In Search of Big Yaks: A Metaverse Sit Down With the Creator of Axie Infinity's Hottest Social Clubby@michaelbenko
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In Search of Big Yaks: A Metaverse Sit Down With the Creator of Axie Infinity's Hottest Social Club

by Michael BenkoOctober 19th, 2022
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It’s a brutal NFT winter, but you wouldn’t know it from the lit discord of Axie Infinity’s first social club. It’s an NFT club all about Axies that have a special attribute: they’re big yaks. Today, we sit down in async fashion with Zakariah Wain. The creator of the most buzzed-about NFT club in the Axieverse: The Big Yak Axie Club.

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It’s a brutal NFT winter. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from the lit Discord of Axie Infinity’s first social club.

It’s an NFT club all about Axies that have a special attribute.

They’re big yaks.

Today, we sit down in async fashion with Zakariah Wain. He’s the creator of this buzzed-about NFT club in the Axieverse: The Big Yak Axie Club.

And we’re going to be fielding big questions, like what is a Big Yak.

Michael: Hi Zak, thanks for joining us today.

Before we dive into Big Yaks, can you let us know a little bit about yourself?

Zak: I am the founder of the BigYak Axie Club (BYAC), and I joined Axie Infinity in November of 2021. I’m a single parent, student of microbiology and immunology, just turned 30 x.x, have a variety of interests from art to science, and enjoy meeting and helping people!

Michael: What are Big Yaks?

Zak: BigYaks are a unique body type in Axie Infinity. They are the final body type evolution which came from breeding a wetdog and sumo. If you haven’t seen one, they are large floofy(fluffy) potato creatures with two braids that you just want to hug! They get their fur and braids from the wetdog body type, and their size from the sumo body type.

Michael: What is the Big Yak Axie Club?

Zak: The BigYak Axie Club is a community of BigYak, collector, and Axie Infinity enthusiasts. Contrary to the name, we encompass all Axie types!

Michael: What is special about Yaks, and Big Yaks particularly, that drew you to this kind of NFT?

Japanese Axies: Art created by @Delirium_artist, Courtesy of Zakariah Wain

Zak: What I found special about BigYaks is their floofiness, and braids. While sometimes mistaken for wetdogs, they really stood out to me on the marketplace. I saw normals, curlys, spikys, fuzzys, wetdogs, and sumos, none of them had the character and feeling that I saw in BigYaks. In sum, I just related and identified with BigYaks Real life yaks are pretty cool as well, they are just as floofy and get their fur braided!!

Michael: Can you describe when you had the idea to set up the Big Yaks Axie Club? And what the driving motivation was to actually make this happen?

Zak: The idea came after the Banning incident in the econ channel of the Axie Infinity discord server. The larger community was struggling with FUD at the time, and it was hard to just find conversation with enthusiasts. Many people began to Direct message (DM) me about creating a space for this to occur, considering I had the attention of the broader community. Finally, I said screw it, LFG.

Michael: Have there been any really big moments in your life that led you to go on the path of setting up the Big Yak Axie Club?

Zak: I wouldn’t say outside of Axie there have been big moments, just an accumulation of small events and aggregation of knowledge that assisted in creating the BYAC culture. Inside the Axie universe, yes! It was a whole epic centered around BigYaks: I got banned from the Axie Discord for breaking a tagging rule (DO NOT DO IT), the discord held a memorial service for me getting banned, and in the end Jihoz bought his first BigYak and got me unbanned. That moment really set the trajectory for me to create the BYAC.

(Note: Jihoz is Jeffrey Zirlin, co-founder of Axie Infinity)

Michael: What are your guiding principles as a community manager in NFT?

Zak: My guiding principles aren’t anything super special: involve everyone you can, be transparent, be kind, lift community members up, and have fun!

Michael: Do you have any advice for others who want to start their own NFT community?

Zak: Don’t do it for the money, do it because you like being around and helping people, do it because you want to try and learn new things. You can build a community around anything, but strong ones thrive on good ideals, values, memes, and fun!

Michael: For those who don't know, Axie Con was the first large-scale in-person gathering of the entire Axie Infinity Community, September 7th-10th, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain.

Zakariah Wain at day one of Axiecon. Photo Courtesy of Sky Mavis

Michael: Would you describe your experience at Axie Con, from the registration party to the most memorable moments for you?

Zak: My experience at AxieCon was absolutely amazing! I started meeting fellow Lunacians before the registration party and immediately felt community/family vibes. From the registration party all the way to the end was completely uplifting, the team delivered epic progress updates, everyone felt like they’ve known each other for eons, tons of love, ambition, collaboration, and straight up unity! I didn’t want it to end.

Michael: I've seen there's a BYAC DAO, but I don't understand it. Can you give us some insights into how the DAO works or is going to work?

Zak: Yes! The DAO isn’t typical, it’s strictly a discord channel taking the DAO/Democratic principles and trying to incorporate the concept as best as possible. Ultimately, when making big decisions I want the community to have input. The way I’ve structured it is being able to create a proposal, turn it into a thread for discussion, and vote through reactions. Anyone in the community can make a proposal if they want too.

Michael: Will there be a Big Yak game, and if so, are there any details you can share about it?

Zak: We have quite a few ideas around BigYak video games. Firstly, we wanted to create a Tamagotchi style game, something simple but fun. Secondly, we wanted to create a VR game that allows you to play with your Axies and one day grow into old-school Harvest Moon mechanics.

Michael: For the VR game, how far along in the development are you?

Zak: Not far, it's still in a concept development like stage.

Michael: Got it! Keep us updated.

Michael: Moving on to another topic, what's been your hardest moment in the Axie Infinity Community?

Zak: My hardest moment in the Axie Infinity community isn’t one you’d expect. It was the realization that I can’t build all the things I want too, there isn’t enough time, and if I could, it would affect the quality of my projects.

Michael: Is there a time someone really had your back in the community or helped you out that made an impression?

Zak: So many people to mention, but, definitely my best friend Quang!

Michael: In your journey in Axie and NFTs, if you could go back and do one thing differently, what would it be?

Zak: If I could go back to the beginning, when I entered Axie, NFT’s, and web3, I wouldn’t view Axie and NFT’s as a vehicle for income generation. Instead, I’d change the mindset towards thinking and learning about the future and the potential Axie, NFT’s, and web3 will impact the world. Then start learning coding so I could participate more in the movement!

Michael: What's next for BYAC, and what are you really excited about?

Zak: The grand question! The next thing for the BYAC is to scale by extending past its singular niche. Which is why I’m really excited to full launch the Lunacian Society! A society that includes all Axie bodytypes under a decentralized umbrella, and opens the door to new roleplay, events, and lore building opportunities. There are a few other things, too. However, you’re going to have to wait and see!

That’s all we have time for today. Thank you Zak for joining us!

Til next time crypto explorers, stay vigilant!

Featured Photo Credit: Camping with a BigYak: Art made by @createdby_mono, courtesy of Zakariah Wain

Disclosure: I am a holder of SLP, AXS, Axie NFTs and some RON tokens. These tokens are part of the Axie Infinity economic ecosystem, and some are discussed in this article. I’m also a social participant in the Big Yak Axie Club Discord. My participation in the club did not influence this interview. This interview was conducted in an async fashion across Discord and email.

Note: Three questions about the funding and Sky Mavis' involvement in the club were omitted that Zakariah was not at liberty to comment on.