INTERVIEW WITH JIM MCNELIS, NFT PIONEER & CREATOR OF AVASTARS

by birtanpublished on August 24, 2020

What's up crypto gang welcome back to another episode if you guys are brand new here we have our crypt of education we also do a giveaway at the beginning of every single episode all you have to do is like comment with something about the video and be subscribed for a chance

To win in today's winner is Daniel Castellanos thanks so much for commenting on the previous video Daniel just sent you some crypto on this special episode I sit down with Jim the creator of a bastarz Jim is a very

Bright guy me and him got a chance to meet in person at the NFT NYC event where I spoke on a panel about grow your base and he's a fantastic guy and a thought leader in the space in terms of what he's doing to move digital art and

The NFT space together all together and one of the biggest things that he's doing is storing metadata on chain now that may sound like some very hardcore lingo to a lot of you non-technical people out there that are new to the

Cryptocurrency space and the NFT collectible space but it's important to just realize that this is an innovation and he is moving the space forward and without further ado let's dive into the interview that I did with Jim from a

Bastarz I'm here with Jim McNellis how you doing today Jim I'm doing great Steve how are you doing fantastic so Jim is the creator of avatars a company that we are working with on barrier basin it's a fantastic innovation that I

Really wanted to highlight here on the channel and what I wanted to just ask first Jim for the listeners and the viewers is just tell us a little bit about yourself what you were doing leading up to a bastarz sure yes so in

2007 I actually was one of the first people to start Google Apps reseller business and today that's called G suite but at the time it was called Google Apps and we were one of the first thirty partners to join their pilot program and

It was an amazing opportunity because it was a brand new technology for businesses to use Gmail for their business this was a new concept at the time I really felt like it was powerful for businesses of all sizes and because

I was a bad gmail user myself and so I really wanted to I really grasped onto that and wanted to help businesses go Google and that's what they called it for a long time and we did really well we

Ended up my company ended up helping the city of Los Angeles go Google we helped Netflix go Google we helped Kaplan go Google we helped many other projects along the way we were actually I was a direct contractor of Google's for four

Out of the seven years that I was running my company actually went and worked directly on projects and things that city of La deployment I lived there for six months and trained users so I ran my business but I was very hands-on

CEO and always kind of down in the trenches with my employees and everything else after seven years I exited that business it's in really good hands and my my family's hands now still kicking and running today I took a few

Years off and eventually found the Appalachian Trail I went on the Appalachian Trail I had intentions to finish the whole thing as everybody does when they set out on it and I knew I was going to but I did get pretty bored by

Mile 750 I made it from Georgia up to about middle of Virginia and probably no coincidence that I'm from Virginia originally you know it's really close to my family and friends and it felt like a good ending point for me so I got off

The trail and went home and hung out with my family and friends for a while but while I was on the Appalachian Trail I remember one day I was just walking down the trail because that's what you do all day and one of the fellow hikers

Through hikers came up and we were talking about technology a lot of people on the trail or like you know into technology or just out of college and stuff and this guy mentioned that he was actually making money while he was

Walking down the trail and how are you doing that man you know I don't have to act you know how are you doing that so he mentioned Bitcoin and that he was mining Bitcoin and I had known about Bitcoin all along and I thought it was

This huge freaking scam like everybody else like back in 2011 or 12 I mean I wasn't I was in living in San Francisco that whole time while I was runnin dido so I knew about every bit of technology that was coming out here in this bubble

We're just like all the technologies happening in San Francisco in the Bay Area and but he said that and I you know we're it's 2017 it's years later I'm like we in a second like that's still around this guy's making money doing

That that's pretty cool and I remember on my phone that day I signed up for a Gemini account I already had a coin base one and for some reason like I set up a Gemini account I know that because like six months later

I went back to set up a Gemini account and I noticed that I had set it up in like May of 2017 or something so I had to have been on the trail it might have been April of 2017 so anyways got off the trail shortly

Thereafter and I couldn't get it out of my mind and I built some mining rigs and in November I was up and running mining aetherium you know on like 30 GPUs and a few days later crypto Kitty's launched

And ever since then I have just not been able to take my mind off of non fungible tokens that's awesome after mile 750 I like how you very humbly said that like yeah after 750 and I got kind of bored only a third of the

Way there man to a thru-hike er that's like a huge failure but I was satisfied I by the way I thought I was done forever and when I got off the trail I thought I would never go back I had walked every mile on the trail I'd ever

Needed to walk but I think about it every single day so he'll be back one day and I'll try to do the whole thing again yeah that's impressive it's impressive I've always had respect for the Appalachian Trail because it's just

So massive and so to our next point here what what is a bastarz like you found out about crypto kitties your cat ran away and it was kind of like this beautiful story of how you wanted to get a crypto kitty not to replace your cat

But to like remember memory was really you know that she had run away was my excuse to spend at the time like all of the crypto currency I had earned mining you know on a picture of a digital cat so I was like well you know she's gone

So I'm like a replacing my cat and I'm like this is actually a lot easier than having a cat because I love my cat she is a pain in the ass man she's annoying she knows it too I'm really good at getting her way let's just say that

Anyway she did come back two weeks later you're right that's why I bought a cat is because my cat ran away and I lived in Truckee at the time which is just north of Lake Tahoe it's there was feet of snow on the ground and there were

Snowstorms this is you know early December so I was pretty sure she was a goner she would normally she spent a lot of time outside but two weeks you know just felt like she was done she did come back two

Weeks later as it so happens as all my friends told me she would and I was like no she's dead so yeah I did I bought a crypto kitty and and that was what really introduced me into not fungible tokens and I I got really involved in

The community there I ended up you know moderator it's still a maroc moderator on there discord server after a few months you know active in there and really dove really deep found a really great community in the crypto kiddies

Community I'm friends with many people that I met two years ago playing this game still today we're all a lot of us are actually building stuff for NF T's and for the Metaverse now it's it's really an amazing thing but that's where

The conversation started in the crypto kitty server about what an NF t is right and when I when I bought my first crypto kitty it was cats on the blockchain so I mean I had a huge assumption and that is that my cats

The the images were actually stored on the blockchain I just thought that's what it was I didn't understand I thought that an entity was everything was on the blockchain and that was the cool thing about it right because we're

Talking about like the power of a digital asset and I come from gaming I still play the again way more than I should I played dota 2 almost every night I have it for the last couple months but I do play dota 2 a lot I own

Thousands of dollars of dota 2 skins and so the digital asset thing and ownership over digital assets is really important to me and as I learned that it's not how I thought it was the ideas started to swirl in my head about what what a

Really good NFT would be yeah yeah and you describe this to me so for everybody listening Jim and I sat down and talked in New York at a conference NFT NYC and Jim has some strong opinions about the conference but I really enjoyed reading

And following along with with your blog post and everything about the conference but I was really intrigued by your your way of explaining you know the difference in crypto kiddies versus you know what you're doing at a bastarz

And I think a lot of people very much when they see something like crypto kitties they had that same misconception that you just brought up of the fact that image my theory and that's what I that's the theory I've put

Out there for the last couple years is that that my assumption is every is the default assumption right that people think that they have this thing on the chain and then they find out that they don't and then they're either

Embarrassed to talk about it that they don't realize it cuz for me I spent thousands of dollars on digital cats and then I realized at some point that these are actually hosted on cryptokey site and just to be clear like cryptic

Kitties is amazing they were the first ones to come across this they did the best they could at the time that they could think of like I had the benefit of two years or at least at least a year and a half to think about how to do it

Better right and I had an example to work off of they didn't have anything it just built it from scratch I'm sure in a year from now people will have much better ways to build avatars than what we are launching here though so I mean

It's just a part of the evolution of everything but the difference is between crypto kitties and AMA stars is that they host their metadata and they host their images the tokens themselves a crypto kitty token and a star token

Almost look identical on the blockchain which may sound weird to say considering I'm saying how different they are but they're both essentially like they contain a hash a string of data that that tell that is basically their traits

And that's represented in a UN at 256 string and they both look exactly the same with the differences as our smart contracts actually have all of the based rates for our images stored on the smart contract and our it also has like the

JSON for each of those traits stored on the contract and then we have some calls that we can make some read calls that we can make to our smart contracts that render either the Abba star SVG code or can render the JSON metadata for

Any cat or sorry for any F star so that is that and and that so that's the difference is that where you're relying on crypto kitties to host the cat and and the metadata the kiddies you're not relying on us at

All and it's actually all on the blockchain and there's no other entities that are doing it this way with today now hopefully everyone starts doing it this way that's the entire point when I created a bastarz I didn't set out with

The idea a bastarz first what idea was to put art on the blockchain and put metadata on the blockchain and then I had to come up with an idea to support that that made sense and that's why we ended up not building a game or anything

Like that we just did a collectible because the point was to create a collectible that could live on as long as aetherium does yeah yeah and that was some other people have put it like we're building like the thousand-year API and

Things like that it's like a pretty cool thing we've got really really really durable NFT tokens and that's part of for me I feel like an NF T is the art and the metadata and the token and that's like a

Complete NFT so like I just want to I want complete entities as a collector I'm a user first and I want that for myself so I set out to build something that I would really want yeah yeah and we spoke about that about how avatars is

Designed to live as long as aetherium and i think that that is a I love that the thousand-year API I think it's very I didn't make it up I wish I could that's really really think it might have been Dan at open sea that called it that

High spice so the the team right now you we've talked a lot about how crypto Kitty's very much kind of helped you with the definition of NF T's and really formulate a bastarz in terms of having metadata on chain is there a crossover

From crypto Kitty's like the people maybe that are helping you on abbis not a direct not a direct crossover but yes absolutely like this all goes back to what I was saying about the community so for one like one of the main advisors on

The project was a guy named Alan Carr who is the problem of the product leads for crypto kitties and him and I have debated for years about what if he should and could be I mean much of a bastarz has come out of his and my

Debates that we've had that before a bastarz was even a concept and so he definitely provided a lot of a lot of opinions on things just like I provided opinions on crypto kitties but he had the benefit of being able to

Provide opinions while I was building it and not after it was built so I could like talk to I you know bring ideas to the surface to both him and other amazing advisors Nate Alex who just did change faces was one of our key advisors

In there out so kind of came in near the end but he did the math token and helped with that one of the really early people I brought him was a guy named Kai who had actually decoded the crypto Kitty's genetics when at first launched in

December of 2017 he was like the og guy he actually like exited the scene after he did that shortly after and then came back you know in the middle of 2019 and I connected with them and he was actually been an amazing advisor as well

He forced the project to get a lot better the art and everything else I was more because I was more focused on the technology I wasn't as worried about the art but both him and Alan challenged me that the art had to be special and so I

Had a bar that I had to reach and I had some stakeholders that I had to felt like I needed to convince I also have an amazing group of friends like from the crypto skitty's community about 20 guys that just and a woman who just put up

With me for six or nine months just shilling the idea of on chain art cuz nobody really I don't know how many people really bought into it at first but once now that we have it out and people see what it is that I've been

Talking about like it's it's resonating with everybody I think I don't think I've heard anybody say like this was done or bad or a thing you shouldn't have wasted one hundred and fifty thousand dollars building which which is

How much of my own money I spent building this my team is myself and cliff Hall is my sole developer amazing dude just like the best developer I've ever worked with s tier developer him and I go back and forth sometimes an X's

Were so damn passionate about this stuff I really you know wouldn't have it any other way and then the artist for Gen 1 or Mar mode and milky who were some Brazilian artists that I found that hadn't really ever worked with the US

Customer they had no idea what blockchain even was but now they actually had some art unknown origin and it's they've been selling they sold their first piece of art for like 3.5 eath it's like close to

A thousand dollars on a collaboration with another brazilian artist that isn't a crypto and and so that's been my team is I've got it like some really great advisers and then you know cliff and my artists and now we're starting to expand

Just a little bit awesome awesome yeah in terms of the unit economics of everything how many Abba stars are there now how many are you planning on minting in the future what does that look like yep so there's

200 today a hundred of them are founders and 100 are exclusives founders you can buy exclusives you can't buy you can only win them or have earned them by working on the project or as an advisor on the project or something like that I

Didn't tell any of these guys they were gonna get and have a star exclusive I just gave them to everybody when the time came I'm also keeping 10 of those exclusives for myself the project has 10 that are mascots

Cliff got 10 and marmo DeMille key got 10 and the rest of them are given away or given away in contests to Advisors research contests so you can't buy an exclusive you can buy founders there's about 15 I think left to be sold on open

Sea we're almost all the way through they've been selling on average for about four-and-a-half eath I think more or less and the next part will be in a few weeks we're gonna launch the scrolling part and and what that is is

Users will basically go onto our website and they will see avatars just profile pictures of a dastar's and they'll scroll through them and just they can scroll forever and never buy one and just look at the pretty pictures that

Average stars if they want but if they find one they like they can click on it and they can buy it and the price will be determined by how rare that at a star is relative to the other ones that they're scrolling through and that is

Determined by how rare the traits that they have are and of concentration of rare traits will give them a higher rarity score and there's five levels of common uncommon rare epic and legendary and if you're if you make a common one

Then it's to be probably point zero seven or zero six eath it's not gonna be a ton but if you find a legendary one that has all these awesome parts all together that you want then that one might cost like

1.2 or 1.5 yeast to purchase and the idea there is is that because you can just scroll through and find ones you like we had to figure out a way to preserve scarcity and rarity on some degree so we had to make the rarer ones

More expensive because we don't want those people to feel like that's something they want to buy they don't want to spend a couple hundred dollars on a legendary one when they can actually just find the traits they want

They can even get legendary scoring traits into a common one for you know one twentieth or one thirtieth of the amount it would cost to do in a legendary so you can be very economical and just buy the the least expensive

Avatars the common avatars and get all of the amazing traits that you wanted and then once there's gonna be 25,000 of these that you scroll through and find broken down into five series and then once that fifth series caps once we hit

The 25,000 total plus 200 for the ones that exist today then we'll flip over to something called replicants and what replicants are is you can take anywhere from two to five of your crimes and you can take traits from those and make a

Replica so you'll be able to build your own a star the way you want it to do so the idea is you can kind of collect the trade parts you want on the trade copies that you want in the primes while you're scrolling and then you'll be able to

Build the ones that you exactly how you want it to look once replicants turns on or you can you know save up those parts and try to sell them on the second market or save up those stars and try to sell them on the second market if they

Have parts that you know we think the the second market would want to desire the the other thing is as no two out of stars could ever be the same they're genetically unique so that's why you can't just take one have a star and

Clone it into a replicant you need at least two because you have to flip out some traits so that's the general premise and then what we've done is the smart contract actually has the ability to do four more of these runs where you

Would have you know 25,000 then you'd have the replicates 25,000 and then replicas 25 thousands of replicants the replicants can only ever be as many replicants as there are primes because those trait parts only

Can be used once so if you use a part it's used it can't be used ever again so there's no way to go over the 25,000 replicates in any generation so each there's gonna be five generations this is Gen one that we're gonna be doing now

And then any future generations will be completely separate collections you can't cross breed or anything like that they're gonna be different artists different art maybe not even humans probably not humans maybe not even beans

At a certain point I mean I'm actually gonna leave it up to the artists what they want to do with this platform so that's the general premise of what avatar is Jen one and through five are going to be awesome awesome so I

Definitely wanted to have the last question be because you very have strong opinions in the space and I look at you as definitely one of the thought leaders in the space that people should listen to in terms of where things are going

Given the innovation that you've done on avatars and moving the space forward so what are you excited about outside of avatars obviously I'm excited about that a lot of people are excited about that but in general for newcomers to NF T's

In general what are you excited about and what do you think people should be following well so one I am excited so just one more thing about I'm sorry I'm excited because I think that what we've done with the metadata here the untain

Metadata I think we can actually retro actively apply that to a lot of projects that already exist they can deploy a smart contract that basically replaces their JSON API if they have their traits hash that they have that hash something

They can decode that's stored on the blockchain and they're in their metadata and not all projects have that but the ones that do they can actually retro actively create this Unchained metadata so we no longer have to trust them they

Can't do that with the images probably but they can do that with the metadata and that's cool and I'm actually excited to see what project start to adopt that and I can tell you a lot of people a lot of projects were reaching out to me

Right now I'm trying to understand from cliff and I how we did it and what we did so that they can incorporate it so it's happening exactly what I wanted to happen is happening so I'm really excited about what we're

Start seeing now but there is a project that I have been really excited about and I think it's actually launching today they had a dry run yesterday and a testing phase yesterday but they're getting ready to launch it today on well

Today when we're talking Wednesday the 25th or 6:00 anyways a sync art it's a sync art I think it is a project by Conlon and no shot and they've actually got the top artists in this industry right now the the best crypto artists

Josie Cole D xcopy I've just named three but there's literally Connie digital like everybody that many of the top artists are working on it and what it is is they've created programmable art is what they're calling it and they have

Like this scene that's like that's called the first supper instead of the last supper it's it's a derivative on the the last supper by da Vinci and each artist actually has taken and design a different part of that of that scene and

Then they've also done alternate versions of their art on that scene and what happens is one person can own this masterpiece that one piece but then they have like 20 in this one piece I'm talking about they have like 20

Components and other people can own those components and the people who own those components can decide which version to show of that art at any given time on the masterpiece so the owner of the masterpiece doesn't control what it

Looks like all the individual owners of those layers actually control that and it's just cool because this is innovative and this is something new that we couldn't do before that now is possible because of NF T's and because

Of this crazy NFT land and these ideas that are just like out there like everybody's just coming up with these crazy ideas and and that's what I want to see more of is like new ideas not just someone else making crypto kitty

Their own version of cryptokeys or it's a project actually making new things and that's so async arts really exciting there's a bunch of other really cool projects that you know I but that's the main one right now awesome awesome well

Thanks so much for coming on the show Jim everyone that's watching and listening and all the links will be in the description and below to not only avatars but a sink I think that's really

Awesome I'm gonna look more into that but thanks so much again for coming on Jim yeah thanks for having me Steve really appreciate it and enjoyed it that is it for my interview with Jim from avatars the link as I said at the end of

The interview will be in the description below so you guys can check out avatars as well as the campaign currently running on the grow your based platform I'm really excited to be working with Jim because he is very much a thought

Leader in n FTS and he's working on a lot of exciting things behind the scenes that I'm gonna talk about in the future that is it for this episode don't forget to subscribe where we hack our crypt of education and I will see you guys on the

Next episode of hack crypto

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