The two-time NBA All-Star talked to Boardroom about his next Web3 and tech ventures and shared some hot takes on the growing markets.
NBA star and serial entrepreneur Baron Davis is back at it again, making moves in the technology and Web3 spaces.
Despite the downturn in Web3, Davis is still bullish on the power of blockchain technology. During NBA All-Star Weekend 2023, Davis sat on various panels and discussed the state of Web3 and where the industry is headed. Much like he always does, he shared some hot takes on the market and its entrepreneurs.
“I think over the last couple of years, it was like the Wild Wild West,” Davis told Boardroom about the state of the Web3 industry. “You have your first movers, and you have people you believe are building long-term. Some of those people are still building, and their projects are about to come to fruition because they have a stake in Web3 that was meaningful. Then you have your people who are good are raising money and selling things like culture.”
When Web3 hit the scene, Davis said there was this wave of people getting in the space for various reasons. Some came with ideas that were quickly and easily funded because of the people behind them, while others developed their ideas with the community at the top of their minds. Davis thinks those entrepreneurs building Web3 ventures with long-term value in mind will get the attention they deserve soon.
“There is this new wave of builders, and I think we’ll see their projects come to life,” Davis said. “I just think the industry has been clouded and muddied by people who are in it for the short-term value.”
Davis considers himself one of those long-term builders in the Web3 space. Since he has his hands in many business opportunities, Boardroom recently caught up with him about his latest ventures, partnerships, and more.
Davis announced his latest venture, SLiC Images, during the NBA All-Star Weekend 2023 Tech Summit. SLiC Images is a rights management platform for photographers and videographers that leverages blockchain technology. Photographers and videographers can use SLiC Images to monetize the content they capture. SLiC Images has been in the works for about five years, Davis shared.
“The goal of SLiC Images is to create an ecosystem and community of archiving content and building out a universal platform that allows publishing and licenses to be run directly by content creators,” Davis said.
SLiC Images is a subsidiary of Sports Lifestyle in Culture (SLiC), Davis’s flagship company that developed a platform for creators and brands to create, own, distribute, and monetize their content. Davis is building SLiC Images’ platform on a carbon-neutral blockchain protocol called NEAR, which is part of an agreement with NFT platform Mintbase. The platform company awarded Davis a grant as part of its ongoing program to award up to $5 million to support projects building the next phase of Web3 products.
“The Mintbase Grant program was designed to support projects building critical open source software on NEAR that will become foundational to NFT adoption,” Mintbase co-founder Nate Geier said in a statement. “SLiC Images was chosen as one of 16 grant recipients because of the NFT license architecture they are developing. We believe these NFT licenses will offer a powerful tool for aligning incentives between businesses, creators, and consumers.”
Davis said his company thought about building SLiC Images on a few different blockchain networks, but ultimately, Mintbase was the best partner for this opportunity.
“I feel like NEAR is an ecosystem looking to scale out its roots and culture. I love our relationship and understanding of history and how we can archive it,” Davis said. “From a blockchain standpoint, there are a lot of great developers and builders. A lot of collaboration can happen for SLiC Images in the NEAR ecosystem.”
Davis envisions consumers coming to SLiC Images to access and purchase content from creators they might not have known were behind capturing the images and videos. The yet-to-be-launched platform will also introduce users to content creators since they will be at the forefront.
Above all, Davis said he loves the product his company is building, but more so, he loves what SLiC Images represents.
“When you think about all the great archival moments in NBA history, there will be broken records and historic moments captured. In today’s era, everyone has cameras. How do we authenticate who is the foundational storyteller?” Davis said. “That’s the thought around SLiC Images. We’re building a database and platform for photographers to license their content.”
SLiC Images will officially launch sometime this summer. Leading up to its official launch, the startup will be partnering and connecting with galleries, photographers, and videographers to onboard them to the platform.
Partnership with Zoop
During All-Star Weekend, Davis announced a partnership with Zoop, a platform that licenses digital celebrity trading cards. Fans can buy, sell, trade, and collect cards from their favorite public figures to access exclusive opportunities, including access to IRL experiences with celebrities.
As part of the partnership, Davis joined the company as an advisor and was named the first celebrity to go active on Zoop’s platform before launch. Davis and Zoop kicked off their partnership by teasing Davis’ official digital trading card that will be on the platform. Trading cards for every celebrity, influencer, and creator on Zoop’s platform will be custom designed.
“We had very similar conversations around how to build utility based on avatars in gaming,” Davis said about his initial talks with the Zoop team. “It’s really cool when you can have these utilities that allow you to transpose your characters into different environments.”
Former OnlyFans executives RJ Phillips and Tim Stokely co-founded Zoop. The new platform is set to launch this spring.
“There are few groups as passionate as sports fans, who closely follow their favorite players and teams on and off the court,” Phillips said in a statement. “Zoop was founded to help fans build real connections with their favorite athletes and creators. We are thrilled to partner with Baron to bring his engaged community to Zoop.”
More Web3 Hot Takes
Davis never shies away from sharing his authentic opinions. Here are some more thoughts from him on where Web3 is headed:
- More people will be using blockchain technology in years to come.
- More people will purchase NFTs for purpose.
- Consumers will move away from investing in PFP-focused NFT projects.
- Blockchain tech will eventually power digital identities.
- Music NFTs will gain traction once people realize the power of owning them.
“Blockchain and Web3 technologies are going to be a part of who we are as we grow,” Davis said. “When we think about receipts and privacy data, fundamental Web3 and blockchain technologies will be there to protect us.”
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