A Museum for Crypto Artwork with Colborn Bell from MOCA

Jul 28, 2021

Share this article:

HOST:  Hey, everybody.  Welcome back to the Unstoppable podcast.  I'm your host Diana Chen, and I'm here today with our guest Colborn Bell.  He is the founder of the Museum of Crypto Art, or MOCA, and this is a museum on the metaverse.  It's super cool stuff.  I've been following them on Twitter for awhile.  I'm really excited to have Colby here to talk more about what it is.  So, welcome.  Thank you so much for being here.

COLBORN BELL:  It's such a pleasure, Diana.  Thanks to you and the Unstoppable podcast for having me.

HOST:  Of course, of course.  So, before we dive into MOCA I want to know a little bit more about your background and what got you interested in crypto in the first place.  So, take me all the way back to when you first got exposed to crypto.  What was it about crypto that piqued your interest?

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, absolutely.  It's relevance.  It was based on an article read about the founder of an early predict market called "In Trades."  He was an avid mountain climber.  He was summitting Mount Everest and had a heart attack at the top, and unfortunately passed away. 

The article went on to explain how the idea of prediction markets was being carried forward.  What really fascinated me was the ability for groups of people all over the world to be betting on outcomes of any certain event, and those prediction results would, at their consensus, be more accurate than any certain panel of experts. 

So, where this took me was to Auger, and it took me to the Rep crypto currency, and I was just like, I need to have this.  I need to have this.  How do I get it?  Coinbase, to Ethereum, to Poloniex, into the Troll Box, and that's really where my crypto adventure kicked off.  Once I found and understood Ethereum I took every last dollar I had in February of 2017 and just threw it in, and then I found Golem, and then I was playing the ICO markets aggressively, and I guess, as they say, kind of the rest is history.

HOST:  Yeah, wow, okay.  So, you got pretty degen pretty early on, just threw everything in a crypto.

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah.  It all speaks to this path that I wound through finance and social impact work and trying to bend the rules of the financial system to create the effect that I wanted to see.  When I found crypto, especially, like Ethereum and the smart contract capability, and the ability to do trust-less financing, and the ability to be a seed investor on venture ideas that I liked all over the world.  It was this mechanism that really kind of captured my attention and perhaps risk appetite at the time.

HOST:  Yeah, and clearly that was a pretty high-risk appetite, but that's awesome.  So, did you come from any sort of art background?  When did you first start to notice the potential of the intersection between crypto and art?

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, it's a great question.  So, one of those ICOs that I participated in was Decentraland and following the MANA ICO, the land auction, when Decentraland officially launched I think it was January of 2020, I fell back into the virtual world space, and then I fell in love with the aesthetic of - - space, and the fact that it was VR-forward.  I went inside this world and it was really just at the time green glass and blue skies, so it was kind of a question of, again, what is the world that you want to create?  What is the world that you want to see? 

I knew that it was not going to be anything that I could do alone, but it would have to be in partnership with digital creators.  The quickest way that I found to build these partnerships was through NFTs.  I remember somebody had introduce me to SuperRare as a potential equity investment, and in just wanting to do some due diligence I began using their platform and found it to be really an incredible experience. 

Then once I started to see what we were doing I felt like the same way that crypto currency was disintermediating banks, well, we could apply this similar mindset to a very rigid power-entrenched structure like the art world, and we could start to identify and build a crypto culture that was one of our own choosing in the way that artists present a visual language for very abstract concepts such as data sovereignty, privacy, immutability, un-censure-ability, the ability of an open-access network like Ethereum to invite anybody all over the world with internet connection to be able to participate. 

I saw it as a mechanism to onboard another round of adopters, and I thought that this visual language would be able to speak to people beyond what the mainstream media was presenting this to be, mainly perhaps a mechanism for illicit activity, money laundering, drug users.

Once I realized that we could present a beautiful side of this culture and we could start to put crypto in the hands of artists who would be able to--artists generally at their core are emotional and volatile people, so I felt that they could withstand these swings better than a traditional investor, and then also that they could bring more right-brain creative applications to something that was pretty closely held by technologists and programmers and devs. 

HOST:  Yeah, for sure.  So, when was it that you first got exposed to NFTs, and when you first heard about NFTs did it just make sense to you intuitively or did it take you a little bit to understand how is there so much value behind a digital piece of artwork?

COLBORN BELL:  I guess first exposure, I'd have to go back and run the timeline.  It would either have been Moon Cats or Crypto Kitties.  I was one of those original Moon Cat rescuers, and I remember sitting there at the computer with my sister and explaining to her about Meta Mask and Ethereum, and were on the moon adopting these JPEG cats, and it was all just fun and silly, and Crypto Kitties was the same way. 

Then, of course, the Virtual Land and Decentraland made sense, but I guess it was kind of from there like a multi-year quiet period before I really began to explore what it meant to bring a use case to these NFTs, and what we could at the intersection of architecture, design, and these NFTs as artwork where it really just clicked for me.

HOST:  Yeah, for sure.  So, we're going to be talking a lot more about NFTs.  So, before we go any further, how would you explain what an NFT is to a newbie or maybe to somebody who has had exposure to NFT but is one of those naysayers, like still doesn't believe that there's any value of NFTs.  How would you explain what an NFT is to somebody like that?

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, it's so funny, because there is just this great digital divide.  You don't have to explain an NFT to somebody that is 15 years old.  They get it.  They understand a custom skin in Fortnite, they understand the social clout that that carries.  They understand why they want to have that and what it means within their friend group, and what I means to own a digital item and to display a digital item.  It's generally an older generation that doesn't understand this because they're so grounded and it has to be physical. 

The crypto community gets it because they understand that you don't have to hold a Bitcoin to own a Bitcoin, and they understand that a Bitcoin is really just an idea, and it's backed by computer code, and it's kind of the same thing here. 

What is an NFT?  Well, it is really just a digital certificate of authenticity, and it can be applied to anything.  It can be applied to art, it can be applied to blockchain games, it can be applied to writing, poetry.  It just in my mind signifies the act of creation as anybody could bring or create something into the physical world, we are just certifying it and bringing it into the digital world.

HOST:  For sure, for sure.  All right, so let's talk about Museum of Crypto Art.  You start MOCA back in April 2020, I believe.  It's been just over a year.  You started it with one of your long-time buddies, Pablo.  How did you guys get the idea for it? 

COLBORN BELL:  I think the inspiration, at least on my side, came from a museum trip that I had taken to central Brazil.  I had spent eight years in New York City going to all the museums there, but this museum in Brazil called Inhotim was completely new and different to me, and it was a multi-acre kind of walking part that was dotted with different artists' exhibitions, and you weren't necessary guided through white marble halls, but really the space was open to you to explore. 

When I went into virtual reality for that first time it was a similar feeling, because you could see something in the distance that attracted your eye, and then you were pulled to it.  So, instead of being on a curated, guided tour through the Renaissance paintings to whatever, it was more freeform.  It was an experience that I thought people would want to recreate from the comfort of their homes.  Once you start to go deeper the benefits of having these types of experiences are astronomical. 

Incredibly scalable, right?  At the end of the day there is practically infinite digital lands.  You can have an idea for an exhibition.  You can built it for free, you can fill it with the artwork that you have, and you can spin up something in less than a week, and there's no cost to store anything.  So, effectively your costs are reduced exponentially, and the access that you grant people to artwork is as simple as them needing an internet connection.

HOST:  Yeah, for sure.  So, when you first started it, what was your big picture vision for MOCA, and then how, if at all, has that evolved over the last year?

COLBORN BELL:  It was pretty wild at the time when we started.  You could probably count the number of large collectors on a single hand.  Most of these collectors were generally just putting these art works into cold storage.  As crazy as it sounds, the big innovation at the time was just to begin to show use case to build the structures and to create immersive experiences.  I don't think the narrative has very much shifted from that. 

As the space has grown, so has our necessity to focus on more group shows as opposed to individual artists and individual styles.  So, only in the whole space expanding has kind of the scope mission and vision kind of expanded to include more and more of the incredible artists that are in this space.

HOST:  Yeah, so maybe it's a good time to back up a little bit and tell people more about what MOCA is.  For anybody listening who hasn't actually checked out MOCA or heard of you guys, explain to those people what even is MOCA.  What can they expect to see in the museum?  Where is it hosted nowadays?  Et cetera.

COLBORN BELL:  MOCA in and of itself takes many different forms.  For me, the purest realization of the vision is the 3-D immersive experience in Somnium Space.  It's also accessible via the web browser of Somnium Space.  We are next week going to be launching in Decentraland.  So, the idea is to begin to give to people whatever it is that they can access.  At the end of the day this is to me about the democratization of arts and the ability to access art.  So, we will continue to be metaverse-agnostic.  We will push into different worlds.  We just did an exhibition with Hackatao and DaVinci in a new world called Arium. So, it is kind of very freeform. 

There is that central museum building in Somnium Space, and for me that is kind of like the best experience, although we fully recognize that not everybody has access to VR or a high-powered gaming PC, and the more places that we can begin to experiment and showcase just different artworks and different types of novel ways for people to understand why NFTs are important and are going to be the future of art ownership and viewership is our goal.

HOST:  You guys have a little plot of land in Crypto Boxes too, or am I dreaming?

COLBORN BELL:  It's another museum of crypto art.

HOST:  Oh, it's a different one.

COLBORN BELL:  It's a different one.

HOST:  Oh, okay, okay.  All right, cool.  So, I want to talk about how you curate your art, and what goes into that.  So, what is the process of your art curation like?  Is it just you an Pablo collecting art for the museum, or are there embers of MOCA that all contribute towards collecting, and then is it like a group decision, or is it just the members, whatever art they're collecting personally gets displayed?  How does that work?

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, so Pablo and I, we split in December, so it was this kind of new conception of the museum has been put forward in my vision of what I think crypto art is and represents.  The first thing that I did was to go and build a non-profit foundation for this, so it really is a true museum model in that by mandate of that foundation, none of the artworks that come into the museum can ever be sold.  So, it was really meant to kind of strip away what I saw as rampant speculation in the market and would turn the conversation to the art. 

Now, when I am curating for the museum I go back to kind of what I was talking about in the beginning, of what is the innovation and revolution that blockchain as a medium of expression unlocks for artists all over the world.  So, the idea is that it can be much more diverse and representative, and post form and post aesthetic, just recognizing that everybody's creative expression is coming from a point of validity and to call it art. 

I generally look for works that exist on the fringes, kind of having seen so much of the market.  I think I'm quick to either identify new styles or people who are working in new ways, and I at all times kind of seek to bring the fringe closer to the middle to draw a bigger and bigger circle around the question of what is art.

HOST:  Got it, got it.  I saw on your website that there's a permanent collection, so I assume there's also a collection that moves around.  So, what determines what pieces of art go into the permanent collection versus the rotating one?

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, so the fact of the matter is I've collected thousands of NFTs.  I've collected thousands of pieces of crypto art.  We built the MOCA token as a means to effectively turn this museum over from a single curatorship, my curatorship, into a bit of a quasi-DAO, quasi-curatorship structure with the goal of making it kind of a fully curated independent vehicle by the MOCA token holders.  This is certainly something that has never been done before. 

So, in the initial launch of this I took 160 pieces from 160 what I considered to be foundational crypto artists, and donated them to the foundation.  That was called the Genesis Collection.  It is an ideological subset of the permanent collection.  Now we're in this period where we're inviting other collectors who want to fill in the gaps of this Genesis Collection with the artists that they think are important to also donate those pieces in exchange for the MOCA token, to have future governance and curatorial rights over what I consider to be a true community collection. 

We're just now processing 41 donations, 41 pieces from 41 different artists.  The idea here is that the Genesis Collection is meant to honor and recognize all of those who really believed in what a new creative economy paradigm would look like, and they had positive, influential contribution to the space prior to the economic boom, meaning that they were attracted here for ideological reasons, and just kind of want to cement their position and recognize their impact in creating the sparks that stoked this ember that lit this fire.

HOST:  Gotcha, gotcha.  So, I have a couple of questions from that.  The first is, can anybody donate art to MOCA in exchange for the MOCA token, or do you have to be an artist or a collector that has a reputation, or something like that?

COLBORN BELL:  We are totally open to anybody donating any work that they wish.  There's just a couple rules with the Genesis Collection.  One is that it's only one artwork per artist.  It's meant to be a fair distribution mechanism, so everybody has at least their one piece in here.  Two is that for the Genesis Collection a collector has to donate on behalf of an artist, because it would've frankly just been too much to handle all of the artist requests. 

But if a collector cares and feels so passionately that an artist is included, I want to reinvite those direct conversations between collectors and artists.  Artists have come to me and I say, just go have a conversation with one of these collectors.  I'm sure they would be very happy to donate it to the collection on your behalf.  The added mechanism that we've put in here to incentivize more people wanting to donate and be involved is that we did an airdrop of 3% of our token supply to all of the OpenSea users prior to December 2020. 

The pool of unclaimed tokens from this will be distributed pro rata to all of the Genesis artists.  So, it's also meant to return the voice and power to what I consider to be the ideological creators and the people who really bootstrapped and lifted up this market.

HOST:  Super cool.  Another question I had was, is the only way to get MOCA tokens by donating a piece of art or being a part of that airdrop you just talked about?  Is there any way--can you just buy a MOCA token so that you can get in on the curatorial process in the future?

COLBORN BELL:  So, we launched on Polygon, so there are some big liquidity pools on Quick Swap.  This was all done so we could quickly and efficiently utilize or effectuate the 32,000-person OpenSea user airdrop.  Then this week will be just be building a liquidity pool on Uniswap so that pretty much anybody can get at least get these tokens however they would like.

HOST:  Very cool.  You said that you're sort of using a quasi-DAO model right now.  I'm just curious to know what your future plans on that are.  Are you planning on turning MOCA into a full-on DAO?  How do you see the voting process working once all these people have MOCA tokens, they want to be part of the curatorial process with voting on which art pieces make it into the collection in the future.  How will that play out?

COLBORN BELL:  I'll say that I personally just don't think that the DAO tech staff is ready for true DAO governance.  At this point we see really just a lot of follow-on voting and not the types of discussion or engagement that I'd like to see.  So, the mechanisms that we have up right now are just the ability to sign on-chain both comments and likes to our works. 

So, we're starting to just filter out what are everybody's opinions around this collection, and we have a pretty rudimentary snapshot page set up, and we're building out.  We have a dev grant program launch that's going to help us build these tools.  We're looking very closely at how people build identity and community around the types of works that they like.  I'm hyper-fascinated and we're looking to build this now, the idea of a virtual curator.  So, just training some sort of AI machine learning algorithm like GBT3 to be able to answer questions that people have about these artworks. 

So, you could ask when was this piece minted, what is the story of this artist, what are artists that are creating in a similar style, so that people can start to understand the power of the digital, and we can kind of be creating this, I guess, historical capture mechanism whereby--many people feel very lost when they enter the space, so I want the museum to be that first reference point where people can go, they can find the original creators, they can learn about their stories, they can hear when their first piece minted was, how many pieces they've created, who else is creating like them, and then begin to find what it is they care and are passionate about in this space. 

For me, it was all about the connections that I was building with artists and collectors, and how do we create that similar feeling for new entrance to this space.

HOST:  Yeah, I think that's a very good goal and mission.  Then I'm also wondering, because you've collected thousands of pieces of art, is there a way that you can explain to people what makes a piece of art good or valuable?  I know a lot of it is you've got a trained eye, but is there any way to explain that out, or no?

COLBORN BELL:  Art is only valuable to the conversation that it sparks in you and others.  Right?  I think we as a crypto community and collectors kind of gave artists the mandate to go out and look into the void and bring that back to tell us what is it that you see, what is the future, what are you worried about in this very early stage trans-human narrative that we're on, and we're sitting at such an interesting point in time in humanities relationship with technology that people have sounded the alarms of how do we imbue this technology with more human qualities, and how do we use it not to enslave us, but how do we use it to really empower us. 

I think if we can't put artists and creatives at the forefront of discussion where they can relay back to us either the hope and promise or the dangers and the pitfalls, then we're doing ourselves a great disservice as humanity to kind of forget the things that ultimately make us human, which are our emotions and the way that we connect, and the love that we spread and share instead of turning it over to cold, hard algorithms that might make decisions based on pure efficiency or logic. 

HOST:  Yeah, for sure.  It's more about the story behind the artwork or the intent of the artist or whatever it represents to the collector or to the viewer of the art.  I'm curious, with that in mind, what are some of your favorite pieces of art that people can see in MOCA, and why are those important to you?

COLBORN BELL:  Oh, there's so many to name.  When people ask me this question, there is like one story that was very, I guess, powerful in my journey, and that was the artist that we did our first solo show with.  His name was Rhyolite, and he created this piece called one true path, and it's a generative piece.  He works a lot in hexagons, but it's red, and at the ends there's kind of like this pulsating yellow light, and it moves and transforms, and I fell in love with that piece, and that was the impetus to ask him to do that first solo show. 

About a week after we did that solo show he passed away in his sleep.  It was just such a profound and powerful realization to me, because he was somebody that was always so community-forward, and he was very concerned with how as a community we rewrite these rules, but also more in what we share and how we teach people to elevate their practice. 

So, whenever I feel lost I just always go back to that piece and think about what is the one true path here, and it always just returns me to him and his ideals, and just wanting to uplift and share, and also the immortality and immutability that a blockchain provides. 

When you bring a digital artwork to a blockchain you start to play in almost the realm of the immortal that the physical world can never achieve.  It's certainly likely that that work will outlive whatever it is, the Mona Lisa or the statue of David, and it's all about for me how we transcend the physical, we move into the digital, and we do it with still the human qualities that led us to this point, if that makes sense.

HOST:  Yeah, 100%.  So, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on NFTs and the metaverse in general.  When you think about these things, where do you see that being in the next year, let's say.

COLBORN BELL:  It's so wild, because opportunities keep coming that I would never have dreamed of.  I would never have thought a year ago when the museum was just starting that we would be here.  So, I know for a fact that the pace of technology and adoption does not slow down. 

So, I fully expect we're going to get pretty good AR glasses, and that's going to invite a whole new digital overlay to our physical world, and then VR technology which catch up, and then I fully expect that in the same way that people are attached so closely to their smart phones or their computers.  In in a year's time I would love to be having this conversation with you like in the MOCA sculpture garden, and we could be recording it as we walk through and look at these beautiful 3D objects, and just inviting more of a sense of experience and closeness and connection.

Recognizing that all of this was really borne out of the coronavirus pandemic, of course, where we were all forced to go back to ourselves and our oneness, and strip away all of the general context of our lives, and kind of rebuild from scratch, and just be open to meeting new people and presenting perhaps truer versions of out identity, the way we feel and express. 

I think the metaverse is going to just open up so many new opportunities for people to be more of themselves and to be more honest and open and sharing and less judgmental and prejudiced, perhaps.  The ability to create more empathy for other peoples' experiences, and the ability to just freely share and collaborate.

HOST:  I would love to bring you back on the podcast in a year and be recording this in the MOCA sculpture garden, in fact, whenever this technology actually becomes realized and we can record VR in Decentraland or Somnium Space or wherever, you'll be the first guest I bring out on the podcast and record virtually.  So, hopefully that'll be in a year.  If it's in a year I will be so happy, but if it takes a few years, I get it, too.

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah.  Look, we could do it today, it's just difficult, right?  So, I think we can do it in a year.  Let's bookmark it.

HOST:  Let's do it.  I love that.  Then this might be a tougher question to answer, but if you could time travel 10 years into the future, what do you see around you?  How is society operating?  What are people thinking about NFTs?  How are people interacting between the physical world and the metaverse?  Just describe to me what you see, if you could just imagine plopping yourself 10 years into the future.

COLBORN BELL:  I always say that creativity is the currency of the future.  We will continue to automate.  There will be less service jobs and people will be less-required to work with their hands and bodies.  Instead they will be asked to work more their minds, and the way that you creatively use technology stacks to create value and output will be what I think is most important, and it doesn't mean having to be a developer or programmer or have hard coding skills, it can be systems engineering and design. 

I love this project because it puts me in the middle of three things that I love, which is blockchain, art, and then AR/VR tech.  So, how do we create synthesis among all of these different groups to create and show new experiences?  It's all an exercise in creativity and a reimaging of what is possible. 

So, in 10 years I expect us to be doing a majority of our business in metaverse environments.  I think it'll just be more fun.  It'll invite more personal interaction.  Why would you ever perhaps fly to meet investors when you could just put on a VR headset and go meet them in whatever beautiful, surreal building that they've created filled with artwork?  Because at the end of the day it speaks to culture, and I think the metaverse now is at a stage that would be analogous to somebody building a webpage in 1995. 

So, I think social and the spatial web, and how it translates into social engagement and interaction is really where we're heading.

HOST:  For sure, for sure.  I'm also curious too with the first part of this year being all about NFT art, predominantly, what do you see as being some of the next NFT use cases that are going to be really big?

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, it was actually very, very strange to me that art led.  I didn't expect art to lead.  I really expected blockchain gaming to lead.  So, I think we will see more worlds, and I think we'll see more adoption around gaming, mainly because gamers just get crypto, it's very second nature.  I think we've seen some interesting use cases so far, but money will pour in.  I think we've about saturated--of course, not totally--but the market for still images or animations or kind of flat NFTs. 

I expect to see more 3D objects and sculptures.  I expect people to kind of tokenize worlds and environments, and I expect artists to expand their canvas to not just create a minute-long animation, but to create a fully immersive world where people are having art experiences, and then you can own that experience.

HOST:  Yeah, super cool.  Well, last question for you.  What's happening with MOCA in the near future that you can tease?  Obviously, the MOCA token was just launched recently, so a lot is going on there.  But anything else exciting that's happening with MOCA in the near future that you can share with our listeners?

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, for sure.  It'll be probably be too late, but Friday we're doing something for Crypto Art Asia.  We're doing a live stream with Crypto Argentina.  We are going to be doing just several exhibits throughout the summer.  We will be at NFT NYC the first week of November speaking.  I think we'll probably be throwing some parties there.  I would just expect more use case and utility for the MOCA token, the virtual curator, as I kind of discussed, the ability of building subset communications of MOCA members. 

So, just more experiences, more social opportunities both in the metaverse and in real life, and growing the collection.

HOST:  Awesome.  I'm planning on being in NYC for NFT NYC, so looking forward to meeting in person and hitting up some of those parties.  I know it's going to be a good time.

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, it's going to be awesome.

HOST:  For sure.

COLBORN BELL:  I'm really looking forward to it.

HOST:  Yeah, me too.  All right, so I end every podcast episode with a segment called Explain Your Tweet.  This is where I dig through your Twitter and pull out some interesting or cryptic tweets and give you a chance to explain it.


HOST:  Just like how they do in "Hot Ones."  So, I've just got one for you.  I know you do a lot of re-tweets of the MOCA Twitter account.  So, it's mostly MOCA content, but I've got one here, this is from July 5, 2021.  You said, "There is no alpha on Twitter for NFTs.  Twitter is for connecting artists and collectors and having broad conversations on the state of the industry and where we are going.  If you're investing in a project based on what someone on Twitter says, you're late and not going to make it."  Do you want to talk more about what you mean by that, and where is the right place to be getting information about what to collect or what artists are new and that you should be paying attention to?

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah.  Look, you've got to do it yourself.  If somebody is telling you somebody, this is a market of speculators, so if they're telling you to buy something, they own it.  They're only hyping their own bags, and I saw way too much of this in 2017.  Twitter is just a platform to amplify voice, but if you are not in the market creating your own voice, like go into the markets and follow what's happening on the activity pages of the markets. 

Find a collector whose voice you connect with and see what they're doing.  If there's an artist that you like, go talk to that artist.  You've really got to do it yourself, you can't let anybody tell you what to do.  Discourse is a little better, it happens a little bit quicker. 

I think Twitter is just the last stage of this game.  It was never a good place in 2017 to get investment advice.  It's still not a good place to get investment advice.  You don't know people's interests, and if you're taking advice from an anonymous person online as what is the next hyped social project, you not going to make it.  I'm sorry, you're going to be broke with a bunch of stuff that you don't like. 

So, the only way to create value and to realize value is to find your own voice and then tell people why you like it.  Don't outsource that responsibility to somebody else.  You've got to do it yourself.  So, that's generally why I think everybody on Twitter yelling and screaming is doing it generally for their own self interest, so go to to the source, go to the markets.

HOST:  Totally fair.  So, what's your process?  Are you a Foundation Super Rare browser, or do you follow the artists that you like on their socials and see what new things they have or who they follow and get exposure that way?  What's the best way for you personally that you like to go about it?

COLBORN BELL:  I don't collect on Foundation, I don't collect on Rarible; I have my reasons why.  I generally collect on Super Rare.  I don't collect on Nifty Gateway.  It's more about certainly artists, you can certainly follow artists, and you can follow that.  Finding new artists is difficult in this day and age. 

Quite frankly, I've stepped back from the majority of my collecting activity, and I just have a different role in this market now.  It's also hard for me because generally whenever I get a bid on something, people just follow me and outbid me.  Right?  So, if I'm a signal in this market, the only way for me to do something now is now to do it privately.  So, blessing and a curse, of course. 

For me, I don't particularly have a speculation interest in this market anymore.  I've gotten to a place where I just care about the creators and I care about the health of the ecosystem, and I'm doing more educational work and foundational work with the museum to be an institution that returns the conversation to the arts, and gives people the opportunity to define what they like, and then they can go make the marketplace moves that they want.

HOST:  So, can you say why you won't use some of those platforms, or should we talk about this offline?

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, probably better offline.  Do you want--I'll tell it.  I thought Foundation was way too loose with their creator invite system.  So, it's hard to trust generally what you find there.  They also took away all their filters, so you can't filter anything.  I think it feeds just a bad hype and FOMO mindset where you really don't know what you're getting and why you're paying for it, you're just caught up in this bidding and auction war.  I don't know. 

Again, when Foundation came out people already knew me, so whenever I was making bids on something people would just outbid me, outbid me, outbid me, and it just got expensive and ridiculous and there was no point for me to be there.  I think Rarible, just for my taste, perpetuated too many scams.  Again, I don't have trust in the marketplace. 

I think what Nifty Gateway did was very disingenuous.  I think they also fed into 2017 hype mechanisms and drop mechanisms, and I'm quite confident that they just took the genesis traders and kind of swept up and propped up their own markets and created false incentives and narratives around their platform.  I thought they were very quick to bring on influencers at the expense of the creators and the people that labored for many years to even try and get a chance.  So, that kind of personally hurt me. 

I've always thought Super Rare makers place of known origin have been pretty loyal to their ideals and values and the creators.  I'm not saying it's perfect, but for me, I can trust it, I trust their curation, I trust the artists there, and because I can trust the marketplace I can trust my eye in that marketplace. 

HOST:  Interesting.  Yeah, I've never thought about it from such a deep angle, I kind of just browse or whatever, so it's interesting to hear that take.  I'm glad I pulled out this tweet because that sparked quite the discussion about NFT art. 

Well, thank you, Colby, so much for being here and for taking the time to come on the podcast and sharing all of your insights with us.  I cannot wait to see where MOCA goes in the future.  It's hard to believe that MOCA's only basically one year in, because it feels like you guys have been around forever.  So, I'm super excited to see MOCA take off. 

Last thing, Colby, before you go, just tell people where they can find you if they want to connect with you personally, and then remind them also where they can go to learn more about MOCA and where they can go to actually visit the museum.

COLBORN BELL:  Yeah, let's see.  I'm @colbornbell on Twitter.  DMs are open.  The museum is at, @museumofcrypto on Twitter, @museumofcryptoart on Instagram.  The medium page for Museum of Crypto Art is awesome.  We have a lot of good information there. 

Then once you start to fall down the MOCA token rabbit hole, we have our own dApp, we have some awesome staking farms that are yielding just insane amounts right now, and attached to that there's a Wiki page.  On the Twitter profile there's a YAT that has all of the places broken down so people can find anything quickly and easily. 

HOST:  Nice.  Then you guys right now are on Somnium and Decentraland is where people can actually go to check out the museum?  Okay. 

COLBORN BELL:  So, in Somnium Space, it's  That'll take you to the web version of the museum.  You can also kind of find that on the museum's website if you dig around.  Again, that's also on that YAT page.

HOST:Sweet, awesome.We will include the links in the show notes.Thanks again, Colby, for being here.Thank you, listeners, for tuning in, and we'll be back again soon with another episode of the unstoppable podcast.