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“Intro: The power of NFTs in marketing”

Kirsten Maarschalk: Rocco. I am so excited to have you. You are officially my first guest of the year in what I’m dubbing season two after strategic break. Thanks so much for joining me.

Rocco Strydom: What an absolute honour, always nice to be the first person back. No pressure, no pressure at all.

Kirsten Maarschalk: No pressure, listen you’ve got to top my interview with you hey. You’d better beat that

Rocco Strydom: Well, let’s try. Let’s aim for aggressively mediocre and then we’ll see where we land.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Good stuff. So I wanted to talk to you today about a bit of a buzzword that’s going around and that’s NFTs something that I think a lot of people are still trying to wrap their head around. So for the people that don’t really get it, what exactly is a non fungible token?

Rocco Strydom: Well, basically, I mean, NFT was word of the year, let’s put let’s start from that for 2021. And basically a non fungible token just means it’s something that lives on the blockchain and is a proof of ownership. Um, and it’s not, it’s not exchangeable with each other. That’s in layman’s terms, the easiest explanation that I can get, but I mean, I feel like we’ve passed this into what is it becoming now?

Kirsten Maarschalk: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, that’s kind of, what’s piqued my interest because. When the whole, uh, you know, cryptocurrency, blockchain, NFT thing erupted. I was like, okay, cool. I’m not really sure about it. Doesn’t affect me, but now it’s becoming such a relevant part in marketing. And essentially it’s a digital asset that brands are using to get people to buy into their brand. Right.

Rocco Strydom: So especially luxury brands. Yeah.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Yeah. And like, from my understanding, how it works is if Pink Soda Marketing had to launch an NFT and we sold a limited amount of, of one specific NFT. We could use that as a way to kind of pull people into our community to say, for example, buy our NFT. And we give you free access to any webinars we host going forward. Then it’s in their benefit to get other people to buy into Pink Soda Marketing, because essentially it improves the value of the NFT. Right?

Rocco Strydom: So there’s two schools of thought and there’s two camps, there is the speculation camp, which is, um, that NFTs as is the digital asset. Like anything else that can be speculated upon.

So that’s where the rise of these communities come from the bored ape yacht club, which probably the Logan Pauls and those guys being the most famous ones, um, that with Gary V, this is where people would buy. NFT to flex. Flex, meaning to show off, this is my status. This is my digital, uh, status to the world.

I belong to V friends which has Gary V’s. So I can just, I mean, Twitter this morning, basically. I don’t know if you saw. They came out Twitter Blue. Uh, now you can use your NFT as your profile, which is for the community massive because, uh, I they’re going to strike every one that has your NFT as his profile picture.

Rocco Strydom: So that’s, that’s the one part of it. And then we go to the, the part where I’m interested is where you are, where your mind is, is the utility part. It’s like, what does this allow me to do? So my favorite example, and if this one or two guys have done it in the states is let’s say your podcast, right? So you have an advertiser.

And let’s say for instance, they come on board and say, it’s a hundred K a year. Okay. So now for every episode that you have published, you can mint a token, right? And say, this token is worth 1% or 2% of the value of my advertising. You see where I’m going with this. So now I’m invested in to your podcast or I to your business.

Rocco Strydom: And I can sell that token to someone else. No, it’s got more value now. I’m not only invested in you, I’m invested in like your wellbeing and sort of who you are as a brand. And I think that’s the utility aspect of, um, NFTs that I’m the most interested, I’m not really keen on the speculation part because then it’s, what is this?

What is it different than remember? I don’t know if you. If you ever, when you were little, you traded things like we traded Trump cards or top cards and Pokemon, whatever it was, everything at some point in time has value, right. And value is dependent on. More believes it has value and for how long it depends.

Rocco Strydom: What’s called some of them actually do still have value, like the Pokemon cards, believe it or not, but some don’t. So with NFTs it’s the same. It’s like these communities exist. Yeah. Cool. But for how long do they exist until who decides that they don’t have value anymore? But Kirsten’s show or business.

Yeah. That’s a totally different story.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Yeah. Crazy. It’s such an interesting space. And I think like we’re only just at the age of it, you know what I mean? It’s, it’s really gonna blow it up from here. So it’s definitely something. To keep a finger on the pulse of, um, so from my understanding, what I’ve kind of dabbled around in and looked around is a lot of the NFT space is, um, sort of linked to Ethereum as the cryptocurrency.

Kirsten Maarschalk: So if NFTs are going to blow up, does that mean that Ethereum is said to blow up with them and become like a dominant crypto, or do you think that it will start to spread across the different currencies?

Rocco Strydom: Yeah. I think Ethereum’s got a problem in the sense that it doesn’t really scale well, and I think that’s where we we’ve seen the layer two players like Cordona and polygon, and those guys come in lower gas fees, which is the fees that people pay to actually create these NFTs.

Um, what NFTs has done is exposed people to crypto that maybe were skeptical to the, um, you know, the, the blockchain or the currency, whatever you want to call it. Into a space where they are maybe more familiar. So, yeah, definitely. I’m not going to go that as far and say, it will make Ethereum dominant because if, if you’ve seen in this recent crypto sell-off, Ethereum is basically more or less, performed the same as Bitcoin, but more people into the crypto space, more people are aware of it. And I think that’s what NFTs bring to, um, to crypto in general and to Ethereum.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s, it’s also very fascinating to see how the consumer’s mindset has started to shift, because I think the majority of people who weren’t early adopters, were going like:

what is this cryptocurrency business? Like, how can it have value? It’s it’s like a made up thing. But if you think about wealth, humans have determined wealth forever. I mean, what, what made gold valuable, you know, humans did. We trade with pieces of paper? Okay. Now we don’t even try with pieces of paper.

We trade with plastic cards with fictitious numbers in our bank accounts and here we sitting going well, what is, what is a cryptocurrency it’s, it’s crazy. And the same kind of, sorry, Rocco carry on if you want.

Rocco Strydom: Belief in the fiat system, which is government issued currency, is that the, your, your government backs the value, right? They say, this is what it’s worth.

So, I mean, it’s no different it’s it’s you see the problem is where people get into sort of a cult mindset that this is a bit cultish right. It’s if you, if you go from the standpoint that crypto is a asset for speculation. Then it’s the same as anything else. You’re quite right. When you said it’s, this is nothing new, actually.

It’s just a digitalization of that value. I mean paintings, like for instance, we’ve seen paintings at Sotheby’s going for millions. So what’s the difference here?

Kirsten Maarschalk: Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right. And I think from the NFT space as well, like Gary Vaynerchuk also talks about it in such an interesting way is that this isn’t, this is not a new space either because people are hesitant.

They’re like, why, why should I buy a digital asset that I can’t physically hold? Yet, people have been spending money on, on skins, on fortnight, on filters, on, um, uh, what was that farming?

Rocco Strydom: So wife plays design home makeover. Believe me. I know all about in app mobile purchases. Gary this morning was talking about

buying an island, right? Like V Friend’s fails island. And then your V Friend uh, NFT token is going to be your access to the island, which is wild. Think about. You used to have memberships to golf clubs or to like restaurants or fancy gentlemen lounges and stuff like that. That’s just going to go, right. It’s going to be replaced with your digital status symbol.

And um, to me, that is absolutely still mind-blowing and the thing is it, the space is so hyper fluid that it’s actually changing every week. So you, so for those that are not maybe involved, go and read up on or go study because the further you are behind now, the harder it’s gonna be to even catch up. or partake and you really don’t want to be left behind here because this is the next sort of movement.

Kirsten Maarschalk: I agree with you. And that’s what I’ve been saying. The concept seems so futuristic and something that, you know, even with the whole meta verse it’s people are still in the mindset that this is the future that they’re going to be interacting in the metaverse like way we already are. This is it. It’s here.

And if you don’t start understanding it better and getting involved you’re right, you’re going to be absolutely left behind.

Rocco Strydom: The guys from Gym Shark just had their first, um, meeting, I suppose, in, quote unquote, not really the metaverse, but VR in the VR space. So I mean, big companies are embracing it. It. So it’s it’s, it’s not a question of. Hey, is it going to happen? It’s already happening and how you participate is up to you. I mean, you don’t have to go all in at least dip your toes in the water and see, you know, what does it feel like? Is this for me? Isn’t it for me, but don’t whatever you do, don’t sit on the sidelines and cross your arms and go, you know what I like that. I would say old people generally, because I’m also getting older.

Rocco Strydom: So for me, I had to check my own bias, right. Because I was like, I always say, I never want to be that person that gets old and goes, ah, this is nonsense, whatever. And then before. I like, like just when it began, I started getting those thoughts right and I’m like, oh my word it’s happening to me. I need to check my bias because when cell phones came out, people like, oh, what’s this nonsense.

When the internet came out, people would ah what’s this nonsense. But the guys and the people that have sort of stayed with the times. They are rolling with this now, and the guys that haven’t are literally the same people standing on the sidelines and shouting what is this? What is this nonsense.

Kirsten Maarschalk: I think from a social media perspective, so many people can say the same thing about Tiktok, it’s like ugh, Tiktok is for kids.

It’s a lot of rubbish. Now the user landscape has changed dramatically and you’re seeing a much older crowd, uh, you know, using Tiktok as a space. And I think they’re starting to go like “oh, this is not just trendy dance moves. This is actually a super cool place to be present.”

Rocco Strydom: South Africa, Tiktok channel is wildly entertaining. Um, Tiktok basically just overtook Google.

So in terms of. The flow in terms of, uh, uh, throughput and people visiting there. So it just shows go see show, it shows you the power of these platforms. And I mean that, we’re also going to most probably adopt NFTs at some time. Um, Facebook this morning came out and say, we’re going to open our own NFT marketplace.

These are the guys, Meta uh, um, TikTok and Google that are driving. This, this movement. So yeah, it’s we can sit back and say, ah, no, this is rubbish what you want, but it’s still your choice to get involved. And I would rather that be a part luck, even a 1%, a little part of something. Than be completely left behind.

Rocco Strydom: Cause you never know. You just don’t know.

Kirsten Maarschalk: And then how many people, I mean, fun. I was one of them I’ll openly admit when people first started speaking about Bitcoin, it was like, oh, what a lot of nonsense pyramid scheme, rubbish. This is going nowhere. And had we invested back then we would have been smiling much bigger right now.


Rocco Strydom: That’s the thing. But also a benefit of hindsight is 20, 20 it’s. It’s so many things that you can say only if only.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Yes. So on the note of, uh, social media platforms, like you’re saying Facebook is starting to dabble in that space. I think they really have to. Because of the shift with things moving to a more decentralized space, right?

So somewhat, I understand DeSo decentralized social media platforms where people can, uh, become creators at their own will, you can tip people for their content if you enjoy it, it starts making that a monetized platform that’s completely decentralized. And the same is true for, uh, the DeFi not the washing machine, but Decentralized Financial Institutions.

Rocco Strydom: Good one. I’m going to use that one.

Kirsten Maarschalk: So how does that give people some sense of security? Like how does it work? Because someone said to me that the day they were talking about it and they said, no, they, they’re scared to invest in crypto because what if the server busts and they lose all their money and it’s actually the opposite.

Rocco Strydom: But, yeah, but it’s also a valid point because there are places where you can invest your money and then it’s not necessarily that safe, but if you look at the people, so let me start from the beginning. it’s kind of a loaded question, the people that are actually building. Um, what they call web three, which is they’re trying to decentralize it.

That’s a big fight. It’s between centralization between the big tech companies, Google, Facebook, um, uh, apple and de-centralization. And one of the guys leading charge is a guy called Alexis Ohanian. He is the ex Reddit founder, which he’s now running 776. Seven Seven Six fund and those guys are pouring a lot of money into this, um, decentralized space to make sure or to build the structures that are needed right.

Rocco Strydom: To re-envisage what the internet is because the internet in its current form, isn’t capable of giving us the, that ownership. So, I mean, even you, you’re going to take this podcast, you’re going to put it onto all these platforms, but we don’t own anything, right. DeSo, these guys and these platforms are the first steps.

So yes, we are still very early. For now, I would say the best places, um, are to stick to sort of what, what, what companies are in the news. Right? So in terms of NFTs, OpenSea is the big one, but already they’ve experienced some problems with hacks and stuff, accounts frozen. There’s a new one that’s coming now, that’s looking really promising and it’s called Looks Rare.

Rocco Strydom: And there’s a lot of focus on community, a lot of focus on safety. So I just actually went and checked it out last week for myself. And it looks very funny enough. No pun intended looks very good. And if you want to get involved into involved in this space, I would, I would go on that platform and, and check it out because at the end of the day, people are looking for community right?

Because that’s what these things are about. It’s like, I keep hearing this term community, community, community. Yes. There are people that are trading in NFTs for money. There are people that are creators creating content for money, but at the end of the day, why do you subscribe? X person’s channel. Why do you consume his content?

Rocco Strydom: It’s you want to feel part of something bigger and then the bigger that following and the safer you feel. That’s just a recipe for like a very good recipe going forward. If I look at this space.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Yeah. And I think that’s why, like you said earlier, especially the luxury space is, is so dominant and so successful is because it’s something that you want.

You want to say that you’re a part of that luxury niche group. You know what I mean? The very niche community.

Rocco Strydom: Yes and no, sorry. Before, before. So the, so that luxury is a very interesting thing is because what people don’t understand is like, if you. If, if, if we spend money, especially the younger generation, if we say we spend money on ourselves in the physical space, then it’s like, why wouldn’t you spend that money on yourself in the digital space?

It might sound weird but we don’t spend as much time in like, um, in those digital spaces, you know, immersed in those spaces and flexing is a really, it’s, it’s a, it’s a very real thing to say, to show off to people like this is my status. So that’s where the luxury, it’s just that. Anything it’s your Cartiers is, and your Guccis are getting involved.

Rocco Strydom: That’s serious, serious, big names. Uh, and if they didnt’ take it seriously, they would have must probably be innovated, you know, or disrupted, sorry by someone else.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Yeah. Gucci’s got such a strong game in general at the moment. It’s very, very interesting brand to watch. So from the NFT perspective, if I want to create an NFT, if I want to become a creator, like where the hell do I start?

Rocco Strydom: That’s most, probably the easiest thing that you can do, but it’s the most intimidating because it’s so new and foreign to anyone. Um, it’s not a process where. I can say, oh, but it’s like this and, or it’s, you know, that you’ve done before. And I think that’s intimidating thing, but once someone shows you how you just, uh, this is easy and like most things in life, we’ve gone through the pains of.

And sort of the, you know, paid the school fees and stuff to say, ok this is, this is what you should do, what you shouldn’t do. So the easiest way would be to get a Metamask account and just, it’s a pretty, can get it as a Chrome extension and then basically link it to a cryptocurrency profile. We have cryptocurrency wallet and from there you got to OpenSea, and they’ve got a fantastic tutorial. Um, just Google, how to mint NFTs on OpenSea.. They it’s, it’s like it shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes. They take you through there. They are really, they, they take you through, I mean, they’ve just raised an enormous amount of money, uh, OpenSea, to basically build this community and build this platform, right? So, I mean, if they want to make it easy as possible for you to start buying and minting your own, um, NFTs. And so that’s, that’s where I would begin, but I wouldn’t stop there. I would then from there go and look at Cordano because of the fees are much lower and I’m told the communities are more.

Rocco Strydom: Um, I would say accommodating, or it’s more of a safe space, especially for women because there can be a bit of a toxic culture in some of these places online. It’s not necessarily, I only, I mean, if you’ve spent a bit of time on Reddit as well, you would have picked up, it’s not always flowers and roses.

Right. But finding a safe community is is is key. So yeah. Get a Metamask account, get yourself set up there and then look for OpenSea’s tutorial, which is in my opinion, the best. I’ve given that to numerous people and they’ve all said, yeah, thank you. I came, you know, I came right. So yeah.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Cool on that point and I don’t want to divert too far, but I think it’s a very interesting aspect of the metaverse in general in this very young stage is there’s a whole lot of safety aspect that is still a big concern when engaging in these virtual spaces.

Um, so it’ll be interesting. I know there was, um, uh, sexual harassment case that a woman laid in a horizon worlds for being sexually harassed. And it’s a very, very, uh, interesting space to watch and see how that sort of thing gets managed.

Rocco Strydom: The same real-world problems that we have currently we will undoubtedly we’ll have in those spaces. You see, that’s a problem with centralized vs de-centralized and take Facebook’s approach, or the trying to regulate what you just spoke about sexual harassment or harassment, hate crime, or hate speech and all those things. And honestly, not doing a great job because it’s not easy.

Rocco Strydom: So I’m looking forward. I’m looking forward to seeing how these guys actually tackle this problem because, just because something happens online, doesn’t make it less real actually sometimes even makes it worse.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Um, absolutely. The last question, cause I know we can probably chat about this stuff forever, but since the NFT space is still so new and there are a lot of people trying to jump on and become creators and make money out of this stuff.

The risk factor I can imagine in investing in NFT is so much higher now because like, where do you go? How can you guarantee that brand or that creator is going to give you success?

Rocco Strydom: But not, but that’s what you just said. But the, the, the distinction there is investment. The term investment implies a five year time horizon.

Anything shorter than five years is called trading. And I think that’s what people are doing now. So we’ve seen this. The, the, the rise in retail trading or day trading, right. Came just after, like, just before, after COVID and it’s now settled it down a bit because the returns aren’t what they were. The market is more difficult.

So I think that’s why people are now getting to you see those people, the Robin hood crowd, getting to NFTs because it is. It’s sort of a newer space. It is a bit easier. Um, but to talk about, to talk about investing of a five-year there’s no, one’s going to be able to decide, okay, this project is going to be around for the next five years.

Rocco Strydom: So that’s where I see people making money and losing money is actually. Training, um, digital images. I mean, and say people aren’t making money. It’s also disingenuous because there are a lot of people, especially the young people seem to be able to figure out these things much easier. And I don’t know what that’s saying about our culture or, or, you know, because we also look down on the young people.

What do they know? There’s guys making serious, a serious living up in the space.

So I think that’s why people are now getting to you see those people, the Robin hood crowd, getting to NFTs because it is. It’s sort of a newer space. It is a bit easier. Um, but to talk about, to talk about investing of a five-year there’s no, one’s going to be able to decide, okay, this project is going to be around for the next five years.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Rocco. It has been such an interesting talk. Like I say, if I don’t call it now, you and I will go down a rabbit hole. So thank you. So, so, so much for just ya, diving deep on the subject with me and explaining things that, uh, I do not have as deep an insight on, so thank you so much.

Kirsten Maarschalk: Note to self: pressure to post this podcast quickly. Cool Rocco, we’ll chat soon. Ciao.

Rocco Strydom: Such a pleasure and just rest assured that we might go two weeks further down the line and things have changed completely so if you’re watching or listening in the future, just keep that in mind.

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