Who’s Who In Crypto: Metalink CEO and Co-Founder Jake Udell
The world of high-priced non-fungible tokens (NFTs) attracts more than a few bad actors. With recent exploits on Discord targeting the holders and communities of “blue chip” NFTs, there needed to be a way for NFT holders to interact more safely with one another. Enter Metalink, a Web3 alternative.
We spoke with Jake Udell, the CEO and Co-Founder of Metalink, about his company’s platform, which provides a gated platform for NFT owners to mingle on the web. Through Metalink, with no verified NFT, there is no access to the secure server the community has.
What are your priorities for the next 12 months?
Over the next year, we will build Metalink to be the most secure and easy way to talk, track, and eventually transact NFTs.
We’ve already become a trusted platform by Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks, and OpenSea. We will continue to roll out new collections on our platform – Both through our verified holder chat experience and the Launchpad, where we showcase up-and-coming collections we believe in, like Coolman’s Universe.
Will a future chat app look like existing ones? We don’t think so, which is why we’re integrating real-time data and the ability to explore the metaverse directly from within chat. Our goal is to create the signal through the noise for the NFT community. We’ll do this by aggregating key information, such as collection announcements and relevant push notifications.
Overall, the next 12 months at Metalink are “probably nothing” as we aim to become that NFT app.
What does crypto and NFTs mean to you, and what drew you to it?
There are two things that drew me to crypto and NFTs: community and ownership. One of the most exciting elements of crypto and NFTs are the communities they create. The possibilities for owning a piece of the Internet are robust and fascinating.
The Web2 walled garden ecosystem where big tech companies own your data and do what they want with it is ready for an evolution. The need to please Wall Street through increased advertising revenue comes at the cost of user experience.
Web3 has the opportunity to lead with a different model. At Metalink, we aspire to build a platform where you can own your connected experiences across the Internet—from payments to social, and everything in between. Right now, you may think of Web3 as owning cryptocurrency, payment capabilities, and NFTs, but in the future, blockchain technology will enable us to own our followers and social posts. This is a future I am excited about for all creators, brands, and businesses. With all this hype around ownership, NFTs themselves may be the new MP3. Not that NFTs will become obsolete the way that MP3s did as streaming became popular, but in the same way that the term “MP3” left the zeitgeist as soon as “streaming” was born. NFTs may adopt a new name. As Chris Dixon says, tokens are the new Websites. At the beginning, Websites were just information, but they evolved to include social media and e-commerce. Similarly, tokens will evolve beyond their primitive format today. The browser enabled the Internet to thrive, and while there have been many innovations in crypto already, the “browser” for our new world hasn’t been born… yet.
What is your long-term view of crypto/NFTs?
NFTs will permanently change the way we view and connect around ownership and investments. Distributed ledger technology will spread past digital collectables into portable follower ships and social media content, changing how we communicate and own our digital footprint. The next generation will grow up native to this space, the way many of us grew up with the Internet. NFTs are at the forefront of this revolution.
There are many organisations that could benefit from decentralisation, but this technology has only been made possible in recent years. While the technology to make it possible existed for a long time, it took two decades before the iPhone arrived. When Steve Jobs built the iPhone, we already knew how to work the Internet, the phone, and a camera. He just put them all into our pocket. “The metaverse” is a new behaviour, and it’s going to take time to go mainstream. However, the combination of a back end revolution – with the blockchain – and a front end revolution – with the metaverse – is full of exciting possibilities.
What advice would you give people investing in the space, either crypto or NFTs (or looking to invest for the first time)?
Get your feet wet – find an artist or project you’re interested in and follow them. You can buy something inexpensive just to understand how the process works. As cumbersome as it is today, it’s still a thrilling experience. One could argue today’s NFT prices are inflated… Nobody knows, but one thing is for certain: digital asset ownership is going to increase.
How do you feel about the way the world is regulating crypto?
Technology will continue to move us forward. Regulation didn’t stop the Internet, and it’s not going to stop crypto. Similar to any major technological innovation, the world, and regulation will ultimately have to support the people’s wants. Crypto is the ultimate form of democracy. Bitcoin is the new digital gold – It currently has a $1T market cap. Gold’s market cap is $12.4T, and it’s not practically infinitely divisible or easily transferable in the ways that cryptocurrency is. In the future, Bitcoin will surpass it and become the largest storage of wealth in the history of the world.