On July 7th (GMT+8), InnoKOL had a fascinating conversation with Mr. Jesse Johnson, who is the Founder of Pixelcraft Studios, talking about his unique working experience in leveraging blockchain technology to create products that empower the individual and the deep insights on the market trends of NFT development.
Jokia: How would you describe yourself in three words? What’s your motto?
I'd describe myself as passionate, dedicated and curious.
My motto is to always try to make the most of the given tools available. At Pixelcraft, we saw the NFT best practices evolving in silos. And decided to take the best of all and combine them into a new experience.
Jokia: Can you please share more about your educational and professional background? And we’d love to hear what brought you to blockchain.
From an early age I was educated to be a free thinker with a high value on pioneers and chance taking. That was more from family education. In school, I studied business management and later, law, at Xiamen University.
The early bitcoin message of self-reliance and sound money resonated with me. Since then, learning about the technology itself became very inspiring. Discovering Ethereum and its promise of smart contracts and "code is law" sort of took everything to a new level. I saw that this trend was not going away but going to grow into a key piece of the wider digital economy.
Jokia: NFT made headlines when a piece by digital artist Beeple sold for nearly $70 million at a Christie’s auction in March. From your perspective, Is there a role for NFTs in travel?
I see NFTs touching all industries eventually. Crypto Art was a great first use case. So did NFT games. But they are also finding more industrial use cases, including shipping, supply chain, and indeed I'm sure travel can benefit. It is accurate to think of NFTs as a technology, or at the least, a very good application of the blockchain tech. And so, the technology's adoption will continue to grow and find problems it can help solve.
And NFT is nothing more than a unique single token existing on the blockchain. It is unique because of the various data that can be stored inside of each one. So NFTs related to identity, access, and even credit is very much possible.
An Aavegotchi, for example, stores unique personality traits inside each one. It can also act as a wallet and hold various tokens and NFTs inside it.
Jokia: What are the challenges for the mass adoption of NFT?
The challenges are great, but easily solved with time. Different people will come into contact with NFTs for different reasons. We believe adoption is most likely through PC games. Gamers invest so many hours into games, but do not own their earned game items.
We want to solve this problem by delivering "play to own". Other people will find NFTs useful in other industries too. They will save larger companies millions of dollars in traceability overhead. They are already challenging the music and arts establishment as well. Royalties for creators no longer need middlemen but can be programmed into the NFTs directly.
So, the challenge is simply getting the solutions to a point that they are adoptable and save everyone lots of value.
Jokia: One of the most exciting pages of your biography is the engagement in growing the crypto industry publishing your 2013 law thesis on Bitcoin global regulatory approaches. Do you favor more of a hands-off approach or clear-cut regulations just like in traditional finance?
In general, I'm frustrated by how slow the regulators are to clarify definitions. Bitcoin has existed for over a decade, and they've had trouble even simply classifying BTC as a currency or property.
Now Ethereum and other such platforms are seeing incredible open-source innovation happen. The result is products that I worry innovators will never accurately define.
In short, I see the crypto space innovating at a pace regulators cannot keep up with and it is frustrating. There are some bright spots. The US state of Wyoming recently passed legislation making it legal for a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) to exist within its jurisdiction. This is a milestone and something I can point to as a good start in the right direction. I do agree the story of blockchain technology plays out over decades, not months or years.
Jokia: The US Speaker of the House said DeFi is reinventing global finance faster than the fed can print money. From your perspective, what’s unique and game-changing about DeFi compared to CeFi?
I'll give you a hands on example： today, my new staff member shared that he has never used a blockchain and has no idea what metamask wallet. But he needs those if he is to use aavegotchi.com. So, I said let me call you in five minutes.
While on the phone, we downloaded the wallet, I send him a few tokens, and guided him through his first transaction. His first transaction was staking our GHST token into our websites smart contract. For doing so, he is now earning points towards NFT rewards. All of this happened in 15 minutes. and he is so excited! The last thing he said to me was.... "This is so much easier than opening another bank account, and a lot more fun!"
The banking system is legacy. Its old. Its painful. Crypto offers anyone without a bank account (2 billion plus people) with an opportunity for real property rights. real access to capital and financial products. All they need is 15 minutes guidance, a smart phone.
Blockchain fixes sending value in the same way that email fixes sending information. The advantages are endless. Being open source means you have the brightest minds in the world, motivated to build better products than the old banks ever could dream. There will be volatility, drama, risk, but the zoomed-out trend is one of adoption and a new paradigm that matches our digital lives.
Blockchain is the big disruptor for traditional banks, just as newspapers had to change and become blogs. Banks will need to reinvent themselves or become obsolete. This all plays out over this decade and beyond. But it’s not just banks. Finance is actually becoming gamified too.
We are merging gaming and property. That also has huge implications for the computer gaming industry.
Jokia: We already know that blockchain has the capability to offer a decentralized ledger system and many are already adopting the tech. On the other hand, AI and IoT also started to streamlining processes for our benefit. Do you think blockchain based AI and IoT will be the next technological milestone?
To be frank, I don't think we are there yet. Not even that close. In terms of what brings the next wave of adoption for blockchain, I don't see AI or IoT adding much value for the mass adoption of blockchain. Instead, I suspect we are already seeing the early stages of what mass success looks like. with cases like DeFi yield generating products and play to earn games like Aavegotchi and Axie Infinity, the headlines will come from these areas. Even more so than they already are.
AI and IoT are powerful in their own regard but I haven't seen a use case that demands blockchain yet. Perhaps B2B but not for consumer facing products. In the meantime, I am suspect of any project promoting too many acronyms all smashed together.
Jokia: We are at a moment of paradigm shift in development thinking and knowledge, and it seems blockchain technology is an essential part of this. How do you foresee the trends of blockchain for the next five years? How prepared is Pixelcraft Studios to play a leading role?
I see three main areas blockchain touches these next five years: finance, gaming and social networks. We recently released out litepaper for The Gotchiverse Realm, which is our platform to provide leadership in all 3 classes:
1. Yield farming (extracting value) from virtual real estate
2. Competitive gaming where you "play to own"
3. A social metaverse where your Aavegotchi builds its own on-chain history of experiences
We are very excited by the new experiences this unlocks and we're thrilled with our growing community. The target market is 20–40-year elders of all people and places.
We have over 10,000 active users in our Discord and near 40,000 actual followers on Twitter. They run the gamut of gamers to crypto nerds. The game will launch in December and in January we will introduce a "free to play" character. This is a huge part of our mass adoption play. A character that costs nothing, but gives you access to a world full of NFTs and value.
Any browser works for this game. anyone will be able to easily jump into the world from a simple link. But to enjoy the games competition and rewards, they will need to get an NFT gaming character. Either an Aavegotchi or the free-to-play character.
We have a big following in China and we want to make sure everyone can access the game.
Jokia: We’ve noticed that you are one of the famous speakers in global leading blockchain conferences What’s your benchmark to select the top-tier industrial conferences?
I tend to be glad to speak at any reputable conference or gathering. It's my job to educate and share my vision for the future of finance and gaming.
But time is a limited resource. So I always have to choose depending on my knowledge of the organizers, the history of the event reputation, and my availability. That's why I'm so glad to sit down with you today and connect with InnoKOL.
About the speaker:
Pixelcraft Studios Founder, Jesse Johnson (aka gldnXross) is a leader in pioneering NFT product design. Prior to launching the super popular DeFi + NFT project Aavegotchi, Jesse co-founded Ethereum’s first NFT minting platform Mintable and also created Bullionix, home of the first ERC721 NFTs to be staked directly with ERC20 tokens (DGX gold).
Jesse envisions Aavegotchi – Pixelcraft Studios flagship experience – as a fun approachable tool to achieve mass adoption of DeFi products. Before founding Pixelcraft Studios in Singapore, Jesse had long been engaged in growing the crypto industry publishing his 2013 law thesis on Bitcoin global regulatory approaches. Jesse is dedicated to leveraging blockchain technology to create products that empower the individual.
About the MC:
Ms. Jokia Yin is the Founder of Innoverview and InnoKOL, the Vice Chatiman of HK International Blockchain Finance Association as well as the Head of Media at United States of America-China Chamber of Commerce。 Jokia has over 8 years of marketing and management experience, much of which has been in the Asia Pacific Region within events and PR industry. She has held key leadership roles executing market research and entry, developing sales channels and revenue generation, building marketing, finance and Operations related infrastructure for a more than 20 events related to retail, tourism, energy storage, blockchain, cosmetics domains.