[Interview by Mart]
The Tangleverse Times: The community probably heard quite some parts of your IOTA story in your videos, but can you give a condensed version of how you found out about IOTA?
Kutkraft: I held BTC back in 2013 on Mt. Gox, which means I lost them all to a hack. I got so butthurt that I couldn’t stomach seeing the word ‘cryptocurrency’ or ‘bitcoin’ for like 4 years. But, I started to pay attention again when Ethereum was starting to show real world applicability with smart contracts, so I decided to dip my toe back into crypto… and I had no idea it would lead me to where I’m at now.
So it’s early 2018, and my girlfriend at the time agreed to invest in crypto with me, and we started to research projects that would have the best chance of reaching mass real world adoption. And… she found IOTA... this is all her fault.
Long story short, after reading about the vision, and with IoT being one of THE trends of that time, I fell into the rabbit hole. Got active on Reddit, felt like that wasn’t enough, so I ended up finding my way to Discord and Twitter (VROM was the first IOTA account I followed). And here we are… 5.5 years later…
TvT: You’ve traveled quite a bit in the past couple of months, until you got back to Australia, right? What stood out the most for you on your travels and what did you miss the most during that time?
K: I lived in Japan for 18 months in my early 20s, being there gave me a sense of ‘newness’ that I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager. When you’re in a situation that is completely foreign to you, where the things you take for granted at home become a mission, like ordering a coffee, or being able to read the labels on products when you’re shopping for groceries. This experience puts you in a position of constant troubleshooting, and while you’re in a state of trying to decipher everything that is going on around you, your days feel longer, time slows down, and every day is different… you start to feel like you’re living and not simply existing.
This is part of why I wanted to get away for a while, now in my 30s, to recapture that feeling of living, unique to the experience of traveling in a foreign place. And that’s what I’ve been missing since being back home.
TvT: Apart from your omnipresent positivity, you have a good feeling about general crypto vibes and trends. What do you think IOTA / Shimmer should focus on in the near future? Is there something that doesn’t get as much attention as it should?
K: I feel like trends and hype are hard to see in bear markets, nothing really sticks as a narrative when no one is seeing any opportunity, people just aren’t interested right now, and that makes it hard to see what is beyond the current crypto landscape.
Having said that, I think ‘useful’ NFTs have got a place in the near future. Crypto will likely see a move away from NFTs as ‘jpegs’, and more towards the next iteration of NFTs as ‘tools’. The concept is applicable in a lot of real world applications, probably most impactfully, as ‘digital twins of commodities’. But if we use an example in something I’m more in tune with, then I think ‘equipable’ NFTs are shaping up to be huge in the GameFi space, where we can embed NFTs within NFTs (like upgrading weapons in COD for example) to directly impact our in-game experience.
-Want to mine materials quicker? Then equip your Character (NFT/Parent) with a better pickaxe (NFT/Child).
And that’s where I think our community is culturally at. Many of us have looked at crypto as a tool, an idea that is related directly to IOTA’s original IoT vision. So, I think it’s natural that we look at derivatives like NFTs in the same way. I mean, we’ve already seen our DeFi platforms do this with their NFT collections, where holding their NFT rewards the owner with airdrops of ‘x’ amount of tokens, or ‘x’ amount of discounts on trades, etc…
In a nutshell, I think pushing the ‘useful NFT’ idea forward is something we’re in a good position to do with our IOTA/Shimmer ecosystem, both technologically and culturally.
TvT: How much did Chris Müller influence you in your videos and your style?
K: Chris’s influence on my videos is in the perpetual optimism he always had. I remember getting most excited when he’d express his confidence on a personal level, when in times of uncertainty he gave us his perspective. Of course watching him explain the updates was great, cos he had a real clear way of explaining what was being done (and it made me feel less smooth-brained), but it was when he revealed how he felt, that I would feel inspired with confidence.
My favourite part of his videos was when he’d bless us with the Steve Jobs clip, my nipps would go wild when I heard ‘and one more thing’. So I guess I’d say the biggest thing I took from Chris, is his positivity… and leaning into how a development feels on a personal level, after I’ve tried to explain them.
TvT: When face reveal?!
K: Dude I was thinking of doing it this year when I returned from my time off (around April/May). But! things didn’t go as I imagined they would… I haven’t been able to secure consistent financial support for producing Spec Weekly, and my savings are slowly disappearing. So, in not knowing if I can turn this into a career, I have to keep my face hidden… I don’t want potential future employers or coworkers to know about all the crypto degeneracy and nipple talk.
I’m thinking if things get better for me in the next 6 months. Like if my NFT project takes off, and my work in our ecosystem helps put food on the table and pay rent… then yeah I do de face reveal.
TvT: What about some Kutty specials? What are your favorite TV shows? What’s the biggest surprise you watched in the last year or so?
K: My guilty pleasure is trash TV. I watch a lot of ‘90 Day Fiance’, and I have a history of watching ‘Ex on the Beach’ and ‘Temptation Island’. I don’t know why I’m so into the trash, I can’t explain it. I like good shows too. ‘Yellowstone’ was dope, and so was ‘The Last of Us’, they were my favourite shows in the last 12 months.
What I was most surprised by was the ‘Dark Side of the Ring’ series from MTV. I was a huge pro-wrestling fan when I was a kid, and I had no idea about how hard it is to be a pro wrestler, they do some crazy shit. Definitely recommend the series if you’re into wild stories.
TvT: You briefly shared some ideas in Spec about a NFT project / game that you were planning to do. Any updates? Do you still plan to do it?K: YES! We are now 9 months deep into the project, I managed to secure the best tech partners I could have hoped for. They made me sign an NDA, so I can’t say who they are, but they are trusted and embedded in the ecosystem. You know finding a builder was my biggest worry early on… I say that cos I mentioned ‘useful NFTs’ a little earlier, and the vision I have for the project is to stimulate maximum engagement and excitement from the community that builds around the project… and to get that kind of buzz, I feel you need to introduce gamification, consequences, and rewards.
So being an artsy/ideas guy, there’s no chance I could have done this alone. So, I’m feeling blessed to have a professional team by my side to turn this crazy idea into reality.
The challenge right now is in getting our MVP up for some internal testing, and when we have the first PoC running, the team will be able to give me a realistic go-live date, I’ll then start going public with the project when I have an ETA to work towards.
The art is about 50% done, I’m doing it anime style.
I’ll do some teasers in the Discord of one of my partners ‘Epoch Zero’ in the coming months.
I’m hopeful it becomes one of our blue chip NFT projects…
And thank you very much for asking this question! I’m fkn pamped!
TvT: Did you ever consider becoming a voice actor? I could totally see you synching some Bollywood movies! No… jokes aside, your voice is just something else and you really should consider doing some movies or audio books!
K: HAHA! Bro… ever heard your own voice on a recording? Makes you wanna vomit… and here I am sitting through hours and hours of editing, cringing every minute. I’d do some voice acting if I didn’t have to listen to it. I offered to do it if Shi-Universe wanted to make an Aussie character in their game. But no way for anything serious…
TvT: Honest question: How many Australians are scared of spiders? While quite some of them are ginormous, there aren’t that many poisonous ones right? But is it just normal for you guys down there to meet spiders the size of a Chihuahua every other day?
K: I’m scared of them. I saw a funnel web spider once while camping, it’s one of Australia’s deadliest spiders. It’s hard to explain their colour, it’s a deep black that makes your balls shrink. Kind of like, the dead black of a shark’s eyes. It makes you want to either kill it or run, and I think that’s the most common reaction for us here. Hope I’m not offending anyone out there, but these little alien creatures are like little 8 legged demons that sit in the corner of your room and just watch you, motionless… waiting…
Having said that, we don’t see the big ones or the real dangerous ones in urban areas. So it’s really not a daily thing. But out in the country, where people have outdoor toilets, it’s not unusual to get your left testicle bitten. Or ladybits bitten if you’re a lady.
TvT: Final question, this question was asked in various different formats across the Tangleverse Times Magazine, but you might be a prime candidate to get an amazing and cool answer: The year is 2039, we’ve long since made it. You’re chilling in a hammock and reflecting back on all the crazy things that happened in Moonaco years ago. How’s your life, now that you’re financially free? What name do your kids have and was it a wise decision to make Moonboy Thomas their godfather?
K: I lay in my hammock, the tropical breeze caressing my sun kissed skin, as I swing gently to the rhythm of inertia. A smile creeps across my face as I remember the early days, the craziness, my fears, my bros in the Discord, the p parties, the salt mines, the FUDDERS, and the champions… ‘I wonder what they are doing right now…’
I look over to the backyard of my coastal home, somewhere on the equator, to see my (future) wife watering the flowers. I’m grateful, reflecting on how I was able to be there with her and the (future) kids, as they grew up, thanks to the risks I took in another life…
My morning begins on the beach that is connected to my home, holding hands with my wife as we walk in unison on the golden white sand. My days are simple… I take the kids to high school, come home and do some clay sculpting, then pick them up in the afternoon.
They study, we eat dinner, we talk, we watch a show, we play some PS6…
I’m sorry to disappoint that it isn’t a lavish hi-tech life of adventure and expensive shit. But to me, this vision of my future is paradise.