Fantom Community Spotlight – JMONEY
From metaverse swag to IRL swag, JMONEY has been outfitting the Fantom community through the OfficialNFTees brand. We sat down to talk to him about his origin story, launching a brand, and what it takes to build a strong community.
What got you interested in crypto?
I grew up in the midwest United States, and my upbringing was rooted in the familiar narrative: work hard, go to school, and hope to save for retirement.
But I’ve always been entrepreneurial, and was interested in economics, real estate, and finance from early on. A lot of this was spurred by reading books such as “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and “The Richest Man in Babylon.” They espoused fundamental concepts around attaining financial freedom, and they became ingrained in my head.
When I came across crypto around 2017, I recognized the power it put back into the hands of those without access or advantage in the traditional financial system. “Being your own bank” is a powerful concept that appeals to people with a desire for self-sovereignty. I saw it as a new paradigm that could potentially replace the existing bureaucratic system, which no longer seemed to be working for most people.
Looking at the NFT and crypto space from the outside, I knew what I was doing wasn’t exactly how I wanted to be spending my time. I grasped onto the idea that NFTs could create an avenue to explore, create, and receive financial compensation for doing so. It seemed a lot more reasonable than climbing the traditional career ladder, making other companies money, and keeping the same salary. For me, that struck a chord.
Sometimes it seems all roads lead to SpiritSwap, and it was in fact somebody involved with SpiritSwap that got me to become more of an active participant in the Fantom ecosystem.
When looking at the NFT space around the end of 2020, I started playing around with different ideas for something I could build myself.
I like design and fashion, so combining that with NFTs led me to create what is now OfficialNFTees.
Why did you choose to build on Fantom?
When I got into Fantom, that’s when I felt I could “play the game.” For the average person who wants to experiment but isn’t yet ready to make NFTs a true commitment or time-intensive side job, the transaction fees on Ethereum make it prohibitively expensive.
We first tried launching our NFTs on OpenSea, and we spent more money creating the contract than we spent in the first six months operating on Fantom.
It was a rocky start on Ethereum, to say the least. When I heard you could mint your whole collection for a dollar on Fantom, it was the obvious choice.
Interacting with the blockchain was an unbelievable experience, and connecting with the Fantom community was incomparable to what we’d experienced with our original Ethereum launch.
If you don’t have huge money backing you, launch your project on Fantom. Everybody makes mistakes at the beginning, and you have to be able to afford to make them.
How did you build a support network and get started?
I had a friend who had already launched a NFT project, and he showed me the blueprint to get started.
A lot of the guidance also came from people I met here on Fantom, early on. Back then there were few of us starting out in the Fantom NFT space, just trying to figure it all out. At the time, there were no launchpads or guides on how to make a collection.
What were some of the major challenges when getting started?
For someone without a strong technical background, it can be a bit of a black box.
Fortunately, the community offers plenty of resources to lean on.
@MP60, one of the developers in the Fantom community, wrote this guide explaining how to launch your own collection and deploy it on Fantom. At this point, he’s probably enabled the deployment of hundreds—if not thousands—of contracts.
Early on, Zoo Coin allowed you to mint to their community collection without having to know Solidity, and this is what we used at first. It wasn’t until later on that we ended up bringing on our own developer, and that alone has opened the door for everything we’re working on now. Without that in-house technical resource, we would be limited in what we could do.
How do people feel about NFTs linked to their own off-chain physical counterparts?
As of right now, it’s not yet clear whether the NFT community has a strong appetite yet for physical products.
Even for our products, not everyone that buys a NFT actually redeems the underlying physical product; on the other hand, we have people that have redeemed their t-shirts and then frame them and place them on their wall.
We’re still early, and NFTs and physical items are perceived as separate things. As the technology evolves, I believe it will become more mainstream for objects to have both a physical counterpart and a metaverse counterpart.
At OfficialNFTees, we want to offer the trifecta: a digital art file, a physical item, and a metaverse representation of it. We want to move toward a reality where you can buy a digital NFTee, wear its physical counterpart as you go about your day, and also wear that same t-shirt in the 8bit metaverse and other forthcoming metaverses.
One thing we are excited about is the response we’ve gotten from true fashion heads, given the technology’s obvious benefits for proof-of-ownership and rarity. Our tagline mirrors the demand we’ve seen, and we have a main focus as we move forward as a fashion brand: “Secure your wardrobe with the blockchain.”
How do you see NFTs evolving over time?
People often ask me whether art-based NFTs are just a fad. My answer is no.
I think the NFT art/jpeg use case is one of the best and will continue to proliferate, particularly because it restructures the power dynamic between artists, marketplaces, and buyers.
There always has been and always will be a global demand for quality art, so we’re going to see art NFTs as one of the primary use cases for the technology.
What we’ll also see is companies that specialize in a particular vertical of NFT use cases and offer it as a service. New and unimagined verticals will undoubtedly begin to form to solve some of the complex issues the space will face as it matures.
It’s simply more efficient for a small group of individuals to specialize on a particular issue and create a solution for it. When it comes to manufacturing, for example, you’re looking at economies of scale, not to mention dealing with online and physical security. By outsourcing these kinds of logistics to specialists, individuals and teams will be able to focus on whatever it is they do best.
At OfficialNFTees, that’s the model we’re moving towards: we believe artists are best at making art. If they want to sell merchandise, they’re better off outsourcing the manufacturing and shipping aspect of the business. We’re calling it NFTees-As-A-Service.
We’ll give you a template and a design to build on, and all you need to do is supply us with your art. We’ll deal with customers and streamline the rest.
Can you tell us more about NFTees-As-A-Service?
It’s something that has always been in the back of our minds. We wanted to see if there was an appetite for it.
More and more often, NFT projects would approach us and ask if we could help with their merch efforts because, to them, manufacturing was a blackbox.
We started talking to popular Fantom artists and protocols about the idea, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
We’re working on our first Partner Artist streetwear launch with Clokkworky. This is where we transition from Fantom-focused to Fashion-focused, all while continuing to leverage the Fantom blockchain.
For example, if you purchase a limited release fashion item NFT, holding that in your Metamask could potentially unlock farming rewards on that particular protocol.
Within our own ecosystem, for our 100 tees and custom collection, there’s a 5% royalty that goes to holders that is split on every primary and secondary sale. The idea is that on subsequent contracts and new project launches, we will continue to funnel value back to those 100 tee holders.
What’s popping on Fantom right now?
This project is exemplary of the “help each other grow and we’ll all grow together” mentality. Sarge has his 100-piece collection of punks that he just completed in early March, and he works on every single one of them personally. He also created a DAO for FantomPunks holders. When we came into the space, he took the time to promote us—as he does with all newcomers—and we ended up collaborating with him. Since then, we’ve been focused on collaborating with OGs and new artists alike.
Kudos to Austin and his team. No single person has done more for the collaborative family feel of the DeFi & NFT Fantom ecosystem. When you see that so-and-so just said they’re going to launch, he talks to them to see what they’re all about; that’s inclusivity. It’s never been about keeping people out.
Potluck is run by a great team including @TrueVoodoo, @Dracula Presley , @PlotTwistFTM, and @Tinfoil Realist. They are a NFT launchpad, making it so artists can focus on making great art. They take care of the rest. A great example of this is @TEENSONACID. and his Astrokids collection.
Tombheads changed the game for Fantom NFT artists by merging all the siloed NFT communities into one. When someone drops a piece in their discord, there’s an immediate audience of hundreds admiring it and sharing their thoughts on it.
Tons of new artists have been “discovered” there. @Zvonarka, @Clokkworky, @Sellek, to name a few, started here. Now they’re selling pieces for thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. There are auctions every weekend. If you haven’t checked one out, you definitely should.
The community is run by one of—if not the best—community builder on Fantom: Tombheads himself. The auctions are run by @Gab9, a tremendous talent and trailblazer in this space.
Anything else you’d like to share with the Fantom community?
Be open. Be open to collaboration, to helping each other, and to growing together.
Be open to new use cases and applications of the incredible technology we’re fortunate enough to be working with right now.
The use case or application you might be resisting could be the next big thing. And there’s no better place to do it than on Fantom.