Sowing Seeds: Surveying The NFT Landscape of 2023 With Matt Medved

A deep dive interview with the co-founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of NFTNOW.

Originally published at Tezos Commons News

By Stu Elmes


1,450 words, 8 minute read

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The story of the NFT is one that desperately needs to be told. It’s a story that’s only just begun, and one that will have many twists and turns along the way — we’ve already seen a few, truth be told — , but there’s no question that it’s one worth telling. Unfortunately for those hard at work realizing their creative visions in this burgeoning space, NFT storytellers are in startlingly short supply in 2023.

Enter, Matt Medved. An experienced journalist with work ranging from spanning pop-culture staples from SPIN to Billboard, to his credit, Matt has made it his personal mission to fill the gaping media breach that has existed in the NFT arena since this game-changing technology’s inception.

As Co-Founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of NFT Now, Matt Medved has assembled what he believes is the team that can finally bring the NFT message to the masses. NFT Now has emerged as the premier media entity covering the latest Web 3.0 news and analysis on the trailblazing artists, collectors, and technologists who are re-defining the creative economy for the Web 3.0 age.

Our mission is to empower the creators of culture and to bring this technology from niche to mainstream, because we really do believe that this technology has the potential to fundamentally re-define how creators and their communities can create and share value together across every category.

In a consumer climate that’s soured on the concepts of digital ownership and NFT technology to a disconcerting degree, NFT Now’s mission is both a laudable and a timely one. Web 3.0’s place in our evolving digital lives, and the NFT’s place in the Web 3.0-driven digital world to come remain abstract and murky concepts for many, especially those who haven’t grown up in a digital-first reality. To hear Matt tell it, however, this disconnect might not be a problem for long…

Digital ownership isn’t going anywhere. We’re the last generation to grow up without digital ownership. I know that future generations are going to grow up owning things both physically and digitally. Gen Z already gets this, with Fortnite and Roblox and things like that. Whether it’s tokenized or not, they get this idea of digital ownership. The future is really clear for us, so it’s all about just helping people see that.

Here in the Tezos ecosystem, NFT-powered digital ownership has become a key point of focus. A thriving and diverse NFT art community has coalesced, driven by exceedingly reasonable gas/minting fees and some of the best NFT marketplaces and platforms in the game. While not as widely understood or ballyhooed as some of the other blockchains currently on offer, Tezos has managed to carve out an exciting niche for itself in the NFT space. Its art-first approach to NFT applications has driven Tezos to the forefront of the NFT and digital art discussion for many, something Matt spoke at length about with our own Marissa Trew during his recent appearance on TezTalks Radio.

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I think it’s a really dope community. It’s good energy, and it’s good vibes, and people are there for the right reasons. For me, collecting on Tezos is a way to unplug and break out of that market-driven and news cycle-driven climate and really start to discover artists from a place of pure appreciation. What I love about collecting on Tezos is that for many it’s a much more affordable entry point, so there are artists from all over the world - including developing countries — creating on the Tezos platform. It’s a place of patronage. By sheer numbers I own way more NFTs on Tezos than on any other blockchain.

The Tezos ecosystem has emerged as an important incubator for artists new to NFTs. Matt and the NFT Now team have watched many Tezos artists build fervent communities and successful careers right here in the Tezos ecosystem, with some going on to become recognized innovators and leaders in the larger NFT space.

So many amazing artists that we’ve supported on NFT Now, I originally discovered through Tezos. It’s been really special to see a lot of those artists blossom. A lot of artists who started on Tezos are now really making waves, and I think that’s something we’re going to continue to see.

While some have derided NFTs as a useless or failed technology, others — Matt Medved included — have taken a much wider view of this exciting technology and its potential to upend existing paradigms both in the art world and beyond it.

Incubating creator talent and building community in the way that the Tezos ecosystem has done, serves a much larger and more important vision — one where the folks currently cutting their Web 3.0 teeth here in the Tezos ecosystem aren’t just actively participating in the Web 3.0 paradigm shift to come, but actually driving it forward and setting the pace for those who will inevitably follow.

When you think about this technology and this new medium, I think what we’re seeing are a lot of these medium-native creators who are really rising to the forefront, and I think they’re going to be driving the culture for a long time. That doesn’t mean that brands and IP and the like, that have great communities already existing in Web 2.0 aren’t going to come in and succeed here, but success is not guaranteed. Just because you have a big following or audience in Web 2.0 doesn’t mean you’re going to succeed in Web 3.0.

The issue Matt and the NFT Now team have to contend with is the same one that all those operating in the fledgling NFT space in 2023 do: helping the masses understand what’s really going on here. The shift from the Web 2.0-driven digital world of today and the Web 3.0 reality of tomorrow is well underway, even if many can’t see it yet. This shift offers an unprecedented opportunity to re-define the relationship — financial and otherwise — between audience and creator.

As the framework of this new relationship continues to take shape, opportunity abounds. The ongoing effort to turn that opportunity into realized value for creators and their audiences is an important one, and the stakes are higher than most stakeholders understand. The mental bridge between Web 2.0’s “audiences” and Web 3.0’s “communities” may not be one that everyone has crossed just yet, but Matt and the NFT Now team stand ready to nudge us all toward it.

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That’s at the core of everything that we’re doing with the Now Pass and the future of tokenized media. At the end of the day, your audience is aware that you exist, they may follow you on social platforms, they may like your posts, hey, they may even go to your events or buy your products, but ultimately it’s still a one-way street of exchange. The Web 2.0 model was about creating content in this likes and comments economy — to build audience as a means to an end — to monetize indirectly as a middleman for brands. That’s the programmatic advertising model for media companies, that’s the influencer model with brand partnerships for individual creators and the creator economy… I’m not knocking anyone there. The technology didn’t exist. But now what we’ve seen is so many of those amazing creators come into Web 3.0, and all of a sudden they can actually build community rather than audience. The difference there is, community wants to see you win. They want to win together, because your success is their success. In Web 3.0, they actually have a literal stake in what you’re doing. That’s really powerful, because it unlocks a different level of connection. It’s the difference between being a fan and a shareholder — between being a supporter and an ambassador. That’s a really powerful force. In Web 3.0 you have these community-driven artists or creators that can build community directly and directly monetize by sharing in the value that they’re creating for that community.

This powerful idea is the concept that lies at the very core of digital ownership, NFTs, and their important place in the Web 3.0-driven world of tomorrow. We’ve seen again and again the past few decades how quickly these shifts can happen once an emerging technology’s applications become useful enough to generate a critical mass of public interest.

That’s the story of the NFT that people like Matt Medved and the NFT Now team will be telling in the weeks, months, and years ahead, and it’s one that everyone should be paying attention to.