What is a cryptocurrency and what does it do in today’s modern world? Listen to this episode to learn more about cryptocurrency and the digital world as NFT artist LunaHawk shares her knowledge in this field. Join Halle to learn more about LunaHawk, an artist, digital designer, and now, creator of NFTs. We will unpack what exactly an NFT is and why you should care about them!!
LunaHawk is on the cutting edge of NFTs and crypto, yet she still believes it’s for everybody. We will also talk about DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) and learn more about how important those will be to the future.
Listen to the podcast here:
Exploring NFTs With LunaHawk
I have with me a friend, a woman who I have known for a while. I internet-stalked her until I could get to meet her. I was so excited. LunaHawk, that is not her real name, but that is her name in the crypto space, which is very important for privacy purposes. She is known around the crypto space. Luna is here to talk to us about some of the stuff on which she is an expert. Specifically, we are going to be talking about NFTs because what the heck are those? DAOs because is that some Chinese philosophy? We have got new lingo and new things we are learning. LunaHawk is here to share.
I’m so glad you are here.
Thank you so much for having me.
Talk a little bit to everybody about your background and why you chose to go into crypto.
Back in the day, someone I was dating was big into Bitcoin. This was before Ethereum was even a thing. Being in that scene and around crypto all of the time, I was like, “I’m going to put some money in here. I’m going to try it.” At the time, I did not quite have a lot to put aside, but I started doing it over time and it stuck. I started going to conferences and I kept going down the rabbit hole deeper. Here we are years later. It has been a journey.
That was how you were exposed to it, but what made you decide, “I want to do this for myself and I think it’s got a lot of value.”
I have always been on the outskirts of mainstream culture. Starting with music, I used to tour with Phish and loved the Grateful Dead. I was a little too young to tour with them. It was always on these periphery types of cultures and groups. When crypto came in, I was like, “This is so interesting.” It’s moving away from the mainstream financial worlds that we are used to. I found that to be such an interesting space. I wanted to go more and it’s that devious trickster vibe going on with crypto. It’s not traditional finance, and a lot can go into it. I don’t know if that makes sense.
You said trickster and devious. That’s the Loki and Kokopelli energy. You are right about that, although I see it moving more into the mainstream and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to start the show in the first place because I feel like we have hit that tipping point of its time for everybody to get in. I feel like as that happens, that’s going to move more away from that Loki energy and further into the straight new energy of money. To your point, there will be a fairly lengthy ramping up until it feels like it’s mainstream.
Things seem to be happening faster. I’m thinking about the internet, ‘93 to ‘95 and the dot-com thing happened. By ‘98, ‘99, everybody knew about it. It was becoming a thing. Even if things happen faster than that, 2022 is the year of the mainstream for crypto, but I feel like it was 2021 because that was when everybody was like, “What is this Bitcoin stuff? Why do I need to know about that Shiba Inu dog and the Doge dog?” That was what I heard from a lot of people. What caused you to get super excited about NFTs? Before we move into that, I have my definition of an NFT. What would you say an NFT is?
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. That makes no sense to people that are not in the industry.
The first time I heard about it, I was like, “It has to do with mushrooms.” It involves things being growable or not growable.
That is funny because I have mushroom NFT projects coming up because I was interested in the mycelial network of NFTs. It’s honestly a digital signature of authenticity. You imagine a Picasso that has been signed and then to make sure that it is a Picasso, you have a piece of paper that says, “This is a certificate of authenticity.” It’s signed by someone. That is what an NFT is, but it’s done on the blockchain.
I want to get your explanation for what that is as well.
To me, it’s a neural network of computers that are doing computational mathematical problems to secure networks.
The blockchain is the building block of decentralized finance and other transactions because DeFi is the basis for crypto. I don’t know if I would say that DeFi is the basis for NFT is, but the blockchain is underneath all of the NFTs. To me, blockchain is the pieces that go next to each other chained into an unbreakable line to make sure nobody can bust in the middle, change something and therefore, defraud someone. The fact that these blocks are all chained together makes the processes and contracts safe. Would you agree that, for layman’s terms that we were both saying different sides of the same thing?
It reminds me of the internet. We don’t understand how the internet works, but it works. Blockchain is the basis upon which all of these decentralized finances are built. We don’t necessarily need to understand the technological aspects, but it is an interesting visual to me.
To me, an NFT is a smart contract. What you described was the NFT asset. That is where we are going to spend the bulk of our time talking about the art pieces because that is the first wave of NFTs has been art. People think that NFTs are signatures for digital art or the digital version of a physical art piece. There was a thing from Paris Hilton saying, “I bought my piece of Banksy’s latest work and are you going to be my neighbor?” You can fractionalize the art and so you could buy a piece of it next to Paris Hilton.
A plot of land or something so you can be Paris Hilton’s virtual NFT neighbor. The idea of NFTs is a lot bigger. I know you know this, but for the people who are reading, we are going to focus not on this aspect of NFTs, just on the art aspect of it because LunaHawk, you are an NFT creator. As an artist, what caused you to decide to make your first NFT? In as much layman’s terms as you can, which means you can do it as big picture as you want. What was the process like for you creating that first one?
It was February 2020 and NFTs were becoming a thing or I had at least heard about it. As an artist, I always loved being in the crypto space, but I could not speak necessarily to the technical terms of everything. This intersection of art and NFTs is a space where I can be in crypto, be involved, and learn different things. For me, it was more of like, “This is the world that I’m in. This is so exciting. It’s an art and I’m an artist.” It was this a-ha and exciting moment like a puppy dog. That’s how it started. I created the first grouping. I did Doge pop art because I love dogs. My friend had a Shiba Inu, so I used one of the photos of her Shiba Inu. I made it super colorful and playful and put them up on OpenSea.
It’s one of the most popular platforms for selling NFTs.Don't invest what you're not willing to lose. Click To Tweet
It’s an aggregation site. It will take any NFTs on these sites that they speak to and it puts them all together. If you go on my OpenSea, you will see that I have a piece from wearable and on a foundation to use other platforms, but this all comes in here. You can sell, buy and trade on OpenSea.
You decided to put a pop art up and what happened?
Someone bought one.
Did that shock you?
It did. I was like, “This has to be someone I know.” I later did find out it is a friend of mine who is well known in the space. He did not tell me. He did it slyly. I felt super cool. “I sold an NFT.” From then on, I was like, “I’m an NFT artist.” It did evolve from there, but that was the beginning.
How many pieces do you have that are NFTs?
Thirty-five that are listed or that are sold or available to buy?
My intersection of the NFT market is commissioned through a DAO to create NFTs. It’s the non-traditional way of getting paid for my work. These pieces that I create are 2 separate proposals of 10 images each. The first ten went to people who were the first ten proposals passed in the DAO. In a DAO, anyone can write a proposal. It gets voted on and then if it passes, I gifted them this NFT and transferred it into their wallet. The second set is going to this particular DAOs treasury. From there, they have the option to sell, hold, gift or auction it off. It’s a unique way to do that. That accounts for about eighteen of them and then I have two more left in that series.
I want to take a little bit of a deeper dive on each thing that will help people to understand and I have my questions. First of all, how would you define a DAO?
It’s a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, which like NFT, means nothing.
Let’s back up a little bit. Decentralize means it does not belong to any one entity. I like to think of it as there is no gatekeeper. Decentralized means it belongs to everybody equally. As I was getting into the DeFi and crypto space, I love the by the people for the people aspect of all of it. The more I see like that, the happier it makes me. I have already seen DAOs that have been faked and are not decentralized.
As I say to everybody constantly when I do these episodes, do your research, learn what you are doing, don’t get involved because you see something and you go, “Let me leap and see what happens.” Unless it’s like, “I want to buy Bitcoin on Cash App.” It is straightforward that you can do these days, but if you are going to get into something like a DAO, get in a little bit more slowly and make sure that it’s trusted. Decentralize means there is no gatekeeper for it. Talk about what the DAO itself functions as.
A real DAO because there are DAOs that still have CEOs, CFOs and executive teams. That is not decentralized. Some DAOs out there are saying that they are that with those. I do my research, check the website, and see what’s going on. An actual DAO does not have any of that. There is no executive team and the community. The one that I’m particularly connected with is the ShapeShift DAO. There is a Fox token that you can use to vote on these proposals for that community.
I could buy Fox on a crypto platform.
You can buy it on Coinbase and the ShapeShift app.
Coinbase is a very mainstream crypto platform. I could buy the token of the coin and then having a certain minimum number would allow me to have a vote.
You could have one and still vote. The community has joined together. They have created a mission together. People have organized into different structures and been hired to do different things for a short time. It’s always reassessed and everything is super transparent. With all of the money in the DAO, you can see exactly where the treasury is and what money is being spent. Everything is out there for you, so there is no like, “What did the marketing workstream do with that money?” It’s like, “We know exactly what happened because here is the treasury. You can see on-chain that this and this happened.”
Define on-chain before you move on.
If a transaction has been made, these are Ethereum-based transactions through the Fox token. It will be written on the blockchain and so it’s recorded. It will be like OXAD and you will see that it was sent to OFDX.Sometimes if it seems too good to be true, it might be too good to be true. Click To Tweet
Which are the very long numbers of the wallets they are coming from and going to. It’s interesting because there is something called Explorer. Whenever you do a crypto transaction, you can see on the Explorer exactly what Luna’s talking about. It is completely transparent. One of my favorite things about DeFi in general, you can see where the money is going.
We have this thing in our vernacular. We are always like, “Follow the money because then you can find out like, where the mendacity is? Where the lying is? Where the illegal Ponzi scheme is?” There is none of that. Everything is transparent and you can see every single transaction. I was looking at a scam that took place years ago, where a bunch of Bitcoin was stolen.
There was a news story that Bitcoin has been transferred from one wallet to another and they can see the whole transaction. They can see where the money was taken. They can see where it was put. They can see it moving. They can’t get it back in this case because they were unable to. There have been other cases where ransomware has been paid to Bitcoin and recovered. A lot more so and a lot more often than most regular dollar fiat currency. I digress.
Let’s go back to the DAO. You said you are a part of the ShapeShift DAO, one of the bigger ones out there. You said that they had hired you to do the NFTs and then those NFTs were gifted to people once the proposals were accepted. Everybody in the DAO voted on the proposals. Why do I want to vote on a proposal? What is the value to me as a member of the DAO to vote on a proposal? Why do you feel like that is important?
I can speak only to myself and how I feel about it because I am interested in the Fox token and want the token price to go up. I’m going to vote for things that are aligned with my vision that I think will make the DAO profitable or gain more interest. They are doing a lot of unique, interesting things with other DAOs also. If everything keeps going well, the number could potentially go up. I don’t know if, by law, I’m allowed to say that. I don’t know if that makes me crazy.
This is a nonfinancial show anyway. They don’t have laws around crypto yet. There is this whole thing about you having to be licensed. I talked to somebody who has been a futures trader for 40 years or something. We were talking about him acting as a broker in crypto. I said, “Most people don’t have their crypto brokers. Most people do it directly.” There is no licensing for trading other people’s crypto. Whereas if you want to trade somebody else’s dollars, you got to get licensed to do that. That is going to change, but for now, there is not a lot of laws around all of this. Say whatever you would like and we will assume that it’s okay.
Unfortunately, there are laws when you are an actual company. You have to be worried that the SEC is going to think you are a token or security. There are a lot of issues that do come with that, but as far as the DAO, there is no one person who owns this DAO. It’s its own thing. At the beginning of the DAO, somebody mentioned registering it in Wyoming because Wyoming has good crypto laws. If you make it into a company, that defeats the whole purpose of the DAO. It does not work that way. It’s a new paradigm of money, business and potential work.
In general, there are a lot of things that are changing in the way that we do business and coming quickly, the way that we interact with money and what money is. There was a bill introduced in Arizona to have cryptocurrency currency because it is not considered actual money yet. All of this is only a matter of time, but it’s interesting that we are in the middle of it and no one knows what they are doing yet because it’s being done for the first time. You said about it as a paradigm shift that can’t be pointed out often enough.
It’s such a great reminder. You are learning, I’m learning, we are all learning because it’s never happened before. That is what makes it cool. I love the idea that the DAO is like a new and unique company. By the people for the people is a good thing. At least until somebody decides they want to be in charge, that is like a whole another thing. Let’s get back to talking about NFTs. Art for now and where do you see NFTs going? What other applications do you see that there will be for the smart contracts that are NFTs?
It’s endless. We have started to see it in music. Blau is a DJ in the scene and he created Royal. What it means is you can a fractionalized piece of his music. Anytime it gets played, everyone is receiving funds back from that. That is another for the people, we the people. Everyone is involved. That is super unique and interesting. You can also have an NFT ticket that gets you backstage passes at X, Y and Z show or maybe you get certain merch that is not available to the public because you have this NFT. There are so many things that it could represent. If you have a high-end bag, you will get the NFT to show that this is a real bag.
It’s proof that this is what it is. You have seen that with watches. It’s a digital realm, but it’s also coming into the real physical world, which is super cool. I also heard about a furniture designer who created a CAD drawing of a chair and the people that own the NFTs. That was their right to make those chairs. They could have them fabricated or use that as a token to get their chair made. They have the right to the design. I see that could happen with house designs or who knows? That is endless. We will start to see it come into real estate and bank transactions. I feel excited because I don’t know where it could go, but it could pretty much go. I feel like anything you think is possible could be possible.
The guy that explained NFTs to me and the first place is making something called NFTtheMovie. He talked about a refrigerator and the idea that your warranty for the fridge would have a smart contract and that smart contract would trace the ownership and tell you whether it was still under warranty for repairs because now it is like, “I got the piece of paper, but I did not register it. I went and called the company and they said we will take care of you, but where is your receipt.” It takes all of that. I have talked to a lot of different people about NFTs, but not much on the show so far. You are my NFT guest. We talked about the idea that if you have a problem with your medical history now. Getting your medical records from your doctors is a nightmare.
If you are somebody who gets sick regularly or you are dealing with some disease, then you are going to have to go to maybe five different doctors and you are trying to gather all your medical records to give them to the sixth doctor. It would turn that all on its ear. The NFT would mean you would own that. Your medical records would be all be attached to the NFT that you have. You would share that information piecemeal, the fractionalized piece of it, with the doctor you wanted to. It would allow you to take over your record keeping.
I don’t think it would mean that you had to trace it. It would happen automatically. You would give them your wallet address, and that information would end up on the NFT when you finish your appointment. You would have full control over it. For me, I feel like that is so freeing. It made me look at the medical system now, I’m like, “Why do we have to do it this way? We should do it that way.”
One issue I could see with that is because it’s so transparent, there has to be some veil or something that would not allow everyone to see that NFT.
You see that it existed without seeing the information that was on it.
You would need something with that. That way, someone is not like, “You had surgery on this day.”
On the blockchain, you can see everything. It’s available now. We were talking about the supply chain and how this solves a lot of supply chain issues because you can see where the lettuce was picked up in Honduras, every single stop along the way until it got to your grocery store in Ohio. When that happens and there is a salmonella breakout, you can trace it exactly to the right stop. That solves a lot of problems and there will be other supply chain issues that are solved by NFTs.
I did not think about that issue that you brought up, but they will have to encrypt part of it. You have to give out the encryption code key or something. I have that online. I had some minor surgery done a couple of years ago and everything was triple encrypted for me to get to it and send it to another doctor.
They will figure that out. The thing that both terrifies and fascinates me is celebrity NFTs. When you were talking about Royal, you are talking about that world already. Cutting out the middleman, the A&R people get 80% or 90% unless somebody is a huge artist. The person that broke this down for me best was Macklemore because of Macklemore’s first album. He talks about his part of his rap is the $100,000 contract that the record people offered him that he turned down to put his and Ryan Lewis’s music on iTunes, which caused a brand new thing in the industry.It's up to each person to determine what art means to them. Click To Tweet
They cut out the middle people and they got wealthy doing it. It caused every musician after to go, “Maybe we should rethink this.” I’m going to be curious to hear what happens because you said that a guy who is a DJ is not writing his music. He is mixing music. He gives access to the people listening and getting paid every time they do that. He gets a royalty from it or not?
The people who own the NFT get the royalty, too. I think Ken’s the name Royal, but don’t quote me on that.
What do you think about the idea of celebrities? In ten years or whatever, Paris Hilton or Angelina Jolie being an NFT?
I remember at the beginning, this was probably February 2021. We are in ‘22. When the Clubhouse came out, we were in a Clubhouse space with Gronk. He was doing a trading card. It was $4.3 million. It might have even been higher than that, but he was auctioning off and we were listening to the live auction and watching it on OpenSea in this Clubhouse talk with him. He and Snoop Dog have them. It’s curious. People always want a piece of what is well-known. Maybe it’s a way for them to get that.
I have been thinking about a film script set ten years in the future when celebrities are their own NFTs.
That gets into metaverse stuff. This person bought a plot next to Snoop Dog and he is Snoop Dog’s neighbor.
Do they run into each other mowing their virtual lawn in the back? What’s up with that? That’s crazy. I’m going to have some guests on and we are going to talk more about the metaverse. I’m fascinated by the whole thing. What do you think about the idea that there is going to be a bubble? You were talking about this one NFT selling for $4.3 million. The highest NFT had sold for $60 million, which is one artist catalog. Instead of you breaking it down piece by piece, it was $15,000 a piece. It was not as unreasonable as the papers made it sound, but $60 million is still a lot. If it had not been an NFT, if I have been buying the physical catalog, I don’t think anybody would have done that.
There is all this stuff about like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Crypto.Chicks and all of this stuff. I looked at the Crypto.Chicks NFTs, these girls have their tongues out. They are licking their lips. They are super cool-looking. They have tatts everywhere and cool, crazy jewelry, but they are beautiful art pieces. Whereas I look at the Bored Ape stuff and I think they look like bad cartoons. That is one art lover’s opinion. Other people think that the Bored Ape’s things are the coolest thing ever. I want to know, what do you think about all of the NFT icons and the art that is NFTs now? What do you think about that market? I’m hearing a lot of stuff about it being a bubble.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club is like a membership. You get to go to these private events and parties. You get swag. I don’t know if you pay for the swag because I don’t own one.
You get to hang out with Justin Bieber because he does.
This art that we are speaking about was first created and then computer created. You create the art and then there is code behind it, so now we have this whole new genre of art, which is generative art. It’s up to each person to determine what art means to them. I can’t say like, “That is art.” It’s not. I like my crypto covens and I like the art of that. They draw a lot of them and then there is some generative art. It’s interesting because there is this new genre and then also, the NFT community has not been through a bear market yet.
Let me back up because I never assume anybody knows anything when we talk the lingo. It’s a bull market versus a bear market. The bull market is where everything is going up and the bear market is where everything is either going down or has gone down and it’s staying down. The conservatives come out and say, “We told you this was going to happen.” We have seen and been in the bull market for NFTs for a while. We have not seen the bear market yet.
That part is very curious because we don’t know what will happen to the NFT marketplace. We could apply what has happened in the general markets to the NFTs, but we don’t know that is going to happen. For example, when a number has been going down, it’s all red. You are like, “Lots of blood.” My NFTs, the ones that I have purchased, have kept getting higher offers. The number has gone down, but the amount that I’m being offered has stayed up. Will the NFT marketplace be a different ecosystem than that, even though it’s intertwined?
It will be interesting to see that. I think if they do experience the bear market like many of us have on the other side, there is going to be a lot of pain that comes in because someone might be like, “I still won 100 ETH for my Bored Ape Yacht Club.” That 100 ETH is not worth nearly as much or whatever the number is. It will be interesting. I would be happy and surprised if it created its ecosystem without the other markets.
I have one more question for you. What advice do you have for women who are not in the crypto space, who want to get started and who want to catch the wave before it becomes a tsunami?
Ask a lot of questions. Don’t feel stupid. Even now, I ask questions that I know I have asked 800 times before because it has to get into the brain. Do your research. Say they are reading this show. Look into who is on your Twitter page. Who are you requoting? Do you like LunaHawk? What has my past NFT has done? Do my research into what is happening there. You may mess up. Don’t invest what you are not willing to lose. I always say that. Have fun with it. If I try something and I lose X amount of money, I have made that okay in my mind because I have chosen this path.
I’m going to make mistakes. The number may go down or up. I hope it goes up. Historically, it has continued to go up. In the future, I think it’s going to go up. I’m very bullish on that. Get involved. Most of the community is very welcoming and if you find someone that is not, move on to the next person. If you find someone who is “I know it all” run. If someone knows everything or it is like, “It’s going to go up. You are going to hundred X your thing,” slowly backs away. Sometimes if it seems too good to be true, it might be too good to be true.
Somebody gave me the push to get heavily into crypto after being scammed the first time. That was in 2016 and ‘17 and then I got scammed out of a couple of Bitcoin. It was part of a $10 million scam. It could have been a lot worse. I only lost a little bit. When I went back in, he said to me, “These numbers are going to look too good to be true, but trust them, they are not.” He was right. Stuff does go 100 X. You are not going to see that in the stock market, at least not quickly. It is apples and oranges over what you have seen in the past. Like everything else and why I’m a mindset coach, it’s about 80% mindset and 20% technical aspect. It’s holding fast to that.
There is one more thing that I feel is super important and I feel like I’m doing a disservice if I don’t share security. I don’t have my real name out there. I also don’t post my wallets holding certain NFTs because that is a security risk to me. Don’t put your passwords in your phone, in your notes. You want to have good hygiene around all of that. Make sure you have two-factor authentication on every app that you use. Don’t ever reuse the password. Use a password generator on all of these things because you want it to be secure. There are security risks there. I’m big on security. I feel like that is almost number one before you get into it to understand that and then move into investing.
I always ask, what is one more thing that you want everybody to know? That was your one more thing. I love that. I’ll add to that. I heard about a woman who said she uses an old cell phone. She keeps all of her apps and everything she uses on the cell phone, not connected to the internet or anything. When she wants to get online using her VPN, it masks where the signal originates. It’s a protective thing. There are free VPNs, but there are paid ones. I paid $150 for two years or something. It’s reasonable.
I use Nord.
I like Nord as well. She uses a VPN. She will log on with her old cell phone that only uses the crypto stuff. When she is done, she logs off and puts it in a drawer, completely disconnecting it and that’s it. It has its own SIM card. She had a new SIM card to use it. That is what I’m going to do because it’s so much less. The security risk for most of the stuff is if somebody can grab it from you, not that you need to have this wallet or that wallet because you are trying to separate it.
This stuff moves more mainstream and as you can start buying Bitcoin on Cash App, that’s my example of how mainstream things have gotten. It means that you are going to have more risks because it’s going to be attached to your phone. Everything that LunaHawk said is accurate and maybe consider doing all of that on a cell phone because it will keep you more protected on a separate cellphone.
I like external hardware wallets and things that. If I’m traveling and I don’t keep a lot of money in centralized exchanges. I won’t keep a lot of money in Coinbase. It’s all external where they don’t have my password because passwords could be hacked.
I want to thank you so much for your time. If people are interested in following you and getting to know your work, where are the best places to do that?
If you are into crypto and interested in learning, Twitter is a wonderful space for that. I’m back to Twitter for the first time in years. I have been off for a long time. I’m @GoddessOfCrypt0. If you follow me and look at my followers, you can find LunaHawk. If you follow her, you can find me because we follow each other and that’s a good way of doing it. Thank you so much for being here. I’m so grateful and you did such a great job of explaining and all those plain language terms. I’m very grateful for that. I’m sure all of our readers are as well.
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