🎙 Zeneca: "The Market is Fed Up With the Same Sorts of Projects and There's a Flight to Gaming NFTs"
Zeneca is an NFT investor and content creator who grew his collection of non-fungible tokens from 0 to about 3,000 pieces worth millions in less than a year. He comes on the podcast to talk about how he went from professional poker player to full-time NFT trader, and what lessons from poker he has brought over to crypto. We discuss the importance of teams and communities when investing in NFT projects, and the key signals he looks for when buying NFTs. Zeneca talks about the difficult balance of using incentives to bootstrap community, while also providing value beyond those incentives, otherwise projects become unsustainable.
Zeneca believes the NFT market has hit a downturn amid rising crypto prices because it has become saturated with the same types of projects. He believes avatars will take a back seat to projects where NFTs have utility beyond displaying the art itself and being part of a community. That’s why gaming is setting up to be the next big movement in NFTs, he says. Still, he doesn’t believe we’ve seen a true bull and bear market yet — that will come when NFTs better integrate with DeFi and leverage comes into play.
Next, Zeneca is looking forward to focusing more on content creation than trading, and he’ll be of course experimenting with NFTs as a way of monetizing that content, with his own NFT drop coming just around the time this podcast is published.
The podcast was led by Camila Russo, and edited by Alp Gasimov. Transcript was edited by Owen Fernau.
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Matcha, which routes orders across DEXs on Ethereum, Polygon, BSC, fantom, and Avalanche to provide the best possible prices without taking any commissions.
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👀 Only paid subscribers have access to the full interview transcript below.
Zeneca: Sure. So I got into NFTs at the start of this year, and crypto mainly then as well. But before that, I was a professional poker player for about 15 years. So I came from a nontraditional background, nontraditional career, and that made the transition into NFTs relatively seamless, and easier than if, say, I was quitting a 9-5 traditional job to get involved.
“...I came from a nontraditional background, nontraditional career, and that made the transition into NFTs relatively seamless…”
So I played professional poker for 15 years, I went from high school to that. And then around 2016-2017, when the crypto bull market was happening, then I started getting a little bit into crypto. I was excited by it, into Ethereum and all the possibilities, but I couldn't really visualize what all these smart contracts would be used for in the future. I didn't quite get it the same way that I think that I do now.
So when the bear market hit in 2017, I left the crypto space, I was less interested. I wasn't one of the ones that stuck around, went back to real life, went back to poker. And then at the start of this year when everything started picking up again, prices were taking off, I was starting to get more interested in what was happening. And so NFTs were starting to pop off around the same time, say, January, February, March.
And I had some friends who hadn't really left the space, they'd been in the crypto space for a few years. And they were telling me a bit about Hashmasks and CryptoPunks, and how they're worth tens of thousands of dollars, and I couldn't believe it, obviously. Like, anytime someone first hears about NFTs they think it's a scam or something outrageous or ridiculous, and that was basically my first impression too.
“...anytime someone first hears about NFTs they think it's a scam or something outrageous or ridiculous, and that was basically my first impression too.”
But eventually, I realized, these friends of mine, they’re really smart. They wouldn't be spending so much time and money in the space if there wasn't something of substance there. So I started doing some research and doing some reading and digging and educating myself on NFTs and crypto again, in general, because I hadn't been in the space for a while and was trying to catch up.
And I just sort of fell in love and made a bit of a conscious decision to spend a lot of my time on the crypto space, and NFT space and not on poker. And so that was probably around February, March. And then just since then it's been eight months. And I'm still learning. I spent a lot of time learning and figuring out what's going on. Maybe four or five months was pretty heavily trading NFTs, buying, selling on an active daily basis.
And then somewhere along the way, I decided to create content. I decided to start a newsletter, largely because I've found that I learned about things best if I'm trying to write about them and explain it to other people. And so I thought it would be really helpful for me to talk about projects that were going on at the time. And it just sort of blew up and a lot of people started to really resonate with the words, I guess.
And then I do these daily stats on Twitter, which again, I started tracking the floor price of a handful of projects that I was personally invested in out of personal interest because it was helpful for my trading. And I tweeted it out once and like a lot of people were like, whoa this is really, really cool and interesting. And I was like alright, well maybe I'll just tweet this out every day. And five months later, here we are, it's really blown up.
And from there I have just kept creating content, I have a podcast and then I've got a Discord server and have my own NFT drop coming out. I'm going to start a YouTube channel. And I'm really focused now less on the day-to-day trading and buying and selling of NFTs and more on creating and trying to find ways that I can give value back to the community via content or via consulting and advising on projects, trying to help them launch the best version of their products. Less trading basically. And that's where we are.
“I'm really focused now less on the day-to-day trading and buying and selling of NFTs and more on creating and trying to find ways that I can give value back to the community via content or via consulting and advising on projects…”