OG Edition: Bill Tai on Bitcoin’s Early Days and the Social Potential of NFTs

The Launch of the OnChain Monkey 10,000 Part NFT Collection

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On this episode

In the second of our “OG edition” episodes, “Money Reimagined” hosts Sheila Warren and Michael Casey sit down with legendary investor, startup mentor, prodigious networker, kite surfer and passionate conservationist Bill Tai.

This episode is sponsored by Quantstamp and Insider Protocol.

And as an added bonus, he is joined by Danny Yang, the CEO and cofounder of NFTs-for-charity provider Nfinita, of which Tai is the chairman. According to its website, Nfinita is working to “make giving more sustainable and scalable through NFTs, and to enable any NFT to be charitable.”

The episode is timed with the launch of OnChain Monkey, a

10,000-part collection of monkey-themed NFTs. Uniquely, the collection was created in a single transaction, dramatically reducing the transaction costs that would have otherwise been incurred by any charity that was looking to issue such NFTs for fundraising purposes.

In the episode, Tai and Yang explain how the project is looking to tap into the organizing power of communities of interest to drive the development of environmental and social impact projects. Danny also laid out Nfinita’s thinking in a blog post released shortly before this episode.

But to get this part of the story, the episode starts with Bill Tai’s personal journey. It began in bitcoin way back in 2010, famously captured in a tweet in which asked whether anyone else was experimenting with bitcoin, which he described as a “P2P digital currency” with “fascinating potential.”

But before that, as Tai recounts, it was his experience with the online game Second Life, founded by his friend Philip Rosedale, that led him to discover bitcoin. Money, he explains, is a force that drives the formation of communities, which is why Second Life took off after it created the Linden dollar.

From there it is a decade-long journey to a related idea and Tai’s latest passion: NFTs as a motivator of value to bring like-minded people to form communities around causes they believe in. It is a natural extension of Tai’s work as a conservationist, cultivated particularly in relation to the oceans, where he spends a great deal of his time kite surfing.

The conversation also delves into Tai’s enviable investment record, having been an early investor in massive success stories such as Zoom, Canva and BitFury, and his reputation as an uber-networker who has a knack for building relationships across ideas and communities.

In a period in which angst and concern loom heavy in many places, it’s a conservation that generates an infectious positivity and a hopeful view of how to solve the world’s many problems.


This episode was produced and edited by Michele Musso with announcements by Adam B. Levine. Our theme song is ‘Shepard’.


For those interested in OnChain Monkey, here’s some images of the NFTs: