YouTube star Logan Paul sits down with Yahoo Finance Live’s Dave Briggs at VeeCon to discuss developing blockchain technology for the NFT and crypto markets, his own NFT project, and over-saturation in the content creator and influencer industries.
DAVE BRIGGS: OK, so the art world is having a major moment. Record smashing prices paid for classic paintings, classic cars and collectibles, but digital art, anything but. NFTs are plagued by fraud, their first ever insider trading case, and falling prices, but those artists and influencers, the high profile people in the space, they remain committed. They believe in NFTs in the long run. I had a chance to catch up with Logan Paul at Gary Vaynerchuk’s NFT convention, VeeCon. He often talks crypto and blockchain on his podcast, “Impaulsive,” and to his 33 million YouTube subscribers.
LOGAN PAUL: I don’t really know how the blockchain works. This is truthful, which is why I think we’re going to have a good conversation because, like, make no mistake, I’m not, like, an expert. I’m like– I’m a nerd, but not in this way. Like, tech, to me, has always been the part where I don’t know enough about. But synopsis, blockchain is about decentralization.
No one’s really in charge, which allows a lot of freedom and transactional liberty and clarity for people to build businesses, programs, different tech currency, collectibles, new worlds now with the emergence of the Metaverse, all sorts of different stuff, that seems to be built off the blockchain. Most of the stuff we’re seeing, crypto, NFTs, thus far, the Metaverse are all built off the blockchain. If there’s one thing you should pay attention to out of all this stuff that’s happening right now, it is blockchain technology because that, above all, will probably be the thing, probably, that sticks around for a very long time.
DAVE BRIGGS: So 99 Originals is your upscale.
LOGAN PAUL: Yeah.
DAVE BRIGGS: Tell me about it. And why is it different than everything else in the space?
LOGAN PAUL: It is a tech project disguised as art. So I went around the world, and I took photographs that I thought were meaningful, significant. Maybe some of them were beautiful. Maybe some of them have a commentary on society, whatever. And I’m– I don’t want to get, like, too– OK, all right.
DAVE BRIGGS: Are you getting emotional?
LOGAN PAUL: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, too deep, too deep, because it’s a very broad project. But it’s photography. It’s art. It’s just like any other picture you see on a wall. The media–
DAVE BRIGGS: Well, I can’t put it on my wall.
LOGAN PAUL: You can if you have a digital screen. But listen, listen. The medium in which I’m releasing this art is through the blockchain. Where my project differs a little bit, because they are photos and you can put them on a digital display, the holder of the NFT gets the physical one on one Polaroid. So I’m merging physical and digital art in a way and building a tech company behind the scenes for the people who hold the originals.
DAVE BRIGGS: I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
LOGAN PAUL: Oh, yeah.
DAVE BRIGGS: Mike Tyson.
LOGAN PAUL: I can tell you that’s also true, yeah.
DAVE BRIGGS: And is that true of the space right now?
LOGAN PAUL: Yeah, absolutely, people are terrified. It’s scary, dude. I’m– I’ll be safe, but yeah, I don’t like seeing my $750,000 loss. That sucks. A lot of people unfortunately, like, lose their livelihoods.
DAVE BRIGGS: Right. And because of that, do you feel compelled to warn people that follow your every word into this space?
LOGAN PAUL: This is not financial advice. And everything I say is not financial advice. Just listen and make strategic decisions. And, like, this is truly how I treat blockchain investments. Like, if you’re not willing to lose, like, all of it, don’t [BLEEP] put your money into it. Instead, go on Liquid Marketplace and buy into a real, genuine physical asset.
DAVE BRIGGS: OK. I heard you say some things with “The Wall Street Journal” about Gen Z and how, astoundingly, 54% of Gen Z wants to be YouTubers, wants to be social media influencers. That is the top career choice. Does that scare you?
LOGAN PAUL: It’s horrifying.
DAVE BRIGGS: Why?
LOGAN PAUL: Where is the substance in that?
DAVE BRIGGS: You’ve done all right with it.
LOGAN PAUL: The people who create the answers to the question that I just asked will be the ones that make it as influencers.
DAVE BRIGGS: What would be your word of warning to someone who does think they can be the next Logan Paul?
LOGAN PAUL: It’s going to be next to impossible. It’ll be next to impossible.
DAVE BRIGGS: Why is that?
LOGAN PAUL: The industry is so saturated. There’s just– 54%? What career has ever had that kind of pull on an entire generation? I don’t think 54% of kids wanted to be football players when I was young. I don’t think they wanted to be actors.
DAVE BRIGGS: No.
LOGAN PAUL: 54% want to be influencers? Over half?
DAVE BRIGGS: You think we’ll have any doctors or lawyers or plumbers or electricians?
LOGAN PAUL: For sure, for sure, because the people who don’t make it as influencers are going to have to do [BLEEP] they’re actually good at or that is meaningful. Doctors, lawyers, politicians.
DAVE BRIGGS: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve either learned or someone’s taught you that you’d offer those going into your field?
LOGAN PAUL: The answer is so simple– consistency. I’m only here because I’ve been doing it for 15 years. And within that 15 years, I had a schedule. I was regimented. I do a podcast once a week. We’re shooting four podcasts here at VeeCon. Like, we’re on it, you know? Consistency. There’s people relying on me and my team to produce, and you have to.
DAVE BRIGGS: Interesting to hear that he’s concerned about how many Gen Zers do want to be influencers, a lot of them because of Logan Paul. But he also has a beverage called Prime. He has the NFT project. He has a podcast. This guy works his tail off. It’s not as easy as it looks. I’m happy to hear him discourage kids from wanting to be YouTubers or social media influencers. How about you, Rachelle?
RACHELLE AKUFFO: I mean, my eight-year-old, last year, she said she wanted to be an influencer. I kind of cried a little bit inside. And then I asked her this week, and she said she wanted to be a comedian. So I have no idea. But I do see perhaps being an influencer as being sort of, like, the side hustle to your main profession. I mean, you have doctors who are on TikTok giving medical advice. So as long as it, perhaps, it’s not their exclusive thing and they do have some sort of marketable skill, I’d feel good about it.
SEANA SMITH: Yeah, and Rachelle, you bring up a good point. I think a lot of people, they start out using social media as a side hustle. There’s a good number of them who are very, very good at it. And it turns into their full-time job. But he used the word, “horrifying,” Dave. And that really stuck out to me.
I wasn’t– I thought he was going to be very excited about it and saying how much he has loved his opportunity in this space, how they welcome more people in, but he used the word, “horrifying.” And I think it made all of us think twice about what that space will potentially look like in 5 to 10 years from now.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: And he mentioned substance–
DAVE BRIGGS: Yeah, ultimate–
RACHELLE AKUFFO: –which is important. It was the lack of substance that was horrifying to him.
DAVE BRIGGS: You know what his ultimate career ambition is? Running for president. And I think it started as a joke, but the more people have asked him about it, he started to think about it, and he said, you know what? I’m not going to actually rule it out. Not when I’m 35 in eight years, 2032, but he actually thinks that’s something he could do down the road. I’m not ruling out the chances that he could win.