Mar 13, 2024

XION core contributor Burnt Banksy joins "First Mover" to discuss why he set himself on fire for the launch of the XION blockchain and the burning of a Banksy artwork back in 2021.

Video transcript

This next guest literally set himself on fire to shine light on the crypto industry, core contributor of Zion burnt Banksy joins first mover now Bert Mai, welcome to first mover. How's it going? It's going good. Thank you for having me. We got to talk about the fire situation because it didn't just start with you setting yourself on fire a few years back, you burnt a bank sea and it was all the rage. I remember when it happened and people were shook. So let's let's start there. Um Reminisce for me, talk to me about burning that Banksy and your journey since then. Absolutely. I mean, you have to think back then. So this was about three years ago and this was a lifetime ago in NFTS. This was before the Giant people auction, before the Nyan Cat auction and really before a lot of these things, it was like kind of the beginning, right? It was we're actually technically like in the, in the NF oh sorry in the Wikipedia for the word NFT, which is like one of my, my proudest things in the world honestly. Um But, but back then it was, it was it was like crypto kitties and crypto punks and that was kind of like it. Um, but I love them and at the time, everyone always gave me a lot of flak for, uh, you know, having them because you always had the, you know, if there's, it's not on my wall, it's not real art, you know, and you still hear these things today. So, what I said was ok, well, let me take something that has value, right? Sold to the Sotheby's auction. People know who Banksy is. Um, and I lit it on fire and sold the, uh, the, the photograph of it as an NFT in, in an experiment of will the value transfer. Um, and it effectively for X, we were the highest, I think average sale on open sea for all of 2021. Um, and from then, how much did you buy that Banksy for? Yeah, I think, I think we bought it for about 90,000 and then sold it for about 400,000 at the time. Well, yeah, seems like it seems like you did. Well, it worked. And so that was three years ago. Now, recently you set yourself on fire in New York. Have there been any fires in between three years ago and now, or was this just the second one? Small fires? They were definitely smaller fires. They were definitely engineering fires too. But, but like that had to be put out. But, yeah, small fires. You know, the parent company was named Burn. At this point. I think I've just gotten attuned to being a pyromaniac and accepted it. Um, but, um, yeah, only these are the two major fires, I would say. Ok, let's talk about this second fire. Now that we have laid the groundwork and to your foray into fire stunts, you set yourself on fire last week in New York City to launch a new Blockchain. Uh talk to me about Zion and what it is taking a little bit of a step back. Um Obviously, we've been in this industry for a while and our whole goal is to try to spark this kind of retail adoption. And the reason we build Zion was to make, you know, the first layer one specifically for regular people um is kind of like what we like to call it um while still maintaining the values that we always hold of like decentralization, ownership and transparency. Uh And so with the first chain effectively to create a fully web two user experience, um we've been building it for probably about two years at this point. And, you know, as the, as the event suggested having an upcoming main net release pretty quickly, what does it mean? What does it mean to have a Blockchain that has a web two user experience? It feels almost sacrilegious in this industry to have those things in the same sentence, right? And like, I feel like it shouldn't. And I think that's taking it back from a first principal's perspective. There's so many legacy decisions that of course respected, but so many legacy decisions such as like a public, private key and needing a wallet and needing to bridge and needing to buy on like a Coinbase and transfer to use a product. It's just, it's too confusing and I think there's a reason for a lot of the fraud is that people promise. Oh, well, let me help explain, you know, the the complexities away and you know, then you end up with a Saman man freed kind of on your hands, right? Um But in that kind of capacity bringing everything on to the complete Blockchain level rather than like a social or smart contract level. Um That's kind of what we focus on here at Zion. And so, you know, I think we had a, we had a test that about a month and a half ago with over I think a million users and 12 million transactions, um six products deployed on that and like all of them feel exactly like a web two experience, which is effectively my goal at the end of the day. It's interesting that you say the complexities bring fraud along with them. Um because folks are out there looking for instructions on how to use these things and that opens the doors for bad actors to come in and maybe give misleading information. Tell me a little bit more about that because, you know, the complexities of this industry are, are what the crypto natives I think would say are what makes the industry, the, the, how terrible is that self custody? Yeah, I know. So, tell me a little bit more about that. I mean, do you think we're going to see more focus go the way of Zion? And what kind of tension do you think that's going to lead to? So everything is still self custody, right? And you know, and that, and that's what I mean by kind of keeping everything uh on, on the same ethos of decentralization and uh you know, and everything like that. So my, my suggestion is to not go a complete custodial route and to go completely centralized is to say let's meet in the middle, right? Let's still give it a completely decentralized experience, but meeting the user to a point of, you know, opinionated UX decisions. Um you know, and so I, I think like a very good example of this is saying, well, why shouldn't everything just be priced in US CC? And so we had a very big partnership with us DC to say, you know, people don't need to know, learn about a different token every time that they want to use a product, they should just have the experience that they want, right? And still using uh a Stablecoin, right? And still using technically any token that you would want but you know, we don't want like the intraday volatility because I feel like that is a very hard barrier for new products to form. Tell me a little bit more about the US DC partnership. So US DC is going to be essentially the native token of the Zion Blockchain. Um It's still a token though, it still does take some know how to use and acquire. So talk to me about the user experience, maybe give me an example of how someone might use an application on this chain. Yeah, absolutely. Um And so great experience. I mean, you log in with your email, you can log in with your pass key or your, your like face ID if you want um you know, Gmail, Twitter, uh you know, kind of all of the above not even know really what a wallet is. You have an account you, you're signed in very similar to web two. Um say you want to buy something. Um You, we actually have a partnership with or I guess contract with Uh so that since everything is us DC, well, and we're buying digital assets, we can actually use credit card and debit card and you don't need to go through this on boarding process. Um You know, and so kind of off the top of that gas feed would then be paid off of the total transaction. So you don't need that like weird clunky form of buying something holding it in your wallet and then doing a transaction. Um, I mean, it, it's easier to probably walk you through the flow of Etsy or like an ebay. Um, because that's, that's what we're aiming for and that's the goal that we're aiming for. What's the killer use case for this chain? It sounds like there's going to be an NFT element when it comes to digital assets. How, how do you, uh, think folks are going to use it? I mean, maybe, I mean, I don't think people should care what an NFT is like, who cares if this thing is fungible or not? Right? I think you're going to see this next era of, of it doesn't matter is what we kind of call it, right? Is this is a digital asset, whether it's a ticket for a concert, whether it's uh you know, this next adaptation of Netflix, that's kind of community owned and community driven. You know, I think we're less focused on the Cryptocurrency aspect and more focused on, you know, redefining ownership kind of decentralizing that um maintaining transparency and maintaining openness um in, you know, I I think one of the huge benefits of crypto is that you finally have ownership in the cesspool. That is the internet of like its infinite wisdom, which is extremely, extremely valuable and important in my mind that ownership piece is super important. And I know that folks across the industry um have been telling that story in different ways to educate people about what this next iteration of the internet is going to look like. How are you thinking about that education piece? Because there are a ton of blockchains out there doing different things catering to different audiences and no one has captured that mainstream audience in quite the way that we all like to talk about. So how are you thinking about educating the masses and uh pulling them into the space? I think, I think the problem is even in the question, right. Which is, I don't think that, you know, I think we see adoption rates very similar to early internet, which is terrible in my mind. Right. And I don't think the problem is solved with better user education. I think it's by building products that people actually care about. Right. Uh You know, there's a lot of, uh, you know, perpetual markets and, you know, fancy kind of derivative products in this industry, but there's not a lot of let's call it consumer applications. And we've made a, you know, we've made a Blockchain for someone's grandmother to be able to use, but I don't think someone's grandmother is necessarily going to be needed. Slinging perpetuals all day long. Right. Um, you know, and I think again, it kind of goes back to the original question of, you know, our plan isn't to educate, um, you know, everyone because I think that's a very slow and not scalable process. I think we need to build products that people actually need and people actually want and you know, it's not the first time in the world that we've ever had a concept of collaboration or co-operation. You look at like a co op apartment building. Like that's my example to someone who doesn't know crypto is just saying, let's take a co op apartment building where people a yes, they want to live in a good space. They want uh you know, to know who their neighbors are. Uh you know, and but also sure they also want to, you know, they also have a monetary incentive to keep the place nice. But now bring that concept online and that's crypto. Uh and that's this kind of concept of community. So it's been done before and I think there's a lot of opportunity to do it. But I think the barriers of entry right now are just so high and only catered to the highly technical um and honestly wealthy. Um that really doesn't allow products or people to really thrive in this ecosystem. Yet I fall into the trope all the time of using the lingo so burnt. Thank you for pulling me, pulling me out of that because I 100% agree with you. I think we should build great products that people want to use and that are easy to use and that's what's going to bring more folks um into using these products. Now, you mentioned ticketing you mentioned community engagement in a Netflix like environment. I know you mentioned a collaboration or partnership with But can you tell me about any other partnerships you might be working on? Yeah, so um you know, obviously Circle is a very big one. You know, we have our security team horn uh you know, a security partner. Hal I should say um Stitch kind of providing a lot of these web two uh off services for us. Um But then also people deploying on us like a data marketplace such as R OS or, you know, a new shot at social media called Mosi uh interchange superhighway called Nomos. Uh We have about 60 projects building on us. I think four of them are live right now on test net and we've been kind of doing one every week. Um But we're very excited and I think the way that we look at things is kind of on a conceptual basis which, you know, it's not necessarily online of, you know, let's try this, this but decentralized. It's, hey, I think I can use the power of democratized ownership as like a medium of value here. If that makes sense. Are you going to be setting anything else on fire in the near future? I don't know, I mean, probably definitely a candle. I mean, but I mean, it is, it is, it's looking like we're in a bull market unless bull market. I think people are blowing up Lambeau and burning Bank Seas. I mean, who knows, who knows what we're going to do? Maybe we'll send something to space. I think it wasn't a doge sent to space or there was a lot of things sent to space. There was arguably way too many things sent to space. Yeah, let's just keep the innovation to earth right now. I think there's a lot to work on here. You know, for Banksy. Thanks so much for joining first mover and introducing us to Zion. Yes. Thanks for having me.

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