Trailblazers Spotlight - with Ray Chan, CEO & Co-founder of 9GAG and Memeland

“Trailblazers Spotlight – The Leading Innovators in Web3 & Metaverse Marketing” — a curated series celebrating the visionaries and innovators shaping the future of web3 and metaverse marketing.

In this Trailblazers Spotlight episode, we hear from Ray Chan, CEO & Co-founder of 9GAG and Memeland as we dive into the world of Web3 marketing. 

Discover insider tips from Ray Chan on how to succeed in Web3, including using or avoiding NFTs in brand marketing. 

Get a sneak peek into Memeland’s exciting news and learn about the Web3 scene in Asia, and especially in Hong Kong. 

Whether you’re a brand thinking about entering Web3 or just curious, this episode offers valuable insights and predictions in simple language.

“I believe that most people buy NFTs, not because it is called an NFT but because they like the design, they like the features, they like the utility.”

Ray Chan

Ray Chan on Trailblazers

Ray Chan, CEO & Co-founder of 9GAG and Memeland

About Memeland and 9GAG

Introducing Memeland, a venture studio focused on Web3 innovation, born from the minds behind 9GAG. At Memeland, they’re not just building products; they’re forging communities, connecting creators, and revolutionizing social interaction through the power of creativity, MEME culture, and NFTs.

Their journey began humbly in 2008 with 9GAG, evolving from obscurity into a global phenomenon. From joining startup accelerators like 500 Startups and Y Combinator to amassing a dedicated audience of over 200 million worldwide, their commitment to continuous innovation has remained steadfast.

Now, embracing the potential of blockchain technology, Memeland invites you to join them on their latest venture. With a philosophy rooted in hustle, humility, and openness, Memeland strives to under-promise and over-deliver, fostering an environment where smart work meets hard work, where learning is perpetual, and where diverse perspectives are celebrated.

At Memeland, they practice what they preach. From active listening and speaking up to focusing on impact and high performance, their ethos is centered around ownership, teamwork, and relentless pursuit of excellence. With a belief that the company’s success is built on the shoulders of its team, Memeland empowers every member to take ownership of their contributions and drive meaningful change in the world.

Join Memeland on their mission to redefine the digital landscape, one MEME at a time. Embrace the hustle, stay humble, and let’s build the future of Web3 together.

Dan Barry (00:05.406)
OK, the star of this Trailblazers episode is Ray Chan, CEO and co-founder of is it 9GAG, 9GAG. How do you pronounce that Ray? 9GAG, OK, which is a global cross-platform entertainment network with an audience, I think, of over 200 million people.

Ray is also the CEO and founder of MemeLand, which is the fastest and largest growing social fi ecosystem. And as an alumnus, alumni, I should say, of Y Combinator and 500 Startups, Ray has a track record of fostering community-driven digital innovation. GM GM, so happy you could join us here today, Ray. So let’s dive right in.

Ray Chan (00:52.674)

Dan Barry (00:58.338)
First question, so as an early innovator in the Web3 space, your projects are extremely successful, especially when compared to like other projects in the space. From a marketing and a community perspective, what’s your secret Web3 marketing sauce? And maybe in answering the question, you could give our listeners a bit of an idea of what your projects are all about.

There’s some people tuning in that will be familiar and some not. So over to you.

Ray Chan (01:33.674)
Yeah, sure. There are a few things that are different in Web3 comparing to building in Web2 or off-life business. I think community is something that is very, very important when you’re building Web3 projects. Because comparing to Web2 and other business, you actually only build a product, and then you sell to the audience. So the relationship between the business and the…

and the other part, and opposing party, right? It’s actually like clients or customers. Meanwhile, in Web3, you are actually co-building the product, co-building the company with your holders, with your customers, with your community, right? This makes a big difference, right? Because people have a stake, right, in what they’re building. That’s why they may spread your project, right? Via word of mouth, or maybe they will be more, I would say…

passionate about what you’re building. I think this part is something that Web3 is really powerful. Of course, as I share with a lot of our friends, there are two biggest AI in our generation. Number one would be artificial intelligence. Number two is allied interests. Web3 is actually doing the allied interests part really well. If the team does

the community will get benefits. And if the community helps the team, the team can also get the benefits. This is why we feel that why we are, I would say, doing WorkFree relatively well. Because at Nike Get over the last 15 years, we actually are building communities. But this time in Web2, it’s really hard to align the interests. Because most of the people, they don’t even spend any money. They just read Nike Get for free. They just read our content for free.

Dan Barry (03:31.354)

Ray Chan (03:34.015)
And this is why we are so bullish about Web3, why we are so bullish about Sosofy, because it kind of like changed the whole game. It’s almost like giving back the power to the community, but at the same time, the community can also empower the team, the projects. For what we are doing, we are a Web3 company, it’s called Mimland. We launched three NFT collections, and also we launched a functional token last year.

So far, our NFT collection is called MVP, the captains and also the potatoes. It’s the number one NFT ecosystem in Asia. I think it’s like top five or top ten in the world right now. And also our token, we launched it in end of October last year. We are having a market cap of about like 200 million. And then the FTV, that means like fully diluted value is about 1 billion, 1.5 billion, something like that.

Dan Barry (04:29.966)

Ray Chan (04:30.258)
So we are doing okay. We’re just getting started. Yeah, that’s why I don’t think we are successful, but I would say that we have a successful start.

Dan Barry (04:38.722)
Yes, yes. No, I mean, kudos to you. I mean, there’s so many projects that have actually folded in the space. So the fact that you’re able to have this type of success, kudos to you. I’m, I’m a big fan from that standpoint. So I’ve heard you express that most successful Web3 projects stand on three pillars.

And you’ve mentioned a few of them in your in what you just said. So NFTs, tokens and product. Can you elaborate a little bit more on the importance of each of those pillars?

Ray Chan (05:21.354)
for sure. Or maybe we can even take one step back to explain how Web3 differs from Web2. And Web1, traditionally, the definition of Web1 is like the old internet where you mainly read. The company put out some content and then you mainly read. You can’t really interact with others. That’s Web1. It’s read-only. And then for Web2, it’s like…

Dan Barry (05:45.899)
Yeah, I remember those days back in the early days of the internet. Basically, companies would just like if it was a restaurant, they would just take their menu, put it up onto the Internet. And that was read. Right.

Ray Chan (05:58.907)
Yeah. It’s like a notice, right? It’s like a notice only. And then for, I would say that happens about like 20 years ago, maybe a little bit longer than that. It’s like read and write, right? On one hand, you can put out the company, we’ll put out the content, right? And you can also put out the content there. And then you can interact with each other. You can leave comment. You can become part of the creators, right? That’s like read and write.

And then Web3 is something that started since blockchain happened. It’s like read, write, and own. On one hand, you do not just create the content. You can actually own the content. Or maybe someone created the content, and then you can own that piece of content online with proof of provenance. I think this is, I would say, the broad definition of Web3. For what we advocate at Mimlan, we believe that

Dan Barry (06:32.151)
And on.

Ray Chan (06:52.598)
At least when we zoom out and look at what we have on blockchain right now, we actually have NFT, we also have fungible tokens, and then of course there are products building on blockchain. We believe that we need three of them to fully embrace the true power of what three. We believe that NFTs is great for building communities, token is great for decentralizing the value, and for product, it’s great for reaching the masses.

Let me explain. For NFT, of course, NFT is a tech. It’s not just like a category, but it’s like a technology. But somehow when we talk about NFT these days, we mainly talk about PFNFT. That means NFT that people use for their profile picture. Just like what we see from Boyle, Yakub, to Asuki, to Pachi Penguins, to Mimlan. We see that when people are using the PFP,

The NFT as their PFP, they feel that they are part of something bigger. They have their representation online. And that creates a very strong sense of belonging. And that’s why people love to use that. And they feel like, oh, they even use the NFT to introduce themselves. Hey, I’m punk9059, something like that. So it feels very futuristic when you think about it.

Dan Barry (08:15.793)

Ray Chan (08:19.778)
But this is always part of the internet culture where you actually can be whoever you are. I remember there was like an old comic on New York Times where, oh, behind the computer, no one knows that you are a dog. I think PFE NFT kind of like symbolize that as well. So this is why we believe that, oh, if you share the same kind of, same style of art world and profile pic, you feel like you’re about something bigger, you’re part of a bigger community. Meanwhile,

If your NFT collection is doing well, most of the time it becomes too expensive for new joiners to join or for more people to participate. That’s why when we have a fungible token, you can buy it. For example, for our NFT collections, the cheapest one, it’s called the Potatoes. It’s about 2 ETH right now. I mean, if we convert it to US dollars, it’s around like $5,000. It’s expensive.

I mean most I think it’s even more expensive than a channel handbag That’s why not that many people can buy the NFT But right now with a funchable token called meme coin literally called meme coin You can actually oh you have like 10 bucks You can still buy meme coin because it’s like trading at like 0.02 free something like that And you can be also part of the ecosystem to enjoy the growth also to help you the ecosystem but

At the end of the day, some people may not learn enough, but what ever it is, that’s why they don’t want to put their money in. Then they can be part of the participant of the products that we are launching, so that oh maybe they can share some content, and then they can earn some meme coin. By earning those meme coin, they can actually make a living. So that’s why we said NFT is great for building communities, token is great for decentralizing the value, and product is great for reaching the masses.

when you don’t need anything, any money, to participate in the ecosystem. That’s where you can reach the most users.

Dan Barry (10:26.376)
So do you see like pudgy penguins as a good example on the product side?

Ray Chan (10:32.382)
I mean, for product side, I assume that when you talk about products, you talk about the toys that they’re making with NFT inside and stuff like that. So I would say that they mix Web2 and Web3 really well. So that it…

Dan Barry (10:41.423)

Ray Chan (10:53.886)
that’s a lot of Web2 audience, even though they don’t know what NFT is, they don’t know what Web3 is, they will still buy the cute toys. I’ve seen some friends that who have kids, they love the toys. So I would say that they do that part really, really well on the NFT side, on the digital side. Of course, they’re doing also very well as well because I mean the artwork is cute, the full price is high, so that everyone or most of the holders are happy, they’re looking forward.

Dan Barry (11:05.668)
Yeah, yeah.

Ray Chan (11:22.046)
Maybe to their like token launch or whatever right so I would say that they have Launched some good products right and they have a great team. They have a great founders a great CEO not founders Right yeah, and I think those are the things that I think that Pudgy Penguin is doing very well. Yeah

Dan Barry (11:33.346)
Lucas, yeah, yeah.

Dan Barry (11:38.97)
So I’m gonna extend the conversation we kinda got into NFTs here. When I talk about them, I kinda refer to NFTs as like the ultimate roller coaster experience, especially if you’ve been into them for a while. But in my opinion, especially from a marketing standpoint, they have never wavered as an important ingredient in both like Web3 and Metaverse marketing. So.

Um, that being said, like, I kind of feel like five years from now, there’ll be like, like a billion NFTs out there. Right. Um, I was even like reading something today where the EU passed something where like all clothing has to have like a, like a, a digital ID, like as part of it, which is obviously perfect for, uh, for NFTs, but how do you see NFTs evolving over the next 12 months?

like to get your personal opinion on that.

Ray Chan (12:42.586)
have a crystal ball right so I can’t really predict the future right but one thing that I understand is um PFP uh maybe like a 10k collection 8k collection right I think that will always be an important part when we talk about uh NFT right because uh as I mentioned in the beginning one big function of NFT will be to feel that you’re part of something bigger all right you’re

Ray Chan (13:12.514)
with NFT PFP, right? I think that will always be a big part, right? And on the other hand, I think that the price, especially the mean price, right? They will be a little bit more affordable, right? Comparing to like the last bull run, like a few years ago. So I think that will get more people to buy the PFP. Again, let’s use a handbag as an example, right? You have like AMS, you have like Chanel, you have Gucci, right? But you also have Nike.

You also have Adidas. I think those are the things that we will see NFT will become more diverse, have more diversity in the price spectrum, and also in the function and utility spectrum. On the other hand, there are because I think that GameFi, also SoFi, I think they will also leverage NFT as part of the product. And…

That will mean that maybe there will be a lot of low price NFT. Maybe it’s to show the identity. Maybe it’s to perform some functions in the game, in the app. I think that will also be one of the very obvious use case of NFT. And of course, people these days have been talking about, can we tokenize contracts, tokenize securities, and stuff like that. I think a good way to show them would be also in NFT format. So

Dan Barry (14:28.381)

Ray Chan (14:33.026)
there are at least three directions. I can see that NFU will continue to push forward. These are not some new narratives. But I would say that finally, these narratives is not just empty talk, but something that we can see in real life. Yeah.

Dan Barry (14:47.202)
Yeah, starting to see more and more use cases of these situations. Yeah. I think there’s a couple, I’m not sure if I’m getting it right, but it’s like a R I a N E or something like that. So they’re doing RNE. So they’re working with a lot of like the brands like Omega, et cetera, and so forth, where they’re providing like digital proof of ownership. Um, and so that’s an actual use case. I think they’re working with like 10, 15 different luxury brands. So for me, it’s, it’s exciting. And.

And, you know, Nike, you know, they’ve, I think they’ve had actually over 250 million in sales of, uh, of NFTs as, as digital, uh, wearable. So, uh, that’s a good case in point of a company that’s actually out there, uh, producing, uh, real sales with, uh, with what they’re doing. So, uh,

So I’m going to stay on NFT for like one more minute and then I’m going to get into something else. But so how do you recommend that brands, because this is really a big subject in the marketing world, but how do you recommend that brands either use or don’t use the word NFT in their marketing strategies?

Dan Barry (16:06.914)
As we had, we had, we had talked once to like how, how Reddit, when they did their, their launch, they, they use the word, I think it was like digital collectibles. They never used the word NFT at all.

Ray Chan (16:07.092)
That was a…

Ray Chan (16:26.903)
I think it depends on your target audience. If your brand is entering into Web3 and try to do something more so-called Web3 facing, I think using NFT is totally fine. Because people already know what NFT is. It’s almost like when you talk to a developer or an engineer, you can talk in technical terms.

Dan Barry (16:51.172)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ray Chan (16:51.666)
explain things like I’m five right so I think that part is something that I would I think that it doesn’t really matter maybe using NFT can save you a lot of time right meanwhile if you are trying to just make use of the NFT as a technology and then build something on blockchain and maybe it is an NFT because this is non fungible but when you sell it to like the public right to the so-called I would say non-weathery audience maybe it’s easier to call them in any other thing

Maybe you don’t even have to call them out, but just tell people that this is actually can prove it. You can prove your ownership online. So it depends on who you are talking to. It’s not like, oh, NFT is like a bad works and stuff like that. I mean, some people think that it’s a bad work. I don’t really think so, right? Because I mean, name doesn’t really matter that much, right? Unless your product is called Hitler, right? Then of course it doesn’t work, right? But most of the time, I think people look at the content, right? Look at the context, right? More than just the

Dan Barry (17:40.066)

Yeah, this is true.

Ray Chan (17:49.526)
definition of the name. I believe that most people, they buy it not because it’s called an NFT. They buy it because they like the design, they like the features, they like the utilities of it. I was with my son at Ocean Park, which is like one of the parks in Hong Kong which have a lot of sea animals and stuff like that. I mean, when I look at

the name of those animals. Oh, when we call them walrus, when we call them like a sea lion, they actually have a very official name. It doesn’t mean that they are different stuff. It only means that, hey, you use different names when you are facing different audience. I would argue that NFT or digital collectibles or whatever names that you use, I think they serve different purpose, depending on your target audience.

Dan Barry (18:44.378)
Now, I think your answer is so good. Again, if you’ve got a web three project, use the word NFT 100%. Like you said, you probably save yourself a lot of time in terms of trying to describe what it is. And I think Starbucks in terms of their loyalty program, I think they’re calling the NFT stamps or something like that. So I think different companies will.

Again, that are targeting a web two audience will probably do it a little bit different. But I love the fact that you just brought up Ocean Park. You know, I lived in Hong Kong for seven years and I miss it so much. I think the Victoria Harbor is probably the most beautiful scenes of a city in the world. And I live in LA right now.

And so I think the thing that I miss the most about Hong Kong is the airport express, the, the lines driving into like the, uh, the airport at, uh, LAX is like, it’s terrible. It’s, and it’s like, if you, if you, if you’re driving up to the airport in Hong Kong, you drive right to the front door because everybody’s taking the, uh, the airport express, right? But for what, what I’ve been reading and, and hearing and

Ray Chan (19:52.567)

Dan Barry (20:06.43)
I haven’t been there to witness it myself, but it seems like the Web3 movement in Asia is probably stronger than anywhere else in the world. You’ve got your feet on the ground there. I’d love to get your perspective and especially as it relates to Hong Kong.

Ray Chan (20:29.366)
I mean, as much as we’re three participants want to think that they are different, I mean, of course, maybe the thinking is different, but at the end of the day, we’re still living on this earth. We still have to deal with other people in real life. And just like any other, I would say, technological breakthrough, we actually have to…

reach the masses in order to become really, really powerful. And for Web3, for crypto, for NFT, we are part of the bigger economies. We are part of the bigger macro economies. And just like any economies right now, any markets right now, we can see that the fastest growing part is in Asia. And by definition, I mean for Web3,

it’s quite, I would say, reasonable that the fastest growth is also in Asia. And at the same time, because I don’t know whether it’s appropriate to say that, but I think that Asians generally are more like a gambler, they more like to take risks. And they are more degenerates, that’s why they can embrace the welfare idea relatively easily. And not to mention, in Asia, I think the so-called concept of community is also stronger. When you talk to some Chinese

when you talk to some Filipinos, you feel that, oh, they are part of a bigger family. They have a really close relationship with their friends, with their families. I think comparing to the traditional, like in the US and in Europe, I think we, US, I would say celebrates more like individualism, something like that. So I think that people can easily embrace a lot of concepts in Wealthree and also a lot of potential financial gain.

Dan Barry (21:59.896)

Ray Chan (22:23.31)
or laws in wet three. That’s why you can see that Asia is growing really, really fast on that end. And at the same time, I would say that the current global economics is actually leading by the US, leading by the European countries. And when you are leading, you don’t have to be too aggressive in innovation. That’s why there are a lot of rules and regulations, laws regarding crypto. Look at.

all these regulations in the US comparing to regulations in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong. I mean Asia is actually leading on that part as well. Because when you are, you don’t have that much to lose. That’s why you can be more ambitious, you can be more aggressive. And the last thing would be a lot of countries in Asia, they actually didn’t have a very well structured like financial ecosystem or infrastructure.

Dan Barry (22:57.646)
Hmm. Yep. Good point.

Ray Chan (23:21.11)
Because if you have to join the banking system, you have to join SWIFT, and then maybe you have to get verified by the country and so by the organization and stuff like that. And that makes it very, very hard for normal people to having a bank account because you need to do a lot of like KYC, maybe you need some requirement to open a bank account. And the cost is actually causing a lot of money when you have to keep money in your bank account and stuff like that.

Meanwhile, in Web3, you only need a wallet address, then you can send funds. And depending on the change that you’re using, the cost can be very, very low. So the whole experience is kind of simplified. Because I mean, living in a developed world, we are spoiled. We feel like, hey, we just kick a button and then we can send money. But in the so-called, I would say, developing countries, that’s not the case. That’s why learning Web3 is actually easier for them than learning from banking.

So I think a lot of these reasons combined together makes Asia the reasonable candidate for the fastest growth in wet 3. Meanwhile in Hong Kong… Yeah, go ahead. Yeah, yeah. And meanwhile in Hong Kong…

Dan Barry (24:32.222)
No, no, go ahead. I was gonna ask you for Hong Kong and you went right into it. So keep going.

Ray Chan (24:37.702)
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Meanwhile, meanwhile in Hong Kong right now, the government is pushing what three is very interesting, right? Because Hong Kong is part of China, right? Meanwhile, China is still banning crypto, right? But at the same time China allows Hong Kong to be open right to what three I think this is a Because we have a system called a one country two system in Hong Kong and China between the relationship

That’s why Hong Kong has a lot of different rules and different treatment to a lot of different things. And we can do a lot of things that you cannot do in China. And by experience, anything that is suspended in China, but allowed to Hong Kong, allowed in Hong Kong, that will go back. Because there’s a lot of demand in China. And when they are allowed to do it in Hong Kong, they will move their money into Hong Kong to do that kind of activity. So I think that’s number one, what we see in Hong Kong right now.

Number two is Hong Kong is already one of the top financial centers. And one thing that blockchain and Web3 can do really, really well is it actually saves a lot of time once you build out the infrastructure. Just as I mentioned, if you have to send out a wire, I mean, it can be faster than banking, traditional wire. If you send crypto via on-chain, like sending money. And of course, with blockchain…

Dan Barry (25:35.75)

Dan Barry (25:44.921)

Ray Chan (26:01.422)
you have permissionless, you have a trustless ecosystem where you don’t have to verify so that you can remove a lot of middlemen, you can save a lot of men hours. I think when you can save costs, that means that you can increase your competitive power when you are competing with other countries. That’s why Hong Kong is pushing very hard on that financial infrastructure, application of blockchain as well. And of course, Hong Kong is always kind of like leading the financial in Asia as well.

and it can attract a lot of money to Hong Kong. So I think all these factors at work, it also makes Hong Kong a pretty good, I would say, candidate, or maybe even the best right now, because of the backing or blessing of the Chinese government, of a wealth-free development. So these are all things that I’ve witnessed in the last like two years, I think it’s changing. Because before that,

Dan Barry (26:30.167)

Ray Chan (26:55.918)
the rules that the government stands on crypto is not very clear. Right now, they literally say that they want to push RETRI. So they’re setting up better laws, they are setting up organizations and committees to listen to the industry, to see how they should set up the law. I mean, this is like half jokes, half facts. It’s, oh, finally, there’s a one time that policies launch, where it’s still trending. I think most of the time,

When Hong Kong government trying to push some tech related policy, it feels like a little bit lagging behind. But right now, of course, it’s not the first, it’s not the fastest, right? But somehow it’s still within the leading group of cities and countries pushing 1, 3. So I’m very bullish about that.

Dan Barry (27:43.374)
No, that’s such a good, good answer. Appreciate that. And yeah, living when I was living in Asia, I would get off the plane. And you could just feel the excitement of you know, whether you’re in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, whatever. So the, to me, the just the vibrancy of business and in Asia has always been at that level. And in 1000%

Asians love to gamble. I don’t know. It’s like, I’ve visited friends in Shanghai, Beijing, and it’s like after dinner, everybody wants to just go play cards. And…

Ray Chan (28:21.302)
All the casinos, you see a lot of Asian faces. So I mean, Degen is in our blood. So I think that explains why there are so many Asian faces in crypto as well.

Dan Barry (28:29.239)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dan Barry (28:35.702)
Yeah. And they’re serious too. It’s like the difference when you like go to, let’s say casinos in Las Vegas and casinos in Macau. It’s like Macau, everybody’s serious, right? Like, they’re like, like in Las Vegas, everybody’s, ah, another drink. And they’re yelling and screaming around the, uh, the craps table or whatever. But I was, when I went to, um, the casinos in Macau, I was like, wow, these guys,

They’re really, really serious in terms of their gambling or whatever. But yeah, and really, really good to hear. Again, I have a lot of passion for Hong Kong and everything that you’re saying about Hong Kong. Again, it’s always been a leader in terms of the financial sector and, and to a large extent, Web3 and crypto, et cetera. And so of course is obviously linked to that. And you see already like the visas and the mastercards of the world are, are

are diving headfirst into Web3. So Hong Kong kind of being on the precipice of financial and Web3 makes so much sense. And again, China, and then being linked to China, basically, I don’t know if their economy is the biggest in the world yet, but if it’s not, it’s just a matter of time. But having the blessing of China.

And China’s always done this. It’s like let Hong Kong do like the international kind of like financial stuff that we don’t want to be doing in China or whatever the case might be. So anyway, that’s, that’s a really, really good perspective. Appreciate that. Taking a different twist from your perspective, do you feel that now is a good time for brands to jump into the web three space?

I mean, do you see potential upside, downside? I know I’ve listened, like when I think when I was listening to your interview with Carly Riley and on OverPrize JPEGs, you use the word hope and dreams quite a bit when, when you were talking about the space, so keen to get your, your response.

Ray Chan (30:53.898)
I mean, we need hope, right? We need to dream, right? In order to take action, right? Because if we feel hopeless, right? Then we will do nothing, right? We will just lie down and then maybe eat cookies, right? So I think it’s important for us to have hope, right? Because we need to believe that the future is better, right? Because we take action right now, right? And I think for brands, it makes a lot of sense for the brands to understand more about what three, right? There are a few reasons behind that. Number one.

It would be better to sell digital clothes than sell real clothes. It would be better to sell digital handbags than real handbags because the logistics is way easier. And you can reach way more people with way less work once you have the foundation built out. I mean, Nike has shown that. I mean, all the gaming companies, they also show that people, especially the newer generation, they spend a lot of time in the digital world.

Look at like Warp Locks, look at like Minecraft, look at all the games that people buy the items and weapons and stuff like that. And right now, NFT allows it to be bought, and also maybe trade. And of course people can prove the ownership. That’s why it makes it more valuable that you spend the money, because you can own it, you can trade it, you can speculate on it. So I think that part alone makes a lot of sense for a lot of brands. Number two.

I will argue that there are already a lot of big brands, they started to get into Web3 a few years ago already. And I feel that Web3 is very, very similar to social media in some way. Number one, it’s everything that you’ve done is quite public. That means that you can learn from each other very, very quickly. Number two, it requires a lot of participation from the…

a bigger audience from your customers, from your clients, from people who follow your account. I think that part is very, very similar to social media. And you can see that a lot of the brands who are doing very well on social media, for example, like Nike, Starbucks, Editors, they have been into Web3 for a few years already. And I’ve witnessed how Starbucks build their Instagram account like 10 years ago, 15 years ago. I know that, hey,

Ray Chan (33:17.538)
they actually are kind of leading the digital transformation for comparing to a lot of bigger corporations. They are actually very advanced. So it gives people confidence that, oh, if they are visionary in social media, they probably are also visionary when they spend so much resources, set up a team to build out the work-free stuff. So I think that part is also very interesting. And the thing, and the last thing would be…

Hey, if you are not trying to disrupt yourself, you’ll probably get disrupted. So I believe that we see that in commerce, it’s kind of like that. I mean, people will feel like, oh, we also have so many branches of supermarkets. Why do we need an online supermarket? But if you don’t do it and others do it, then basically you are lagging behind. So I think all these few reasons.

Dan Barry (33:50.533)

Ray Chan (34:10.73)
It makes a lot of sense for brands to spend maybe like 1% or even like 0.1% of their budget to look into Web3, to see what Web3 is about, to understand how can they participate in building Web3 or learning Web3. So it makes a lot of sense for brands to do it. Meanwhile, for how they do it, to be honest, it’s depending on the brand. But I believe that the whole concept would be you need to understand the Web3 evils. You have to give before you take.

Otherwise, people will feel that you are very cash scrappy, you are trying to make more money, then you are not embracing the Wealth Free E-Force where we talk about decentralization and ownership. So, I would say that this is a huge opportunity, but at the same time you need to learn first so that you can do well.

Dan Barry (34:45.167)

Dan Barry (35:03.006)
No, really good points. And you brought up Starbucks and, and I think interesting Starbucks is actually the first company to, to build an app, like on the iPhone for their loyalty program and, and then now, you know, to your point about social media, et cetera, they were one of the first companies to get into web three with their loyalty program as well. Um, and, and I think another good example, um, is, uh,

is like Netflix compared to Blockbuster. I remember Blockbuster at one time, they had like all the stores, right? And then Netflix came along and then Netflix was like, oh, we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna, they started to embrace the internet. And Blockbuster actually did billboards where they made fun of Netflix. It was like Netflix has algorithms and we have call-gory-thems, right?

So you can call us and reserve your movie or whatever, but we know what happened at the end of the day. So those companies that dive in and understand the tech and kind of look at the competitive balance of their competitors, they can almost like reinvent their business and reinvent the entire space they’re in at the same time.

Ray Chan (36:25.126)
Yeah, I’m reading the book, Clear Thinking by Shane Parrish. He talks a lot about like defaults in how we make decisions. One of the defaults is actually called inertia, the defaults. Let me quote a part of his book. We like to think we are open minded and willing to change our beliefs when the facts change. But history has shown otherwise. When the automobile was first introduced,

Many critics dismiss it as a mere fact, arguing that horses and carriages were a more reliable mode of transportation. Similarly, when the airplane was first invented, people were skeptical of its practicality and safety. The radio, television, internet all face similar initial skepticism. Yet despite this, each of these inventions has had a profound impact on the way that we live today. I mean, I’m not saying that, oh, blockchain can change the world like internet did. Although people say that.

Blockchain is the new internet. But to be honest, blockchain, the technology, has been around for more than 10 years. Bitcoin has died hundreds of times, according to most of the mainstream medias. Yet, Bitcoin these days have an ETF. And I think Ethereum, actually, is building on the foundation that Bitcoin lay. And then it has way more different use case. And of course, Solana and other blockchain, other token as well. So.

Dan Barry (37:33.206)

Ray Chan (37:51.702)
So I believe that in order to, instead of dissing it as like, oh, just a mere fact, right? It would be better to embrace it, right? Or at least learn about it. I believe that, yeah, exactly. I believe that joint, I forgot where I read it before, right? Curiosity is like joints in our body, right?

Dan Barry (38:07.01)
At least learn about it at the very minimum, yes. Yeah.

Ray Chan (38:21.991)
it gets weaker and weaker as we grow old. That’s why we have to intentionally exercise it. That’s why whenever I see a new product that become popular, my initial thoughts would be, hey, I’ve seen that before, it didn’t work. But I have to suppress that initial thoughts and try to, hey, why is it popular right now? Let’s spend some time on it.

And when we joke about it with our community, we say that, oh, we need to spend at least 69 hours in it to make sure before we have a judgment of whether that works or not. I mean, most of the people who say that Web3 doesn’t work, they probably never buy an NFT. They probably never own crypto. They probably don’t have a crypto wall as well. Then why would you believe someone that never really learned anything and then believe in what they say? So I believe that Web3 is here to stay.

I’m fairly bullish about Web3, but the definition, the format, what it can be done, probably will continue to evolve depending on how fast the adoption is and how many brands. And when you can show that there is potential, there is opportunity, there will be a lot of smart people joining Web3 to build cool products. And that’s the moment that we see the real change happen.

Dan Barry (39:41.934)
No, very cool, very cool. Last question. There’s so much happening in the Web3 space right now. Do you have a project, is there something happening, a particular project in the space that excites you the most right now? Other than Meme Land. You could say Meme Land.

Ray Chan (40:02.206)
I wouldn’t say meme man, right? Yeah. I wouldn’t say meme man. I don’t want to tweet our own Hong. I mean, we are pretty good. We’re pretty good, right? So just check it out to see what we are building. I think one of the biggest category in Web3 is actually memes. It’s actually culture. Because meme is culture.

Dan Barry (40:13.263)
I think you should.

Ray Chan (40:28.17)
transfer one idea from one mine to another mine. So why we call it Meme Land, why we call a token called Meme Coin. And on one hand, it’s like a callback to what Nike is, because it’s a meme sharing platform. On the other hand, we believe that it’s a culture. We believe that it can change people’s mind. It can also change the world. That’s why we call a token Meme Coin, we call a

Ray Chan (40:56.394)
I mean, that’s needless to say, right? That’s why I’m bullish about what we are doing, right? We are excited about what we are doing, right? But at the same time, there are a lot of interesting projects ongoing in Web3, right? And honestly, I’ve seen a lot, right? But I spend most of my time in the NFT part, right? That’s why I can probably name like Pachi Penguin, right? And they are trying to do the new kind of IP licensing, right? They just launched a marketplace called Overpass, right? Where they try to simplify.

and streamline IP licensing. IP is a huge business. So if you can save costs, save time, and via blockchain, it actually can increase the value. Because more people can sell their IP, more people can leverage the IP to build something cool. So this is one of the projects that really excites me. Of course, I’m a bad holder. I love Pudgy Penguins. I talked to Luca a few times. I think that they’re doing some cool things. That’s one of the projects.

Another project that feels very interesting is a lot of the teams, they are trying to integrate AI and also crypto into games. So in the past, the NPC, the computer character that you talk to in games, actually, people have to write a script. And if you talk to the same NPC a few times, they say the same thing. They will repeat very, very quickly.

Right now, when you integrate AI into it, you actually can chit chat with an NPC like you chit chat with a stranger. And then they actually can learn from your answer so that they can respond with a more reasonable answer. And of course, they can kind of shape the character so that you can play the game for longer time. You can immerse in that, I would say, virtual world or like metaverse in a better form.

I think that part is actually very, very exciting. I don’t know whether we will live in it, whether Metaverse was as big as people talk about like two years ago, three years ago. I believe that future will happen, but maybe not right now, not at this moment, but we are going towards that future. So right now, a lot of the GameFi projects, they integrate AI into it, and of course they have crypto, they have the token as part of the incentive system to…

to make people participate. I think all these kind of stuff are also very, very interesting. And of course, like people talk about decentralized media as well, right? How can we let the media owned by the people, right? Instead of owned by a big organization. I think all these kinds of stuff is very interesting. When you change the ownership, it actually change a lot of like decision-making, right? When you build a company, when you build a product, right? And I believe that

Web3 is powerful, it’s exciting, right? Because we’re actually going back to the original ethos of internet, right? It’s like Web1, right? Where the internet should be like open, right? It should not be controlled by a few big companies, right? Where we are like Web2 is right now, right? And that excites people, right? Because when we look at the newer generation, they focus more on equality, fairness, right? Diversity, right? And this is a very natural development on the business side.

to fulfill the need, the demand of the people. And Web3 creates infrastructure, create an incentive system for it. So I believe the future is in the newer generation, and I believe that all the business, I mean, they will have their cycle, and Web3 is here to disrupt a lot of them.

Dan Barry (44:35.458)
Yep, yep. But very, very good. Some exciting stuff there.

Dan Barry (44:43.842)
What is Meme Land’s next exciting announcement? I’m quite keen to, if you’re able to announce, but like what should everybody be looking for from Meme Land in the immediate future?

Ray Chan (45:01.718)
We define Meme Land as a social five focus, a venture studio. We try to launch products that can leverage social networking or social media, because that’s what we have been working on for 15 years. And I’m a big fan of the late Charlie Mungus, like a circle of competence. I mean, you don’t have to know all the things. You only need to know a few things really, really well. And then you just focus on that and invest on that. And for us,

That a few things is like social media. And right now, we have a pretty, I mean, we have like 200 million audience across Web2. So right now, we have a pretty strong start in Web3 as well. We are a rare combination of, we actually have Web2 distribution as well as a good, I would say, Web3 start. So this is the foundation of what we have right now. On one hand, we are launching an investment fund to invest in other projects, to help

Web3 founders to scale their company, to help Web2 founders to get into Web3. That’s one thing that we’re launching, right? Hopefully Q1 or early Q2, right? And the other thing that we are also launching is something called Stickland, right? S-T-A-K-E-L-A-N-D, right? Not S-T-E-A-K, right? Stickland is a mix like LaunchPool, mix, I would say, Sticking Validator, right? And I mean, I can’t share too much right now, because to be honest, I think people…

we will set up the expectation too high. And one key learnings from us is we have to manage expectation. We have to under promise, over deliver. Otherwise, even though you are launching some cool stuff, people will not be happy. So I think stick-line is something that…

Dan Barry (46:43.311)
This is part of your secret sauce, I think, is under promising and over delivering. Yes.

Ray Chan (46:45.886)
Yeah, I mean, it’s actually not secret. It’s like a public store. It’s actually a public source, but honestly, not that many team can use that sauce really well. It’s almost like, hey, this is like open source, this is like the sauce everyone can use, right? But how can you cook a good dish? It depends a lot on the skills of the chef, right? And for us, we also have to learn from our own failures, right, to improve, to do it better. Yeah, so this is like…

Stigland is something that I am really excited about, because we see that a lot of projects, they have cool ideas, they have cool tech, but they actually don’t do a good marketing. They don’t know how to build a community. That’s something that we can help them. And in return, our existing community, they learn what those projects are doing. But at the same time, they can also get a share of their success. And this is something that we want to help all the teams, because, hey, we believe that we are not competitors.

We are actually the early pioneers in the new industry. So we need to help each other out. Meme land is probably the most collaborative NFT projects out there. We’re helping other projects. We distribute the biggest wireless for a lot of new means and stuff like that. So we want to help other projects on one hand. And on the other hand, by helping other projects, we also help our own project grow. So stick land and meme farm, these are the two new things that we’re launching pretty soon. Just stay tuned.

Dan Barry (48:13.73)
No, that sounds very exciting and definitely we’ll be looking to promote whatever that, whatever you’re doing. Sticklent sounds really good. I was going to ask you another question. So obviously if brands are looking to get involved in like a Decentraland, the sandbox, Roblox, you know, there, there’s a path to that. That most people are kind of aware of in terms of, you know, in game activations or, or.

or building experiences on the platforms. So for Beamland, are you working with brands? Is that something that you’re actively looking to do or are doing?

Ray Chan (48:53.43)
Yeah, for sure. I mean, a lot of brands actually reach out to us because there are not that many projects or teams that actually have Web2 experience and also Web3 experience. We are literally one of the very few teams that have both Web2 and Web3 and both do it quite well. I mean, on the Web2 side, we are top 500 website in the world. And social media, we have a lot of followers. So a lot of brands, they know that we know social media.

On the website, as I shared before, we are one of the top projects in the world. We are the top one in Asia. So a lot of brands actually reach out to us. For example, like Michelin, the food guy. They launched an NFT. They gave the biggest… I think they gave a lot of wireless to us. They want to do something with our community.

Dan Barry (49:37.)
The tires, right? Yeah.

Ray Chan (49:46.466)
And then for, it’s one of the leading travel companies in the world. They launched an NFT which a lot of people were not bullish on when they launched it. Because they feel, oh, how come it’s kind of like users and stuff. But, I believe that they understand that, oh, they have to give before they take. That’s why when you have the NFT, you can actually use the token that they give out to actually spend on booking for travelers and stuff. And also, I think actually today, one of the biggest

stars in Asia ever. Stephen Chow, the king of comedy as we call it in Hong Kong, he’s actually launching his NFT project as well. I mean we also help them to give some, I wouldn’t say advice, but more like we share some experience with them to see, oh you should do this, you should not do that. I think all these brands and celebrities, I mean when the markets are getting hotter, they will look at We’re Free again.

Dan Barry (50:20.602)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Ray Chan (50:44.146)
And for the teams who continue to build despite the bear, they are the one that they should talk to. Don’t fucking hire some random consultant that never even buy NFT to just advise. I think this is the biggest no-no, biggest wet flag for NFT projects. If the brands, they hire a guy who understand what wet-free is. They buy a lot of NFT. They’re like a degen. I would say that would be more bullish for the brands.

Dan Barry (50:55.152)

Ray Chan (51:12.818)
So of course, they need to listen to podcasts like Web-Free Metaverse and marketing, so that they understand what are the builders building. And so they know that what are the builders that they should talk to. I’m not saying that, oh, you need to get the builders as an advisor, because honestly, we have so many things to do at our own project. But I think that at least they can have a taste to see how you should think about the product, the direction.

And I think for brands, we are here to help them. Because when we talk about mass adoption, all these existing brands, they already own the audience. That’s why if they are willing to embrace Web3, they will shortcut the time where we reach mass adoption.

Dan Barry (51:57.046)
Yep. Huge. Yes. But they just, they have to do it in the right way. That’s, that’s the important thing. So Ray, I kind of feel like I could keep going and talking with you for hours actually, but thanks so much for, for joining us and sharing your insights. If someone’s listening and they want to contact you, how can they reach you?

Ray Chan (52:17.738)
I mean, I’m NightGast CEO on X, formerly Twitter. I mean, you can follow me there to see that shitpost. And of course, join Meme Land. I mean, maybe I wouldn’t ask you to buy MemeCon about NFT. I think that we don’t need to show too much. But just learn more about what we are doing. I think we have a pretty unique thinking in a lot of things that we do, because we came from a background where we actually built company before.

So maybe we have different thoughts, right? And then you just listen to different founders, how they think about things, right? Then you make your own decision, right? To buy into which project. I think that would be the way to go. Yeah.

Dan Barry (52:58.946)
Cool, cool, thank you. Ray, continued success in everything that you’re doing. You’re killing it. I’m amazed at how successful you’ve been and I know you’ve just begun and I’m gonna be loving to watch your continued journey. So thanks again for joining us.

Ray Chan (53:19.394)
Thanks for having me.

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