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nft now founders Alejandro Navia, Matt Medved, and Sam Hysell

Creating a Must-Know Resource for All Things NFT with nft now

In February 2021, Matt Medved, Alejandro Navia, and Sam Hysell founded nft now after an interest in the intersection of culture and NFTs resulted in several questions, and not as many answers. The nontraditional media platform hoped to change that by sharing tools and resources to their community through online content, podcasts, and events. Today with more than 10 full-time employees, the company is strategizing what it means to create, sell, and collect NFTs, and fuel the future of regulated and decentralized art.

Last December at Miami Art Week, nft now hosted its first NFT exhibition and auction, entitled “The Gateway,” with Christie’s alongside Pirovino and OpenSea, raising 843 ETH, which is around $3.6 million. Through an immersive 2,300-square-foot maze highlighting the artists, collectors, and platforms leading the NFT marketplace, it was the first time a historic art auction house collaborated with an NFT company to showcase both material and digital works. The presentation acted as a physical and metaphorical gateway for newcomers to explore the world of NFTs and hear from the creators, collectors, and developers behind it.

Whitewall spoke with nft now’s co-founders about the monumental movement of NFTs, how it supports the creators of culture, and what they’re working on in 2022.

nft now founders Alejandro Navia, Matt Medved, and Sam Hysell

nft now founders Alejandro Navia, Matt Medved, and Sam Hysell, portrait by Mark Adriane.

WHITEWALL: In January 2021, you started the @nftnow account on Instagram and saw tremendous organic growth. From there, how did you envision being different than other media companies?

MATT MEDVED: We never wanted to preach to people who are preaching to the choir; we wanted to convert the masses. There’s also never been a more important time for information and storytelling. We decided to build everything around that, because the last thing we wanted to be was a traditional media company covering NFTs.

We really believe that NFTs are going to fundamentally redefine how all creators and their communities engage, share, and create value across all disciplines.

ALEJANDRO NAVIA: We built nft now to solve a problem we were having. When we researched what an NFT was, it was fragmented. You had to go down a rabbit hole, and it was self-serving to the point where you may actually be scammed. There wasn’t a trusted, objective body to say, “This is how you onboard yourself to MetaMask. This is what an NFT is, how you buy one. What are the differences in markets—like Bitski, SuperRare, and OpenSea? What’s minting from a platform?” These were all questions we had, and at the time, you had to piece it together from so many different aspects.

We wanted to get the information from the horse’s mouth, so we launched a podcast to interview people who were creating this market, like the engineers, technologists, founders, and artists. Then we created a newsletter that was digestible and used our social channels to distribute those methods.

SAM HYSELL: We are in the very early days of NFTs and how this will bring a new model of prosperity for creators across all domains. We think about it from the “purists and tourists” philosophy, a methodology we got from the late Virgil Abloh. Here, purists are down the rabbit hole—collectors, superfans. Tourists are people in other industries that are interested in the space but don’t know how to engage. We fundamentally believe that NFTs will be an integral layer of how mainstream consumers engage, support, and participate with their favorite communities and creators.

Blake Kathryn for nft now

Still from “Sine Nomine” by Blake Kathryn, displayed and auctioned at “The Gateway” exhibition by nft now and Christie’s during Miami Art Week 2021, courtesy of Blake Kathryn.

WW: There is a significant rise in DAOs and a new corporate structure online. How would you describe the future of this new workplace?

AN: DAOs are the future of organizations, out of the accordance of resources. We created a syndicate DAO, one of the first legally recognized DAOs in the world. It’s called nft DAO, where we invest in NFTs, infrastructure, or companies that build up the NFT ecosystem. In that capacity, what it does is live off of contracts with specific “if/then” statements. DAOs pull resources toward a singular mission—whether it’s labor, creative, financial. They’re going to be the most powerful organizations in the world, more powerful than governments. There will come a time where DAOs will have sovereignty like nations.

It’s the best place to work in Web3 right now. You can go to DAOs and say, “Hey this is what I’ve been working on,” and it goes up for a proposal, gets voted on, and if it gets accepted, you get tokens. There’s no job application; it’s all proof of work.

WW: What’s a weakness in the NFT marketplace that you feel creators or consumers need to work on?

SH: There is a massive lag between the monsoon of consumer demand and how quickly the industry can keep up from a perspective of building seamless user-intuitive experiences—and the talent, like those building Web3 and community management and moderation. There are about four jobs right now in high demand—from a solidity developer and a Discord moderator to a Web3 project manager.

Even for the fans in the space, the user experience, candidly, sucks. It’s a very painful process of having to have a plug-in that you have to log into sites with and wait for things to transact. When we look at the rest of 2022 and ’23, they’ll very much be the years of onboarding the mainstream market. And that’ll be driven by really cool people in broader consumer culture for a much more intuitive user experience.

Sam Hysell

Portrait of Sam Hysell by Elon Jaques Francis.

WW: What was your first NFT?

MM: A GIF NFT from a DJ duo named Adventure Club, released on Block Party.

AN: Mine was from Parrott the artist, alongside an NBA Top Shot.

SH: I got a Giannis Antetokounmpo NBA Top Shot Moment.

Alejandro Navia

Portrait of Alejandro Navia by ManuallFocus.

WW: What’s on the NFT calendar for 2022?

MM: NFT NYC is going to be a big one since we’re introducing a new concept called the NFT 100. We’re going to highlight artists, builders, tastemakers, and community members in the NFT space, shining a light on the leading individuals who are helping build this space. We’re doing it in a way that’s not ranked or competitive, but a celebration of the creative community that’s come together.

MM: We are also working on an NFT project that entails membership. We’re building community, and that’s very different than building an audience, since they have a stake in your success. We’re going to be tokenizing a lot of content as well. We will live, breathe, eat, sleep very much in that Web3 ecosystem, while still meeting the masses in the Web2 space where they’re at.

Matt Medved

Portrait of Matt Medved by Jenny Regan.



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