One of the most widely recognized non-fungible token companies over the last year and a half has been Pixel Vault, a company founded by Sean Gearin. Also known as GFunk, Gearin will be a featured speaker at Benzinga’s Future of Crypto event in New York City on Dec. 7.
Benzinga had the chance to speak with Gearin ahead of the event to get his thoughts on the overall NFT sector and what’s next for Pixel Vault.
Introduction to NFTs: Pixel Vault launched in May 2021 with the release of the PUNKS Comic series. The concept of the NFT collection was to provide fractional ownership of a collection of CryptoPunks.
“The company was really built around this idea of community, in every way, the collective ownership of these CryptoPunks,” Gearin said.
Gearin said that Pixel Vault and the PUNKS Comic NFT collection were among the early communities not built around a PFP, but rather a story.
Gearin also cited an investment in Dogecoin (CRYPTO: DOGE) which was one of his early cryptocurrency investments.
“I actually also bought Doge at a penny and sold it as quick as I could for 8 cents a week later.”
Building During Bear Markets: Gearin recognized the current crypto bear market and acknowledged the Pixel Vault team is working to be more interactive with the community.
“Now is the time for companies in the space to embrace their loyal communities,” Gearin said.
Gearin added that he took it to heart when holders were upset and that he hated seeing prices of NFTs and Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH) go down.
Gearin also acknowledged the tough times that investors in the space have seen.
“The company feels it, as do our collectors.”
Gearin also said that some people were in the NFT space purely for speculation. The Pixel Vault CEO said that the team has to listen to feedback, although investors and holders also have to trust the process the team has laid out.
What’s Next for Pixel Vault: Gearin said the team rebranded its former Metahero project to the new name Inhabitants, a project that will have lots of news coming over the next couple of months.
“In part the word meta has become too widely used,” Gearin said, citing the rebranding of Facebook to Meta Platforms.
Gearin said the team really wanted to distinguish itself with Inhabitants.
“Story not just about heroes and villains. We’re all inhabitants of the universe.”
Pixel Vault is also launching DOTs, as part of its Sidekick project, by the end of the year.
“Blockchain gaming will be a big part of our path going forward.”
Gearin said he’s rooting for other companies in the Web3 gaming market, but some might be doing it for the wrong reasons. The Pixel Vault founder also questioned the companies that want nothing to do with integrating Web3 into gaming.
“It’s our job to change that narrative.”
Gearin said it makes no sense for NFTs and Web3 to not be integrated into gaming in the future, as skins and in-game items have always been a big part of games.
“If you’re a gamer, why wouldn’t you want that?”
Pixel Vault also has partnerships with Major League Baseball and the UFC, a sports league owned by Endeavor Group (NYSE:EDR).
Gearin said Pixel Vault has an amazing story they’ve been working on with the UFC and thinks the community will “love when they see it.”
He noted that the Pixel Vault team has grown from 10 or 11 at the end of 2021 to 60 people today, with half of the team sourced from its own community.
“We’re just starting to hit our stride.”
Future of Crypto: Gearin will be speaking on a panel called “Using NFTs to Foster Community and Build On-Ramps Into Web3” alongside Pudgy Penguins CEO Luca Netz.
“We’ll be warming up the stage for Garga,” Gearin said, referencing Yuga Labs co-founder Gargamel, who will be speaking on the following panel.
Gearin said he’s excited about the event, and Benzinga did a great job curating the list of speakers and panelists.
“Most other conferences haven’t picked out notable speakers, Veecon as an exception.”
Gearin said he’s looking forward to seeing people he’s becoming friends with at Benzinga’s Future of Crypto, and also speaking with Netz for the first time.
“Pudgy Penguins has a really loyal following and an interesting backstory.”
Get tickets now to hear Gearin speak at Benzinga’s Future of Crypto Dec. 7 in New York City.