Asset Trip with Rebecca Binny and Fairlane Raymundo: The Metaverse Is Here to Stay, and It's Time to Hop Onboard
An Investing Journey with Rebecca Binny and Fairlane Raymundo
Published Mar 10, 2022•Updated Mar 10, 2022
So both of you work with RayCo Media bringing brands into Web3, the metaverse, etc and helping them interact with things like crypto and NFTs. I'm curious about how you both got started in that world and where this idea came from.
Fairlane: I started in the advertising industry [a long time] ago. I've been working in the advertising industry for more than a decade, [including] when I was still back in the Philippines where I was born and raised. I am actually a screenwriter as well. I write movies, comic books and TV scripts. I think it's a natural marriage between the two, having to use visuals and narratives to promote different brands and products. I also [was] part of the group that started the digital arm of BDB, one of the biggest advertising agencies in the world. So when I moved here, that's also when social media and online advertising sort of took off. So I guess it's just a natural progression, and now we're going into Web 3.0, metaverse, NFTs, avatars, and stuff like that. So I guess it's just evolving into what it should eventually become.
Rebecca: I joined RayCo in October. What both of us did was we actually took the agency from a marketing and content creation agency into the metaverse because we've seen the benefits and how it could help our clients. We've created the vision for RayCo to be building brands in the metaverse and over Web 3.0.
I'm actually from Singapore, my background is in communications and advertising. I moved to the US about 20 years ago. I did PR and marketing consulting for startups and new ventures. And the challenge is always how you leverage technology and social media to build a brand and increase the bottom line. That's always a challenge, especially for startups. So RayCo's vision is actually very ideal because Web 3.0 is up-and-coming, it's the talk of the town, and it only makes sense for us to marry what we already know in the communications and marketing industry with the metaverse and where consumers would actually be.
Big Metaverse Picks
Fairlane's advice for Joining the Metaverse:
"Remember that the metaverse is a world by itself."
Rebecca's advice for Joining the Metaverse:
"Stay educated and keep a really open mind."
Fairlane's Favorite Web 3.0 Hobby:
Comic books released as NFTs
Rebecca's Web 3.0 Hobby:
Bidding on metaverse land
Fairlane's Web 3.0 Investment:
Bitcoin, Ethereum, and cryptocurrencies with tech she believes in
Rebecca's Web 3.0 Investment:
Crypto with promising security and data privacy uses
Going off of that, when social media first started gaining traction, I think there were a lot of companies that thought it was some niche thing they didn't really need to get into. And now we're at the point where pretty much every single company, even most small businesses, need to have some form of social media presence. Do you see that being where the metaverse is heading? Do you think it's a thing where eventually every company is gonna have some presence there, or do you think it's gonna be more for tech-oriented companies or certain types of companies?
Fairlane: The metaverse is actually social media 2.0. It's just more interactive, 3D. So I don't think it's going to be just for tech companies. It's going to be for everybody. We just need to realize that it's way more powerful than the kind of social media that we're using right now. Eventually, as Gen Z matures and becomes the leaders of this world, they'll be looking at our social media the way we were looking at slam books of our parents or whatever. So it's just a little bit more radical. We can look at it the same way we look at the tsunami: It's just going to go where it's headed, and it's going to sweep everybody on its way, whether you like it or not. So, no, it's not just for tech companies. It's for everybody.
Rebecca: If you look at the way it's progressed, Web 1.0 Is a brain dump of information, right? You basically just absorb and consume whatever's on the internet. Then Web 2.0 is social media. So it's interactive. And Web 3.0 is now immersive. So if you look at the way that is and where that is going, because it's so immersive, eventually everybody will move into augmented reality. It's just the way of the world. All the brands will, it's not just tech.
There's nothing scarier than a blank canvas because you can turn it into anything. It's almost like playing God to a certain extent because as of now, there's almost nothing in the metaverse, and we do have the power to shape it.
For both of you, having worked with companies and startups that are branching into Web 3.0 and engaging more with it, what do you see as the main benefits and challenges associated with this new journey?
Rebecca: So the benefit is always a first-mover advantage, right? If you're the first restaurant to buy land, like Taco Bell did, all the hype is about you. You're the first one at the forefront of technology. A big risk is that because it's so new, it's not really been studied. It's not been proven. A lot of people are going in there with their own expectations of what they want it to be. And because it's augmented reality, you can basically create anything you want. This is your chance to build whatever you've never had in your life or your brand or your business and start from scratch and create super hype. Just anything.
And there are a lot of risks with that, right? Because it's a lot of money. I mean, the land is not cheap. NFTs are not cheap. Clients are not cheap. So how do businesses, especially startups or nonprofits, go into this new way of branding, not knowing what to do or how to do it? That's where RayCo comes in.
Fairlane: I think the simplest way to explain this is that it's simply the future. So it's not like you even have a choice. You can't even afford to think about the benefits or the challenges because it's the future. There's nothing scarier than a blank canvas because you can turn it into anything. It's almost like playing God to a certain extent because as of now, there's almost nothing in the metaverse, and we do have the power to shape it.
For the older generation, it's a chance to create something beautiful and to create a certain kind of world that you have always wanted. For the younger generation, it's a good start for them because they can really shape it in any shape or form. So the challenges would be the exact same challenges as you have when you're starting something. It's free form, you can shape it into any form or any shape that you want. And if things fail, it will be nobody else's fault but your own. But if things succeed, then it will be nobody else's victory but your own.
Speaking to that kind of fear of branching into this blank canvas, it's perhaps a riskier but potentially much higher reward endeavor. I think about individual investors who are pretty traditional and are thinking about branching into crypto or buying NFTs—and it's similar for businesses that are considering investing capital into the metaverse—there's this dilemma. Even if crypto, NFTs, the metaverse are here to stay and we have no choice but to participate, it's that blank canvas feeling of, well, I don't know what it's gonna look like a year from now. I might buy this coin and it might die. So I'm curious if either of you could speak to how you help businesses balance that risk with the potential reward.
Fairlane: Don't start anything yet in the metaverse unless you actually know who you are. And I guess that's even applicable to celebrities or any kind of brand for that matter. As I've said, the metaverse right now, it's a blank canvas—a huge one. Eventually, technologies will be developed so that you can easily create your own space in the metaverse, so don't even worry about that. If you're a brand, it's gonna happen. Just sit back and watch it happen. I think the most important part would be to start with you as a brand, what it is that you want for your brand and in that universe that you're creating that will also affect the actual physical world that we're in.
So first deal with that. Know what you really want and know what kind of universe you wanna build. And from there, the technologies will be at your disposal. Second is to do only the things that you are passionate about. Because I guarantee you, no matter how careful you are, there will be times when you will lose. There will be times when you will fail in your endeavor, but if it's something you're passionate about, it'll be okay, cuz at least you're gonna learn or you're gonna do something better next time. The third and probably the most important is don't be a snob to the future. Because I think one of the grave errors that certain brands made in the past was to ignore social media. That's why there are so many homemade brands that made it so big in social media. There were so many influencers that took down big names because some brands and some people were too arrogant to actually acknowledge just how powerful it can be. So now that we have seen what social media did to our world, we should then respect the technology and the potential that it can bring to our future. If we have those, I think you'll be fine as a brand.
I think the work that you've done with nonprofits and this strategy of leveraging Web 3.0 and selling NFTs to help nonprofits raise funds, like you did with Unsilenced Voices, is super creative. I'd be curious to hear a little bit more about what you think about leveraging Web 3.0 to fundraise.
Rebecca: I'm gonna give you a real-life example. I love this. So one of the interesting things that we have coming up in the middle of March is we're actually holding an art competition in Sierra Leone for domestic violence survivors. A lot of them cannot even write or hold a pen. And a lot of them have been through trauma and they're now recuperating and trying to heal themselves and move on with their lives. So the art competition is a way to encourage them, art is good for therapy, but also by having their art pieces minted into NFTs, we raise money for the organization itself. We also give a chance for these girls' art pieces to be exposed to a global audience when before they would never have this opportunity.
Fairlane: I think one of the great benefits that this will offer nonprofits and supporters of nonprofit organizations and different causes is the direct attribution of what they're donating to. I'm sure you have favorite causes. You have a favorite organization to support. You give a dollar, give a hundred dollars, give a thousand dollars. But most of the time what's missing is the reporting. Like, okay, where did my hundred dollars go? I want to be assured that it went where I wanted it to go. With Web 3.0, it actually runs on blockchain, that's the magic technology. You can actually do a one to one attribution. You will be able to determine, down to the last cent of your donation, where it went. Of course, that's only going to be possible if everybody transitions into the blockchain, but that is a possibility. If you're supporting something and you know exactly the good that you're doing, it kind of motivates you to help more.
Can either of you talk about your personal interests or endeavors in Web 3.0? Whether that's playing games in the metaverse or trading crypto or minting NFTs.
Fairlane: The comics that we're creating, I don't know if we're going to be the first, but they will be launched as an NFT and will be available eventually in the metaverse. At the very least, we wanted to be number one [in terms of being] more encompassing and more inclusive. We're both from Asia and one of the things that I've always really wanted to do was to highlight the different and diverse culture of Asians. And I've always felt like, well, the whole world was flexing on Asian culture, but we barely have any recognition.
And so I wanted to bring focus into our own literature and our own culture, and make everybody realize that it's so diverse. It's so beautiful. And if we're able to appreciate all of this and know all of this, I think we will be a little bit more solid as a society. So that's the biggest goal, to be able to immerse people into our culture and not just show it through a comic book or through one entity, but to actually immerse them in there as close as possible to the physical experience of it.
And then on the lighter side, I do invest in cryptocurrencies. There's always the big two: Bitcoin and Ethereum. And then all the others. The key for me is to believe in the technology. If I know that the blockchain behind the technology is something that I can get behind on, then I invest in that.
Rebecca: So the reason I started out with crypto investments, which was early onset, is because if you understand blockchain and the technology behind it, it's so decentralized. And it offers people a way to not monetize your privacy and your data on the web. And the security involved is actually what really intrigued me, so I started really dabbling in crypto.
But the other side of crypto is also investing in NFTs or land. For instance, when they first released the plots of land on Sandbox, that was when I actually really got interested. I was starting to bid and I would lose my sleep, like making sure my bids were in to get land because it's so intriguing. There's so many opportunities of what you can do with that land, right? You can rent it out in the future, you can build on it. I can establish my own empire. And because it's so new and there are so many possibilities, what used to take people millions of dollars in my era to buy a home, the young investors now can come in with a lot less capital to start building wealth. So crypto and land in the metaverse and NFTs have become a more affordable wealth-building utility. Whereas [with] real estate, you need 20% down, then you need a monthly mortgage payment, and not many people can do it these days with the way the world is, everybody lives paycheck to paycheck. So this becomes another chance to build wealth, especially for millennials or the people who have just never had that chance before.
Fairlane: And with the metaverse, if you're a developer, you don't even need capital. You just build from your imagination using your skeleton, and you're good to go. You don't need billions of dollars. Even better is that you're actually breaking geographical barriers. You put up a theme park, anybody can go there. Your clothes may be sold to anybody in the world. So yeah, for sure. It's everything that it was able to do for cryptocurrency and more.
Do either of you have advice for readers who are ready to branch into Web 3.0 and the metaverse and get more involved in this new landscape?
Fairlane: Always remember that the metaverse is a world by itself. It's not just an extension of the current one that we have, but it is a world in itself. And so it's your chance to actually build something new, and something better for yourself. So, number one is to educate yourself and number two is to be open to all kinds of possibilities. And number three is to work together. If you're strong in one suit, don't be afraid to reach out to other people that will provide what it is that you are weak at, whether that's branding or whatever, just work together. Because if there's one thing that this metaverse is going to allow us to do, it's reach out to each other, regardless of where we are, regardless of what we do in life or our age. So be open, just let your imagination flow and just continue working together.
Rebecca: There are a lot of opportunities for people trying to venture into the metaverse, whether it's personally for your wealth or for your business. And like I said, with all these platforms and the technology that's growing, it's only gonna get bigger. So I think it's important that people get educated. You know, we're learning every day, even though we're trying to help build brands [in the metaverse], we're still learning. We're constantly feeding off information and trying to find the next best thing and understanding how we can really utilize this to build brands and sustainable brands. So it's very important to stay educated and keep a really open mind. There's a long way to go, and the closed mindset isn't gonna help with anything.
Take your own Asset Trip
If you're interested in investing like Rebecca and Fairlane, you can check out these platforms:
- OpenSea: OpenSea is the first and largest marketplace for user-owned digital goods, which include collectibles, gaming items, domain names, digital art, and other assets backed by a blockchain. Buy, sell, and discover rare digital items.
- Coinrule: Coinrule empowers traders to compete with professional algorithmic traders and hedge funds. No coding required.
- Fractional: Fractional ownership of the world’s most sought after NFTs. Fractionality unlocks liquidity and reduces entry costs, so everyone can get in on the action.
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