In the newest edition of “Around the Block With Jefferson Nunn,” Jefferson interviews Carlos Gutierrez. Carlos Gutierrez is a Creative Product Manager, bridging the gap between Art & Tech.
Hey guys, buckle up for a new edition of Around the Block podcast. The one and only podcast meant to educate young entrepreneurs like you how to make your way in the cryptocurrency world. Today we’re talking about guest, Carlos Gutierrez. Carlos Gutierrez is a Creative Product Manager, bridging the gap between Art & Tech. He is a consultant at Fayre Labs, building NFT products and strategies for RCD Espanyol de Barcelona. So far, Carlos has built products for Colgate, Toyota, and Panasonic through gigster.com, a YCombinator and A16z-backed company based in San Francisco, California.
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Jefferson Nunn 0:46
Hello, and welcome to another edition of Around the Block with Jefferson Nunn and I’m here today with Carlos Gutierrez NFT developer, developing an NFT marketplace. Welcome to the show. How you doing?
Carlos Gutierrez 1:01
Hello, everybody listening this Carlos, originally from Costa Rica. I’ve been doing software product management for over seven years now. And as Jefferson just said, I am currently building an NFT marketplace.
Jefferson Nunn 1:16
Awesome. So tell me more. What do you think about NFTs and what’s going on there?
Carlos Gutierrez 1:23
Alright yes. So essentially, it’s as of today is no lie for anybody that everything crypto related is on red, all we see is red. And so the current state of the market is scary, especially for investors. And so I’ve seen a lot of crypto companies letting go people, and it’s is the time for the real builders to get together and shine and build the things the tools that in three years are going to be the next Facebook or the next Instagram, you name it. As of right now we are heads down trying to do the research and find a way to build tools that can help us onboard the masses into the NFT s. And especially if you don’t know what net NFT is, is the digital acid that you own. And we can prove that you own and leveraging the technology of blockchain, which is essentially a decentralized database, then it’s incredibly hard, hard to impossible to hack, because of decentralization. And you can buy a digital acid and you can sleep relaxed that it’s almost impossible that you are going to get hacked or your property is going to get stolen. And behind the whole blockchain technology, there is what we call a smart contracts, which essentially is a way for you to earn passive income in perpetuity if you are the one selling NFTs. And within this smart contract, if you’re selling an NFT, then the first person that buys you earn some money off of that. But then if within the contract, you stipulate that you will be making 10% out of every sale then it’s just like a royalty type of dynamic. And that’s just one of the real life utilities and the magic have been anything.
Jefferson Nunn 3:59
That’s fascinating. I I’ve been following the development of NFTs for a while ever since. You know, board Apes made it all really huge. And in fact, a recent study said that more than 60% of the people buy NFTs because they’re interested in investing in NFTs. But still, there’s still a broader market that’s interested in other things that NFTs can do for them, for example, memberships or things like that. So what do you think about this open ended utility of how NFTs work?
Carlos Gutierrez 4:43
Okay, there’s a good question. That’s a good question. And that is the magic and that is the current real challenge. So how are we going to do onboard the matters, which is the current goal, how we’re going to bring a lot of people into this NFT. Okay, so one example is Gary Vaynerchuk, if you’ve heard the name, I’m sure you have. He is basic, he sold his first NFE collection a while ago. And within the smart contract, meaning after you purchase the NFT, one of the NFTs of Gary Vaynerchuk, then you are entitled of three years of free tickets for an event in the US that’s called VCON, which is essentially, it’s a conference. And there are a lot of people invited, I’m sure, I think that Jack Dorsey will be in VCON next year, and everybody could bought the Gary Vaynerchuk first and the collection already has a ticket for next year’s event. So that is one in real life utility of it, but then that this is the challenge. I mean, I just keep on jumping on calls with team members or other people from other companies. And, and we need to find ways we need to get creative, we really need to find creative ways to solve problems in real life. So that then we can bring more people to NFTs by giving an actual real live value.
Jefferson Nunn 6:34
It’s fun. So along the same lines, I know, you know, there is that crypto winter, but oddly Opensea reported that although the total dollar amount of sales, it down, the total quantity of sales is actually increasing. And so overall NFTs have been really increasing in their popularity and growth. So based on that I know this is still the very early days. But where do you think things will be a year or two down the line?
Carlos Gutierrez 7:11
Yeah, amazing question. And I appreciate your research. And this is the beauty. I mean, if if anybody listening is a little bit versed in investing, then there is one core principle, which is Megas low, Megas low. It’s basically technology out of stability, how the world accepts and makes a new technology or a new project something standard. And so the number one reason why the internet blew up and became what it is today. Or then social media. It’s because of Megas low. So what’s happening is very interesting, we’re going through an economic challenge in time, I want to say, especially on a crypto I mean, right now Ethereum is $1,200. And but then, on the other side, that’s one side of the things like crypto is going down. But on the other side, we’re selling more and more NFTs and we’re bringing more people into the technology. So that’s good validation of Megas low. So that does that. Take that gives me a smile, that makes me feel good, because based on Megas low then, in 2030, everybody who is investing right now will get rewards. And everybody who’s creating even though scary, I mean, I am here in the frontlines, with my money at stake. And it’s scary. I already lost a lot of money to be honest. But then I have to keep a lot of money, right, but to my standards. But then I have to keep having faith and put the fear away and we need to we need to we need to create something that’s going to change how people who’s not used to technology can perceive and if these and then came by what they consider a JPEG. So how can we make it clear that is way more than that.
Jefferson Nunn 9:26
All right, well, let’s turn our attention to more even things like your home, if you will. Could you tell me how you got your start in the crypto industry? What brought you to all of this?
Carlos Gutierrez 9:41
Yes. So a little over a year ago I started to hear blockchain technology and how cryptocurrency can be a way to reclaim my financial power. That was my that was the whole beginning of it. Then it transformed to a completely different thing. But has it ever happened to you with the bank that for some reason they get to freeze your money. Or they get to charge your fees. And then you don’t really know why. And you don’t get to say, This is my money, don’t freeze my money. Yeah.
Jefferson Nunn 10:22
Yeah, well, I’ll share with you just a complete aside, what really got me interested in alternative money systems. Back in 2008, the banks took $50,000 out of my checking account, and put it towards a credit card. All right, just like that. And now that money which can be used for payroll, I had a bit this is going to be used or payable, who’s going to be used to pay government taxes, and all of that money was gone in. And the thing is some of those government taxes by the way, the payroll tax, if you don’t pay, the taxes go up, like astronomically huge. And I was literally on the phone with the banks every day going, Omg, and a lot of other words that I can’t use on the air.
Carlos Gutierrez 11:17
It’s my money. My my money, is my money. It’s my money.
Jefferson Nunn 11:22
So yeah, I’m sure you can feel the pain.
Carlos Gutierrez 11:26
Exactly. Man. And listen, I come from Costa Rica, we’re a third world country. And it’s really tough. I come from a very humble family, you know, and so I started my whole online career because I knew that if I can, if I can have global relationship, and then I will be in a better position, that was the hope. And so I started to sell consultancy services. And, and so I started to make money online. So my payments, I would send an invoice through the platform car called Payoneer. Just picture something like PayPal, or if you’re new, then you know I would send my invoice then I would get paid. At the beginning, when I started doing that, how you knew asked me for a bank account. And so what I did naturally, was in last in connecting my pioneer account with my Costa Rican bank account. So the first payments I got, they were very small $100 $250 300. But then one day, I got 1000. When I got $1,000, my Costa Rican bank, freeze my money, and then and they didn’t send me an email, they didn’t send me a message, they might even get nothing. They just raise the money, I went to pay the bills, and my card wasn’t working, I freaked out, I really needed to pay some stuff. So it’s not working, I went to the bank. And they basically told me until you give us X amount of documentation, proving that what you’re doing is legal and yada, yada, yada, we you will not get your money. It took me two weeks to get the money.
Jefferson Nunn 13:16
In my case, I finally wrote a letter to the Office of the Controller of the Currency. That few overseas banks here in the US. And they because of that letter, actually, I got a call from the Bank of America president’s office, the current president at that time. Actually, they were a little bit upset that I had written such a letter, because they said there’s a right they call it the right to offset that was upheld by the Supreme Court. Actually, they were like, It’s our money. We have the right to do that at any time. That we can. When I explained that, you know, these filings were crazy. Like I keep finding you explain to the IRS, right, they didn’t get their money, because you took it. Finally they reached an agreement to settle. What are the things that I said in my letter, for which I am deeply sorry for was I said if they continue to do this, they’ll be Tea Parties in the street. And instead of tea bags, there’ll be credit cards. Well, shortly after that the Tea Party restarted which led to a lot of things you see today. So in any case, I then found Bitcoin in 2010, which was very, very interesting. So since then, I’ve always thought it’s a great alternative money system. When Ethereum came out. I thought it was a great programmatic system. And here we are today with things that you can do you for everything. So it’s great. It’s wonderful. So let me ask you, did you find programming, NFTs and all that very difficult?
Carlos Gutierrez 15:11
Oh, my goodness. Good question, man, this, this is very valuable. I hope your listeners can if someone is interested, I hope you can also put my contact info because I’m more than happy to 0nboard everybody. And and the question is, is eight years ago, eight years ago, he’s eight months ago. Yes. Oh, my goodness, super hard. But then, here’s the current challenge. How can we help people get on boarded into NFTs easily, technology has to be magical, you just get to do what you want to do. So for example, there is no Adobe XD for NFTs. Designers right now they need to come up with the art. And then they need to understand how to go through all the process of making the JPEG and actual NFT there is no way for you creative mind who just want to be artistic to get it done easily. So we need something like that. We need a way to help people buy NFTs with credit cards, which MasterCard is releasing a pipe payment widget soon. So current, the current state is we got a lot better. We got a lot better. And it’s the it’s the it’s the sprint of everybody in NFTs. To create ways to make it as simple as possible.
Jefferson Nunn 16:54
Yeah, I agree. I mean, that’s been part of the challenge is some of this is not easy to understand, you know, things like that. So I think over time, it just like anything else over time do you think will become easier and more accessible. And to that end Like I said, You know what, or to you, it may be even five years out, what do you see for the future of NFTs, or even crypto in general?
Carlos Gutierrez 17:29
Yeah. So as my big hope, three years down the line that something like Adobe XD will be already live, just a simple website, you can go ahead and design NFTs with animations and just create beautiful art and just press the button and it goes straight to the blockchain, which I’m thinking it will be a theory or something like that will be life. And just a way for people to be able to create a crypto wallet with an email, magical like that abstracted in the backend. So when those two things are life, then something like gaming, the gaming industry, we’ll be more than happy to welcome everything NFT related because right now, since the technology is not abstracted in the backend, meaning people struggle creating a meta mask, wallet, and then buying some Ethereum. And looking at that meta mask, thing, roll and load for 34 seconds, you’re like, did I just get scammed. So when I talk to game developers, they don’t, they don’t want to do nothing. They don’t want to do anything with NFTs because it’s not abstracted in the backend. It’s scary. But when when three, three years down the line where the technology is abstracted in the backend, and then gaming, the gaming industry opens the arms and accept us, then we have a good chance
Jefferson Nunn 19:06
Yeah, the gaming industry are coming around. It’s just a matter of time. I think part of the challenge is we came right on the heels of all the data when right. And I think a lot of people were just oh my god, if another fader when you know which is not. So give it a time and I think there’ll be some amazing apps for it will be transparent, you know, they won’t even know which I think it’s the key. So yeah, so if you have new, say new people, new developers, I should say that are approaching this space. What would you recommend to them? Because you mentioned you know, Blockchain development with a little hard to understand at first, what would you recommend for them?
Carlos Gutierrez 19:49
For developers specifically understanding the concept of the of blockchain if you’re a developer is not gonna be a challenge, you will understand the concept with no no no issues. The issues is when you really jump on a call with a couple of team members. And then you have to solve a problem. Like, for example, a payment widget. Because here’s the deal, and I’m gonna get a little bit technical. If, that’s okay.
Jefferson Nunn 20:21
Carlos Gutierrez 20:21
All right, so. So when we, when we talk web 2.0, we’re talking, any web application that’s not decentralized. And when we talk web three, we’re considering the architecture databases decentralized. So in web two, when we are building an online business or website for you, Jeff, if you want to have your own eco econ ecommerce store, then you tell me, Carlos, I want to allow my customers to buy my products with their credit cards. And so the first thing that I think, as a developer is, I’m just gonna get the stripe API, and we’re gonna copy the widget and just stylize it with Jefferson’s brand. And that’s simple. But then when you want to do the same thing, with Ethereum, then you need to find somebody that’s able to architect a server less AWS lambda, so that then you can connect with another third party service provider. And then you can talk about rebranding the widget. And what I just said, is like a month of work.
Jefferson Nunn 21:38
Right, It’s really high. Makes sense. Yeah. But still, it’s something that can be learned. And I think same thing back to the early days credit card, green card. Now is super duper easy. So give it time.
Carlos Gutierrez 21:55
Just to be concise. If you are a developer is thinking that you want to do it just don’t think that everything that you know conceptually speaking from web to will applying web three because No, consider everybody’s here, finding solutions to problems. And then we don’t really solve the problem. And then we have to start from scratch. So open mind starting from scratch.
Jefferson Nunn 22:24
That makes sense. Well, it’s been a fascinating show. Really enjoyed hearing your insights and on how everything’s working. Do you have any final thoughts for our listeners? Anything that, any special tasks?
Carlos Gutierrez 22:43
Yep. Yeah. So if you’re interested in really understanding blockchain, then just go ahead and Google zombies, Blockchain tutorial, zombies blockchain tutorial. It’s just a very basic and fun interactive course, takes like 30 minutes to go through. And then you will start not really understanding blockchains to being able to kind of code a little bit of a blockchain. That will be the first thing the second thing, just reach out to me on LinkedIn if you want. Because I’m here for the long run. And I just want to help everybody get on boarded. Maybe you want to land a job in a web 3.0 company or you want to help out doing designer you want to offer your services just reach out, I’ll hook you up.
Jefferson Nunn 23:33
Go deal if you want to reach Carlos Gutierrez, his LinkedIn is at the top of the show page. The LinkedIn link will be there. And I really appreciate you coming on the show. I’d love to touch base in six months or a year to see how your NFT products or if you’d come in along.
Carlos Gutierrez 23:50
100%. Jeff, thank you so much for your time and everything you’re doing.
Jefferson Nunn 23:53
Carlos Gutierrez 23:54
Bye bye, guys.
Jefferson Nunn 23:55
If you are hearing this message, you’ve listened to our new episode all the way to the end. And for that, hi, thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please review the episode on podcast.co or tell a friend about it and feel free to suggest future episode topics. This is Jefferson signing off until the next episode of Around the Block.