Jupiter x Holaplex AMA

Jupiter: the key liquidity aggregator and swap infrastructure for Solana

Jupiter AMA with Alex & Scuba from Holaplex(2/10/22)
Holaplex - Mint, sell, & discover NFTs on #Solana ! Start your own marketplace in minutes. Open Source. Decentralized. Community-Driven.

AMA Transcript

Ben: 0:01 So, why don’t we get started? Basically, the question I ask everyone is if you do mind introducing yourselves. And for anyone who doesn’t know or isn’t familiar with all the Holaplex, can give a brief overview of Holaplex and how it got to get started?
Alex: 0:20 Yeah, I’m happy to do that. For anybody who doesn’t know me, my name is Alex. I’m the founder of Holaplex. And we also have Scuba here, who is one of our BD leads at Holaplex. I will walk you through the Genesis story of how we got started, that’ll probably be a good segue into what we do. But at a high level, we make it easy for creators to spin up their own Metaplex Storefront, which is a storefront that you can use to mint and sell and NFTs on Solana. We got started back in August, after having a few creators reach out to us through the Metaplex team to build the storefronts that were actually a reference implementation built on top of the Metroplex protocol, which is, for anybody who doesn’t know what that protocol is, it’s all the auction contracts and metadata standard on Solana for doing anything related to NFTs. And at launch, they had this reference implementation that was a storefront for creators in any project that wanted to have their own storefront. But you needed to know how to code to spin it up. And we realized there were all these indie creators out there, indie artists, who really wanted to do this. But they didn’t have the dev resources or skills to get a storefront up. So, we automated the process. And you get to holaplex.com. You can create your own store, just click a couple of buttons, connect your wallet address. And you’ll be able to launch a store, mint NFTs, and sell them. There is a really cool thing about the products and we’re really proud of is that we really embody the web3 of self-custody, decentralization, ownership of your own data, and their relationship with the customer. So, everything all the way down to the CSS, and style sheets for the front end of your store is all stored on arweave and IPFS. And all the NFT Data and metadata standards on the Solana blockchain. So, if you ever wanted to self-host, you could just fork the code from our open source repo and connect your wallet address. All of your data would be sucked right into the storefront for you. And everything we do is open source too. So, there are some really hard problems, and we’ve solved around indexing and data availability. If any developers are listening, you might want to go check out our repos to see what we got there. But yeah! That’s the high level story of how we got started. Today, we are approaching almost 7000 storefronts launched. We’ve done 70,000 Sol in volume for just one-of-one artists. We got some exciting product releases coming up in the next couple weeks. I could talk about them when you’re ready. But that’s the Genesis story of Holaplex.
Ben: 2:59 Awesome, man, that’s great. By the way, I was around during those early days before you guys had launched. Because we were minting NFTs for Myrical. And so, I had to deal with a lot of early pains or growing pains. So…
Alex: 3:22 We had a lot of our problems with that reference implementation around load times. Because the cool thing about the storefronts is they read data directly from the chain. So, we had to do a lot of optimizations there. And then, the indexing tools that we build, we realized that it was, the way people were discovering storefronts was just on Twitter. So, you’re a creator, and you tweet your storefront. And then, our main account would retweet it. And that was great, but it was hard for collectors. So, we relaunched all Holaplex.com as with what we call this discovery tool back in November, that aggregates all the different storefronts. And in order to do that, we had to solve some really hard problems around indexing. So, we built this open source indexer that indexes all NFTs on Solana. And obviously, that made our numbers go through the roof as far as volume, pages, and things like that, and exposure for creators. So, I think one thing that’s really important just to share too, is like our model, we really believe in decentralization. And it’s our hope and intention that our entire platform and project become managed by the community in a DAO with a token which would be used for governance and rewards on the platform. So that would make us really the first community-owned, community-driven, community-governed NFTs marketplace product on Solana, which is something we’re really excited about releasing over the next couple of months.
Ben: 4:55 Yeah, that sounds amazing. Wait, so just a quick check if I’m not aware of it. So, you haven’t launched a token yet? And that’s…
Alex: 5:04 No. So I mean, it’s our goal that we hope that the community will form a DAO. And there could be a governance token associated with that. And that can be the thing that drives the community engagement. We’ve always been about the community. We exist for the community. And I just think that that’s the correct path to getting community to drive Holaplex. And another really cool product that we’re launching in a couple of weeks, that even your community might be interested in marketplace template. So, if you look at the storefronts, they have marketplace functionality. But they’re not like a fully-fledged marketplace with all the filtering, features, and stuff that you might need. And as a marketplace owner, they’re not really set up for curating multiple collections and whatnot. And so, we’re releasing a product in a couple of weeks, towards the end of the month that actually enables any Crypto, Native, DAO, or project to launch their own fully-fledged marketplace. That will then, iterate on a Dex. Holaplex.com will slowly become a fully-fledged Dex for NFTs. And the way the model will work is, you basically set the fee that you want to take for transactions, typically marginal rate 2% to 3%. And you split that revenue with our DAO and your DAO. And we do all the hosting for you and make sure that the site’s up and running. And since it’s all open source, we have dozens of projects already building on top of this now. Since it’s all open source, they’re a lot to able to add such as custom functionality and utility to it, which is something we’re really excited about and have a lot of traction with. Again, it’s not going to be for another couple of weeks for that comes out.
Ben: 6:52 That sounds freaking cool. By the way, I’m curious. Are most of the projects that you use the co-base? Are you hosting them, then? Is that also it or are they self-hosted?
Alex: 7:06 Yeah, so most of its also… Currently, the vast majority of the users of Holaplex are Indie creators. And today, almost all the revenue generated by this platform has gone to the community. Mostly, directly to artists. We did just recently release a minting tool that adds the Hola Community Fund which is, again, the intention and hope is that managed by the DAO. So, Treasury managed by the DAO. So, we added that on the minting tool at the tune of 2%. as a co-creator. What that means is that you contribute to the DAO on the primary sale 2%. And if you set royalties to say 10%, then your DAO contribution is 0.2%. And so that revenue model for the indie creator market is a little bit different than the marketplace product that I just talked about. But in both cases, the idea is that you would be rewarded with all the tokens for driving volume to the DAO.
Ben: 8:06 Got it? Yeah, I mean, that’s great. I mean, but we haven’t… I mean, I feel that I mentioned this at every AMA, but we’re also thinking about how best to move towards a DAO and launch a token. And I had a really interesting conversation, which is go about it the other day. I think that having a token is very empowering because it gives ownership to the community. And so, I think, it’s something that’s quite powerful. Like…
Alex: 8:42 I agree, I mean, I’m super excited about it. When we started the company, we raised a seed round back in mid of late last year from some really awesome investors. And back then, I wasn’t really sure if we were going to do a token or if we were going to do SaaS model type revenue model. And the more I talked to creators, collectors, and community members, the more I realized the only way to align is to incentives and still maintain our values in web3 was to have a governance token. Because it’s just absolute… I think, it’s the future. It’s having, making sure that your users actually have governance over the tools they use, as well as self-custody, control over their data, customer relationships, and whatnot. So that’s why, on the storefronts, everything’s all completely on chain or on IPFS. On the marketplace product, we’ll be using some hosting tools to make sure that it’s super-fast, the indexing and whatnot, which we host for you, but everything else is on chain. And everything’s open source. So, we have dozens of companies building on top of us already. Almost every DAO that we work with as engineering resources, our company very quickly could just disappear from the ecosystem. And everyone would still get service. There would be dozens of companies that would pop up, and DAOs that would pop up to make sure that the community has access to these tools, which is future technology. That will be the future of any platform that a user would want to use, and a community they want to be a part of.
Ben: 10:19 That really cool to hear. I don’t think a lot of people think in that way that if we were to disappear, what would happen? And honestly, that’s been the most surprising thing I’ve discovered coming into crypto is that it does happen. I mean, we talked to one meme coin project where the creator of the coin disappeared. And then, the community stepped up to take over the project. They did a community… They all contribute to a huge community fund. And a whole bunch of them just started to managing and running projects to grow the coin and tokens. I’d never… I thought that was the most impressive thing in terms of community stuff.
Alex: 11:06 It’s counterintuitive for entrepreneurs that are used to a web-2 model that’s extracted in nature. But I think, when you align incentives in that way, you can have a self-organizing community that goes off in a million different directions but still grows and is self-sustaining. And yeah, I mean, the legacy is how far can this community go? How long can it last? Should it be forever, especially if it’s running on decentralized and open source technology.
Ben: 11:39 Yeah, for sure.
Alex: 11:40 Just so you know, everybody here, y’all are the first to hear this. This is all the alpha, not actually spoken in publicly at all. I did get cleared by my legal team and whatnot to discuss it in the manner that I am. But yeah, you guys are getting all alphas.
Scuba: 11:57 OX reference, OX banana and I were on the Thugbirdz podcast last night. And we totally skirted all of these new product releases. Because we weren’t sure that we could talk about in here. We just have Alex coming in, right out the gate dropping. So this is great.
Ben: 12:16 Yeah. Thanks for sharing with our community, man. I really appreciate it. And by the way, I am super excited for everything that you just mentioned. I think, it’s going to be so cool. Actually, before we go any deeper, do you mind just sharing a little bit about personally how you got into crypto or Solana or how you started building it?
Alex: 12:43 I’m happy too. I am an entrepreneur, have been my whole life and my whole professional career. I started my career in education. I was a high school… I’ve taught every grade from kindergarten to Graduate School and Professional Development. I’m just going to give you my last decade here. I’ll try to do quickly. And I started teaching because I wanted to impact positive change in education through entrepreneurship. And at the time, I had no idea how to start a company or bring a product to market. So, I figured, and I’d start teaching. I found some problems to solve. And I ended up moving to California and met some entrepreneurs here who started mentoring me. And I was teaching at a little boarding school. And I asked them that I have all these ideas, but how can I make them a reality? And they said, well, you should check out this book. It’s by this guy named Steve Blank. It’s called the “4 Steps to the Epiphany.” And then, I got the book. And basically, high level what it is, this process called market validation and customer development. And so, it’s basically a scientific method. Instead of writing a business plan that’s going to fail, you rapidly test your hypotheses around what your business model is, and who your customers are, by talking to customers and by doing quantitative experiments. And I became an expert at that process. And before I knew that my classroom was filled with all these kids that were 7th to 10th graders that wanted to build apps and start companies. And so, I started teaching them the same methodology while I was learning it myself. And that’s what led me to my first entrepreneurial activity. I started a series of workshops with a school called the Hawkins school in Cleveland, which was led at the time by Doris Cordell. You guys should all go look up the Cordell Institute. It’s a really awesome thing that came out that she started. But she was mentoring me through building an Entrepreneurial Studies program that leverages these methodologies for high school and middle school kids. And together, we scale that up to over 100 schools through a series of workshops that we did. And she’s helping something 70,000 to 80,000 students every year in Ohio, through the Cordell Institute to take these this way of thinking, this way of teaching, and doing school to almost every curriculum, not just entrepreneurship. So that was the first thing that I did. And then after that, I started consulting. I started my first software business, which failed long story, but everybody has them. Actually, MaxJames here who’s on the call. He’s also in Holaplex. We started that company together. It was called Next Mover. It was the Uber for moving. Literally, our tagline was, “your friend with a truck.” But it failed because the cost of acquisition was too high, and the lifetime value of customers was too low. And we started doing work with Fortune 500 companies. And I was working with head engineering teams, teaching them the same methodology, the customer development market validation process. And around that time I met my partner, co-founder of Holaplex, Brian Fox. Brian is a serial entrepreneur. He was the first employee at the Free Software Foundation. And he wrote something called the “bash shell.” So, if anybody here is an engineer, you’ve used bash. The author of Bash is a co-founder of Holaplex. And he started a company back in 2016, called Orchid. And at the time, I was an entrepreneur in residence at venture technology company here in Santa Barbara. And I just had my first child and the product I was incubating with him. It had revenue but it wasn’t scaling fast enough for me to really support myself. And I either needed to raise venture funding or sell a company. And Brian has just started orchid which is orchid.com. You can go look at that. And I got an offer to buy my company. But I really wanted to work with Brian. And I was like, Crypto is the future. This company orchid is amazing. It’s decentralized VPN company, the vision around privacy, and global security through a decentralized overlay network was really exciting to me. I basically said, hey, if there’s a spot for me in the team, I’ll ditch this offer to sell my company, which was a great offer, and go into crypto full-time. And they hired me 3 days later. And so that was about 4 almost 5 five years ago. And I spent 3.5 years leading BD at Orchid. We raised $48 million. We brought the token to market on every major exchange globally. And I left. I also started an advisory firm during that time with Brian and our COO Matthew, who’s the COO of Holaplex and another friend of ours. And I left in January or February of last year to go work with Solana Foundation. And that’s how I ended up discovering Metroplex and being on the ground floor when that opportunity arose to build Holaplex. And we started Holaplex because we were just trying to solve a problem and help indie creators and remove a bottleneck around the need to know how to code. And actually, we didn’t start it with this idea that it would be a company or get as big and be as successful as it is now. It kinda become a beast after we launched it. We went from zero to 300 customers in 2 weeks. And basically, we called up all the investors and people who met in this space over the last couple of years to help make sure we could fund the future of it and support it. And that’s how we got to where we are.
Ben: 18:35 That’s awesome, man. What a story! I didn’t realize how much of an OG you are.
Alex: 18:43 It’s so funny that I could be considered OG only being in the space for 4 or 5 years, but it’s true that the space moves really fast. And it’s still a really small community. If you are operating for any company in this space right now, and you hustle and put yourself out there, you will meet everybody over a year period. It’s still quite small.
Ben: 19:06 Yeah! I totally agree. Yeah! It’s crazy. I think, I’m considered an OG. I started May, like end of May last year.
Alex: 19:21 Well, for sure. I mean, this Solana ecosystem has just exploded right over the last year. Yeah, it moves like lightning fast.
Ben: 19:30 Yeah! I feel ancient already. So, I can’t even imagine. That’s awesome, man. But look, I think, I just want to call, it’s cool. Also, to hear about your startup background. I am also pretty deep startup, serial entrepreneur, early social gaming guy. So, I also have a startup background. And I think that’s important to know how a lot of the operators are in the ecosystem. Because I notice, it’s hard to tell sometimes from just looking at the projects or the or the websites how well the underpinnings are. Yeah. And I found that people who’ve done this stuff before. We really spend the effort and the time to make sure the operations, the underpinning, and the tech is solid. It’s something you can rely on. This is no dig on anyone else building the first project. I think, it’s awesome. But it really is on people using the products to do their own research to realize. Because, sometimes, I’ve seen it where the UI is not quite telling the user what is actually happening. Because there’s a bug or it’s more of a prototype level thing or first cut or whatever it is. And someone hasn’t really said anything about it. It just looks like a normal running site. And I get it. Teams are pushing out stuff but I think, more experienced operators know to either have that buttoned up or be more clear with people. So, it’s cool to see that you and your team have that background.
Alex: 21:40 Yeah. I agree with you. It’s interesting. And I totally understand, especially like, a lot of projects, the founders, and people participating want to remain anonymous. And I totally understand that. It’s a scary world out there. But for me, it was pretty important, given in the community that we serve, not remain anonymous, I just didn’t feel like, that was right. And I do think, if you look at our team, and the people that are on our team, we do bring a lot of credibility to the space from a technology and business standpoint. We’ve all been a part of multiple companies that have been super successful at this point. And really understand the crypto and blockchain space as well.
Ben: 22:33 Yeah, I mean, we’re totally doxxed too for a lot of the same reasons. Yeah, I think, it works really well. From a community building side, from… Honestly, from every side, we were approached by… I mean, just even like, even with these AMAs were approached by some projects to do them. And some of them are anonymous. And I’m always worried about working with a project that that may rug. And if I don’t know, the project, and they’re anonymous, it’s really hard to know. And actually. It didn’t happen, but we were actually in early talks with a group. They reached out to us. We didn’t really do much but they ended up rugging. And it wasn’t even there. It was funny. It wasn’t even the team that reached out. It was like, I feel bad. Someone from their community, who was a moderator reached out to us to do some stuff and help promote the project. And even that mod got rugged, from the core team, core project. And I think, it’s just one of the things that we’re always on the lookout for or just trying to find out that we’re giving attention to good projects not. But, it’s a tough one to figure out, I think.
Alex: 24:07 You’re really careful.
And I think, maybe I mean, a good PSA, I’m sure a lot of people listening here are crypto native, but some for anybody who’s been maybe new to the ecosystem, always do your own research! Never give anyone your seed phrases. Make sure you are save your seed phrases. And make sure, anytime you’re out there and minting NFTs or connecting to an app that you don’t fully know that you are using a burning wallet with very little money. These are just some high level best practices that can protect you from some of the risks of the anonymous nature of some of the projects that you might interact with.
Ben: 24:43 Yeah. Let me… Actually, I’m kinda curious. Do you guys… Given that, you’re supporting a lot of creators and… Do you guys have to think about that in terms of the creators you work with?
Alex: 24:58 Like security?
Ben: 24:59 Yeah!
Alex: 24:59 I mean, yeah! First of all, we take security really seriously. But as far as education goes… Yeah, I mean, we talk to creators all the time. And we try to make sure that they’re aware of the best practices in the space for securing and crypto. And really understand what things like self-custody mean. You literally are your own bank, and you hold the keys. And if you lose the keys, you can’t get in.
Ben: 25:26 Actually, I’m more curious about the side of… Do you try to monitor or curate whether or not someone doing a collection is legit or not?
Alex: 25:40 Yeah! So, everything in Holaplex is community-driven. We rely heavily on the community. And so a couple of things that we do, one, if the community reports, somebody that has like stolen art or fake art or scammy art, we look into it. And we can make a decision whether or not to post to that site and have it show up in our discovery tool. And, we are a permissionless open platform, and the amount of incidence of that happening have been very few so far. And when we have found out about it or been told about it by the community, we’ve taken it down really quickly. The other thing that we’re doing is, we’re enabling the creators to own the market, not just the marketplace, but the entire market. And part of that means, giving them open source software that they can have control over. And if you look at the monkey art site… Solana monkey business is one of the first partners to use our new marketplace tools that we’re going to launch soon. They actually have a carbon copy of holaplex.com. That is the discovery tool which filters, Monkey DAO Artists. And we had something similar with the URS. It is coming in a couple more… I think, scuba you might be able to talk about it. But the idea is these are artists that are verified by crypto native DAOs that those DAOs want to support. And it’s a great way. We’re looking into a different adding into the UX, a little badging system. So, you will be able to know when an artist is a part of a DAOs that’s verified. And so we’re really enabling the community to manage that verification process. I think those are some ideas that we have. But you know obviously, there are a lot of different ideas people might have. And if anyone has suggestions there, I would love to hear it. But it’s a tough thing because you want to balance being permissionless and open as a community, as a platform, and as a technology. You got to be able to maintain those… that ethos. One of the things… So, when I was in Orchid, I started this podcast. That’s still there. I did the first 40 episodes. You can go to work.com and see. The podcast was exploring the intersection of privacy, human rights, technology, and democracy. And I was speaking with a lot of different people that are experts in that area or arena, including the director of the EFF. And, one theme that came up is, Yes, moderation is really important. Content moderation is really important. But it’s also a really slippery-slope to censorship. And so I’m sensitive about striking the right balance there. And I think, community-driven models, some models that might we then say, token-economics, which some of our marketplace partners are looking at integrating their own token to drive-curated-collections. So, allowing the community to actually vote with tokens on that thing. But in general, my thesis is it should all be community-driven and operated.
Ben: 28:49 I think that’s a good answer. I mean, it’s definitely something… We struggle with the same thing. it’s hard. I’m constantly looking for better answers. Because, I think it’s one of the biggest things that everyone has to struggle with. I think naturally, once someone… Even though you’re trying to be permission less, once someone really likes what you’re doing. They start trusting you. And they say, Well! I’m using you, that’s anything on you. It must be good. And it’s a very natural thing. I mean, dealing with that fundamental… How do you… I guess, this natural fundamental flow of trust.
Alex: 29:43 Yeah! No! I hear you. It’s hard. I think, it’s part on the collector side of things, especially because, I mean, the creators get harmed and the collectors get harmed if they buy. If scammy art is sold. We’re constantly looking at ways to improve the UX and add different features that make it easier to do research. So, do your own research is definitely still applies! No matter what platform you’re using. And even platforms that have, permission, and have a quote unquote vetting process, have had gamey art show up. There is really no perfect solution, gating, keeping everybody from being able to just easily create or some easily onboarding doesn’t really fully solve the problem. And so, one feature that we added is just simply connecting your wallet to your Twitter handle via bone fiat. And so that allows… Collector will have to do little cursory. It will take five minutes to look at that Twitter handle and just verify that that artist is real. And if you see something, say something as our Discord. That’s wide open, and we have people that are watching constantly in the community. They say thanks very loudly to us. If there’s ever anything like that discovered, which we appreciate. I want them to do that. And then, I think for people running projects, for them a big piece of advice, I would say is transparency and communication. I think, it’s one of the biggest learnings on our part. We’ve been striving to improve a lot is just making sure you’re communicating and being transparent with the community in an in a rapid manner or as fast as you possibly can. Because that builds the trust as well. Everybody does eventually understand it. This is a new space, where we are on the cutting edge of technology even just like a model of decentralization and stuff happens. And so, if you’re just honest and open in your communications, then that also helps you maintain trust with the community.
Ben: 31:41 So, great answer, man. Let me switch gears a little bit. I want to throw out one of… We do a trivia here in the text channel. And I’m just going to… Because I am curious about this too. But I’m going to give a trivia question number one to everyone in the audience. Here is a trivia question 1. I’m actually curious about the right answer for this. But this is the most wrong answer version. Alright, guys! Here it is. Okay, trivia number 1, what is the most wrong answer for why Holaplex is named Holaplex. And I’m actually curious how you guys came on that name? I love the name by the way!
Alex: 32:23 There’s actually a fun story. So obviously, a lot of people thought because I’m a crypto angel. There are no wrong answers. We need a rise or something.
Ben: 32:38 What’s that?
Alex: 32:40 We need a prize or something for the right answer.
Ben: 32:44 Oh! So, we work on… Although, we’re a little bit behind, but we work on a special collab NFT for winners of the trivia. So, I can share that with you guys, too. So, if you want to do a giveaway as well. But we do one, that has both of our logo characters. Although they’re different. Everyone’s a little different each time.
Alex: 33:15 Oh well. Yeah, maybe we can come up with something after a collab with an artist or something for both owners.
Ben: 33:21 Dude, that would be amazing. Yeah, let’s do it. I’d be down.
Alex: 33:27 Okay! crypto runs pretty close. Here we go, Mr. Monday, you got it. It’s actually not Holaplex. It’s Holaplex. Hello in Spanish. I was a Spanish major in college. Actually, was a Spanish teacher… Trivia… Personal trivia there. It’s funny, Daniel! Your response because Holaplex without the “H” domain has been sold out. That is also a company. It’s a haircare company that often gets confused with Holaplex, the NFT company, which is hilarious. So, we have got ola without the h… olaplex.com. You’ll see it’s a hair company. Yeah, the thinking here for me was when we started the company, we were building on top of Metaplex. We build on top of Metaplex. And I was like, what’s the fastest way to ship a Metaplex store? It’s Holaplex. And Holaplex is like, Hello, world for Metaplex storefronts! That’s where “hello world” was your fastest… Back in early days, when I was building that software business, that little SaaS business with Brian, I taught myself how to write code. And I’m terrible. I’m a terrible software developer personally. I’m more of a business development sales guy or entrepreneur. We have awesome tech people on our team. And I should not be the one writing the software. I know enough to understand. I think we lost you. Yeah, my bad! Sorry, I got a phone call that interrupted my broadcast. Can you hear me?
Ben: 35:04 Yep. You sound good now.
Alex: 35:06 Yeah. So anyway, that’s how the name started. And obviously, the first app build when you’re learn how to code is a Hello, World app!
Ben: 35:18 That’s amazing. Apologies because I totally mangled it. Because I thought it was Holaplex.
Alex: 35:25 Everybody says that. I don’t even like say anything about it. Because I can’t look… The name might need some work. I wish, I could just buy ola.com. So that people would just know. Everyone says Holaplex.
Ben: 35:45 That’s cool. No, that’s awesome. It’s it. Actually, honestly, that’s a great… I know that you made the connection between the Hello World thing with the Holaplex. But that’s a great naming!
Alex: 36:03 I mean, the goal when we started was to make it as easy as possible for indie creators to get into the NFTs space. And so, hello world to your art.
Ben: 36:14 Yeah. So, we need to pick a winner for one of these people.
Alex: 36:21 Oh hold on. Let me see! Because, I think, somebody got it. Like, actually got it. Let me go back up to see if I find the first one. This guy, there were people who were… Yeah, I think, it was Mr. Monday who said that he has a complex with saying hello in Spanish. That’s pretty close.
Ben: 36:44 All right. Well! This is the most wrong answer version. So, it can be anything. We can give it to the correct people. I don’t mind.
Alex: 36:54 Okay. Well, I don’t want to mess with the rules here.
Scuba: 36:58 I personally think Daniel, because all the Holaplex domain has been sold.
Ben: 37:05 Okay! Why don’t we give it to both?
Scuba: 37:07 I think, that’s fair.
Alex: 37:11 Yeah! Let’s do it.
Ben: 37:13 Monday and Daniel.
Alex: 37:19 I really appreciate everyone who did understand that it was Spanish. Thank you!
Scuba: 37:28 Yeah, that wasn’t me, man. But there’s some good people in this community.
Alex: 37:38 Yeah, I mean, I see the AMA channel too. If anybody has questions for me that they want to ask… I don’t know if you want to open it up. But if you have other questions, you want to ask about us or where we’re going, I’m happy to answer.
Ben: 37:50 Yeah! I mean, it is part of this channel, it is for them to tag. Usually, I pick from the channel, but feel free to pick if you see any questions. I mean, we’re pretty freeform.
Scuba: 38:01 I’ve been doing my best to respond and update with stuff, too. I think, CryptoRon is actually might be opening a Holaplex store to post his nature photography, which could be fun.
Ben: 38:15 That’s great. You are getting new creators.
Alex: 38:17 Yeah, let’s go guys. We love that.
Ben: 38:24 Actually, one of the questions I had, because I wanted to dig a little bit more about new and upcoming product stuff that you’re coming out with. But my first question on that was, how are you thinking when you’re coming up with these new releases? What was the thinking behind them? Like, how did you decide what to work on?
Alex: 38:52 Everything’s community-driven. And its part of community. If you go back to the beginning of my story, this process of market validation and customer development, it’s all about listening to your customers, your users and the community. The whole terminology revolves around customers. That’s web-2. And web-3 is community because you don’t have customers. You have community. And basically, everything that we’re building is all driven by that. And so, you can go back to why we built the discovery tonalplex.com That came from collectors and creators telling us, hey! it’s hard for me to find these storefronts. How do I find artists? How do I find art to buy? And so, we realized we need to make that easier. And we had to solve some hard problems around indexing to do that. And then, if you go to olalex.com that has some social media fields to it. Because it’s trending auctions. And so it has that same dopamine release that you’re used to when you’re like scrolling through your Instagram and see trending videos or whatnot. And so we should be trending auctions there. And when we started talking to collectors about that, we were hearing from them that finding NFTs in general, not just art on Olaplex is kind of hard. You’ve got 20 tabs open. There’s no real good place to go and find them. Because we built the technology around indexing, we realized that we could index every NFTs on Solana no matter where it’s listed. And we can make it easy for you to find and make offers on. And, again, community being everything. We didn’t want to build Dex that listed every NFT on Solana without talking to the other projects in the space that are big or larger project that might not be a one on one artist. We didn’t want to just build the stakes and list them without talking to them. And understand what their needs are. So, we went out and we talked to all of them. And what we kept hearing over and over again, is that they would like their own marketplace. They were fine with having aggregate on holaplex.com. And it’s because it makes it easy to get all the eyeballs there. But they actually wanted her own marketplace. And so that’s what we’re giving them. We’re giving them… We basically take that same tool, it powers the dex, and hand it to any project that wants it. Because most of these projects have plans for doing future drops with future NFTs that have different utility. And we give them a place to direct list to, and then have it all aggregate at holaplex.com. And then, we split the fees with them 50-50. They set the fees, and we gave them complete control and ownership. And typically, all these projects have their own dev resources too. So, they can do a lot of customizations. They can have plugins to get different features to their user bases on their marketplace. And so it’s a win for the entire ecosystem. But again, it’s all. Our process was talk to the customer and find out what they want to talk with community. And that’s just the right way to build anything.
Ben: 42:09 Yeah! I agree. It sounds like, you have 2 types of people. Is it like, creators or projects they want to have their own markets. And then, I don’t know. NFT buyers, or people are…
Alex: 42:29 So, what we discovered through all this conversation with different community members is we actually have multiple segments. So that community has multiple segments. If you think about it like small, medium, and large enterprise, there’s Indie creators, which have their own storefronts. You can think of them as Mom and Pop small businesses. And then, there’s crypto native projects, DAOs, and curators. People who want to curate their own art or have their own project that’s medium. And they want their own marketplaces. And then, market from that. There are niche marketplaces that are adjacent to crypto native communities. But they might be closer to mainstream consumer markets that have operators or entrepreneurs that are building them, and have proven track record in that space. We believe, they could generate a significant amount of volume for the Hola community. And those… We’re talking… I can’t speak publicly about who they are. But we have several working now that we’re really excited about. And then, all the way up at large enterprise, you’ve got fortune 100 and fortune 500. And I still think from a trend standpoint, I saw that in the prep document. If you’re looking at trends, it’s still 6 months out probably from having real launches with a company like that. But it’s happening much faster than I thought it would. I thought we are 2 years away from that. But literally, everybody in their mom and dawg are looking at how to get into NFTs. And, I think what’s interesting for me is if you think about what we’re building, it’s really more like Linux and WordPress for NFTs. And so, our opportunity is to just give power. I mean, WordPress powers 20% to 25% of the internet. So, we could do the same thing for NFTs on the internet across multiple different segments. And, we can sprinkle some tokennomics, governance, open source strategy, and community-driven strategy. It’s pretty powerful.
Ben: 44:41 Yeah! I agree. It sounds like, you see yourselves more as infrastructure or either managing or running that infrastructure, as well as shepherding the code base. Is that right?
Alex: 45:01 Yeah. And the more these mid-market projects that we launched, or that we launched with or that we partner with, the more developers and companies that are building, … If you look at like a DAO is a company, the more engineering resources that are way outside of our company that are actually contributing to this and providing, in many cases, the same exact service that we started out providing. Our goal was never to be a marketplace or to dominate a marketplace. Our goal was always to empower the creator. And creators turn out are indie creators, musicians, artists, indie gamers, and DAOs, and NFT projects. They’re building utility around NFTs. They are entrepreneurs. And then, in some cases, they’re are corporations that are trying to get an empty space and try to leverage the utility that NFTs offers with their communities. So, it’s pretty broad as far as how we can empower creators with these tools.
Scuba: 46:05 That that’s really cool. I’m just kind of curious You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. Are there… Have you given any… Are there certain ideas around, how you’re going to launch the token? I’m just curious to hear how you go and move more towards a… How you use the token to move more towards a DAO. How are you aligning the incentives?
Alex: 46:32 Well, I mean, our hope is that there will be this reward system that rewards creators and marketplace operators for contributing to the DAO. But one thing that I’ve been telling people is that the DAO needs to be formed by the community. Like, I don’t really want to be the person that does that. I think, it’s more appropriate that the community does that. And then, we can partner with the DAO. That’s my gut. Because it’s supposed to be community driven. This is community-driven project. But I’m definitely open to ideas. Anybody, who’s formed a DAO before, hit us up! I participated, myself, but I feel like this is a little bit of uncharted territory. We’re still really early in the process. What is the makeup of the DAO? How’s the governance work and all that stuff. But in my mind, I have ideas. But I’m pretty hesitant to be the person pushing those ideas, just because I’m one member… Obviously, as the founder of Holaplex, I can have a pretty strong influence. And I don’t really want to do that. I’d rather have the community. Again, listen to the community! Everything around that is me wanting to listen to community. So…
Ben: 47:50 Yeah! I think, we’re in the same boat and just wanting to learn from everyone who’s done it. Find the best way. I mean, honestly, I think, overall your approach is probably right. Maybe even just like, have the community drive it! I mean, it is interesting. Cool. So, can you share… Maybe this is too detailed, but more around the timing for the discovery or when, you are going to have a big launch for it with a number of people? Or is there some other…
Alex: 48:41 Yeah! I don’t want to throw a specific date, but we’re weeks away.
Ben: 48:47 Okay.
Alex: 48:50 Yeah, from the launch of the stakes and the marketplace tools. And we have a lot of demand for the marketplace tool. So, we’ll be rolling out a lot of different partners.
Ben: 49:03 Yeah! I mean, honestly, one thing that is you guys have done a great job in turns… I mean, one of the hard problems early on was performance related things. And as he said that, I mean, Discovery just makes it even harder in terms of performance. And so, I think you guys have done a great job making that faster. And I mean, honestly, the making the UX a lot easier and better for people to use… Was there any particular challenges around that for this?
Alex: 49:50 For the discovery tool. Yes! And the first 3 months of the company, our engineers like ate so much glass. I’m trying to figure out how to improve. What was really just a reference implementation. That Metaplex release. And we did a lot of work to make that… instead of the community, we weren’t the only ones contributing. Metaplex team has worked with us really closely hand-in-hand to make that better. And, so we solved a lot of hard problems that actually enabled us to build this DEX, and marketplace product. So, for everybody listening to who was there early days and saw the performance issues with Holaplex and in the Metaplex reference implementation… We solve those hard problems. And this is the first product actually, that we built from the ground up ourselves. I mean, obviously, on top of all the… We use the Auction House contract that’s part of the Metaplex protocol, but everything we built is ground up by us, which is really cool. And so, singers, it’s techs, I can’t say it’s going to be perfect, but definitely my engineering team is pretty excited to have built this from the ground up.
Ben: 51:07 That’s awesome, man. Congrats, that’s really cool. Are you going to do any private beta or limited release before then? Are you going to do a big…? Just opening up!
Alex: 51:20 Probably, yeah! We’ll do it. We’ll have a beta release. I don’t know that it will be private, that will have a beta release. And I think, if you, guys, everybody listening wants to participate in that, I would just you to go follow at Olaplex on Twitter. That’s where we will be making announcements, and also just jump into our Discord. That’s generally a good place to go and follow us.
Ben: 51:44 Awesome. That’s really cool. Besides the discovery tool, what were some of the other…?
Alex: 51:56 Oh yeah! Some of the other insights that we learned. So, one really cool thing… I think, we actually just released this Google profile page.
Scuba: 52:09 Yeah, it got released. I believe, beginning of this week on Monday.
Alex: 52:14 Okay! So, the profile page, what that actually is a visually rich block Explorer for NFTs. That’s where it’s going anyway right now. You connect your wallet and it shows you a list of NFTs that you’ve interacted with Holaplex. But where it’s going is, it’s going to enable you to have… you can say, follow a collector, follow a collection, follow an auction, follow a storefront, follow a creator, and do things like see when they list a new auction or instant sale or see when you’ve been outbid on something, get a notification. So, there’s these like social primitives built in to this tool that allow you to see a bunch of data around the NFTs, and how they’ve been traded, where they came from, all that stuff. And I’m really excited about that. And I think, the experience we had with the discovery tool release that we did in November is going to be similar when we start rolling out some of these more advanced features for the profile page as far as usage. And again, this is all driven by customers and the community. I keep saying, customers because my that’s the language of the past. Community! Yeah, this is all been driven by community, coming to us and saying, Hey, these are the problems we have, and then the US using technology, and design UX to build solutions around it. And so I think it’s going to be a really valuable tool for anybody who is active in NFTs and so on.
Ben: 53:41 That’s really cool. I can totally see it being valuable. I am really curious. If you’re following an artist or a collection, how do they get notified? How are you handling up? Because, I think, that’s the key things.
Alex: 53:56 Yeah, I mean, right now… So that’s a problem that I think still needs to be solved. So right now, I think it’s like, you got to connect to the profile page and see the notification.
Alex: 54:09 I would love it if in the future, we had like our own mobile app, where you could do mobile notifications or maybe there will be an SDK with phantom or something that we can integrate with their mobile apps. So, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. But when we thought about setting up email notifications or text notifications, if the community really wants that. We can add that. However, those are centralized systems. And that was hard. In the end, they also gave up your private information. So, there are some privacy concerns and centralization concerns from that’s I was worried about. Right now, the first version, notifications will come through on the actual profile page itself. So, you have to go check it.
Ben: 54:52 Got it. Oh interesting. Okay! Yeah, this one’s a tough 1 of the core ones like how do you note how do you notify anyone have anything?
Alex: 55:02 Yeah, I mean, look, if there are some ideas are sending an NFTs notification, but it is still in your wallet, check it! See it. How many NFTs you have in your wallet. If there’s any developers listening, we’re 100% open source. If you have ideas for how to do this, and want to prototype something, get in touch with our team on Discord, and pull a request. And we’d love to see to have you contribute. If there’s anybody here listening that has plans to build a marketplace of their own, please just build with us. Because we don’t, We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. As a community, we can make the best tools for NFTs, for creators, and for the planet, if we use the collective mind share of everybody. We can align via all the incentive structures that the ecosystem has in place.
Ben: 55:52 I love what you just said, there. It’s great. Actually one question on that. We’re getting close to the end of time. But I am curious, how would you… Given that there are other marketplaces out there on Solana, a lot of them also closed source… How do you think about yourself versus them? Or how do you…
Alex: 56:16 Well, I touched on this earlier, I mean, I think being 100%, community-driven, governed and open source makes us really different. We are not a marketplace. The community is the market. The community governs the market; the community is the marketplace. And I just think that’s just fundamentally a different way of looking at the market in general. Yes, I think there’s competition there. But we’re very different. It’s hard for me to even really look at it as competition. And we’re open source like any of them. We can contribute to the tools that we’re building, some of the infrastructure that you build. I think, it could be useful to any other competitor. And I’m happy to have them use it, and contribute back to it. I really hope that it benefits everybody. That’s part of the point. So and to be clear, I don’t think that the way that these other marketplaces have structured their businesses are bad. I have much respect for the things that they’re building and the traction they’ve gotten in the way they’ve helped projects in the space. I think, it’s great. At least, we have a different view. It’s really bad or better
Ben: 57:28 I guess, if I could say, it seems like, you’re maybe thinking a layer beneath… I mean, if you’re thinking of it more as a tooling and infrastructure for marketplaces, rather than just being a marketplace.
Alex: 57:43 Yeah, exactly. It exists and it is totally fair. I mean, I think, look, the total available market for NFTs is just getting started. It’s massive. This space is massive, I think, it’s a multi-trillion-dollar market and long-term. It’s huge. And rather than every time you want to build a marketplace, which is a core part of the infrastructure, or every time you want to build an indexing solution, which is a core part of the infrastructure, rather than like reinventing the wheel, I think we should just do everything open source and align business models and community-driven models in a way that allows us to grow together. So…
Scuba: 58:21 No, that’s great! I say the same thing about volume. Jupiter’s mission is really… I mean, actually, we don’t take any fees right now because our goal is to grow volume. We think the same thing. It’s like, look, the Solana is still very early. It’s going to be so huge. And we shouldn’t be trying to fight for the existing pie, or maximize revenue for what’s now. We should actually be trying to grow the whole thing. Because there’s so much more ahead of us. So, I totally agree. Cool, man. Wow! We just hit the one-hour mark. So, this has been amazing. Usually, I do more trivia, but you’ve been just sharing so much great, alpha. It’s been great. Any last things you want to share with anyone?
Alex: 59:16 No! Just thanks, everybody for who joined. And please reach out to us. Follow us on Twitter at Holaplex. Go support some artists. Please go bid on their work. If you’re a collector. Check out the secondary filter on our discovery tool. There’s some awesome opportunities there, that I was saying last night. And if you’re an engineer, we are hiring. We we’d love to talk to you. And if you’re building a project in the space that does anything NFT related, we would love to talk to you and see how we can help with integrations or any open source contributions.
Scuba: 1:00:01 There’s a joint RFP that’s out between Jupiter and Holaplex.
Alex: 1:00:08 Yeah! Scuba share about that. Or Ben! Either one! When you guys tell…
Ben: 1:00:13 Go for it, Scuba.
Alex: 1:00:19 I think, you should go for it, Scuba.
Scuba: 1:00:14 Okay. Yeah. So, we’re looking for someone to write a frontend component that allows anyone to use Jupiter swap directly on Holaplex. So that you can swap whatever it might be, whether it’s USTC, or whether it’s bone fiat, or maybe other tokens for other projects directly on the website and bid on artwork and NFTs.
Ben: 1:00:57 Great summary. Yeah, we should definitely share a little bit how we’re thinking and working together too. So it sounds like… I think, what’s exciting is that, other creator marketplaces that want to use their own token, or project, they want to use our own token for the marketplace, they can do that. But then, also allow any user to use whatever token that they have in their wallet to swap to that token, with best prices, and then to purchase. That NFT… And all are in a single click, so I think that would be end goal. And I think, it’s going to be awesome.
Alex: 1:01:42 How to make it easy to ape into those NFTs guys!
Ben: 1:01:46 Yeah. Awesome. Well, thanks everyone for joining. This has been a great turnout. By the way, I think we hit around 230 plus.
Alex: 1:01:59 246! It was the top I counted.
Ben: 1:02:02 You counted. Oh wow! Nice.
Alex: 1:02:03 I was watching the audience.
Ben: 1:02:06 Nice. Yeah! So, it was a great turnout. I think, just tribute to what you guys have been doing. And people are really interested in NFTs and the things that you’re building. So, thank you guys for coming and sharing all your great alphas. Thanks, everyone for tuning in. We’ll see you at the next one. You guys, all have a good day.
Alex: 1:02:28 Have a good day, everybody. Thanks for having us.
Scuba: 1:02:30 Appreciate it. Thanks.
Ben: 1:02:31 Yeah.