By Sam Rucker
Our latest Klub program, NFT Creators Klub, concluded just a few weeks ago. As usual, part of the TOA program included the chance to pick some of the brightest brains in the blockchain business.
This Klub was all about creating within the NFT space; there were few people better positioned to share their Web3 wisdom on this topic than Irina Karagyaur.
As you’ll find out, Irina has already made her impact on the NFT space through an array of different roles, with numerous Web3 projects. Among other things, she is Head of Metaverse Growth at Unique Network, co-founder of the UK crypto-fintech, Design B2C, and Head Ambassador for W. Europe for Polkadot (an innovative blockchain and crypto platform, created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood).
In this post, we’ll be bringing you an extract from our session with Irina — where members’ questions were asked unfiltered. She discusses how her ongoing projects, like Polkadot, are finding success, if blockchain building is compatible with the climate and social justice, and the future of NFTs.
Importantly, Irina gives a lot of detailed, real-world advice and resources to help any NFT creator succeed in the space.
A Klub AMA with Irina Karagyaur
Q: First off, could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you have been up to lately?
I am an architect by profession, a technologist by birth, and an advocate for women’s rights by passion. I am persuaded that our concept of economic profits needs to be expanded to include our human priorities.
Blockchain represents flexible technology that brings opportunities for the gamification of economic frameworks. It also allows for democratization. It is here, therefore, where I focus a lot of my energy.
On a daily basis, I engage with NFT and blockchain projects and help them develop solutions, powered by unique.network. I also lead many climate and social initiatives, one of them being DigitalArt4Climate.
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the NFT space? Which ecosystem should they start with, for example?
If you are really looking for innovation and the next big thing, start in Polkadot. We have one of the strongest and fastest-growing developer communities.
Ethereum markets, on the other hand, are overcrowded — making it difficult to stand out.
The Polakdot community is also very active, creative, and full of true Web3 believers. Plus, in terms of support, Polkadot is also working on a launchpad to help projects seamlessly take off. To get integrated into the Polkadot community, you can always join our Polkadot Ambassador Program.
If you’re looking to mint your first NFT, a great place to start is at our MintFest!
Q: What do you think of claims that NFTs are overhyped? How do you think the market will develop over the next few years?
If NFTs are not backed by real utility, they will most definitely lose value in the coming years.
But, I see a lot of art institutions entering the space. This is a good sign that NFTs will gain artistic value and offer use cases beyond just arbitrary collectibles.
Gaming is another very interesting industry for NFT creators to get involved in over the coming years. With features like freemium (something we’ve developed for our ecosystem as well) it will be much easier to use NFTs in games. One can also benefit from NFT relationships or nesting: when one NFT can own another NFT. An NFT game character, for example, can “own” their NFT sneakers.
I also see many use cases in ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and project finance like Silta.
Q: How do you imagine a shift toward a “clean” NFT environment happening? Is ETH2.0 going to lead the way here over the next five years?
Substrate, the primary blockchain used to create parachains on the Polkadot network, is PoS [proof of stake] — which is by default the cleanest blockchain out there today.
If you want to dig a little deeper and find out which “clean” blockchains you can already build on, check out Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute’s industry report (2022).
Long story short, anyone who cares for the environment already has access to the right tech. There is no need to wait 5 years for ETH2.0!
Q: I’m not seeing many bigger NFT projects use energy-saving blockchains. How can we push them into using sustainable blockchains?
The key is to educate both creators and collectors.
The bottom line is, we all need to take leadership and responsibility — we can all be educators and push for sustainability in Web3.
Q: We’d like to shift to another area of your expertise: Metaverses. How far away are we from Metaverses that satisfy as much as offline experiences?
My guess: 5–10 years. We’re going to have to wait for really impressive UI.
It also depends on how fast people transition their virtual interactions into virtual worlds; if virtual glasses gain popularity; and if content creators, artists, and architects find value in the space.
Most importantly, we need to make sure we are building an open and decentralized Metaverse, and not what Zuckerberg’s Meta is selling. If not, it’s difficult to see mainstream adoption truly taking place.
For full disclosure, though, this question is better suited to a game studio or front-end developer.
Q: Seeing as you work with a top crypto chain, Polkadot, could you tell us what impact Kusama will have on the Polkadot NFT ecosystem.
The less rule-bound nature of Kusama means it’s a great toolbox for experimentation and it has its own very strong community and followers. Plus, I personally really love the link with artists like Yayoi Kusama.
I see Kusama is sort of wild cousin to Polkadot. It’s the preferred experimental environment for developers.
It’s therefore a great launchpad for builders and I would really recommend checking it out!
Q: Before we say goodbye, could you give a final tip to creators, starting out on Polkadot or Kusama?
I would look into Crowdloans [a way for projects to fundraise for a parachain slot]. This can act as an important mechanism to jump-start your network on either Kusama or Polkadot.
Some of the many perks of using a Crowdloan include:
- An efficient way to distribute tokens to enthusiastic community members.
- The ability to cover the cost of a parachain slot without wasting time on a resource-intensive fundraising process.
- A way to gauge support for a new project or parachain and demonstrate market demand.
Join the Klub
Irina was just one of several industry insiders who helped members find their footing on their path to Web3 success.
Get direct access to some of the most exciting innovators and leaders in the crypto space, with our upcoming Crypto Founders Klub.
Plus, connect with a cohort of like-minded builders, with whom you can learn and challenge Web3 ideas: find out more.