"In October 2022, I interviewed Ryan Guthrie, also known as Kokesmush, for a different publication. Unfortunately, the piece didn't meet the standards of that source. Undeterred, I decided to approach him again for my own platform, the Metaverse Chronicles, confident that his unique perspective and experiences would find the right audience here.
Born with a passion for paintball and dirt bikes, Kokesmush obtained his moniker in his early teens. His interests, however, soon expanded into the Metaverse, specifically Decentraland, in December 2021. His attention was first drawn to this virtual universe by a compelling scavenger hunt event hosted by a renowned Ape’s NFT project. Once inside, his desire to collect Proof of Attendance Protocols (POAPs) kept him returning for more. As Kokesmush began interacting with other attendees at these events, he discovered a thriving community of enthusiasts that inspired him to stay, create, and build alongside them. Some of these individuals even partnered with Kokesmush to form their own NFT community.
Now, Kokesmush has his fingers in many pies. He's creating music, launching NFT projects across multiple blockchains, designing wearables, and constructing platforms within the metaverse, and most recently, he's started a podcast. Though he might not be actively involved in all these endeavors now, his previous engagement suggests a potential return. He remains committed to fostering the adoption of Web 3, advocating for security, and nurturing a community in his latest endeavor.
Now, let's fast forward more than half a year later."
A Purr-fect Revisit with Kokesmush
Q1. Since our first interview, tell me what have you been up to? What new projects are you working on? Any collaborations? Any personal news you would like to share (on share what you are comfortable with of course)?
A1. Since our last interview, I’ve had to migrate the Smvsh Friends community to this new project I’ve started in January called the Faded Feline Degen Club. I’m in full control of this project so there’s no worry about a dev disappearing on us. I’ve partnered up with Ovation Social Network as a partner on their site, we’re listed on NFT Calender and NFT Watcher for some discoverability, and we launched a line of hot sauce called the Faded Feline Degen Sauce. I could go on for hours about new stuff, but it’s best to join the discord and see what’s been going on.
Q2. Your new NFT project, Faded Felines, what inspired you to create this collection? How does it differ from your previous NFT projects, and what makes it unique in the current market?
A2. I’ve been seeing a lot of projects catered toward helping animals with mint proceeds but not really any projects catering to cats. My wife and I both love cats, her more so than I, but felt it was time to do something. I was seeing the feline fiendz and gutter cat gang, and a couple others, but none really helping our actual feline friends. So, with inspiration from other NFT projects/art collections, I designed the outline for the Faded Feline Degen Club and picked out some of my favorite traits from other collections that inspired me these past 2 years I’ve spent in Spaces. What makes us unique is our price point to utility ratio. We have a free mint currently on MATIC where holders can get fractionalized utility (smaller discounts, holder channels in discord, IP branding), but once they’re in and they see our Ethereum collection and what we offer with it, we hope they invest in the felines (bigger discount on merch/sauce, affiliate onboarding, IP branding, etc..). We started minting in January at .01 when ETH was around $10 for .01. We have none listed on secondary as the holders realize what they can get/do by being a holder. I also incentivize holding multiple by offering tiered utility. More details on that in the discord as well.
Q3. How has your experience in building the Smvsh Friends community influenced your approach to the Faded Felines project? Are there any synergies or connections between the two that you leverage to enhance the overall experience for your audience?
A3. From building the Smvsh Friends community to developing Faded Felines, there are quite a few similarities as I was the driving force behind the Smvsh Friends by hosting events, mint parties, raffles, onboarding new users via virtual experiences. With the felines, we aim to keep a positive outlook and building lifelong meaningful relationships, but I’m more focused on doing everything myself as when other people are involved, you must depend on them. No one has as much passion about your project/brand than yourself.
So now I’m doing everything myself, with the help of my community of course. From running Smvsh Friends and building connections last year, I’ve been able to acquire virtual land in Decentraland as well as meet some amazing people I’m glad to call family. Some people have fallen by the wayside with the dissolvement of Smvsh Friends, but the real ones see the vision and have stuck through.
Q4. You mentioned previously wanting to create a land development in Decentraland on a larger scale. Could you share your vision for this project, how have you progressed and how does it align with your long-term goals in the Metaverse?
A4. Of course, so with Smvsh Friends, we had a full-scale arcade ready to deploy on a 5x6 with a rotating parkour/escape room attachment. The arcade was built on a 4x4 and featured a 3-floor building with a basketball court on the roof, arcade machines on the base floor where partnered NFT projects could host their games on the machines as collaboration. Users would then need to abide by any token gating measures before playing of course, but this would be the best way to cross pollinate via a gaming experience. Without the funding for that, I’ve been resorting to building on a 1x1 parcel and providing POAPs to users for participation. I’ve been doing this for over a year now. The events have slowed as now I’m doing everything myself, so organization is key over just putting on events nonstop.
I think my long-term goals for the metaverse have changed as technology evolves. Instead of more of a VR experience, I want to integrate mixed-reality utility into the Felines (facial tracking) AR filters for social media/camera applications, 3D toys of your NFTs with NFC chips linking back to the blockchain data of your NFT, and a VR world experience in Spatial.
Q5. You started a podcast with a friend of yours, Travis? You call him Waffles? How did that partnership come about, and what topics do you cover on the show? Has hosting the podcast influenced your perspective on the Metaverse or your other projects?
A5. Wafflez has been a good buddy of mine since we used to stream on Mixer back in the day. We’ve been gaming together and been in esports together. I call him Wafflez because when I met him, he introduced himself as Waffles (username is ReignOfWafflez) I’m not exactly sure how it happened, he approached me about a podcast, or we were talking about it during a day we were streaming, and we decided on a time to get together, and we made it happen. Our podcast is called “Trying to Function” so we felt like keeping the topics pretty general to the every day person. We cover things from small communities to optimism and pessimism, influence vs reach, and many others. Hosting the podcast hasn’t really changed my perspective on metaverse or other projects as it isn’t really catered toward those niches.
My stance on the metaverse highly differs from a lot of peoples because everyones stuck on buzz words. But to me, metaverse is the full integration of AR (augmented reality)/ VR (virtual reality), and RX (Rewarding Experience Points). When I can walk around public with AR glasses on and see virtual projects in real time or go to a restaurant and play a mini game via AR that gives me a discount on my meal, me and a friend go to our respective houses, but want to keep hanging out, so we throw on our VR headsets and meet up in a virtual world to hang out. THAT’S metaverse. And we aren’t there yet, but we’re close. I suggest watching Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale (Available currently on Hulu or can be rented on Amazon Prime) if you’re into metaverse/VR/AR.
Q6. Looking ahead, what are your predictions for the future of the NFT space and virtual worlds? How do you plan to proactively adapt and stay at the forefront of these evolving trends and developments?
A6. It’s honestly impossible to predict the future of NFTs. but I do feel we’re going to stray away from the term NFT and adapt something more user-friendly such as “digital access token”. To stay proactive and adapt to the ever-changing technology landscape, I spend much of my time in Twitter Spaces, talking to and learning from industry leaders to stay ahead of the curve. I’ve been giving POAPs for events/Twitter spaces for over a year, and it’s just now becoming a widely adopted thing in projects. I was doing AR filters last year with Smvsh Friends, and now projects are utilizing AR into their NFTs. I feel if I just keep doing what I’m doing, always wanting to improve and be more, I’ll be able to keep a mentality that is always hungering for more knowledge and innovative tech.
Q7. As someone experienced in both podcasting and NFT projects, what valuable advice would you offer to individuals considering starting their own ventures in these domains? Share one positive aspect that has enriched your journey and one cautionary tale or common pitfall to be mindful of.
A7. The advice I would give, is to be consistent, always. This goes with anything. NFT projects, brands, anything that involves marketing. You want to stay consistent. Set a schedule and adhere to it. If it’s going to be a podcast about NFTs, I suggest reaching out to other people that are interested in the topic and bounce ideas off each other. You could always consult AI tools like ChatGPT for brainstorming and idea generation.
A positive aspect I would like to share is the wonderful friendships and connections I’ve made throughout this journey both via Twitter space and virtual world experiences such as Decentraland. A cautionary tale or common pitfall is don’t believe everything you hear, and half of what you see. People like to work around smoke and mirrors and only show you what they want you to see. Go off the proof of work. Do your due diligence and be safe out there!
Q8. Reflecting on your journey in the web and virtual worlds, what stands out as the most significant highlight or memorable experience you've encountered thus far?
A8. The most memorable experience for me was attending a Steve Aoki concert in Decentraland. The big events in Decentraland have usually been phenomenal. Although I haven't yet experienced an awesome Spatial event, I’m sure there have been plenty. DCL is my home from the experiences I’ve had during my first days in there. Excited for the future!
Catch Trying to Function Podcast on Spotify and YouTube. New episodes are available on Sundays. I had the privilege of being a guest and had a great time talking with the hosts.
Faded Felines Discord
Kokesmush; Faded Felines
Tryin’ To Function: Podcast
Faded Felines on Opensea
Faded Felines You Tube
Faded Felines Mint
-1Existence August 2023