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Blockchain Use Cases with Tara Fung

George Grombacher November 3, 2022

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Blockchain Use Cases with Tara Fung

LifeBlood: We talked about practical blockchain use cases, the massive impact this technology can have, how companies can harness it to better serve customers, and the infrastructure required to make it happen, with Tara Fung, CoFounder and CEO of CoCreate, an org providing a new web3 protocol. 

Listen to learn how blockchain can increase community and remove gatekeepers!

You can learn more about Tara at UseCoCreate.IO, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Tara Fung

Episode Transcript

lepa This is George G and A time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful terrifying. Tara, you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:22
I think so we’ll find out we

george grombacher 0:26
we absolutely will find out there is the co founder and CEO of CO create their new web point three protocol that unlocks the potential of NFT. Companies, ecosystems, empowering them to go beyond the drop, to tell us a little about your personal lives more about your work, why you do what you do?

Unknown Speaker 0:43
Yeah, so personal life is I hide it well, but I’m from a small town in rural North Carolina, I grew up in the sticks. And I always just wanted to figure out how the world works. And so that led me to travel to live abroad to get a lot more education than I probably needed. And eventually, that led me to crypto because I think that blockchains are going to fundamentally alter the way the world works and what is possible. My husband and I, we live here in Nashville, Tennessee, we moved three to six months before the pandemic, from New York, everyone thought we were crazy and that my career was going to take a major hit. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is now in web three. No one cares where you are. And so we’re loving it here. He’s a session musician. I’m in crypto and tech. And so both of our circles of friends think the other one is cool, because it’s so unusual.

george grombacher 1:32
I think that they’re 100%. Correct. That is super cool.

Unknown Speaker 1:37
Yeah, and workwise. You know, like I said, I got into web three and crypto. But I got there through fintech. Coming out of business school, I joined a FinTech company in the consumer lending and SAS side because money touches everyone. So it’s another way to figure out how the world works, eventually gotten to alternative investments at Alto IRA, and alternative investments and private securities led me to crypto which I know securities, and crypto is a hot topic now. And I don’t invest in things I don’t understand. And so I went deep on trying to understand crypto, because if I was going to talk with people about it, I needed to understand it and appreciate it myself and see how it could fit into a diversified portfolio and the role that it could play that went from going to Okay, crypto makes sense. And maybe a sleeve of BTC, or eath, or soul or some of these other assets makes sense in your portfolio to Wow, it’s really the technology underneath. That’s so powerful. And I realized very quickly that I wanted to spend all day every day working on this new frontier. So at the start of this year, I set out I started cocreate, like you said we help successful NFT projects, but also really any brand, grow, reward and engage their community, using the blockchain using tokens as a way to create strong incentives and reward behaviors. And we’re really excited about how blockchains can fundamentally alter the way that a brand engages and grows with their audience. And we think that the earliest adopters will be web three native companies, NFT projects. But over time, I think we’re going to see every single brand is going to use this technology, just like every single brand, now has a website and uses the internet.

george grombacher 3:23
I love it. So congratulations on being able to do something that that that you love and enjoy every day. And I think that that’s awesome. So grow, reward and engage. I think that that’s probably most companies when you say web three native, that’s a company that was just born for web three.

Unknown Speaker 3:45
Yeah, exactly. They started out with their business are really there. A lot of times, they don’t even see themselves as a business. Initially, they see themselves as a project. And they’re trying to understand if they’re actually growing into a business that’s sustainable over time. But they started in the core offering is using the blockchain whether that is they are an NF T project. And so they launched some NF T’s and they sold them out. And then they have this rabid community who is excited to understand do these characters have a lower end story? Or can I buy merch with this? Or are you going to use this in other media fashion IP, or it’s a Dao, which stands for a decentralized autonomous organization, which really just means a collection of people on the internet that also have a shared bank account. Which things get interesting when a collection people on the internet have a shared bank account. Or, you know, they started out as like a defy project, which defy stands for decentralized finance. And that’s really where crypto started, is that it was a better way to enable individuals to interact with value on the internet by making it such that you don’t have to have an intermediary to establish trust, right like intermediate Isn’t financial services are there because they need to establish trust between one person and another between one entity and another. And blockchains make it so that you can make promises that everyone can validate without needing to trust the other side. So all of these are examples and maybe three different areas of web three native projects or companies. But I actually believe that blockchain and you know, everything that it entails which web three is now the moniker that really encompasses anything that involves blockchain. That that is going to be a technology that impacts every business. And it’s just we see the early adopters are the ones who are starting their and playing around. And it’s a lot easier for them to integrate, and use blockchain in their business because they don’t have these non blockchain parts of their business at the outset. Right, it’s that the data transfer between what we call on chain and off chain data can be complicated, and those rails and infrastructure isn’t well built out. So it’s just a lot easier for web three native companies to do these things.

george grombacher 6:05
Fascinating. Thank you for thank you for sort of talking that through a collection of people with a shared bank account online sounds like a terrible idea, but it’s probably a great one.

Unknown Speaker 6:16
You know, I think what’s so cool about it is you can capture momentum, and feeling in a way that wasn’t previously possible among a group of like minded individuals. And there are silly examples of this. And then there are serious examples of this. You know, a silly example of this was I met a woman who started pizza Dow. And they wanted to make it so that, you know, everyone had a right in their mind to food and they wanted to make food more freely accessible to individuals around the world. And they thought pizzas fun, that’s how we can grab people’s attention. They raised one and a half million dollars, I think in like a week that they used to throw one of the biggest like pizza parties in the world, right. And that’s all fun. And it had a purpose underneath that was deeper, but it was just fun. It was kind of silly. But then you also think of you know, Ukraine Tao, where when the war in Ukraine started, people were able to come together and provide support, financially that was given to, to those in Ukraine and those groups in Ukraine who were protecting their country. And so I think that there are serious applications of this. And they’re also silly. One of the most well known is constitution now, where a group raised some $40 million in a few weeks to try to buy the Constitution, then sadly, a finance guy came through and bought it. But they got really close.

george grombacher 7:49
That’s fascinating. Yeah, it’s a whole it’s a why is the wild west out there? So with Ukraine, Dow, let’s just let’s use round numbers, let’s say that that a million dollars flows in from people all over the world who who share a desire to help and chip in? How is the money distributed?

Unknown Speaker 8:11
Yeah, so with all of these doubts, they’re all different. And I don’t know the specifics of Ukraine, Dow and how they were organized. So I’ll just speak in generalities of what applies. But they will have these leaders within the Dao. And everyone’s able to vote generally based on how much they gave, because tokens are often used as a way to create the voting mechanism. So say, a token, just making this super simple is $1. If you put in $100, you get 100 tokens, and that’s your voting power. And people can say, You know what, I’m going to delegate my voting power to this person, because I trust them. And so that way, they have more of a say. So that’s one way that decisions are made is by everyone who has participated is able to vote and have a voice. And I think why that’s so attractive, is because there is such a lack of trust in our societies right now. And our political systems, and our financial systems and just across the world, there’s been a big lack of trust in those who are in power. And so people want to take power back, they want to take ownership back. And what web three promises is that there is a way that people cannot just be consumers or users, which are common terms that we hear in businesses, like Oh, our users, you know, user is a term that’s also used to refer to a drug addict, right? And so those are not terms that people want really associated with them. They want to be they want to be contributors, they want to be owners and maybe sometimes they just want to you know, sit there and receive the product or service, but sometimes they want to be able to have a voice on the say. The flip side of that is what I think you’re kind of getting to which it sounds a little bit like a circus, right? Like if everyone has a say how do you make the city shins, how are those decisions? Like, are they efficiently made? And the answer is normally No, I wouldn’t argue that a lot of our systems, though, are quite efficient. And so the the Dow organizational support and structures to help them identify leaders ensure everyone has a voice and that they can move forward and make decisions is still being built out. But commonly what you’ll see are guild or individual leaders who are delegated votes as a way for them to make decisions on behalf of those who have trusted their votes with them.

george grombacher 10:34
I love it makes a ton of sense. And I’ve been I’ve been thinking a lot about how frustrated we are by these intermediaries that really every aspect of life and society from all of it from obviously money, but news and information and we’re sick of feeling like we’re being manipulated.

Unknown Speaker 10:55
Yeah. Especially if you’re not the person in power. You know, what we’re doing? A lot of people initially could call it cute, right? Like we are helping effectively brands create loyalty programs on a blockchain. Because if you have a loyalty rewards program on a blockchain, people can know that their points are actually theirs, right? Like with Delta, my points aren’t really mine. I earned them. I did all the things to earn them. But they aren’t mine. Because guess what if I want to transfer them to transfer 40,000 points is $400, plus a $30 processing fee, I might as well buy someone a ticket, right? Like those aren’t my points. And it also means that I can’t choose how to use them, right, I can only use them in predefined ways. That makes a lot of sense for brands, if you have a narrow view, because you say you want to encourage people to do things that business or benefit your business and you earn them. And then you’re going to have predefined ways you can redeem them, that still makes sense for your business. I would argue that a lot of brands with these closed loyalty systems are going to find that people start to get fed up. And I think they already have like Dunkin Donuts this past week, they came out and they changed their point system, their loyalty system, so that the points were highly devalued. And everyone’s up in arms. They’re like I was doing the things. And now you’re telling me that what I earned is worth like half as much. And so blockchains allow not only individuals or entities to make commitments to one another from like a financial services standpoint, they can also allow brands to make commitments to their customers, their contributors, their community members, they’re evangelists, like every brand wants evangelists. And it’ll be slow. And it’ll be iterative and incremental. But I think what we will see is the likes of you know, Starbucks is already doing this, where they will have a new loyalty and reward system where you can actually sell your loyalty, you can buy certain items, you can earn certain items, and there will be a marketplace where you can sell them, that means that they’re actually yours, you can take custody of that NFT or those tokens as loyalty and sell it. And so I’m excited to see how brands grow into these open loyalty systems that create more partnership opportunities for them, and create more ownership and value and utility for individuals. But all that said, that sounds like cute, right? Like, it’s like, oh, this is a new tool. There are some very serious applications of this as well, right? blockchains allow people to be the custodian or the owner of various assets, financial or otherwise. And as we saw in Lebanon a few weeks ago, there have been all of these bank raids, I don’t know how did you see that? I did not. So there’s just been, you know, it’s been a very difficult time over the years in Lebanon, their financial, their political systems have really struggled. And the ruling government has made it such that you cannot withdraw more than x amount of funds from bank. And so people are quote, unquote, robbing the bank. But they’re robbing it to get their own money. And that breaks my heart, because they’re not trying. They’re literally just trying to get what is theirs. And there was a story, I believe it was a woman who robbed the bank because she couldn’t afford surgery for her parent. And it’s like, that’s an example of this isn’t cute. This is real. People want to know that what is what is theirs is actually theirs. And they want to be in control of it. And we’re early within blockchains and web three. And right now it’s really hard to use this technology is not nearly as user friendly. And so when people go and interact with it, they’re like, oh, my gosh, this is way too difficult. No one’s ever going to do it. And it’s like, well, yeah, you might do it if you live in a country where you can’t trust your financial system. And over time, this technology is going to go from arduous to fun and easy and completely obfuscate the fact that it’s on a block that This experience is on a blockchain. It’s just we’re early in that process.

george grombacher 15:03
Yeah, it strikes me that blockchain web three, these are just, you know, arbitrary terms. It’s what it does and the access that it’s going to provide and freedom and liberty.

Unknown Speaker 15:16
Yeah, I think that’s absolutely right. And it speaks to, you know, the people that are on the cusp of new technology are technologists and nerds, right. And so they use words that are very specific to what the thing is not why it matters. And so like blockchain, like the term NFT, is hilarious to me. There should not be a term that’s used in broad like group settings, non fungible tokens. Like that’s such a ridiculous, really, it can be an art, it can be a digital collectible, it can be your membership card, right? It can be the deed to your house, it just means anything, a record of anything that’s unique. And so we just were so early, we’re still using the terms that the technologists and those innovators have created, as opposed to the terms that the larger society will use in the future, because they’re just going to say why it matters to them, not what it is.

george grombacher 16:13
What’s the new term gonna be? I think we’ll have a

Unknown Speaker 16:16
few, right? Like, I think the idea of owning digital assets is is going to permeate, like it’s going to become second nature, of course I do. And so I think we’ll have digital collectibles, I think that’ll be one of it, versus NFT, I think we’ll have like digital memberships. Like, I just think we’ll have a lot of terms because the technology is so far reaching that it’s really about the application, not about just what it is because it can have a million different applications.

george grombacher 16:46
Like literally, literally fascinating, you know, just just in a short amount of time that we’re talking, I can definitely see why you’d be fascinated by this. And just the use cases, you must sit down and just constantly be thinking about different ways to to help organizations or creators or whatever, you know, other humans to, to accomplish what it is that they’re trying to accomplish through this technology.

Unknown Speaker 17:13
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. And what I tried to do is think through, okay, what’s now what soon what’s later, because there are things that are available now, for companies, whether you are a web three native company, or you’re an established brand, based on how things work right now, based on the ease of use right now. And then there are things that are soon and things that are later. So I try to break it up in that way. So that I’m not just living pie in the sky, there are immediate use cases that get me really excited. And I do feel that every company leader needs to be spending time on this because this, a lot of people like in web Three, two, you know, 2000 With the onset of the internet, this, this is an equivalent time, and those leaders who take the time to understand this technology, and the impacts that can have on their business, are the ones who are going to disproportionately benefit from it.

george grombacher 18:10
That makes sense. And it makes sense why you created a company to help with that. Because if I’m sitting here thinking, okay, great. I’m a CEO of a company. I don’t have, you know, all day to sit around and think about this, but I do need to be doing it. So

Unknown Speaker 18:28
yeah, yeah, we, we’re a technology company, we’re building a protocol that allows other projects, brands companies to be able to use this technology for their own for their own ecosystem, their own community. But what we’re finding is that these companies want more than just the tech, they actually want, strategy and consulting support. And so right now we’re playing that role. I don’t know how long we will, I think it might just be a point in time where it’s like, this is really needed. Now, I don’t see us as being a strategy or consulting firm, long term, there are those who want to be in that business. But people need guidance. And if they need guidance, we’re here to help.

george grombacher 19:08
So, okay, so you’re interested in take me through that again. And I understand what you’re not going to be long term, but long term you are interested in being what?

Unknown Speaker 19:20
We’re a technology company. So we’re actually providing the infrastructure, the rails so that brands can launch their own tokens, their own loyalty and reward system as well as their own community governance framework if they want a way to assess the community’s input on various topics. So we’re providing that that tooling layer that they can use to build on top of and that’s actually why our name is cocreate. Because we think in the future, a lot of these customers of brands will become contributors as well, right? Like an example is Starbucks. A lot of the art that they use is actually from members of the community. So when you See art on the sleeves of the Starbucks cup that that often is coming from someone that is part of Starbucks or even a partner, which is what they call employees at Starbucks. And so I think we’re gonna just see this blending of lines between Am I a consumer and my a contributor and my brand evangelists? Do I have ownership? And we’re providing the infrastructure to allow brands to engage with their audience in that way.

george grombacher 20:23
Got it? Well, it’d be fascinating to all of it’s gonna be fascinating. What I just wrote down wisdom, I think that you’re going to be we, consumers, users, community members, are going to need forever people that understand both the technology and the use cases and all these but are also wise enough to say, Yeah, I understand what you’re thinking and wanted to accomplish. And here are some things to kind of think about a kick around because of the governance in the community piece. We are drowning in information and starving for wisdom. And we always have been, and we always will be.

Unknown Speaker 21:07
So no, I appreciate that.

george grombacher 21:11
And you seem like a wise person. So

Unknown Speaker 21:15
I’m definitely going to tell my husband that he thinks the two of us, I’ll be like, Hey, John, me. Yeah,

george grombacher 21:21
I need to have him on. If he’s wiser than you are, you must be absolutely brilliant. So anyway, let’s hear it. Thank you so much for coming back on the show. Where can people learn more about you? Where can they get involved with cocreate? Who, who is a good fit for reaching out?

Unknown Speaker 21:36
Yeah, so any company or brand that’s looking for ways to grow and engage their audience and is open to new technologies to do so we’d love to speak with them. You can find us at US co create that IO. And that’s both our website as well as the forum for most of the websites within Web three is often your Twitter. So we’re also at USD cocreate on Twitter as well.

george grombacher 22:03
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did, should tell your appreciation and share today share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to use CO create that I O and find them on Twitter as well. Let’s those in the notes of the show. Thanks again. Thank you, George. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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