Crypto Multimillionaire Goes NFTs – Interview With Bored Ape Zazul

Zazul is an early Bitcoin and Ethereum investor, who turned into an NFT lover. He is a member of the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club and has recently founded his own NFT project, Time DAO.  Below, you will find my interview with Zazul – his views on NFTs, the projects he is invested in, and his tips for new people entering the NFT space in 2022. Also, he is looking to hire 😉 If you are looking for an NFT job, this might be your chance.

Hi Zazul, when and how did your NFT journey start?

I first learned about (and purchased) ETH in 2017 and became aware of NFTs as a concept that year. I read articles about the CryptoKitties craze when that was hot back then, understood it from a technical level, but didn’t dive in deep enough to consider investing. It really wasn’t until Beeple’s Everydays sale in March of last year that I started understanding the game-changing impact it was having for artists, both in terms of distribution but also royalties providing an income stream in perpetuity. Even then I was thinking about NFTs in art as 1/1s, and it was still a few months after that before I started reading about these 10k collections of punks and apes, how the art was generated, how they created entire communities behind these projects. So I went into research mode, and the best way I found to do that was to make this new anonymous twitter account in October and following people immersed in this space. It really was the best way to start understanding what minting, whitelists, floor prices, reveals, etc all meant, and start making guesses on what NFTs might be worth investing in.

You are a member of the Bored Ape Yacht Club – how did you come across it and what convinced you to enter this very special community?

BAYC was part of the reason I got sucked into the NFT community in October, given their crazy success. For about a month I was on the outside looking in, and my investment approach was more learning enough to hopefully find „the next“ BAYC. I honestly had no thought of buying into it initially because I couldn’t wrap my head around going so all-in on a single NFT. Unlike crypto where you can buy a fraction of a BTC, you can’t really buy a fraction of an NFT (before someone tweets at me: yes I know there are ways where people can go into group ownership of NFTs, like Ape DAO, but that’s more indirect). But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that BAYC (alongside CryptoPunks) were in such a unique spot in being the trend-setters and initiators of this whole new ecosystem of NFT collections and communities. I started understanding that these NFTs were now embedded in our culture, and as with anything cultural and artistic, the originals historically are worth more than the various imitators that emerge. On top of it I just really liked the messaging from the BAYC team around their roadmap, how they are pushing a real brand emerging, plus the satiric vibes of this fictional yacht club where in reality these apes hang out in a dive bar in the swamps.

I had a fairly large chunk of money invested in ETH, and I kept asking myself „Do I think these bored apes are going to be more valuable a year, or even five years, from now?“, and the answer kept being „yes“. So I pulled the trigger.

What has been your most epic BAYC moment so far?

Hah, I think it was fairly immediate because I had  my first ever viral tweet  when I posted about how someone called me dumb for buying an expensive bored ape jpeg. 

What other NFT communties do you recommend to check out for new people who might be priced out of the BAYC ecosystem?

Obligatory note that this is Not Financial Advice, and Do Your Own Research. The fun thing about NFTs is that projects and communities can be so different. The community I love the vibes in the most is Alpha Girl Club (I own 6), and they have a beautiful vision surrounding mental health.

I’m super impressed by the community strength of Lazy Lions, Bubblegum Kids, and Mars Cats Voyage. I love the art for my Boonji Project, Galaxy Eggs, and SuperlativeSecretSociety. One of the more unique projects I like the grand vision for is Altered State Machine („brain“ NFTs that can be your personal AI to use for various other projects/metaverses!). I made my first play into owning metaverse „land“ by getting an Ivory pad in Portals (on Solana). I’m also excited for the upcoming launch of Council of Kingz where they are basically using a large chunk of the revenue from the collection to create a metaverse real estate portfolio, which seems like a wonderful business model.

What was your biggest lesson learned so far in the NFT space?

Do research and resist FOMO! I wasted some money early on in my NFT journey buying into new collections because of the FOMO around them, and in hindsight roadmaps were vague, I wasn’t even that into the art, and unsurprisingly floor prices kept falling. Conversely, I’ve also learned to be patient with projects you truly believe in, so don’t panic sell when you think the team behind it is legit and working hard to create value. A perfect example of this is Alpha Girl Club (I just wrote a twitter thread on that yesterday). 

What would be your advice to new people entering the NFT space in 2022, whether as collectors or as creators?

First and foremost I’d caution anyone who enters this space simply looking to make quick money because of the news they’ve seen of some making riches. Never invest money you can’t afford to lose, and the reality is most NFT projects will lose you money. For me it always starts with taking the time to research. Unfortunately there are lots of scammers out there, so educating yourself before diving in is key. I’d suggest following a similar journey that I took of using Twitter as your resource center to learn more about NFTs, find people you trust and have credibility in the space, find out about new projects, see lessons learned and tips, etc. Then start joining Discord servers for projects that look interesting, read roadmaps, read about the teams behind the projects, etc. And the best way to learn is by doing, so at some point buying into some NFT collections (even low priced ones) and going through these experiences.

On the creator side, I think it’s going to get more and more competitive out there, but NFTs will increasingly be the way art will be sold, and the royalties dynamics are by far the fairest and most favorable to you as an artist. Doing 1/1 art or joining a team to work on an NFT collection are very different things and decisions. But similarly I’d just suggest connecting with other creators in the space, learning from them, and then starting to venture out in actually minting some pieces to get your work out there. There are plenty of builders in the NFT space looking for great artists to work with (including me with Time DAO!), so certainly lots of opportunities.

I saw that you recently co-founded your own NFT project Time DAO – can you tell us more about that? What it is about and when do you plan to launch approximately?

I’m really excited about Time DAO. I’m co-founding it with a fellow bored ape Metacrix, and we are still in the process of assembling the rest of the founding team. The basic idea is that we are going to tokenize time, so that you can own time as an NFT. We’ll launch a collection of Day NFTs, where for every new real-world 24hour period we’ll have a new Day NFT created, which will go up for daily auction. So instead of a typical NFT collection where we release all NFTs in a single day, we have a new Day NFT created each day, forever. The other special thing about it is 100% of the money made from Day NFTs goes to the Time DAO treasury, and Day NFT owners will get to vote on how that money is spent. We have a bunch of cool ideas of how that money can be used to commission great artists to create time-based „memories“ that Day NFT owners would get, and a lot more. So basically 100% of the money you spend on the NFT will go towards funding ways to add more value to those NFTs, and you’ll have a say in that via DAO voting. Plus it’s just a cool notion to own a day in time, and the potential utilities that can be built on top of that. If that sounds cool to you, follow @Time_DAO on Twitter and join the Discord! Or if you know anyone who might be a good addition to our team please reach out! We are especially still on the lookout for UI/UX designers, front-end developers, and social + community engagement roles.

Do you still have your day job and if so, what is it?

Yes I still have a day job, which I enjoy though I do want to eventually work in web3 full-time. Currently I work for a public tech company as a Product Manager, and my experience is mostly around consumer mobile and web apps. Crypto and NFTs are just hobbies for me, but I am both a geek and an art lover so it’s nice that my hobby happens to be something I can make money off of on the side.

What do your real life friends & family think of your NFT involvement?

Most don’t know about it, haha. My wife knows and at first she was very hesitant about owning an asset like a Bored Ape, but to her credit she has been really willing to learn more about the space, and now she understands the value of NFTs. Most friends and extended family know I have been into crypto for a while, but not NFTs.  I’m not someone that likes to flaunt money, and it honestly feels weird to me to share with friends that I own a bored ape that people can look up and see is worth quite a lot. And they’d probably be wondering why I own an expensive jpeg but don’t drive a nicer car, haha. We don’t live any sort of crazy rich life, since so far money I’ve made off crypto and NFTs have mostly all gone straight back into more investments.

What is the biggest misconception you witness from your real life environment with regards to NFTs?

There’s mainly two: (1) the „right-click-save“ argument, and (2) that NFTs (and crypto generally) are bad for the environment. I think both are disproven fairly easily for anyone that is willing to actually discuss and learn more about the topics instead of dismissing it completely. The approach I take is that I’m not going to force feed anyone on the topic (or any topic for that matter). If anyone is genuinely curious to learn more, I’ll happily talk in depth to them about it.

Final question: what is your favorite food?

I’m a huge foodie (and also like a nice cocktail), so that’s a tough question! For me it’s hard to beat a perfectly grilled medium-rare steak, with some crispy truffle fries and chimichurri sauce on the side, paired with a Manhattan, Old-Fashioned, or nice red wine. I actually cook a lot and tend to eat healthier than that most nights, but if I’m splurging…

Thank you for this amazing interview, Zazul!

For more NFT insights and updates, follow Zazul and me on Twitter

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