Sushi Man：Thank you all for coming to the Twitter Space of the 499Block community. Today, I am very happy to invite Amber, the China Head of Dapper Labs, and the projects on Flow ecosystem. First, please Amber to introduce yourself and Flow to our community partners.
Amber：Thanks 499 block community for hosting the event. A few words about myself. I studied economics and programming at UCLA and started my research on blockchain in 2016. In 2017, I entered the blockchain industry and co-founded the largest Chinese blockchain content platform bihu.com. As COO, I helped grow its users from 0 to more than 1m. I have been very interested in Dapper Labs since Crypto Kitties and advised the Flow team when they decided to enter the China market. During that period, I helped them grow their Chinese community, increase their presence and identify quality partners, developers and teams. This year, I officially joined the team and am now in charge of their ecosystem growth and strategy in the China region.
Now let me talk about Flow. As early as 2017, Dapper Labs created Crypto Kitties and CTO Dieter Shirley initiated and wrote the ERC- 721 standard for NFTs which remains the golden standard for NFTs. Yet the popularity of Crypto Kitties lead to extreme congestion of the Eth network, which hugely affected user experience, prompting the team to think about our goals of bringing mainstream users into the blockchain world seamlessly and open up a new market that will bring at least 1b users. Thus we developed our own public blockchain Flow. which has several design properties at the basic layer.
First, Flow created a new programming language Cadence,which is a resource-oriented programming paradigm. Let me give you an example, say you have one cup one each hand and if you want to pour the water from left hand to the cup on your right hand, in the variable-oriented paradigm, you have to inject water to the right-hand cup out of thin air and pour the water from your left-hand cup. They are separate. So if someone launches a malicious attack, they can claim to pour water to many cups within a short period of time so that all the cups are filled. Then he/she only needs to empty one cup. That’s what we call a reentrancy attack. Before validators are synchronized, the cups, full as they seem, will be denied by the blockchain. Yet in Flow’s resource-oriented paradigm, this has become very easy: you could encapsulate water in the left-hand cup into a resource and pour it into the right-hand cup. Nailed it! That guarantees asset security at the fundamental layer, and eliminates any possibilities of RA.
Second, Flow’s transactions mechanism provides more flexibility and features for dApps. For example, Platforms and companies can pay their end users for the latter’s on-chain behaviors. Ordinary users can complete transactions using fiat, such as Visa and other familiar methods, just like you shop on an e-c platform or make in-game purchases. This can greatly lower the threshold for mainstream users/ or for dApps to serve their mainstream users.
Flow’s fundamental design and powerful resources network has attracted numerous top IPs and brands over the more than 1 year since its mainnet went live. Their followers have also been brought into the blockchain world in a seamless manner. For example, NBA Top Shot is the first blockchain application that provides mainstream user experience. Now it has accumulated nearly 1b USD of transaction volume and more than 1m registered users. In addition,Top brands and IPs like UFC, NFL, Warner Music group, Laliga have been inspired to build on Flow, ready to bring the second wave of network effect.
Flow is also one of the fastest growing public chains in history. At the end of 2020, only 50 startups built on Flow and the figure is 650 today, covering sports, music, art, technology and many others categories. 9 month after the launch of NBA Top Shot, it now has 2.4m+ wallets and has accumulated nearly 1b USD of transaction volume. In comparison, in the 9 months of Defi summer 2020, only 1.5m wallets have interacted with Defi protocols.
Flow success is also reflected in the secondary market. Up to now, it has recorded more than 10 million NFT transactions and 50 million blockchain transactions, compared with the 6 million settlement by Axie Infinity and 3 million NFT transactions settled by Eth on the numbers of nft secondary sales
But this is only the beginning for the Flow ecosystem.
Sushi Man：Thanks to Amber for introducing Flow, which gave us a preliminary understanding of Flow. Then I would like to invite a few friends in the Flow ecosystem to introduce them. Everyone is here. What kind of projects are built on the Flow ecosystem? Why did you choose the public chain of Flow?
Char Zhang：Yes. ATTA is a blockchain-based content creator for premium copyright assets. By focusing on music, movies, esports, charity and celebrity IPs, we aim to introduce best-in-class assets with exclusive rights and benefits to collectors worldwide, and open a two-way door to the metaverse by converging the physical and the digital.
Our products have been launched on multiple platforms including Binance NFT, Opensea, Treasureland, BAZHUAYU, and Poizon App etc. We are extremely excited about our deployment on FLOW, which, without a doubt, is one of the best public blockchain for premium content creators like us.
Alex：Starly is a launchpad and marketplace for gamified NFT collections. created by an experienced team who founded social networks — F3 with 30 million registered users and Ask.fm with 150 million registered users. We help creators build economies around their gamified NFT collections.
We choose FLOW for the scaling opportunities and Consumer-friendly onboarding as we are building a mainstream product that is orientated on attracting collectors from non-crypto communities in the long-run. I see FLOW as a Pop Culture Blockchain — Dapper Labs already succeeded with reaching many people with NBA Top Shots, UFC etc. We need a reliable partner and Dapper Labs is that partner and we would love to share the vision of bringing the first billion users to blockchain with Flow.
Pucs：THiNG.FUND acts as a crypto art incubator, we assembled professors and artists from the famous art academies and mainstream art media press such as China Academy of Art, iFeng Art, China Art Weekly, etc., those are representing the highest academic fame and top level of fine art in China.
Actually, We are the only crypto-based organization that is officially collaborating with these mainstream art institutions in China.
THiNG.FUND is discovering and incubating avant-garde artists and introducing them into the crypto world. We discover talents among the young artists, help them enhance their skills, and help them get to realize crypto knowledge, then we inspire them to create innovative and amazing crypto artworks.
I was looking for a way to introduce the crypto concept to the mainstream world all the time. Apparently, Dapper Labs and Flow found one. The strategy of going trending in the mass market, fast and scalable, being friendly to any users, the spirit of having fun with blockchain, and of course the ERC-721, you all know it’s the NFT standard which is created by Dieter Shierly who is also the CTO of Dapper Labs.
As an artist, a game creator, a guy dedicated to introducing crypto to everyone, Flow has all the key points I admire, so why not join this coolest eco I’ve ever seen and create something cooler?
Shawn：The app is called MugenARt, and Mugen, in Japanese, stands for infinite, so what we’re trying to express is that ARt, which the R is capitalized, can be granted infinite possibilities with the tech of blockchain and AR. We provide limited edition digital collectibles, covering branded IPs and designer toys, and all collectibles are NFTs that can be displayed with our AR technology that brings you a exquisite visual experience. So that’s what MugenARt is about in general.
And as you may have already known from the news that Mark Zuckerberg has changed the name of his company to Meta, which means this whole metaverse industry is gonna get wild, I mean in a positive way, it’s pretty clear that the trend is irreversible and unstoppable. And it’s a sure thing that AR is going to be playing a crucial role in this brand new metaverse game, even surpassing the utilities of VR headsets in the current stage due to the portability of mobile phones .cause it’s pretty obvious that you ain’t gonna walk around all day with a huge box on your face. So we kinda noticed the sign before all this happened. And have been working assiduously to build up this app focusing on AR functionalities and trying to integrate modules of social interactions as well.
As for why we choose to bond with flow, I can say that it’s Crypto Kitties and NBA Topshot that built our faith in the organization. Both projects have introduced NFT concepts to an extremely broad audience that the projects before them couldn’t reach. So building our project on Flow means we put ourselves in a system that is really mature in terms of development and promotion, and yet recently, the National Football League and also La Liga (the Spanish football league) have launched a partnership with Dapper Lab, which is apparently good news for everyone in the Flow system.
Sushi Man：Recently, Facebook changed its name to Meta. This news has attracted users from the chain circle, coin circle and even the mainstream circle, all of whom have focused on the metaverse. We know that digital collectibles (NFT) will be an indispensable part of the “metaverse” ecology in the future. Flow’s ecosystem is also a leading public chain focused on the NFT track, so What are the benefits of Flow for the change of Facebook?
Amber：In my view, as our daily life is increasingly tied to the digital world, our survival paradigm has also gone digital. For many young people, they exist in the physical world yet more importantly, enjoy spiritual presence that is largely found in the virtual world. So they naturally recognize this digital way of collection. That’s why we see more and more mainstream users starting to recognize the rights and assets in the digital world. NFTs define non-fungible items in a digital universe. They are thus atomic building blocks of the Metaverse. They are a cornerstone for civilization in the Metaverse.
At Flow, we hope everyone can find a digital life in the Flow ecosystem. In the future, everyone can find their interests and congenial minds there. In the past, it was hard to find growth points not driven by financial applications, as we tried to integrate the decentralized world with the centralized one. But as NFTs and Metaverse get more and more attention from mainstream, we see more and more parties joining.
Facebook’s rebranding to Meta represents how the traditional world understands and recognizes the digital vision. It is a prelude to the expansion of the digital world. In fact, in addition to Facebook, many top brands in our ecosystem have long committed to it: Samsung, Ubisoft, Warner Bros, etc.. Other companies from various industries, such as AR, VR, traditional gaming, etc., are also in the Flow ecosystem. We are focusing on the expansion of the ecosystem. Through our innovative ability to create killer products, we will attract more resources and talent from the mainstream to accelerate the journey to the Metaverse.
Sushi Man：Just now, Mugen Art is a platform that focuses on the sale and display of high-end digital collections. Through AR technology, to show collectors limited edition digital collections created by world-renowned IP, art toys and other exquisite artists. Can you tell us what IP and creators are currently cooperating with? What role will these digital collections play in Flow’s metaiverse in the future?
Shawn：Basically our business development and tech teams are based in Japan, we have an office there, and that’s why there will be mostly branded intellectual properties like manga/ Japanese animation being presented to our audience in the following drops. So If you are a big fan of anime, I’m sure you won’t wanna miss the upcoming drops. (But currently We are not able to tell you guys what IPs are coming due to the non-disclosure agreement.) As you may have noticed, our initial drop on Flow is scheduled on Nov 9, 6 3d digital collectibles from Knights on Debris will be dropped, it’s a CG animation by D Rock Art and Tencent Pictures. Hope you guys will love it. And besides, we have been in touch with some of the branded Global IPs. So our resources are already quite diverse as you can see. But still, we are open to all projects or brands who wanna join us, so all inquiries are welcome as long as you are thinking about bringing your IPs into the AR metaverse.
About collaborations with artists, I can say for now it is written in our plan and will be carried out when everything is running smoothly on our end ,so in that situation we’ll have more resources to take care of the artists who wanna get their works exposed through our platform.
Since there will be tons of NFT characters launched through our platform, and being that these characters are mostly from Japanese comics like I said before, I believe the collectibles from MugenARt will definitely be among people’s top choices when it comes to choosing their avatar in a metaverse. And to be more clear, these are 3D models, in human form, with high modeling qualities. So undoubtedly if the Flow Metaverse is up and running, I’m sure you are gonna see a bunch of people hanging around in the digital world wearing MugenARt avatars. These can be easily accomplished when the metaverse comes to a relatively mature stage. But at the very first phase of the metaverse, I believe our collectibles are still going to important assets collectors displayed at their digital closets.
Sushi Man：When it comes to creators, artists are also an important part of creators. As a bridge between creators and fans, how does THiNG.FUND select high-quality artists and works? So how does the emergence of digital collectibles help artists better connect with fans?
Pucs：As one of our collectors said: Owning an NFT is not only about appearance. It’s also about the functionality it presents and the potentiality it would have.
That’s exactly the value we are going to provide. For instance, you might be interested in some random fancy pictures, but after a while, you’ll get bored. Or there are some strange stuffs in the market created by some random guy who claims themself an artist, the price of them are a bit high but affordable, then you purchased them and expected their price would rise, but turns out it was just price speculation, and you were the poor guy who pays the bill.
So we created our THiNG.FUND Selective, a premium series of collections we hatched and strictly selected. There were over 300 artists who joined our program. We sift them and their works through the professional opinions from our professors. There were around 80% of them filtered out, then we collaborated with the remaining artists to see their learning abilities, innovating, evolving, and the sense of crypto spirit. Eventually, only less than ten artists survived the selection.
From this procedure, we guarantee the quality of the artwork from the very beginning. And also worth mentioning, there’re two mechanisms helping artists and fans connect stronger than ever.
1st is our membership. We believe that everyone is entitled to enjoy and collect artwork. The concept of decentralization provides people with equal and transparent opportunities to appreciate and invest in art. So there will be a limited amount of our selected artwork given away to the THiNG.FUND community members and collectors, freely as a membership perk. I believe that will be a perfect opportunity for obtaining these astonishing artworks at a very early stage. All you need to do is just hold our membership badges in your wallet.
2nd, for those collectors who appreciate the artwork and are willing to pay for it, we don’t treat them as one-time-off buyers. They deserve much more than that. As a buyer, you put your faith and money on an artist during the initial sale, which means you support the artist for further creations. In other words, you are an art patron, just like the Medici to a future Leonardo da Vinci. You deserve carving down your name on the next piece of their creation, in the metadata of the artwork NFT, stored on the blockchain forever.
Sushi Man：Just now Char also introduced that ATTA is a high-quality creative content platform that integrates music, movies, e-sports and other forms of entertainment. What kind of collaborations have you currently cooperated with? How did you think of combining this content with digital collectibles? What kind of market plan will there be on the Flow public chain in the future?
Char Zhang：Yes, NFT can serve as a new medium to carry IP and content creation, and we have brought many into the Blockchain world, including Artist Ding Wu, O2, actress Raqual Xu, esports streamers Rita, Fire Loli etc.
One great example to showcase this point is our charity series where we collaborated with the Smile Angel Foundation, founded by renowned Chinese celebrities Faye Wong and Yapeng Li.
In the form of Mystery Box, we jointly issued the ATTA X Smile Angel Foundation Childhood Fantasy Mystery Box. This series of NFT united 16 Chinese celebrities’ children and rising young artists to make paintings. All users who purchased the NFT can receive a Charity Donation Certificate NFT, and redeem it through ATTA for commemorative items jointly provided by Smile Angel Foundation and ATTA and tickets for the upcoming ATTA NFT concert in the future.
This exclusive drop not only featured unique products from the most influential IPs in the Chinese-speaking community, but also comes with rare perks and rewards in the real world. Part of the sales were donated to the Smile Angel Foundation to support children born with clefts and their families.
As for FLOW, we will continue to leverage our abundant resources and bring best-in-class content and IP. We are working with the NO.1 esports team in Asia in terms of CS:GO right now, as we prepare for our debut drop on FLOW. Definitely a top-notch product that comes with exclusive rights and benefits. We will announce more drop details in the coming weeks.
Sushi Man：How do you see the industry in the short-term and long run?
Alex：This year changed a lot of mindsets, counting mine — the concept of NFTs and how they could change our everyday lives is a game changer in so many ways. I think most of the people who are listening now are pretty much aware of the bright future that stands behind crypto, NFTs and Metaverse.
But let me answer this question from the business standpoint, as I am talking with a lot of crypto and non-crypto venture capitalists and get this question often. Would like to start with the most loved sentence for all the guys out there — “We are still very early” and the vision of what Zuck has shown us is yet to come, so we have to concentrate on the things that are happening right now.
We already can see that there is a big interest in trying new projects on other blockchains with all the things that are happening on ETH. But ETH is still king and investors usually ask — why are you using Flow if all the people out there are having ETH with their Metamask and you are making them walk another mile. But yet again, I trust that with more people joining the realm, there will be no strict boundaries between Blockchains and NFTs that are launched on Starly and similar launchpads will benefit from the liquidity that is offered on Marketplaces like Opensea and other Marketplace Giants. But yet again, with more people joining the space, more collectors will be born and those collectors will not invest into NFTs with their ETH or other crypto that they have earned during the previous bull runs, but people who will buy NFTs with their credit cards — meaning the entry ticket and gas price will play a significant role in the future — and yet again, Flow has all the cards in their hands.
There is also the other side — with more people joining the space, the more collections will be created and standing out from the crowd will be a big deal. Right now the most popular NFTs collections are PFPs, AI generated art and assets that could be used in future games and this will evolve in time.
Sushi Man：In fact, the four guests just talked about the importance of creative content in different views, so what are the considerations for each platform in the choice of creative content?
Char Zhang：Yes, content is extremely important in our entire selection process, as we work closely with renowned IPs in music, movies, esports, charity and celebrities. At the same time, we are supporters of Utility NFT. We believe the value of NFT is not just about the content, but also the utilities, rights, benefits and privileges that underneath.
All ATTA produced NFTs are entry tickets to the metaverse and come with exclusive rights and benefits. ATTA is trying to create a NFT brand that links the real world, a convergence of the physical and the digital, a two-direction door to the metaverse. Through the form of NFT, we aim to build connections and interactions between celebrities, idols, esports players, streamers and their fans.
By purchasing ATTA NFT and redeeming them on ATTA, people can get exclusive rights and benefits from those IPs in the real world. In the meantime, for those that have a physical persona in the real world, we bring them to the metaverse and enable them to “reborn” with a digital persona. Just like in card games, you can check out ATTA’s NFT Gallery to learn more about the unique gameplay of each NFT and stories behind it.
Imagine your favorite streamer invites you to play a LOL game together during the streaming, or share something special with you and you ONLY. You will be able to vote to decide what benefits to be included with ATTA NFT — we could own any benefits that you could imagine through NFT.
ATTA NFTs will not only be collectibles, but also utilities.
Alex：We are very picky for the creators that launch their collections with Starly. We want to bring true meaning to collecting, that is why we want to be sure that the collection will bring value to our collectors — art, descriptions and the creators’ biography should form a unique experience to create a deep relationship between the artist and the collectors. As this relationship is the bridge to the crypto space and the metaverse.
Starly is live since 22nd September and we have already launched a few curated collections with artists that were auctioned on Sotheby’s, Worked with NBA and other sports Brands, Created Scenarios and Art Pieces that later were taken as the base for creating popular Board Game and a Video Game. As you can see we started with Digital Artists as we think they will shape and show other creators who will join Starly on later stages — how to utilize our concept and launch a very well organized collection that will fall in the heart of each who will find out about our projects.
Shawn：As I’ve mentioned in the previous question, trades or sales of creator content are not going to take place in our platform in recent updates of the app, but sooner or later it is going to happen since we believe it’s our duty and also advantage to have a deep connection with the creators and give back to the community. So along the way we drop NFTs, we are also gonna host art contests in our discord to build up relationships with the undiscovered and talented artists.
So the main intention to bring in creator contents is to help artists get their works under the sunlight. In terms of the criteria of the contents, there is really no fixed standard just to make sure the entire platform maintains some extent of diversity when we reach the stage, but as a most objective method, voting from the community is definitely gonna be one of the ways we’ll adopt. We are just tryna stay open to all fields of creation cause at the end of the day it’s all about creativity and fun when it comes to NFTs, creativity is priceless, and if it does have a price, it surely is sky-high in my opinion.
Last thing, we’re hosting an “MugenARt lucky week” event in our discord to promote our very first drop , prizes are gonna include NFTs from our initial drop and also some mystery packs from the Flow Fest, so if you’re interested in digital collectibles don’t forget to join our discord server and try out your luck.
Pucs：We choose artists and their artwork very carefully because the evaluation of an artwork is quite complex. There’re many factors in the equation, such as recognition value, artistic and academic value, insights and creativity, political and epochal value, representative value, the long-term value, the background story and the historical value, etc.
Those all are the principles of how we select. But essentially, we look forward to deeper thoughts beneath the surface, not just a fancy image or batch-generated 10k avatar copycats. A skilful image is just one side of the artwork; a mindset is more important. It determines the depth of the artwork. We believe that some greatness will be born in this golden age of metaverse over the long haul. There must be some remarkable pieces that will remain in eternity.
The crypto-art is inspired by blockchain. I believe the blockchain is the solution for social problems, including trust problems and power distribution. The idea of decentralization is from Plato and the Ancient Roman Republic to Montesquieu, Satoshi Nagamoto, and Vitalik. It is the ultimate form of society that humans have demonstrated for thousands of years. I think we are approaching this form as never before, and the works of art created after thinking about this form may become remarkable artwork different from the past.
That is the perspective we believe. We provide our members and collectors suggestion from the top tier art circles and academies, introduce genius artists to the world with their fantastic artwork and profound thoughts about this meta era. As Bertolt Brecht said: Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer to shape it. So it’s mostly a straightforward invitation: do you want to join us and shape the future of metaverse together?
Sushi Man：Today’s last question also hopes that Amber will do a finishing touch. We know that NBA Top Shot is the first project to break the circle in Flow ecology. More and more mainstream users learn about Flow and digital collectibles through NBA Top Shot. So in the future, what will Flow have on the road to mainstream users? Planning?
Amber：We are pioneering a consumer-grade digital collectibles market. Before NBA Top Shot, it was hard to imagine anyone would pay 10 USD for a short-video of less than 10s that are freely available on Youtube or other platforms. But the NBA Top Shot proved that. It has attracted more than 350,000 buyers, with 80% plus of them having never used blockchain before. These followers have contributed around 1b USD up to now in what we call “economy of fandom”, . Following in the footsteps of NBA, more and more traditional big brands such as ….have also joined, opening up an untapped market that is expected to reach over 1b, providing a massive user base for NFT to become mainstream.
In addition to sports, Flow is home to countless art, music, gaming and tech communities. At the end of 2020, only 50 startups built on Flow. Today we have 650 projects from a wide variety of areas, developing based on Flow.
To build a killer product, we worked very hard to make sure that users will be thrilled by the content per se of the NFTs. But operations also matter. We want to operate in a way that makes collectors feel part of it and want to stay in the long run. Because digital collectibles not only create an alternative source of revenue for brands, be it primary issuance or secondary transactions. They also help brands build a fans community and unlock new experiences that go beyond these digital commodities.
I very much look forward to the portability of the NFT assets on Flow across different ecosystems so that every ecosystem can come up with new scenarios for these assets and thus add to their values.