Interview With Evan Luza, Cool Cats Co-Founder and Advisor to Bitcoin․com Verse NFT Collection
Bitcoin.com yesterday announced that buyers in the VERSE token sale, which starts on November 1, will receive exclusive NFTs. Register now at getverse.com to increase your Schance of getting the allocation you want.
We also announced that Evan Luza, the co-founder of Cool Cats, had joined Bitcoin.com to advise on the Verse NFT project. Cool Cats is a blue-chip NFT project with a host of charming characters and rich narrative, which lends to the IP’s broad appeal and positions the company as a global transmedia brand to watch.
Today we bring you an interview with Evan, where we get his thoughts on Bitcoin.com, NFTs, Verse, and more.
Bitcoin.com Director of Product Experience Alex Knight: Super excited to have you aboard Evan. Could you tell us in your own words about Cool Cats?
Cool Cats co-founder Evan Luza: Excited to contribute! It’s been a full circle for me from helping with the Bitccoin.com rebrand and now coming back to advise with Verse. Cool Cats is a collection of 9,999 different cats based on Blue Cat, a character that one of my best friends and co-founder, Colin Egan, had been developing since high school. Our brand celebrates inclusivity and individuality, and aims to continue to be a space where all are welcomed. We started the brand through NFTs but have plans to continue to grow into a variety of mediums from merchandise, media, content, gaming, licensing and anything in between.
Alex: What drew you to NFTs?
Evan: As someone raised on Pokemon and Yugioh cards, I’ve always been exposed to collectibles, and trading them with friends. That enthusiasm tied with a passion for cryptocurrency just became a natural click for me, and ended up resulting in the market opportunity I identified in the NFT space.
Alex: What excites you aboutBitcoin.com, and why did you decide to join as an advisor for our Verse NFT project?
Even: Having been heavily involved in the Bitcoin.com rebrand during my previous time on the team as a product designer, it’s exciting to come full circle and be able to offer insights around the NFT centric focus this time around. Bitcoin.com has always placed a huge emphasis on onboarding the world into crypto through tools like their wallet and merchant integrations. Bitcoin.com is uniquely positioned with their large crypto centric audience to drive further adoption and awareness around NFTs and the innovative solutions and implications around them. At the same time, I believe NFTs can act as a powerful draw for newcomers to crypto, empowering people who aren’t necessarily interested in finance with the knowledge and tools they need to benefit from DeFi.
Alex: What are some of the NFT utilities / use cases you’re excited about?
Evan: So far the biggest use case for NFTs are around community building. While on the surface it may appear as just cool artwork, having a group of people coalesce around a concept or way of thinking is truly powerful, and it goes way beyond just brand creation.
In these early innings of NFT adoption, you are seeing projects focus on use cases that foster communities. For example, we recently had our brand activation for NFT NYC 2022 where we were able to give benefits to Cool Cats and Pets holders, like claiming a free plushie, and rocking their exclusive wrist band to flex their NFT on some of the interactive screens around the venue. With token gating, there are opportunities to produce and offer exclusive merchandise and events — and this is an avenue where I think the space is still early.
Long term, NFT use cases will expand to encompass many disparate industries. I see the next generation of major fashion brand labels coming out of NFTs. Along the lines of a Supreme or Bathing Ape. Media projects, from books to music to movies will have community driven NFT mediated successes. Of course video games and the metaverse will integrate NFTs as core mechanics. Certifications for education whether that be diplomas or some kind of skill accreditation will become NFTs. Then you have legal things like registration titling systems which will benefit from blockchain and NFTs. Finally, the way technology usually works is that the most compelling use cases are the ones we can’t currently even imagine!
Alex: Now that the first big NFT adoption cycle is cooling off, what do you think comes next?
Evan: The bear market is the best time to build!
Alex: What are the ingredients to make a successful NFT project?
Evan: Authenticity, originality, innovation, and the ability to pivot and change trajectories as the continually evolving Web3 landscape changes. The parameters and variables of today are different from the ones of tomorrow. It’s healthy to be experimental and of course keep a healthy pulse on the community sentiment every step of the way.
Alex: What, if any, developments in blockchain technology are important for mainstream NFT adoption?
Evan: Security, ease of use, low transaction fees, transaction speed and user experience, are the ones that come to the top of mind.
Alex: Could you share with us an important lesson you learned from your experience making Cool Cats?
Evan: Community is everything. It’s impossible to make everyone happy, all of the time, but it’s extremely important to have a healthy and consistent line of communication to the community and to continually check in on their sentiment and ideas around what you’re building, your aims, and how you’re growing the brand.