May 12, 2023

Episode 270: Evan Varsamis, CEO at Mintify

Evan Varsamis is a New York-based Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO at Gadget Flow, and Mintify  Co-founder of HustleClick, and CreatorClub, contributor at Forbes, Inc, HuffPost, and American Express Essentials. He is also an advisor at Sprint Fund, Qrator, and Crowdreach.

Evan is passionate about emerging technologies like NFTs, Crypto, DAOs, Gaming, the Metaverse, and Crowdfunding.

His work has been featured on Mashable, The Next Web, Entrepreneur, Fortune, Forbes, and the Web Summit.

Julian:Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast.Today we have Evan Varsamis. CEO at Mintify. Mintify is a modular tradingterminal for all NFT economies that aggregates liquidity from public andprivate marketplaces. Evan is so excited not only to, bring you into theconversation and, and kind of really get your experience in NFTs, but also kindof as a founder as well.

I know you've,you've founded multiple companies, but also to chat about those experiencesand, and dive into what you've learned, what's exciting about the space you'reworking on now and, and obviously you know what the future entails for you and,and what you're working on. But before we get into all that stuff, What wereyou doing before you started the company?

Evan:Thanks for having me. Excited to be here. Of course. Julian. Yeah, so I'm basedin New York Greek originally born and raised. Moved here like about three yearsago with my wife. I've met five times founder and I started my journey when Iwas six and 17 years old as a self-taught designer and developer.

Then I served inthe Navy for about a year. I had a couple exits by the age of 18, like prettysmall ones. And then I basically ran a media agency for two and a half years.And between 2012 and last year, I've scaled my web two company to an eightfigure valuation. Stepped down last summer for, to focus a hundred percent andexited last month.

Julian:Yeah. It's, it's so incredible to think about the, the acquisitions and kind ofthe, the progress you've had in your career and along the way. Where would youthink, in terms of each company, it sounds like you made gradual improvementsand was it the product, was it you as a founder? Was it the operation, thestructure of the company?

What in particulardid you think, kind of led to the progression of success?  

Evan:Yeah, I think that it's all about constant learning, right? I'm a big delivererand fan of like, being self this, self-taught that cuz the, if you want, if youwant to basically focus on your skillset, there's just so many resourcesonline, starting with YouTube and then obviously like educational material.

So it's all about,like if you look at, if you look back like a few months or about a year and seelike what kind of work you were producing or Sure. What you were working on. Ifyou're not disgusted with your work, you haven't improved at all. So I kind ofused that as a threshold throughout the years.

Yeah. And it workedout, perfectly, to be honest, yeah.  

Julian:Yeah. And thinking about, gadget flow and, and it's almost interesting. I, Ilove kind of the marketplace and really kind of, where you open up and, andkind of aggregate important pieces of information. Gadget flow.

Obviously you kindof connect, people interested in products and new innovative products that areout there and try to, create that transaction. You know what in particular, I'malways interested in marketplaces and how you kind of drive traffic towardsyour, your product and in, in an organic way.

Because, obviouslywith pay-per-click advertisement, that's great for transactional, but to reallytrust a marketplace to return, it's kind of some kind of experience that reallydrives you there when you think about how to, gain traction in both sides of,of the marketplace. What are, what's your focus?

How are you gainingthat traction? Where are you? Where are you going to see what they'reinterested in to kind of bring that attention in?

Evan: Iwould say that's a million dollar question, right? So yeah, the, the way wescaled gadget flow back in the day when we started back in 2012 growth hackingwas trending.

Like figuring outhow to hack your way around like Reddit and Facebook fan pages, partnerships.So we created a product basically addressed something between like a techpublication and a marketplace, right? Cuz you, you, you can't, up until likewhen I stepped down, you couldn't like purchase something directly.

You could. Youcould just go to the seller's website. But what we offered was the tech and thefeatures behind product discovery. So we called GAD Flow. This is a productdiscovery platform basically. So there wasn't like any competition out therethat you had the blogs that pushed like Amazon like listings.

You had then the techpublications covering like events and this and that. Which was great, but weare sitting right in the middle of it all. So figuring out how to organicallybasically get as much traffic as possible was in our best interest because whenwe started monetizing Gadget, we focused on primarily like offering, basicallyadvertising space to Fortune 500 brands, but also crowdfunding campaigns and.

Startups, right?Mm-hmm. So having like as much traffic as possible means in a way that you cancharge more and more and more the, the more you grow technically. Yeah. So westarted with a few partnerships, mostly through Facebook fund pages. We startedscaling our social, that was the early days of Instagram as well.

So we startedcreating a lot of content there. So we ended up having just in a few year, overa million followers across different networks. Then we hacked our way through,the app store. We created an iOS app. It's all about basically being on top ofall the latest trends before they go mainstream in a sense, right?

Before they becometrends. So one, one of the highlights that I quite remember quite well from 20,I think 17, was when Apple introduced AR Kid, right? Yeah. With augmented realreality sdk. We were like, we dropped everything. We were like, we are theperfect match for something like this. So, We started trying to figure out howcan we get all these files so we can display our content and augmented realityin the app store.

And then we gotfeatured by Apple. It was basically when they announced it in September, 2017or 2018. Yeah, it was basically just the IKEA app. Gadget Flow and a coupleothers, and we've got like tens of thousands of downloads in just a few days.Yeah. So that was, that was quite fun.

Julian:Yeah. Well, it, it's interesting because, when you're gaining, it sounds like,a lot of the value you bring, especially to these companies is, the eyeballsfor consumers, right? The people exactly. Who are looking for their products,looking to discover them. But from a. The other side thinking about, the, thereal value you're bringing is those eyeballs and, and a lot of it's likefiltering through and catering to that audience.

And, I feel likefor marketplaces, it's very contingent on the categories. That you bucketthings. So to kind of drive people to their exact, outcome or, or idealoutcome. How do you identify with all the gadgets out there, kind of what tocategorize and how to do that discovery flow, being that, it's, it's one thingto do, a bunch of bunch of, things on a page and, have whoever's paying themost at the top.

So you can kind ofbroadcast that to your audience a little bit more and categorize in that way.But discovering in going through a flow is a different challenge. Describe howyou did that.  

Evan:Of course. Yeah. No, absolutely. I think that there's a fine line betweentrying to sell your soul and trying to monetize your business and serving yourcustomers in a way that doesn't, doesn't feel aggressive or, yeah.

Way to a prompt,let's say. Right. So we were always. Dancing around that, that fine line withwith Gadget Flow, which was part of our secret source, I would even say at thispoint. Meaning that, like we've created internal policies early on, and thegoal with these policies were that, we're curating content organically.

We're featuring,for example, those high-end consumer electronics that you cannot find with aquick search on Amazon or Google. So we had like an internal curation team. Andthen at the same time we were inviting some of the big brands that are outthere, that were coming out, coming out with new products to get even moreawareness and create, get more impressions, say for these products and kind ofblend them together.

So we, we werenever, we never had this approach that, Hey, you know what company X, Y, Z,Sony Phillips, or this or that is coming and paying us like a million dollars.Let's just. Put it, put everything on their homepage and make it like brand itas, as a Phillips sponsored by Felix, let's say homepage.

So we, we've hadthat mentality that it's all about balance. Yeah. So we tried to, to scale itthis way and it, and it actually worked like we had I remember we had a policylike maximum 40% homepages real estate being sponsored. And then every productwe work with had to go through the same review process in a, in a, in a similarway, we're reviewing the organic listings as well.

Yeah. So thatmeans, no knives, nothing that's like, nothing that's like against, let's sayour, our, our policy. Yeah. And it, it worked, it worked because users got tosee a lot of fresh content, daily consistency was also part of the secret saucethat we're pushing out five to 10 products a day.

Including weekends,holidays, even New Year's Day, right? Yeah, yeah. You always, you always hadthat fresh content on the homepage on a daily basis.  

Julian:Yeah. Yep. Yeah, it seems it seems less popular, especially at the time youbuilt it, because it's, it's not scalable in, in a lot of ways, right? It's alot of manual filtering, a lot of reviewing of that process, thinking about thecontent, doing things in, really, I guess involved waves versus just beinglike, all right, let's.

Now we, we've gotthe user base, we're getting to scale it. We'll go give some partnerships, putwhatever on the homepage and just drive, drive for growth. Drive for growth,drive for growth. And, did you, did you think about the long-term effects ofwhat it means to the, the connection to the community?

Did you think aboutthat at the time or was that just kind of a result of, what you kind of set inplace when, when you started building?  

Evan:Yeah, so I would say that now that I'm in Web3, I never thought about communitybuilding the way I'm thinking about it now in the Web3 space. Cuz it's a muchmore like the web two space is way more mature and way, way bigger, right?

We're talking aboutbillions of consumer versus a few tens of thousands right now in the Web3 spaceand it in its early days I would say that in web two we never prioritizedcommunity building because we, we were basically dealing with consumerelectronics. Mm-hmm. So mostly consumers and it was really, really hard toconnect, let's just say the dots

But that said, Wehad a massive newsletter list. We have great following on social media. We hada thing when I stepped down, like over a million users at that point in the, atthe company. And for product like GA Flow, that's a, these are like bignumbers, right? Yeah. If you compare us with Amazon, we're like a tinyparticle.

But like comparedto the competition, that was quite massive in our space. Let's say it was aniche space, like, everyone that might be interested in consumer electronicslater releases, curated high-end tech products in general and gadgets. Right?So I think we nailed that throughout those years.

Like I've been,I've been running gadgets our guess, bit over 10 years at this point. Yeah.Before I stepped down the summer and it was, it was a consistency aspect. Itwas, it was the content, it was the quality, it was the features, right? Kindof a combination of all the above that made it successful.

Julian:Yeah, I guess more so, brand is what, what you kept I think. I think you had aforesight. Yeah. And what brand really means to products for longevity, right?Like you don't necessarily need to scale, but just growth, steady growth andcontinue to be in your market and being, being ahead of the competition,obviously I think more, more people realize that not, that's not just enough,but that can, last a long time and you can kind of build that long term.

But, shifting gearsand thinking about Mintify. What made, you've had all the success, you've beenrunning, gadget flow for years. What made you step down and what particularlywas interesting about, what you were looking to build at Mintify and, and wasit the same overall?

Did you start, isthis the same idea that you started with?

Evan:Yeah, no, that, these are great questions. So, I grew up as a gamer, playedWorld of Worker after Call of Duty, Counterstrike tournaments and stuff likethat. I was always into gaming. Favorite movie being like The Matrix when I wasa kid.

So I jumped intocrypto started investing, obviously started with Bitcoin Ethereum, I, I managedto get in before like even $10 Ethereum, right? So sub $10 there. And I wasalways fascinated, reading the Bitcoin paper and this and that. That was backin like 2015, way before the first bull run of 2017.

So, crypto madesense, made sense for me, especially growing up with internet, being a gamer,kind of like crypto put everything together, right? Yeah. And went fast forwardto like 2021. We're getting settled here in New York with my wife and I sawbored apes minting. Like I, I could have like minted a few at that time cuz Iliterally bookmarked Yeah.

Added to my readinglist to be, to be fair. That article about bored apes and I was like, huh,okay. I'll just. I'll just pay attention a bit later cuz I was just busy withlike other life stuff. And long story short, later on that year, 2021, I did adip dive into NFTs and it all makes sense.

I had the samefeeling when I bumped into crypto in 2015, basically. Yeah, yeah. All overagain. So I was like, Wow, this is, this is really happening, right? Yeah.Yeah. Gaming assets, virtual land digital collectibles, everything is gonna gomainstream like very soon. Well, soon meaning years, obviously, but we'regetting there, that's progress.

Yeah. So did a deepdive on smart contracts. Did a deep dive on like, seven 20 ones and startedfollowing some of the leaders in the space. There aren't, there weren't thatmany at that point. Started following some collections and then I bumped intoClonex. Was billed by artifact, then acquired by Nike.

Basically I wasalways following Kevin Rose. In his proof podcast, he was talking about likeNFTs and crypto for like, at that point, about a year, year and a half. So I, Ihad like broad knowledge, but I wanted to do a deep dive, and that happenedaround like third and fourth quarter of 2021. So as it started, basicallyminting, NFTs, I, I minted Kevin Rose's, like proof pass which at the time wasquite expensive.

But not a lot ofpeople, for instance, like the demand was not like crazy. Had like a hundredthousand podcasts. Like. Listeners or stuff like that. And then he had likesomething like what was it? Was it like 2,005,000 supply? I don't even rememberat this point. But imagine that it wasn't like a very, very aggressive man.

Sure. So you cansee that about five or 10% surf audience was actually interested in NFTs. Andat that time, I trading, I started basically trying to figure out like, how canyou flip an nft? What, what was it available tooling. That was, that, that was trainingat the time and I wasn't happy with the tooling and coming from web twobuilding like, a business that reached like 30 million consumers that, all theother businesses as well.

In the past, my,my, my two small exits, like I've mentioned, like having that background andbeing like in my early thirties. Felt like, Hey, if this, this is the timebasically to, to jump, to jump on shift and build something for the new cycleof the web, like the Web3 space. And the fact, the gamification aspect, the technology,the fact that it has to do with crypto or it is built on top of cryptocentrally.

I don't know, itjust sounded like at that point I was just so excited. Right. I was literallyworking back to 12, 15 hour days just to figure it all out. Yeah. So long storyshort, I post the CTO from my web two Business Gadget Flow. And we've, that waslike January, like basically New Year's Day, right?

So I gave him likea quick rundown just a few days before New Year's. And right after New Year's,on January 2nd, 2022, we incorporated Mintify and we're like, let's do it. Andtwo months later we, throughout those days, we built a small community onDiscord. We had like 500 people started teasing the idea of Mind DeFi allorganic through Twitter, no advertising whatsoever.

And Basically inMarch, 2022, we launched our mvp. So we launched the mvp. We had over 5,000people at that point and started growing our community. Today we're over 15,000on Discord over 27,000 on Twitter, and it's all organic basically. The idea wasthat we're gonna create like tooling, that's for all NFT economies and not justPFPs.

Yeah, PFPs meaningprofile pictures for those that are not aware which is mostly what's beingtraded right now in the whole space. So you have a board, Abe, or in Clonex orin Moon Bird. These are some of the top collections. And I saw that everywhere.Everyone in the space is thinking in a singular way, meaning that they're alltrying to build like slightly better tooling, but just for PFPs.

And I was sitting,I was sitting at my, at my home in New York, I was thinking, but how are yougonna trade gaming assets, right? In a few years? How are you gonna trade musicNFTs? How are you gonna trade physical collectibles or art? Right? So at thattime, no one, and I even feel today, like no one has nailed completely thatapproach.

So we started withthe most essential part, right? Like the backbone of the brand, which is theinfrastructure. Yeah. So we've created a multi chain, multi marketplaceinfrastructure that can be used. To build like those experiences for all NFTeconomies being music, gaming and so on. But at the same time we wanted tocreate a product ourselves, but we were lacking the resources.

So we did a mint,we've generated about almost half a million, about 400,000 or dollars or sothrough our mint. So we were bootstrapping at that point as a self-sustainedbusiness, no revenue side of the mint. So we allocated that towards a hundredpercent hires. I wasn't paying myself for anything.

And then thathelped us go between January, 2022 up until like September, 2022. Whichbasically at that point we closed the small preed round. We, we raised 1.6 withsome of the best, like, Web3 native and crypto native. Yeah. Funds in the spaceas well as some billion dollar funds that supported us.

So we're like,okay, this is happening. Yeah. Like, this is, this is, we're getting seriousnow. So between then and today, like April, well, wow. We we're in May,actually, May, 2023. We've been on a sprint to roll out our new tradingterminal, our front end environment, aside of the back end that we built lastyear to basically support all these different economies.

Yeah. And the, thefront end is all about using net gen front-end technologies. It's based on najs. So it's like blazing fast? Yeah. It's all about fast pace trading, andwe've built all that tooling around all these NFT economies. So you cancustomize the layout. You can, you can have a modular dashboard to trade likegaming assets and interact with them in 3d.

This is our vision.This is where we're heading, and we're just so excited as a, the whole team,not just me as you can, as you can tell. Yeah. On With, with our journey sofar.  

Julian:Yeah, it's a such, first of all, congratulations on such quick success and, andreally just being able to gain the momentum and understand your community andreally kind of drive that product market fit.

And it seems likeyou're obviously not completely there, but. I'm fairly close to, to, to knowingexactly what you're delivering and, and iterating on that. And that's soexciting to think about. And, just for the audience context, a little bit aboutthe technology. You mentioned a mint and what in particular does that mean fora company like yours that has a platform that is a terminal where you trade abunch of different NFTs and you can kind of, you, you kind of, understand or,or, or analyze other economies?

What does it meanto you meant within that company ecosystem. And how does, how is that justdifferent from, building a web two company and, and what, what benefits, howdoes that benefit you and how does that, come at a cost?  

Evan:Yeah. Yeah, so I think that these are two separate worlds, planets, you nameit.

These are twoseparate things because when you're building in web two, regardless of the ideathat you have, if you have, like, if we're talking about a SaaS product that'slike whatever proprietary, let's just say, you're building from scratch, so,but still you have some kind of like, You have support, let's say, from eitherpublic communities, Reddit, other developers, you can hire like a seniorengineer and help you with this in the web through space.

None of thatexists. Like if you want to build something, we're at the, at this moment in.At this point in time in which you have to figure out all yourself. Likethere's no, you can't just fight a community of developers like on Reddi andsay, Hey guys, I'm writing a Solidity contract. Yeah. Which is relatively a newlanguage, right?

Compared to PhDthat exists like for all these years. So I'm writing, let's say somethingthat's based on solidity. I'm trying to use a function that I invented myself.Yeah. So there no one can help you with that. Like you gotta try to figure itout. Ab test it. Yourself and kind of make sense of it all.

So building in theWeb3 space is not just challenging from perspective of, hey, you're buildingsomething that millions and tens of millions of people are gonna use in theyears to come. But also that you're, you're building the rails for everythingthat's gonna build on top of you as well. This is, this is something that wewere thinking as as a company as well early on that.

We, what we'rebuilding is shouldn't be just a product, we're building a business. So part ofthe product though is that we're basing it on an SDK framework that we are,that we're building in-house. So then other creators can build a top on top ofus. Sure. So then we can build an ecosystem of like creators, traders,collectors, Web3 enthusiasts early on that are gonna like help us basicallyscale the business in the years.

In the quarters andyears to come. So it's completely different because the priorities that aredifferent, their resource are like almost nonexistent. You gotta put in thehours, you get a, you get a hassle, basically as much as you can. And eventhough the competition is out there, they're, it's not like direct competition.

It's like that,it's not like Amazon versus, Shopify or eBay versus Craiglist yet. Right. Yeah.I feel like we're a few years before that happens. So. Personally, I feel I'mlike the most productive when there's competition in the space. Sure. Becausehealthy competition is good because you're pushing innovation, you're pushingthe market forward, and you're building, for the collective for the whole Web3space, for instance, instead of just yeah.

For your community.So I feel like we're slowly reaching that point. But one thing that I, thatbasically makes makes me, makes me basically wake up in the morning and, and besuper pumped and excited to jump into like, tens of meetings through, betweenlike throughout the day. Is the fact that, we're, we are building those rails,we're building the infrastructure, not just for our products as a business.

Yeah. But foranyone, everyone, and a lot of people that are gonna be building in the, in thenext few quarters and years.  

Julian:Yeah. And more. So I was asking in particular around minting and in regards tohow does that change kind of the, the structure of your business and how thatallows you to kind of build that community, but also what it means financially?

You've mentionedcoins and then Sure. Is that kind of used in app to be able to, do certainactivities or tasks or is it. Structured differently.  

Evan:Sure. So I think that, terminology obviously changes in the web space cuz you're,you're taking all the good parts from web two, that's what we're supposed todo.

And transitioningto like a new cycle that's supposed to be like elevated different, likesupposed to innovate in the Web3 space for entire days. So on the minting side,when you're minting something, it's basically that you've deployed a smartcontract and now you can mint a token, A token being an NFT in our case on theEthereum chain.

Right. And all theVM compatibles, so as well as Solana and so on. So the, the concept here isthat when you mint a token, it leaves on chain. So the metadata, in most cases,they, they exist on chain. Therefore, you can verify the authenticity of adigital asset, which means imagine that you're playing world of work after aleague of legend and you have like a sword.

You can then assignthat sword or put that sword in a wallet. And then if you own that wallet, youhave proof of ownership. Right through blockchain technology, which is what,based on that, that's what's based on basically like the entire theme. Sure.Chain as a network right now. So it's like proof of concept in a sense, right?

So in our world,when you're minting something in the NFT space you're basically creatingsomething out of a smart contract, right? So when a collection drops, there'slike usually five, 10, 20,000 token IDs that I get assigned to those that mintthat. Minta token from that particular collection.

Now in terms oflike revenue and how this works during the early days of 2021, it was completechaos. Like, it reminded me of the early days of Kickstarter actually, which, alot of creators were coming out and they were, they were like, we invented, this,it's a revolutionary bottle of water.

So we praised like,5 million and now like, the FBI is chasing us. Like for instance, there, therewere so many scams in the, in the Kickstarter early days in on Indigogo aswell, and they were trying to figure out like what's the best approach toelevate crowdfunding without having creators run away with the funds beforethey deliver product.

Sure. So kind ofthe same vibes here, early days of, of Web3, like a lot of collections, it waseven easier, right? You could deploy a smart contract for like, I dunno, five,10 grand in the early days of Of NFTs gas was like horrendous at that point. Soyou could deploy a smart contract and then you can, you can just invite yourcommunity and say, Hey, just, mint that penguin or dog, or whatever that maybe.

And everyone'slike, yeah, it's the next big thing. Because supply was kind of low, right? Andinterest was peaking at the early days. So people were like, I'm gonna minthis, I'm gonna min that. I'm gonna spend $200 here, $200 here, there, and soon. And try to make to everyone was basically had this euphoria thinking thatthis next project is gonna be the next word of yak club.

That went fromlike, like a few dollars to like 106 figures basically, right? In 2021 and 2022.So the economics changed completely because. There aren't sustainable models,economic models or revenue models yet in the space. So the majority of creatorsbetween 2021 or even 2020, if we were to go a bit before that are having timefiguring out how to create sustainable business models.

Yeah. So in betweenthen and today, there were so many so many events and incidents in, in thespace in which made creators well, I guess. I would even, I, I would say thatmade the whole Web3 community skeptical about the N F T technology as a whole,because early on everyone promised rewards and air jobs and tokens.

Yeah. But then youquickly figure out as a creator that, oh, I'm based in the state, so I can'tjust launch a token. Because that's like kind of gray zone. You gotta, yougotta work with market makers. Is this legal in the states? What the SSE isgonna think five years down the road? So it's not as easy as it looks in theworld, right?

Like to scale aWeb3 company, especially if you wanna do it by the book and that book, thething is, it doesn't exist. There isn't like any regulatory guidance in thestates around crypto, right? Right. So there's only a few things that you cando, but. NFT as a technology and blockchain, basically, technology is just, hasso much potential.

Like if you'recreative enough and if you're, if you're trying to innovate in this spacethere's just so many things that you can build, like proprietary things, butalso take from, the, the, the book of some of the people that tried it in thisspace and succeeded. Right. Like, like Yuga for instance.

Right? They're,they're literally coming out with new NFTs every other quarter. And they'rekilling it every time from the execution to the distribution to the supplymetrics the deflationary this or that, and, they launched the Coin. They did itsuccessfully. But we're talking about the kings of the space that Yeah.

They have billionsand billions to play with in a quote. Right? Not play with, but build withtechnical so they can afford to make costly mistakes, in other words. Yeah.Yeah. Whereas the average creator. The average creator in the Web3 space, howare they gonna get access to funds? The only sustainable way right now is tojust mint something.

Yeah. Othercreators. So the trend changed some, like throughout last year, and they mintedopen additions or they minted free NFTs and then they base their revenue onroyalty. And then we had their royalties, issues in which marketplaces tried tofight for market share, and they brought the royalties from 5% and 10% thatwere sustainable.

Technically, theybrought them down to like 0.5%, right? Which was not sustainable to build abusiness. On top of that. So we're all in discovery mode, I would say rightnow. Trying to figure it all out. Yeah. But it's, it's fun,  

Julian:Yeah. In this stage and kind of in this chaos, what, what do you think, whetherit's external or internal, are some of the biggest risks that Mintify facestoday?

Evan: Ifeel like, like if, if you have a sustainable business model let's say you'rebuilding a tool like what we're building and you're trying to turn this into abusiness, I feel like the biggest struggle is that you have to reinvent thewheel to monetize it in a way that your community agrees or goes by with.

Yeah, compared tothe web two way in which you can just say, Hey guys, you can use our productfor 9 99 a month, and if you like the product, you're just gonna do it. Whereasin the Web3 space, most of these. Most of our smaller competitors that tried tolaunch a monthly plan, for instance, actually failed miserably throughout thelast couple years.

Even though theaverage trader spends a thousand dollars a day on like NFTs, they wouldn'tactually put their credit card because of privacy, because of, theirdecentralization maxes or this and that. Or because at the end of the day, likethey just feel like they'd rather use an aler version of that product that'soffered for free.

Compared to paying90, 99 or just putting their credit card on. So that's something that theentire space that's building, like some sort of like a software or, or or atool for instance, trying to figure out, we have, we've, we've been, we spendmore than 150 hours brainstorming on how can we create something sustainable.

Yeah, and we'vefinalized it last week. We're gonna be announcing it in about a week fromtoday. And it's something quite exciting that kind of mimics monthly plan, butit's instead of reward system, which is what the Web3 space is excited about.Yeah. They're, they wanna get rewarded even for using your product.

Right. Which is,which is fine. It's a, it's a new type of customer, let's to say. So we'rebuilding around that. We're building around what do they get excited with themost, which is mostly rewards and gamification. And we're building exactlythat. Yeah. Now, do I think that this is gonna be sustainable five years downthe road or two years down the road?

I'm not sure aboutthat. I feel like once NFTs become mainstream as digital collectibles, as mostbig brands advertise it I feel like there's gonna be quite a shift. But at theend of the day, it's all about pivoting. It's all about adapting. Andespecially like in the early stages of the new, cycle basically in our spaceyou gotta be able to move quickly, be as agile as possible and kind of likeadapt to the latest strengths.

Yeah. That's theonly way that you can survive. Early on cuz once we set the precedent, it'sgonna be really easy for someone else to come on and say, okay, you know what?A hundred business, strike this. Half of them failed because of that. We knowwhat to avoid. We know what to, which pitfalls to avoid.

Right? Whereas nowwe're just figuring out, out, we're figuring it all around ourselves basically.Yeah. So it's quite challenging. But, I'm up for the challenge.  

Julian:Yeah. It's so exciting to think about. How a lot of, a lot of ways companiesare building around attention and rewarding attention or, or trying to captureattention, but now it's like, It's about work and activity.

It's, it's yourusers doing things on your app and you rewarding them. And that kind ofcontinues this, this, this almost almost cycle of, of activity and, and withinyour app and ecosystem. But it's always exciting thinking about ways you canconnect, whether it's your terminal, your platform being that Web3 is kind ofcohesive.

Have you thoughtabout ways to connect to other applications? Obviously you have, pieces ofinformation that plug into yours. But in terms of connecting with othercommunities and things like that, is that at all on the horizon? I know a lotof companies within the face are thinking about how that relationship works,knowing that their consumers can opt into their product and use other products,but the technology can also potentially communicate.

Have you thoughtabout kind of, what that means for, for your company?  

Evan:Love it. Yeah, no, absolutely. I feel like one of the benefits we've talkedabout, all the hurdles, but one of the benefits of being early in the Web3space is that access, basically everyone's just so accessible.

Like talking aboutfrom, from the billionaires to like the influencers, the good ones, not thescamming ones. To like founders. Creators and pretty much everything inbetween, because you'll have something in common. You, you love the Web3 space.You wanna push it forward, you're gonna push the boundaries.

And like I've beenI've mentioned Kevin Rose earlier, like I've been watching Kevin Rose andfollowing him since like the designation times, if you remember Andbasically, after about 15 years, like I've been supporting him with, with,proof collective that he was building since the last year and a half or so.

And I've been partof the Moon Bird community, right? So that's kind of like, So you minted atoken that you're like a step closer to that, individual who you respect, let'sjust say appreciate and you've been following throughout, all these years. AndI got the opportunity to meet with Kevin basically last summer at nft N Y C.

And like if you sitdown and you'd be like, can you do this in the web two space? Like, what arethe odds of doing that? Right? Like, it's almost impossible slim to do it in,in the web two space. I've got, I've got I've been following Gary B for quite afew years, and then at some point I was tweeting last year and.

I have about 30,000followers. I'm not like an influencer or anything like that. Sure, sure. But hejust liked one of my tweets and he followed me and I'm like, damn. Like Gary Vactually just followed me right now. And then, like in the, in the web twospace, I was a big fan of Justin.

She was like anapple. She was reviewing like Apple devices since forever. And she also jumpedinto the Web3 space. At some point I think she was following like PsychedelicAnonymous, another great collection that launch in. 2021, I think. Yeah.Towards Q4 and 2021. And she followed me back, and we interacted basically onTwitter, and I was like, wow.

That's, that'sinsane. Yeah. I have like hundreds of these kind of examples. Like, and I was,I was quite impressed with how accessible everyone is. So bringing communitiestogether, I think, I think that's one of the most essential components of theWeb3 space. And I feel like the people that are capitalizing and focusing onthat are the ones that succeed.

Yeah. Tremendouslyin this space. And that's why we've decided to build the framework instead ofjust the product. Right. A framework as part of the business, because then weinvite creators, builders, and other communities to build on top of us in a, ina mutual way and in a way that they offer something to their community.

An example of thatis, we've built Mintify with layouts in mind. The reason our mo, our tradingterminal, some people call it Bloomberg terminal for NFTs, like I mentioned,but. The reason they call it that is because it's primarily modular, it'scustomizable. So if you have a collection, let's say if you have a communityand you want to trade in, trade in a nice, safe environment, but also create aunique trading experience for your own community, you can't do that withMintify.

You can't doanything anywhere else. Right now, obviously we're gonna have competitors inthe near future, right? Yeah. I'm expecting that. But I feel like it'simportant to kind of like. Create this, this, this experience, this newexperience in the web two space that's not close to the web two to the web twospace at all.

So, It's one of mybiggest priorities, I would say, like folks competing for the experience layer.Yeah. Everyone's saying like, we're competing for like markets and this andthat. We're actually competing for the experience layer right now in the Web3space.  

Julian:Yeah, it, it's smart too, because you see a lot of these, whether it'splatforms or dabs or DeFi or what have you, and like.

They're, they'renot easy. It's, I don't, I don't want to, I don't, there's, there's like,there's a bunch of, I think about like Robinhood, it's like a really easy touse user face, and then you think about the other platform side of it, notdoing anything too differently, but they differentiate by that user experience.

And I feel likeit's so critical at, at least right now in Web3 to differentiate in that waybecause that'll get you that track, that'll get you that audience that is goingto help you kind of build and expand as you continue to grow. And it's so excitingto see what that really means. Within this space in particular, and I'm curiousif everything goes well, what's the long term vision for the company?

Evan:Yeah, that's a great question. No, I mean, I'm trying to think what can Iactually share. So I mean, our vision is that, games is one of our biggestpriorities for the next few quarters. Creating a reward system that basicallyengages with our community and scales our community, not in a way that focuseson the pros in the space that are currently just, I would say 15, 20,000.

Day traders, whichis not a big number, right? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So we don't really care aboutgetting like, 50% markets here at the current market today. We care aboutgetting like a decent market share once the space has evolved and matured inthe coming years, and we're building for that.

And I feel like,chasing our tails now for, for, for markets here and building a product that'sgood. Just for today or for the next two quarters, let's say. That's notenough. That's not sustainable for the years to come and we're building, it's amulti-year journey for us.

That's how we seeit. And if you see most of the collections in the space, NFT collections thatare, building something sustainable, they kind of have the same mentality aswell. Yeah. Whereas from the community side of thing, there's this. I would saythat the, the majority of communities and community members are impatient,right?

I'm, I'm the mostimpatient human being in the world, right? Yeah. That said, like a lot ofpeople see NFTs as a making a quick buck, right? So if you don't fulfill, let'ssay your promises they're gonna, as I say, fud right? Your collection. They'regonna be like, oh, you failed to do this, you failed to do that, which isanother issue in the Web3 space today.

Yeah. But the way Isee it is that if I'm gonna deploy like $5,000 or $10,000 for a p fp towardsthe collection, I like, I believe in that collection. And I wanna, I wanna seewhat they're, they're gonna build like in the years to come. But I would saythat the majority of people right now, or last year, I would say during thebull run had this mentality that I'm gonna put in $50,000 and I'm expecting tobe $150,000 within just a few hours or days, which is obviously not sustainable.

And thatunfortunately happened with a few collections, and then as soon as it stoppedhappening, right, everyone was like, why is this not happening? Right? Yeah.Why is not, I'm not a hundred Xing my 10,000. So I think that, our vision forthe future is to be. To build, obviously a sustainable business to monetize itin respect way towards our community.

But at the sametime provide as much value as possible to our community and build products andtooling and trading experiences around like N F T technology and blockchaintechnology that are quite unique and push the boundaries at the end of the day,and I feel like we've already pushed the boundaries today with what we'rebuilding.

Unfortunately, Ican't talk about some of the stuff that we're working on, but. Gaming if wewere to focus in one area, gaming is what gets me excited the most. Like rightnow we're creating, for instance, like, The, the infrastructure, like we'rescaling a, a, a specific segment of our infrastructure that can be used byentire, like gaming studios because we foresee a future in which no one's gonnacare about the marketplace that you're trading on.

No one's gonna carewhether it's a massive public marketplace like the Amazons of the world, orwhether it's a private marketplace. Blockchain is. The, the way blockchain techis built is that it's supposed to be multi chain, right? It's supposed to bemulti marketplace. So everyone's fighting for incentives.

Markets are in the,kind of like the wrong way right now, but in the, in the, in, like it, all,it's gonna take for the marketer to grow is like one big gaming studio or titlecoming out. Having their own blockchain. Like I'm expecting game studios andgame titles in general, like having their own blockchain, having their ownitems as part of blockchain in sub collections, for instance, right?

And how do youbring it all together? Like how do you, how do you buy, for example, a Call ofDuty weapon camel, or a player scheme or a fortnight scheme, and then trade iton polygon? And if it's like really, really valuable and you wanna tap intolike the Ethereum, let's just say holders, you can bridge this asset fromPolygon to Ethereum while you're playing the game.

Or like whileyou're in at the lobby or in a front and interface. Yeah. That's quite theexperience, right? So how do you bridge that asset to Ethereum and list itacross multiple marketplaces to instantly get liquidity? Right. So these aresome of the questions that we're working on and it's quite exciting because,everything is being built in real time right now.

Yeah. So  

Julian:yeah. Yeah, I, I know we have a few minutes left, so I want to get hit you withsome FAQs. So, I called it, I love this as I call my founder FAQ section. SoI'm gonna hit you with some rapid fire questions and we'll see where we get, soSure. First up is, you, you deal with different economies and I'm so interestedin thi in, in, in kind of what are some of the surprising economies that yourcompany works with or your platform trades in?

That you were maybedidn't know existed before you started working within the space? Anything kindof stand out to you or surprise you?  

Evan:That's that's a deep question. I don't think that's a rapid fire question. Iwould say that most of the, well, like as a kid I had I, I've dreamt. I'vedream about this world in which you play games and you get paid, but up untillike NFTs existed, like, yeah, it's almost impossible to be a pro-gamer.

We're talking aboutthe 0.0, zero zero 1% of like old gamers, right? Yeah. Making real money, sixor seven figures and so on. I just feel like with NFTs we're literallyexploring ways how the average cons, consumer, the police call of duty for twohours every afternoon with his buddies can not just be, can not just.

Basically have thisexpense of 60 bucks a year for the Title plus 20 bucks per season, but insteadtechnically, Be part of the game by investing into something that's on his,basically it's his or hers now. And then if that something is of value and it'slike limited edition or this and that, then they can have like a massive returnover time.

So you own theinventory instead of just buying something that during the next game, forinstance, is, is gonna be like irrelevant anymore, right? Yeah. And that's thecase for pretty much like every single gaming title. Yeah. So that, that. ThatThe reason I'm focusing on that again, is because, like I grew up as a gamerand I, I kind of like.

See the importanceof that, right? Everyone's spending so much money to games, especially likewestern countries, right? And, and Asian countries as well. And I just feellike we're transitioning out into a world and where it's, it's not just gonnabe about the cost of buying a game, like a one-off time, but it's gonna beabout.

The more you playthe game, the better you are. You'll be able to actually make money out of it.Yeah. And talk about the average consumer. So these are new economies that arebeing created.  

Julian:Yeah. That's so fascinating. Also thinking about how gamers will also have theopportunity to build within the game and how a lot of it'll be just be like agame board and infrastructure layer, and then people will plug in and it'll beso much more unique of an experience and, and seeing where that would go, I,I'm equally fascinated to see how that progresses.

But ano anotherquestion coming at you is well, what's particularly hard about your jobday-to-day?  

Evan: Iwish that they had like 48 hours centers, 24, I guess. No, I feel like, there,there's just so much to do. There's so much to do and like, it's, it's justcrazy. Like, I'm literally, I went back, I have a pretty established business.

Everything wasworked out. I was working eight hour days and everything with my web twocompany and now I went back to like frenzy mode with my web two businessworking 15 hour days. Literally. Yeah. Working until I faint or something. So Iwould say that there's just so many things that wanna build, but it reallycomes down to prioritization, partnerships.

What, what, what,what boundaries we wanna push now or next week or, or next bounce. It's reallyhard to prioritize in a space that's, Being built in real time. It's fun, butyou know, everyone I feel like is struggling with what's gonna be the nexttrend that you have to build the rails today in order to support it two, twomonths down the road.

So I feel like it'sa bet most of the times. So. I would say like, I would just just have moretime. That's it. Yeah. To just build more and build faster. Yes. Which is,that's why we're raising our next round. That's why we're basically trying tomonetize our product so we can scale our team, scale our infrastructure likefaster and, that's, that's the game we're playing.

Julian:Yeah. I love it. And, and thinking about whether it was early in a career ornow, I always like to ask this question cause I love how founders extractknowledge out of anything that they ingest. But there's, early in your careernow, what books or people have influenced or impacted you the most?

Evan:Yeah, so I would say, huh, Tim Ferris, I'm a big fan of Tim Ferris. Kevin Rose,like I said, I've been watching for like over 15 years, so that puts me aroundthe age of like 15, 16, 70 years old, in which, when I bumped into Kevin Rose.So, that was the time in which I started like coding and being a self-taughtdesigner.

And I sold like acouple of my businesses like a year or two later after that. So growing up inGreece, like tech is obviously not like the main you, you, you don't justexperience it like on a daily basis. Like compared to the US they're like tensof years behind, obviously. Right? So I feel like if you're, if you're intotech, if you're like it's basically started coding when I was 14 basically, andI was looking at me like an alien, right?

Like, what are youdoing right? Like, go out and play soccer, right? So I would say that some ofthe people would be team phrase Kevin Rose. Then probably, I don't rememberthe, the name of the book I, I read when I was 18 years old. That was, Mindblowing. It was about minimalism. Yeah. And a thousand day journey.

Anyway and then Iwould say Gary Vaynerchuk, like he has helped me with my content, my, my, mymind thinking like the approach that he had, like, and I was always fascinatedwith. His journey. Right. With, with the immigrant family growing up in, in, inNew Jersey, and now he has like this massive empire.

Yeah. And I alwaysloved the hustling part of his journey. Like the fact that he's always pushingboundaries. Yeah. And he was open about it and he was all about raw content, whichbefore Gary V it was very rare to find in the entrepreneurial world. Everyonewas going after filters, the Instagram times.

Shooting this,making it look perfect on YouTube. Whereas Gabby was like, Hey, this is thehard truth that you need to be aware of. Right. So, I love that part.Yeah.  

Julian:Yeah. I know we're coming to the end of the episode, so before we end, I wannamake sure we didn't leave anything on the table. Is there any question I didn'task you that I should have?

Or anything that wedidn't talk about that you wanted to talk about right before we leave here?Anything left on the table?  

Evan:Perhaps what we're working on next? I mean, you can, you can head over to ourplatform if you're into NFTs and like, you're, you're into like NFT trading.Rather just getting started or you're a pro, check out Mintify xyz.

We're gonna belaunching our reward program, which is basically mimics and the entire, likegaming industry's gamification, leaderboard, let's just say. Yeah. Like we'retaking all the good parts from like Fortnite and Call of Duty and fifa andwe're creating something fun for the average N F C trader to use.

Get rewarded forbeing like a loyal user and part of our community. So, subscribe to ournotifications, subscribe to our email list. We're gonna be dropping this in thenext week or two approximately. And yeah, we'd love to have you as part of ourcommunity.  

Julian:Amazing, Evan. And last thing is where can we find you?

You, you mentionedwhere we can find the company, but tell us your LinkedIns, your Twitters, wherecan we be a fan of you as a founder and also supporter of what you're workingon?  

Evan:Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate that. You can find me on Twitter as @evanvar .That's my handle. If you can't spell my last name, that's, it's Greek.

I apologize forthat or not. Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn, Evan Varsamis or just, atpersonal website, Amazing. Or Evan Var xyz. Try to create a web3variations of my. About like my, my, my personal website. I love that.  

Julian:Evan, it's been such a pleasure learning about your early career, what you'rebuilding at Mintify, and what it really means to all these different economiesand what's exciting about the future of how this technology's gonna be used.

And I know myaudience is gonna enjoy this con conversation, and I know I did it, and I hopeyou did as well. So thank you again for being on Behind Company Lines today.  

Evan:Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure, Julian.

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