Jul 28, 2023

Sky Mavis, the Vietnam-based firm behind breakout play-to-earn title Axie Infinity, has announced a partnership with the CyberKongz non-fungible token (NFT) project to introduce the Genkai collection to the Ronin blockchain for the first time.

Video transcript

Are heading into waters that traders thought they left behind long ago with sales volume that on any given day mirrors the market in 2021. The significant downturn isn't stopping innovation and it's not stopping building and just breaking today, Sky Mavis, the creator of Ai Infinity has announced that a top NFT project on Ethereum is moving to their own in Blockchain. Beginning with their upcoming Gea mint. This week, the Cyber Cons will be calling the Ronan Blockchain home. Marking one of the biggest projects to move across blockchains that we've seen to date. The Cyber Cons are an early Ethereum NFT project that first minted their Genesis collection back in March 2021. That was before iconic collections like B A yacht club or Ozu were ever born to date. The Cyber Con collections have traded over $300 million on secondary markets. Ranking 26 th all time on crypto Slams collection rankings, Sky Mavis has a storied history with highs and lows that can't be matched by anyone in web three. From Ax Infinity being the top selling N FT collection of all time. Bringing in $1.3 billion of revenue and trading for over $4.2 billion in secondary sales volume. Then their Ronan Blockchain being the victim of the largest hack that the crypto world has ever seen. That was when North Korean hackers stole over $625 million from the Ronan Blockchain. Sky Mavis has been driving NFT adoption through Blockchain gaming. The play to earn model innovative collectibles and now with their first ever PFP collection, I'm Yuda Peer NFT strategist at Forecast Labs. And today I'm joined by Kathleen Osgood, the Director of Business Development at Sky Mavis and Henry, the grape community manager at Cyber Kong, also a member of the leadership team at Cyber Kong and also my younger brother Kathleen and Henry. Thanks so much for being here today. I imagine you're both really, really busy with this big news breaking today, but it's great to see you and thank you. So let's get into what's really happening here. Starting with Cyber Kong and Xi, both have such deep lore and such faithful communities. Both are primed to see great success in the future on their own. So really what brought the two of you together and what does this partnership bring to the Ronan NFT ecosystem? Ronan is the Blockchain that fuels ai infinity. It's created by Sky Mavis. And when we created AI infinity, we had all of these scaling issues to tackle uh as the pioneer in the space. We didn't really know what was to come. And so we had to build our own Blockchain. And with that, we started building our own infrastructure as well. Something we really did, right was building community and generating this hype and kind of being the kings of that initially as this took off the ground. And we realized quickly that we can share this infrastructure and this community with other projects and with other games. So we've taken in AAA little bit more permission based approach in comparison to some of the other blockchains out there that are allowing everybody and anybody to build on them. So we've been taking this approach where a studio or a game comes in and they're going through a rigorous process for our operating platform and Henry knows it. Now, at this point, we recently announced our shift to DP OS and five new game studios that we selected to build on Ronan. And once they onboard into us, we realize that this operating platform, we set up it, it's sustainable and it could scale. So not only do we want to bring on more gaming projects into Ronan because we have this capacity, but we also want to get back to our roots, uh not get back to our roots but expand upon our roots within the web three space. Uh And so we, it was a couple, it was actually probably less than a month ago when we decided, hey, we can actually open this up and let's explore this other territory. And Trung gave the, go ahead our CEO and we had this list of native Web three IP. And I was talking to all of these founders, I was put in touch with Henry and Jeff and I were on a call with him and everything just started to make sense because with some of these other projects, they were like, oh, maybe we can launch a lesser collection on Ronan, you know, because they didn't really want to fork over their Genesis collections. Uh And when I spoke to Henry and he talked about the collection, we don't believe that's a lesser collection. We be, we really believe that this collection on it in its own is substantial. The, the Kai really spoke to us that there's an Asian influence to it. They were launching within a month. Uh And we now had expressed this interest to take on some of this web VIP and deeply integrate them into our ecosystem. And we just, we just know that we have that this gaming ecosystem at our core, we're focused on being a gaming ecosystem. And we believe that with partnerships with pioneers like cyber cons who are doing really cool things with, with their technology and have built this incredible IP we can build something very interesting here. Is this the beginning of Ronan's metaverse? Would you call it a metaverse or is this going to be, you know, kind of still a focused gaming ecosystem as opposed to metaphors, which I don't even think has a definition. Still web three enables what a has done in itself. It's an MMO in itself, you see metaverse and you think of place. Um And I think that all of the experiences that we do have and the opportunity for cyber cons and other IP to integrate into this, it's gonna form a, a type of metaverse that people haven't really thought of yet. Each Blockchain seems to have their own identity. They have collectibles that become their specialty on Ethereum. You, you're used to seeing pfps, the profile pictures. You're used to seeing art on um Polygon. It's big brand collectibles. It's d it's some gaming. And Tazo Art Ronan is always known as the, um the Blockchain for gaming. Was it always your plans to evolve and grow beyond just the universe axis or in some way, has the current NFT ecosystem caused you to pivot or change your philosophy? I don't believe we've pivoted at all. I think what Cyber Hung has done even within play and collect, they've always had this, this root of gaming at their core. And so by having them in our ecosystem, we're just allowing that expansion and enabling that. And to be honest, we wouldn't have partner with them. They did not want to venture into gaming or at least have utility within our gaming ecosystem. Interesting. Ok. Yeah, I can see where the vision is actually align. Then Henry, this does the move to the Roan Blockchain alter any of the Cyber Kong visions or plans? Did it change your vision or does it just enhance things you are already considering or already in the midst of building? Yeah, it's a great question. It enhances the Cyber cons ecosystem. We're like an Ethereum main net based project, right? That's where we were initially launched from, but we came from the Ax Infinity World. We have the OG like Coco Bear and Owl and clumsier guys that were like really deeply rooted within that ecosystem with a really large base out of Southeast Asia. So to, to have the opportunity to come over to Ronan to, to build alongside them, like we have an actual team um that, that's built, that's built, you know, the largest web three gaming ecosystem. And we want to be a part of that because at our core, we are a gaming ecosystem. So every bit about this partnership only enhances everything that Cyber cons have already brought to the table with our innovation uh and who we are within web three. This just magnifies it. And Henry now, Cyber Kong is having exposure to three different blockchains uh beginning on Ethereum. Then on Polygon. Now on Ronan, you'll know better than anyone. How much does the Blockchain that your assets live on matter? And maybe ideally would projects prefer to be omni chain exist on all of the major chains and become interoperable. We're proud to be cross chain, right? And to be able to have a bridge between, you know, main Net and Rowan for to go back and forth. But the reality is, yeah, being cross chain, I think keeps us, keep us nimble. It allows us to be able to use maybe the best parts of what those ecosystems are to our advantage. I said the other day, I said, you know, often in professional sports, you have players that leave teams and they leave teams to go to another team. And that doesn't mean the team that they left is a bad team that team may be great in and of themselves. But at the end of the day, Cyber cons are here to win championships and we really believe when it comes to the gaming side of the house and when it comes to all of the other things that Ronan is looking to expand into. Yeah, we want to be a part of that. It just, it makes sense on so many levels from the, from the, from the fact that our communities are really similar. Both of our communities have asked for this by the way. So to build out our gaming ecosystem on Ronan is an opportunity like we just, we wouldn't pass up and is the synergy between communities. One of the the more appealing things about Ronan, one of the bigger draws for you to want to move across chains or are there things that, that you wanted to build, that maybe couldn't be done on Polygon but could be done on Ronan. I think it's just, it's such a unique ecosystem because they've been doing it for so long. Like there's nobody that's been building and especially on the gaming side of things as long as, as long as Ronan has and with their deep synergy, with their gaming ecosystems, you know, like ax the Infinity, they have the contacts, they have the builders, they've got the developers, they've got the Biz Dev side of the house, they've got the pr side of the house, they have the market side of the house. So like it's this, it's almost like this suite of tools that has become available to us. A question for both of you um which is the Asian market is a key focus right now for NFT builders, the Cyber Kong Gea collection. Well, the goal of it sounds like it was to expand in that region. What is it about Asia that has builders so focused on that region right now, maybe Kathleen, if, if you'd like to start when you look at how a infinity got off the ground that was in Southeast Asia. And we offered this new paradigm of gaming and asset ownership for these folks and it spread like wildfire. We also, they also certain countries in Asia, not all of them aren't facing the same regulatory challenges that we have, we are here in the United States. And so by uh targeting some of these other countries in Asia, you're able to tap into the emerging markets and these Asian countries have always been more prone to get excited and take on like digital collectibles first. And you see that a lot coming out of Japan and that is a market that we have just really figured out how to tap into. So I think you're going to see a lot of these major teams, like you see the opportunity in Asia and kind of piggyback on what some of us have done initially and target that and we have this massive community in Asia still, you know, this is our third bear market right now with our community and we're, we're going stronger than ever. Of course, you see that drop off in players and people may say the Asian community has or may think that it has dropped off, but we are still going very strong within those markets. I think when in like 21 when NF are really starting to take off, I think a lot of that action was coming out of like, let's say the United States and it was coming out of Europe as far as like PFP and the, you know, the the parabolic rise in secondary pricing. But the reality was like Asia was there, Asia was building and we've always seen Asia as a place that we wanted to plant our flag because we've got a large community there already. Meo our artist has an affinity for Japanese inspired art. So it was, it was sort of a natural fit from that perspective when we decided it was about a year ago that this is where we wanted to go market sentiment aside, we're like, this is what we're going to build towards. This is, this is 100% the area of the world we want to be. This is the type of art that we want to put out there. We don't just play to the secondary market and what everybody thinks your floor price is going to be a day or a week after mint. We were playing this long game. We had already been working our connections in Asia for the better part of a year, but to be able to be able to be joined with them, it just brings so many more opportunities to the table in the future. So there's some teams that are building out a games I mentioned this earlier and there's one in particular in South Korea that created this smash hit called Anni Pong. And it did like hundreds of millions of downloads, 2.2 billion in revenue. And that's really what we're trying to do with having them build an ax game, you know, and so we're really trying to create this synergen ecosystem by going slow and picking the right partners as opposed to everybody, you know, kind of come on board because we know we have this potential for crossover if we, if we do it right. And it's not cannibalistic. And so you'll see a lot of our partnerships, even one, coming out of India, it's a, it's called Bold and it's a cricket based Blockchain game. And India has a population of under, it's 600 million under the age of 25. Like they are prepped in prime for Blockchain adoption. They and they've been relatively crypto friendly. They are a very mobile first country and if we can capture some of that market and continue to expand throughout Asia, that's a massive win for us. Yeah. And Kathleen, you mentioned this is now your the, the third bear market that a infinity Ronan have, have um cycled through Henry. I think this is, well, it feels like our first substantial one. Curious, Kathleen, do you still see P to E gaming as um as the event that, that funnels people to the Blockchain to NFTS um or, or to any degree has, has your vision for how big P to E gaming has that lessened. We have been shifting away from the narrative of play to earn to more so this can enable ownership of assets. And I think everyone in the industry mostly has been doing that because you see what the repercussions are within this type of market and all of these new players coming on board, not really understanding what can happen to their assets when the market takes a downturn. But we also have to plan for this next generation of games that are leveraging this technology in a ownership based way. And that is by partnering with some teams that are building, you know, a four V four top down shooter that are slowly adding web three elements and, and skins into the game such as machines Arena. You know, I, I feel like there's two distinct sections. It's, you know, these web two games themed games that are coming into web free, they're adding web three elements and then there's like full on web three games, which is what really made the industry explode in itself. And a lot of people are so shy to acknowledge that that worked, you know, but I think the question is how can we improve that Web three that play to earn side of things so that it is sustainable in a bear market and that's by continuously improving and making a fun game. I'm sure everybody knows Owl here. But incredible engineer, he's developed the er C 7 21 X token that's going to be used in this launch. Cyber cons has been so progressive within their technology. Like they really have been at the forefront of in initiating this new innovation into this space. I'm, I'm glad you mentioned the uh the er C 7 21 X I do want to get into into this new tech, this innovative tech and tech that, that enhances security, something that's been desperately needed in the space. Both Ronan and Cyber cons have first hand experience with the dark side of the Blockchain. Starting with you Kathleen, the Ronan Blockchain was victim of the largest hack that has ever taken place in crypto. There was over $625 million worth of crypto stolen from the Blockchain. Did the hack of this magnitude cause significant changes internally at Sky Mavis and how has it impacted a infinity and Ronan and just the vision going forward? Yes, this hack changed everything for us. It's an incident that led us to become a fully anti fragile zero trust organization. We've implemented rigorous internal security measures to prevent future attacks. All code has been fully reviewed and optimized and security experts have audited our entire infrastructure. The magnitude of this was significant but the fact that we're still here and building and bringing on some of the greatest projects and builders to continue to build with us should speak volumes to people. We of course, had the shift to DP OS. Uh The hack itself was uh it was not a technical flaw, it was rather a socially engineered hack and what we've done by adding more validators, uh including ones like Google uh to verify the blocks it, you know, we are in a position where we are doing everything we can to ensure that this never ever happens again. Uh So yeah, I'm I'm really proud of how everyone handled it. And very excited to partner with Cyber Cons who are implementing some of these new features, like they're forcing us to, to launch these 7 21 C 7 21 X tokens on Ronan. It enables some of these NFTS to be locked up for certain periods of time and you can actually get really creative with that. And I just think what Cyber is doing is they are setting a precedent for the future as to how we evolve with NFTS. One of my favorite things in the entire NFT ecosystem is, well, it is contracts, it is Token Standard Henry. I hope you can speak to a bit. Um I do want to touch on your experience with that same, that dark side of, of this crypto world. Um You had your own experience with it, something that I think shaped you as a collector and trader. And I'm curious how you took that experience now as a builder with the Cyber Kong into the Kong's team and how again, how that has impacted you and the products you're all building now. Yeah, hard to believe that was almost two years ago. I got, I got fished, things like the, er C 721 X contract allows you to have an NFT in a hot wallet, any wallet, let's just say, and if God forbid that wallet is ever compromised. It's, it's locked with another wallet. It, you don't have to lock it with another wallet. Ok. But that's the safety feature of the 7 21 X. It allows you to lock it with another wallet. And so it basically allows you, especially in a gaming environment, which obviously this is part of where we're going to go with. Uh, it allows you to have that NFT in a hot wallet to be able to play games and still have that safety of having that asset locked by another wallet. So, Discord safety, Blockchain safety, it's just always been a top priority of Kong's. So to be able to bring this tech over to the road inside of the house where safety is obviously a big piece of what they're doing as well. It just makes sense. I want to talk about the current NFT climate. It's rough out there in NF land. Slows have slowed secondary sales have slowed down to levels we've not seen since 2021. I'm probably not alone wondering this. Now, if collectors are willing to mint anything new, how challenging is it to build in this market? And how important is it to still offer collectors? Something innovative, something new and, and how rewarding does it need to be? And how soon does it need to be rewarding Henry? That might be perfect for you to start? Yeah. So I think, you know, everybody has their eyes on this market. And when it comes to the price of our collection, which is 0.25 Ethereum for each NFT. And along with our airdrops to Kathleen's point, anybody who has airdropped this as a, you know, a holder or as a reward will have that NFT locked up for a period of six months. And the only way that you can unlock that before the period of six months is to, is to pay for it starting at mint price at 0.25 on day one. Again, this is a six month like let's call it vesting period. So 90 days in, it'll be half the cost to unlock it and, and make no mistake. There are some people that are like, why are you holding my NFT hostage? We're not, we're giving you something, we're literally giving you something for free. But we also recognize that there is a secondary market to the collectible side of the house. We know that that exists. We have the most metaverse land of any PFP project of which we're building on it. In fact, we'll have our experience in the sandbox going live in season four. And honestly, it's like the cleanest of any sandbox experience. We've dumped a ton of when I say money into our advanced FBX files, our two D sprites for our holders. And at the end of the day, I think people can at least look at what we've done and trust that Cyber cons are going to continue to be building out experiences for our holders that are going to really be top tier. I obviously cannot share the Cyber Kong plans, but we wanted, this is the 1st 3rd party NFT launch on Ronan. This is a big deal. This is the first time a non AI asset will be launched on Ronan and we wanted to make sure that it was not a cash grab. And so that's something we work deeply with Cyber cons on is like, what are the plans? I need to understand your road map. Where can this go? But adding Ronan into the picture, I think it just furthers what is possible with this and, and with this team and expanding this IP and getting into gaming and, and I would love for the ai community members to start brainstorming. And now Cyber cons too, I like where this can go because we are open to that type of expansion. If all of a sudden we have an idea from the community, that's like, hey, you guys should, you guys should have, you know, Cyber cos land plots and integrate some assets into there and maybe have a mini game and take from the Builders program game. We are open to those suggestions and we really want to work deeply with these communities who are known for giving feedback that is valuable. What's interesting to hear. You really do listen to the communities and their feedback and their ideas and, and do you have any, do you have examples where you have built things that have been suggested by the communities? And are there avenues for the community to present these type of ideas to you? Yes, absolutely. A lot of what we have built has been based on this community back and forth, even, you know, origins in itself. It is very much based on how the community reacts to things. One of our partners, uh initial partners, it's called Tribes. Uh the founder, he, he built, he led building communities at Scope and King. He led community for Candy Crush and God of War and other ones. And now he's building a social MMO on Ronan. But he's also building a community engagement platform that enables individuals to participate in some aspects of the game as it's being built, the more you enable the community, the more they will give back. That's exactly what happened with a we gave people this new paradigm of asset ownership in web three. We let them own their assets and they could be invested in the open market. What did they do? They gave back, they built, they created DOS and guilds and infrastructure and created content and podcasts and anything you can imagine they created now imagining structuring that and rewarding them even further for their contributions. And that's what is doing with their platform, which is going to be available to all the other teams building on Ronan Henry, the Cyber cons are a different breed and so similar to what Kathleen said, the community's feedback is valued. Does the team take that feedback and look for ways to build it? And again, is the team always looking for new ways to integrate community ideas? Yeah. You know, in, in, in thoughtful ways because, you know, community um the community has, has one when I say they have, they have one perspective and sometimes behind the veil of a project or a Blockchain, the perspective is different. This move to Ronan is feedback from our community. Like we know that our community is going to be jazzed about this. It didn't probably happen in the time that maybe they thought there's probably a lot of people that thought in 2021 that we should have been looking to team up with axis. And of course, it would have been awesome if this would have happened then or in 22. But the reality is like everybody is on their road map and you come together when the timing is right, the other side of it is this uh Web three in general right now to your point about the market that you had made before. A lot of what web three is right now is people that are just looking for gains. And, and I feel like that is something that is really hard to build towards. Certainly in the short term genesis Kong hold the record for all time high of a PFP on the secondary uh 215 Ethereum. How are you going to meet that person's expectations? Like the person who bought that on the secondary, paid somebody else for that NFT. How are we as a project going to meet that expectation? It's a losing battle and so many projects are faced with that, meeting the expectations of people that are in it for nothing more than secondary value. One of the things we pride ourselves on and obviously, Axis have a really deep community as well is like we're all building for this vision of what web three is going to be years from now. It takes time like we're pioneers, what's on the horizon for this evolving Roan ecosystem now with Axis and Cyber cons living under the same roof where we see the development of IP together, will we see other PFP projects come over to Ronan? Um Maybe some that are established, whether it's from Ethereum, whether it's from, you know, any of these other blockchains? And will we ever see art market places on Ronan or will it always be gaming focused? I think the art comes into play in relation to games, right? So that could possibly happen. I've been talking to many existing Web three communities. Again, it comes down to, we do not want to be a lesser chain. Uh So that is a little bit hard to get around uh sometimes, you know, I think we need to step by step, start working with people that have those same values as us that have those same values of enablement and reciprocity and community and listening and being honest and are driving towards the adoption of web three in a way. That's not just like, hey, let's take all these people's money and we are not about that. We want to build a home where IP can take off where maybe there's some massive IP that comes into our ecosystem that doesn't have a game but can plug and play into all these experiences that we are creating. Both teams are really excited about what we're doing. Um The reality is like Cyber Kong are releasing Kai as our um our next edition of IP that we want to release in a gamified manner. I think people should expect big things out of this. Not just a bad ass profile picture on Ronan being the first non ai NFT to launch on there. You know, I think people should expect what it is. I think most people are thinking when they think of Cyber Kong, Ronan play and collect gaming, you can draw your own conclusions there. Yeah, there is much more and look, we want to create an ecosystem we have with, with web three, we have this ability to create, to create this interoperable ecosystem. To, to me interoperability is maybe the most exciting part of all of NFTS all of web three having assets that you can use across games, maybe across platform. I, I was going to finish by asking for predictions about, you know, the NFT space over the next five years. I don't think anybody really knows what I, what I do know though is I think it's gonna be a and cons, I think it's, you're all gonna be at the forefront of it. So that'll be my prediction here. Um But I just want to thank you both for joining so much. I'd love to have you back some time. See how, see how the new partnership is going, see what you're working on. So let's definitely do this again.

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