In this AMA, we had the pleasure of being joined by Yan Ketelers, the CMO of Venly. We got the chance to ask Yan about the universe of blockchain, cryptocurrency, gaming, and NFTs. He also explained thoroughly the differences in marketing in this complex world and how these digital developments can complement each other.
This Slogging thread by Sara Pinto, Yan Ketelers, Mónica Freitas, Limarc Ambalina, Kamal Slaoui, Catalina Carvajal Arango, and Jack Boreham occurred in slogging's official #amas channel, and has been edited for readability.
Hey @channel, please join me in welcoming our next AMA guest, Yan Ketelers, the CMO of Venly. Venly is a blockchain technology provider creating tools and products to help companies benefit from this technology. Yan Ketelers also works with NFT.
Please feel free to ask Yan anything about:
-Blockchain projects to unlock new revenue streams in games
-NFT, gaming, and cryptocurrency
-Advice for game developers to integrate wallets, create NFTs, publish in-game items and scale blockchain project
Hi Yan Ketelers, thank you for joining us. It's a pleasure to have you with us! To start, can you talk a bit about yourself and how you got into the world of blockchain?
Hey Sara Pinto! Happy to be here. So I'm Belgium-based , 30yo, and started working in Blockchain in 2017 when I joined delta.app as head of marketing and revenue. I fell in the rabbit hole in 2016 purchasing my first crypto and really wanted to work in blockchain/crypto and never left the space 🙂. Joined Venly end of 2020 as CMO.
Yan Ketelers So you are in the business for quite some time! That's great because I'm still a bit confused about the concept of blockchain haha. How would you explain it in a simple way?
Sara Pinto sure. Blockchain is basically an open ledger technology, where you can only add stuff to, and not edit things that happened in the past. This is great for use cases like trustless transactions since everything is on the blockchain.
Let's say that thanks to blockchain there is now a new internet paradigm shift: we call it Web3: where internet users can now own digital assets (like NFTs and crypto). It's adding a layer to the internet we know of today.
The most known blockchain projects and use cases are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and NFTs. And thanks to blockchain we see many new business models, like for raising money but also community incentives (marketing).
Yan Ketelers So, it brings some safety, right? The new business models are pretty exciting, and it's curious to see the world change as we know it. Talking about NFT, I see that in Venly you have an NFT Market. How does it work? Any creator can use this market?
Hi Yan Ketelers! Great to have you here! I was wondering: how does one get into the world of NFTs? How can we know more about how it works?
Sara Pinto exactly! But always be aware of scams of course, just like every digital project.
Our NFT Market is built for mainstream users, so everyone can trade NFTs there. Soon we'll launch our minter as well (NFT maker), so every creator can mint his/her work on the blockchain.
The Market lists the NFTs in USDc (which is a stablecoin, the same value as USD) to make it more accessible for everyone. You just create an account, top-up USDc, or purchase USDc and start shopping NFTs, those purchased NFTs will live in a Venly Wallet under your account (linked to your email).
Mónica Freitas great question. I believe Twitter is a really good space to get a lot of info. Here's a thread of smart people to follow.
And to get inspired by great projects and use cases I would recommend news sites like https://decrypt.co/ or podcasts like https://proof.xyz/.
We also have our own podcast with Venly: https://venly.io/venly-expert-talks. A bit more advanced, for the builders in the space, but might be good to bookmark as well 😇
Hey Yan Ketelers as the CMO I have tons of questions for you about blockchain and NFT marketing.
Firstly: what are the major differences you see in marketing for blockchain companies compared to traditional forms of marketing in the tech industry?
Do you have any thoughts on the state of crypto and NFT marketing and how marketing a blockchain game is vastly different from marketing a regular video game?
Yan Ketelers, it's pretty easy and accessible! Funny you mentioned scams. NFT seem to be the future of digital art, and I have even seen people that used one as an avatar and profile pictures. Doesn't this use complicate the protection of an NFT?
Limarc Ambalina hey! We have 48h so keep them coming 😉.
The biggest difference in Marketing for Blockchain companies is the leverage of the community. You can reward active members with tokens. And you can also let them make product and business decisions by voting (through DAOs or with tokens).
Marketing a blockchain game is totally different since most blockchain games raise funds by selling NFTs (Land, avatars, ...) or tokens (the in-game token) before launching their game. So they first build a community, and that community has skin in the game since they own pieces of that game.
"The biggest difference in Marketing for Blockchain companies is the leverage of the community" - With that said, would it be accurate to say then that most of the "marketing" behind crypto projects is engaging in tactics that encourage the community to market it for you?
Sara Pinto, NFTs will have many use cases, but the most known atm is indeed art (or collectibles). The avatars in your profile picture are called PFP projects (profile picture projects). I know that Twitter is working on a verification model, where you can verify that you're the owner of that avatar. But everyone can copy that image ofc, as long as you're the owner, you also get the "programmed" side of that NFT. That side can give you access to digital or physical spaces, or give you airdrops, ...
I often compare it with a poster of the Mona Lisa in your house. You can have that poster, but the owner of the real Mona Lisa is the one that has the real value. And the more people have a poster of the Mona Lisa, the more known the art is, and the more it increases in (cultural) value.
Limarc Ambalina, exactly! The power of the network is way bigger than a project shouting with ads. If your community gets rewarded for their efforts and their help to grow the project, then you can be sure that you have a way more performant marketing army than some social ads 🙂 .
Gotcha Yan Ketelers other than the development of the project as a whole, what are some common community engagement techniques you see in the space?
Secondly what advice would you give to people marketing a crypto project to help them stand out from the crowd and make sure people know they aren't another rug pull or scam?
Limarc Ambalina I see a lot of airdrops for active users. LOOKSrare is a great NFT market that rewards users that are actively trading (even trading on other Marketplaces). Tools like Discord and Telegram are well used, giving access to specific channels for NFT holders of that project.
My advice would be to have the right partners and influencers. Let's say that your a fisher NFT project (fisher game or DAO) than include the biggest names and influencers in fishing, by giving them NFTs (rewarding them for what they already gave to the fish community). And be super transparent on the use of funds. A good example is http://linksdao.io (a golf project).
Oh, thank you! This helps a lot! I've just started dabbling in the world of marketing, and since you're the CMO of Venly, I'd love to know what are some of the biggest challenges you face in your position.
Mónica Freitas, good question. I think for us it's always been a challenge to stand out between the big funded brands. Like OpenSea as an NFT Market... There are some tools in the crypto space that everyone knows and uses because they were first to market. Now we have to do our best to explain why projects would need to use our tools instead of the ones that everyone already has.
And budgets in our space go out of the roof. Events charge so much, just because Crypto Projects have a lot of funds atm. And for Venly, not having a token, this is harder.
Hey Yan Ketelers, what do you think we are still missing to see broader adoption of blockchain technologies across different businesses.
The same question for P2E games, we've seen several new blockchain games in 2022, yet they're not as played as Angry Birds.
Also really good question, that's one I often ask our podcast guests. My take on this: I think we need more regulation, so people get more confidence in the technology. And we also need easier-to-use tools for the mainstream. Metamask is quite technical for non-crypto-savvy people.
For P2E games, we have some that are huge already: Axie Infinity. But there again, I think that game-wise we are not as far as the traditional games. What we would need there are big game studios integration blockchain, NFT, and P2E mechanisms. In my opinion, it's coming soon!
Hi, Yan Ketelers, we've seen how NFTs are becoming extremely popular, and so many people are starting to mint and sell their own NFTs. Why do you think there aren't many brands jumping on this trend yet? And what can make it even more mainstream among e-commerce stores or fashion brands?
hey Catalina Carvajal Arango, thanks for your questions. We see brands hopping on the NFT hype for 2 main reasons atm: 1: to not be late at the party, 2: to start doing their first test in the web3 space. But most of the brands are waiting it out, to see what others are doing and what is successful. Mainly because they don't want to burn their position but also because they're not educated enough on the tech yet.
To make it more mainstream we need education and easy-to-use tools. With Venly we're working on this with our NFT tools, one of the most popular ones is https://www.venly.io/shopify, where Shopify merchants are able to sell NFTs together with their regular products, in the same flow. We're actively looking to integrate with other platforms as well at the moment.
Yan Ketelers Oh, I see. What would you say is the best strategy you've found to get the word out about Venly and dodge a bit this big companies/platforms "muffler blanket"?
Mónica Freitas For us, it's communicating with, and about solid partnerships. We get a lot of credibility from the cases we have, the partners we work with, and the product itself. Marketing tactics that are important for us are PR, Events, SEO, and content marketing.
Nevertheless, it's still a work in progress to be seen as one of the big boys in the space. For this, we like to communicate about our stats, as we did here: https://www.venly.io/post/a-happy-venly-year
Yan Ketelers I bet that is quite the challenge. Do you think that your podcast has helped get the word out? What sort of topics do you focus on?
Yan Ketelers Oh wow, thank you. That was a great answer! I had no idea that NFTs could have so many features or cases. The NFTs business is booming. How do you think this can help the gaming industry? Even though, nowadays, the games are in the cloud, for each company, if this company closed, wouldn't it all be lost? Since they can have many uses, could the NFTs help with not losing the virtual assets?
Mónica Freitas yes! Our podcasts help since it's really relevant for builders. It helps people make the right decisions in tech but also in how to be a Web3 entrepreneur. So definitely, it helps 🙂 and it also gives us good content to work on.
Sara Pinto Yes, so for gaming companies it can help in many ways. My favorite cases are: raising funds (NFT sales or token sale), creating a community (token holders), and creating a new revenue stream (NFT sales, marketplace revenue).
As for losing assets: I believe that in the near future, metaverses and games will be more "open". Meaning that assets will be interoperable. So if one game would disappear, the gamer would still be able to use his/her NFTs (game assets) in another environment.
Yan Ketelers That would be amazing! Each individual can keep their investment. It's interesting since this gives the possibility to increase value to NFTs. Does it mean that, at some point, since we would own the assets, we could shift them between games?
Yan Ketelers Do you think NFTs play an important role when it comes to entering the metaverse? Since there are people using them as avatars could they also use them as a token to enter, for example, the communities you mentioned before and so on?
Sara Pinto exactly that! That’s interoperability 🌈 🙂
Sara Pinto yes! Definitely, you’ll be able to enter specific parts of the metaverse with your NFT, like using keys. As long as that metaverse is web3 (blockchain) based, of course.
That functionality can be linked to your avatar as well!
Yan Ketelers I am very interested in the NFTs subject haha. You mentioned that Venly doesn't have a token yet. Do you think it's a good strategy for companies to start investing in their own tokens? What would be the advantages?
Sara Pinto good point. We don't have one yet. It is a good strategy depending on your business model to have a token. Advantages would be: your users/customers can be ambassadors since they have skin in the game. Your marketing cost is lower. Your reach is bigger and better. Your product, or company, choices are driven by your token holders. You can have your mini-economy with your token, which could give you other revenue streams. You could raise funds with a token sale as well. So many things with web3 😍
Yan Ketelers That's great! I see it gives many benefits. I also see that you mentioned that brands are hopping on these projects. After companies do that, what do you think is the next step to upscale the blockchain world and the metaverse?
Yan Ketelers hi Yan, great to have you hear. So what are your thoughts on using the DAO for decentralizing games? Also, why do you think mainstream gaming failed to adopt a win2earn before?
Sara Pinto Hey Sara, in my opinion: easy to use products ( such as wallets, integrations, and marketplaces) today, it can be very complex. Also, I believe that blockchains will be invisible, just like the internet network today. Like Mail is an E-Mail, but we don’t speak about Internet- or E-mail anymore. It became logical to send messages over the internet
Jack Boreham thanks for your question. On the second question: because there was no blockchain back then so no way to prove ownership of digital assets, or no open ledger to prove scarcity.
DAOs are great, but can sometimes be a bit too “ideologic”. I believe that games should shift to become more and more decentralized after having reached milestones with a founding team and roadmap. Needs a vision and then decentralize bit by bit, like The Sandbox is doing.
Yan Ketelers And what's the next step for Venly?
Sara Pinto, there are many next steps 🙂 Continuing building products to bridge web2 to web3, raising additional capital, hiring more people (https://venly.io/careers), growing our user base, and activating them across our products. Plus, positioning Venly more and more as a complete product suite to integrate web3.
Yan Ketelers Thank you for answering our questions. That's a wrap on the AMA. It was a pleasure having you here with us! Any closing thoughts?
Thank you!!! I hope I was able to explain the wonderful world of web3 a bit. For all other questions, you can follow me on Twitter: Yean.eth 🙌😍