Twitter Space | NFT Strategies Talk With Curio Cards

Video Transcript:

Alduin: Hello everyone, welcome to the Twitter Space with Curio Cards. So, this is an NFT strategies talk, and we at TokenMinds are a creative engineering agency where we handle all things from marketing to development for crypto NFTs, AI, VR, and all things web3. I am your host, Alduin, and we do this every week. So, if you want to see more of this, please go on to our Twitter and other pages to see our episodes, such as this one. And today, we have a very special guest for all of you, where we have the co-founder, developer, and even the artists of Curio Cards. So, if you want to hear more or if you want to share it with your friends, please share it right now. And just a little bit of a reminder, we do have a talk, but afterwards, we will have a Q&A open for everyone. You can request to speak up and ask your questions to our guests. So, without further ado, for our guests, why don’t you introduce yourselves quickly?Travis: I can go first and then pass it to somebody else. Hi, everybody! I’m Travis, one of the co-founders of Curio Cards, and I’ll go ahead and pass it to Luis. Hey, guys!Luis: I’m one of the artists of Curio Cards. I’m from the Philippines, and yeah, we’re finally talking on my time zone, as you mentioned earlier, Travis. And I’m very happy; I will pass it on to Robek.Robek: Hi, I am Robek. Yeah, that’s all you need to know. I’m an artist sometimes and a collector.Kian: I can verify that’s all you need to know about Robek. Also, an artist in Korea. Thank you, TokenMinds.Alduin: And thank you as well. I’ve been trying to get there.Travis: Okay, yeah, that’s right. He’s another one of the other co-founders of Curio Cards if he’s able to join us on audio today. If not, I will just say, Mad Bitcoins, in the room here is another co-founder of Curio Cards, so go ahead and follow him, all right?Alduin: So, of course, we want to know more about all of you. So let’s continue, first with your journey. So, what do you do in your Web3 life? How did you encounter Web3 and NFTs? And what was that triggering moment that made you jump into the rabbit hole and into the world of NFTs? Again, anyone can go first and just pass it on.Inference Active: Throwback story, like I was inside of a keyboard, and then one day…Travis: Yeah, that’s me. Sorry, I thought I had muted. Uh, I’m… Do I should I go first? I mean, the question was… What was the question?Alduin: How did you get into NFTs? So, what was like your journey? What’s your web life like? How did you encounter webtoon NFTs, and what was that trigger that made you jump into the world of NFTs?Robek: Yeah, I mean if you’ve listened to me talk about this stuff before, it’s going to be pretty repetitive, so I’ll give the summary. Uh, I know some of these people are new as well, but I, I, I’ve got to work on like multiple versions of the story just so it doesn’t get repetitive. So I guess the short version is I got annoyed at Twitter. I ended up on a decentralized social network called Good News Social. I met a bunch of devs and engineers, and one of them became one of my good friends. His name’s Moon. He helped with some of the curio stuff down the road too, but he introduced me to it. And then we wanted to do a bunch of digital collectible stuff too, so curio seemed like a good fit because it was like very similar to how we wanted to do some Trading Card stuff. So, uh, yeah, it immediately clicked for me. This was while everybody else was doing ICOs and stuff, like just generally chasing um, garbage. And then, um, yeah, but we were focused on this digital collectible stuff, and, um, I really enjoyed it. I really thought it was an interesting uh, use case for blockchain. Uh, we wanted to, like, very early on, uh, the stuff that we were diverging towards was like using NFL, they weren’t NFTs, but like these digital Collectibles as in-game assets for games we wanted to work on. And we were writing about it and we’re working on protocols m and yeah, nobody really got it, so we stopped and instead we made a joke called Pen Grants that evolved past that. Anyway, the whole journey has been really interesting. I didn’t expect anybody to really get it for several years, like maybe 10. Apparently, it didn’t take that long. It was pretty shocking to get pulled back into the space after, after, you know, years of not even thinking about curio. I started working for a blockchain protocol organization in the beginning of 2018, and so it’s pretty heads down there, and I missed actually a lot of the NFT-like stuff rising up from, I guess, like 2018 to 2020, just because I was heads down working. Yeah, I don’t know. I am excited and also critical of the direction things are going, so that’s the short version where I ramble shortly and then pass it to Daniel.Inference Active: All right, well, I think my Web3 journey started just learning about crypto, the currency aspect, the computer aspects, doing art, drawing using pen on paper, and as the lore goes, found a Google form in 2017, submitted some art, got included in the curio show. Several years went by, stayed in the game, meming and watching along, and continuing to do research. And then, found myself here with you all. And I’ll pass it over to Luis.Luis: So, I got into crypto back when we were still calling it the Bitcoin industry, so this was like 2014, and you know, I’ve been kind of, you know, mostly dedicating all my time to figuring out how to make this stuff more accessible to Filipinos. So, I’m, you know, born and bred, uh, from the Philippines, and in 2017, I bumped into some of the Curio Cards through in San Francisco, and they invited me to, you know, add some of my art to the collection that they were putting together. I didn’t really understand what it was or how it was supposed to work back then, but, you know, it turns out that we kind of ended up making the world’s first NFT collection, which turns out to, you know, kind of be a big deal. So, yeah, I didn’t really realize how big a deal it was until many years later, 2021. By that point, I’d kind of maybe spent a couple years really trying to stretch my legs in the nascent NFT Art Space. I was lucky enough to do some early collaborations with Jose Galbo, one of the kind of a seminal NFT artists, uh, back then, um, and I’ve continued to do a lot of these collaborations even back here in the Philippines with some celebrities and some TV properties and things like that. It’s been a great journey, um, but like Robek, I think I’m also kind of like, I have no freaking clue where this space is currently going, and I am constantly in this weird flip-floppy kind of mindset when I see how far air has come. I’m still not quite sure how all of that will kind of shake out, and I continue to be very much a learner. I think there’s still so much for us to figure out, and yeah, I guess being part of Curio Cards just kind of gave us a leg up, but that’s, you know, that’s something we have to continue to maintain, and I would say…Alduin: Alright, and I think our co-founders are here as well.Travis: I can go next. Um, yeah, so I, I like Luis’s way of saying, “I also kind of got in around the same time, back when it was called… it was just Bitcoin, right? I, I liked the way he said that it was just the Bitcoin industry. Yeah, at the time it was just Bitcoin. Um, I got interested in the space through kind of the open-source side of the culture, as it were. I would do Linux meetup events and do like install fests, help people install Linux on their computers, things like that. It’s like I love that collaborative nature of Linux. And somebody I wanted a Linux meetup event said, ‘Hey, there’s this Bitcoin Meetup Group here,’ and I was living in San Francisco at the time, so I started going to that Meetup Group. Really excellent, um, really enjoyed it. And over time, you know, just helping out here and there, stacking chairs, finding caterers, things like that, I ended up being one of the organizers of the San Francisco Bitcoin Meetup group. At the time, it was the largest and oldest running crypto Meetup Group in the world. And that’s where I met Tom, who’s, he can go after me if his mic’s working. Uh, he was also helping organize the Meetup group as well at the time, and we decided to do an art show one year. This is not Curio Cards. This is the year before, this is 2016, and we decided to do a physical art show of artists that did, you know, Bitcoin was sort of the theme of their work. Um, so we had like crypto graffiti, for instance, was one of the artists. I think there were about seven artists at that show, maybe. Uh, Tom remembers the exact number, and that was really fun. But the next year, we kind of got, well, hey, let’s just do that against me an annual thing, but we got thinking, I said, ‘Maybe we can do something a little bit different.’ And we decided to essentially do it online, as it were, to make it more accessible. And they went through a lot of different versions. But ultimately, that’s what Curio Cards became, and that’s also why you see, you know, three artists here today, seven artists in total. It’s kind of unusual for a collection in that it’s an ensemble, you know, it’s because it was set up as an art show. So it’s not just one artist’s collection, and I really like that about Curio Cards. I really like that it’s sort of this collection of many artists and has that sample vibe to it. And as Robek said, nobody really cared at the time what we were doing, and I, I also kind of, yeah, I agree with Robek was saying. I, I didn’t expect, I kind of figured even when I saw NFTs start to take off, and I kind of mentioned Curio Cards here and there, and I’d see Tom mentioning Curio Cards and Twitter, I kind of figured that, okay, so NFTs are important. We were right in that regard, um, but the idea of being first or being old, we didn’t know we were first at the time. That’s not relevant, and that’s okay. We tried a thing. It was really interesting, and then very quickly, suddenly, people really did care about the history. They, like, suddenly all at the same time decided, ‘Hey, the history of this matters. Where did this come from? What is this?’ And that’s when people discovered Curio Cards. I had just quit my job, like, the day before that, like a big tweet thread came out about curio cards. And I’d put that notice in two weeks before, so I didn’t even know that was what was going to happen. I was going to do something else, but I quit my job. Then, like, the very next day on my last day, curio cards just re-discovered, and here we are. And I’ll pass it to Tom.Mad Bitcoins: Now, I never had a doubt about the value of Curio Cards. I thought they were great from the beginning. Basically, I got into Bitcoin in 2013. I made a lot of videos at, over 600 daily videos, and then I started making videos over at World Crypto Network. We’ve made about 3000 videos over there. What we did with Curio Cards is I worked at a couple of other Bitcoin startups. BTC Jam, where we did loans, didn’t go too well. I worked at Perth, where we did Amazon discounts, and it went a little better. But this time, I wanted to have my own Bitcoin startup where I couldn’t be fired by someone else. So we started Curio Cards with Travis and Rhett. Rhett did all the technical work. He designed the vending machines, he made the cards, and there wasn’t an NFT standard back then. We called them blockchain collectibles. What we wanted to do is to kind of capture some of the rarity that we understood about Bitcoin and extend that rarity to art. So we recruited artists like Daniel said through the web form, through people we knew, and through volunteers on the forum, like Robek, who constantly entertained us with his great cartoon drawings of our raccoon mascot. And we had a pretty good time doing the first cards. But basically, we couldn’t get a market together. We couldn’t sell enough of the cards to kind of afford the services of a programmer like Rhett or even a marketing person like me and a community organizer like Travis. So we all had to kind of go our separate ways and get real jobs. But we had a great time doing Curio Cards, like I was saying. I always liked Curio Cards. I always thought they were great. I was never sure about NFTs. It always seemed like NFTs might have just been people buying their own NFTs. And I thought that way right up until the point when they finally started buying Curio Cards. And I think it was the day after the Cyanide Live NFT Eminem song, which was so great. They got the rapper going, and they ported the Curio Cards to the Modern Standard. It was really exciting to see there be collectors and a market for kind of our digital baseball cards that we just made together as a group. It was really cool.
lAlduin: That’s really interesting, and I’m sure our audiences are looking forward to more insights. And we did hear a little bit more details about Curio Cards, but I think this question goes for our co-founders. So, go into the collection itself. For those who don’t know, can you explain what exactly is Curio Cards?Travis: Yeah, I mean Tom, feel free to jump in as well. So, Curio Cards, it’s seven artists and it’s 30 cards. And the way the rarity works, it’s not like how a lot of ’71 work where there’s just, you know, one of each. It’s more like trading cards, it’s more like baseball cards, more like Pokemon cards. I’m gonna call them digital collectibles at the time, and it’s just the idea that there’s many of each kind, but there’s still, you know, there’s still unique, distinct series. In fact, a common thing people like to do is the idea of, you know, collecting, uh, for instance, a full set. And that’s if you have one of each of the 30, which is very difficult to do. I think at most, in theory, a hundred could exist, but more likely only 40 could exist, just given some of the cards are obviously lost, potentially to old wallets, people, though there’s, there’s lesser barriers as well. Maybe you collect one through ten or you collect all three of Daniel’s cards or you collect all three of Robux cards, etc.Mad Bitcoins: So, we started a special sale vending machine at 27 cents a card, and after those didn’t sell, we had another vending machine with a dollar a card. For the first 10 cards, it was kind of a fundraiser for the company, uh, where we kind of used these generic-looking clip art that we designed with Finip. We tried to raise funds for the company, but basically no one bought them. So instead of a hundred thousand for each card, which would have made a million dollars to fund the company, we burnt them down to whatever it is, 2,000 on average for each card, uh. After that, we went into the artist cards with our friend Crypto Graffiti, who we knew from the Bitcoin meetups. We made even less of those cards, and then I think we went to the next set of cards with Finip, made even less. I think we went to Louise’s dog cards, and even less. And I think by the time we got to Robeks cards and Daniel’s cards, we started to hit some numbers where we would actually sell out of the 300 or so cards. But you couldn’t really afford to run a startup on $300 a week, so it went down fast after that.Travis: Yeah, especially because at that point, all the revenue was just going to go to the artists, and we had to kind of figure out, you know, the idea to be like a marketplace and like an ecosystem around it, and that just was clearly not going to be able to materialize.Mad Bitcoins: Yeah, There was no place where you could trade NFTs. There was either Delta, which kind of had it, but there was no unity. Or online, and you both had to be online to do the trade, so it was very difficult. And then, there were no other NFTs. I mean, certainly, we knew about Spells of Genesis and rare Pepes, but they were on Counterparty, their own chain. There wasn’t really anything else to pass these things around. So if you heard about them through our YouTube videos, our Telegram Channel, and our web page (I think we had an announcement on Bitcoin Talk because that’s where all the important projects announced themselves back in the day), I think we might have been on Reddit, you know, that kind of thing. But if you didn’t see the announcement and the subsequent videos and tweets and stuff, you wouldn’t have seen it. It would have just passed by.Travis: I even actually end up getting a talk at Reddit’s headquarters, but I like what you said about the affordability because, like when we did the art show the year before, there were these huge incredible pieces that were like one-of-a-kind, very expensive. Kraken bought a bunch for their offices, but no one else was really buying them. Meanwhile, some of the other artists, they had prints, and they were selling, you know, like 1,500 of these things for like a buck, five bucks, ten bucks, something like that, and everyone walked out the door with a print. I thought, “Well, this is how you do it because the idea was really like adoption, right? How can we create something that makes people interested in crypto, makes people interested in art, makes people interested in what we’re doing?” So, great, you know, sell thousands of them for 25 cents a piece. Let everybody have one, a low-berry event, free well and…Mad Bitcoins: “And what was originally so fun is, uh, we had a MyEtherWallet, and they made kind of a MyCurioWallet version of that as well as the gallery web page. And what you could do is copy and paste your public Ethereum address into that web page or into that (use that) other wallet, and it would show you what Curio cards you had. And it was really fun to think of your addresses, not just how much Ethereum or how much Bitcoin, how much money you have, but your address suddenly had these weird collectibles in it.”Alduin: Great! And it seems like you really had fun in your journey with Curio Cards. But for my next question, I mean, if you don’t mind, for our cool Founders: Curio Cards is like, I see it as a very art-focused project. Now, if you don’t mind me asking, I know some of the artists are here, but which Curio Cards is your personal favorite and why?Travis: I know what Tom’s gonna say. You want to go first.Mad Bitcoins: “Oh, I like the Mad Bitcoins card, and then the Wizard would be my second favorite if I had to choose, for sure.”Travis: Yeah, so Tom’s got his Visage on two cards. The 20 cards, because we’re experimenting as we went, you can see the styles are different because the Arts are different but also trying different things. Weird, it’s kind of an idea of like, what about a patreon model? Like, do you want people to buy a card that supports a sick person and like, “Hey, we got mad Bitcoins here,” you know, one of the largest, you know, Bitcoin YouTube channels at the time. Uh, so he got card 20, and then Rollback did his card series, kind of inspired by us. So, Tom’s got two cards. My favorite card is going to be 22 for very similar reasons because, uh, that was Robek’s take on myself.Mad Bitcoins: Well, yeah, and Rome just made a very good decision to, uh, make cards out of the founders, which of course the founders loved and then made into cards. I heard a similar thing with threesomes. He said that he made early NFT baseball cards of other NFT artists because he wanted them to retweet and share his work, so nothing wrong with that, right?Robek: Well, my card was drawn. I could Photoshop you on anything, any day, Tom, you know, just in case you wanted that. It’s never too late to start.Alduin: Yeah, and for our listeners who are aspiring artists, I think that’s a great strategy by Robek as well. But um, now going to our artists, um, can you give us a glimpse of what it was like to produce the art we see today? I’m sure all of you have stories behind creating these wonderful pieces of art. And can you explain the meaning behind your Curio Cards? I guess Robek can go first.Robek: Yeah, sure. I mean, kind of like what Travis had said about, um, going to, uh, those shows and then seeing people run prints off. Um, I had been doing artist alleys, uh, I was like a silver age webcomic artist, um, a long time ago. And so we would used to go to all these like artist alleys and sell arts and stuff like that, and you know, there were two options there. It was like do on-site commissions, uh, for super cheap because everybody else around you is selling Spider-Man prints, and you know they’re only going to buy that, or you know, do prints of Spider-Man and then sell those, right? Um, and the prints would always sell way faster. Um, also I was heavily into like Magic: The Gathering and baseball cards and stuff like that when I was younger, um, so like collectibles like was an idea that I understood pretty, um, pretty well. Um, so with my cards, you know, um, I had been like, I have super ADHD, which is a superpower, I think, but it also keeps me, um, really annoying to people who know me, which, which like, I hyper-focus on something for like three months and then drop it. At the time I admit, I had mentioned earlier in the call, like the time, you know, me and Moon were wanting to do all kinds of stuff, and we were working on this thing called Alexa token, which was actually going to end up like wrapping, uh, but we dropped it because we’re like, no, nobody wants to add attributes to tokens, so, uh, why would we, why would we keep doing this? But that was all part of a game that we wanted to work on. So, um, yeah, uh, that game was going to be a fantasy Dungeon Crawler, and so I just basically took what I was doing there, and I was like, okay, maybe I can apply it to this, and, uh, after some iteration, I ended up just, you know, as I got to know Travis and Tom and Rhett, I thought it would be fun to do, uh, sort of like depictions of them, you know, for busting ass on this project over the past however long it was before my cards came out, as well as, like, apply some of the logic from, like, collectible cards to it. Um, I wanted to do a holographic card, and if you’ve heard me talk before, all we didn’t have the kind of, like, data accessibility at the time, so I was given the option to do two frames for an animation, um, so the red one kind of twitches, I guess he has a little seizure, um, uh, and he was 250 cards versus like the 500 for the other two, and I don’t know whether or not it was like because of that dichotomy from the first 21 cards to 23 through, but my cards all sold out like pretty much immediately, and, uh, yeah, I guess it worked, and you know, I think, I mean, I’m not going to talk for Daniel, uh, obviously, uh, but it might have inspired people to actually like experiment with their supply, and, uh, you know, I think all the other cards after that kind of sold out too, so.Travis: So, are you saying that me, Tom, and Rhett were Spider-Man in that situation?Robek: Uh yeah, you guys were like Spider-Man for the four people that were following
the project, yeah.Travis: Three of them being us; two of them being.Robek: Yeah, and as you said before in previous ones, somehow we managed to have the technical capability for card 30 to do many frames. Um, and you got a little little dipped on there, yeah, but we figured it out later. Oh, that one has more frames. I like what Christie’s, the Christie’s, um, description for uh Rhett’s card, uh, winking and an endless loop of wanton bravado.Robek: Yeah, it was pretty funny.Alduin: Great, now for our next artist.Inference Active: Luis, you want to go, or I’ll go for it.Luis: Go for it!Inference Active: All right, well, um, I did the art for cards 24, 25, and 26, and being included in the digital art show was very unique because those art pieces are hand-drawn on, uh, standard office paper. So my whole art life before then and after then was pretty much oriented around slowly making careful drawings on paper, and, uh, that is partially why the supply of those cards is a little bit all over the place. It was just like a big shock to me to have more than one of an art piece at all, like a prince, and, uh, so the drawings were made to your question about the, like, the journey of making them slowly, probably in cafes or while listening to other things I should have been paying more attention to.Mad Bitcoins: Well, that was one of the real reasons that we chose Daniel’s art. It’s because when we were looking through the Google form, we wanted art that we were sure someone had done by hand. We were sure it wasn’t stolen or derivative or something that could get us in trouble. We were looking for that uniqueness. So, that’s why I chose Daniel. Sorry to cut you off, Luis. Go ahead.Travis: Yeah, and also the fact that it was a different medium than we had done at that point. Uh, we wanted to demonstrate that identities could be more than one thing, and here comes this physical hand-drawn work. Uh, after digital work that had happened before.Luis: You know, with all the, uh, advancements in AI, I actually think that maybe Daniel’s on the right track with the whole going handmade and stuff, because that at least guarantees that it’s going to be at least a couple of years or, I don’t know, maybe a couple of weeks before, um, you know, mid-journey, we’ll figure out how to, you know, start making hand-drawn retain things as well. Um, anyway, so, so mine was, um, uh, so I’ve always been like a huge fan of the great propagandists of Bitcoin, uh, that’s, uh, back then, that was crypto graffiti, sleep, um, some others, right? There’s a handful of artists back in the early days, and crypto graffiti set in Imperial cards is actually right before mine. So, his whole thing was, he likes to create these parodies of, at the time, kind of these well-known brand names, and he’ll kind of, like, you know, mix them up and turn them into Bitcoin slogans. So, he does one for, like, MasterCard, one for Wendy’s, Coca-Cola, stuff like that, and it kind of changes these logos to make them look like, um, Bitcoin logos. And I, I don’t think he would ever, um, be offended if I characterize his work as propagandist, because it is, you know, like, he’s trying, he’s pushing an ideology, and he does it by kind of using parody. And I, I always, I’ve always really enjoyed that. So, um, you know, kind of coming into the very, very young Bitcoin art scene in 2016 and 2017, like, I wanted to do something similar, but I also didn’t want to, you know, rip off his style. So, kind of my thing became kind of these editorial cartoons where I would try to, and I kind of just do like a cartoon of, um, something happening in the crypto world of the time. That’s why, um, Card 17, uh, says UASF. That was that stands for the User Activated Soft Fork, which was kind of this whole controversy in the Bitcoin world, um, you know, kind of back when I was, uh, illustrating that. Um, why are they all dogs? Because I, I just wanted to get better at drawing dogs. So, I had, so I did like a whole series of these, um, these three years are the three best ones that I did that year. Um, but yeah, I’ve got, I’ve got a whole mess of, um, dog illustrations from 2017. Um, so all of them are kind of very specifically around, kind of, you know, Bitcoin or crypto slogans or, or, or, um, something that was happening at the time. So, number 17 is about the UASF. Um, number 18 is my version of “To the Moon,” uh, where you’ve got these dogs kind of in a rocket ship, uh, riding up to the moon. And then 19 is kind of like my commentary on altcoins. Um, and, I, again, so 2017 is, you know, very early days, right? So that was like, uh, the second or third year of Ethereum’s life, and I believe Bitcoin’s dominance was still in the high 80s or low 90s at the time, so, you know, quite, quite a different market from kind of where we are right now, where, you know, like more than 50% of the market is altcoins. Um, should I probably way more than now? Um, yeah, so I guess kind of, uh, the way that I’ve always kind of seen myself is as someone who is, like, I am pushing a particular ideology. I want to be able to get more people to look at crypto, but maybe in a way that doesn’t necessarily have to bore them with the jargon. And I’m certainly not trying to be, you know, an anarchist and try to get everyone to, you know, sell all the dollars and turn it into Bitcoin, although, you know, if you do do that, um, you know, high five and all that, but, um, I guess, like, I just want people to kind of look at this stuff more closely. And one approach that I found is to kind of create these funny little cute drawings that will help them kind of just, you know, see crypto as something that is not super intimidating. Um, and yeah, that’s still kind of like what I’m doing these days, although these days I’m more kind of on the educational side of things. I might actually, I actually spend a lot more time teaching than than drawing, although, yeah, I still do try to draw every now and again. Um, and I think that I’ve actually got it a lot better since my dog cartoons, um, but definitely not like five, six years ago now. Um, yeah, so I think that’s it for me.Inference Active: Okay, I just had one comment on the AI art. While hearing that, it made me think like there’s three things that art could do. Like, it could be personally meaningful to you/beautiful, and I feel like AI generator R is going to be doing a great job of that. It can be art that you yourself made, so it’s meaningful because you have the direct experience, and that’s definitely been my experience with drawing and many other people. Or you can have historical NFTs, and the provenance is documented, and the scarcity makes it part of the story. So, it’s kind of like which one of those niches are for our own enjoyment, and then which ones are external. Just a random thought. Yeah.Robek: I always say, “I mean, I, I have a… I’ve been working on an AI article for like eight months, uh, that’s never gonna get finished because everything’s been exponential for the past eight months. Um, but my biggest thing is like intent. Um, I think that if you sit down and you think, and you’re like, ‘Okay, I know what the outcome I want to have is,’ like creatively, I think, like, to your point, if you just type in ‘dog’ and you get a dog or you get like a random painting of a dog, it’s probably not the intent that you’re going for. But if you sit there and you run gens for like seven hours and curate hundreds of things down to one to because you have a vision in your mind, I think that that’s where you’re gonna see some of that. I also think that, like Daniel, you’re like, ‘AI can’t evolve without new data sets, so everything we have is just based off of what currently exists.’ If Daniel wanted to, in the future, he could train his own models and he could license them out. And like, I think that that’s… that’s a direction we’re going to see a lot of this go. Like, I don’t think artists are going to lose jobs. I think artists are going to become like super important to expanding the capabilities of this stuff, and it’s going to be more than just like, ‘Oh, well, you know, you’re gonna put your art online anyway, they’re just gonna train it.’ No, I think there’s going to be ways for artists to profit from it. Anyway, we can talk about AI all day, but it’s probably not the call for it.”Alduin: It’s really interesting. It was great to hear more about your art, and of course, yeah, there was a mention a while ago of where the space is going. I mean, there’s AI now, but one of these things is utility for NFT. So, for anyone, uh, what would you say are the benefits and the utility that Curio cards give?Travis: One of the things that we have right now is just the Iran token getting right. Like if you own an NFT, it’s like a pass. So in our Discord, for instance, and I think a lot of NFT projects do this, uh, you can access certain channels based on what cards you hold and sort of like joining a club. I really, I really like that idea, uh, for NFTs specifically because you can’t really do the same thing with an ERC token, which is divisible infinitely, right? Or down to decimal points. That idea of discrete ownership.Mad Bitcoins: Well, NFTs are the ultimate collectible. Unlike baseball cards, they’re always in mint condition. You can always tell how many other cards there are. If any cards have been destroyed or burnt, you can tell the provenance of the card and who owned it before you. You could even own a historic card! Things like this are why blockchain collectibles or digital collectibles are the best.Travis: And with those historical cards, you know it wasn’t generated by AI.Alduin: Great, so, uh, going more over about the cards, right? Um, I heard, I saw that they were like… But, can you expound more on the number of existing cards? By this, we mean, uh, the 30 cards with a thousand holders. What was the reasoning behind this?Travis: Uh, so like, the first ten, uh, we kind of bound. We didn’t really, so we didn’t know what Supply to do, right? There were no models to look at, so we had no idea how many of these should be. So, we picked an arbitrarily large number and then kind of saw what would happen. In our wildest optimistic dreams, they all sold. And, um, you know what ended up happening was what it did at the end of the week, what didn’t sell, we would just burn because we kind of see sales are tapering off anyway. And yet, what kind of happened out of that is for the first ten, the supply is really dictated by demand. It’s kind of an inverse thing, though. Like, the more demand, the more common the card is. The less demand, the more rare the card is. That didn’t really work perfectly. I thought it was kind of funny, but, uh, not really matching up the demand with, you know, Rarity. From there on out, the artist kind of picked, and I really liked what Robek did when he made one of them half the supply of the others because he was like sending a signal that you can’t have all three, and I thought that was really cool. And I think that’s a big reason why his sold out first. Uh, I think in total there’s like, uh, 20,000 of them, but I mean a cool half of them are probably lost. There’s a great website,, which has a full breakdown of the card supplies, uh, the number of their estimated lost, etc.Alduin: For our listeners who don’t know, can you talk to us more about, uh, wrapping?Travis: Yeah, I can take this again as well because I was just the rapping thing. I was very involved in that, um, so as was mentioned before by Tom, when Curio cards came out, there was no open C, there were no NFT standards. Uh, Rhett, who did the solidity work for Curio cards, and, boy, like, give an applause to Rhett. Really, it’s hard to overstate how rare a solid developer was back then. Uh, if you think it’s hard to find a Slither developer now, I mean, there was like a dozen of them, maybe at most in the world. I don’t know the exact numbers, but it was.Mad Bitcoins: Yeah, right! That was the two heroes here, and remember, we’re hanging out in a bar with, like, crypto graffiti—Vitalik Buterin, Rhett, and the rest of us.Travis: Yeah, uh, we have ideas all day long about what Ethereum could do, but it was only a handful of people who could actually do it. And Rhett was there, and he liked the idea and he was on board. And, um, that’s why it happened. Um, but Rhett had to kind of invent his own standard, so he took an ERC contract and he made it non-visible. We discussed other things, and I had just seen IPFS had just had a presentation recently, so we put IPFS hashes in. Uh, there’s a description, right? He kind of made an NFT, a digital collectible, that standard that he created. While it works and it’s great, it is not ERC-21. It is not the standard that later coalesced out through Curio Cards as a reference in that standard. They clearly were looking at the work we were doing. Um, and, uh, so yeah, you can’t just trade a Curio Card on OpenSea because OpenSea doesn’t support the Curio Card standard. It supports ERC-721, which is the main NFT standard and which is the newer NFT standard that has been getting a lot of popularity. The Curio Cards more closely match with it, so if you want to trade them, you just can’t. So when Curio Cards rediscovered the big push, was, “I want to trade on OpenSea.” People were kind of trading them peer-to-peer, but they weren’t on OpenSea. So a wrapper was created. It was a big project. Kian, who was a developer, actually created the Curio Cards wallet back in [year], and Moon, who Robek has mentioned, he was like the first Curio Cards fan. They worked together on this as well as a bunch of other people, but they, I think, were the main technical force to get this wrapper put together. So you have to take your old card and wrap it in order for it to become an ERC-1155. It’s sort of like putting it in, like, a protective sleeve. It’s still the card, but you’ve embedded it inside a different token that’s compatible with OpenSea. And once you wrap it, there’s really no reason to ever unwrap or re-wrap or whatever. It’s the same card, but just now it’s compatible. It’s like an upgrade, and it doesn’t affect the supply or the rarity or anything. It’s still a one-to-one ratio.Alduin: That’s really interesting, and I think it’s a good reminder for us to always be flexible in terms of the changing time, especially now that it’s, you know, really fast-changing, right? But, uh, going to another topic about art, uh, and this can go for our artist and co-founder as well, and this being very art-focused, um, we live in a world where one can easily take another’s spot or work and use it for our own, and, um, our own game, right? So, can you tell us why artwork licensing is never more important today? And yeah, I think this time Luis can go first.Luis: Um, so sorry. The question was, um, about licensing.Alduin: Yep, why is it never more important today?Luis: Oh gosh, um, to be honest, I actually am a little bit more liberal in the way that I see my work. Um, I actually, I am… how do I… what do I think about when I create new work? Um, mostly, I just want a lot of people to see it, I think. Um, and that’s kind of why, so you know, other than Curio cards, nearly everything I’ve done since then has been, uh, one of one. Um, because I don’t really… I’m not a great… I… I… I’m not a great marketing person. So, like, uh, with the one of one, I… you basically convince one person, right? Um, you have one patron who will buy the thing that you have spent the last couple of weeks or months working on, and that’s it. It’s… it’s hopefully that’s all you need to do. Um, but my agenda is that, you know, I want the maximum number of people to see the work that I’ve made. And actually, I’m… I… I care a little less about whether or not people take it and then remix it. Maybe I’m being slightly naive there. Um, but I… I find that when you put stuff on the internet, almost… I don’t know, maybe the way I kind of see things is that it’s… it’s almost implied that everyone, anyone who is interested, to take it and remix your work, um, they’ll do it whether or not they have your permission. And, you know, if they ask for your permission, then that’s actually, you know, that’s… that’s very polite of them. But I… I… it’s very hard for you to kind of enforce and ask people to, you know, to get their… get your permission first. Um, so… so kind of my thing about, you know, when I put the work out there, I… I have this thing where I just kind of… let it go in my… in my mind. Um, I think, um, just to go back to something that Daniel and Robek said earlier, um, a big part of creating art for me is the actual… uh, pleasure I derive from… from working on it, from rendering it. Um, you know, I started to time myself recently. I’ve not done so a lot of work in the last two years. I think I’ve… I think I’ve probably published maybe about three or four, uh, pieces in the last two years. But each of those four pieces took me over hours of work to do. And, uh, partially, it’s because I really didn’t want the process to end. Like, I… I get so much pleasure out of, you know, creating something, you know, I mean… obviously, I mean, it’s digital, right? I’m not even using pen on paper. But, like, I’m pushing pixels. But I get so much pleasure from doing that, um, that… that’s all I kind of really want. And, you know, at the end of the process, if someone is willing to pay for that work so they can be the sole owner of that work, that NFT, then I’m super happy. Um, but even if they didn’t, like, I still have the creative process. That… that was kind of the thing that kept me going, right? It… it was… it was great to go through that creative process, uh, and then if someone then takes a screenshot of the work and then remixes it and turns it into their own thing, I… I don’t really haveTravis: It’s just a real quick, like, I don’t know if maybe you were the one who said this to me before, Lewis, but I remember hearing someone in Curio had said something like, ‘The Mona Lisa is like the most parodied piece of artwork out there,’ and that has not heard its popularity or its value.Luis: Ah yes, uh, that wasn’t me. But yes, that’s, that’s a really succinct way of saying what took me about minutes to say.Inference Active: Oh, I’ll just add one note coming from a research and science background. It’s definitely important to have citations and to show your work. Art’s a different world, and I hope we can figure out licensing strategies that respect the whole gamut – from just wanting it to be out there and remixed, and the Creative Commons that allow for that – all the way through to restrictive (although somebody might be using that in a good way for their art). But it’s an interesting area. I hope that we can design the art and the NFTs that fit every niche.Alduin: Yeah, that’s really interesting to hear different perspectives from all of you. And so, um, before I give my last question, I do have a reminder to our audience that after this question, I will open up the Q&A section where you can request to speak. So that, um, you can ask our guests here some questions that you might have. And also, you can comment down here or tweet, um, if ever you have these questions. And I can just read it out for you. So, um, I know we’ve heard it, we might have heard it already a while ago, but last but not least, can you tell us if Curio Cards has encountered previous hurdles and how you overcame them? Uh, do you have any tips that could inspire aspiring founders or community members in the space?Mad Bitcoins: Well, obviously, I think the key to success is putting up a project and then waiting five years, and it suddenly becomes a success all on its own. In my experience, yeah, that can’t fail. So, I’m gonna, I’m gonna go ahead and back up what Tom just said, and that’s the full, uh, advice. But really, I think what our project was, is it was an MVP, it was a minimum viable product, right? We got as little as we could together that we thought would make the project work, and as it turned out, because we launched on the Ethereum blockchain and because Ethereum kept going into the future, people were able to find and then recognize and appreciate our work. If we’d made our own blockchain, if we just launched, if we hadn’t launched, if we’d said, “Oh, it’s not perfect, you know, it’s got this and that, we need a better web page,” whatever it is, it wouldn’t have become a project. So I think it’s important to make your art. I especially like someone like people or that song “A Day Guy” where they just make their art every day. And that’s what I did with Mad Bitcoins. You know, no one watched my first, like, I don’t know, 100 videos, but it’s because I made videos that eventually someone watched them. Obviously, the same with a greater creator like Mr. Beast or someone like that who just keeps at it every day, keeps making that up, keeps publishing it, even though you might get no comments or negative comments.Travis: Well, if you even see his oldest videos, he just turned a camera on and started talking. Uh, reading out of the phone book, uh, if we had spent even another month or two putting more polish on it, uh, you know, we wouldn’t have been before crypto punks, and that’s important. That matters, so yeah, that’s the main thing. It’s just like, you have an idea. What’s the quickest possible way you can get into people’s hands to see what they think of it? Because you could imagine all day long what it’s going to be. You don’t know until people interact with it.Luis: You know, I, uh, this… Oh, sorry, go ahead, Travis.Travis: No, I was going to jump onto, like, a different, uh, tip as it were. So, you go, you go ahead.Luis: Okay, uh, yeah, no, I was just gonna, like, say, so I actually did a fireside chat with people, uh, last month and, kind of like, I was basically asking him for, you know, what advice can we give to the designers in the crowd? It was like a pretty big crowd of Filipino designers, um, and I think one of the tips that he was giving was like, “Do the thing that is kind of hard and unique, and if you do those things, uh, if you find whatever that thing is, it’ll make you a hell of a lot harder to copy.” So in his case, you know, it was his “everydays” thing, where he makes, you know, a piece of digital art every day and has been going on strong for over 13 years. Now I think he’s on his 14th year, and I did the math for him. In order for him to do X number of these, he has to do it for another decade. And he seems like he’s willing to, you know, keep going for another 10 years. Um, and I think that in a world where everything is very easy to copy, um, because of, you know, whatever, you know, screenshots, AI-generated stuff trained on other people’s work, whatever, um, doing the thing that is hard is almost always going to guarantee that you are going to be unique at some level. Um, and I think that one of the things that Curio Cards did was they did something that, um, that hadn’t been tried before, right? And, you know, we can argue all day about whether it was too early or what, like, at least from a business or commercial standpoint, but what matters is that it was, it happened at that moment. And because of that, it’s kind of forever going to be part of the history of art on the blockchain. And you’re never going to be able to take that away from it because, you know, the timestamps, um, are basically the thing that really matter here. Um, and I guess, you know, kind of broadly, if you were going to give advice to other artists, um, I don’t think there are shortcuts. Um, I think that’s, I think that’s kind of my main advice. There aren’t any shortcuts. I think that you have to, there’s going to be a grind and there’s going to be a long period where you’re not really going to be sure if any of your work is going to matter ultimately. Um, but I’ve found that the longer you stay in the game, the higher your chances are that you will find that one thing that will kind of matter for you. So, um, yeah, in the case of Curio Cards, it took about four years or so for it to become an overnight success. So, yeah, and so I guess we’re kind of proof of that.Travis: And that, and that’s really like a lot of times, here’s the overnight success story. You look a little bit closer and it’s always like five years, ten years of work than overnight success. It’s always that way, yeah. It’s going to keep showing up, I like the other thing I was going to say. Is that also just, um, when you do find people who care about the thing that you’re creating, uh, really supporting that and connecting with them and finding out why they like it and doing everything you can to, um, cultivate that interest we had early on when Curio Cards rediscovered there was sort of a scam group. They had a fake second Discord server, they had a rapper that was going to take the royalty away from the artist, they had all this stuff, and they were creating like medium posts. They were full of just, you know, propaganda and lies and stuff. The only difference between, you know, the actual Discord or the actual rapper, the actual, you know, group, and that group was the strength of the community. And because of that, uh, we were able, they didn’t, you know, destroy the project, they didn’t take it down because we did have that dedicated group of people, and they just didn’t.Alduin: Great, thank you for your inspirational messages. As mentioned, I am opening up the Q&A floor. So, if ever, for our audience, you have questions, just request to speak and you can ask your question to our guests.Travis: I am, I’m waving, uh, virtually here at Anne-Marie who’s in the chat. Um, who, uh, ran it? Would you know, do the um, a lot of meetups in San Francisco back in the day as well, and I always see you in these spaces and, uh, you know you’re in my time zone or, you know, you’re closer to my time zone. You always manage to make these, and that’s so cool. Thanks for coming.Alduin: Going once, going twice. Now, if, um, if there are no questions for our guests, I guess we can close this Twitter Space. Uh, well, first off, thank you to our guest. Thank you, Travis. Thank you, uh, Mad Bitcoin. Thank you, Luis. Thank you, Robek. Thank you, Daniel, for being with us today. Um, and for our audiences here, for sure, check out Curio Cards. And again, we are TokenMinds, a creative engineering agency where we handle development to marketing your NFT, crypto, AI, uh, VR projects or everything under the sun of web. I am your host, Alduin, and please follow us on Twitter so you can check out, uh, more of these NFT strategies talk where we have other guests. And yeah, again, thank you. Do you have anything else to plug for Curio Cards, Travis, or anything of our guests?Travis: If you’re a Curio Card holder and you’re a holder (uh, uh), before Christmas, we did the snow globes airdrop for all card holders. Um, you get a Curio snow globe, but really, Thompson, the artist, the community made these 3D models put all the cards into snow globes and 3D models, so make sure you go claim your snow globe. Um, the information is on the website Curio Cards. At the very top, there’ll be a link.Alduin: Okay, now thank you again to everyone. Uh, we’ll see you on the next NFT strategies talk. Goodbye.