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It’s no secret that people love art and collectibles. We can all agree that for much of the history of mankind, people have been creating, collecting and sharing art and collectibles as forms of expression and passion.
It’s also no secret that people either love, hate or don’t yet truly understand cryptocurrency. Well, cryptocurrency has a twist—NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. A non-fungible token is, by definition, a unique digital token with a form of art on the front end that cannot be copied, substituted or subdivided that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership.
This NFT craze has taken the market by storm and some serious collectors and collections have emerged over the last few years, launched on many different blockchains but mostly on Ethereum or Solana. NFTs are a part of the Web 3.0 world, also known as the third-generation internet, which is the next evolution of the world wide web. This Web 3.0 world focuses on decentralization, inclusivity, machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.
We all know that people love a good story with good characters, a bit of adversity or a plot of good versus evil. This is where Quirkies founder Syntribos of Australia brought all three of those realities together to start a project that is growing and garnering a lot of attention in the Web 3.0 space.
Ascend Agency did a deep-dive interview with Syntribos (aka Syn) to find out what a Quirkie is, where and why it started, and where his vision believes it will go.
Q. Who is Syntribos, what does it mean and what is your background before Web3/NFTs?
A. The name Syntribos actually started way back in 2003 in the golden era of MMOG’s as the first movers made names for themselves. Finding Syntribos was as simple as a google search of Greek mythology—and learning Syntribos meant “the shatterer” was cool for a 12-year-old! But out of this grew a keen interest in online communities. People spent more time online with guilds or clans than with their own family, and even then it felt as though people would move more and more of their lives into living interconnectedly in digital spaces.
My time playing online games, however, was short-lived. Fast forward to 2022, where I have spent more than the past 10 years working throughout many aspects of the global financial markets. I found great pleasure and success in seeking out businesses that were disruptive or able to find a niche with high returns on capital. This then enabled me to determine the business’ major pain points, where focus could be shifted to alleviate them and, more importantly, where a cash injection could materially increase the short/medium-term holder returns. People hear so many success stories like those of Uber and Facebook and think that every tech startup, or startup in general, has the ability to raise capital. This couldn’t be further from the truth, particularly in current markets. Much like NFTs, capital markets go through cycles of companies finding it extremely easy to raise funds—and then suddenly the tap is turned off. During tough times, determining where that small supply needs to be allocated is something that I was able to do extremely successfully. This means having an extremely in-depth understanding of the true drivers of a business, the sector they operate in and whether the next cycle is likely to be beneficial and open to the sector you are building within. It really was a case of the more work you put in, the greater the long-term success rate. Using this same thesis within the Web3 space has been invaluable. Determining where to allocate funds during the tough times will be the determining factor to springboarding into the next bull market.
From the outside looking in, a Web3 business can seem daunting, but so many of the same metrics shift directly from advising a business looking to raise funds to building the business. The experience I have gained from seeing where companies fail has been hugely beneficial, because in so many cases they are easy fixes that, with experience, can be identified early.
Q. What experience have you had with Web3/NFTs and what moment did the lightbulb go off that this could be innovative and possibly history-shifting technology?
A. Funnily enough, another passion of mine, horse racing, is what actually pushed me into the Web3/NFT space. A friend in the US sent an article to me about ZEDRUN, a living, breathing horse racing experience, all functioning on the ethereum blockchain. From a gaming perspective, the possibilities seemed endless. Growing in the Zed community and receiving a crash course was fantastic, but the lightbulb moment for me wasn’t until I saw the early success of a project called Bored Ape Yacht Club. Initially, people moving from an income-producing gamified NFT horse to a JPEG ape made little sense to me. However, once I saw the community begin to build at a rapid pace, I knew there were opportunities to be had.
They had virtually inverted the branding business model while layering it with an anonymous ledger, allowing you to market directly to your following. Rather than solidifying a brand and building an audience, a Web3 business was able to gain a large following and community and, in turn, build out the brand. The technology layering on top of this made it one of the most innovative changes to the way businesses could be run that I’ve seen in over 10 years.
This led me to delve deeper into what the space was missing and, to me, it was a bridge that could clearly funnel an audience from Web3 to Web2—and, more importantly, vice versa. Mass adoption will only take place once we find ways to flatten the learning curve. Introducing large groups of people to Web3 through something they both already understand and that is tangible are very important ways to build trust and educate consumers as to the value of Web3. When intertwining all of this, a lightbulb lit up, and now we find ourselves building this vision with Quirkies.
Q. What is a Quirkie, where did the idea come from and what was the inspiration?
A. Like any market, NFTs go through cycles. Cycles in price, cycles in popularity and cycles of content. It was during a cycle of content, which was filled with unoriginal art rip-offs, and I knew something original would be well-received. However, with the increase in adoption, Web3 was turning into the haves and the have-nots, creating divides throughout many communities. The overarching mantra of Quirkies is to accept and celebrate everyone’s quirks. This was the initial inspiration, which collided with many brainstorming sessions I had in determining what was going to ‘win,’ when we finally saw mass adoption in the broader market. A Quirkie, more broadly for the holder, is your Web3 persona and membership to Quirksville along with everything that entails IRL and for Web2 and Web3.
Q. The NFT and art side of Quirkies & Quirklings is fun and friendly to all. Where did you find the artist “Finch O.N.E.”, and how did you two put the collection together?
A. I had engaged Finch for a couple of personal edits and the quality of the art, which he produced in a short period of time, was of a quality I had not seen in the space. Many months went by, and while working on base shapes I thought of Finch, went to him with a concept, and asked him to produce something that could be universally loved, not pigeon-holed. It was important to me that we were able to appeal to the largest audience possible. If global exposure was to be on the cards, the art needed to transcend age, race, gender, etc. Finch came back and on edit one we had our final Quirkie. When working with people as talented as those on our team, sometimes it is that easy!
Q. Why did you decide to launch this “brand” through NFTs and not just traditional marketing and partnerships with athletes, etc.?
A. Launching just another brand, you are swimming in an ocean with nothing to differentiate yourself in a meaningful way early on. By launching our brand through an NFT, it allowed us the ability to immediately attract people who were like-minded, both to the values of our brand and also to the look and aesthetics of our style. You gain instant feedback from passionate individuals while also having community members be your largest advocate. It also provides a level of credibility, since going from a Web2 brand and moving into the Web3 space is often met with skepticism. We feel the true value is merging the Web2 and Web3 worlds together and, if anything, we can further leverage the Web3 component to promote our Web2 presence.
Q. When you talk about a “brand,” how do you plan to combine it with the Web3/NFT brand, and how is Quirkies positioned to prosper?
A. Brand is such a buzz word. I get that, but it is truly the most valuable part of any business. When we talk about building the Quirkie brand we truly want to be the bridge between IRL, Web2 and Web3. We feel that as we build out our ecosystem, we can have dual flows of consumer interest with our initial Web3 audience gaining access to our initial Web2 drops while building out the brand’s broader range. As we continue to provide value to our holders through IRL items and experiences in tangible ways, we can cross-pollinate to those who have yet to be exposed to the NFT ecosystem by showing them value they can understand. Building a strong foundation to be able to sustain growth is of the utmost importance to myself and the team.
Q. It’s been said that Quirkies has a very diverse community. What does that mean in the Web3 space and why is it important to you as a founder?
A. Diversity in a business is important. It means you get different points of views, different channels to refer, promote and build. However, Quirkies has become and continues to grow a diverse community because we emphasize the importance of embracing everyone. Women, for example, are very much underrepresented in crypto and NFTs. We have made a clear point of championing our female holders and community leaders. Not because they need it, but because by doing so, they champion other women into Web3 to see the benefits of not only what they can get from it, but also what they can give back to it.
In addition to this, Web3 is without borders. In traditional business, global expansion is often years down the path. With our team based out of Australia, the lion’s share of our holder base actually resides in the U.S. with large holdings throughout Europe and the UK. This creates huge growth opportunities to build out across different jurisdictions and cultures early on, allowing the community and team to truly incorporate our mantra of celebrating everyone’s quirks, no matter where you are from. From a purely business standpoint, it is also far more attractive when discussing prospective partnerships with traditional corporations to have such a wide reach for a new business.
Q. With cryptocurrency being volatile and the economy being really challenging around the world, what is your business plan and strategy? What pivots have you made (if any) and why?
A. Much of a Web3 business is traversing uncharted territories. Dealing with volatile markets is not new territory, since assisting businesses in surviving tough markets is where I have had so much success. Prospering in a bull market is easy, but surviving a bear—not so much. Prudential management of a budget is essential while also ensuring sufficient growth takes place. It’s a fine balance. However, the blessing of new industries in many cases is that so much can be done with very little when applying lessons learnt from Web2. Have we pivoted away from some larger expensive items within our 12 month plan, yes. But what we have done is move towards ‘sprints’ (multiple smaller projects), which we feel will not only add material value in the short term, but also ensure our bigger, capital-intensive projects are even more impactful upon release. Being nimble is the difference between success and failure in a bear market. But with that being said, we do plan on deploying our larger capital when the timing hits, and we have never diverted from that plan. We’ve just put more focus on the day-to-day things that matter to our community as well.
Q. Why should someone purchase Quirkies or Quirklings? What would they have to look forward to?
A. A saying often overused within Web3 is ‘we’re still early.’ But luckily, when referring to Quirkies, it is true. We are only 5 months from inception and have built out one of the strongest communities in the NFT space. Through the purchase of a Quirkie or a Quirkling (including membership tiers) you get a membership and access to a brand which has plans to build throughout IRL, Web2 and Web3. Whether it be exclusive access to events, members-only apparel, sportswear and items, or even possibly your own piece of land within a future metaverse Quirksville, the possibilities are simply endless. I have seen intimately some of the smallest companies morph into global powerhouses and, in my opinion, not one had the potential of Quirkies and Quirksville.
Q. What has been your favorite highlight for Quirkies so far?
A. Quirkies community, the people, the outpouring of love and friendship, inclusivity of all types of people from all over the world. That has been my favorite part so far.
In partnership with Ascend Agency