In November of 2022, the Cardano Foundation held a special event in Lausanne, Switzerland. They gave out awards to recognize many of the people who’ve contributed to Cardano in an impactful way. The awards were focused on several different categories, one of which was ‘Developer or Developer Tools’. Personally, I think of this one as the Developer of the Year Award, just has a better ring to it.
Patrick Tobler, the creator of NMKR, won the award and accepted the trophy in person. The NMKR Blog has a very thorough ‘NMKR 2022 – Year in Review’ document available. It is a recounting of a truly incredible year in the Cardano ecosystem, one in which Patrick helped Cardano become a force to be reckoned with in the NFT world. He was kind enough to do an interview for this article and we talked in more detail about some of the noteworthy events from last year.
420: In April, NMKR Token was launched, and I think it’s fair to say it was a successful launch. What jumps out at you about that period in April of 2022?
Patrick Tobler: Yeah. So, so the launch was quite interesting. It was my first real ICO, of course. But it was quite interesting because it was also my first exposure to talking with investors. I think we did a good job in just bringing traditional investors to the table as well as the community. There are many things I would do differently. So, in terms of the launch, you know, the entry barrier was not super low. So, I would probably change some things up in retrospect. But overall, I’m quite happy with how it went and now it’s just about actually providing utility. [NMKR] has a lot of announcements coming in the next couple weeks.
420: In May of 2022, you reached the milestone of minting 1 million NFTs. That’s a big number!
Patrick Tobler: I can’t believe that number. Like, when I started NMKR, you know, the first drop that we did was the Hoskinson’s and then the unsigned_algorithms. For the unsigned_algorithms I was like, no way that’s going to sell out… 33,000 NFTs, there’s no way. And then it sold out and then we reached 100k and then reached 200k, and then suddenly it accelerated and then we were at 1 million. That’s insane if you think about it because that really means we had an impact on the community and on the growth of the ecosystem. Like without NMKR, literally 25% of the tokens in the space would not exist, which I think is insane. So, I think that’s probably the thing that I’m most proud of. I don’t really care about the number, but about the impact that this number represents.
420: Do you have anything that you can share about 2023’s CNFT Awards?
Patrick Tobler: I’m not sure yet if we’re doing it, to be honest, because it takes a lot of time away from our stuff. And it also was not cheap. I mean, we had sponsors onboard and so on, but still, it costs money and especially focus. So, if we do it, it’s going to be smaller scale than last year, which I think would be okay to be honest. We have a lot of cool ideas that we can use, but if we don’t do it, then we’ll have to pick it up next year, I think.
420: Okay, so in June, you got a taste of Hollywood, I think it’s fair to say, with the Twitter Space event featuring Martin Lawrence, Charles Hoskinson and yourself. How was that experience?
Patrick Tobler: It was very interesting, a space that I never expected to enter, a space that I had no previous knowledge about how it operates. I mean, the Twitter Space itself was probably not the pinnacle of the whole event if you think about it. We got a lot of backlash back in the day for the Twitter Space. But I think the overall collection that we made and the overall mint and everything was really good. I’m very proud of that because, you know, the way this kind of stuff works is that the team of Martin approaches you and then you have a lot of discussions and you talk about a lot of ideas and stuff like that. And then at the end, we pitched them this idea of not just launching a large collection and trying to make as much money as possible, but actually launching very few images which are all unique, one-of-ones, and then giving them really cool real world utility, which was that each of these pictures could be used as an entry ticket for the Martin Lawrence red carpet event that was happening for his reunion show.
420: That took place in Los Angeles, right?
Patrick Tobler: Exactly. Yeah. And that was cool. I flew in and we were there, and we were going to this event. And then at the entrance we showed our little, you know, eternal wallets and stuff like that. So, on our phones. And it was very, very interesting because it was my first time at such an event. Plus, it was very unique because we actually had a new way of doing ticketing. So yeah, and meeting Martin and his team and all the fans and so on there was just incredible. So, I enjoyed that a lot. And I think it was one of the first times where we had cool real-world utility for an NFT. I’m proud of that in general.
420: NMKRs Game Launchpad was a proof of concept using NFTs as digital rights management, making it a potential alternative to Steam and Uplay. Anything else you can share about that currently?
Patrick Tobler: So, unfortunately, currently we are not really doing a lot with that project. We made that proof of concept and then we never really went far with it. We wanted to do a lot more. We will be launching more games using the same kind of technology and ideas, but we will not be launching a Steam competitor or anything like that because the reality is building something like that takes a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of money. So, it’s a startup in itself. If I wasn’t doing NMKR, maybe I would be doing that. But right now, we just have to focus on what we do best and not do too many things. And I think that was one of the lessons in 2022 for me personally, even though there are a lot of amazing opportunities and so on, I need to focus on like the core business and not try to do everything.
420: In July, you rebranded to NMKR. How do you feel about that, looking back?
Patrick Tobler: I think it was a very necessary step. NFT-Maker does not sound very professional, and I don’t think it represents what we’re actually doing. Especially when we venture out into the non-NFT world. I think the name NMKR can be a little bit complicated sometimes. So, people sometimes struggle to pronounce it for the very first time. But in general, I’m happy with it. I think we have an extremely strong brand and the green that we use stands out everywhere. I think everyone in the space knows it by now.
420: In August of 2022, NMKR and IOG announced an official partnership. What does that mean to you? What does that mean to NMKR?
Patrick Tobler: I mean, for me, that was a very big step. And for NMKR, that was a very big step because the reality is we already did a lot of stuff with IOG before. So, we worked with them on a lot of different projects, and we just formalized that in this partnership agreement. And for us, of course, it is very important also from a marketing perspective. We are an official partner of IOG. They can offer to potential customers something that they weren’t able to offer beforehand. So, in general, it’s a very good relationship and I’m very happy that we did that.
420: You won the Developer or Developer Tools Award at the Cardano Summit. I like to think of it as the Developer of the Year, has a better ring to it, but it is technically the Developer or Developer Tools Award. How was that? Was it exciting?
Patrick Tobler: It was insanely exciting. Of course. I mean, I already kind of expected it, to be honest. Not because of my amazingness, but because of the competitors in that category. I have, for some reason, a very big reach on social media. So, it’s like people know my name and they probably will vote for me. But still, getting it was a very great honor and amazing feeling. I didn’t really think that would be the case. And then, you know, just being at that actual event and having my name called out and then going on stage and seeing everyone is sitting there. Charles is sitting there. Frederick from the Cardano Foundation is sitting there, and so on. And then you get this award in front of all these people after eating an amazing dinner. It was completely insane. If I think back to two years ago, when I was sitting in my room watching Charles videos every single day and so on, it’s just mind blowing, honestly.
420: That’s awesome. Congratulations. You recently launched Rogue Galaxies and it sold out its first collection. This was just last month. What does Rogue Galaxies mean to you? How much time are you able to give a project like that at this stage?
Patrick Tobler: So, I’m not the main person behind Rogue Galaxies. Of course, it’s part of NMKR. I’m kind of there and we are putting a lot of effort into that. But there are some amazing people behind Rogue Galaxies that do all the hard work, so I don’t want to take their credit. I think it’s great because I genuinely believe that gaming is one of the next big steps for NFTs. We will see a lot of adoption happening through gaming and a lot of onboarding happen through gaming. I’m personally a big gamer. So, I’m extremely excited for that. And I think the team that we assembled is brilliant. You know, Yves and Robin and Ignacio and everyone else there… the cool thing about them is that they are coming from the real world game development scene. So, they have built and released games before. They even won a German game developer award. And that’s amazing because these people are the ones you want working on Cardano, right? And that is what stands out for me. Like, I have these amazing game developers and they’re building stuff using my technology. On the Cardano blockchain. It really can’t get better.
420: Would you describe your role in Rogue Galaxies as kind of a producer role, like in traditional game development?
Patrick Tobler: In a way, I would say that we’re helping them a lot with the technological part of integrating Cardano and stuff like that. I even made the whole website. So, the website was literally done by me. We do help a lot, but I’m not like the mastermind behind the game.
420: Last month NMKR soft launched white-label secondary marketplaces. How much can you share about that?
Patrick Tobler: You’re the first one to ask about that. And that shows me that no one is reading these [NMKR Blog Posts]. But yeah, essentially, we will be doing more secondary marketplace stuff. So, what we focus on in 2023 is minting and white-label marketplaces, so we don’t try to compete with Epic Store or Opensea or build like this generalized marketplace. What we want to offer people and projects is the ability to launch their own marketplace, because in many cases it makes sense to have your own marketplace. It’s kind of like Amazon versus Shopify. For example, you know, we’re working very closely with Book.io and with Nucast.io that we announced today and a few others. For them, like, it doesn’t make sense to have books on JPG Store. Like, why would they have a bookstore on JPG Store, right? So, what we are really offering them is the ability to create a secondary marketplace. And there we have two things. So, we have like a very deep integration with all the NMKR services. These can be integrated into your own website, and you can build your own marketplace basically. Or you can come to NMKR and say, okay, I want to launch a secondary marketplace. And then we have a plug and play version, a basic template for them to use. Like Shopify. And then they can launch it very quickly and easily.
420: How do you define success for the year 2023? Do you have anything in mind? Is there a vision? Is there a metric you’re using?
Patrick Tobler: I said one thing on Twitter recently, I want to onboard one million users to the space. That’s kind of what I really want. I want new people in Cardano because I truly believe that the best blockchain can only exist if we actually have people using it. So that’s my big goal. But the reality is, and this sounds a little bit pessimistic, but the reality is the market is very hard and you will see companies failing left and right over the next year. And we’re already seeing this in Cardano right now. And we will see it more and more in the next months. So, I want to still be here at the end of the year, and I still want to be a large part of this community and I still want the Cardano community to exist. And I think if we can get through the next year and grow a little bit, then it’s success that sets us up for larger success long-term. The companies that build in the bear market are the companies that rule in the bull run.
Conducting the interview for this article was a pleasure!
Thank you, Patrick, for taking the time to answer my questions…
NMKR and Patrick Tobler are cutting a path through the wild terrain of blockchain innovation, inspiring and empowering the community along the way!