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NFTs, the Metaverse, and 2Earn Movements with Nick Julsrud-Wertjes of Ascended NFT

We continue the Help2Earn interview series with our latest Triendsetter, Nick Julsrud-Wertjes – founder of Ascended NFT and a Web3, Metaverse, and NFT Advisor and Strategist from Minnesota.

Nick’s evolution into the Web3 world

“I graduated from college 10 years ago, went into mortgage sales at Wells Fargo before delving into the software side, then moved onto software sales at Oracle. After that, I started my own startup, an Internet of Things type smart gym, but it wasn’t a good time for the market. I then went back into corporate for a couple of years. I bought some Bitcoin in 2017 when I didn’t really understand market caps or how it worked but said to myself, “the number will go up.” I then forgot about it.

In 2021, I was reminded of my Bitcoin as I kept seeing it in the market and decided to check – thinking it must be worth a lot more. I had bought about $5 worth in 2017, and when I checked four years later, it was worth $10. I realized I had a fundamental disconnect with how this works. So I took a deep dive into the space, learned about DeFi (Decentralized finance), and started trading micro cap coins.

In the summer of 2021, I started learning about NFTs. At first, I was with everyone else, thinking it was money laundering. It just didn’t make any sense to me. I then saw some of the technology behind it and how artists can get royalties for secondary sales and thought, “wow, that is cool.” Typically, artists don’t get anything until they’re dead. So in late July/early August 2021, I dug into the space to uncover how it wasn’t just a scam. I bought my first NFT – a Pudgy Penguin. I then unlocked my Twitter account from 2012, which I never used, changed my profile picture to the Pudgy Penguin, and tagged the account. From then on, tons of other people who also had these Pudgy Penguins started following me and engaging. It made me realize – this isn’t the internet that I know that can be toxic and weird. Everyone was super friendly.

I then dug in deeper and started understanding the Internet behind it and the community aspect. After trading NFTs for a few months, I realized there could be a very cool project around this. I come from a hobbyist, indie game dev background and reached out to an artist I’ve admired for a while and a developer from one of the NFT alpha communities I knew. That’s how we started Ascended. We sold out the collection in January 2022 and have been building in a couple of different directions ever since. We have about ten members on the team today.”

How would you explain an NFT in the simplest terms? 

“An NFT is a receipt of digital ownership online. It’s proof that you own something. Everyone brings up the argument, “Oh, I can take a screenshot of the Mona Lisa.” And that doesn’t mean anything. This is verifiable and provable. You can prove that you have ownership, and that is the biggest thing, but that is just the start.”

What are the most important things someone should consider when designing an NFT collection?

“I would say to ensure you’re doing something that brings value. Don’t just try to copy another animal project. You can either have great art or have an idea for a community; make sure you are passionate about what you are doing because it is tough to create a project, and you need the passion to drive it. Otherwise, you won’t finish it or see it through.”

How would you explain the Metaverse?

“It is a place where the physical and online worlds intersect. Well, it can be totally online; we’ll see. To keep it simple, it’s a place where people hang out online, which will change over time. Discord is somewhat of the Metaverse at the moment, but it’s not the fully VR “you have to be ready, Player 1″ to be a part of this. However, it’s an ever-changing platform that will improve over time.”

What are you most excited about in the Metaverse or something you don’t think many people are aware of yet?

“While I just said the Metaverse isn’t like VR, I am very excited about the possibilities it brings when the VR technology does get there for total immersion. The ability for people to connect and hang out from all over the world in that kind of space will be huge. I think back to how big MSN messenger was. Everyone would get home from school and hop on. You’d only chat with your high school or middle school friends. But take that, and then think of the Metaverse. It’ll be that much bigger – being able to connect with everyone from around the world with a physical representation of yourself. The community aspect will be huge.”

We have Play2Earn, Move2Earn, and Watch2Earn – but what do you think when you hear Help2Earn? How could you see this working in the Web 3 space?

“You have such a wealth of information out there, and everyone constantly pushes the barriers in different directions. You don’t want a central repository, per se, but there is no place where that information is being kept or gathered. Or it isn’t easily accessible. So much information is being shared through private messages between people. I think if you had a platform where people are making these discoveries or are teaching other people, with a way to reward the people doing it anyway, with people already seeking out this information, that is a very powerful thing. It’s not a system where the tokenomics crash because it isn’t sustainable with speculators pumping money into these coins and the people using them cashing out. And then it dies. Help2Earn provides real value and is extremely sustainable. Whether it’s a platform, application, or community, it would be a very hot ticket. And with this community being as hungry for information as it is, it would be very popular.”

Thank you for joining the Help2Earn movement, Nick! Learn more at Triend.

Daniela Rogulj

Daniela Rogulj

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