Next Creators

Being a Web3 Content Creator w/ Connie Digital

Episode Notes

Connie Digital is a content creator in the Web3 space. He's written for Cointelegraph, was one of the first to experiment with social tokens with his own token $HUE, and is a musician and artist. In this episode he talks with Sasha about: 

• Being a writer and a musician in the web3 space

• What caused the explosion of NFTs

• Being one of the first to experiment with social tokens

• Why Cryptovoxels and Decentraland are like the evolutions of personal websites

• His three ideas on what's missing in the space

Episode links

Connie Digital: https://twitter.com/ConnieDigital

Connie Digital's Website: https://danky.art

Seed Club social token incubator: https://seedclub.xyz

Sotheby’s Virtual Gallery in Decentraland: https://www.coindesk.com/sothebys-opens-virtual-replica-london-galleries-decentraland

Catalog Works, a music NFT platform: https://beta.catalog.works

 

Episode Transcription

Sasha Hudzilin:

Welcome to the new episode of Next Creators podcast. Today we have Connie Digital with us today. Hey Connie

 

Connie Digital:

Hello, how are you? It's great to be here.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

I'm great. Thank you for asking. So maybe we can start by you mentioning what do you do in the space overall?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, So I pretty much consider myself a Web3 content creator. I'm also an artist and a musician in the Space. So I write content for various publications. I also create my own art that I mint as NFTs as well as some of my original music that I mint as NFTs. I'm very big into the Metaverse, Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, pretty much just a big Web3 geek overall, trying to be involved in as much as possible. It's very exciting. And so I'm just happy to be here.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And where did you grow up?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, I grew up in the U.S., New Jersey specifically the Jersey shore.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Nice, and did you get interested in art and music as you were growing up or did it come later in your life?

 

Connie Digital:

No, I've always been interested as a young child, always been an artist as far as, drawing. And I remember watching my father draw like a really cool Sesame street. I think it was like Elmo or cookie monster in it. It kind of blew my mind as a child that my father could even draw all right. And then I kind of went down that path and got into fashion and was designing my own t-shirts and clothing line and selling that out to high school and barber shops and things like that. Music as well, I've been writing and recording music, well, writing music since the age of 12 recording a little bit later, but yeah, it's always been a part of my experience here.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And how would you describe also kind of state of art, state of music industry kind of pre Crypto like what have you found by working in the Space, creating in the Space overall?

 

Connie Digital:

Creating in the Crypto Spaces as an artist tends to give you more freedom, as far as how you go about distributing your work, as far as tokenizing your creativity, whether that's art or music, it gives you that direct peer to peer or direct to customer, direct to fan relationship where you can cut out the middleman and you can capture more of the upside, more of the profit for yourself. Seeing as though you are the creator and really limit that middleman gatekeeping sort of aspect of things, which is really empowering. And it's still early early days for all of this, but what I've seen thus far is really encouraging. And yeah, it's exciting to watch all the artists, not only be able to sell their work as an NFT, but also receive Royalties on the back end for each additional sale, which is really game changing and not something that you see in the traditional art world. And so it's something that smart contracts in Web3 has been able to enable, and it's just really fun to participate in all of this.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And when did you first encounter crypto? Do you remember?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, this was back in 2013, I believe. Yeah, 2013 I learned about Bitcoin. I was on YouTube a lot, watching a lot of videos from Andreas Antonopoulos and Roger Ver and a lot of early people in the Space, Erik Voorhees and yeah, just kind of went down a rabbit hole. I started writing actually in 2014 in the Space at Cointelegraph and a few other publications just to kind of participate and contribute to the Space and since then it's been a roller coaster of a ride it's about eight years ago now.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And how would you say the Space evolved since then? What was your impression of like workload that kind of landmark, points, milestones?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah for sure, I mean Bitcoin, the Whitepaper was 2008 and then launched in 2009. Like I said, I got involved in 2013. And 2015 I think was a landmark year because of Ethereum. And I remember participating in that very early on. I didn't have much either. I really wish I would have held onto those tokens considering where the price is nowadays, but that tends to be a story with a lot of people who sold early, but yeah, 2015 is definitely a landmark with the birth of Ethereum in the smart contract platform. I would also say 2017 in the launch of Crypto Kitties and the ERC-721 standard. What we now know is NFTs, Non-fungible tokens, really the birth of that. I think that was a landmark year and the project of Crypto Kitties really set all of this in motion. I know CryptoPunks is considered really the first sort of NFT project, although that the 7 21 standard wasn't available when Punks initially launched. But yeah, also I would say last year, this year has really been a landmark 12 months or so because of the mainstream interest in adoption. And it's on the news everyday now we're talking crypto, we're talking DeFi NFTS, all these buzzwords. The Metaverse is now seeping into mainstream consciousness and yeah, man, it's like, I keep saying it's really exciting.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

What do you think was the catalyst for all of this and interest in a NFT Space earlier this year? Because I remember a token to OpenSea folks or Xfinity folks back in 2019, and there was kind of very early days, but now all of a sudden this year there was like this massive explosion of interest. What do you think are some of the things that attributable to this?

 

Connie Digital:

I think there are a couple of catalysts, right? And I go back to Dapper Labs who, like I said, kind of started this whole thing, Crypto Kitties in 2017, but they were able to do with NBA top shot on the flow Blockchain. I think got a lot of headlines, got a lot of eyeballs and attention on the space and the volume, the transaction volume, the large numbers of sales and things like that really, I think attracted the mainstream audience that in combination with Nifty Gateway, which really had a very impressive year, 2021, even in 2020, late 2020 with people's drop obviously 69 million for his NFT that sold at auction at Christie's, huge. So I think those two things were like very big for gaining a lot of attention and bringing new people into the space.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And also from my understanding, you've started experimenting for example, with like Social Tokens much earlier than others. How did you decide to go into Social Token Space and what was happening at the time when you were starting in like just 2019, I think.

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah 2019, exactly. Well, prior to that, I had always been fascinated with the idea of tipping, like using crypto to reward creators, like a Tip-bot or a Tip Jar or things like that. And there were like early implementations using Bitcoin, but none of those things really gained any attraction and really took off. In the middle of 2019, I was contacted by Bradley, who is the CEO of Roll, and Roll is probably the first or very early participant in the Social Token space. And he contacted me and told me what he was doing. And I took a look at his product and when I saw , it really resonated with me and the idea of Social Tokens and applying creativity around distribution and finding new ways to distribute Tokens and engage your community and reward people for their attention, their time, their energy, their participation with you.

 

Connie Digital:

I think it's a fascinating concept and I really wanted to see what energy or what life I could bring to Social Tokens. And so that's what I did. I created my own token. It was called HUE. It is called HUE, still around today. And I use it as an essential mechanism. There are a variety of use cases for the token. You can use it on Opensea as a payment mechanism to buy and sell NFTs. You could use it to gate content. So I've used it to create YouTube videos or exclusive songs that are only accessible to people who hold a certain amount of my social token. And so I've really just been experimenting with some of the different use cases for these tokens.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Yeah. It seems to be that, I've listened to Western world, the intenet kind of had only two kinds of business models and that kind of boring. There is like advertisement on their subscription. And now with NFTs and social tokens, you have like experimentation, you can do like a lot more all of a sudden right than so now we're going to kind of start seeing the next couple of years, probably like, what are the kind of new models to actually reward people who create things.

 

Connie Digital:

100%. Yeah.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And also from my understanding, you also spend a lot of time in Metaverses in Cryptovoxels, Decentraland. How do you think about those Spaces? Who do you see there? How do you spend time there? Where did you see those projects going, also?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, I am really bullish on the idea of virtual worlds and what that looks like to me, Cryptovoxels and Decentraland are really like the evolution of a website. If you think of it in this way, it's almost like a 3d website now. Right? So I have my own personal blog, my own personal website, but I also have virtual land within crypto voxels. And when I sent traffic to my Cryptovoxels parcel, it's a immersive 3d sort of environment. And I can include content in this environment the same way I would include content on my website. So I have videos in my virtual parcel. I have my NFTs in there. I have a few links to things here and there, but it's really, it's a new frontier in the sense that you can host events inside these virtual worlds. You can do gallery openings, exhibitions, you could do concerts, you can do all types of stuff, whatever you can imagine, you can essentially replicate what's possible in the real world, in the virtual world, through these Metaverses, and I think that's super exciting evolution of the social network as well.

 

Connie Digital:

I think it looks like a Decentraland. And so it's been really cool to watch, I think Sotheby's, or Christie's, I think it was Sotheby's who created like a replica of their London offices inside Decentraland , which is like really cool. And I think a lot more companies, a lot more creators will start building these experiences and these like really far out like architectural wonders within the virtual world and host events. And people will come and listen to music and meet friends and it's going to be huge, I think in again, really early days. And so I've just been trying to experiment and learn as much as possible so that I can share this knowledge with others as well.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Yeah. We're also studying for human guilt. We actually spent every Friday now in Cryptovoxels because we noticed that we are building community where sort of like NoOps and building community. And a lot of people were kind of like alert and don't as much participate just because they don't know each other. And so like Cryptovoxels became this place for us to actually get to know each other, very nice actually. I was also wondering, did you look into more like VR focused worlds, like Somnium Space or are you mostly focused on Cryptovoxels, Decentraland?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, that's a good question. I haven't focused on like Somnium Space or any sort of platform that requires a VR headset. One of the things I do like about Cryptovoxels is that building within that world is a lot more inviting. The learning curve is lower than something like a Decentraland, where you need sort of like specialized 3d modeling skillsets. CryptoBox is more like a Minecraft sort of platform, very easy to use. And so I particularly like that one. And also you got to keep in mind too, that all of these virtual worlds offer virtual land that you have to purchase. And so we've seen the floor price of these parcels rise over time. So it's becoming increasingly expensive to even own a piece of land in these virtual worlds. So that's another factor to consider as well.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Oh, what'd you think also about two dimensional worlds? Those have flick, because for instance, we have one that will be the first kind of like world on mirror, but it will be two dimensional it on one hand, it's a lot easier to build even easier than the 3d world on other, on other hands. It's not as immersive, so..

 

Connie Digital:

That's interesting. I mean, I would like to see it hands-on per se to get a feel for it, but the idea itself piques my interest, I would like to, definitely like to see what that looks like.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And also maybe we can touch on Seed Club. What is Seed Club focusing on? How do you involve there? How does the Space of like Social Tokens kind of community is enabled by Tokens is evolving through Seed Club?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, so Seed Club is the first Social Token Incubator, and I was lucky enough to participate in the first Cohort back in October 2020, myself, RAC, who is a popular electronic musician, Carlos from Forefront and a whole bunch of others. I think it was probably six or seven of us who participated in the first Cohort. And really what we did was share our learnings and our experiences, and really learn from each other, and also strategize on some of the things that are possible with these tokens. And so it was really a great experience for me, not only being able to talk about social tokens in an open forum and learn and get some feedback and help others as well, but also meeting the people, building these relationships and the connections with the folks in the Cohort has been really cool. I know since then, they've done a second Cohort.

 

Connie Digital:

I think they're working on their third one now. And so the prospect for like community Tokens, I think is huge. I think we're still figuring out what that all looks like and what that all means. But Seed Club is definitely leading the charge as far as what it means to be a Dow and what it means to be a part of a community and have a Token in a vested interest in the outcome of various projects. So yeah, I think Seed Club is the first, but probably will not be the last sort of Social Token Incubator.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And also I noticed that in addition to art and music, you also write a lot. And you mentioned you started writing fairly early in the Space. What is your blog about, what is your target audience? How do you think about writing, do write like every day?

 

Connie Digital:

The funny thing is that, I like writing. I like writing songs really. I love writing songs, but I also, I enjoy writing articles when I'm in the mood. Like if I'm not in the mood to write and it's forced, I really hate writing, but when it flows and I'm really particular, like I edit crazy, which is another thing that I spent a lot of time on. And sometimes I waste a lot of time. I don't want to say I waste a lot of time, but I spend a lot of time editing when I should be doing other things. But anyway, my blog to answer your question is really about my journey. It starts back in, I think the blog starts back in April, maybe, or June of 2019. And it's kind of just a progression of some of the things I've done in the Space.

 

Connie Digital:

Some of the events, some of the NFTs I've created, it really just tells my story and journey through the Web3 world. And so I'm really proud of it actually. For a while, there was like a hole, like a valley where I wasn't really inspired and I wasn't really doing much. And then I'll go and I'll read the blog and I'll remind myself of like, Hey, this is how far you've come already. Maybe you should keep going, keep creating, put your story out there, use it as like a timeline. And it might be beneficial to other people. I don't know. I mean, I check my Google analytics, I get traffic and stuff. Hopefully people find it valuable. I'm not sure, but for me, it's good to look back on and just reassure myself that I'm doing the right thing.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Yeah, and what also inspires you, like as you learn about the Space, sounds like you are very curious and like to explore different things as they emerge. What over like inspires you? Like what gets you energy?

 

Connie Digital:

That's a great question. I like to inspire. I like to be able to try new things. I like to be the first, if possible, to try something new just to kick tires and see what's possible and hopefully inspire people along the way. When I get feedback, emails or direct messages, and people tell me that I've helped them do this, or I've inspired them to do that, or it's because of me that they went in this direction or things like that, those messages is what really drives me and puts a smile on my face and inspires me to continue doing what I'm doing. Yeah, it's just something about, I guess, helping the fellow man, that feels good.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And do you have any like mentors in Space or a kind of support community, just kind of like Seed Club or others, or maybe books, art, music that inspires you also, or like maybe you consume some particular type of content regularly?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah. I'm inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk. I like Gary V's energy. He's also from New Jersey. He grew up about 20-25 minutes away from me. So he inspires me. I like his journey. I like his story. I also, on the music side of things, I really like Bob Marley, his story inspires me. His message inspires me. I like fashion. And I like artists like Kanye, not only his fashion, but his music and just him being an individual and not being scared to take chances and put himself out there and really wear his heart on his sleeve. I find that admirable. And so people like this really touch me and inspire me.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

And when you think also about your friends from outside of crypto, did you see people entering the Space fairly? It's an organic process. They're going to learn and jump into the Space. Do you see a lot of skepticism still? Also, maybe. How do you talk to people about joining the Space? Some people who might sit on the sidelines kind of have reservations.

 

Connie Digital:

I kind of stopped talking to people about it because like I said, it's been about eight years and eight years ago, I spent a lot of time and energy talking to people about it, trying to get them into the space and granted, it was a different time back then right. And so what's happened that I find funny is that the people I was trying to get into the space, even in NFTs as like last year or two years ago, telling people what I was doing with the art and the NFTs and building community and selling and all of this, it kind of fell on deaf ears. It wasn't until MBA top shot, like I said, and people and Gary V getting involved in, more of the mainstream attention where my friends are kind of hitting me up. Like, "so what were you saying again about those NFTs?"

 

Connie Digital:

"You're doing art with what exactly." And so now it's kind of peaking their interest, which is cool. But again, it's still so early, but it's fun to see people kind of change their mind and really get interested in this stuff. So, and honestly, I think it's because they see these big numbers, people are making all this money, selling NFTs and the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum is going up and with 2020 and the pandemic and people being out of work and things like that, I think finding alternative sources of income really became a priority for a lot of people. And crypto is just like a natural fit for that. So

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

What do you think is still missing in the Space? Is there any snow that you would like to change oral about the space?

 

Connie Digital:

I mean, I like the idea of play to earn, like, if we speak about Blockchain based gaming, getting people into this Space. So there's really, I guess, like three ways, right? You can either mine tokens, right? You can buy or purchase tokens on an exchange or you can earn them. And I think the earning ability is lacking. I think there's a lot more to explore on that front, getting people their first tokens, because they've earned it. However that is whether it's a video game or participating in a social token community or however that looks. But I think a greater focus on earning a crypto is needed. I would love to see like a universal sort of like Tip Bot feature where you could easily tip people on various platforms. And I also am excited to watch the evolution of music and what that looks like in a tokenized world.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Yeah. I completely agree on the earning side of things. I feel like that would be one of the probably biggest ways to bring people into the Space, because for a lot of them, they probably want the, do something let's say in a game like X [00:22:51] , they probably will stick around. There'll be a fraction of people. I don't know. What's a exact fraction of adults stick around. They want to probably learn more things, find other ways to earn. And that will end up being kind of like this entry point into the crypto ecosystem and on the music front. Have you seen any, like interesting projects so far, or do you feel like it's fairly early on, on the music side of things?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, I do feel like it's fairly early. I am currently working on a startup. We are in stealth mode at this point, but we are at the intersection of music in Web3. So I'm excited for being able to share some more details with people in the near future, but there is a project called Catalog. Their website is catalog that works. And yeah, they're like probably the first music centric NFT platform. So musicians can upload lossless music files, whether that's a wave or any other lossless file. And they upload their cover art and they minted on the Ethereum Blockchain. And there's an auction function it's actually built on the Zuora protocol and yeah, it's really the first dedicated music NFT platform. I just, as a matter of fact, tokenized my first song on Catalog on Friday for anybody listening that was about four days ago. So yeah, I'm really excited for that project.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Nice. And do you see among maybe like your musician friends, do you see the same amount of awareness about the Space as for the art community? Or do you feel like it's earlier, it's kind of moving on different timeline and so awareness is not there yet.

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, different timelines, for sure. I think art is having a moment. Art is definitely in the spotlight as far as NFTs and Web3 is concerned. My bet is that music will have its it's limelight moment as well. It's time to shine. It might take a little longer, but I am optimistic about it and I would like to contribute to raising that awareness and helping shine that light on tokenized music. So hopefully I get to do that.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

That's super interesting. And also, what do you think overall about like other platforms do you mostly spend all your time in Ethereum ecosystem, would you start looking into like other like Flow you mentioned or other ecosystems, or do you feel like it's just like impossible to keep track of everything that's happening right now across all of the blockchain Ecosystems?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, I do feel like there's been an explosion and it is hard to keep track of everything that's happening and there's so many different chains, but to answer your question, I am really tied into the Ethereum ecosystem, somewhat Flow as well, because I hold quite a few Crypto Kitties. So I'm excited to see what Dapper Labs does when they migrate Crypto Kitties over to the Flow Blockchain. Again, like NBA, top shot has been huge. And so it's still early for that particular Blockchain as well. But besides that just really Ethereum

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Make Sense. How can people find more people who are listening today can find more information about yourself? Where should they go?

 

Connie Digital:

They can check out my website, which is danky.art, D-A-N-K-Y danky.art, A-R-T, or they could just sign up to my newsletter, which is conniedigital.com/join. They can follow me on Twitter @Connie digital, but yeah, so the newsletter or my blog is probably the best, best places to keep up with me.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Do you have any parting words for our listeners?

 

Connie Digital:

Yeah, I mean hopefully you guys are as excited about the Space as I am. I would say experiment as much as possible, build relationships, tinker, learn new things, really this is the time to stake your claim in the Metaverse in the world to come in Web3 and the sooner you get involved the better. So, yeah, just be excited

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Connie, quick question. What do you have to say for people who are skeptical about this space?

 

Connie Digital:

I think that's probably a natural sort of reaction in the beginning to be skeptical, especially when some of the narratives you read in the publications called Bitcoin, a scam or crypto a scam. And it's kind of had this negative light over the years. So I think it's a fair stance initially to be skeptical, but I think people might've been skeptical of the internet when that first launched, think people might've been skeptical of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, when they first launched Amazon right. But what history has shown us is that taking a chance and being early with some of these technologies can really pay off in the long run. And I think with Web3, it's sort of the same thing. So I would say, just try to learn as much as possible. We have a saying in the Space called ,"Do your own research." So I would encourage everybody to, do your own research and hopefully you'll overcome that skepticism and you'll be able to ride the wave up with the rest of us.

 

Sasha Hudzilin:

Thank you for the great conversation.

 

Connie Digital:

Thank you Sasha. Appreciate it guys.