INTERViEW'The Digital Representation of Me' - Rediscovering and Recreating Yourself in Web³
As a relatively new concept, Web3 is a constantly evolving space, and we can never be sure of what will happen next. Still, if there is one thing that remains true through all of its changes, it is that Web3 continues to give power and autonomy to creators. In more traditional structures, artists and founders struggled to sell their work in a world that did not value their time and effort. Creators hoped to place their work in front of the right people, at the right time, in order to break into the scene.
Now, creatives can work on their own terms, putting their work in front of a global audience and finding those who resonate with what they are creating and appreciate it appropriately.
One such creator who has found artist freedom in Web3 is CONNiE DiGiTAL. Connie is an artist, marketer, and writer. He has been playing and working in this space for almost ten years now and is genuinely a Web3 pioneer. We had the pleasure of speaking with Connie about his success in this space and how he grew as a creative pioneer.
Well, so Connie is my first name, and CONNiE DiGiTAL is the digital representation of me and Web3. It's the brand I built, and it represents innovation in the space.
I’ve always been an artist. Growing up, I was a really creative kid. I began making music at 12; in high school, I had my own fashion line. I was custom-making hand-painted t-shirts and hats and also selling jeans. I sold at the barbershop and did design work for sports teams, including the Track Team. So I’ve always been into art. I went on to study menswear design because I was really into fashion at the time. Anyway, fast forward a few years, and life happens. I had bills to pay, and unfortunately, fashion wasn’t paying them. So then I got into marketing. Specifically digital marketing.
It all started back in 2013. That’s when I first learned about Bitcoin, and I didn’t see it as a get-rich-quick scheme. I actually got really excited about the technology and what we can do here and wanted to contribute to the space. At that time, I felt the best way to do that was to write about what I was learning and try to get the word out. So I worked hard and landed myself a few writing gigs. I wrote for CoinTelegraph and a few other publications.
I started writing back in 2014, and then in 2015, I migrated more into marketing. From then on, I had a portfolio career, continuing my work as a writer and marketer, and I was a part of so many firsts - such as marketing the first-ever blockchain-based trading card game. From starting with Bitcoin, I then witnessed the launch of Ethereum in 2015, and consequently the ERC 721 contract in 2017, through CryptoKitties. Fast forward to 2019, and I’m tokenizing my art and helping to launch social tokens with HUE.
HUE was the first social token to meet many milestones, including being traded on OpenSea as a form of payment for NFTs. One thing led to another, and I became heavily into the Web3 music space. I was fortunate enough to tokenize the first song on the blockchain back in 2020. I remember the exact date — March 11th, 2020. The day before lockdown. It’s been a wild ride!
I’ve enjoyed being able to forge a career here and create this digital identity. But, with it being such a new industry, there are some downfalls. So, for example, in 2022, I've been in a transition period. In January, my wallet was hacked. It was completely drained, which sucked because it was like a complete reset of who I was. It made me reevaluate how I wanted to move in the space, because now that my wallet was compromised, I didn’t feel safe using it, and had to create a whole new one. This wasn’t just about the money that was in there, but the fact that my on-chain identity was tied to the wallet. People knew this as my wallet address, but suddenly, I couldn't use it anymore—three years of on-chain identity and reputation gone. At the same time that this happened, my newsletter was also shut down. So I had to take a break from everything to figure out how to move forward.
Still, the innovation here is worth the learning process. I’m currently building some really cool things on Bonfire. Since 2019 I've used danky.art as my blog/portfolio/website, but now with Bonfire, I can build a site with native Web3 tools. Now, my community can connect their wallets to the token-gated site and interact with me in new ways. I'm currently working on a digital CD player - an audio player featuring my songs, using cover art I designed as a CD. So my EXTERNAL DRiVE token holders can access my music and shuffle through my tracks. I’m also able to provide my community with the behind-the-scenes of my design processes and previous iterations through my token-gated ‘Alpha’ page.
There is so much work that goes into the final product. In more traditional creative spheres, you don’t usually have the opportunity to showcase that. That’s what I love about Web3 and the community-building aspect of it. Artists are traditionally undervalued, so inviting the audience to witness the sheer amount of work that goes into what I'm creating is beneficial. This not only gives them insight but also helps to garner some excitement for the drop.
There is so much happening here, but I think a large part of the future of Web3 lies in digital wearables. Wearables are a huge flex — you might have NFTs in your wallet, but how do you show off your style in the real world? It comes down to the clothes you wear. The brands you wear and the style you choose all send out a message about who you are. So, if this is how we represent ourselves in the real world, surely this is how we will present ourselves in the digital world. From an individual style standpoint to a branding and licensing perspective, the sky's the limit. And I would love to participate - perhaps I tap into my youth and start selling digital bucket hats inside the metaverse barber shop.