Interview: Zen Vibes

My name is Zen. I have been a VR/metaverse developer since 2016, ranging from creating jpegs on a blockchain, taking screenshots, or experiences, from the metaverse, and putting them on the blockchain.

How did this start for you and your working in the metaverse?

So in 2016, I was developing a mindfulness program at the University of Washington to reduce stress and anxiety for children in trauma rooms; a kid going through an MRI scan usually has stress and anxiety. Inside of a virtual reality experience, you can create and introduce what they are going through in a different reality through this animation and tell this child getting an MRI scan what they will experience.

It can reduce stress and anxiety when a child knows what to expect, rather than having a kid go into a loud machine and not knowing anything. I started creating mindfulness programs for PTSD patients in virtual reality and then music journeys on top of that. I finished that project and created that application in 2016. I had a girlfriend at the time, helped develop, based upon what we created, a guided meditation app that is now one of the leading ones in the space. It did not launch because it was mostly for children’s hospitals; we did not want to go public. We made self-containing virtual reality headsets with native content; it does not have to go online. You could merely pick it up and go inside the experience. I sourced that, and I was able to develop that in the same way, I was able to source and create the casters and integrate the tangible and intangible products that could help visuals. That is how it started.

Talk about where we are at now with NFT casters. How does that fit into this crypto world?

So NFT castor, you do not know who NFT castor is unless you own 30+ NFTs because, in reality, it is so new. People are still wondering while I am doing talks in shanghai about NFT 3.0. So the integration is displaying art in a whole different way and having these assets. 

Imagine if Picasso were alive right now and he had an idea: whoa, I should mint everything on the blockchain and contact all of my previous buyers and send them an NFT. So they have a digital representation or footprint, while I am still alive, from my wallet, that it comes from me. So even if you are an existing artist right now, you should mint every single piece of art so you can archive it on the blockchain. You could put it on a layer two protocol and not have to pay gas fees.

So that is like the idea behind setting provenance in one address. It is like a universal way to authenticate that it comes from you. Different pieces from the past count on the science to say: this dates back because this is old. But this dates back because the metadata is on the blockchain, and it comes directly from the artist known. So it is like a new era of art. It is astounding when artists adapt and register every single physical asset. There was a company in 2016 that started accepting DeFi as currency for a Monet or a Picasso piece. So technically, you could buy Monet with crypto in 2016.  It was not labeled an NFT; it was just a digital receipt. It was as easy as: here, transaction, done. Then the platform stopped doing that and created a digital platform and started selling digital assets.  So now we have to see how that combines. The utility of it is still new. There is no direction because it could go anywhere. So the idea behind the Casters being able to have a Starlink Internet Protocol, which is one cell block that could have access to the internet from anywhere in the world. Having one of these with solar power lets you create a new type of currency in a new place, village, or country. And provide a different stream of wealth, or in this case, currency. I think it is super cool to spread a currency through art.

I want to tell people they need to respect the fact that art is a career, it’s not just a hobby, and there’s so many minds out there that they need those outlets. But we need to be very cautious of stepping outside of only the profit and what’s sellable and what we market as sellable. Because when we stop the critical minds in the people that really know about art, sometimes the resources only go to people that have the network to sell the work. And then for that condemn on the privileged people and the privileged communities to never succeed because these people have those networks. So sometimes art and especially in today arena, art has become a big business but only the business connected to the people that are in the networks, and they are reaching out to other talents that they may not have access to those networks. But we need to be aware there’s so much talent in other communities to bring them and to help them. You know what I mean? We need to be very aware of how we’re going to reach out to underprivileged communities, underrepresented communities, to help them and to search for talent and bring it up to this and keep helping and project. You can have great revenue, I mean, commercial galleries still can make great money by investing in new talent, not just stay in the same box of representing big names that have just been here for a long time, and they are not even creating anymore. We need to focus on the people that are still creating and especially the new voices are coming up.

If you were to share this with somebody whos still new to the space, where are we now, and where could we go? How would you define where we are at the forefront?

Brick and mortar company. Say you own a furniture store, and I ask you if you accept Bitcoin payment for this furniture, what would you say? If you say yes: I will mint it as an NFT right now and buy it. So literally, an NFT could be as simple as taking a picture. It is a digital receipt, remember in the past, in 2016. I am purchasing that furniture as an NFT, so it is registered. Now it is introducing a different type of transaction, a decentralized execution, which then the individual that owns the furniture can easily convert it into USD right then and there. That is what I did. I went to a furniture store and said: you could mint that for free as an NFT, and I will pay you in Ethereum. He was confused; I showed him. It is so simple now. It is getting to that point where you can just take a picture and boom. You install a wallet. After that, it’s easy. That’s the idea behind it. That is where I think it’s going.