Last week, I released Part One of my interview with the iconic NFT collector officially known as “Whale Shark.” If you haven’t yet- please take a moment to read or watch part 1 here. If you’re already up to date, I’ll let you continue where we left off- speaking about the $WHALE DAO and Whalesharks opinions on DAOs as a whole:
David: So thinking long term- what are your community-building plans? And how do you see $WHALE DAO interacting with other DAOs?
WhaleShark: You are asking this question at a very opportune time because I actually just sat down with my head of operations, Alissa, in Hong Kong yesterday, to actually go through what we’re planning for the rest of the year.
So, from a community perspective, what we are looking to do is- number one, we are going to be looking to increase membership and the way that we’re actually going to be doing that. We are going to be increasing the number of events as well as the number of interviews, as well as the number of engagement activities that exist within the community.
In addition to that, what we’re also going to be doing to increase content and engagement is doubling down on crypto art. And we are going to put a greater focus on the development of metaverse-based galleries, just to make sure that that experience can run across all aspects of the digital, eventually moving even into the physical.
So that’s something that I’ve been very interested in since I started $WHALE, and even when $WHALE was 25¢, right? Something that has always been very interesting for me is the notion of: ‘is it possible to use $WHALE to bridge the traditional world into the digital?’ So that’s something that we’re going to do.
We have about five different pillars in terms of how we’re going to move forward. Probably the next and the other most important thing that we’re going to do is: we’re also going to broaden the level of our strategic partnerships. And when we talk about the love of our partnerships, we’re talking to people within the space. So crypto native companies, we’re talking to crypto-art- native companies and organizations. We’re talking to some of those representatives from some of the world’s leading art institutions and museums. We’re talking to exchanges. We’re talking to everybody and anybody, my friend, and I think that there is a huge opportunity for communities- as you brought up to be able to interact with each other. Especially DAO-based communities.
The very first interaction that we’ve already had actually is with FWB (Friends With Benefits), which is the second-largest social token within the space.
We had an exchange whereby I went across to FWB and did an AMA. And then after that, we had FWB come across to our server and do an AMA; and we capped everything off with the token swap between Whale and FWB, which turned out to be very beneficial for both parties. So, I think there are a huge number of ways for social tokens and for DAOs or DAO communities to interact. And, I think over the next six to twelve months, we’re really going to see that space blossom and we’re really going to see that interaction between different organizations happen as well.
David: I’d be really curious to hear about E1337 and what parts of virtual fashion and wearables interest you?
WhaleShark: E1337, for me, is a very long-term play. Very much the way that you and I are speaking on Google meets today. I do believe that as we move into the future, it has to transition from Google meets and Zoom to more of an immersive environment- like the metaverse. So, we did it. If we look two years ago and said everybody, 80% to 90% of your meetings are going to be on Zoom and on Google meets or Google Hangouts, people would have thought that you were crazy. But due to Covid, due to certain changes in the world, we’re finding that more of our lives are moving on digital all the time.
And when I think about what is the next step forward after video conferencing calls, it really has to be a more immersive experience, which would be VR and the metaverse. Now, when you talk about VR and the metaverse, essentially people are going to need to find a way to express themselves, through avatars.
And my thought process through E1337 is being able to start really early. Gain a lot of the competencies behind doing that, and be able to be a long-standing brand and a successful brand within metaverse fashion. So we started off E1337 with a lot of due diligence on the gamer space, simply because gamers are the people that are mainly using the metaverse at the moment. And what we’ve done is we’ve continued to create a lot of designs and a lot of avatars and a lot of wearables that will be interfaceable. And that will be integrated within a lot of the more popular metaverse platforms today.
At the same time, I’m always thinking about how to disrupt things. And when you look at the traditional business model for wearables or for clothing today, essentially, I have to use Fiat or I have to use a general currency. And then I purchased that wearable. So the company basically earns money by selling it. I started to think about a different model and said, “Hey, what happens if you created a social token?” And then you made that social token the only way to be able to buy these wearables and the company succeeds by the demand of the social token and the price of the social token, rather than the constant flow of money between buyer and seller.
So it’s very much an experiment in digital fashion. It’s very much an experiment in metaverse space, a metaverse-based lifestyle. And it’s also very much an experiment in economics in general. It’s hard for me to recollect any projects in the space right now that have given up on the buy and sell model and said, we’re going to earn money by creating an economy all by itself.
David: I’m wondering, are there any current wearable designers or projects or companies that you are impressed by, at this point?
WhaleShark: My favourite wearable company in the entire space is RTFK. It’s a beautiful name. RTFK is an amazing project. It’s basically run by three founders. One founder used to be the chief marketing officer from one of the world’s largest sports teams. One founder is one of the most renowned designers of CS-Go skins, right? Very famous. And the other one is a very famous sneaker designer and influencer, who’s very well connected in the space. Those three guys are my heart. I love speaking to them all the time. What they’ve been doing in the space of wearables is simply just fricking amazing.
David: I’m curious if you personally use an Oculus headset or if you’re mainly currently interested in XR experiences, or if you are embracing both at this point?
WhaleShark: So I was a very early adopter of VR. I own the Oculus one. The only reason why I ditched the Oculus, was because of the… and you might guess this given that I’m from crypto, given that from, I’m from a decentralized generation. I wasn’t thrilled about the change of the login, right? That you had to have a Facebook account. Because I deleted all my socials ages ago, my friend, right? I do prefer to be anonymous and low-key. So, I was a little bit upset about that. So I actually gave away my Oculus to the salvation army a couple of months ago.
It’s a shame, right? Because I really enjoyed it. I was playing poker on VR. I was in the metaverse on VR. I was playing all these games on VR. And you know, it was a really awesome experience for me. I had been lately thinking about getting the Oculus 2, and I know I’m a little bit late again to the party for the upgrade. But again, it’s very difficult for me to wrap my mind around why I should let big corporations have my data and benefit from my data when the only benefit that I get is the ability to use a proprietary system that, you know, I’m paying for. So it’s very difficult for me from an ethical standpoint.
To understand why it should buy into that. I’m always on the lookout for the latest and greatest headsets. I’m very much a technophile, so I love trying out new things all the time. But at some point in time, I really do want to delve in with a VR headset. I mean, I used to go into crypto voxels, with a VR headset quite a bit as well. My three favourite platforms easily are CryptoVoxels for digital art, Sandbox for games and DCL (Decentraland) for the social element. And I think those three platforms are going to do stunningly well over time.
David: So, I’m wondering, who are some of your favourite artists at the moment that you’ve recently discovered?
WhaleShark: When you’re looking at the market right now, you see that earlier in the year:
it’s about all of the pumps and dumps. You’re seeing a small group of people trading these crypto portraits or these generative and generated art portraits. And honestly, I haven’t touched a single one of them. Over the last two months, I want to say that I’ve only purchased maybe about, three to five NFTs, which is a huge stark contrast to what I was doing last year, where it would be maybe two hundred to three hundred NFTs in any given month.
Now, I do look for a strong amount of quality. And at this point in time, I’m a really huge fan of what Brendan Dawes is doing, simply because it’s the generative art style, I think is very representative. A good bridge between the traditional art world, as well as the digital art world.
When I speak to some of the world’s largest traditional art collectors about Brendan and about showing them his work, they tend to fall in love with what he’s doing as well. And you know, when you’re talking to some of the world’s leading art collectors, it’s impossible to sway a decision or impossible to influence someone, just by showing them a piece, but Brendan’s art tends to do that. There’s something magical about how he’s bridging information, how he’s bridging the generative art process. And how he’s bridging is an effective and strong approach, towards his marketing activities as well as towards his gallery showings. So I’m a huge fan of Brendan.
At the same time, I’m always on the lookout for new projects. There’s a lot of noise in the space right now. I think the other artists that I’ve collected are Gabriela, who does some amazing illustrations and she’s been an award-winning illustrator and designer, including some for hallmark, which is absolutely fantastic. Seeing some of these new artists coming in with music-based NFTs, art-based NFTs. I’ve dabbled in a tiny bit in those as well.
But for the time being, I think I’m just keeping my eyes really locked in and really looking for those creators, whether they do projects or whether they are artists who are not only, could not only create things that I really enjoyed but also have a really strong chance of breaking through mainstream and becoming extremely large.
Enjoying this interview series? Well, good news! The third and final part is dropping this Friday. We’ll be discussing generative art, clubhouse, and will go even further in-depth on WhaleShark’s investment ethos. In the meantime, keep up with him on socials:
$WHALE Discord: https://discord.com/invite/whale