Web3 Investor Day: NFTs Beyond JPEGs
With Andra Nicolau of Origin Protocol, Francesco Melpignano of KadenaEco, Brian Cho of Patron, Le Zhang of Spaceport
By Alejandro Ballesteros, Venture Investor, Decasonic
Brian Cho is the General Partner and Co-Founder of Patron, an early-stage venture firm investing in web3 and metaverse companies. Brian was previously a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz and the Head of Ventures, Partnerships, and M&A at Riot Games. He was also honored by Forbes Magazine in their Forbes 30 Under 30 Article in 2013 and 2014.
Francesco Melpignano is CEO of Kadena Eco. Francesco is a talented software engineer, joining Kadena in 2019 as an engineer and worked his way up to CEO of Kadena Eco. Prior to his work at Kadena, Francesco was CEO of Robobunker, an Italy based company manufacturing state-of-the-art vehicles for golf course maintenance automation. Prior, Francesco was CTO at YellowLabel Technology, a UK based company that focuses on data processing, hosting and related activities.
Le Zhang is the founder of Spaceport Technologies, a software company building the future of NFTs in a $300B market. Before founding Spaceport Technologies, Le was founder and CEO of Squadle Inc., a company that provides digital checklists to simplify complex operations and streamline food safety compliance. Le is also an angel investor, currently invested in Wishroute, Cactivate, and Phiex Technologies. He just recently joined the board of advisors at ACE NextGen after being on the board of directors there for over three years.
Andra Nicolau is head of DeFi BD at Origin Protocol, an Ethereum-powered platform that aims to normalize NFTs and DeFi. Previously, Andra led growth at 1inch Network, where she spearheaded the Series B fundraise. After graduation from The University of California Berkeley, Andra became founder and CEO of AN-RO Global, a UK based company helping startups scale through innovative monetization strategies, systems & product design, strategic partnerships & management consulting. In 2020, Andra founded Mavensights, a company offering IT Services and IT Consulting working with early stage startup specialists.
Panelists include Francesco Melpignano from Kadena, Brian Cho from Patron, Andra Nicolau from Origin Protocol, and Le Zhang from Spaceport. Bringing domain expertise from all sectors of Web3, the panelists discussed the current state and the future of NFTs.
Current Use Cases
“Exclusivity, collectability and utility”, Le started by summarizing the three pillars of NFTs. Exclusivity ensures more personal-level connections at exclusive events due to the scarcity of the assets. People who have the same NFT collections share the same values which also support the community. Brian pointed out that consumer applications drive the growth of NFTs. NFTs are one of the easiest concepts to understand in Web3. Francesco added that the current NFT use cases are just “Scratching the surface”. He argued that “non-fungible” applies to almost everything in the world, so NFTs are a technology with the ability to represent any sort of value that we can create in the physical world on the blockchain.
Le stated his vision for future NFT integration with the open AR Metaverse: the transfer of physical assets into digital assets will become the bedrock for the open metaverse. Francesco argued: “I am bullish on actual reality”, with the focus of leveraging NFTs to create new digital business models from existing ones in the physical world. NFTs will represent share classes to construct hierarchical structures for governance, which will further improve today’s DAO structures.
“NFTs are all about community building”, Andra suggested that NFTs enforce artists to connect with their audience to make more desirable products. Brian used a very interesting analogy to compare NFTs to crude oil,
the current use case is the placement of oil into barrels. There are a lot of potential use cases we will discover in the future as time goes on. Le also contributed his own analogy involving a soda can:
when you buy a can of soda, you technically own it by being able to drink the content, however, you do not own the logo or the font on the can because those assets are so complex in nature. Le stated that there are a lot of pieces of ownership that go into physical products, compared to digital assets and products, and reiterated that we are still at a very early stage.
Panelists and audiences discussed and exchanged their opinions on popular NFT applications like Opensea. They came to the conclusion that Opensea is moving into the right direction of becoming a fully decentralized marketplace, but still has many centralized problems that need to be addressed.
At Decasonic, we innovate for a better future. There are huge whitespaces and opportunities within the NFT space and we welcome you to join us to build a better tomorrow, faster.