June 7, 2023

Keith Grossman is a widely known media govt who has held senior positions at Wired and Bloomberg. In 2019, he turned president of Time, the near-century-old information writer and journal, the place he oversaw enterprise and know-how for the model, and launched the groundbreaking NFT assortment generally known as TIMEPieces.

Then, in one of many extra uncommon profession shifts in media, Grossman left Time early this 12 months to tackle a brand new position as president of enterprise at crypto funds unicorn MoonPay.

Fortune’s Ukraine-based contributor Anna Tutova spoke with Grossman about his expertise main Time into NFTs, and about his new position at MoonPay, the place his mission is to convey as many individuals as doable into the Web3 house.

(This interview has been edited for size and readability. The ultimate 4 solutions had been equipped by e mail.)

When did you first change into occupied with crypto and NFTs?

My profession began at Wired, which lined know-how and particularly the emergence of cryptocurrencies. This has been an area I’ve been conversant in for years and that I personally get pleasure from. Nevertheless, it was not till 2020 that I got here throughout NFT applied sciences. I used to be in upstate New York. I used to be alone, remoted, and realized for the primary time that my digital id was simply as worthwhile as my bodily id.

Thus, after I got here throughout NFT applied sciences, it made sense that if my two identities had been equal, if I wished to personal issues within the bodily world, I may additionally wish to personal issues within the digital world. In March 2021, we introduced Time into Web3 with 1:1 collectibles. In September 2021, we launched TIMEPieces. 

So you may have a collector’s mindset. Do you want gathering conventional artwork as nicely?

Sure! I like artwork. I like tech. I like media. I like enterprise. Due to this fact this was an ideal house for me. As someone who loves artwork, I do accumulate so much, particularly images NFTs.

What are your favourite NFTs?

I’ve so many. Should you have a look at TIMEPieces, TIME’s community-based initiative, what began out with 38 artists is now 150-plus. Most are artists I completely love: Cath Simard, Victor Mosquera, Fvckrender, Justin Aversano, Diana Sinclair, John Knopf. I might go on and on, but it surely’s simply a tremendous group of artists. 

What was the primary NFT you owned?

My first NFT was a clock that stated 11:11. It was a very good luck clock, and I cherished that. I’ve it framed, and it sits subsequent to my laptop at house and simply means the world to me. I simply have a look at it day-after-day, and I take into consideration that fairly a bit.

Do you may have any fashionable NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Membership or CryptoPunks?

No, I don’t have any Bored Ape Yacht Membership or CryptoPunks. I’ve The Day I Determined to Fly. I’ve just a few ThankYouXs. I’ve just a few Dave Krugman and JN Silva NFTs.

How did TIMEPieces get began? Did you make the choice to take Time into NFTs? Did it’s important to get approval from the board of administrators?

We took Time into Web3 in March of 2021. It was me, our authorized crew, and our artistic director, and we had a variety of success with that. Inside a month, we’d accepted 34 totally different cryptocurrencies for digital subscriptions of Time. I spent the next months in Clubhouse simply listening and studying. That is how TIMEPieces happened: from conversations with individuals like ThankYouX, Dave Krugman, and JN Silva. They confirmed me the ability of blockchain know-how. 

Sarcastically, I didn’t have to hunt any approval for funding as a result of we had performed a lot enterprise on SuperRare that after they transformed to a DAO [decentralized autonomous organization], we transformed our $RARE to $ETH and that in the end funded the launch of TIMEPieces. It’s an unbelievable Web3 story!  

What number of of your subscribers pay for the subscription in crypto?

Not that many. A couple of thousand. This was extra of a validator of the house than anything. It’s a must to keep in mind: Time reaches 100 million shoppers a month, and we’ve tens of millions of subscribers. Over 15,000 wallets maintain over 30,000 TIMEPieces, and almost 10,000 of these wallets linked to Time.com to take away its paywall. That’s the equal of a digital subscription! For the Web3 group, the subscription was secondary to the entry and exclusivity of being a part of the group. 

Did you see development in your readership after launching TIMEPieces NFTs?

TIMEPieces opened the readership to an entire new group of passionate, engaged people. 

The place do you see worth in NFTs? From the mindset of a collector? Or is it extra from belonging to a sure membership?

I believe it is dependent upon what your intention is: Some individuals love the house from the mindset of a collector. That was my preliminary realization about Time—that it was a 100-year-old analog meme creator with its iconic covers. Some individuals love the house for its means to create group. That’s what TIMEPieces is: a group of shared psychographics—not demographics or geographics. And a few individuals love the know-how itself and the way the know-how can be utilized for subscriptions and memberships and loyalty applications. 

I wish to thanks in your help of Ukraine. You confirmed me the NFT assortment you launched for Ukraine—are you able to inform me extra about it?

In fact! I’ve great admiration for Nadya from Pussy Riot and suppose she is the very best instance of somebody who makes use of the know-how for good. You noticed it with UkraineDAO the place she secured near $10 million to help individuals in want. Then you definately noticed RELI8F elevate one million {dollars} in 30 seconds. On condition that TIMEPieces was a values-based group, we believed we should always do one thing, too.

So we approached 61 TIMEPieces artists on a Friday night and by Sunday received 1:1 items from every of them to launch an initiative titled Artists for Peace. Inside 48 hours we raised almost $400K, which went to humanitarian help in Ukraine. The notion of “heat crypto”—utilizing the know-how for good—is admittedly necessary, in my view. 

NFT buying and selling and costs have dropped so much. The buying and selling quantity of OpenSea dropped 99%. So the place do you suppose this trade is headed?

TIMEPieces was not constructed round costs or buying and selling, and we stated that from the very starting. We at all times confused that we had been a values-based group and that values create worth over time. Extra necessary, no matter buying and selling quantity on OpenSea, we continued to see engagement in the neighborhood improve. That was a key metric for me personally. 

The communities most uncovered in some of these environments are “greed-based” communities. Ones which might be actually solely constructed on the intent to commerce and try to revenue. 

Over the approaching months and years, I believe artwork and collectibles will exist, however the larger alternative for the know-how is with memberships, subscriptions, loyalty and rewards for shoppers; and as a validator and effectivity play for companies because it removes inefficiencies and ensures immutable reality. 

Why did you resolve to go away the media trade to guide an enterprise division for a crypto infrastructure firm? 

The change was fairly straightforward: I consider Web3 is the entire reinvention of the web, whether or not by blockchain applied sciences, GPT, and AR/VR/metaversal experiences—all mixed, all complementing each other. For many of my profession, I’ve utilized rising applied sciences to advance manufacturers. Personally, I wished to shift from utilizing the know-how to shaping the way forward for the trade and ecosystem. That’s what MoonPay enabled me to do.

What sentiment do you see amongst conventional manufacturers? Are they nonetheless occupied with stepping into Web3 and NFTs, or did their curiosity lower with the bear market? 

Our pipeline continues to strengthen as manufacturers shift their focus towards utilizing blockchain know-how for memberships, subscriptions, rewards, and loyalty. 

Are you able to share the current partnerships of MoonPay with conventional manufacturers? And what are your future plans? 

MoonPay has performed some unbelievable partnerships with Common Studios, Nike, Alo Yoga, Puma, Christie’s, Condé Nast, and the like. Our future plans are to mainstream the adoption of this know-how by highlighting the distinctive, enhanced experiences it gives. 

What do you see as the most important challenges going through the crypto trade within the subsequent few years, and the way is MoonPay working to handle these challenges?

I believe the most important challenges encompass belief, clear regulation, and client safety. We take all of those very severely and in current months employed Lindsey Haswell to be our chief authorized officer. Now we have additionally been investing closely in compliance and authorized frameworks for fairly a while to make sure we evolve with the ecosystem as extra readability emerges. On the finish of the day, all of us ought to desire a secure atmosphere for shoppers and clear guidelines for companies.