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Behind the JPEG: Josh Ong
Many of you know Josh Ong as a bored ape, active member of the NFT community, and sneaker lover. However, there is much more behind the JPEG, so let's take a deep dive in and find out exactly who Josh Ong is.
His career began as a tech journalist, in the role he covered crypto in its early days, analysing both ethereum and bitcoin to find out what they entailed of- you could say he was very early to the party. Thus it is no surprise that he is as well connected in the NFT scene as he is, a well-informed tech background and inside knowledge of the crypto world has enabled him to network and create key contacts across the board. Interestingly, Josh covered one of the most eminent stories in the crypto scene regarding the mt.Gox hack and its collapse to bankruptcy. At the time, many expected that the $460 million disaster would take digital currencies with it, yet Josh has seen the Phoenix rise with crypto once again establishing itself in the digital world. Josh’s early entry into the NFT scene is illustrated through his collections including, Cryptokitties and God’s Unchained. Let’s take the ‘n’ out of Ong because we truly have an OG here.
Josh is a passionate advocate for creativity, this has been exemplified through his recent partnership with sandbox, a decentralised virtual gaming world in the metaverse that enables users to buy land plots, participate in events and ultimately connect with one another. There is no question that this plan will thrive, and it is exciting to see where the platform will go in the future. In addition to this, Josh has been a key player at the forefront of the Bored apes scene, inspiring other apes and driving the community forward, he has been provided a special opportunity to plan real life bored ape meet ups. With a prior meet up in LA and an upcoming hangout in central park New York, it is clear that there are big plans in store. Ape holders and enthusiasts alike will be able to take their ideas, thoughts and opinions while also getting the chance to meet up with their over the screen friends and NFT personalities. If you're in New York don't worry about calling the zoo! Josh also outlined a number of ideas for the future ideas including boat parties, bars and clubs. I would certainly keep an eye out for what is next, by the looks of things the bored ape yacht club is set to become a reality sooner than we think!
Well, what is next for Josh? He is currently advising a project led by Jenkins the Valet. If you have always wanted to be a part of a collaborative and engaging NFT, this is for you. The Writer’s Room enables users to contribute ideas, dictate genres and plots within a generative book. In addition, if you are an ape holder you also get the chance to appear in the book. This is a fantastic way of documenting NFT history while incorporating the users that contributed to its success, a compelling story.
Josh kindly answered my questions in this exclusive interview where we discussed his early career, BAYC, NFTs, and his plans for the future.
When did you first enter the crypto scene?
I was a tech journalist early in my career, so I remember writing about Bitcoin and Ethereum years ago. I remember covering the Mt. Gox hack and dissolution. Later, I tried out early NFTs like Cryptokitties and God’s Unchained. Earlier this year, NBA Topshot brought me back to the space, and I’ve enjoyed jumping back into the community and collecting some fun projects. The sand box is a revolutionary move for the meta verse, how did it begin and why should we tune in? I started paying attention to the Sandbox because I noticed they were partnering up with some of my favorite NFTs: Bored Ape Yacht Club, RTFKT Studios, Zed Run. I signed on as an Ambassador to help with community building for all the bored apes and Zed Run players who bought land during the recent sales. Strong partnerships are essential to the establishment of the meta verse because we want to see a really healthy ecosystem with NFTs as the foundation. Without diverse IPs, we end up stuck in just one corporation’s world.
You are merging the digital into reality with ape meet ups, what can we expect from the upcoming New York gathering?
The bored ape meetup I’m organizing for 8/14 will be low-key. I organized a meetup in LA last month and found that we didn’t need a ton of programming, people just wanted to connect with each other. So the Central Park meetup is focused on getting to know each other. In the future, I’ll plan some more exciting events like a boat party or a bar or club, but I want to start with hanging out. Where do you see apes and the BAYC in a year's time? I think BAYC will continue to be a Blue Chip NFT project driven by the strength of its community and the dev team. I’m inspired by the apes that I meet, there’s so much creativity and talent in the club, and having the commercial rights to our apes empowers us to build.
Where do you see Bored apes and the BAYC in a years time?
I think BAYC will continue to be a Blue Chip NFT project driven by the strength of its community and the dev team. I’m inspired by the apes that I meet, there’s so much creativity and talent in the club, and having the commercial rights to our apes empowers us to build.
Do you have your eyes on any collectible drops, what should we look out for?
I’m looking forward to the Pixel Vault Metahero and RTFKT Akira projects. Both teams really focus on quality and creativity in their work, so I know they’ll have something special for us. I’m also fortunate to be advising Jenkins the Valet and the Writer’s Room. I love the idea of NFT-powered collaborative creativity, so I’m looking forward to seeing where we go as a team.
Do you have any advice for aspiring collectors and crypto enthusiasts?
Something I’m trying to get better at that I’d also advise others to develop is swinging with conviction. If you’re in the community and you’re learning about the tech and the market, your instincts will get better. As you hone those, you’ll get to a place where you can trust your convictions. And conversely, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and it’s okay to sit it out.
It was a pleasure hearing from Josh and his story is fascinating, there is no surprise that he is at the forefront of the NFT scene. The blend between digital and reality is something that Josh has pushed and I am certain that we will see more exciting innovations in the near future.