diversity of blockchains has grown to address hundreds of problems identified in an existing chain or opportunities in the marketplace where friction exists. For example, chains like Polygon, Avalanche, and Binance emerged to lower transaction costs and to scale DeFi applications. Other chains have been developed to address different needs like transaction privacy (Monero, DASH) and improve IoT data security (IOTA, Helium). The bottom line is that blockchain technology will continue to evolve. As it does, new chains will emerge to meet needs across every industry, from healthcare to fintech and from voting to supply chain management.
There is so much to learn about web3! Big thanks to Sten Martin for answering all my questions about this new space. I hope this has been as informative for you as it has been for me. I do look at web3 like the early days of social media. Many people say the potentials but no one was quite sure what to do with it yet. I think we are in an exciting space where the full capabilities of this technology will begin to blossom. You can follow Sten on Twitter.