Episode 58: Non Fungible Tokens and The Metaverse with Rizzle

Ben Lakoff, CFA
September 13, 2021
Listen to this episode on your favorite platform!

Today’s interview is with Rizzle.

Non Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, are making headlines again. Rizzle is so plugged into the NFT Ecosystem. He’s just the guy to give this update on what’s going on, and why NFTs are valuable beyond the hype.

We cover a very broad discussion on all things NFTs and the Metaverse.

Enjoy this episode with Rizzle!

Listen on your Platform of choice:

Check out for all the listening options (Spotify, Apple, etc.)

Show Notes

0:00:00 Welcome and context

0:01:37 What is your background?

0:05:06 What’s happening in NFTs right now?

0:08:05 How do you describe NFTs to newbies?

0:15:10 How do you lead people to invest in NFTs?

0:20:41 Where do you get the idea that NFTs are collectible?

0:23:10 Where do you see your NFT specialty?

0:26:40 What’s most exciting in NFTs right now?

0:29:00 What’s the metaverse?

0:38:00 Regulation within NFTs

0:43:10 If you can redo NFTs what would you change?

0:46:41 What’s your favorite NFT?

0:48:56 Your favorite undervalued NFT and artist

0:53:56 What’s your favorite metaverse project?

0:57:36 Where can people find out more about you?

Show Links

Rizzle on Twitter


NFT Land

The Matthew and Rizzle Show

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Ben: Welcome to the alt asset allocation podcast, exploring alternative investment opportunities available to the everyday investor. Here’s your host Ben Lakoff.

Hello and welcome to the all to asset allocation podcast. Today’s interview is with Russell non fungible tokens in NFTS are making headlines again.

Rizzleis so plugged into the NFT ecosystem. I mean, his Twitter username is in NFT land. He is just the guy to give us an update on what’s going on and why NFTs are valuable beyond the hype. There’s a lot going on right now as always. We cover a very broad discussion on all things. And FTS, non fungible tokens and go into quite a bit of detail about the metaverse, this ready player.

One future that a lot of us see happening before we jumped into the episode. I wanted to take a second to thank you for all the great questions and feedback I’ve been getting you guys really rock. If you’re getting some value from this podcast, please drop me a line or a review. These things really mean a lot and they really help.

All right. Enjoy this episode with Rizzle on all things NFt. Rizzle welcome to the all to asset allocation podcast. Excited to have you on today.

[00:01:21] Rizzle: Thank you. And it’s a pleasure to be here a long time fan of yours and your projects and dope to catch up with you here, man.

[00:01:29] Ben: Absolutely. And it’s been a long time coming.

We scheduled this thing probably months ago and have just been moving it around back. Most of the time it’s been me, but you might’ve had one reschedule in the hand. That was seriously,

[00:01:41] Rizzle: dude, the space is hot, right? It’s it’s hard to do all the things.

[00:01:46] Ben: It is. It is indeed. Yeah. We talked a bit about this before we started, but I I’ve done a few NFT focused podcast episodes.

I was just looking back and most of them were like November of last year. I had one with Devin Finser of open seat, Maddie DCL blogger, Jimmy of NFT 42. And then actually just a couple episodes ago with Cooper, Cooper, Cooper number 54. So NFTs are a hot. They’re a pretty incredible alternative investment. Definitely want to jump into all things NFTs, but before we get there, wanted to start off with you, Ryan Rizzle, and and hear a little bit about your background and how you got into NFTs and what you’re doing now.

[00:02:33] Rizzle: Sure. My name is Ryan. Nobody knows who Ryan is and the NFT space.

My screen name is Russell, which is sort of like an old nickname that I just used when I wanted to be a non in different places that just sort of took off on me. And here I am, as full-time resole appearing on podcasts and stuff. So I go way back in the crypto space started tinkering around with Bitcoin and different altcoins back in like, 2012, 2013, and was just really fascinated with the technology, like from start to finish.

So I was constantly tinkering around with like any new project that came out, any new stuff. I was just really, really, really interested in it. And hated all the communities. Actually, I was involved in like every sub Reddit, Bitcoin talk forum, you know, I, I was, you know, lurking in just about everywhere and.

Really didn’t sort of find my home until NFTs came onto the scene. And then I felt like all the artists and creators started flooding the space. And I, I felt like I had like a kinship with them in some sense, and really. Love their vibe, love the, you know, how you know, for, for years I was staring at charts and graphs and was fascinated by these charts and graphs, but bringing in the NFTs with all the, you know, awesome visual stuff that is, you know, now sort of led into the whole metaverse conversation is just like a real.

Fascinating direction that my passion like, sort of took on its own. And, and so once NFTs came on the scene, I was like, all in, I was like, man, this is an amazing application of this technology that I’ll already felt was like super revolutionary. And I was like, this is like sort of the gasoline on the fire.

Moment, I think.

[00:04:19] Ben: Absolutely. I had no idea that you were tinkering around for so long. I mean, 2012 that’s super early days. And then, I mean, with NFTs, like in my mind, I’ve just met you in this NFT world. There’s very few people that I would consider like more plugged into the heartbeat of what’s happening within NFTs.

And there’s so much happening. It’s crazy. And for the people that are outside, you know, it’s still just like this crazy JPEG mania, but I guess this is being recorded middle or late August, 2021. Let’s start off just with a, like set the stage of what’s happening in. The NFT world these days where I guess I should say NFT land with you.

[00:05:06] Rizzle: Rapid well, I don’t know. I was gonna say rapid innovation, rapid something. I feel like the. The innovation. I don’t want to say isn’t quite as rapid as it was, but I feel like the rapid innovation sort of got us to this point now where like the hype train has just taken off. And now we’re sort of in this period where everyone realized all the cool things that they can do with like the existing NFT technology and are just cranking out projects cranking out.

Yeah. You know, profile pictures are the big thing at the moment that are getting cranked out. And, you know, people are just doing runs of 10,000, you know, variations of different profile pictures that are usually animals or some sort of goofy cartoon thing. And they’re just flying off the shelves right now.

And it’s, it’s nuts. I mean, You know, so we, up until this point, I feel like it was bill, bill, bill, bill, bill you know, what can we do with this technology? Because prior to six months ago there it’s, it’s really hard to believe that there was just almost no secondary market at all for like anything, unless you were like a super crypto kitty flipper or like, you know, really understood the nuances of like a couple of projects.

At that point, people were just buying NFTs to support other people who were making NFTs with, you know, the understanding that you were probably just stuck with this NFT that you bought. It was just, I, you know, I want this thing. I like this artist, I believe in this movement. And so now things have crystallized into like a really weird way.

Th the secondary market is pumping and, you know, and things are just flying off the shelves. And it’s crazy to see like the, like a full fledged market actually being made like incredibly, rapid, real time to the extent that, you know open sea and then can barely keep up. I’m sure. I mean, it sort of shows in their product.

They’re just getting like totally overwhelmed by demand and everything. And it’s a, it’s a good problem to have, but it’s just so nuts how rapidly escalate.

[00:07:09] Ben: Yeah, indeed. And this whole, a profile picture, PFP craze is just wild right now. I, I have this like suspicion, there’s just some like mastermind group of a nones, like pumping these things out.

It’s just like a factory. I mean people’s wallets start to look like barn yards at, at this point or as a zoo, I guess. I don’t know, many barn yards that have those types of animals. And I’m curious backing up step, like you’ve been immersed in this NFT world for a while. How do you define an FTS, non fungible tokens to a complete newbie?

Maybe not complete. They understand crypto let’s start there, but like, how do you describe the value of an NFT to somebody like that?

[00:07:56] Rizzle: The way that I’ve had the most success is like comparing it to things that people already have that are not NFTE. So I’m like, you know, you’re, a lot of people can resonate with, you know, they, they buy a movie online or they buy a, an album, a lot of you know, a platform or something like that.

And when I, when I sort of make that comparison and I’m like, look, you already own a bunch of. Digital goods, but you don’t really like own them. You they’re trapped in your Google play account or whatever, you can send it to a friend so they can watch it. You can’t sell it to someone else when you’re done watching it.

You can’t, you can’t even really throw it away. I don’t think if you don’t want it anymore. And so. That’s sort of like what brings it home to people when they, when I can make the comparison of something that they already have, they’re like, all right, I get that, that, you know, I, I, they do tell me that I own this stuff, but I don’t really own this stuff because I can’t own it in the same way that I own a physical item.

I’m like, you know, you buy a DVD or something, you know, in real life. You can do the same things with that, that you can do with an NFT. You can send it, you can let your friend use it. You can you know, sell it to someone else at a yard sale or something like that. So those are the things that I’ve had the most success with.

But dude, once you get into like, Virtual lands and like virtual worlds and like, you know, VR, art galleries and like owning 3d assets and everything. That’s when like people’s eyes start to glaze over. That’s like round four or five of like, you know, if they, if they followed me, you know, that deep into the rabbit hole, we get into that part.

But I think really the challenge is like explaining, like people can sort of grok the. No, I don’t really own my movie. This makes me own my movie thing, but like helping people to understand like the overarching, like ramifications of the technology and the possibilities that the technology allows beyond just like I get to own this thing is really, really hard for people to wrap their heads around.

And I think part of it is honestly, because like us who were in this space are still. Trying to wrap our heads around it and learning different things that we can do with it. I mean, you guys were like a great example you know charged particles coming up with like this crazy innovation that like, and now it seems like people are coming up with some, like really, really dope use cases for it.

But like for awhile there, it was just like, man, like, look, what we can do with these things, like, is it, is anyone realized like the potential of these things and you know, so. I think we’re still learning. It’s really hard to convey like that aspect of things that it’s, it’s beyond like a one trick pony it’s beyond just like, I own my profile picture.

Oh, I can also own my movie. Oh, I can also own my song. It’s such a big thing that overarches that, that those are, those are almost like side-effects that are like pretty dope. Oh yeah.

[00:10:55] Ben: And I tell people often that it’s almost easier to say what is next. And in FTA, it’s a fundable token, which is this and everything else is an NFT or has a bit of non fungibility to it.

I think it’s probably easier for the younger generation to grasp the concept of digital collectibles and these digital assets having and retaining potentially increasing value. I mean, have you had much luck? Like, presumably I just kind of imagine you’re like me and talking about NFTs and crypto constantly.

When do you have luck with like the older generation understand? About NFTs and their potential to have value and fit into like an investment portfolio?

[00:11:41] Rizzle: No I feel like I’ve managed to get to the point where like, Members of my family, my mom, that generation, they get it, but don’t get it enough to take that next step and like are interested enough in investing it actually.

When was it? I don’t even remember was it was during the last Bitcoin run-up in like 2017. My mom was finally like, okay, will you take some of my money and invest in some Bitcoin for me? And I was like, yes, you know, cool. My mom is in. And you know, the market was like on an upswing. It hadn’t quite peaked yet, but it was like around Thanksgiving when everyone was just like losing their mind and like 2017 and, you know, Bitcoin is on his crazy run up.

And then it dipped like 200 bucks. My mom. And was like, you know, liquidate, liquidate, liquidate. I don’t want it on this ride anymore. And, and I think for a lot of the older generation, yeah. It’s still too volatile. It’s still too like wild west. It’s still too. Like, even if they get that it’s important, like they don’t want to be around for the fluctuations or like the wild risk taking that’s involved.

Cause I, I mean, you know, I feel like you, and I can probably identify some like reasonably safe bets within the space. But those safe beds by like conventional standards are not safe. And to do enough of your homework to know what those are, is like a whole nother thing. So I feel like we’re, I don’t know, man.

Have, have you had luck or, or what’s, what’s been your experience?

[00:13:17] Ben: No, I mean, for me, it’s always frustrating because I can’t even explain what charged particles is. Yeah, easy way. If somebody doesn’t understand, there’s a number of gigantic hurdles they have to pay. It’s like, well, if you don’t understand why crypto has value, you probably won’t understand why NFT has have value.

And if you don’t understand why NFTs have value, you don’t understand the value of an NFT. Being injected with other values in a program attic way. Like you just never go. You never, ever got to see it. You’re like, dude,

[00:13:47] Rizzle: I barely understand Bitcoin.

[00:13:49] Ben: Yeah. It’s like, there’s so many steps. That’s always frustrating.

But I think, I think it’s an easier concept for younger generation. I mean, these, these kids are asking for in game credits, you know, gain in gamers, spend $75 billion per year on skins to make their virtual avatar. Nice. When you tell them that like, Hey, you don’t actually own that. If that company goes away, all that money you’ve spent to make your avatar look pretty, like it’s completely gone.

These things resonate a lot more easily. I think, I think part of it, and this leads into my next question is like, okay, you, you get somebody across the line. Like, okay, these NFTs, let’s just focus on art because that’s easier. R N F D is these have value? I get it. I get the provenance. I get that it’s a, you know, provably, scarce, secured by blockchain, all of these things.

But then the next issue is like, okay, I’m ready to invest. How do I do it? What do I buy? How, how do you, how do you kind of lead people there?

[00:14:57] Rizzle: Yeah, man. Yeah. So I have these conversations, a bunch of my friends that have grown up with have made their way into this space over the last, like six to eight months or so.

And, you know, I’ve really tried to not, I, and so, I mean, I, you know, started off day trading and, you know, continue to a little bit, so I’m always like shuffling something around or like hustling and I, you know, I let people I’m close with no, I’m like, dude, if you want to like, copy exactly what I’m doing or whatever, I’ll tell you what I’m doing, but I don’t want to be responsive.

Like, you know, I take crazy risks and you know, I don’t really have a problem with it and I don’t want you to be. You know, on the hook for my crazy ideas. But, and so I’ve really encouraged them. I’m like, dude, start you, everyone in the U S basically has to start with Coinbase anyway. Right? So I’m like, you know, start with Coinbase, poke around.

By a little Bitcoin bi-level Ethereum, look at some of the other coins that are there. See if there’s anything that’s interesting. And I try and see like, basically who makes it past that point, because I feel like if I’ve gotten them to the point where they buy a little bit of Bitcoin and buy a little bit of a theorem, that’s about as conservative as you get in this space.

So I’m not going to like, fuck anything up for them. Like too, too much. I’m sorry, dude. So this occurs on this not, not going to mess anything up too much for them. Bye. You know, recommending that. But then honestly, man, I’m like, dude, if you’re interested in NFTs, you really got to get in the weeds.

You gotta be out here on Twitter. You gotta be in the discords. You gotta be like looking at people’s projects enough to. Enough to be comfortable taking like a calculated risk, because there’s a good chance. You know, even though there’s a secondary market for a lot of these things, there’s still a good chance you get wrecked or you get stuck with, you know, some of these NFTs that you bought.

So you know, I’ve always, honestly, dude, I sort of got lucky. I mean, I was in it in NFTs very early on and really only buying stuff that I really liked. And you know, over the course of time, those things have done pretty well, but I was never really. Trying to, you know, just straight up flip things, you know, at a, at a, like a profit margin or something like that.

So so I, I try to tell people to do that because I do feel like with NFTs, there is like the. Satisfaction of knowing that if you’ve invested a lot of money in something and it doesn’t go up in value, you can at least feel good that you got stuck with something that you like. And I feel like, you know, when you’re just looking at a token that doesn’t do anything for anybody, but you know, if you actually buy a piece of art support an artist that you like, you know, there’s, there’s a real world like gratification that goes into that beyond the money.

And I, you know, I have a lot of stuff that’s gone up in value today that I’ve purchased either. Based on those, you know, that ethos that I couldn’t even like, you know, imagine partying with. It’s like part of my life now it’s like a sentimental, you know, I have like a sentimental attachment to it. You know, I love the artist.

They were really appreciative about it. And so, you know, I think like if, if you can get people beyond like the straight up black and white, like I’m trying to flip, you know, X amount for 30% profit or whatever, by like this time. And like, actually. Invest in stuff that they truly like, you know, I feel like things have a way of working out when people take that approach because it resonates with other people.

And I feel like a lot of people. The speculative stuff is tough. Like, you know, the stuff that people are making like 10 X on, I mean, you really gotta like, know what you’re doing and know the people and get lucky, you know, in order to hit those. But I feel like there’s enough people who like NFTs and appreciate art and NFTs for the sake of art and NFTs that if you.

You know, buy stuff that is appealing to you. There’s a good chance that other people, it will resonate with other people too. And you know, if NFTs continue to expand, which I have no doubt they will. I feel like anyone getting anything now will be fine in like five years from now. You know, maybe you don’t go all in on like, you know, cow profile pictures or whatever.

But if you, you know, you spread and spread the love around and you buy a bunch of things you like, and you just sit on them for a little while. I mean, the space is exploding and it’s. It has merit and will be around for the long-term. So I don’t know, man. I, I really try and deter people from just like throwing money in, on like random projects.

I got to get people hitting me up. They’re like, what do you think of this pig profile picture? Should I ape into it? And I’m like, oh shit, dude. I mean, maybe, I don’t know, like the ones I don’t. Oh, the floor the next day, the one. So,

[00:19:36] Ben: Well, did you grow up collecting or investing in art ever? Was that because I think also for me, my whole sense of investing was like future cash flows or future growth and not really like this collector investor mindset.

It was very difficult for me. To even make the, make the jump into gold having value because it’s like, well, there’s no cash flows or anything. And also with art and also with digital art. So I’m curious, where did your mindset come from from like, Hey, this thing’s a collectible, so it has value and it will retain value.

[00:20:16] Rizzle: Yes, dude, I collected all sorts of junk growing up. Sports cards. I have a ton of it. From like 30 years ago, do they’re still worth like exactly what I bought them for like 30 years ago. It’s such trash. I’m still annoyed. No dude, I I’m like I was always collecting them and I was always hustling at the same time, man.

So I was like one of these, you know, I collected baseball cards as a kid, but I also had like the manual that I would like study religiously and I’m like, dude, these cards have been going up, you know, the last couple of weeks you know, I’m going to get in on that. Same thing with like video games, you know, when the used video games started coming out, you know, you could play those things like this stock market when you were like 12 years older or whatever, in the very early days of, you know, even prior to that GameStop and stuff.

So I was always like collecting things. Always hustling. I have some collections that I just collected to collect. I have some collections that I just collected to hustle some things that were like a combination of the two and, and NFTs have sort of been that for me as well. I definitely have some things that I’m just collecting for the sake of like, you know, speculative flipping.

And I think this is going to go up in value. And then I have like a whole ton of art that I just, my, my house is filled with, like in real life art and was. Prior to NFTE. So, you know, the art jump was like a natural, dangerous leap to me, to be honest, because my walls in my house don’t allow for any more art, but my wallet in my pocket allows for infinite art which is cool in some ways, but is also scary in other ways, because you can never get out of that rabbit hole if you’re not careful.

[00:21:49] Ben: Oh yeah. Well, nFTs is such a loaded term, right? It’s way to generalize as we talked about a bit. I mean, do you think that there’s a bit of a semantics issue and that eventually will kind of unbundle this term of NFTs and it will be. Art, and it will be in game and virtual land and financial products or, or whatever else.

I mean, talk to me about like how you kind of, I mean, are you mostly focused on art or kind of where, where do you see your specialty within the NFT world?

[00:22:28] Rizzle: Where do I see my specialty? Public mouthpiece is where I seem to gain the most traction. I’m a community guy, man, when I was when I co-founded NFT 42, that’s sort of where I naturally gravitated towards it.

Wasn’t even like, you know, this is what I want my role to be, or this is what your role should be. I just. Fell into it. And you know, built out the token smart community which is still thriving to this day. They’re planning a huge in real life conference in Las Vegas, in March. And so I, I, you know, personally, I really love that aspect of it you know, way, way early on, you know, when it was just, you know, the seven of us building in the bear market, you know, I started a podcast with my buddy, Matt, just to talk about NFTs, just cause.

Thought it was like, so cool. You know, everything that was going on, we have a virtual meetup that we have, like a speaker panel each week that you know, to talk NFTs and you’ve been on it before. And so I really enjoy like and I feel like that’s. Brought me to the space in the first place, man, which we mentioned earlier, like all the former crypto communities that I was involved in or around, I felt like were so toxic and like Shiley and, you know, full of people just trying to like pump and dump their project.

And I, you know, it was very passionate about the technology, but really hated. Hated all of that. And, you know, NFTE has really changed all of that for me. And so you know, just being able to nerd out, you know, like talk about cool tech stuff with like other people who are like genuinely fascinated by it.

You know, I feel like I, it was like sort of a homecoming for me. Like I had finally found my place within this tech industry. So that’s honestly what I love to do, man, and, and have sort of like made a name for myself within this space. Just. Like you’re saying, man, just sort of like being in the mix and in all the places and having my finger on the pulse and just, you know, talking with people about all the cool stuff that’s going on.

And it’s really exciting, man. So I, you know, I, I’m sort of like a Jack of all trades, man. I know a little bit of everything but I need people to execute my visions. Co-founded NFT 42, which has done very well exited and Good great terms of still good friends with Jim. But Amanda do my own project within the space and, you know, I got a developer and an artist that I’m working with.

So, you know, maybe I’m a builder man. You know, I, I just like to build, I like to tinker, I like to, you know, just sort of be in the mix with the people and the stuff that I’m really passionate about. And yeah, I don’t know, man, if that answers your question.

[00:25:00] Ben: Yeah, definitely. That’s sort of my emo, well, I mean, I like.

We’re collaborating on something with charge particles that maybe we’ll talk about a bit later, but like you said, you have your finger on the pulse of a lot of these, you’re talking to a lot of really, really intelligent people. What is the most fascinating, interesting little niche within NFTs right now that you find most interesting, fascinating.

And why?

[00:25:30] Rizzle: I think the. Well, what’s most fascinating and what’s most exciting or like sort of different man. I feel like what’s most exciting to me right now is the stuff that like super rare is doing with their like big drop to the community or whatever. I feel like that was a huge push in the path towards decentralization.

Is, you know, sort of the drum that like crypto has been banging on for years that I feel like I’ve sort of gotten lost in this like NFT hype cycle, like profile picture, boom. And so I’m really excited that that. Revisit that narrative. And I feel like we’ll also push people’s hands, you know, to not necessarily follow suit, but continue to, you know, contemplate decentralization and move towards that direction.

You know, I feel like it, it made a lot of people sort of like stop and pause for a second. And so that is very, very exciting to me because that’s one of the original things that attracted. Me to crypto in the first place was sort of this idea that, you know, this is the tool that we can use to sort of level the playing field for everybody.

So that’s very exciting to me personally, but I don’t get to like, play with that or anything. What, what is most exciting to me on a day-to-day? Yeah. This with NFTs is I really love like all the metaverse stuff, man. The expansion into the virtual worlds, being able to own a piece of like virtual land that you can then like set up shop and like sell your virtual products there.

You know, all based on NFTs. I feel like we’re really, really just scratching the surface. Of all of that, even though like, you know, some of us have been in it for a long time, but it’s been like sort of a slow trickle into that space compared to like, you know, this crazy profile picture of boom or, you know, whatever you want to call it.

But always trying to stay on the bleeding edge, man. And I feel like that that’s where it is at the moment.

[00:27:21] Ben: Yeah, I agree. The, it seems like we’ve kind of lost sight of the true. Reason why we all got into this space with this profile picture mania right now. I like that the community drop was huge.

This is great. Let’s dive into the, metaverse a bit for me, my listeners. How do you describe the metaverse to somebody and don’t say ready player one in a different way.

[00:27:48] Rizzle: Dude, wasn’t it. I watched the movie, man. I was so annoyed by like the love story that they crammed into it.

I was like, oh okay. How do I describe the metaverse? The metaverse is basically like, think of all the virtual worlds that you know, that, you know, all sort of work together. So they’re not, it’s not like one w what we have right now is a bunch of sort of siloed systems where you can log into. A virtual world, but everything in that virtual world is sort of self-contained.

So you need that virtual worlds currency to do things in that virtual world. You need to have the file types, you know, proper for the wearables you might want to wear in that virtual world. And so there’s a whole lot of virtual worlds that are basically doing that exact same thing. Like they’re, they’re all really cool.

But in order to participate in that virtual world, you gotta have that virtual worlds stuff. Second life is like one of the oldest examples of that. They’re they’re like a self-contained virtual world. A lot of people love it. They got their own currency. They’ve got their own stuff that you can buy in that virtual world, but it’s not an NFT.

Right? You can’t, you can’t take it out of that virtual world. You can maybe like. In a shady way on eBay or something like that, but it’s, it’s stuck there. So the metaverse is different, right? The metaverse based on NFTs is where you can take one thing and bring it to all the places and has a significant level of interoperability.

Crypto voxels is a virtual world that I feel like is actually taking some pretty good steps in that direction. They’re talking about incorporating the currencies of other virtual worlds into their virtual world. They’re talking about having portals to all the other virtual worlds in their virtual world.

And so that, that’s very, like metaverse thinking like this, you know, everything’s connected, everything works together. Everything is interoperable. We’re seeing already, man, like a lot of people sort of trying to co-op this term, like, you know, they joined the metaverse. It’s not a metaverse it’s really like a virtual world.

Universe is a tough concept because it’s like everywhere and nowhere. Right? It’s like, we’re all part of the metaverse. It doesn’t exist in any one location, but anyone can be in involved in the metaverse if your platform decides to be a Facebook is coming out with their own metaverse, which is, you know, again like a, essentially like a virtual world that I believe is going to be self-contained.

I don’t know enough about the project.

[00:30:15] Ben: Yeah, I was just looking and Facebook just launched a virtual reality. Business meetings in the metaverse push. I went, the next question was like, I mean, epic games has announced $1 billion toward building out the metaverse Facebook is going hard into building out the metaverse.

I think all of us believe in this. Like decentralized you true ownership of these metaverse assets, not this walled garden kind of utopian dream that we drew of. But how do you view that? Reverse as we see it, this virtual reality with like true ownership built place based on crypto and blockchain and these other more well-funded.

People like epic and Facebook coming in. How does the world shake out in your mind here?

[00:31:12] Rizzle: I think. I think they’re essentially going to do what they are already doing, but just call it metaverse I think the term is sort of being co-opted and you know, they’re going to introduce like a VR component and like, you know, some currency and some stuff you can buy and then they’re, Hey, we built a metaverse type of thing.

When in actuality it’s exactly what you said. Well, walled garden is like a great term. That is what all these things are going to be. What was the original question?

[00:31:39] Ben: Just how do they all fit in? I mean, we have these Facebook and then the decentralized versions. Where does, where does it all go?

[00:31:48] Rizzle: Hopefully nowhere I’d like to see them not fit in at all.

To be completely honest with you. It’s, it’s very like You know, as someone who like is a huge fan of the tech, it’s very, very irritating to see like what appears to be just like, you know, a corporate takeover or corporate, just trying to co-opt, you know, all this stuff that we built. But I feel like.

You know, honestly, dude, the superhero droplet gave me some hope in terms of, you know, I feel like we got something that they don’t in terms of the knowledge and the expertise, expertise, and the community that is already like up around this. I don’t know that. The average Facebook user like knows or cares or wants a metaverse right.

This second, they’re trying to get out in front of the game. However we do like really, really badly. And so, you know, I feel like, and I, I think we got some tricks up our sleeve that some of these big corporations don’t want to do. And, and again, going back to the super thing, you know, I was talking about this earlier.

It’s like you know, they, they made a lot of money. They didn’t have to give it out to the community. Like they, you were doing just fine and could have pocketed that. And no one would have thought otherwise. And that’s sort of like the way it’s always been, but this like crazy, like radical redistribution of wealth that the crypto community.

Can do like within itself you know, because they’re essentially rewarding, like all their OGs, like all their OJI artists and community participants and everything. And I feel like that’s like a really interesting way that, you know, sort of the rising tide can lift all the ships in this you know, NFT.

Incubator that we’re all sort of in right now. And so I think, you know, if, if the metaverse, if we’re able to successfully create the metaverse and not necessarily even keep them out, I mean, I guess like in, in a perfect metaverse you would have a portal to the Facebook virtual world. Right. But I, I think we got it.

People with the expertise and knowledge and passion behind it, that, you know, the metaverse should be like a community driven project and always sort of has been. And I feel like, you know, we’re continuing to move in that direction. So that, that’s my hope, man. I don’t, I feel like otherwise the Facebook virtual worlds, the epic game, virtual worlds feel like MMOs in VR right there.

There’s not a whole lot separating them from that. And that’s very desirable to people and that there’s nothing wrong with that. I wonder like how many people actually understand, like the term metaverse in the sense that, you know, people like us who have been around the term for a long time understand it.

I, I think there’s a huge disconnect for a lot of people who are like first stumbling upon that term. Yeah,

[00:34:26] Ben: I agree. But. Do people care about true ownership and like people still use banks because the whole light beer on bank thing is freaking terrifying. I even know some people that are in crypto and they’re like, ah, I’m worried about like self custody anyways.

I like use it this. And you’re like, well, that’s not crypto. Like you’re not your own bank. You’re still just two of the, putting another custodian in front of it. I think it’s going to be very fascinating, the way all of these things shake out. And I think eventually that big incumbents like Facebook and epic coming in and it will broaden the the worlds like awareness of the metaverse.

And then eventually they’ll end up in this more decentralized aisle, perhaps pixelated version of, of the metaverse.

[00:35:19] Rizzle: I think people don’t know that they care. I feel like exactly part of it is like a consumer education problem on our part. And I feel like once we’ve sort of scratched that itch properly, the dominoes would start to fall because I feel like once people get the concept that, you know, wait, I just want to buy one NMT that works everywhere.

I don’t want to buy 10 different. I am cheap speaking to myself. Like I don’t want to buy, you know, and there’s like, you know, a lot of other people like me. So I feel like once people wrap their heads around it, we’re just so used to like siloed environments, siloed video games, siloed economic systems that we’re all trapped in that, you know, it’s it’s, this is the way it should be.

It’s just such a foreign concept to a lot of people.

[00:36:01] Ben: Yeah. I agree. Perhaps. Kind of adjacent to this is regulations you always see here about regulations are needed within NFTs speaking specifically more specifically about NFTs. What if you could like snap your fingers and have some sort of regulatory clarity, whether it be taxes or what have you what would it be and why?

[00:36:25] Rizzle: Oh, dude, this, this gets into like really tricky territory, right? Because it’s not like a token in the sense that even though a lot of the tokens do a lot of different things, I feel like from an economic standpoint, you can look at them. And for the sake of simplicity, you can say, this is a token. This is how a token should be regulated.

It’s a currency across the board. This is how it works and you know, it’s lazy legislation, but you know, we know what to expect. And if T’s are different, right? Like now these are like you know, you’re, it’s attached to a token, but it’s a different set of assets and the, the ads. Class changes from asset to asset.

So you know, that sorta touches upon what you were saying earlier. Like, you know, that the term NFT is so like all encompassing that, you know, unfortunately, or fortunately, I think we got to incorporate more jargon, you know, to distinguish between these different characteristics of NFTs and you know, what asset class they belong in.

Because you know, obviously. It’s a lot different. So just like upload a document to the blockchain than it is to like sell your house on the blockchain than it is to own like a piece of art than it is to, you know, be involved in some protocol for, you know, a month or something. So there’s, there’s so many.

Different areas that need to be looked at. And my concern is that no one will, and it’ll just be like some sort of one fell swoop type of regulation or some type of rule that won’t look at the intricacies. And I don’t know, man. I think it gets very, very tricky because. Again, then if you’re, you know, if this is a piece of art, how is the traditional art market regulated?

Do we follow suit with them? Does that need to change? Does that extend to a piece of VR art that actually has some utility? You know, now, now this is not something I just look at now. This is something I use that, you know, there’s just so many different, like rabbit holes. To look at when it comes to you know, regulating or legislation.

I don’t know how we all don’t get whacked with like KYC, you know, for a lot of these platforms eventually. But I think that moves the whole space to decentralized protocols. And then you’re back to playing whack-a-mole again. I don’t know, man. What’s what are your thoughts on that?

[00:38:52] Ben: Yeah, I mean, I think.

Well, what I wish could be more clear in what I think probably will happen are very different. I mean, like you said, I think KYC, AML concerns for a lot of these platforms, like. You know, if I’m wired transferring a million dollars, there’s a lot of different hoops that I have to jump through. But if I buy a JPEG from you for a million dollar, a hundred million dollars, you know, it’s just press two buttons and sin.

The platform that facilitating that. Yeah. Is potentially worried. And then you know, if that NFT owns other things or influences other like, and it’s also difficult to say art in FTS are classified like this and do like this and game NFTs are classified because I mean in game item, Essentially artwork and it can also have these other attributes that has, has something else related to it.

And maybe it’s tied to some cashflow or some ownership, like a number of different things. So it’s certainly not an easy situation that’s for sure. But yeah, I think,

[00:40:05] Rizzle: I think.

[00:40:08] Ben: Snap, my fingers would be something around tax. Like I know a number of people who just, they’re not doing things because they’re so unsure myself included, I’m not going to do this because what are the tax consequences of that?

It’s very difficult. That’s certainly certainly the unfun unsexy part of this whole this whole world.

[00:40:34] Rizzle: Absolutely man. Yeah. Go ahead.

[00:40:37] Ben: I was gonna move into some some rapid fire sorts of things. Cool. Actually, before that I have one that’s similar. So if Question from Twitter said, if you could remake the world of NFTs, what would you do differently and do those same thoughts applied to the build-out and evolution of the metaverse great question.

[00:41:00] Rizzle: Let’s see if I can rebuild the world with NFTs, man, dude, I feel like on some basic level, like I see my kids playing video games and I’m like, oh my God, like my daughter plays this video game. It’s like a candy crush knockoff. And it’s got these really cute slugs. And I’m like, dude, I want to own these slugs.

Like why are these not NFTs? And so I think that on some basic level it would be so gratifying. For like, you know, every, all these gamers out there who are just grinding, grinding, grinding you know, I was one of those as a kid too. I’m like, man, it would have been so awesome to just have a whole stash of like all the NFTs that I accumulated as a kid, all my swords from like final fantasy and like Zelda and all this stuff.

So from like a pure, like fun aspect you know, that would be very gratifying, dude. It’s a, it’s a broad question because the term NFTs is so broad, right? I mean, I feel like. All of our important documents, all of our, you know, pieces of identity get rolled into NFTs. I mean, we’re, we’re, you know, you see gated access in the metaverse now, but there’s very easy ways to incorporate, you know, gated access with your NFTs into the real world.

I’m sure we start, like seeing stuff like that. I don’t know if that’s good or bad or inevitable. You know, there’s certainly going to be lots of places where you just scan your wallet to get in. And if you don’t have the thing in your wallet, you don’t get in. Dude. I, I really going back to like the original, like crypto ethos, man, I really would like to see the technology used to like level the playing field.

What actually infinity is doing is like so inspiring you know, literally changing the lives of, you know, tons and tons of people in countries

[00:42:46] Ben: thousand daily active users. I mean, these numbers for a crypto company or just a stamp for any company.

[00:42:53] Rizzle: Yes, dude. So. Something like that is what I would really like to see with NFTs.

Like I, I feel like, and I don’t know exactly what that is. But there’s absolutely the potential between crypto and NFTs to, you know, level up a lot of people around the world who, you know, don’t have access to, you know, lots of things that we have access to, but they do have access to a smartphone now, and that opens doors to a lot of people.

So I feel like, you know, even. And so going back to the video game analogy, man, I feel like even, actually I don’t even like axes game man, full disclosure. It’s like so boring to me, but it doesn’t even matter like, you know, something as simple as that unlocks like so many doors. And so I feel like that, you know, for so many people.

And so, you know, I wonder if just, you know, getting these in video games is sort of like the Like the Trojan horse almost in terms of like rolling this technology out into the hands of the entire world, you know, we’re sort of Trojan horse in it right now. Like dressed up as like, you know, fluffy penguins and everything like that on Twitter while we’re like simultaneously overthrowing the banks, you know?

So. You know, I, I would really like to see it make its way into the gaming sphere in a big time. And I feel like a lot of dominoes start to fall ones. It does because then someone like epic, epic gaming, you know, why participate in their, you know, walled garden when the unwanted garden, you know? Not only am I having fun, I’m making money at the same time, you know?

So I dunno, man, something like that. It’s too broad, man. It’s a, it’s a great question. But some that requires like a lot of noodling.

[00:44:35] Ben: It is, it is indeed, but this is why we love it. Right? Well, an easier softball question. What’s the your favorite NFT you’ve purchased and why? Oh man, or been given to you or found or claimed or all the other ways one could make it way too.


[00:44:52] Rizzle: Man, my, my, the first NFTE I was ever given, I didn’t even know what it was. I was like hanging out on social media and stewed was like, do you want an NFT? I’ll send it to you. Give me your Ethereum wallet. I’ll make you whatever. Yeah. And I was like, all right, I have no idea what you’re talking about, man, make me a giant friendly potato.

And so he drew a giant friendly potato, turned it into an NFT, sent it to me. And so that, that was like the, I don’t know what you call it, the straw that broke the camel’s back or, you know, really like sort of opened the flood gates for me. So that’s, that’s like, I, I actually. Just found it the other day, I was horrified.

I actually headed up in the market from a long time ago for like one of Ethereum. And I was like, oh my God, dude, if this sold for one a theory today, you know, I would be heartbroken and, you know, immediately took it off the market. My avatar that I used as my profile picture is also very priceless to me.

When I co-founded it. 42. Jim McNellis gave it to me and I felt like I had been knighted by Jim you know, for being part of the organization and use that as my profile picture for a long, long time. And could never imagine parting with that either. I have a couple of pieces of art, man. I’ve I have like a really OJI awesome piece from Stina Jones.

Who’s one of my favorite artists. Miguel grass did my new profile picture. I sourced one from him. I commissioned it from him. And so that’s that’s important to me as well. But probably those first two that I mentioned, man, the potato and my Rizal avatar are like, you know, huge in my portfolio that I could just never, ever, ever part with.

I love it.

[00:46:20] Ben: What is the most undervalued in Ft project or artists that you see out there and why let’s do two separate ones? Artists like undiscovered artists as one, and then undervalued in Ft protocol, project group,

[00:46:39] Rizzle: I’m like, well, so I sourced my profile picture from Miguel. Grest, I’m a huge, huge fan of Miguel grass.

I just saw that he is not on super rare. I felt bad for him. Everyone’s talking about the super drop. And he was like, oh, cause someone get me on super rare. But I, I love his aesthetic. I love Stina Jones. She has blown up more over the years and has been in it for a long time. But Miguel’s dressed.

Miguel’s aesthetic is very much like hers in terms of being like. Cute and simple and funny which is what I love. There’s a lot of artists, man. I love crypto Yuna. She’s been in it for like, you know, since the very, very early days. And you know, I feel like she’s never quite like caught fire the way like some other people have, but she’s like in it, like, you know, every day I see her like in it.

And so I have like such a strong appreciation for people like that. There’s probably a lot more out there, man. I. I’m really, really bad with names. But when I see stuff, I like, I get it. There’s this really cool artist from Thailand, who’s doing these goofy, like walking cats. They’re like super cheap.

I picked up a bunch of his walking cats and he’s just like so happy. And honestly, dude, that’s what, like really does it for me. Like, you know, supporting some of these artists who are just like so thrilled. That someone’s buying their art. And I’m like, dude, I like your walking cat with the bouncing mushrooms, man.

This thing is dope. So there there’s so many man though, you know, so many artists are flooding the scene right now. There’s a, there’s a lot of artists on hen that are selling their art. Dirt cheap. And I’m like, man, I feel like I’m robbing people when I buy something off of their platform for like four bucks or something.

So I think there’s a lot of like untapped potential over there that, that marketplace.

[00:48:21] Ben: Hen hick


[00:48:26] Rizzle: It’s horrible. But it has lots of awesome art.

[00:48:29] Ben: Okay. I’ve actually heard that they kind of took the world by storm, took clubhouse by storm there for a bit. It was like, Hey, can nuke all over the place. Which is kinda cool to see NFTs popping up on other blockchains. Do you know, can you transfer an Ft from Tezos over to Ethereum?

Is there a break?

[00:48:49] Rizzle: No,

[00:48:50] Ben: not that I’m aware of. That would be really weird, weird from like a provenance standpoint, I guess, which has always, I mean, these are like the unresolved questions, right? If I create a bunch of art on hick nuke, it’s got provenance it’s secured by blockchain, but then I create a login on Ethereum and then also on polygon.

Okay, well, where does it live if it’s duplicated which kind of goes against that. The idea of it being unique, right?

[00:49:18] Rizzle: Yeah. But that’s, that comes like artists trust, you know, point at that point. Right. You gotta like sort of trust that the artists you’re investing in, isn’t going to money, grab all over every other blockchain.

Yeah. What I’m hoping dude, is that, you know, going cross blockchain doesn’t matter as much as like having a wallet that you can just see all the blockchains on there. So then it doesn’t matter. Where it came from. You can just see all your NFTs on your like cool result wallet.

[00:49:44] Ben: Yeah. Awesome. Most undervalued NFT project or company.

And you can’t say charged particles. That’s biased.

[00:49:53] Rizzle: I really love proof of beauty which is a project that I stumbled upon by way of Steve Klebanoff, who is a guy I really respect in the space. Let’s see, and it’s very he’s the guy I’m horrible with names. I’m pretty sure his name is Dave.

I’m almost positive as native Dave dude is brilliant. I’ve had like multiple calls with him, you know, he’s been on the podcast and he’s just really, really thinking about the space in a really innovative way. And the projects that he launches are very much like this dude, Steve Klebanoff, who I also think is very very underrated, but he also doesn’t try to be.

Highly rated. He’s just sort of working on his passion projects or whatever. But you know, I, I would have said, you know, six months ago, I would’ve said art blocks because I think snow fro is just a genius. But I would lump these guys in the same category with snow fro there, things just having like, I mean, what has popped off like art blocks but proof of beauty is really cool, man.

Have a lot of respect for people like your stuff, dude, who are like looking at this space in an interesting light, like trying to do different things with the technology, just for the sake of like pure experimentation. And so yeah, man, proof of beauty is a really cool project that you just he’s had a couple of different projects like under that umbrella.

And his most recent one is like this project called London, which which was, which is interesting. It’s easier to read than it is to explain.

[00:51:20] Ben: Cool. I’ll link it. It’s a and link all of these things in the show notes for sure. Cool. What’s your favorite metaverse project right now and why?

[00:51:34] Rizzle: My own man, I got my own project. I’m stoked. Yes, sir.

[00:51:41] Ben: Angie, do you want to talk about it or

[00:51:43] Rizzle: yeah, the segue? Yes. I can talk a little bit about it, man. When is this going to get released? I didn’t want to know how much alpha I should drop here. When are we releasing this podcast?

[00:51:52] Ben: So this is being recorded.

The 19, this will probably drop in about three, three or four weeks.

[00:51:59] Rizzle: Okay. Cool. Perfect. All right. Cause I I’m on one. That’s coming out, I think this week or next week that I’m going to drop this alpha on so

[00:52:06] Ben: I can stay behind.

[00:52:08] Rizzle: Cool. Okay. So yes, I have my own metaverse project. I’ve been like sort of teasing it out as called the Rizal project, but that’s not actually going to be the name of the project.

Cause I want it to be like, sort of secret until we released the name. It’ll it’ll be give out too much, but I’m working with Miguel grassed a developer called. Chester flumes who snow fro set me up with from art blocks. And so I actually came by way of, I had this, I had this concept for this metaphor.

And project that I wanted to do. And I really wanted to like lean hard into like metaverse and interoperability. So I had this concept and I kicked it to snow froze way over at art blocks. And he was like, yes, dude. He was like that, it’s a really good concept. He’s like, I don’t know. A developer that can execute it.

And he’s like, let me see who we got. So he actually found this guy who he feels very confident can execute my project. Snow fro did some things on the backend of art blocks to support this project that I’m doing. So I’m going to do an art blocks drop. At some point it’s going to be Not a shitty generative monograph.

It’s going to, I believe it will push the space forward. I’m trying to like lean, lean hard into interoperability to wave my arms around a lot about the importance of it. But in my own, like really wacky, goofy way. So I think I can sort of straddle like this being actually like a really funny, like Mimi project, but sort of like Trojan horse in it.

Like we were saying earlier have like some like. Tech underpinning it that I think will be significant in the space or at least I’m hoping it will. And I’ve kicked this idea a couple people’s ways, man. I’ll give you the alpha alpha once we stop recording. But the people who I’ve run it by seem to think it’s like a really good concept and are very much in support of it.

So I’m stoked, man. This is like a dream come true. Exited the company to be able to work on my own like wacky idea with one of my favorite up and coming artists with a cutting edge developer and then being able to launch on art blocks was like the, the Trump card. I couldn’t even believe that that is, is even right.

Cards, but no enough people at this point, man, that, that I felt like I could pick my path forward and doing a generative aspect of this is going to make it really, really dope.

[00:54:26] Ben: I’m really excited. Super, super awesome. Can’t wait to hear more. Can’t wait to see how we can support and a super, super excited and art blot strap drop that’s that’s freaking great.

Well awesome, man. I mean, this has been a great conversation. Like I said, in the beginning, you’re super, super plugged in, obviously very plugged in and about to be more plugged in, in this metaverse play. But where, where do you want to leave my listeners? Where can they find out more about you, your upcoming project risen land?

To be renamed, but all of the things,

[00:55:00] Rizzle: At NFT land on Twitter and F G L a N D a that’s pretty much where I am actively posting all the things that I’m involved in. I do a regular podcast once a week with my buddy Matt. There there’s a link in my Twitter profile to that. We do a weekly meetup in virtual worlds.

Most of my life. Most of everything gets routed through Twitter at this point. And most of my links are there, but my DMS are open. So if anyone wants to get in contact with me feel free to hit me up. I mean, I’m on calls all week with people who are just interested in picking my brain about their project and I love to talk NFTs.

So you know, I don’t know, it needs to be a stranger. If you got NFT questions or you want to hit me up, just shoot me.

[00:55:46] Ben: Sounds great bristle. It’s been a pleasure really, really appreciate having you on today.

[00:55:52] Rizzle: Thanks man. Appreciate it.

[00:55:54] Ben: There you go. First off. Thank you very much for listening all the way through.

I hope you got a lot of value out of that conversation as always. You can find show notes, links, and [email protected]. Please share this with anyone you think might be interested and derive any value from this conversation. And as always, you can reach out to me for any feedback or questions.

Please give the video a like, or even better subscribe on YouTube or your podcast player of choice. This really helps others find the podcast or the video as well. Thanks a lot. Hope everybody has a fantastic day and stay safe out there and invest wisely

Ben Lakoff is an entrepreneur and finance professional. He has developed strong global finance experience through 10 years of international assignments in the US, Brazil, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Czech Republic and through the award of his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification.