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Behind the JPEG: Bernardo
From Discord and Reddit surfer to a successful NFT collector, find out how Bernardo established himself in the scene in this exclusive interview.
Bernardo swooped into the scene during the NFT boom in February, since then he has grown a formidable following and acquired his own punk alongside a growing collection. Despite his time in the scene only amounting to a short 6 months, he makes clear to his followers that NFTs changed his life. Find out how he cemented himself as one of the most important figures in the NFT scene in this exclusive interview below.
With 10,000 Crypto Punks in the NFT world, Bernardo is a holder himself, making him one of the most established collectors in the scene alongside a small niche of other collectors. In addition to this, he has finally let go of his prized ape collection, an early holder who has seen enormous reward thanks to his diamond hands! Nonetheless, he is still hoping to expand his bank of collectibles, picking up NFTs across the board from photographers, artists, and influencers alike. When purchasing NFTs, Bernardo ensures that it is not just the surface level that attracts him, he also considers the message that lies beneath. Recently investing in ‘By way of water’, a collection of images shot aboard various ferries, Bernardo was drawn to the collection, feeling reminiscent of his younger days growing up.
If you are not aware of Bernardo already, he has proven status in the scene, appearing on the highly competitive ‘Punk Charts’ on several occasions where he confidently finished 5th overall after 13 impressive weeks. With this achievement evidencing the respect that Bernardo has gained within the scene, there is no doubt that he will continue to use his position as an active member of the community, and propel the space even further. More recently, he has launched his own unique project ‘SHILLR’. Bernardo has presented a vision of working with NFT enthusiasts and utilising his own knowledge acquired within the scene to help others in this brand new, consulting and marketing venture. With SHILLR hosting active listening spaces, they provide a platform for NFT fans, providing them with an opportunity to learn more and share their thoughts- something that I believe is crucial for the space to grow. Furthermore, SHILLR has already proven to be a promising component for the space, spotlighting underrepresented groups including black, indigenous and people of colour in the NFT world. With such a positive approach taken, SHILLR is set to become a pillar for the community with their work rooted in giving back to the community.
With Bernardo just recently selling his ‘Twin Flames’ photo crafted by Justin Aversano, he has made a sale that has totaled more than his networth since joining the space. Subsequently, we should expect some amazing investments going forward with his sights set on artists who deserve more recognition in the space. Kudos to Bernardo for all that he has achieved and I am excited to see his road to 5k followers become much more ambitious in the near future!
Find out in this interview how Bernardo managed to save for a Crypto Punk, his thoughts on the BAYC and other emerging collections and finally his advice for those wanting to get into NFTs, even if they have no idea where to start!
When did you first enter the NFT scene? How did it happen and what were your thoughts at the time?
I first got into NFTs in February 2021. I used to browse Reddit all day and was a community member of subreddits like r/ethtrader and r/cryptocurrency. I saw some people talking about these things called NFTs and I wanted to learn more. At first I definitely brushed them off as nonsense but after seeing the money that some people were making I knew it was worth diving into. I actually started my NFT journey on the Wax blockchain, even though I was already very familiar with Ethereum (I got into ETH in 2017). Capcom was releasing a Street Fighter collection on Wax and was giving away promo NFTs for free. That was the first collection I purchased at the time and my first ever sale was a $500 flip. I was instantly hooked. I would say my thoughts at the time were: “let me make as much money from this as possible and make out like a bandit”. I had no intentions of becoming a dedicated community member when I first started, I entered solely to make money. From there, I found out about Nifty Gateway and started buying drops from that platform with my brothers. We had some major fails but also some huge wins. After becoming familiar with NG I started exploring OpenSea and purchased my first NFTs with ETH in April 2021. I think similarly to other new collectors at the time, my first NFT purchase on Ethereum was an alt-punk.
Tell us about your journey towards getting a Crypto Punk, what happened initially and how did you feel after?
I knew I wanted a punk ever since I found out about them, which was in April 2021. I had entered into ETH NFTs through alt-punks, which made me want a real punk even more. I did not have much success buying and selling alt-punks which actually set me back from the goal of getting a real punk. Since I had started investing into ETH in 2017, I had a couple of ETH as well as a handful of alt-coins that made up a decent chunk of change. I had the feeling that punks would see a major sell-off after the Christies auction and I was right. I believe the floor dropped from ~20 ETH all the way down to 12.5 ETH in the weeks following the Christies auction. On it’s way down, I converted every single alt-coin I had into ETH and aggressively purchased ETH with fiat. When I finally purchased my punk I had ended up spending all of my ETH on that purchase. I was incredibly happy to have finally owned a punk but at the same time quite nervous that I was putting all my eggs in one basket. It turned out to be the right move but that was probably 50%+ of my net worth at the time. I figured, “I’m young and can take these risks”. I should also mention that I bid on a few punks before landing on the one I own today. I’m super happy with Punk 1473 and couldn’t imagine using another punk as my avatar. In my mind, that punk is my identity.
What are your thoughts on BAYC? Will the apes beat the punks and what is the future for both projects?
I love BAYC! I would love them even more if I still owned mine! When BAYC was minting, my younger brother texted me and told me he minted a couple. It was late at night where I live so I said I would check them out in the morning. Flash forward a couple hours later and they had not only sold out but the floor was rising very rapidly. I bit the bullet and purchased a couple only to sell them for 0.05 – 0.1 profit within an hour. The next day, I purchased 2 more apes and watched the floor fall from under me. I delisted those apes and figured I would just hold onto them. When the floor finally rose back up, I ended up selling both apes for less than 2 ETH each. I suppose I should have held onto one, but I was trying to stack as much ETH as possible at the time and loved selling for a nice profit. I don’t think apes will ever flip punks (sorry everyone!), however the project and community are so impressive. Apes and punks will forever go down as the OG projects and I do see the ape floor sustaining 10-20 ETH in the short term. The future is bright for both of those projects and when people say they think both will have a floor above $1 million I do believe that as well. It might just take 10-20 years.
Your SHILLR page helps to spotlight well known and emerging artists, in addition to raising light to important issues in the space. Who has been your most interesting guest and what has been your most topical discussion?
The mission of SHILLR is to help uplift and promote artists that we believe are providing high quality and long-lasting work to the space. I think one of the coolest speakers I’ve had the pleasure to host a space with was Alpha Centauri Kid. Their artwork takes elements of NFT culture and merges them with their own unique style of art. They recently did a collab with XCOPY which sold out instantly and has an insane floor price now. We discussed their background and inspirations for the art they make, which has already made a huge splash in this community. Another event that we hosted was one where we discussed women in crypto/NFTs and the challenges they face. That event was great to listen to because I was able to get a perspective on this culture that I would have otherwise not considered. We had about 4 women on stage who each shared a bit about their background and some stories that were deeply personal to them. We try to host spaces like that to provide a platform for under-represented groups to voice their frustrations or to bring to light issues that other people may not realize.
You are an avid NFT collector who is well respected in the community, do you have your eyes on any NFTs or collectible drops?
I get this question a lot and I never really know how to answer because my answer can change day by day. I’ve been trying to collect as many Pop Wonder pieces as I possibly can as I think their artwork is affordable and historically significant. I am also a huge fan of both FVCKRENDER and XCOPY and have been trying to grow my collection of theirs as well. I will always recommend Art Blocks to any collector and plan to continue minting as many collections from that platform as I can. The great thing about NFTs is that they are so broad and everyone has different tastes. For me, I love love love degening into random collectibles but I also dedicate a lot of time to researching high-quality artwork. So one day you might see my wallet minting Zunks and another day you might see me buying a beautiful piece from Art Blocks.
If you had one piece of advice for anyone wanting to get into NFTs what would it be?
My one piece of advice I would give newcomers into the space is to watch this space before making any investments. Buy some ETH to start and then hang out on Twitter and Discord to see what people are talking about. Don’t just FOMO into the first collectible project you see as you might get wrecked and lose your ETH. Spend some time doing research and figuring out the type of NFTs you like. I think a great way to get started is to find a budget friendly avatar you like and to purchase that. Then, even if the price tanks at least you have a nice avatar you can use for discord and Twitter. Once you dip your toes in you can start experimenting with minting things and investing in projects on the secondary market. My second piece of advice is to have fun and to realize that NFTs are INCREDIBLY illiquid. Do not invest more than you’re willing to lose and understand that in order to sell something you need a buyer.
Oh hey! It’s the end of the article… You are awesome for getting this far. I hope you find these interviews informative! Down the line I could be interviewing you, so keep grinding NFT family!
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