I couldn’t be more excited to announce that I have joined Foundation as their Head of Business Operations. It’s been a crazy week and a half so far but I finally had time to reflect on why I’m so pumped about Foundation. Before jumping into that, I’ll start by briefly covering why NFTs are important, which is useful context for understanding the Foundation’s vision.
After a couple years since their inception, NFTs are finally taking off in a big way. What began as funny digital toys such as Rare Pepes and Cryptokitties where the main utility was a good laugh, has evolved into an opportunity to change the lives of people worldwide in a crucial aspect incredibly important to every human being: how to make a living.
Many have spoken about the future of work and how technology is slowly impacting how people earn money, including the effects of the sharing economy, gig economy, and most recently the passion economy. The innovations that have taken place in all of these waves have helped millions monetize their latent assets, become their own boss, and make more money from creative endeavors.
While these innovations are and will continue to be important, I believe NFTs issued by creators of all types have the potential to become the single biggest innovation impacting people’s ability to make money. The first wave to show NFTs’ potential began playing out in earnest last year, as companies such as OpenSea, Nifty Gateway, Rarible, and SuperRare contributed heavily to surges in NFT volume never seen before. It has become clear in the past couple months that digital art is an NFT use case that is ready for prime time, and in retrospect it becomes so obvious that this is a compelling use case. Digital artists around the world who are incredibly talented at what they do yet have had to resort to freelancing, working at a brand studio if they’re lucky. Never have they had the opportunity to let the market properly value their work – but NFTs enable this.
Foundation allows artists to turn their jpg, png, or mp4 files into unique virtual assets whose ownership is tied to an ERC-721 token that they can mint. Then they are able to list their work for auction by choosing a reserve price – once a bid is placed for this value or greater, a 24-hour countdown begins to determine what price the work will be sold for. Since Foundation’s launch of their NFT platform on February 3rd, artworks have routinely sold for 1-3 ETH ($2k – $6k), effectively making it possible for creators to earn 10x-100x more than they previously would have made. And then there are also outliers, such as the Nyan Cat which was auctioned off for 300 ETH on February 19th. This was effectively a life-changing event for its creator Chris Torres, who previously had not made anything from it despite its status as one of the most popular memes in internet history. Simply put, Foundation has the opportunity to change the lives of creators worldwide.
I continue to be impressed by the caliber and commitment of our team of 9 (and growing). With backgrounds including Uber, Google, Amazon, Kickstarter, and Dharma, the team brings a wide variety of skill sets spanning community, engineering, design, and now operations (me!). But what jumps out to me is just how hard working and hungry the team is. The team is incredibly thoughtful, sweats every detail, while maintaining a culture where everyone’s ideas count and where every contribution gets recognized.
Our mission is to help creators to get paid more by helping them capture more of the value that they create. We believe in leveraging the power of the Ethereum blockchain fully – this means putting the power to mint and list in the creator’s hands. We also value giving collectors an experience where they can confidently purchase works and know that they will be in sole possession of their purchases. Simply put, we do not believe in sugar-coating the web3 experience because we want everyone who interacts with Foundation to understand, embrace, and take full advantage of the benefits of crypto.
The team also deeply values diversity of thought and backgrounds. We are a global team split across three continents and are building a team that can leverage its diversity to help put out a product that continuously reflects depth, thoughtfulness, and ingenuity that is only possible with a diverse team.
Last but not least, it’s clear that everyone on the team is here to leave a lasting impact on generations to come by creating a more equitable system that improves the lives of creators everywhere and drives culture forward.
Emphasis on Design
Led by the incredible Matt Vernon (aka Dappboi), Foundation’s design muscle is second to none in the crypto space. Since its founding, the team has placed a strong emphasis on creating an attractive, compelling, and easy-to-use experience. This is reflected in how creators’ works are presented, how easy it is for creators to mint and list their works, and how easy it is to navigate and place a bid on a work you love. If you have any doubt how important this differentiator is, just jump into the Foundation Discord and see how much people are talking about our design.
Not even a month into our NFT platform launch, the love we’re receiving from creators and collectors is energizing us even more for what’s possible as the platform evolves. While I won’t mention any specifics yet, I can assure you that the team’s ambitions are enormous and that we will work tirelessly to achieve them in service of a world where creative talent gets rewarded appropriately and where anyone can join our community to help build a more beautiful metaverse.