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Future of Media ft. eDAO

By Superteam

Published on 2022-08-01

Explore the future of media with eDAO founders as they delve into NFTs, music monetization, and the evolving entertainment industry in the Web3 space.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!

The Rise of eDAO in the Web3 Entertainment Space

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the intersection of entertainment and blockchain technology is giving rise to innovative platforms and business models. One such pioneering venture is eDAO, co-founded by Anand (formerly known as Tuberdor) and Mairu. This dynamic duo brings together extensive experience from both the crypto world and the mainstream entertainment industry, positioning eDAO at the forefront of the Web3 revolution in media and entertainment.

From Sony to Web3: Mairu's Journey

Mairu's transition from traditional entertainment giants like NBA and Sony Music to the world of Web3 reflects a growing trend of industry veterans recognizing the potential of blockchain technology. When asked about the reactions from former colleagues, Mairu humorously noted the spectrum of responses:

"It ranged from 'Why are you going and working for a scam?' to me actually forming a group saying 'get rich fast' and sort of a WhatsApp broadcast list where I just put like Luna and stuff."

This anecdote highlights the mixed perceptions surrounding Web3 in traditional business circles, from skepticism to opportunistic interest. However, Mairu emphasized that his move was driven by a genuine belief in the technology's potential to unlock value and create strong use cases, rather than merely chasing quick profits.

The Aha Moment: Blockchain's Potential in Music

For Mairu, the realization of blockchain's transformative potential in the music industry came through practical experience. While working on Sony's Web3 strategy with Sony Talent Ventures, he identified a critical pain point in the current music release process:

"If you have to release a song today, there's publishing societies, there is music recording societies, and within publishing, there are multiple labels. So each song being released has tons of paperwork that needs to be done and rights are managed, but they're managed very much in the back end and not very clearly understood by a lot of people."

This insight led Mairu to recognize the potential of blockchain technology to streamline rights management and revenue distribution in the music industry. He envisioned a system where rights could be managed publicly on-chain, allowing for instant revenue splits among all parties involved in creating a song.

The Current State of the Music Business

To understand the potential impact of blockchain on the music industry, it's crucial to examine the current landscape. Mairu provided insights into how artists typically enter the music business today:

  1. Building a fan base: Labels now look for artists with an existing following, often on platforms like TikTok or Instagram.
  2. Streaming success: Artists who reach top positions on platforms like Spotify India catch the attention of labels.
  3. Signing deals: Labels may buy a single song and offer a multi-song deal to promising artists.

This approach differs significantly from the talent scouting methods of 5-8 years ago. The rise of short-form video platforms has shifted music discovery to social media, influencing how labels identify and sign new talent.

The Complexity of Music Rights and Revenue Distribution

One of the key challenges in the music industry is the complex web of rights and revenue distribution. Mairu explained the intricacies involved in releasing a song:

"If there's a song, suppose there are multiple songwriters who have written the song, if there are two people who have written a song or three people who have written a song, then there is somebody who's worked on the composition itself, on how to what are the different parts of the song and how do you arrangement of it. The third person has actually produced and mixed the song, the fourth person or fifth person has sung the song."

This complexity is further compounded when these individuals are signed to different labels or publishing companies. The result is a slow, manual process of rights management and revenue distribution that hinders the industry's potential for growth and innovation.

Blockchain's Promise: Efficiency and Transparency

The application of blockchain technology to music rights management offers a solution to these longstanding issues. By leveraging smart contracts and decentralized ledgers, the industry could achieve:

  1. Instant revenue splits among all parties involved in a song's creation
  2. Transparent, publicly verifiable rights management
  3. Reduced paperwork and administrative overhead
  4. Faster, more efficient licensing processes

These improvements could significantly streamline the music industry's operations, potentially leading to more equitable compensation for artists and a more dynamic creative ecosystem.

NFTs as a New Paradigm for Music Ownership

While the concept of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) has gained significant traction in the art world, its application to music is still evolving. Anand highlighted the unique challenges and opportunities in this space:

"Music has not yet had its moment in the metaverse. It's waiting for a proper vehicle. Art, because it's not as portable as music, has been able to do what it does. Music is like even more easier than right-click save. Once the tune is out there, there's nothing else holding it back."

This inherent portability of music presents both a challenge and an opportunity for NFT implementation. The key lies in creating truly non-fungible experiences that go beyond simple ownership of a digital file.

Innovative Approaches to Music NFTs

Anand proposed several innovative approaches to make music NFTs more valuable and unique:

  1. Programmable Music: Similar to async art, where different layers of a piece can be owned separately, music could be broken down into stems or tracks, each owned by different individuals.
  2. Multiple States: Each track could have multiple states or variations, creating numerous possible permutations of the same song.
  3. Exclusive Experiences: NFTs could grant access to unique experiences, such as backstage passes or collaborative opportunities with artists.

These approaches aim to create scarcity and uniqueness in the digital music space, potentially opening up new revenue streams for artists and engaging fans in novel ways.

eDAO: Bridging Web2 and Web3 in Entertainment

At the heart of this revolution is eDAO, described by Anand as "a barge that gently transports brands and content creators and fans from Web2 to Web3." The company's mission is to help traditional entertainment entities navigate the complexities of the blockchain world and unlock new value for their intellectual property.

eDAO's approach involves:

  1. Writing seed checks to invest in promising projects
  2. Operating an NFT studio with game developers, graphic designers, and storytellers
  3. Providing a full tech stack for Web3 integration

This comprehensive approach positions eDAO as a key player in the transition of the entertainment industry into the Web3 era.

The Unlabel Project: Fostering Artist Collaboration

One of eDAO's exciting initiatives is the Unlabel project, described by Anand as "an artist residency program where eight NFT artists collaborate with eight non-NFT artists over a period of eight weeks." At the end of this period, the collaborations result in eight works of art launched on the front page of Rarible, effectively introducing non-NFT artists to the Web3 space.

This project exemplifies eDAO's commitment to bridging the gap between traditional and Web3 artists, fostering innovation and cross-pollination of ideas in the creative space.

The Future of Movie Studios in Web3

The potential for blockchain technology extends beyond music into the film industry. When asked about advice for movie studios looking to enter the Web3 space, Mairu cautioned against hasty NFT drops:

"Don't drop an NFT in three weeks. Just because your movie is releasing in three weeks and you think 'Oh, should we do an NFT about this?' Don't do that first."

Instead, he emphasized the importance of thoughtful, strategic approaches that add genuine value to fans' lives and leverage the global nature of the NFT marketplace. This could involve collaborations with unexpected partners or creating unique experiences that go beyond simple digital collectibles.

The Metaverse Moment: Waiting for the Right Vehicle

While NFTs have made significant inroads in the art world, both Anand and Mairu agree that music and film are still waiting for their "metaverse moment." The challenge lies in creating experiences that are truly unique and valuable in the digital realm, going beyond simple ownership of digital files.

Anand emphasized the need for innovation in this space:

"We want to move away from the idea of scarcity. Why sell 10 NFTs or 10,000? There's millions of people out there. Why can it not be a hundred thousand NFT drop?"

This shift in thinking from scarcity to abundance could open up new possibilities for fan engagement and value creation in the entertainment industry.

The Role of Community in Web3 Success

Throughout the discussion, the importance of community building in the Web3 space was a recurring theme. eDAO is actively hiring for community management roles, recognizing the critical role that engaged, passionate communities play in the success of Web3 projects.

Mairu highlighted this focus:

"We are hiring but I think mostly for community and you know, folks who can really keep a bunch of people excited about things and inspired themselves about what we're doing."

This emphasis on community engagement underscores the participatory nature of Web3 projects, where success often hinges on the active involvement and enthusiasm of users and fans.

The Evolution of Fan Engagement

One of the most exciting prospects of Web3 in entertainment is the potential for deeper, more meaningful fan engagement. NFTs and blockchain technology offer new ways for fans to interact with and support their favorite artists, potentially disrupting traditional fan club models and merchandise sales.

Anand envisioned a future where fan engagement goes beyond passive consumption:

"As an individual, all of my cultural experiences, there is some value to it. But the only people that are accruing value from it are the ones that are selling me those experiences. Where is it coming back to me?"

This perspective suggests a future where fans can accrue "experiential currency" through their engagement with artists and content, potentially unlocking new forms of value and recognition within entertainment ecosystems.

Challenges and Opportunities in Web3 Adoption

While the potential of Web3 in entertainment is vast, the transition is not without its challenges. The discussion highlighted several key issues:

  1. Education: There's a need to educate both industry professionals and consumers about the benefits and mechanics of Web3 technologies.
  2. User Experience: Simplifying the onboarding process for non-technical users remains a significant hurdle.
  3. Regulatory Uncertainty: The evolving regulatory landscape around cryptocurrencies and NFTs poses challenges for businesses operating in this space.
  4. Valuation and Pricing: Determining fair and sustainable pricing models for NFTs, especially in emerging markets, is an ongoing challenge.

Despite these challenges, the opportunities presented by Web3 technologies continue to attract innovators and forward-thinking companies to the space.

The Importance of Adding Value

A key theme throughout the discussion was the importance of adding genuine value when entering the Web3 space. Both Anand and Mairu cautioned against superficial implementations of blockchain technology or NFTs without careful consideration of the value proposition for users.

Mairu emphasized this point:

"If you're just saying, okay one more additional revenue stream for my IP, let me just put it out there and hope for the best that it's going to sell, that doesn't work if you're not adding any value to people's lives and really figuring out why you're doing it in the first place."

This focus on value creation is crucial for the long-term success and adoption of Web3 technologies in the entertainment industry.

The Global Nature of Web3 Marketplaces

One of the most exciting aspects of Web3 for the entertainment industry is the potential to tap into truly global marketplaces. Unlike traditional distribution channels that often have geographical restrictions, blockchain-based platforms offer instant, worldwide access.

Anand highlighted this opportunity:

"You're essentially plugging into a potentially global marketplace. That's what the NFT space offers. It is global instantly. So why the heck would you confine yourself just to the structure of your current launch or your product?"

This global reach opens up new possibilities for collaboration, distribution, and fan engagement that were previously difficult or impossible to achieve.

The Future of Rights Management

The potential for blockchain technology to revolutionize rights management in the entertainment industry was a recurring theme in the discussion. The current system, with its complex web of publishing societies, recording societies, and multiple labels, is ripe for disruption.

Mairu envisioned a future where rights management is more transparent and efficient:

"Publicly on chain being able to do these things, revenue instantly split amongst all the parties that are involved in creating a song, which are a lot of parties... I felt like that is brilliant in terms of the technology itself."

This shift could lead to faster, more equitable compensation for creators and a more transparent ecosystem for all stakeholders.

The Role of Scarcity in Digital Goods

An interesting point of discussion was the role of scarcity in creating value for digital goods. While traditional NFT models often rely on artificial scarcity (e.g., limited edition drops), Anand suggested a shift towards abundance:

"We want to move away from the idea of scarcity. Why sell 10 NFTs or 10,000? There's millions of people out there. Why can it not be a hundred thousand NFT drop?"

This perspective challenges conventional thinking about value creation in the digital space and opens up new possibilities for mass engagement and participation.

The Importance of Context in NFT Valuation

When discussing how to identify promising NFT projects, Anand emphasized the importance of understanding the context:

"Easiest is to stick with the context that you're familiar with even in Web2. If you've been a gamer all your life, look at gaming NFTs because you understand the economics, you understand the dynamics, you understand in-game tokenomics."

This advice highlights the value of domain expertise in navigating the complex and rapidly evolving NFT landscape.

The Potential for NFTs in the Film Industry

While much of the discussion focused on music, the potential for NFTs in the film industry was also explored. The hosts speculated about innovative ways to use NFTs in movie marketing and fan engagement, such as:

  1. Limited edition "walk-on" roles for NFT holders
  2. Exclusive behind-the-scenes content
  3. Virtual premiere experiences
  4. Fractional ownership of film rights

These ideas showcase the potential for NFTs to create new revenue streams and deepen fan engagement in the film industry.

The Importance of Long-Term Thinking

Throughout the discussion, both Anand and Mairu emphasized the importance of long-term thinking when entering the Web3 space. Rather than rushing to capitalize on short-term trends, they advocated for thoughtful, strategic approaches that create lasting value.

Mairu advised:

"Take a step back, recognize that this is not going to be a short-term, put my name stamp on a JPEG and sell an NFT. What can I do slightly differently, which hasn't been done before, which I will look at as a new revenue stream rather than something that can augment an existing reputation?"

This long-term perspective is crucial for building sustainable Web3 businesses and ecosystems.

The Role of Experimentation and Innovation

The conversation highlighted the importance of experimentation and innovation in the rapidly evolving Web3 space. Both Anand and Mairu emphasized that many of the most successful projects and models are yet to be discovered.

Anand reflected on his approach to identifying promising projects:

"If it looks like something that's familiar, if it fits a vacuum that exists today, then there's no point in it because it's evolving so fast. It's going to go obsolete in six months. If there is a sufficient 35-40 percent ambiguity in how it's going to turn out, that makes it interesting."

This embrace of ambiguity and willingness to explore uncharted territory is characteristic of the pioneering spirit driving innovation in the Web3 space.

The Convergence of Technology and Creativity

At its core, the discussion highlighted the exciting convergence of technology and creativity that Web3 enables. By combining blockchain technology with artistic expression and fan engagement, new forms of value creation and distribution are emerging.

eDAO's Unlabel project exemplifies this convergence, bringing together NFT artists and traditional artists to create new works and explore the possibilities of Web3. This kind of cross-pollination between the tech and creative worlds is likely to drive significant innovation in the coming years.

The Potential for Democratization in the Entertainment Industry

One of the most promising aspects of Web3 in entertainment is its potential to democratize access and opportunity. By removing intermediaries and enabling direct connections between creators and fans, blockchain technology could level the playing field for emerging artists and independent creators.

Anand touched on this potential when discussing the idea of fans investing in artists:

"Folks can actually invest in talent and say this copy hundred thousand panzer instagram pay, I think this guy is gonna blow out and let's say he's raising money through NFTs or tokens or whatever the device may be."

This model could provide new funding avenues for artists and give fans a stake in the success of their favorite creators.

The Need for Improved User Experience

While the potential of Web3 in entertainment is exciting, both Anand and Mairu acknowledged the need for improved user experiences to drive mass adoption. The current complexity of interacting with blockchain technologies and managing digital assets remains a significant barrier for many potential users.

Mairu emphasized the importance of creating solutions that are accessible to a broad audience:

"We are selling to, you know, my dad, trying to create something that my wife will be excited by and understand. If they don't get what I'm doing, then what's the point?"

This focus on user-friendly interfaces and experiences will be crucial for the mainstream adoption of Web3 technologies in the entertainment industry.

The Future of Fan Communities in Web3

The discussion touched on the evolving nature of fan communities in the Web3 era. NFTs and blockchain technology offer new ways for fans to connect with each other and with creators, potentially forming more engaged and empowered communities.

Anand envisioned a future where fan engagement is more directly valued:

"We give you access to an entire spectrum of cultural experiences with one single access pass, and what you do with that access pass is not only have exposure and access to a wide range of cultural NFTs, irrespective of what direction you take... My points keep going up. I get more airdrops, I get more privileged access or conditional access, discounted access to a future range of NFTs."

This model suggests a future where fan loyalty and engagement are more tangibly rewarded, creating stronger, more active communities around artists and content creators.

The Intersection of Web3 and Traditional Entertainment

While much of the discussion focused on the potential of Web3 to disrupt traditional entertainment models, both Anand and Mairu emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3. eDAO's positioning as a "barge that gently transports brands and content creators and fans from Web2 to Web3" highlights the need for thoughtful integration of blockchain technologies into existing entertainment ecosystems.

This approach recognizes that the transition to Web3 will be gradual and that there's value in helping traditional entertainment entities navigate this new landscape. By combining the strengths of established brands and IP with the innovative potential of blockchain technology, eDAO aims to create new value and opportunities in the entertainment industry.

The Evolving Regulatory Landscape

While not explicitly discussed in depth, the conversation touched on the regulatory challenges facing the Web3 space, particularly when it comes to tokenizing future revenues or offering investment opportunities to fans. As the industry evolves, navigating this complex regulatory landscape will be crucial for the success of Web3 projects in entertainment.

Companies like eDAO will play an important role in helping traditional entertainment entities understand and comply with emerging regulations while still leveraging the innovative potential of blockchain technology.

The Importance of Community in Web3 Success

Throughout the discussion, the importance of community building in the Web3 space was a recurring theme. eDAO's focus on hiring community managers underscores the critical role that engaged, passionate communities play in the success of Web3 projects.

This emphasis on community engagement reflects a broader shift in the entertainment industry towards more participatory, fan-driven models. In the Web3 era, fans are no longer passive consumers but active participants in the creation and distribution of value.

The Potential for New Creative Collaborations

The Unlabel project mentioned by Anand highlights the exciting potential for new forms of creative collaboration in the Web3 space. By bringing together NFT artists and traditional artists, eDAO is fostering innovation and cross-pollination of ideas that could lead to entirely new forms of artistic expression.

This model of collaboration, facilitated by blockchain technology and NFTs, could extend beyond visual art into music, film, and other creative industries, potentially revolutionizing how creative projects are conceived, funded, and executed.

The Role of Blockchain in Preserving Cultural Heritage

While not explicitly discussed, the conversation touched on themes that suggest blockchain technology could play a role in preserving and valuing cultural experiences. Anand's comments about accruing "experiential currency" hint at the potential for blockchain to create permanent, verifiable records of cultural participation and contribution.

This could have profound implications for how we value and preserve cultural heritage, potentially creating new ways to recognize and reward cultural stewardship and participation.

The Future of Media Consumption in Web3

The discussion painted a picture of a future where media consumption is more interactive, personalized, and value-generating for fans. From programmable music NFTs to blockchain-based rights management, the technologies discussed have the potential to fundamentally reshape how we create, distribute, and consume media.

As these technologies mature and user experiences improve, we may see a shift towards more decentralized, creator-driven media ecosystems where the lines between creators, fans, and investors become increasingly blurred.

Conclusion: A New Era for Entertainment

The conversation between Anand, Mairu, and the hosts painted a vivid picture of the potential for Web3 technologies to revolutionize the entertainment industry. From more efficient rights management to new forms of fan engagement and value creation, blockchain and NFTs offer exciting possibilities for creators, fans, and industry stakeholders alike.

As companies like eDAO continue to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3, we can expect to see increasing innovation and experimentation in this space. While challenges remain, particularly around user experience and regulatory compliance, the potential for Web3 to create more equitable, transparent, and engaging entertainment ecosystems is undeniable.

As the industry evolves, those who can successfully navigate the intersection of technology, creativity, and community building will be well-positioned to shape the future of media and entertainment in the Web3 era.

Facts + Figures

  • eDAO is co-founded by Anand (formerly known as Tuberdor) and Mairu, bringing together experience from the crypto world and mainstream entertainment industry.
  • Mairu previously worked with NBA and Sony Music before transitioning to Web3.
  • The current music release process involves multiple societies, labels, and extensive paperwork for rights management.
  • Labels now often look for artists with existing followings on platforms like TikTok or Instagram before signing them.
  • A single song can involve multiple songwriters, composers, producers, and performers, each potentially signed to different labels or publishing companies.
  • eDAO operates an NFT studio with game developers, graphic designers, and storytellers.
  • The Unlabel project by eDAO involves 8 NFT artists collaborating with 8 non-NFT artists over 8 weeks to create works launched on Rarible.
  • Anand was one of two individuals who won the Christie's auction for Beeple's $69 million NFT piece in March 2021.
  • Anand organized Dreamverse, described as the largest NFT art exhibition in the world, in New York in November 2021.
  • eDAO is actively hiring for community management roles.
  • The discussion suggests a shift from selling limited NFT drops (e.g., 10 or 10,000) to potentially offering 100,000 or more NFTs for broader engagement.
  • Blockchain technology could enable instant revenue splits among all parties involved in creating a song.
  • The concept of "experiential currency" was introduced, suggesting fans could accrue value through their engagement with artists and content.
  • The global nature of NFT marketplaces was emphasized as a key advantage for creators and brands entering the Web3 space.

Questions Answered

What is eDAO?

eDAO is a company co-founded by Anand and Mairu that aims to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3 in the entertainment industry. It operates as a platform that helps brands, content creators, and fans transition from traditional digital spaces to blockchain-based ecosystems. eDAO offers services including seed investments, an NFT studio with game developers and designers, and a full tech stack for Web3 integration.

How is the music industry currently struggling with rights management?

The music industry currently faces significant challenges in rights management due to the complex web of stakeholders involved in creating and distributing music. Each song release requires extensive paperwork involving publishing societies, recording societies, and multiple labels. Rights are often managed in the backend and not clearly understood by many parties involved. This complexity leads to slow, manual processes for revenue distribution and licensing, hindering the industry's efficiency and potential for growth.

What potential does blockchain technology offer for the music industry?

Blockchain technology offers several potential benefits for the music industry, primarily in the areas of rights management and revenue distribution. It could enable instant, transparent revenue splits among all parties involved in creating a song, reduce paperwork and administrative overhead, and create a publicly verifiable system for rights management. Additionally, blockchain could facilitate new models of fan engagement and investment in artists, potentially democratizing access to funding and creating more direct connections between creators and their audiences.

What is the Unlabel project by eDAO?

The Unlabel project is an artist residency program initiated by eDAO. It involves eight NFT artists collaborating with eight non-NFT artists over a period of eight weeks. At the end of this period, the collaborations result in eight works of art that are launched on the front page of Rarible, a popular NFT marketplace. The project aims to bridge the gap between traditional and Web3 artists, fostering innovation and cross-pollination of ideas in the creative space.

How can movie studios approach entering the Web3 space?

Movie studios should approach entering the Web3 space with careful consideration and long-term planning, rather than rushing into hasty NFT drops. They should focus on creating genuine value for fans and leveraging the global nature of NFT marketplaces. This could involve unique collaborations, exclusive experiences, or innovative ways to engage with film content. Studios should also consider the potential for NFTs in areas like fan engagement, behind-the-scenes access, or even fractional ownership of film rights.

What role does community play in Web3 projects?

Community plays a crucial role in the success of Web3 projects. Engaged, passionate communities drive adoption, create value, and contribute to the overall ecosystem of a project. In the Web3 space, communities are not just passive consumers but active participants who can influence the direction and success of a project. This is why companies like eDAO place a strong emphasis on community management and engagement in their hiring and operational strategies.

How might fan engagement change in the Web3 era?

Fan engagement in the Web3 era could become more interactive, rewarding, and value-generating for fans. NFTs and blockchain technology offer new ways for fans to interact with and support their favorite artists, potentially disrupting traditional fan club models and merchandise sales. Fans might accrue "experiential currency" through their engagement, unlock exclusive content or experiences, or even invest directly in artists' careers. This could lead to stronger, more active communities around artists and content creators.

What challenges does the Web3 space face in achieving mainstream adoption in entertainment?

The Web3 space faces several challenges in achieving mainstream adoption in entertainment. These include the need for improved user experiences to make blockchain technologies more accessible to non-technical users, regulatory uncertainties surrounding cryptocurrencies and NFTs, and the challenge of educating both industry professionals and consumers about the benefits and mechanics of Web3 technologies. Additionally, determining fair and sustainable pricing models for NFTs, especially in emerging markets, remains an ongoing challenge.

How does eDAO approach the valuation of NFT projects?

eDAO approaches the valuation of NFT projects by looking beyond simple scarcity models and considering the long-term value and innovation potential of a project. They emphasize the importance of understanding the context and industry dynamics when evaluating NFTs. Anand suggested that projects with a degree of ambiguity in their outcomes (around 35-40%) can be particularly interesting, as they have the potential to evolve and create new value in unexpected ways. The focus is on identifying projects that offer genuine innovation and value creation, rather than those that simply replicate existing models in a blockchain context.

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