Has the world gone mad or are these actually investment opportunities? Sit back, relax, and tune in. We've got Motley Fool analyst Aaron Bush here to walk you through the burgeoning world of NFTs.
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David Gardner: Own any cryptocurrencies? I don't, but depending on which one we're talking about, I have really missed out. Had I just bought Ethereum when this week's guest, my long time Motley Fool Rule Breakers sidekick Aaron Bush, first mentioned Ethereum on this podcast, well, maybe you did buy some of it. If so, you've made well more than five times your money since that fall of 2017 appearance. Well, Aaron is back again this week this time not talking Bitcoin, but instead NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens. Some of us know exactly what those are, but many more of us would, I think have a hard time explaining them to the proverbial stranger on a train. Though I once heard a stranger on an Amtrak train do just that. Well in my experience people into cryptos and NFTs, well, some of them anywhere are really, really into them. But for the rest of us, the intention of this week's conversation is to inform and to acquaint. No salesmen here, not Aaron or I. Though we are here, as usual, to make you smarter on the topic because NFT crypto or no, regardless of your investment choices, you will come away this week a lot smarter about what's happening today into the future. Only on this week's Rule Breaker Investing.
Yes, the familiar sound, the sound of rules being broken. Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing, a delight to have you with us this week. I say us because my longtime compatriot here at The Motley Fool, Aaron Bush, who in fact grew up with the Motley Fool from the age of 12, learning investing from one of his parents. Motley Fool services, Aaron, he's still only in his twenties, for many years now has been a Motley Fool employee, and one of my favorites, somebody who is great at thinking about the future, living backwards from the future, helping us invest today and where maybe things are headed today. Aaron does yeoman's work across the Motley Fool, Motley Fool Rule Breakers included. Well, we're going to be talking about non-fungible tokens, as I said at the top. Before I welcome him in and we get started, I guess I just want to say one thing.
Not everybody is into the whole crypto thing. As an investor, I'm not invested. I've always been pretty plain Jane with by investing, I love investing in common stocks. I've never even bought or sold an option. I certainly haven't gone the crypto route, but I respect it. I always have an open mind about where the future is headed. Sure enough, maybe one day I'll be a big investor in some of the things we're going to talk about this week. But for a lot of us, the phrase non-fungible token is pretty opaque and my hope is that our conversation will elucidate what non-fungible tokens are, what they aren't, the investment possibilities here or not, where the future is headed, and more than anything, I'm pretty sure Aaron and I are going to talk about games at some points because the overlap between NFTs and the video gaming and gaming world and the metaverse can't be mistaken and that's of interest as well. This will be a wide-ranging conversation. My hope is it makes you smarter, happier, and richer. I can at least promise smarter this week. Without further ado, let me welcome him back. Aaron Bush, welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing.
Aaron Bush: Thanks for having me, David.
David Gardner: A delight to have you back. It feels like anytime we're going to talk about something exploratory, anytime we're talking about, well, not just possibilities because there is some kinetic energy, there's definitely action already happening. But you and I were speaking before coming on the air and I was saying it's not really possible to sound authoritative or definitive about anything we're going to talk about this week. But for a lot of us, I think it makes sense to start with defining our terms. In fact, let me just give the brief outline of our conversation so people know where we think we're headed and we give ourselves permission to go off the rails in a good way at any point. But I think we're headed to four sections. Section 1, what are NFTs? Section 2, why have they become so popular last year and what kinds of projects led the way? Section 3, we'll go to, well the future. Where else could NFTs go from here? Finally, number 4, how should Foolish investors view NFTs? That's Foolish with a capital F of course. For those just listening to this exploratory conversation, that's how I think it's organized. Let's start with number one. Aaron, right from the top. What are non-fungible tokens?
Aaron Bush: I think the best definition of an NFT actually comes from Wikipedia. They define an NFT as a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain. Of course, that definition doesn't lend itself to being intuitively understood, but I think it covers the basis pretty well. Let's break that down just a little bit more. First, an NFT is unique and non-interchangeable. That basically means it's scarce and one-of-a-kind, unlike something like the dollar or Bitcoin where each unit or piece of paper is completely interchangeable. If we each have $1 bill in our pockets, we could use them the exact same way in the economy, that's fungibility. NFT is unique, it's non-fungible. The second part to unpack is unit of data, in short, a unit of data can be text, an image, a video, it can be a digital item playable on a game, or many other things, for sure we can dig into later.
But in short, an NFT is a unique and non-interchangeable piece of data, really, piece of code which can represent a bunch of things. Most popular right now are images and art, you've probably seen a lot of talk about people buying JPEGs, NFTs of JPEGs. It can't be more than that. Again, we can dig into much more of that in the future section. Then the third and final part is stored on a blockchain. Blockchains are used when you want that data, whatever it is, to be completely and utterly decentralized, that means that whoever owns that NFT truly owns it and it is there to trade, to collateralize, and commercially use as they see fit. The other unique thing about the blockchain is that it is a type of database that enables and enforces digital scarcity in a decentralized and financialized way. It makes that unique data. Again, whatever it is tradable, the data becomes tokenized, so to speak. Hence, being a non-fungible token. We can dig into more nuances or whatever questions else around that as we get going. But I'll just pause there to ask if what I said makes sense.
David Gardner: It does. Let's go a little bit deeper. I was thinking about this, I was thinking about World of Warcraft. I was thinking about a very popular game that's been running more than a decade, Activision Blizzard. I was just thinking about gold farming, which I won't even explain for the moment. But I was thinking about having an account on World of Warcraft where you have a unique character who is your character. You've leveled them up to level 57. He has an epic sword that is rare and a bunch of other digital assets. In effect, is that an NFT? Do I have a unique digital asset that could be traded or given to somebody else for value?
Aaron Bush: Yes, in that situation, that unique sword would be an NFT. Just to further the point and differentiate between fungible and non-fungible within World of Warcraft, gold, which is the currency, that would be the fungible token of that economy. While the unique digital items: the swords, the armor, the character. Those would be the non-fungible, unique tokens.
David Gardner: Yeah, and I remember fungibility from my econ classes in undergrad. I was not an econ major, I did go to college, assuming I would be an econ major and then I decided to go the English direction. But I do remember that fungibility basically means replaceability. As you were saying, Bitcoin is fungible in the sense that if you own a Bitcoin and I own a Bitcoin, they are identical to each other. They could be exchanged. But if I have an epic unique sword in some of these online game, I'm the only one who owns that. Another way I have thought about this is sports. Now I think about baseball cards and now I'm thinking about physical baseball cards. The world that I grew up in, one you did too, they were more popular perhaps decades ago versus today. I can't speak to that. I know there's always going to be a market around the Honus Wagner card of the early 1920s when even though he didn't like tobacco, it was sold in a tobacco packet.
Today, that Honus Wagner card is worth millions of dollars. There are a distinct number of cards that are printed by tops, let's say. We know, especially with the historical cards that it's down to X number left. There's an idea of scarcity and presumably generally transparent scarcity. Baseball cards up, football cards, etc. Now those things are digital increasingly, and NFTs early on came to my attention when a friend said, hey, have you seen NBA Top Shots? I said, what's that? This is about a year ago. I clicked in and anybody can do this today. You can see that what's happening at NBA Top Shots is like basketball cards, except that they're digital, not physical, and they're actually video clips, not still images, at least the ones I'm thinking of. I think that the NBA has partnered to sell unique copies of five-second clips of somebody hitting a three-pointer to win a game, and those are being actively traded today on the NBA Top Shot's site. Those are NFTS as well. Am I right, Aaron?
Aaron Bush: You're right.
David Gardner: We're talking about an epic sword in a digital online game. We're talking about a real-world NBA happening that's been turned, of course, thanks to TV, into a television clip that is now a unique digital asset tokenized at NBA Top Shot. Then of course you mentioned earlier, art. There's certainly seemingly a very vibrant amount of art being NFT-ized, probably the wrong phrase, and sold today, and I'm sure some of it is legit, and I'm pretty sure some of it is illegitimate. One thing before we move to the Section 2, why did this all become so popular last year? One thing, because Wikipedia is also my friend. I was reading that there is some question about the difference between proof-of ownership, which is what you can get.
You can say, hey, that epic sword is mine because it has this unique coating that means that's the only one in the world and I own it, and if I sell it to you, you get to own it too. But there's some question about proof-of ownership separate from copyright. I think the reason this could matter isn't so much for World of Warcraft, but if I were to sell you my painting that I've just taken a picture of and digitized, and you buy it from me, you do own it. The blockchain will prove that you own that, but you may not have the copyright from me. I might not be telling you, but I could be selling 37 other copies of that to friends because I own the copyright. It feels as if there's some extra-legal, lots of questions that still need to be ironed out in terms of what is the real value here and who actually owns what?
Aaron Bush: Yes, I think that is extremely important. Right now we're in an interesting phase of the cycle where there are just so many open legal questions where we need the SEC [laughs], we need different government organizations in the US and around the world to come up with the right rules and standards for how these things should work. It definitely applies to NFTs. For example. You mentioned NBA Top Shot, that's an official partnership with the NBA. Any of us could record clips and then turn them into NFTs and sell them online. But that probably shouldn't be allowed. There should be rules around that. In many cases, the market sorts that out for itself by knowing what is legit and not. But there are many things to sort out there. I can give an example later where we're seeing some like a new use case around commercial ownership appear. But this is an important question for how digital assets should work, how different types of cryptocurrencies should work, how brokerages should work. Just like basically pick your topic in crypto, and it's their open legal questions that are trying to get sorted out right now.
David Gardner: Well said, and we're gliding along blockchain. We're using the phrase, we're not really defining it. We're assuming some knowledge or at least interest on the part of our listener. We're not going to define every phrase this week. We're one click down from blockchain here talking about NFTs. But blockchain at its heart, it's a digital ledger. It basically, at its best, it provides clear awareness of anything that's happened that you're documenting through the code of the digital asset we're talking about. You can see exactly who made that deal on that date with the timestamp you and I both agreed, and we made a bet, let's say online, and you took your Texas Longhorns and I took my North Carolina Tar Heels, and you won, and so if we were using blockchain to determine that, you would automatically have put into your bank account that $5 that I may have lost you in a battle between our respective alma mater. That's an example of blockchain, but at its best, blockchain gives the world transparency around a lot of the assets and transactions and things we're hoping to do in the coming metaverse and the universe that we live in today. These are really big weighty topics, and we're still so early on. Aaron, if we're baseball still top of the first inning for all of this?
Aaron Bush: Maybe the second inning at this point. I think the first inning, probably it's played out over the past decade, but still pretty early.
David Gardner: Well, I feel like we've done a decent job, well, you've done a good job defining our terms. We've knocked out the definitions early. Let's move on now to Section number 2. Why did this all blow up, and I mean in a popular blow up way in 2021?
Aaron Bush: Twenty-twenty-one was the year that NFT trading volume skyrocketed the leading NFT marketplace OpenSea. They just raised money at a $13 billion valuation. This is big business and the genie is out of the bottle now. That said, NFTs aren't new, and I think it helps to understand what's going on or what happened 4-5 years ago to better understand what exact changes led to what was possible in 2021. I think just for a brief aside of history, the first NFT was maybe made in 2015-ish. The very first wave of NFTs hit in 2017. About the time at the Motley Fool, we started paying attention to crypto and started Crypto Society and start putting a lot of thought into this. Crypto punks, one project which they're essentially a pixelated collection of profile picture-looking images. Those released in mid-2017. Those are as a collection, I think the first or second most valuable art NFT collection today, although it wasn't until again 2021 that those took off.
Also, David, I don't know if you remember CryptoKitties, but those were the NFTs that took off the most in that 2017/2018 era. They were unique digital cats that you could own and breed and there was a little game around it. The other thing that was interesting there is that, and this is broader than this, but NFTs are also composable sometimes, meaning that anyone can build on top of them. There was also like a small market of Crypto Kitty hat NFTs, for examples, that owners would buy for the cats. [laughs] It was all ridiculous, but in a fun experimental way. The problem though, at that time was that everything was built and running on Ethereum, but Ethereum was not very scalable. CryptoKitties at the time basically jammed the entire Ethereum network and pushed transaction fees way up to the point where no one could really use that network. The game behind CryptoKitties wasn't sustainable too. But it was a glimpse of what would be possible a few years down the line. Zoom forward to today, what changed? A few things. One, more scalability and the underlying blockchain networks has occurred. Higher demands for compute, for making all of these types of transactions can now be met with a higher supply of compute. We don't need to dig into all the weeds, but in short, Ethereum has scaled quite a bit. There are other layer twos built on Ethereum, such as Polygon, Flow, Ronin, and many more that basically take new technology and build on top of Ethereum to make transactions faster and cheaper.
Then there are also new blockchains like Solana, that are competing with Ethereum by offering their own advantages. A lot has happened, but in short, the technology today allows for far more activity than it did five years ago. There's just been tremendous infrastructural progress that has been made. Second, there are just a lot more people involved in crypto today in whatever capacity than in the past. We're still very much in the early adopter phase, but there are more people willing to spend money, get involved in communities, and play around with digital assets. Because scalability is improving and there's demand for just experimentation and playing around. There are many, many more builders and creators tackling the space with new ideas too. Lots of artists are getting involved. Lots of creators with communities are using NFTs as a way to grow their income and involve fans. Video game studios are starting to think about how endgame assets can become NFTs and much more. Really, the infrastructure improvements were laid over the past few years that set the stage for a breakout moment, and 2021 really became that breakout for experimentation. I have maybe like two or three examples to share, but I just want to pause David and see if you want to add anything there.
David Gardner: Sure. You mentioned Ethereum and when you came on this podcast years ago, you were already talking about Ethereum back then. I certainly remember Bitcoin when we first started talking about somewhere around 2017 as a company, we started a service, helping people think through or advising them around where and where not to invest within this whole new world we're talking about. But Ethereum in particular, Aaron at that time jumped out as something that was different from Bitcoin. It was a little bit more interesting. It wasn't merely a store value, it had functionality. I do notice that Ethereum, over the last two years has gone from about $500 a unit to about $3200. It's a six bagger here in the last couple of years, do you think that's justified?
Aaron Bush: Absolutely. I think that we've seen an explosion of activity and just entrepreneurship around the platform. There's been a tremendous inflow of talent and capital that are building so many types of projects using Ethereum as its foundation. It's hard to say exactly what the value of some of these networks should be. You can't as easily do so-called discounted cash flow model [laughs] on crypto networks as you can companies. But I do think it's justified just because there's been a tremendous explosion of adoption.
David Gardner: Ethereum in particular, and again, I'm going to guess about one in five of our listeners already knows this, and I'm guessing four and five couldn't, if you asked them point blank, identify what makes Ethereum special. But as I recall, it was partly this contractual nature of Ethereum. It was like that bet that I made up that we had with each other and for some reason, I let Texas beat North Carolina for that example. But that would be a contract that you and I make and when an outcome results, one of us gets paid by the other and that's part of what Ethereum, I think promises, is that why it's integral to NFTs in particular?
Aaron Bush: Generally, yes. Bitcoin, which is the top dog and first-mover, really is viewed more as a store value. It is a bit more than that. But that really, at its core is what it is. Ethereum's catchphrase is the world computer. Really, they're building like a touring complete computer. Meaning that [laughs] basically if you can come up with ideas to develop, you can make it happen on Ethereum in some way, whether that's just building whatever new ecosystem, whatever type of new economy around whatever assets. Just so much is possible, leveraging Ethereum because the code enables much more flexible development.
David Gardner: Thank you. Aaron, you mentioned you were going to give a couple of examples. I'm going to throw one out. Maybe this was going to be an example of yours, if not, since it made all the headlines, I'd love for you to speak to it anyway. Beeple, the artist.
Aaron Bush: Yes.
David Gardner: I've never really hung with Beeple, but I guess I wish I would have in retrospect because he created a piece of art that I think was sold for over $60 million of value, one of the most valuable art transactions in recent memory. A question that I have about that, first of all, obviously I'm curious. I'd love any intel you can give us about that. But a question I had about that, I think what I read about at the time, it wasn't paid with $69 million of American cash, US dollar. I think it was being paid with a cryptocurrency. Sometimes I've noticed that the big transactions are being done themselves with cryptocurrencies, which has made me sometimes a little leery about whether actual value or that much actual value is implicit in some of the transactions. Now, understandably Aaron, the big headlines are always going to be the biggest money transactions. Those are going to be what generate headlines. Any thoughts on the Beeple art sale and of course, the examples that you are going to bring of what exploded in 2021?
Aaron Bush: Sure. I mean, Beeple was paid for an ether, which is the token for Ethereum. Generally, with NFTs, just with digital assets that are built on blockchains, you do need to trade for them. Like the economy works around the token, that is the currency of that network. That's just the way it works and that's just going to become more popular. I don't really eye at that. I think that's an early circumstance that we'll see many more of in the future. But yes, that was a huge moment of 2021 that I think solidified NFT art as quote-on-quote, real art in the art world. Which personally, I have no strong opinions about this. If we just started a Motley Fool art recommendation service, you should not put me in charge. [laughs]. When I went to the Louvre and I saw so many people looking at the Mona Lisa like, that's great. But I have no idea why they're looking at that one versus all of the other ones. It's how I feel about some of the art movements going on with the NFT space. I'm sure there's some great stuff there. If you have a great eye for art and you're a legitimate collector and have the talent there, absolutely there's going to be some stuff of value there, but that side of things is not really for me, but it was a huge moment for NFTs.
David Gardner: Surely part of the growth of NFTs in 2021 was specifically coming from the art field. Because artists could actually get paid and whether the art is good, bad, or we're indifferent to it, it's clearly a value to some and so I think that was a natural, quicker uptake than more complicated. We might talk about DAOs a little bit later. Jim Surowiecki mentioned that on our Besties podcast just a month ago talking about those, which we can get into that or not. But there's a lot more complexity that you can start designing into the blockchain or looking for value to pay with cryptocurrencies, but art seems to me just a single image, if you know, it's the only image of its kind, that's pretty translatable from artist to patron, from value creator to value buyer.
Aaron Bush: Yes, art is simple, which I think is probably why it's a starting place for the types of NFTs that are gaining popularity first. But I also think what you said is smart in the sense that blockchains at their core really are decentralized, meaning that they're built in a way where you can bypass middlemen and go direct to consumer in an entirely new way. That's what we saw this past year. Maybe go into a couple of other examples. One it isn't all that different, David, I don't know if you've heard of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, you've probably heard that name tossed around somewhere. But really all that is, it's a few thousand profile picture type images of digital apes of different types. There are zombie apes, apes with different hats and people are using them around Twitter as their profile images that become this Veblen good, the status signal good. They've built a really strong community around it. The art side of it, like fine, maybe somebody thinks that's interesting. But the interesting part to me is actually more that community and those assets, they're all running own into decentralized way but the roadmap that they have for where this community is going is what stands out to me.
Not only do people own these unique digital assets, but it's starting to come with more perks. For example, the NFT doubles as a ticket to unique events like concerts for people who are owners of these Board Ape Yacht Club [laughs] images. There's a game being built for the community where people can use their assets in the game, they're partnering with the Sandbox, which is this emerging virtual world that's being built. It also grants, unlike some projects, it grants commercial rights to the owners of those assets so that people can use their apes for whatever they want to do. It builds on top of that composability point I briefly mentioned earlier, where just by giving the community more ownership of what they do with their assets, you're just going to see a wider variety of experiments happen.
Probably a ton of these things that are being built out they just going to flop. But maybe there's something interesting and that actually will come to fruition and also gain value. But really tying a bow on this specific project, there's a shift to not just have hedonic value. You look at something and be, “Oh, that's cool. It's a status signal.” But actually adding more functional value to NFT is, and in this case it really is more like social functional value that you become part of this community. You get access to these various projects that are emerging around that ecosystem. The more that that happens again, the underlying NFTs are scarce. Theoretically, as demand increases and the supply stays the same, the price will increase as well. You see some of that happening. As for the project specifically, I have no idea what's going to happen to it, but it's an interesting sign of where these things might go.
David Gardner: I'm glad you mentioned it, Aaron, because I'm thinking about the power of community. I'm thinking about in the early days of the Internet there was The WELL, and I bet some listening to me right now we're actually members. I think it's down to only have a few thousand people now who use those Internet forums. I haven't checked out The WELL, but I certainly remember the early days of the Internet. The WELL was like the poster child for early online community and what that could mean. While it's a footnote in some ways now, 30-plus years later, I could see that being the case for the Bored Apes. I mean, but it's the community that brings people together to start cooperating, to start transacting, to start building stuff together. It might sound silly. Just like to sum the phrase Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link, which is the acronym for The WELL, probably seemed a little geeky and weird back in the late 1980s when it was founded. But anyway Aaron, I'm thinking about where are the communities? What are the interesting communities? What are the emergent communities? That's a part of the elephant I'm looking at right now that I can understand.
Aaron Bush: I think this might be a good way to lightly segue just into mentioning what DAOs are, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations. It's really just a new structure built on the blockchain based around whatever project or assets that brings people together all over the Internet as a community to focus on whatever it is. It could be Bored Ape Yacht Club, they're making a DAO. A big part of that is to more formalize that community and give more rights over how decisions are made around what to do with the massive treasury that they have as they invest in new projects and all that thing. But it could be DAOs built around infrastructure projects, building new blockchains or building new development tools that could help with the developments on various things. It's really just a new way to organize people in a decentralized Internet native way. That again, there's so many things that still need to be figured out. Governments need to clarify how these things can be made? How they get taxed? So many pieces, there's so many tools being made to help with governance of these things. How do decisions get made within these organizations? How does money get managed within these organizations? We're still very much at the infancy, but I do think over the next couple of years, we'll see a lot of those questions and challenges get addressed. But really, for the sake of this conversation. Really, all that really means is that it's people from all over the world on the Internet coming together with a common purpose in a somewhat structured way.
David Gardner: A lot of this is occurring outside of the normal structures that we're used to. A lot of which involve legality. It's always been true of the Internet that it races ahead of where society is and we're all trying to catch back up to it. Arguably things are racing faster and bigger than ever before. It creates a really interesting time where de-centralized seems almost like a major trend to pay more attention to over the next 10 years. This being one example. At various points to this conversation, I'm remembering watching Bryant Gumbel talk about the Internet on the Today Show before people really knew what it was. That those were the days of the Motley Fool started. But you can watch a hilarious clip, maybe you've seen it of Bryant being interrupted briefly to talk about it on the Today Show and he's saying what is Internet?
He's not even saying the Internet. I feel as if some of my language 10 years from now will sound silly like that. I doubt yours, Aaron, but probably mine because it's all emergent. A lot of it is unpredictable. But anyway, that Decentralized Autonomous Organization, as you were calling it a DAO, whether or not anybody listening to us this week is inspired to begin investing into NFTs and many of us probably already are. I'm not yet, but I'm certainly open to it. But whether or not any of us starts transacting there, what you and I are doing is we're exploring and we're raising awareness about what's happening so that we can start being smarter observers, all of us and participants in the value creation that is here, not just coming, that is already here.
Aaron Bush: One last example before we move on to what could happen in the future? I'll try to keep this short. Axie Infinity, which is a video game. It's been dubbed the play to earn game. The little monster creatures that you battle with in the game are NFTs and you use them to win, to beat other players and earn tokens from winning. These tokens are the games cryptocurrency essentially. The game itself in my opinion is economically unsustainable as is. I don't recommend going all in Axie Infinity.
David Gardner: It's A-X-I-E. A gamer myself, I hadn't heard of Axie Infinity, I've certainly not played it. I do see it was created by a Vietnamese video game developer Sky Mavis in 2018, Axie, A-X-I-E, Infinity. Sounds like you're not actively playing this game, but it is an early example.
Aaron Bush: Yes. I'm not playing it. It is an early example. Sky Mavis as a company is actually pretty interesting because they're taking their audience from this game and building much more infrastructure and storefront for blockchain games. But Axie Infinity, maybe they could turn things around, create new things and build, extend the economy in new ways. But yeah, don't recommend going all-in on the core Axie Infinity game. But the interesting part I want to point out is that these NFTs, became productive. They became productive income generating assets. We've seen individuals and organizations called guilds buy lots of these NFTs and then rent them out to players in developing countries such as the Philippines. Then those players have earned the living by playing the game and then sharing a portion of those gains with the guild. It's just a random example and there's so much more experimentation and learning to do in the gaming space and elsewhere around building a sustainable economies, is finding a way to balance fun with having more like financial incentive in the game. But it really what's the first time were NFT is reviewed, not just as an image that holds value or an image that makes you part of a community, but an item that can be put to work in a digital native way and earn digital native money. That stands out to me as something that is important. Again, very early, but very interesting.
David Gardner: Well, let's now shift toward looking at the future put on our futurist hats as you've said. I want to start this by sticking with gaming. Something that I love, something that you love. Often so many innovations happen through games. Video games have innovated to the point that they outsell Hollywood these days. Over the last few decades, that's been an ongoing trend. Sticking with games and look into the future. Valve. Valve is the company that owns and built the Steam platform. If you're a personal computer gamer or a PC gamer, you probably have played on Steam, you might actively be playing on Steam as you're listening to us speak right now. Valve made a really interesting call just a few months ago in October. It said we're not going to feature games that have blockchain or NFT digital assets within them. We're not going to offer games on the most popular big PC gaming platform that encouraged people to create an epic sword that you could therefore buy from somebody else through the Steam platform. That was a line in the sand a little bit. I mean, they're drawing boundaries around a really prominent platform. Aaron, what is your view of that, and does that teach us anything about the future?
Aaron Bush: It's not a surprising move given that, again, the legal areas are very gray and it's easy to get in trouble. I think Valve, for example, has had issues like money laundering, regulatory issues through one of their marketplaces where people could buy and trade skins of guns for real money. I think they have a history there, of seeing some of the difficulties that come with that and made a decision that at least it's too soon for them to commit to this thing. It's understandable. That said, I think in the long run it's probably going to be a mistake because I think again, the genie is out of the bottle, this is happening. People are going to experiment and figure out how to basically create player-owned economies and lots of circumstances. If it's not on Steam then it's going to go somewhere else. Actually, we mentioned Axie Infinity and Sky Mavis. Sky Mavis is building a Steam competitor for blockchain games, and they're building infrastructure. Ethereum still isn't super scalable enough for tons of gaming transactions to take place yet, but they've built their own layer too, so to speak, that builds on top of Ethereum, adds new technology to make the trading happen faster and cheaper. They've taken this initial success, initial audience and then bootstrapped their way into building more important infrastructure. They hope to be the next Steam and in some ways, for a new emerging genre of games.
David Gardner: Well, and let's stick with games and game companies. There's another developer that I know better than Sky Mavis, although it's very interesting to learn more about them this week. Thank you for that. That's Ubisoft, which just last month announced its own initiative to enable people who buy Ubisoft games through this new approach to be able to buy artificially scarce digital items using cryptocurrency, kind of what Sky Mavis is doing. That's the direction, I think they're a Canadian company, that Ubisoft is going, although seemingly very unpopular, I think it was announced on a YouTube video and it got like tons of thumbs down. Which surprises me, because often I'm expecting gamers and other crypto bro's to be huge fans that they would be enabling that, so I'm not sure what that tells us about the popularity or who's cheering for what and where. Again, this is an isolated incident. I don't have any global view here. You're helping me to see some of the waterfront now, Aaron, but does that occasion any further thought from you in terms of in-game cryptocurrency purchases?
Aaron Bush: Yeah, I do have a couple of thoughts. I mean, first of all, I do think that NFTs are generally unpopular with the gaming community. I think that companies need to do a better job of educating and explaining the value that could come from player-owned economies and actually owning your own assets and that thing.
David Gardner: What is at the heart in your mind of that lack of popularity from that community? What is that community thinking when it looks at NFTs or thinks about them?
Aaron Bush: I think part of it is companies pursuing money grab opportunities where they'll make a lot of money, but really it's no different from the skins and guns that you already have in the games. Having not seen great examples yet, I think has led to a lot of skepticism. There's also been a big piece of that is gamers being against the environmental unfriendliness of blockchain. Which there are some truth to that, but in many ways, it's not it's not as big of a truth as many of them think.
David Gardner: I definitely hear a lot about that. I've been actively wondering about that. I haven't done much research here, but I obviously people have been saying that about Bitcoin or Bitcoin mining and it's not efficient resource drain and we're trying to save our plan at why are we doing this? Some people say it's worse with NFTs, but again, those are headlines. I don't know who's writing them. I'm not studying that. You're telling me that you think it's a little overblown, although it's still something to watch.
Aaron Bush: I do think in the case of Bitcoin, Bitcoin consumes a lot of energy, but in something like Ethereum just to keep it brief, Ethereum also consumes a lot of energy, but is going to shift over to a new model that consumes a lot less energy. Many other blockchains are moving in that direction. There's just some movement even within the crypto mining community to be green and how crypto is mined and so leveraging a lot of renewable resources to make that happen. Some people say, sometimes if you look at wind turbines they're on a windy day, they might be spinning, but they don't have that day. There's not a place for that electricity to go and they don't really have batteries there to be stored so that electricity goes to waste. Some people are saying it actually is more cost-effective instead of having a battery to when there is excess, just mine Bitcoin and then Bitcoin becomes your [laughs] battery, for example. Anyways, the rabbit hole of this can go very deep as well. But there are a few reasons why gamers are uninterested. When I look at what Ubisoft did, I also was not very impressed. I think it was a case where maybe it wasn't entirely a money grab. I think it was a first step and a larger vision for them to become a real player, real contender in NFTs and video games. But there were a few things about it that weren't quite exciting. Probably, the biggest thing to me was the fact that there were so many rules around it. It was a situation where you can only participate if you're over 18 years old. If you're in certain regions, if you happen to get banned for whatever reason, you lose access to trade these NFTs. It's a case where, I think I said earlier, blockchains are really best used if you want to be completely decentralized. Otherwise, it's just an inefficient type of database. I think this is a case where Ubisoft is not really leaning in that decentralized way. They're still very much trying to control and centralize how NFTs can be used, which is understandable. A lot of these companies don't want to give up control because then it leads to completely different business models that change how value is captured and I can talk about that a little bit too. But because they didn't lean all the way into a more decentralized model, not only did they make the more casual gamers angry who just don't understand NFTs or don't want it in the first place, but they also didn't win over the fans who are really interested in crypto and NFTs. It was a tough spot to be in. Actually, I do think they can improve in a lot of ways over time. They were the first company of its kind to make any move like this. Sometimes you have a first-mover advantage and sometimes you have a first-mover stumble, and this one was a bit more of a stumble.
David Gardner: Well said and I do want to correct myself. Ubisoft is a French company. It does have a very substantial presence in Canada, French-speaking Montreal, but also Quebec City and Toronto as well. At least in North America, it's a big presence in Canada, but it is a French company. Some of the pioneers end up with arrows in their backs, the old line goes and it doesn't mean you shouldn't still try to pioneer. We certainly as fellow Rule Breakers, you and I, Aaron, we celebrate those that go against conventional wisdom and try to create something new and crazy and we hope valuable. We know sometimes with our venture capital mindset that it will not work out. That's part of the reason risk is meaningful and real value comes to those who end up winning, especially the innovators.
Aaron Bush: Two more thoughts on games, crypto, NFTs, everything that's going on there. One, I do think it is different, but we will see echoes from what we saw with the rise of free-to-play mobile, where a lot of people were very skeptical about the rise of, you can play this game for free on your phone but I like paying $60 for an awesome, much more expansive game on my computer or my console. Really what turned out was that these mobile free-to-play games companies, they didn't need to win over that audience. They created an entirely new audience that dramatically expanded the size of the gaming industry. I think we're going to see something similar with blockchain games, NFT-influenced games, at least in the earlier innings, where they're really going to carve out their own audiences. We might see a little bit of overlap, but it's going to go in new direction such as what we saw with Axie Infinity. A lot of people were playing in developing countries like the Philippines, etc., and in the US it was not popular, not even really mentioned at all. That's one thought. My second thought is that I really do think that sometimes changing one variable in this case, making a video game asset actually ownable and tradable by a player. That one variable has a massive trickle effect in changing [laughs] the economics of how video games make money and then therefore how video game companies get valued. The real change is that, I guess I would say, you're turning networks and the players into markets of players or turning a network into a market. What that means is that you're shifting from, like in the real world, when an economy shifts from a command economy where it's very driven by the government making lots of rules, controlling how all the goods and services work in that economy and taking that and then opening it up and allowing for entrepreneurship, allowing for people to make their own decisions, to see opportunities and chase them. You see tremendous growth in that economy, you see tremendous value be created in that economy. In video games, you're going to see a lot of the value that's captured within video games, be captured in these player-owned economies unless profits are going to companies. Then if you play that out, it also just changes how things are valued. Instead of value being captured in profits and then therefore in companies, the values get captured in these economies and therefore in these assets and in the tokens that people use to trade them and get voting rights of different kinds, etc. One little change has a massive trickle effect on how these economies and business models work.
David Gardner: You're absolutely right and anybody who's interested in Aaron going deeper with you in the world of games, just google Master The Meta, and you will find more from Aaron, who spends a lot of time looking at that aspect. I'm a gamer so it's more that I love the games themselves than that I need to care that much about the business models. As an investor, I always have, but Aaron, this feels a little bit to me like open-source software. If we can create good or even better software as a decentralized autonomous organization, we don't need Microsoft and Apple. We don't need the man. We can create through our own network, through our own new communities, we can create stuff. I'm going back to video games now, we can create video games, and when we invent that epic sword, you're the artist who painted it and I'm the one who coded it into the game, you and I can split the money 50-50 when somebody buys that epic sword and it doesn't go to Ubisoft potentially. It doesn't go to Activision Blizzard. You can easily see how the whole world can shift because of the business incentives in place, especially if they get destabilized. I'm not saying in a bad way at all. I think open-source software has been a pretty remarkable thing over the last 20 plus years.
Aaron Bush: I think it'll play out in two ways. Before getting to the first way, it's doubtful, even though a lot of these big companies like Ubisoft and Activision are looking at this. It's doubtful that they'll be the ones to really be the transformative leaders in these industries because they would have to transform themselves, and that's just a really hard thing for big companies with lots of different stakeholders to be able to,
David Gardner: Blockbuster had a hard time doing video streaming on the Internet of entertainment.
Aaron Bush: Really the two are purchasers. One is top-down, but instead of being one of these already well-established companies, you still will see more centralized teams come together to build a video game, but do it in a way where the purpose is for the economy to be open for players to reap the rewards, eventually start decentralizing some of the decision-making in that game. Their incentive is they'll own a percentage of the token supply. As the value and the economy grows and they get accrued to tokens, really the founding team of those projects will still be very much incentivized and that's interesting. The second path is more of what you said where you can start much more bottoms-up. We haven't seen much of this yet, but there is a really interesting project out there called Loot, L-O-O-T. Basically, it's started as NFTs.
Someone came out and was like, “Hey, here I'm going to drop these NFTs.” Each NFT is a list of words, then those words are like metal gauntlet, dragon helmet [laughs] like fire sword, all of these things and you have this list of five or six words in your inventory. Then we've seen this development community around these NFTs that dropped try to take those words, which are the NFTs to life, and so people are starting to build different types of games, different types of experiences around those NFTs. It's not a AAA experience, it's not anything that most traditional gamers would go after, but it's really interesting. It's a open community bootstrapping their way to turning NFTs into all sorts of playable games where these NFTs, you have your list of items, you can take them across all of these games and play them and they further get more valuable in that way too. As you can tell, I love talking about video games, I know you do too David. [laughs] But there probably is a bit more here we can tackle.
David Gardner: All right, we've definitely gone down I think a bit of a rabbit hole, but at least I hope for a portion of our audience, it was interesting and stimulating. But let's leave that rabbit hole. We did get some listener questions. People in the field, in some cases actively writing in. I wanted to say, I love this funny one from at Mr Stringing, Anthony Stringfellow say, one thing I will never be checking out on any social platform is what NFTs my friends own. I find that slightly less interesting than a photo of their dinner. Well, that's kind of the cranky old man response. I don't mean to suggest Anthony is a cranky old man, maybe I'm the cranky old man, it makes me laugh a little bit. But yes, I do see a lot of people hoping to be able to show off their full portfolio of all of their art assets.
At least for some of us, that's not of interest. In fact, it's probably the same people who would be interested in real life art either. There are those too. I did get a great question from at ProShopGuy MF1, Mike was asking, Aaron, in the near future, all major social platforms will or may implement NFT verifications. Again, it's one thing to know that your NFT's been verified on a new site that we may not trust or recognize. But what if Facebook went into the business of verifying that that is an actual thing and it is unique and etc. I don't use Facebook but I'm pretty sure that's not happening at present. Mike's question is allowing you to connect your wallet, display your verified NFTs on your profile. Any thoughts about that?
Aaron Bush: I think it's certainly possible that that will happen. You see a lot of these social media CEOs in particular being pretty interested in Web3 as it's often being called. A more like decentralized internet that's more crypto driven, more NFT driven, and trying to find their place in that world and not get left behind, so you'll see Facebook changed their name to Meta, they're certainly going to try to play a role in some of this. Although I don't know to what degree, profile pictures will be a priority. Twitter maybe has a more interesting case there in terms of profile pictures. But really how I look at it is, of course there's going to be some people who are really interested in this, it's a status signal in some ways. It shows being part of a community in some ways. It brings tribes together, which is part of why social media is interesting, it brings people together around things they're interested in. If you're interested in something else, some people have pictures of athletes as their profile pictures and they're like really into the sports corners of Twitter and Reddit and all of that kind of thing.
This is just another expression of that, in my opinion, but really more so than that, I think it's a sign of where social might go, which is away from just balls of texts, and balls of imagery more toward more immersive worlds might be part of it, but I think the Internet is going to be much more immersive. Avatars are probably going to become more important and who you display yourself as in the digital world is going to become more important too. I think profile picture NFTs are sort of the first wave of getting us to the point where we express ourselves in maybe a more 3D, more immersive way with these unique digital assets. That's my guess, although I don't know exactly how that's going to play out. You can see the earliest versions of that in a Roblox where you literally are avatars walking around virtual worlds and you can buy all sorts of clothing and items for your character. It's not NFTs, although I think at some point it might get there. But I think that behavior is going to be more relevant in the future.
David Gardner: Well said, I also just think about Minecraft and just people creating these amazing things that aren't in the real-world, they're in, well, one of the metaverses and the ownership of those, or who owns that water of it, the bragging rights of who's created the best version of, I don't know, the great pyramid at Khufu. I mean, there are all kinds of creations that have yet to happen, that the people are going to invest their time and value, and they're going to want to say that there is value created and hope that others will agree with them. This letter in from Lisa Warton, I enjoyed this. Lisa wrote, dear fellow Rule Breakers, I've been paying attention to the Red Hot NFT movement in the crypto world since my son is going hard for it.
He is an LA based media artist director and NFT artist. He sold two NFTs so far. One was commissioned for the NASA Artemis Lunar Lander to take it to the moon on its next mission. He also got another potentially lucrative NFT commission. Best of all, Lisa says, he's also a Foolish investor. Her question, Lisa says, I've heard a lot about putting all our data on the block chain in the future so we can manage it ourselves, so the NFT art movement in that case, Aaron, would just be the beginning. Lisa concludes, artists are pioneers of the NFT movement. But if it's possible to put our data on the blockchain, all of it, when do you think that will happen, and any possibilities you might want to elaborate on?
Aaron Bush: First of all, congrats to your son, Lisa. That sounds like an amazing opportunity partnering with NASA and all of that. That's cool. As for your question about moving all of our data to the blockchain, I think that is not going to happen anytime soon. The way I view the order of operations of this is that blockchain still play a very small role in the types of data that we put on them online. The next step will just be taking more and more digital Internet native types of data and tokenizing them, putting into wallets, that type of thing. I think we're going to see more tokenizing the digital world before we even get to the point where tokenizing the physical world becomes a thing such as putting your mortgages or your marriage certificates or whatever it might be on the blockchain. I think there could be interesting applications there, in some ways it makes sense having a de-centralized immutable record of all types of data. That sounds cool. But I think before the world changes all of its processes to adopt this new technology, it's going to be after we've already seen it work at scale in digital applications. First.
David Gardner: Thank you for that, Aaron. It strikes me. I'm trying to pull myself at us out of this conversation for a second return to, we'll just call it the real-world briefly. I have older people, my family just trying to figure out how to change their password on their iPad, and for a lot of older people, technology that you and I might even think is fairly simple, feels complex as we age, increasingly complex for a lot of us. What you and I have shared over this roughly hour conversation, we're talking about things that are hard to understand in a lot of cases. I'm getting back to the real world where some people don't have enough to eat at night, our planet is threatened in various ways. There are all real-world problems that feel much more urgent or real to me than so much of what we're talking about. I'm assuming that you and I both share a both-and mentality. It's not zero-sum, nothing's replacing in many cases, anything else but it does strike me that this feels like an increasingly complex world where I'm going to want AI to help me figure out what the heck is going on.
Aaron Bush: I think there's some truth to that, and of course the blockchain is not going to solve all of the world's problems, which is why as an investor, I have also invested in many other [laughs] things, many other industries, many other companies that are creating good for the world in lots of different ways. But yes, the economy, the Internet, it's not a zero-sum game. There are many opportunities for many billions of people to pursue. I think we're still just getting started on that front.
David Gardner: That's a really nice transition to the final section then. I'm going to call this the payoff section because I'm not sure I have anything big to say. I'm curious what you're going to say, but our final section is, how should Foolish investors view NFTs? You're the one who actually wrote me the question because you've built our outline. Let me just ask you that question point-blank. Aaron Bush, how should Foolish investors view NFTs?
Aaron Bush: Thank you for the question. [laughs] I think first and foremost, be careful whenever you see so many people generate hype around any asset class, any type of stock, or NFT in this case. It's just important to think before you do. David, I know you've talked about the hype cycle in previous episodes and I think that is the situation a very real thing that could happen with NFTs 2021 was an insane year for the market. It's not always going to go up like that. I don't know what's going to happen in 2022, but it wouldn't surprise me at some point if there comes some reckoning. I think it's pretty easy to say that most NFTs should not be very valuable. There will continue to be more and more that are created and a small percentage of them will generate wealth in any real way. The other important thing to keep in mind, and I said this five years ago when we were starting to talk about cryptocurrencies, the best thing you can do is learn because first of all, it's just great to get smarter about and build context around this technology, this type of segment of finance before putting meaningful money at work.
But it's also important just because in the same way that it was with cryptocurrencies five years ago, it's going to be this way with NFTs today where probably the most successful NFTs in five years don't exist today. I don't think you have to worry about missing out as much as many people think they do. If this really is going to be a big movement, then you have plenty of time to get smarter, to take it slow, to learn by doing, and just playing around with things before you jump in. I would also say that you probably don't need to invest in NFTs if you don't want to. The world is a big place there are many ways to win. Companies are still awesome, there's still going to be here. If you're interested in NFTs, great, dive in. If not, that's OK too. Although I still recommend staying aware of what's going on. Yeah, I really just think you should be a voracious learner plug-in. We've touched on this a little bit, not all NFTs are going to be the same. Some are going to be treated like art, it would be like investing in art. Some are going to be more productive assets. If I were an investor, that's more of the thing that I personally would be leaning toward and jumping in, like looking out for where are those opportunities going to emerge, which there aren't that many today. But that's what I would be paying attention to.
David Gardner: A real-world example of that, Aaron, I don't think this is happening yet, but you could see how it might and maybe should, tickets.
Aaron Bush: Yes.
David Gardner: Tickets almost for any type of event, tickets basically get resold a lot these days, StubHub fans paying twice or three times what the ticket face value is on the Internet. Tickets are being repriced because in a sense they were mispriced in the first place, printed on paper then there's a whole resellers market around. A lot of stuff, but just every ticket in future could be certainly could be a unique digital asset, a non-fungible token. I don't think that's the world we live in yet, but I could easily see how that might come to be.
Aaron Bush: Yeah, I had that in my notes too, we just didn't get to it. I think it makes sense. It's an easy translation, we could also envision how it could be built upon, similar to how I mentioned Bored Ape Yacht Club, you own this asset, it becomes a ticket to all of these different things, it provides all of these different perks. We could see the same thing with sporting events, you buy a ticket for go-to game for your local basketball team or season tickets. But it also comes with all of these additional perks of being in some community, getting access, and like owning more like highlights of what happened in that game in digital form. There are people who are 26 of me figuring out what that could be but I do think that something's can be translated well and then built upon, which is really cool.
David Gardner: Well said. Last question, and this one is also once again from at ProShopGuy MF1 on Twitter, Mike said, how much time Aaron, will it take before the process for buying an NFT will be as simple as buying a stock? He points out right now you have to have your cash, you have to convert it to crypto, you have to create a wallet and then you have to go find an NFT exchange and then you have to buy. That feels a lot more complicated for many of us, lazy bums like me haven't even started or thought about it yet, versus just clicking my mouse and buying another share of a good common stock, which is really where all my money has always been invested and remains invested today.
Aaron Bush: I would say in some cases it is easy. David, you mentioned NBA Top Shot. You can buy those NFTs with a credit card and then it takes all the complications of just converting dollars into digital assets and it does it all behind the scenes and users don't interface with it. I think that's the way it's going to be in a lot of ways in the future. Beyond that, I would say if you own crypto, it is about as easy as buying a stock today. OpenSea is a great platform. I've recently bought an NFT on Immutable X for a videogame. That's coming out soon that I'm excited about. Since I owned Ethereum, it was really easy to get done. If you're starting at zero and then have to buy crypto to then buy NFT, that as an extra step. But for people who are more crypto native, I guess I would say, it really is about as easy.
David Gardner: Two quick thoughts for me. One is, I'm distrustful. This is not specifically about NFTs. I'm distrustful of any assets where people are buying them with the hope that they will be able to sell it in the near-term to somebody else at a higher price. If that is the dominant part of their investment thesis, I'm always going to be skeptical and I encourage everybody, every fellow Fool listening to me right now, I know Aaron would agree to be skeptical as well. If you find yourself in a situation where you think, well, I'm going to get that just because I'm pretty sure I can sell that to someone else for even more usually in the very near-term as how that mentality works, I would highly suggest you don't do that. One other quick thought, my snap tests. Snap your fingers if something disappeared overnight, would anyone notice? Would anyone care? The things that are really going to jump out, I think, and count for value in the coming years in the metaverse, among cryptocurrencies, NFTs, etc., are if you snap your fingers and that thing just went away, when would lots of people really care?
Now, Aaron, you just mentioned OpenSea. In fact, I'm going to ask you in a sec just to give a few resources for further investigation for the intellectually curious among us. OpenSea, again, I'm not a player out there at the world's largest NFT Marketplace, which is how it's being built here as I google OpenSea, but that's a good example. I bet if you snap your fingers and OpenSea disappeared overnight, a lot of people would care and that would have hurt a lot even though for a lot of us that may sound speculative of something you haven't heard of before. So snap, snap, snap tests continues to work in many situations outside of just common stocks. Well, that was one resource maybe we could recommend for people's further attention. Aaron, what else? Are there something we've already talked about or for further exploration, what would you recommend is a few resources we could checkout on the Internet to learn more about what we talked about this hour?
Aaron Bush: Sure. I would say two really great resources just for learning more. Andreessen Horowitz, the venture firm, they put out two lists, one of them is called Crypto Canon and the other one is called NFT Canon. It's just a long list of really tremendous resources for those who want to dig deeper and understand the wide variety of nuances of what's going on in these markets.
David Gardner: C-A-N-O-N, not the double N in the middle.
Aaron Bush: Yes, sir.
David Gardner: Good. Thank you. What else?
Aaron Bush: Learning is a piece of it by reading or watching videos, but really I recommend just getting your hands dirty. It doesn't have to be large amounts of money, but I think this is a situation where you can learn a lot just by being a part of it. You mentioned OpenSea which is a way to buy and sell NFTs and just looking at that marketplace and maybe trying to buy an NFT good, I think is a great way to learn and just see how the process works. But before you do that, you need to both buy cryptocurrency and you need to have a wallet that connects to OpenSea. A great place that you can get started, it's very user-friendly and buy your first cryptocurrencies is Coinbase, which is a large, respectable, basically brokerage like Fidelity or Charles Schwab is in the world of equities. That is a great way for anyone to get started and buy cryptocurrencies.
David Gardner: I'm glad you mentioned that Aaron, in fact, I was going to ask you buy, sell or hold, Coinbase is a stock, the ticker symbol is C-O-I-N intuitively enough. I do see the company stock is well down from its initial explosion at its IPO. It's still a very substantial enterprise in market cap, as we speak, of around $49 billion. That's not small. Aaron, buy, sell or hold that stock over, let's say the next five years?
Aaron Bush: I'm a buy. I really like Coinbase. Not only are they the top dog and first-mover in an important emerging industry, but they very much succeeded at becoming the dominant number one place for lots of people to get started with crypto. On top of that, they have tremendous leadership and their CEO, Brian Armstrong, who really wants Coinbase to not just be a place where you can buy and sell cryptocurrency, but also pursue optionality in different ways. We know Coinbase is also looking at building their own NFT marketplace. They have a product called Earn, I think, which is a great way to learn more about some of these projects are going to get rewarded in the tokens for them by just going through their process of learning. They serve institutions very well. They're the number one player for helping institutional investors and companies secure their crypto assets. There's just a bunch of other projects that they're working on too, all sorts of developer tools, basically trying to be like AWS but for crypto, just build a bunch of APIs, so lots of projects can build on top of to better incorporate crypto into what they're doing. I think it's a really cool company with a big future ahead of it.
David Gardner: Well, there we go, and it's bouncing closer to its 52-week lows right now than highs. In fact, it's almost cut in half from its 52-week highs. Maybe a timely consideration as stock pick toward the end of the show on NFTs. But Aaron, anything you want to wrap up with, any final thoughts? Thank you so much for your time and your insights this week.
Aaron Bush: Sure. I would just say, enjoy the ride. Have fun thinking about the future, learning about the future, playing with the future and I think that's part of what makes Rule Breaker Investing so fun and rewarding is living in the present, living in the future, and in some ways, thinking about all the possibilities that could unfold. You said earlier, David, that we're going to look silly in the future and that's absolutely true.
David Gardner: [laughs] What is Internet Aaron? What is Internet?
Aaron Bush: What is Internet? But I also think by spending some time having these conversations and doing the work to learn and play around while this industry is still pretty young, we'll be at an advantage in the future as investors to be ready to seize the great opportunities as they come while having a fun time doing it. That would be my final thought for you, David.
David Gardner: Well, and you've helped us do that. You've helped us get a lot of us closer to that. Again, some of us already have our crypto wallets. I'm not one of them, but I'm certainly inspired to get started. I'm never the bleeding-edge early adopter, but I'm generally an early adopter type. Aaron, I wouldn't be surprised if we get some additional questions and thoughts coming in later on this month's Mailbag. I hope you will block out your last week of January to have you back and speak to us a little bit more. I hope while we've used language, different points, and talked about concepts that may still feel alien to some of us listening, feel well afield from where we are in this world today, I hope we've opened some eyes. There's a big new continent out there that's being discovered by explorers who are already on it and a lot of us have gotten closer. We may not be physically closer, but mentally psychologically, we are closer as a consequence of this week's Rule Breaker Investing podcast. Again, Aaron Bush, thank you very much. Fool on, my friend.
Aaron Bush: Thank you, David. This was a lot of fun.
Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Charles Schwab is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Aaron Bush owns Coinbase Global, Inc., Ethereum, and Meta Platforms, Inc. David Gardner owns Activision Blizzard, Apple, and Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Activision Blizzard, Apple, Coinbase Global, Inc., Ethereum, Meta Platforms, Inc., Microsoft, and Twitter. The Motley Fool recommends Charles Schwab and Ubisoft Entertainment and recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.