Season 1 Episode 8
December 22, 2021


Today we are talking Blockchain, Metaverse and Web3. Michael Janiak, the Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director at Pattern joins us to talk all about it. Tune in now to hear this enlightening conversation!

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Today we are talking Blockchain, Metaverse and Web3. Michael Janiak, the Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director at Pattern joins us to talk all about it. Tune in now to hear this enlightening conversation!

Your identity is in your back pocket 

  • {00:04:53} “What it means to me at its core is essential that rather than being based largely on private servers, Web3 is largely, the idea is to largely base it on public Blockchains. That is the core fundamental difference between where we've been and where it could go.” - Michael
  • {00:07:38} “And as I walk into stores, they welcome me because they know who I am and what I am, because my identity is sort of like splayed on myself without me explicitly saying, ‘Hey, here's who I am, and here are the things that you should know about me.’” - Ingrid
  • {00:13:48} “And so, in my opinion, it's like everything else with new technology. The technology's awesome. But until you find creative people to use it in really interesting ways, it doesn't do a whole lot.” - Michael
  • {00:21:39} “So now you can buy an NFT and remember, because it's in your wallet and because it's on a publicly distributed Blockchain, you can take it wherever you want.” - Michael
  • {00:34:47} “…if you look at their screen time, they are spending between school and private life and all of that, they're spending 10 hours a day having screen time. They already live in the Metaverse to some extent.” - Ingrid
  • {00:43:16} “And so you, Michael, are someone who enjoys and thrives in the positivity and happiness that connectivity can bring. And I think you're going to find that place in the physical world and in the Metaverse.” - Ingrid
  • {00:50:04} “And you also really touched on something that is very, very core to this whole notion of Web3 and decentralization and things like that, which is you had mentioned like interacting with government and taxes and things like that.” - Michael

Associated Links: 

  • Check out Michael Janiak’s work on LinkedIn
  • Learn more on Pattern’s website
  • Love your new host? Check her out on LinkedIn
  • Check out other Future Commerce podcasts

Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!

Ingrid: [00:00:23] Hello and welcome to Infinite Shelf. I'm your host, Ingrid Milman Cordy. It had to happen. It's too big and exciting and confusing and frustrating and juicy not to talk about it. The world both depends on it and doesn't really need it at all. Hold on to your aluminum hats. We are talking Blockchain, Metaverse and Web3 here today. This topic hits on almost every topic that inspires my intellectual curiosity. Diving into this deep web of thought leadership, philosophy, economic impact, the human experience and values is kind of my drug. So when I discovered that a friend of the show, Michael Janiack, who's the Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director at Pattern, wanted to talk Web3 with me I asked if we could record it, and I'm so glad that we did. This conversation is one of the most fun I've had on the topic. It was enlightening and by no means exhaustive, but it may spark some further curiosity within you, which is honestly the entire mission of the show. You'll have to excuse the sound quality, but it's worth it. Please share what you think on social media @_InfiniteShelf. Oh, and have a lovely holiday break. Here we go. Hello and welcome, Michael Janiack, to the show. I'm so happy that you're here.

Michael: [00:02:25] Likewise, it's awesome to talk with you today.

Ingrid: [00:02:27] Yeah. All right, Michael. So we are totally going to geek out on Web 3.0 today. And frankly, I know enough to maybe ask some thoughtful questions, but I also know not enough that it will be interesting, hopefully, for our audience to listen to me sort of unravel what you know about Web 3.0 and all of the very, very complicated intricacies of it. So, yeah, thank you. Do you want to just tell us sort of who you are, where you came from, how you got to now?

Michael: [00:03:06] Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, my name is Michael Janiack. I am the Executive Creative Director and Co-Founder at Pattern. We are a digital design and eCommerce agency based in the Bay Area, and we work with clients across the board, startups and emerging brands and some really big, well-established companies. But mostly the common denominator is that they are founder-led brands and organizations. We work with them on brand identity, eCommerce and direct to consumer experience, design, and then products and platforms like apps. And so that's pretty much what we do. Yeah, I'm just... It's been quite an amazing ride, and I'm super excited to have this conversation because I think we're in a really interesting point too with where we've come from and the Web as it is now and kind of like what it is starting to turn into and might turn into with Web3. It's just very, very, very cool.

Ingrid: [00:04:13] Yeah. Well, so let's get into it. So how would you even define Web 3.0? Like, what do we even mean by that?

Michael: [00:04:21] Oh man, it's so funny. You can ask a lot of people that question. They'll probably have different answers. I will say my understanding of it is really Web3 to me and the way I'm looking at it is, it's kind of like the internet is, you know, it's gone in iterations, right? We were, I think at this point can look back and see pretty clearly what Web 1.0 was Web2 where that kind of picked up. And then where we're at right now is sort of the precipice and the very, very beginning of the evolution in the Web3. What it means to me at its core is essentially that rather than being based largely on private servers, Web3 is largely, the idea is to largely base it on public Blockchains. That is the core fundamental difference between where we've been and where it could go.

Ingrid: [00:05:14] Got it, and so when you say public Blockchains, my understanding of that is... I guess I don't have actually a good understanding to be able to define that. So I'm just laying bare my ignorance here. What do you mean about like, I guess I understand fundamentally what Blockchain is, but I don't understand how that changes from like private service to public Blockchains.

Michael: [00:05:41] Yeah, with Blockchains the main thing, and again, this is me as a designer talking and definitely not as a developer super technical person. But really, I guess my understanding of public Blockchains and how it relates to Web is if you think about everything you do on the Web right now: social networks, big eCommerce retailers, even services like email, even just something as simple as like logging in a news website, if there's a paywall, you don't own your identity when you do that. You give your identity and your information to somebody else, one of those brands or organizations, right? And the way I understand it is that all that information is held on private servers all over the world. So your information, you don't own it, you're giving it to other people. And I think as we all know right now, mostly what they do is sell that data against ads, and that's largely how these companies make money.

Ingrid: [00:06:55] So I'm going to pause you right there really quickly, just so I can reiterate in a different way what I just heard. Just to make sure I'm following. So if I were to translate that into the physical space and how we shop or walk around in the physical world, then it would basically be I am walking around as Ingrid Milman Cordy, and I have a number that is publicly shared, an identity/female/this age bracket/married/homeowner, whatever the case might be. And that's sort of like a T-shirt that I'm constantly wearing that everyone can see. And as I walk into stores, they welcome me because they know who I am and what I am, because my identity is sort of like splayed on myself without me explicitly saying, "Hey, here's who I am, and here are the things that you should know about me."

Michael: [00:07:55] Right. And on top of that, there's drones following you all around tracking you, right? So in addition to that, there's literally cameras, drones, robots following you around everywhere you go in this space that you've just articulated, watching every move you make, every single thing you show interest in, every single thing you're buying and associating it basically on your T-shirt.

Ingrid: [00:08:18] Yep. Got it. Ok, cool.

Michael: [00:08:21] So what's radical to me about Web3 and my understanding of it is that it essentially flips that on its head. So now, instead of having to hand over your data and identity to basically anything and every one you want to engage with or be a part of online, now, all of a sudden all of that stuff is portable. You sign up for, let's say, a wallet, a crypto wallet, you can input as much or as little identity into that as you want. Really, all you need is that number, that wallet number, that's associated with you and anything you put into that wallet you can take with you anywhere. So you don't have to give your identity to anybody anymore. You can log into various websites, services, things like that with your identity, and you only need it once you don't need to create 100 new accounts for all these things, right? That ownership of that identity is written into the Blockchain, and Blockchain is way more secure than any, you know, privately held centralized server out there. We hear about hacks all the time, right? And the reason why is because those servers are written on database technology that's, you know, the tech is better, but the fundamental database model hasn't changed in a really long time. Blockchain is based on cryptography, basically, and I'm not a mathematician. I have never done cryptography. I probably never will. But I know it's way harder to break a cryptography than it is to break into a centrally held server that may or may not be secure. So, yeah, the fundamental difference is really that you're on a public ledger, but you could be as anonymous as you want because you don't have to share anything about your identity in order to log in and take your identity and also things that you purchase, which I'm sure we'll get into a little bit later in the conversation, with you, from service to service, a place to place on Web3. So it's actually really, really radical when you think about it compared to where we have been with the Web for, you know, since the beginning.

Ingrid: [00:10:36] Yeah, I mean, this is fascinating. So I think what I'm hearing a little bit of, and I don't think you explicitly said this, but one of the takeaways that I have is when we built servers to begin with they were entirely designed to just store data and allow connectivity, right? And so the fundamental basis of what they were designed for was not security. They were designed for connection, which is kind of the opposite of security if we're really just like reducing it all the way down. And so the way that Blockchain was designed, and this is a little bit of what I already know, but I think putting it into this lens is actually really eye opening for me. Blockchain was designed entirely with the fundamental of security and decentralization and what sort of security unlocks the ability to be decentralized. So it's like it's really important to distinguish the difference between a server design and a Blockchain design because one was created for connection and then therefore all of these things that were added on top of it or about sharing. And that's where you get into the world of drones, feeling like the real world equivalent would be drones following you and you demonstrating who you are at all times to all people, even without your consent or knowledge. Does that make sense?

Michael: [00:12:13] One hundred percent.

Ingrid: [00:12:15] Cool. So then that is fascinating, because now we have to think about the phases in which people start moving toward Blockchain versus shared servers. So who do you see or who already has been the first movers to using Blockchains instead of servers?

Michael: [00:12:39] Yeah, this is where to me as a creative person, as a designer, as generally an artist is where it gets like super, super cool. So the early adopters, like Blockchain was basically invented with Bitcoin, with cryptocurrency. So those two things are like intricately tied together. And so the earliest adopters were the super early Bitcoin enthusiasts and the people who created the original concept of Blockchain as a way to power crypto. And then so definitely the crypto people are the earliest. But where it really broke into... I'm not sure it's mainstream culture yet, but where it really broke open, I think starting last year and then the floodgates are really starting to open toward the middle and end of this year is when artists started coming out with NFTs and started minting their art on the Blockchain and selling it as NFTs. And so, in my opinion, it's like everything else with new technology. The technology's awesome. But until you find creative people to use it in really interesting ways, it doesn't do a whole lot.

Ingrid: [00:14:03] Right.

Michael: [00:14:03] And so I think the second wave is definitely, and I mean, artists like all sorts of artists. Like visual artists, 3D artists, video artists, musicians are now getting into NFTs. And by extension, there's been some just incredible communities built around NFTs and collecting NFTs and lifting up artists and creatives to the point now where you've got, you know, Adidas doing collaborations with the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and the Metaverse, and you've got other brands trying to kind of dip their toe into Web3 and NFTs and things like that. Some big ones, like some really big brands doing that.

Ingrid: [00:14:47] Nike just acquired RTFKT. Yeah, I'm like, I don't even know. I'm not cool enough to know if I say "Artifact" or "RTFKT."

Michael: [00:14:53] I honestly don't either. {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:14:54] Let's go with both, right? We'll kind of cover our bases. But yeah, I mean, it's gotten even there was I think that there were some NFT plays by like Burger King and McDonald's.

Michael: [00:15:05] Burger King did them. Pepsi did them. McDonald's did them. Adidas, I think there's a dropping today. There's a collab with a couple of different, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is probably one of the best known NFT projects out there, but there's a few others CryptoPunks and things like that. So yeah, I mean, it's all starting to open up, and I think it's going to be really, really interesting because when brands start to adopt as when their consumers start to adopt. So I think that it's going to be a very interesting couple of years to see what happens and what the public, generally speaking, thinks about all of this and how they'll engage.

Ingrid: [00:16:40] Just to back it up a few steps, and this is where I have a decent amount of understanding, but I want to make sure that we're talking about the same things here because we just went really quickly from Blockchain and what that means and how that's distinguished from the traditional Web servers into like NFTs and now brands buying or creating and selling NFTs. And so we can probably spend a whole nother episode on NFTs in particular.

Michael: [00:17:13] Oh my gosh, yeah. {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:17:13] But let's define NFT for the audience, which is a non-fungible token, and it's essentially a one for one piece of content. In some cases, it's a JPEG. In some cases it's an MP3, in some cases, it's just one particular... The same way that you might go into a gallery and buy a piece of art by Picasso, there's one painting and that exists in the physical space. But then in the Metaverse, that one for one file originally exists, and that in and of itself is a non-fungible token, a.k.a. an NFT. Correct?

Michael: [00:17:54] Correct.

Ingrid: [00:17:55] And so one of the things that, I mean, it's fascinating because you're right in that the first people that I've ever seen really commercialize NFTs are artists, and it happened, I think, with the Wu-Tang album where it was one for one and that horrible what was it that guy?

Michael: [00:18:16] The Pharma Bro guy?

Ingrid: [00:18:17] Pharma Bro guy. Anyway. We'll find out his name. It's not very important.

Michael: [00:18:20] Martin Shkreli.

Ingrid: [00:18:21] Martin Shkreli. Yes, so he bought the Wu-Tang NFT. It was like the first one I had ever heard of, and it was kind of fascinating to me. And so he now owns that, or someone owns it, but it's one of one. And then a lot since then, my husband's a musician, so a lot of artists have gotten into the NFT space: musicians, artists, painters, whatever, digital artists. And so I've always been confused about, ok, so you went and you bought this piece of art. And in the physical world, when you buy a piece of art, you either have it in a gallery or you have it in your home and you're able to look at it and enjoy it. But then when you buy a digital piece of art, it's pretty limited to where you're able to show it. You probably have it on your phone or if anything, you have a fancy television digital screen in your home that you can like, hang it and appreciate it in that way. But that felt like kind of interesting, but I wasn't  particularly inspired by that until I learned that as we all as individuals enter into spending time in the Metaverse, like the virtual world, that we will actually be able to have a much better appreciation and being able to share these pieces of art or this content that we own through an NFT because it'll turn into the shirt that we're wearing or the sneakers that we're putting on or the handbag that we're carrying in this digital space. Is that similar to your understanding or how are you looking at this?

Michael: [00:20:15] Yeah, I mean, that's a really good kind of overview of it. And there's a lot of interesting, I think, like cultural currents that feed into that too. So your example of buying an NFT, then it's like, ok, well, what do I do with it? So yeah, you could put it on. There's a really cool like NFT display frames coming out that are essentially really, really amped up, you know, like digital picture frames, but they're much bigger and they're meant for larger pieces of art because most NFTs are our high resolution. And what's cool about that is that you're not just copying a random JPEG from the internet, you're actually authenticating the work the NFTs that you own with your wallet to show them in these frames. So it's kind of like that certificate of ownership coming with you and you can't put anything on it, right? You can log into your wallet. You can decide, you know, if I've got 20 pieces of art, let's say I want to show these 10 in my house, you just authenticate it and you can show it. And it's interesting because that's what I think where most people go to with NFTs, especially like art or NFTs, is because that's what you've always done with art, right? Like you said, it's in a gallery or it's in your house or something like that. But what you also hit on was this idea of like flexing in the Metaverse, right? So now you can buy an NFT and remember, because it's in your wallet and because it's on a publicly distributed Blockchain, you can take it wherever you want. Anywhere that's a Web3 type of experience or property. Metaverse... All these different sites where you can display your NFTs, you can take it with you. And so you can take it everywhere. And I think what will be really interesting, too, is like it's almost with Web3, a lot of that stuff is flipping on its head, so an example is like, let's say you bought a painting by like a really well known artist, a physical painting. You get it from the gallery. Maybe you take a picture of it. Share it on social. It goes and hangs in your house. Maybe you share it again when it gets to your house, whatever, and then what happens? It kind of fades into the background, right? I mean, you enjoy it. Certainly that's why you bought it, and it may show up in the background of other photos and other things in your house.

Ingrid: [00:22:38] Right. But it's grounded.

Michael: [00:22:40] Right. It's grounded. With NFTs, and it's so interesting too because people when they buy, like when they want to flex a little bit, buy expensive things, buy nice art, maybe they want to do an expensive kitchen remodel and stuff like that. Very, very, very few people in the world will ever see that.

Ingrid: [00:23:00] Right.

Michael: [00:23:01] But if you flip that on its head and you're like, "I'm going to buy a Bored Ape Yacht Club, buy one of their pieces. And I mean, the floor price on those things is like three hundred grand right now. But if you've got that kind of money, then what do you do? You make your profile picture on every single network, social platform that you're on. It goes in your wallet so you could show it off in the Metaverse. And then all of a sudden people are like, "Whoa. Not only is this person know what's up, but they're flexing hard," and millions, billions of people could potentially see that. But if you bought a canvas of it and put it your house, nobody would see it. So there's this interesting inversion of like being able to show this stuff, and it doesn't have to be something super expensive. It just can be art that you're proud of and you're proud of collecting, and you really like what the artist or the musician or whoever is doing.

Ingrid: [00:23:57] Right.

Michael: [00:23:57] But it's a complete inversion of what we're typically used to when we think about collecting any kind of collectibles. Whether it's art or whether it's like, you know, the NBA's got their Top Shot thing where it's actual NBA moments that you collect in video. They kind of look like 3D trading cards, all sorts of stuff like that.

Ingrid: [00:24:22] Yeah, it's fascinating to me because I'm thinking about this and how we're valuing it and what it represents and what it represents about these human interactions, right? So just getting back to the fact that we're the human centric podcast, I keep thinking about how in one part of my brain NFTs and the Metaverse and Web 3.0 and Blockchain and crypto wallets, and all of the stuff feels so incredibly out of this world and just in a different universe. While at the same time, the things that are driving it, which is a sense of self-expression, community, wanting to feel like you can belong or wanting to represent who you are, whether that's through showing how cool you are in knowing which NFT artists you're going to buy something from, or how maybe rich you are because you're able to spend this much money on this thing that is clearly very expensive. It's all grounded in such human emotion, and so many things that just drive our, frankly, still ape brains. But now we've been able to find and design and develop this thing that feels very out of this world, but all the things that we want to do in it are still so incredibly like cavemen like.

Michael: [00:27:00] Totally, yeah. It all comes just back to human behavior, right? That's really what drives anything, whether it's tech or cultural or anything. It's the same core wants and needs.

Ingrid: [00:27:14] And I think maybe there's a part of me who is at some point wanting for us to evolve out from that type of brain where we're like, "Me, look good," and try to attract other mate or, "Me, have money," like, "I'm going to give you a secure future," or whatever the case might be. And so much of it is led by just probably some of the most brilliant minds of our generation and the next generation. But the things that it's still enabling are so inherently basic to humanity. That's super fascinating to me. And so one of the other things... Here's the next leap that I'm trying to make. So now here I am as a brand, and I happen to sell things in this universe and this physical existence, and I sell, let's say, alarm clocks. What in the world should I, could I, do I even need to understand about NFTs, Blockchain, and crypto? I think crypto is the easiest one because eventually it'll just be a currency. And so the way that I accept USD or Euros or pounds or yen or whatever the case might be on my website, I will accept some form of crypto. But is there a time and place in which I should be considering replatforming to a Blockchain or do I sell NFTs of my alarm clocks? How would I do that as someone who sells things in the physical space?

Michael: [00:29:00] There are so many ways, and we're seeing some of it done in good, positive ways. There's a lot of cringe. Very, very cringy brand stuff going on, especially on Twitter. I'll start with definitely what not to do, which is definitely don't co-opt the language and the culture just to LARP into it. Like that is just... I don't want to name names, but like there are some brands doing that right now, and it's not going well for them because nobody believes for a second that they a) have any clue what they're actually doing. And b) are there for any other reason than to just try a money grab on something that's hot.

Ingrid: [00:29:43] Yeah. It's so transparent.

Michael: [00:29:45] I think Adidas is doing it pretty well right now with what they're doing and how they're approaching things. But I would say, I think the alarm clock is a great example. I think of things like that, where it's like, it's one thing to partner if you're Adidas and a huge part of their business has been around just cultural relevance and streetwear and things like that in sports. But yeah, like if you sell alarm clocks, it's like, "Ok, what do I do here?" I was thinking about that the other day. I'm like, how would a coffee brand? You don't drink coffee in the Metaverse, right? But I drink coffee when I wake up in the morning. What would they do? How would they do that? And so I think for a lot of brands, what the Metaverse kind of becomes is a way to actually introduce people who may not know who your brand is to you, doing it in a way that respects the culture and the kind of like the story behind how the Metaverse and Web3 got to where they are and genuinely trying to figure out how do you fit into the community and what value can you bring to the community, right? So that may be launching NFTs. I think if you're a brand, selling an NFT of like what you sell physically in the real world is probably not going to go well. When I think about brands, and we're starting to work with some brands on like Web3 and NFTs and strategizing how to do this stuff. But I think about them in terms of what utility can you also offer to people either in the Metaverse or beyond just them owning an NFT? So if we take the alarm clock, for instance, you might not need an actual alarm clock in the Metaverse in terms of like it wakes you up. But you might have a really cool house in the Metaverse, and that alarm clock might have an awesome design that you would want to have it on your nightstand or something like that. But if that alarm clock brand is going to maybe sell an NFT of that, maybe that NFT comes with some utility, right? If it's, let's say, an internet connected alarm clock, maybe there's a way that by buying it, you could authenticate and show some of your own NFTs on the screen at your house. Or maybe it comes with discounts or something like that, right? Because people aren't all of a sudden just going to disappear and stop doing what they're doing in real life, right? To me the Metaverse represents an extension of that, but also like tons of opportunities to onboard people to your brand or product or service that possibly have no clue that you even exist and never would unless they ran into you or your brand in the Metaverse. So I think there's a lot of ways to do it like that. And I think that's actually one of the coolest things about some of these concepts about Web3, about NFTs and how they enter, integrate, or the interplay between those concepts and the Metaverse is like you can now have products that have other utilities or art that has utilities that it wouldn't necessarily have if it was just a traditional product or just a traditional piece of art. There's like technical utilities that you can build on the Blockchain and into those NFTs that I think is just super, super, super cool. So I would encourage brands to think like that and to approach it from a place of honesty. Most brands and frankly, most people have absolutely no idea what they're doing there. It's all brand new. There are no experts, you know what I mean? I think that's for me that's the way I would do it. And that's how at Pattern when we're starting to obviously have a lot more conversations with clients who are now waking up to NFTs and crypto and things like that, this is kind of how we're talking about it with them.

Ingrid: [00:33:34] Oh my gosh. And it's so endless. And so I have to admit my initial reaction to the concept of living in the Metaverse and then buying things that you, for the most part, only get to enjoy and weave into your life in the Metaverse, I was kind of just like, "Well, this kind of just seems like wasteful. Why would someone?" I can't imagine a world in which we spend enough time in this nonphysical space to create and design a life there. But then I was thinking about it a little bit more, and when I look at the younger generation, like my niece's generation, and so not even like my kid's generations, but certainly them, but even starting as young as, like 10 or 15 years younger than me, so people that are in like high school and college right now, those people, if you look at their screen time, they are spending between school and private life and all of that, they're spending 10 hours a day having screen time. They already live in the Metaverse to some extent.

Michael: [00:35:05] Oh yeah. One hundred percent. Honestly most of us do. Even older, like, I mean, I'm forty one, and between Twitter and some social networks and hanging out with my kids and being part of their worlds, they're are 13 and 15 and a half, I probably spend a good fraction of my time in the Metaverse. Or I would say maybe Metaverse adjacent. Yeah. I 100 hundred percent agree.

Ingrid: [00:35:33] It's something that felt so like, ok, maybe. Sure, you weird futurist kind of people. And to be honest, you living where you live, you hanging out, where you hang out on the internet and having children the age that you do doesn't really surprise me very much, mostly because you work at a digital agency. You are a designer. The things about you would lend themselves much more easily than, let's say, my father or my mom, you know, or even someone who is my age or our age and is a lawyer and still actually files paperwork for 60 percent of what they do, actual physical paper. So there just seems to be, if there wasn't already, there seems to be a very quickly growing separation of the physical world and the types of people and personalities and jobs that exist there. And then the people who inhabit the Metaverse and the digital world. And I'm worried a little bit about what that continued separation is going to do to our civilization. We've never actually lived in two separate universes.

Michael: [00:36:55] I agree. Yeah, it's kind of weird, and I don't actually know what that ends up being. I do think that there's concepts that especially when it comes to like, I think especially honestly with crypto and payments, that some of that stuff is going to become so ingrained into everyday life that you won't...

Ingrid: [00:37:23] Yeah.

Michael: [00:37:23] You know what I mean? It's kind of like just being on the internet now, like being online now, the only reason why anybody over the age of like thirty five even uses that term is because we still like vaguely remember the day of like a dial up modem, right?

Ingrid: [00:37:38] Right, right, right.

Michael: [00:37:39] Most people, even like my parents who are like, you know, they're 70. They don't even really like, think about it that way anymore because you're always online. You're never not. Unless you physically shut your phone and your computer off. And then even with that, like, you know, they've got Amazon Alexa, they've got smart assistants, right? They've got connected security cameras and things like that.

Ingrid: [00:38:00] Right. You're never actually offline.

Michael: [00:38:02] Yeah. And they're definitely of a generation where this all this stuff was very new when they were much further into their lives, right? So I think there's like... I do think some of this stuff will flow into everyday life in a way that most people will be participatory, even if they don't super realize it. And then there's always like the maximalists who are going to spend like 15 hours a day and, you know, Decentraland like building their mansion or whatever. And like, that's fine, too. The funny thing about it to me is it's not even new. Like I remember when I don't remember her name, but there was a woman who is a real estate agent in Second Life, which was like the Metaverse before the Metaverse was even a thing.

Ingrid: [00:38:47] Oh yeah. Right.

Michael: [00:38:47] This is like 2005 maybe. She became a millionaire in the game with the real world exchange rate from I think it was Linden Bucks was the currency in there.

Ingrid: [00:38:56] That's right. Yes.

Michael: [00:38:57] This stuff is not new. What it is is it's way more powerful and way more accessible and just becoming more normal. Now people are getting used to the idea.

Ingrid: [00:39:09] That's so true because it used to just be limited to your little like slow computer, and now computing has become so much more powerful and also cheap and accessible, to your point, that it just like blasts open the world, and I'm actually really excited about the culture of the internet changes every 10 or 15 years, and it's the first time that we as a globe are able to create a collective culture.

Michael: [00:39:41] I agree, and that, to me, is one of the coolest things to kind of see and in a very small way, kind of participate in real time is like the promise of the internet was always like opening up the world. But it was, I mean, let's be real, right? It was super US centric. We invented the internet here. We still own basically the registry system that powers it.

Ingrid: [00:40:02] Right.

Michael: [00:40:04] And frankly, I think with the way, directionally where it's gone with social media being pretty much the dominant form of internet since, you know, the early part of last decade, it's gotten really negative. It's not been good. I think there are far more negatives right now to how the internet operates than there are positives. And so it's super, super fascinating to me to watch the culture of Web3, which kind of combines all of these things that we've been talking about, emerge a) globally like organically, globally. And b) it's like unrelentingly positive when you get down into like the little...

Ingrid: [00:40:50] The intentionality.

Michael: [00:40:51] And even the interactions.

Ingrid: [00:40:55] Yeah.

Michael: [00:40:55] The core of Web3 literally is an expression called GM, which stands for Good Morning and you say it every day. If you're a core Web3 person, it's GM, we're all going to make it right. Wag me. Or "You're GMI." "You're going to make it." It's all about just up lifting. It's super positive. And I can't remember the last time I saw any movement on the internet that was born of the internet, be that positive about literally greeting people and lifting them up and telling everybody, "We're all going to make it. We're all going to make it." That, to me is I hated social media. I was ready to quit everything until I got pulled down a rabbit hole of crypto Twitter. And now I'm like, "Oh my God. It's literally my favorite thing in years."

Ingrid: [00:41:40] You found your people.

Michael: [00:41:41] Yeah, it's really cool. And I can't be the only person who thinks that right? So I do find it fascinating that there's like a new culture being born like right now. We're right in the middle of it, and we're actually very, very much at the beginning of it. It's just absolutely fascinating to watch and to be a part of.

Ingrid: [00:42:04] Yeah, I agree. And you know, I think that having spent a lot of time on the internet, I've been like an internet geek since the second I got my hands on a computer, and I've just watched all of the different waves happen. And I always remember sort of the beginnings of everything felt super enthusiastic and positive. Do you remember like AOL chat rooms that you just go in and meet people?

Michael: [00:42:35] Oh yeah. I do.

Ingrid: [00:42:36] And I still to this day know people who met in an AOL chat room, ASL and like ended up getting married and having children and living happily ever after because they met in like an EDM chat room kind of thing. And those are just so many like heartwarming stories about that. But I think like anything, this is my philosophy about even people who become super super wealthy. Is that when you open up access, whether it's financial or whether it's through internet that connects you to other people and places and things, you just become more of you. And so you, Michael, are someone who enjoys and thrives in the positivity and happiness that connectivity can bring. And I think you're going to find that place in the physical world and in the Metaverse. And then there are people who are less positive than you are and just thrive in those horrible stories that propagate themselves through Facebook and all of those other much, much even darker places on the internet. And there are people that just are going to thrive in that even more so. So I do share your positivity in what the intentionality behind Web 3.0 is and Blockchain and the opportunity to create this new world that we are trying to solve some of the current world problems in. But I just I think that humanity is just going to find its way toward what we already are predisposed to be attracted to.

Michael: [00:44:26] Yeah, I agree with you, I mean, I don't think this... This is where I sort of part ways with a lot of the techno utopia type people who are like, "Oh, this is like everything is going to be perfect if we can just get to Web3," and I'm like, "Yeah, no, it won't." And I don't say that as like a negative person, but I 100 percent agree with you. Not everybody in the world shares the enthusiasm. I think a lot of it is out of fear. People absolutely are scared of change. That's just that's human nature. And then, like you said, just like some people just aren't good, so they will do nefarious things. There's already there's lots of people who start projects in Web3, NFT projects get people to, you know, mint ten thousand NFTs in a collection and then just it's called Getting Rugged, which is this new rug pull.

Ingrid: [00:45:19] Oh yeah. Awful.

Michael: [00:45:19] They just bail. That kind of stuff is already there. So people are already taking advantage of it. But what I think is interesting is that Web 2.0 was largely driven by like corporations who had a vested interest in making things the way they are right now, right? Controlling it and basically owning as much of it as possible. And so I do think it's interesting to watch this latest iteration kind of be born out of the sense that like it actually shouldn't be controlled pretty much by anyone, and it should be owned by everyone and accessible to everyone equally signing up for a crypto wallet, Metamask, whatever, it's free, it doesn't cost anything. And so there's a really interesting, I think it will be a power struggle because I just think the fundamental approach of these two things is they're diametrically opposed. And I do wonder, you know, it opens up a lot of interesting avenues, but it also opens up a lot of interesting questions, namely, like how does a community it's completely decentralized police itself against really gnarly stuff, you know, hate speech, harassment, or who knows what else? I think it's going to be ultimately a fascinating human experiment. I don't have any like solid potential answers on that, but where I part ways with a lot of the people who just see this as like, "Oh, this is it. This is what we've always worked for." I'm like...

Ingrid: [00:47:00] You fixed it. Got it. {laughter}

Michael: [00:47:01] Like, probably not. It could go sideways really, really quickly. But yeah, I do agree with you. I mean, there's a lot to consider around the negative aspects of what human behavior can bring.

Ingrid: [00:47:15] Well, yeah. And I think where my head goes is certainly there's going to be if we start to apply some of the current physical world institutions into the Metaverse, we immediately go into conversations around policing or jurisdiction or the way that we plan cities. Urban planning. Like there needs to be some form of urban planning within the Metaverse. And I've heard people say that, and I think my initial reaction was like, "Well, heck yeah." We need to create some kind of systems or whatever. But then if you take yourself a few steps away from that and realize how grounded it is in the current world design that we have and you open it up, I do think that a lot of the things that ground us, truly like by gravity ground us, in the physical world are the things that do require those types of interactions with systems and governments and policing and taxes and things like that. Whereas in the Metaverse, imagine all of the borders are completely open. You can fly throughout the Metaverse at a whim as long as you have the address of where you're trying to get to, and you can go and hang out and live in the world where, hey, I get to have this really enlightening, thoughtful, fun conversation with people like you, and I never have to maybe interact with the meaner spirited people who care about sharing like horrible stories on Facebook and whatever the case might be. Those people live in a totally different world. And I think right now we do that if we have the means within the physical world, we do that by choosing the neighborhood that we live in and the city that we live in and things like that. But so much of that is tied down by financial position. And I think having that component to a certain extent, probably not to every extent, because we're still human, having that removed, that barrier removed, you're going to find something that you can actually relate to and connect with and feel fundamentally human in the Metaverse in this entirely different way than we do in the physical space, and maybe that, if I'm thinking about a utopia society, I think that's how it comes through. It's not just in my vision of what makes me happy. It's within everyone's vision of where they want to spend their time. And that, to me, is so freaking cool. Yeah.

Michael: [00:50:04] And you also really touched on something that is very, very core to this whole notion of Web3 and decentralization and things like that, which is you had mentioned like interacting with government and taxes and things like that. There are, literally as we're speaking right now, new forms of of governance and operations being created. If you go down the rabbit hole around decentralization and Web3 and things like that, you'll start to see and hear people talking about this notion of a DAO. D A O, which is a decentralized autonomous organization which essentially a style of... You can think about it as if you were to start your own company, you might be an S Corporation or an LLC or a partnership. It's kind of like that, and it gets into things like tokenomics, right? So what is the currency system or governance system behind this DAO? And then how do you operate it? And the whole notion is that it is decentralized and that the people who run it, own it, participate in it, by virtue of holding those tokens, you get a say in how it works, but then it's up to you collectively to implement it. It's super experimental, but I also think it's super, super interesting because it's in a lot of ways way more democratic than... In some ways it's not, but in some ways it's way more democratic and more hands on in terms of actually building the kind of company or organization or place you would want to live than a lot of what's available right now to most people. So there's all these other really interesting aspects beyond even what we're talking about when it comes to like how people live and what rules they're going to apply to themselves and things like that.

Ingrid: [00:51:59] Well, I mean, I can't help but laugh when... So this is not... You are touching on something that is way deeper into this.

Michael: [00:52:09] This is its own like two hour conversation.

Ingrid: [00:52:11] This is fascinating. But I just mean so much deeper than even my knowledge of where this is at. And so will you just repeat what that acronym stands for? DAO?

Michael: [00:52:22] Yeah, it's DAO. Most people call it a DAO. It is a decentralized autonomous organization.

Ingrid: [00:52:32] I love that the word decentralized and organization have found themselves in this acronym because like those two things are very, very, very different. {laughter}

Michael: [00:52:46] You think you would think, right? You you would think that. But where it stems from is, and this starts to get really interesting. Let's take bitcoin as an example. Bitcoin is not necessarily a DAO per se, although they may have designated themselves as one now. But like Bitcoin is a great example of so what is it Bitcoin worth right now? It was up to like seventy thousand dollars earlier this year.

Ingrid: [00:53:13] I think it's like 60K now.

Michael: [00:53:13] When it launched it was worth fractions of a penny.

Ingrid: [00:53:16] Yeah.

Michael: [00:53:18] There's no CEO of Bitcoin. There's no board of directors. There's like if you want to be like, "Oh, I want to talk to the people at Bitcoin." Who are you going to talk to?

Ingrid: [00:53:27] There are no people at Bitcoin. Yeah.

Michael: [00:53:28] Right. And think about that. Can you imagine a company, a share of a company trading at seventy thousand dollars a share in the stock exchange and there's no CEO or board of directors to talk to? Can you actually imagine that?

Ingrid: [00:53:42] No. That's fascinating. Totally.

Michael: [00:53:44] But that's where we're at. Where you can create these insane value with just these ideas and concepts, and in this case tokens that people buy into. And it is completely decentralized.

Ingrid: [00:53:59] But I think that we as people who are not decentralized humans, and I think the real rise of the value of Bitcoin has been the mass adoption of Bitcoin as a currency through our centralized banking. And that's been my biggest piece of criticism around some of the self-awareness of Bitcoin. So like you make an excellent point about there is truly no Nasdaq traded stock that doesn't have a CEO or a board of directors and has developed as much value. But a currency is so different because a currency creates value based on we all as humans deciding to give it value.

Michael: [00:54:44] Right.

Ingrid: [00:54:45] And so that, I think is challenging in applying itself to the rules and regulations and the way that we organize ourselves within a new world. That's like taking a really big leap. But all that to say, I still think that fundamentally the intentionality behind it and the North Star, again going all the way back to the initial part of our conversation, which is servers were directed to for connectivity. Blockchain is derived in security. And I do think that the initial intentionality behind creating things and putting things out into the world from the smallest little thing into creating an entirely new universe, the intentionality matters a lot. And so it's going to be so fascinating, and I'm so glad that we are able to have these conversations and it does just, if anything, it puts a mirror up into our current human existence and societies and the way that we've built them around the concepts that we hold true and how having this new world that we get to somewhat create from scratch that wasn't just like founded by individuals and then by boats and airplanes and connected in that way is just going to be... I'm so I feel so grateful and lucky to be part of where we're at now with learning about this and observing what that means for humanity and what that means for the future.

Michael: [00:56:16] Yeah, I agree. I agree with you 100 percent. I say this all the time like, "Wow, what a time to be alive." It is so crazy.

Ingrid: [00:56:24] Yeah. Just when we thought, you know, the iPhone man, we're done. There's nothing. How could anything top the iPhone? And here we are, just hanging out and surfing our surfboards in the Metaverse. I love it. Well, Michael, this has been just a blast. I can talk to you for hours and hours. Thank you so much for coming on.

Michael: [00:56:46] I appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me.

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