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Boardroom Q&A: gmoney

The NFT guru and Web3 advocate talks about the meaning behind his name, Web3 projects he believes in, the details behind his collaboration with Adidas, and more.

Many people know gmoney for his self-created Web3 presence that’s attached to his CryptoPunk, but the crypto titan is much more than an NFT collector.

Since gmoney purchased Punk 8219 in January 2021, the NFT landscape has drastically changed. The Web3 pioneer is best known for using his CryptoPunk as his online personality, with his ape often used to hide his identity on social platforms and in interviews. But until Yuga Labs acquired CryptoPunks in March, granting holders commercial rights to their NFTs from the project, gmoney said he was preparing to move away from using his CryptoPunk.

“I’m still figuring out exactly what I want to do with it,” gmoney told Boardroom. “It opens up a world of possibilities in the sense that I think that there’s commercialization from the likeness and image through television, [and] maybe movies. I haven’t necessarily really like explored it yet, but I think it’s super interesting.”

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One thing gmoney has done with his CryptoPunk is use it as the face of his on-chain game, Brick Breakers. The game launched in March shortly after Yuga Labs acquired the Web3 project. Gmoney also recently launched a project called Admit One, which he defines as the entryway into his ecosystem equipped with a podcast.

Even with the moves gmoney is making in Web3, his identity isn’t widely known in the community, and he doesn’t mind that since he’s forging his own path.

“I think about identity and I can’t control what I look like and what my birth name is. But as we’re moving more into this digital world, the name I choose to display myself to the world is very personal,” gmoney said. “And that is why I really leaned into the persona because at the end of the day in a true meritocracy, what I look like and what my name is doesn’t matter.”

In a conversation with Boardroom at VeeCon, gmoney discussed everything from the meaning behind his name to promising Web3 projects, his partnership with Adidas, and more.

MICHELAI GRAHAM: What does your name gmoney mean?

GMONEY: It’s a nickname I’ve had since I was a teenager. My name begins with a G; it’s a very ethnic name. I grew up in the Northeast in white suburbia, [and] most people couldn’t pronounce my name so people called me G. gmoney kind of stuck because I always had a knack for making money. I was always interested in the stock market. I was that guy in high school that always knew about stocks and was always looking at the market.

MG: Why Punk 8219? What was your selection process like?

GM: I specifically remember when I first got into the space, I was like, I want to buy the next CryptoPunks cause at the time, I thought CryptoPunks were too expensive.

I ended up buying a ton of Chromie Squiggles. I was literally sitting there minting them for like an hour. I minted like 200 in a row, something like that. When I minted the Squiggles I wanted, I think it was around number 1700. And I was like, okay, well I think maybe people will care about numbers. Afterward, I go into Discord and I see all this activity, and then Snowfro [creator of Chromie Squiggles] DMs me and was like, ‘dude, what are you doing? Stop wasting your money on Squiggles, you need to buy a CryptoPunk.’

So at that point, I buy a Zombie, which is the third tier [of CryptoPunks]. I was priced out of an alien. I couldn’t afford an alien at that point and if I can afford an ape, I would buy an ape. And so, I was just waiting. In early January, the seller listed a price [for Punk 8219] then dropped it by 25 ETH the next day, then dropped it by 25 ETH again the next day. So I contacted them and we negotiated a price. I got it because it was the cheapest Ape available that I know that I could afford. It was pushing the limits of what I could afford, but it was there.

MG: How did you connect with Adidas in advance of their metaverse announcement last year? How did that partnership come about?

GM: A person on their team slid into my DMs in mid-April of last year and he told me ‘hey, I really like what you’re working on. I really believe in the things you’ve been tweeting about. I work at Adidas. I’d love to chat with you sometime.’ My DMs are open so I get messages all day long and I was like, all right, I don’t know if he works at Adidas, but if he does work at Adidas, this is worth a 30-minute phone call. After five minutes talking to him, I’m like, okay. And then I remember pitching him.

I’m sitting there, I’m like, I could be the first NFT [collector] sponsored by a major brand. That would be sick. Our conversations were great. He would share some things that they’d be talking about and I give him my feedback. And then I went out either June or July of last year [to the] Adidas HQ in Germany. I met with some very high up execs.

I especially remember two or three of them were like, ‘I have to leave in 30 minutes’ and they stayed. We talked for an hour and a half or something and they all stayed the entire time. And I was like, ‘okay, these people are real about this.’ It was just super organic and incredible.

MG: What does your relationship with Adidas entail? Is it kind of open-ended?

GM: A lot of the time, the way it has generally worked is they’ll work on their strategy internally. And then they’ll come to the partners — myself, Pixel Vault and Yuga — and they’ll be like, ‘this is what we’re thinking. What’s your guys’ feedback?’ That’s kind of the way it is. Then they’ll come up with their plan and share with us.

We don’t get to see everything, but the things that they want to share, we give ’em our feedback. I think it’s been really good, because I think they’ve been super inclusive of their strategy. I really appreciate their strategy because their strategy has been to collaborate and build alongside communities.

MG: Aside from CryptoPunks, what are some other promising NFT projects you think will go far? Are there any woman-led projects that pique your interest?

GM: I love Squiggles, which I spoke about. I also love CyberBrokers by Josie Bellini. She’s one of the OGs in the space. She gets it. The people that red pilled me were red pilled by Jossie years ago and the artwork is incredible.

MG: What are some exciting things you’re seeing in the Web3 space right now?

GM: I think some of the coolest things we’re gonna see huge growth of in the future is memberships and increased utility. A PFP project is essentially a membership into the community, an individualized membership. I think we’re probably gonna see more of the separation of identity with community membership. There’ll be some communities that maybe you wanna express your identity with, but it doesn’t have to be every community. And I think that that’s probably where membership is going, at least in the short term.

And then also utility. For instance, the tickets at VeeCon are NFTs. When I first got into the NFT space, the thing that I loved about it is that everything in the real world is an NFT. A mortgage is an NFT. I’m sure that those will be on chain. At some point house deeds are NFTs. The proof of concept of NFTs was with art and jpegs. To prove out the concept, you’re not gonna bring trillions of dollars of mortgages on-chain. You do it with something that’s kind of low stakes. Five to ten years from now, we probably will see auto loans on-chain, because at some point, we’re gonna have like $50 billion on-chain.

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