In this episode, we delve into the exciting world of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and their transformative potential.
Join us as we chat with Brandon and Christian Chin, esteemed Internet entrepreneurs and NFT experts, about their experiences, strategies, and the future outlook of NFTs.
What You’ll Learn:
- Discover how NFTs can represent digital identity, provide exclusive access, and have practical real-world applications like ticketing and certification.
- Explore the rise and evolution of the NFT market, from its hype-driven boom to its current state of reduced liquidity.
- Uncover the promising future of NFTs beyond art, as they evolve to focus on real-life usage and subscription-based models.
- Hear firsthand about Brandon and Christian’s success in the NFT market, including leveraging trading bots and creating the innovative Squishy Squad project.
- Learn valuable lessons about navigating the volatile NFT market, including the importance of taking profits, managing money, and exercising caution.
- Gain insights into the experiences of Brandon and Christian as they share personal stories, highlight the role of luck, and advise on setting realistic expectations.
- Get to know the challenges faced in the NFT space, from managing blockchain platforms to converting currencies, and the importance of building a reliable team.
- Discover Brandon and Christian's perspectives on pursuing careers in the crypto space, their shift towards real estate, and the significance of diversification and networking.
- Wrap up the podcast with valuable advice on embracing opportunities, taking calculated risks, and continuously exploring new skills and personal branding.
Whether you're a seasoned NFT enthusiast or curious about this rapidly evolving market, this episode offers a wealth of knowledge and perspectives. Stay tuned for more captivating conversations on the Degree Free Podcast!
Enjoy the episode!
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In this podcast episode, Brandon and Christian Chin discuss their experiences and successes in the NFT space. They talk about buying and selling NFTs for profit, the importance of community and networking, and the potential future use cases for NFTs.
They believe the future of NFTs lies in practical applications rather than pure speculation. They share their experience with NFT speculation, trading "squishy squad" NFTs, and using trading bots.
They emphasize the importance of buy and sell signals, taking profits, and surrounding oneself with the right people for successful ventures. They also encourage trying new things and continuous growth for personal and financial success.
About Our Guests:
Brandon and Christian Chin are accomplished Internet entrepreneurs and NFT experts. They have proven their expertise in the NFT space through their successful ventures and financial gains. With their extensive experience in buying and selling NFTs for profit, they have gained valuable insights into the importance of community and networking.
Brandon and Christian also recognize the potential future applications of NFTs, including areas such as ticketing, real estate certification, and ownership of digital assets. Their success in the NFT market reflects their deep understanding of the industry and their commitment to continuous growth and learning.
Connect With Our Guest:
Action Steps & Recommendations:
References, Resources Mentioned & Suggested Reading:
Is if I'm going into a very speculative venture, I will set aside money. But I'm not thinking about this as, like, actual capital or, like, my quote unquote business. You have to be totally fine losing all of it. And that's kind of the way we approach, like, NFTs or, you know, coins, now because most of the time, it is just speculation.
Ryan Maruyama [00:00:23]:
Aloha folks, and welcome back to degree free where we teach you how to get hired without a college degree. I'm your host, Ryan Maruyama. Before we get into today's episode, if you would like to receive a short weekly email that has different degree free jobs, different degree free companies, and how you can get hired without a college degree, then go over to degreefree.c0forward/newsletter to sign up for our free weekly newsletter. Today, I have a very special episode Because it is our very first 3 person interview I have on Brandon and Christian Chinn. They are Internet entrepreneurs, NFT experts and creators of the squishy squad NFT project. Today's episode is really wide ranging. We go over how they originally got into NFTs, how they gained experience, their different money management strategies, how they bought and sold NFTs to make money to actually make profit. We also go over what they're doing now and their plans for the future.
Ryan Maruyama [00:01:25]:
A couple of notes. This is not investment advice for anybody. We do talk about some investing and some speculation and money management strategies, But this is not investment advice for anybody. This is just for informational purposes only. You can find links to the show notes and everything that we talk about atdegreefree.c0forward/podcast, including where to say hi and follow along with Brandon and Christian. And final thing before we get into it, a note on programming. We do use a couple of cuss words to talk about different tokens that are out there in the crypto world. So they are in the middle of the conversation, so this might not be for everybody.
Ryan Maruyama [00:02:04]:
I just wanted to get that out. I'm really excited for you to hear this conversation with Brandon and Christian Chien. Aloha, folks, and welcome back to Degree Free. I am super excited to have on like Today's guests, Brandon and Christian Chien. Brandon and Christian, thank you so much for joining.
Thanks, man. Of
course. Happy to be here.
Ryan Maruyama [00:02:24]:
You know, as I was telling you guys before we started recording, this is my first time. So be gentle. I I have never done a 3 person interview, so we're gonna see how this goes. Why you guys are on here in the 1st place. But I would love to start with Bento Boy and how Bento Boy came to be. Who is that? What that's all about, Brandon?
Yeah. So, my name is Brandon. Also go by a bento boy in the online world. And that was sort of my YouTube channel, actually. And I guess the reason we're on here is because, you know, I've dabbled in some online ventures, which, we'll kind of dive into. Bento Boy was, like, my online persona, and I posted a lot of YouTube videos in, like, the NFT and crypto market. And I kind of grew my personal brand there and then also figured out ways to, I guess, monetize that brand as well.
Ryan Maruyama [00:03:32]:
I wanted to have both of you on because I have never talked about the NFT space. I've never really talked about the crypto space when, Really, what's interesting about is is the interview that I just did last week was a Bitcoin developer. And so we're gonna go back to back Bitcoin and then now crypto and the NFT space. So, yeah, I just wanted to kind of for everybody. And Brandon or Christian, either one of you could take a stab at this. Can we talk a little bit about what an NFT is?
Yeah. So an NFT is a a non fungible token, And, essentially, it's like a unique digital token. A great way that I like to put it is it's like a Pokemon in Pokemon GO. So you just kinda go along and collect these digital assets, and they do have monetary value behind them.
Ryan Maruyama [00:04:23]:
The thing about NFTs is Most people that are listening to this, it's 2023. Right? Most people that are listening to this, I'm guessing that they have heard the letters put together like NFT.
Ryan Maruyama [00:04:38]:
2 years ago, it was just like pictures or it was like apes or it was like bananas. What is the use case of NFTs?
Yeah. I think mainly, like, there's a lot of use cases, for NFTs. I mean, I guess the most popular one back in the day was just digital identity. So this was kind of like your community or brand that you would, I guess, quote unquote rep. I think you brought up, like, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which was probably the most popular example. But in essence, it's just a way of explaining that you own an online asset. It can give you a lot of various benefits like, if you owned a Bored Ape Yacht Club, a lot of the times, people think it's just the ape. However you get access to things like, you know, their Discord, their events that they throw, like, once or twice a year with Offset, Cardi B, and then some of the biggest artists.
And you also get things like free merchandise. They did a token, which I'm not sure I would necessarily recommend. You can really get a lot of online access to a wide range of things.
Ryan Maruyama [00:05:36]:
That is so interesting because you went down a completely different path. Like, what I would say the use case for NFTs Tease was, which is, like, you went down the community path and you went down the access path, which is awesome and amazing. For me, as somebody that's completely on the side of NFTs. And maybe I bought, like, an NFT just to see, like, what it was. Like, I think I went on OpenSea, and I'm pretty sure that I bought something that cost, like, 0.000 whatever one ETH just to, like Try it out. Right. Exactly. Just to see the transaction, right, and just to see what it was.
Ryan Maruyama [00:06:07]:
And I was like, personally, I didn't understand it, obviously, which is why I never got into it. But I do see the real world use case for me, it's kind of like either, like, certificate of authenticity of something. Obviously, it's a digital asset, but when I'm thinking about that too, it is really an access thing because I I was thinking the the most prevalent use case that I could think of in the real world is for, like, ticketing like Yeah. Yes. Yes. We did. We had the tickets. Right? And I have to pretty sure I had everybody's tickets, and it was just like a QR code on my phone.
Ryan Maruyama [00:06:51]:
Before that, you know, a few maybe a decade ago or so, you would have to, like, just have these paper tickets, and they would just, like, rip it. And they'd be like, yeah. You're you're good to go. That's my first thinking. Is that, like, for ticketing and for scalpers and for counterfeiters, the blockchain and NFTs really make a lot of sense. Or to say you've authentically got this type of accolade. Like, let's say you went to college. Other colleges like it.
Ryan Maruyama [00:07:29]:
And then when those colleges disappear, all of the people that went through it, all of their, like Like, degrees evaporate too. Like, you know what I mean? Like, there's no registrar's office to call anymore. It's interesting that you went straight to, like, the community aspect of it. It's a use case that I never would have thought of.
Yeah. I think it's a use case that was kind of, like, more in its early stages because it was just so simple and easy to understand. But I definitely think in the future and why people are so excited about NFTs in general is because of the use cases that you were talking about. Even South Korea, for example, is switching their driver's license onto the blockchain NFTs. I mean, I know the stigma around the whole Web 3 space in general is not great. However, like, the underlying technology, to me personally, and once you dig into, kinda makes a lot of sense for things like ticketing, like you said, even real estate certification, maybe even degrees, even though this is a degree free podcast. But I think it does make a lot of sense to roll these things out, and I think we're gonna see that in the near future.
Ryan Maruyama [00:08:29]:
Where do you see the NFT space going from here? I mean, is it dead?
Kind of what we've been talking thinking about. I think a lot of the whole community aspect and networking, probably what most people in the NFT space, like, are in now it's gonna have to evolve. It's selling these pictures of, like, monkeys and penguins for 10,000, like, $100,000 profit isn't necessarily, like, sustainable, especially for, like, a long term thing. However, if we dig more into it and we're thinking about, like, the proof of ownership of NFTs, how harvesting ticketing, maybe, like, even deeds to your houses, just more maybe real life usage or even, like, subscriptions to Netflix, YouTube, premium, things like that. It's probably where we're headed and not so much of buying and selling for, like, life changing amounts of money.
Ryan Maruyama [00:09:14]:
Yeah. So the first a prevalent use case that we're going back a couple of years. Right? It's Art, and it's Bored Ape Yacht Club, and it's all of these other projects that we're spun up. How do you assess the value of NFTs? And I'll ask that in a 2 part question, And this is for either one of you. How did you assess the value of NFTs when they were in demand? And then how do you assess value of NFTs fees now with the market being not as liquid.
In the time when we were kind of trading them, it was basically like a mania phase. Or I forgot it was a Tulip.
Oh, yes. Tulip mania. So, yeah, it's Tulip mania, just like a mania phase where you can almost buy anything that was kinda trending, and it would go just up in price. And the main value to us then was just how much money, like, could I make from this art set or these collections. Like So something unique that Brandon and I did was in the very early stages of people trading these pieces of art. A lot of it was just influencer based. So it'd be big names, FaZe Banks, Gary Vee, things like this on Twitter. They'd go out and tweet about their purchase, and then a whole bunch of people would try to ride along on top of that.
So a lot of it is word-of-mouth. However, what we did was We have these trading bots, made by one of our developers, and we track the wallets. And we bought these sets before they even came out publicly, saying that they bought it. Just like stuff like that is kind of what made us purchase or made the trades that we made. But as far as how much it's worth it's kind of insane because you have these pictures of penguins going for, like, tens of 1,000 of dollars. Oh my god. Like, I've never seen this before. So, yeah, it was definitely tough, But I don't know.
Yeah. I just trade it a little bit, stay in the space, get to know people in network, and you kinda get a feel of the market.
Ryan Maruyama [00:11:07]:
So a lot of it was Speculation then. Is that fair to say?
Yes. Most of it would I would say 99% of it was speculation, and I don't want, like, the audience to, I guess, get a wrong idea of the whole entire space. 99% of the people or basically almost a 100% of the people who got into the NFT space were there to make, some sort of money. And the main, I guess, utility of NFTs back then was how much profit could you make off of it. And that's what, like, a lot of people were saying on Twitter as well.
Ryan Maruyama [00:11:37]:
Yeah. Absolutely. It always seemed like to go back to what you were saying, Christian, about, you know, these influencers basically pumping their bags. Right? I mean, like, They bought a picture they bought a picture of, like, a ape, and then they just put put it on their Twitter profile, and they're getting, like, a 130,000,000 impressions, like, a day, some of them. And they're just like, yeah. Sounds good. The craze just keeps going. The craze just keeps going.
Ryan Maruyama [00:12:03]:
There's nothing wrong with it. I have talked to people before that who have practiced speculation, but don't want to admit that that's what it is because they're afraid of that dirty word. So to say it is, very refreshing. So thanks for being so honest there. As far as the speculation goes, were you guys Just buying and selling at the same time? Like, how many NFTs do you have now?
I think, for currently, both of us don't hold that many NFTs. Keys. But back in the day, we were avid traders. That's kind of how we got our start in the NFT space. You know, to start, we basically went online, and we're kind of like, I guess, the audience, where we're like, what the heck is this NFT thing? Like, this is all, like, kind of dumb. Right? This is, like, speculation. However, like, the more we dug into it, the more the NFT technology itself started to make sense. However, I still would say justifying the prices, like, 10,000, a $100,000, for a single picture.
Regardless of what you got was still mainly speculative and overvalued, but the underlying technology self made sense. That's how we kind of got our start in NFTs, and we started just buying a bunch, like Christian said, you know, using that bot that our dev created, and that was proven to be relatively profitable. But back in the day, I was a degenerate, so I was buying everything, penguins, lions, zoo eggs, the list goes on, and trying to sell them as best as I can for profit. But nowadays, now that the market's slowed down, I don't really trade that much. Shit.
And then kind of touching on top of that. So we have traded a whole bunch, you know, using these bots, just kind of going on Twitter. And then we've also started couple other NFT collections as well. And that's how, I guess, we've got our name in the NFT space.
Ryan Maruyama [00:13:46]:
What is squishy squad? Can we talk about squishy squad?
Yeah. A 100%. So squishy squad is a project that we created. And I guess back in the day when we were getting into this space and I was posting YouTube videos, a lot of the times people were struggling to make money, myself included. I remember the very first time I jumped into the NFT space, I was, like, this is gonna be easy. This is, like, I'm gonna make a ton of money really fast. I remember I bought this collection called Galactic Aliens. And almost immediately, off the bat, I lost, I think, over $3,000.
And this is from a high school kid who does not have, you know, a lot of money. And then from then, I was like, man, this is ridiculous. Like, first of all, not a smart move. But at the same time, I was, like, I really have to figure this out if I'm gonna be throwing a lot of money into it. Yeah. So from there, like Christian said, we got these bots. And a lot of the main problem was teaching people how to trade. So, you know, we had this idea going a little bit more in-depth into it of okay.
A lot of this space is kinda speculation. The question was, how do you tell which project was gonna move up in price? And the way we figured that out or the way we kinda went about that was there was a lot of influencers at the time, and I would compare it to Elon Musk. I'm not sure if you remember when he was talking about Dogecoin. But every time he tweeted about Dogecoin, the price went up. And you kinda saw the same thing in the NFT market. So these big influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers would buy an NFT. And since it's on the blockchain, you can verify it and see that. And then after they would buy it, they would quote unquote, you know, pump their bags to see the price go up, and they would tweet about it to their hundreds of thousands of followers, and then the price would go up.
And then a lot of the times, a lot of these influencers that I'm not gonna say are good or bad would sell on their followers for a profit. And that was just the reality of the entire space. So I saw that, and I was like, I'm the sucker buying the NFTs, off of these tweets and losing money as they sell on me. So instead of doing that, I'm gonna track these guys' wallets, and hunt them down because it's all public on the blockchain. We're gonna put it in a Discord tracker, which our Dev Deane did. He did a very good job at this. And after we started doing that and copied those trades, we started to make a good amount of money. And then from there, a lot of the people were asking, you know, how do you make money? We kind of explained it, and then we started selling that as the main, I guess, utility, or service for Squishy Squad because everyone was asking, you know, for, like, these bots that we were creating.
Ryan Maruyama [00:16:11]:
And so what did the mechanism of that look like? Like, what is squishy squad in general? Like, is it a NFT project, or is it an Is it a not problem? What is it?
Yeah. So squishy squad is a NFT collection. So we have 8,888, like, tokens or nonfungible tokens. And, essentially, what this does is if you own it, you get access into our Discord server, and then your profile will be authenticated, like checking your wallet saying, I own this, squishy squat NFT. And from there, you're able to use all of the trading bots that we've used just throughout. So I think as a proof of concept before was we had, like, our development team. So it was, like, me, Brandon, our developer, and a few, like, very close family friends. We've all made, like, a good amount of money, maybe tens, maybe even 100 of 1,000, using these bots.
And kinda like what Brandon said is we want to almost, like, help people and give access to these tools to, like, our community, our holders. So that's essentially, was the Starting point is so we went from there. People who own the NFT get access to the bots. Then we also had things like giveaways, where we almost gave out free NFTs or just ways for people to make money, things like that. Another thing was just, like, networking, a community, and a whole Lot more. Yeah. Just like with games and whatnot too and free or not free, but physical merchandise. So it just gave you access to a whole bunch of things, and we just wanted to go out, make a community there, and, yeah, have a good time.
Ryan Maruyama [00:17:42]:
That is brilliant. Like, really, really brilliant use case and a way to implement your guys' learnings. That is amazing. Whose idea was that to do that?
I think it was kind of everyone's idea. I think maybe the person that we're working with, our developer, was the one who was mainly pushing it. But yeah. So shout out to our talented dev.
Ryan Maruyama [00:18:04]:
That's awesome. There's 8,888 of these things. How do we develop? I'm assuming that it's, like, The artwork just like same thing with, like, a Bored Ape as well. So you just hire an artist, or is that just AI generated? Or what what does that look like technically?
Yeah. So we had, so what it's called is generative art. And so we basically hired an artist, and you don't should we make every single one, like, every single 8,888? Instead, what you do is you basically draw several assets. So we had, like, 33, like, face traits, 40, like, head traits, etcetera. And you basically randomize it, you know, using code, and it'll create, you know, 8,888 unique, you know, digital assets, yeah, mixing those combinations.
Ryan Maruyama [00:18:51]:
Before we move off of the subject of squishy squad, and I wanna get into a a few other things, what does the project look like now?
Yeah. So right now, we basically still have, you know, our community. I think one thing Christian didn't really touch on was the fact that we had this thing called whitelist back in the day, which was not necessarily our intent going into the project. But whitelist, essentially, for people who don't know, is, like, early access into these NFTs. And back in the day, when you got white listed for a super hyped up project, you could make a lot of money. And because Christian and I kind of grew our personal brands on YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok, etcetera, a lot of these projects did wanna give out early access. So that was really popular back in the day. I would almost say outperformed, you know, the bots that we're even giving out because after we released them, people were able to copy them, etcetera.
However, that was something that was super unique to us, was the white list attaining those? So a lot of our holders made a good amount of money. We're still doing that now. However, it's not as profitable. And we also have a lot of, you know, the things that we currently have, like community events, the giveaways, poker every single Friday night. And we also gave out the metal print to people who bought several for free, so you could get a nice squishy squad print. And we also gave out, you know, free merchandise shipped to them as well for our bigger holders. So as of right now, we're kind of carrying out a a road map, you could say, and promises, which is, as of right now, just, giving out white list, doing giveaways, and also being somewhat active in the community.
Ryan Maruyama [00:20:24]:
To circle back around, we talked about the buying signals that you guys had. Right? So you guys had this insight of, okay. I'm gonna track these wallets via bots because it's all in the blockchain, and it's all transparent. And so these are gonna be my buy signals. But what were your sell signals?
Almost just what we had with the buy signals. But we also had things that track their wall as soon as, these people sold them. Or also when you're kinda trading in the space, like, enough, you kinda feel like that mania phase or okay. This is, like, too good to be true. I can't believe I just, like, 5 x ed my investment in an hour. Just some feelings like that. Okay. This needs to, like, cool down.
This needs to Stop. So just probably selling along lines like that.
Yeah. Also, just to add on really quickly. I think that's a very good question, especially because you could get totally sucked into the, you know, whole entire narrative. Like, for me, personally, there were times where I was up, like Christian said, like, $10,000 literally over the span of 15 minutes. And here, people are on Twitter saying, oh, it's gonna go higher. And then when you have money invested, you almost start to believe it. So, you know, I lost a ton of money, just trying to hold on to these NFT assets, praying that they're they're going higher. And I think that's an important lesson for a lot of people that sell.
It's totally fine to sell, and that's, like, one of the big things I learned because I would much rather have, like, you know, like, those tens of 1,000 of dollars, rather than these NFTs that did not, I guess, pan out so well. And another thing that we also did was we tracked influencers' buys. We also saw where they were selling. So that was also one viable indicator or factor, that we took into consideration.
You know, we've done, like, pretty well, like, trading these pictures and NFTs. We've only, like, gotten, like, decent at it just because we've, like, lost, like, a lot of money too along the way, a lot of learning lessons. So, yeah, it's, like, very important to, like, definitely take profits, like, while you can before they just Because as fast as it goes up, it goes, like, down, like, way faster.
Ryan Maruyama [00:22:24]:
Absolutely. The taking profits is really, really important because it it can go south really, really quickly on you. And the reason why I asked that question is because I, myself, have Learn that the hard way, you know, of not taking profits and not taking profits. And and exactly what you were saying, Brandon, is is when you have money invested in it and you start hearing the narrative of, like, this thing's going to the moon. This thing's going to the moon. Whatever whatever it is. You know, it could be real estate in a certain certain market. It could be GameStop stock.
Ryan Maruyama [00:22:56]:
Whatever it is, you start to believe it, and, you know, you're 5 x up on your investment, and you're just like, well, I don't even wanna take out my money because then I'd I'm gonna lose all the upside. Really, with you 2 being so young, that's the reason why I wanted to ask about the selling. It was that you are wise beyond your years for having taken profit. And, basically, right now, as you said, the reason why I wanted to see where you guys were in NFTs and what your portfolio look like was because, you know, it I think pretty smart to be liquidated at this point and, you know, have your money in cash or, you know, in something else.
Oh, yeah. Definitely. And like you said, that's a huge problem, confirmation bias. You know, when you're in a project, or invest in anything, and it starts to go up. You start to think you're a genius, and then it confirms your bias. For example, I bought into this project called CyberKongs. Very very expensive n f t set. I think I paid around like maybe over $25 literally for a single JPEG.
Call me stupid. Call me dumb. You know, whatever. It happened. But I had this confirmation bias. You know? My friends, who are I consider smart traders in the space were saying, oh, this is gonna, like, go crazy. It's like the next Bored Ape Yacht Club. However, the price did start to go up, so I was up, you know, several $1,000, like 5 grand within a day.
And literally within a week of me buying this $25,000 JPEG, the price starts to plummet. Here I am starting to panic, and the price keeps going down and down. And I'm questioning why the hell am I even holding this, a damn picture. And overall, I have a whole entire YouTube video on this. I lost $20 on that one trade, and that was definitely something that could have been avoided, for sure. And I think that also just goes to depict, how crazy of a mania phase that we were in. I mean, also how stupid I kinda was to throw, that much money and gamble on a single, NFT.
Ryan Maruyama [00:24:56]:
I wanna ask a couple of more questions about the past, and I wanna talk about the future in a little bit. When we're talking about speculation, right, as as we've talked about before, one of the things that you have to contend with is money management. And as you were saying, Brandon, like, how much money we're gonna put into 1 project, into 1 asset. And the thing about NFTs, and correct me if I'm wrong, that's different about, like, let's say, if you were dabbling in tokens. Right. If you were dabbling in tokens or coins, whatever you wanna call them, at least you can get your money in and out, like, fractionally. Right. So you can put $10,000 into it, and then you can liquidate $8,000.
Ryan Maruyama [00:25:37]:
But as I understand it, If you buy a $20,000 ape, you're in for a $20,000 ape until you sell that $20,000 ape.
Exactly. It's highly, highly liquid, which is why the price can go up so much really fast, but it's also the reason why it could go down so much really fast.
Ryan Maruyama [00:26:04]:
Were there any rules? But for myself, when I was dabbling and I didn't do NFTs, but during the during the craze, I was in tokens, and I set aside a portfolio of $10,000. As somebody who is pretty not risk averse, I'm okay with a bunch of risk. My units are gonna be $500 to $1,000. So it's 1 unit is 500 and then 2 units is a1000, is what I'm gonna be putting into this certain project. And so if I put in a 1,000, if I put in 2 units, I got 10 shots at this thing. If I only put 500, then I have 20. Did you guys approach it in a similar way, or is there any type of thing that you guys thought about.
Initially, I would say there were almost no rules. Again, this is when I was, like, a very, very beginner. I had, like, almost no budget. I was just, like, thinking whatever could make me the most money. You know? I was in. Like, I was down to just try it out. But then later, as I've, like, lost and I've I've lost a lot, and I've made some money. We've kinda gone back to this whitelist thing.
I became, like, very, very no risk when we upside trading. So in a sense, like, after we kinda established who we are, we got special access to these upcoming collections. So for example, let's say there's a new collection like coming out on Saturday. We were able to buy them almost like at wholesale prices, let's say, at, like, $100, and then you're able to take that price, after you buy it and then sell it on the retail market for, let's say, $500. So that's 400 and without any risk because you're almost able to see the market ahead of time. Because before I purchase it for $100, I can look at OpenSea. So I look at OpenSea and see that they're trading at, like, a higher number, like 500. So I'm like, okay.
You know, there's no risk. I'll buy it at a 100, sell it at 500, and there is my 400 in, like, no risk money. It's almost free, which was why again. It was a crazy time. So that's kind of the trades that we take now as to before where it is more speculative and just, like, hoping that the price would go up.
Oh, yeah. Adding on to Christian, I think when we both kind of came out of high school, there were no rules, basically, which was completely dumb. I will definitely say it here. A lot of people say, like, oh, you're, like, smart. You know, when you first jumped in into these, trades, like, how did you know? A a lot of it, I'm gonna be completely honest, is is was luck, and there was also a lot of learnings along the way. Like I said, I had that $3,000 loss. I also had some big gains as well. But I would not recommend people going and blowing, like, their graduation or, like, all their birthday or savings, I'm on speculative assets.
I would say almost more times than not, you will lose that money. And I I learned that from that first trade that we initially we talked about. And luck was a big factor, I think, in both of our journeys. So the way I would, like Christian said, we definitely became more risk off, and less degenerate, you could say. I mean, the way I think people maybe should think about it, or the way I like to think about it now, is if I'm going into a very speculative venture, I will set aside money. But I'm not thinking about this as like actual capital or like my quote unquote business. You have to be totally fine losing all of it. And that's kind of the way we approach NFTs or coins now, because most of the time it is just speculation.
And if you're gonna play the game, you gotta play the game, I guess, smart and be okay at losing the money. So I kind of look at it like going into almost like a casino and just trying to get lucky.
Ryan Maruyama [00:29:20]:
Like Hey there. I hope you're enjoying our conversation and getting a lot of value out of it. Here's a little behind the scenes. We don't pay our guests to join us. They come on purely to share their stories and experiences in the hopes that you can learn from their mistakes and take some lessons away so that you can change your life. The more our podcast reaches people just like you, the more brilliant degree free people we can have on as guests to come and share their stories. So if today's conversation resonated with you Or you've listened to multiple episodes. Please take a moment and share this episode with a friend.
Ryan Maruyama [00:29:52]:
Just a simple click on that share button or a shout out on your stories will make a world of difference. More shares means more listeners, and more listeners means more amazing guests for you. If you could do that right now, you would play a huge role in keeping this chain of knowledge going. Thank you for being a huge part of degree free. Yeah. Absolutely. And Thank you for clarifying that because for the audience myself, that is exactly what I did. Right? So the $10,000 wasn't like, my birthday money.
Ryan Maruyama [00:30:21]:
What I didn't need it for groceries or anything. I I just the way that I thought about it, it's like, I wanna learn about this thing. And if I can make some money at the same time doing it, then okay. Perfect. Right? And so I was totally okay with using the $10 as an education if I had lost it oh, right. And they're just like, how do wallets work? Because prior to that, I had no idea. I own some crypto, but it was all sitting on exchanges. So I had never ever sent it to a wallet.
Ryan Maruyama [00:30:48]:
No idea what that looked like. Right? And I was like, okay. Well, how about we boot up a wallet and we move some money off of this exchange, put it here, and then this thing is in ETH. But then there's this other chain, and they want Binance for that. And then, like, how do you swap those things? And so for me, that's exactly what I thought. It was like, we are walking into a casino, and if I lose it all, you know, if I get fleeced, then, you know, so be it. But I'm gonna walk out of here with some lessons. And that's kind of a perfect segue because I wanted to talk about some of the biggest lessons that both of you learned.
Ryan Maruyama [00:31:22]:
And, Christian, I'll let you go first. Like, from your experience with everything that you've done so far, creating your community around squishy squad, creating these bots, the NFTs. What are some of the biggest lessons learned that you can give to the audience.
I'd say one of the toughest things and one of the best things that I've learned is almost how to manage a team. Because, again, Brandon it's, like, right out of high school. I have, like, 1 year in college. Neither one of us have, like, any real world experience. So then you take these brand new unexperienced kids, and you put put them in a position of, like, oh, now you have to manage, like, people around the world, people who are, like, way older than us. It's very new. Yeah. Put it that way.
I'd say managing people can be pretty hard, but it kinda just gets easier over time. Just things like that, making sure that everyone like, that you're making, like, a good workspace, a healthy work environment. And then another thing was having a good team around you. Brandon was, like, a great person to work with. You know, he's my brother, So I trust them, like, a lot. Everyone kinda had the same values, and that's kinda what you want in a team. So I'd say definitely, like, managing people, well, having the right people around you is probably the most important part of business and running your own project or company.
To add on to that, some big lessons that we learned. The first one, I think, which is probably the biggest one, and I think a lot of the audience could maybe relate to is you gotta kind of try, you know, whether it's maybe diving into NFTs. Maybe it's starting your own business. You know? Whatever it is, you gotta kinda get out there and just do the action. I think for me, a lot of my life, I was in this analysis paralysis, this, phase where I would have to analyze everything and the conditions had to be perfect, for me to, you know, actually execute it. But there it was a big jump for me to just start a YouTube channel, you know, start posting YouTube videos, for someone who's never done it before. Try make money or try start a business, in the up and coming Web 3 space. And no.
Things weren't perfect. I wish I could have done things differently. Whether it's, you know, relationships, whether it's how I handled specific situations, whether it's selling that $20,000 JPEG for a profit. You don't learn those lessons if you don't get out there and just do the work. And although you may fail, I think it's better to try and fail than to not try at all. And I know that sounds kinda corny or cliche, but that's something that I really took away from, you know, this whole entire situation.
Ryan Maruyama [00:33:42]:
And final question about your guys' past, if you guys don't mind me asking. We're talking a lot about money. We're we're talking a lot about speculation. Just to put a bow and just put round numbers for the audience, if you don't mind sharing. You guys we're successful. What does that look like? How much money did we make? Like, what was our starting amount of money, and then what did you guys end up with now that you guys are not in NFTs at all anymore?
Okay. So I guess starting out in the NFT space right out of high school, I probably had maybe, I think, total of 20 thousand. This is from, like, previous, you know, work, birthday money, etcetera. And then, like I said, when I jumped into it, probably lost half of my money. So maybe down to, like, 10,000. Smart or not smart? We'll find out. But, you know, after that, started trying to be a little bit smarter. Started a YouTube channel, did the bots.
Then we started to make in the 6 figure range, which was definitely a good feeling. And then after that, we started the squishy squad collection, which generated, I guess, over 7 or in the 7 figure range.
Ryan Maruyama [00:34:42]:
How do you guys do the split? Is it is everything you guys do 5050? Or you have a portfolio and you have a portfolio?
Yeah. It's a little bit separated, not completely 5050. But, yeah, that's something that we kinda just talk about.
Ryan Maruyama [00:34:54]:
And then I would love to I guess I should have asked this before. How old are you 2? Brandon, how old are you?
21. I turned 21, like, 2 weeks ago.
Ryan Maruyama [00:35:05]:
Uh-huh. Awesome. Happy birthday.
Ryan Maruyama [00:35:08]:
Christian, how old are you?
I'm 22. But yeah. No. At the time, I don't think any of us could. Like, when we started squishy squad and we were, you know, making all, like, that money. None of us could even drink. Like, legally, no one in our team was allowed to consume alcohol, so it's kinda nuts. It's it's definitely a crazy time.
Ryan Maruyama [00:35:25]:
Okay. So you guys caught us up to the present or at least the recent past, and you made 6 6 figures. You made 7 figures on these deals, you guys are completely out of NFTs, and you guys are still doing the squishy squad. But as far as your own portion of portfolios, you guys are out of NFTs right now. What Does the future look like? What is your plan? And, Christian, I'll start with you because you're the oldest. What does the plan look like? I know right now you're in college. What does it look like from here?
Mhmm. Yeah. So right now, Brandon and I, we're both back in school. We're both studying finance. And then what we have been also doing now is probably going on the safer side of investments, learning the family business, which is real estate. So right now, Brandon and I are on our 3rd investment property here in Hawaii. So we're kinda just, like, taking these homes, maybe developing them a little bit, fixing them up, and then putting it back on the market. That's essentially what our family does.
So we're just learning, that trade. Feel it could be a pretty cool skill to have in the future.
Ryan Maruyama [00:36:25]:
So, Brandon, yourself doing finance as well?
Yeah. So I'm currently back in school even though this is the degree free podcast. But like Christian said, we're trying to, you know, learn how to buy and sell properties, which I think is a pretty valuable skill to have. Still learning a lot, but I'm trying to explore that venture and, you know, just get out there and try. And it's been a great experience working, you know, with Christian, with my dad. So overall, I think I definitely want to go down that path. However, I think for me personally, it's kind of hard to say because there's a lot of options that I could possibly go down, whether that is completing college and, you know, getting working a regular job or whether that's going down, you know, this a real estate path or trying to go down, you know, the online money making path. It's kind of hard to say, and I'm in this position where I'm still trying to figure everything out, and I still think that's alright.
I do think that the future is kind of unknown. And to me, that's a bit scary. But I hope that, you know, if I keep at it and keep working hard, that things will kinda figure themselves out, pretty soon.
Ryan Maruyama [00:37:27]:
Yeah. Absolutely. And you got your head screwed on. Right? I mean, everything that you said is true. Then I'll add that you're still young and that you've got plenty of time to figure it out, whatever that means for you. But I did wanna push back on both of you for your decision to go to college as far as getting a degree in finance or studying finance at all. Where is the utility for you to study finance in school. Like, what is it about school that offers you something that you can't already learn in the real world or that you can't learn working with your dad or that you haven't learned already in your crypto and NFT ventures.
Yeah. That's a really good point. Especially having the experience that we have, I feel like, you know, school might not necessarily it is not necessary for us. I think we're kind of in different scenarios where I was essentially 3 years into college already, and then we started the Business, the online business. I only have, like, 1 more year left, so I thought, you know, I might as well just finish up pretty, like, far down. But, like, again, there are things on the side that we try to do, things like the real estate ventures that we've been on. And similar to Brandon, honestly, the future is, like, pretty unknown. I guess I took more of just like a traditional path.
Again, almost being done with college, I decided to just finish up and see what, I guess, doors open from there as well.
Yeah. That's a good question. Something I've been thinking about for a while. I think that right now, I kind of have the free time ish to be back in school. That's kind of the reason why, I'm taking almost all asynchronous classes. But I'm I'm actually not entirely sure if I do want to, you know, complete the whole entire, 4 year course. Because like Christian said, I do have a while to catch up. But, that's something I'm still trying to, I guess, decide upon.
And the reason or utility, I guess, for going back is if I ever did wanna go into, I guess, like, private equity or investment banking. That's, I guess, one of those career paths that I think you may need a degree in or I think that's what most people do look for.
No. It's really funny, Ryan, because every time we come home and Brandon's like, oh, I have homework to do. I was like, oh, like, oh, man. Like, yeah. You should probably get on that. He's like, Yeah. I'm gonna drop out, dude. I'm gonna I'm not gonna do this.
Ryan Maruyama [00:39:58]:
Yeah. You should think about it. If you do it, you should come back on, Brandon, and walk us through your decision to do so. What I wanted to ask both of you Does it make sense? Like, with what you guys are doing right now, it's incredibly smart. And once again, you guys are both wise beyond your years to take some of your winnings, I'll call it, for a lack of a better word. You take some of your winnings and make that money work for you and then learn the family business of real estate. And what's so awesome about it for for you folks is that with a 7 figure outcome, 6 figure outcome, you have the money to play in the market and that you're in. And do making that money work for you is amazing.
Ryan Maruyama [00:40:40]:
What I wanted to ask you folks, though, was have you thought about pursuing a career in the crypto space?
Yeah. I think it's something that I definitely considered. It's also pretty volatile, which is kind of, something that I'm not sure I necessarily love. But I think if I were to, it would definitely have to be, I guess, more smart about it. But in terms of, like, the NFT space, a big issue, I guess, technical issue, is they did start getting rid of royalties for a lot of, projects and collections. And so that's kind of the reason why we're seeing this decline as well is that there's no, I guess, more incentive because, usually how it works is if you bought an NFT, you would get, like, a percentage of it. Say, for example, if I sold, like, a Pokemon card, for $100 and the royalty fee was 5%. The original person who made it would get the 5%.
However, now that's kind of not the case, and that's, like, a technical issue that's been widely debated in the Web3 space. So that's kind of an issue that came up as well. Another thing is that, the the crypto space is something I'm still kind of learning. And I think, I'm not too sure what a full time career path would be. It would probably be something in content creation, which I'm not sure I would necessarily love to do full time. I don't know about Christian, though.
Mhmm. Yeah. I mean, it's definitely something that we definitely thought about. However, kinda like what Brandon was saying or just what we were talking about earlier, the state of the market all seems a little, like, unsustainable. Not that I doubt. Let's say Bitcoin or Ethereum for, like, let's say, the next 5, 10 years. It's kind of where we specialize in for NFTs. And that aspect is, just seems like unsustainable at the moment.
So probably maybe a look down how to make it more sustainable for the future. And outside of that, again, just learning other skills, probably like real estate and whatnot.
Ryan Maruyama [00:42:33]:
Smart. Take your money and run.
Like Definitely, trying to especially when, like, the prices, like, fluctuate so much. You know? We we try to stay probably, yeah, more stable, like, wealth preservation in that sense.
Ryan Maruyama [00:42:48]:
Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. There's a saying that making money and keeping money, they're 2 different games. They're 2 different sports. When you're in the wealth creation phase, you're going to do things. You're going to take different actions. You're gonna make different decisions.
Ryan Maruyama [00:43:05]:
You're going to consider different outcomes and different factors Then you would if if you were preserving money. So it makes a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense. And for you and for you too, like like I said before, and I'm sure you guys hear it all the time, but you're you guys are young. You guys are young, and you guys were very savvy and very fortunate, very smart to take advantage of a trend that you guys saw and all the little inferences that both of you saw in the crypto space. And then not only not only seeing it because everybody sees something. Right? Everybody has an opinion about something. And this is to Brandon's point of, like, just trying different thing things and getting out of analysis paralysis.
Ryan Maruyama [00:43:48]:
You know? How many times in my life have I said, like, oh, I wish I could do this, or I see this in the market. Maybe I should do that, but then I'll I never did it. Right? And then for you to have these little inferences like, hey. Look. Before like, if they pump their bags, then it goes up, and then literally putting your money where your mouth is. I mean, that that was amazing. Yeah. It's awesome.
Ryan Maruyama [00:44:09]:
And I have a couple of questions that I ask everybody, and I'll start with Brandon first. If people wanted to follow along in your career, Brandon, they've wanted say hi. Where can I send them?
I guess, mainly, my Twitter, or now it's called x, although I don't tweet, as often. Bento boy NFT and YouTube channel is just, Bento boy.
Ryan Maruyama [00:44:31]:
Perfect. Perfect. And Christian?
Same as Brandon. My just on x or Twitter would be great at ricecakenft or Instagram at Christian Kin.
Ricecake and Bento boy.
Yeah. Rice cake and Bento boy.
Ryan Maruyama [00:44:44]:
Rice cake and Bento boy. Back at it again.
Ryan Maruyama [00:44:50]:
And then last question. Is there are there any final words, thoughts, pieces of advice that you have for the audience? And this time, Christian, you can go 1st.
Kinda what Brad had said. Just go out and try new things because we definitely would not be in the position that we're in if we just, like, let's say, took a traditional route Of staying in college, maybe getting a internship over the summer. Like, we would not be where we are now without having trying, like, these really like like, I would have never thought that I'd be where I am today. Even like 3 years ago, I wouldn't even know what an NFT is. But now, you know, you go out, you here, a cryptocurrency, you just dive into that. Try to learn as much as you can just like through YouTube or, just networking with other people, seeing stuff like that and then just learning, hopefully, maybe getting your hands a little dirty, learn about it. If you do well, you know, that's great. And if you don't, it's just like a learning lesson.
So just go out, and try new things for sure.
Ryan Maruyama [00:45:45]:
Brandon, any last words, thoughts for the audience?
Yeah. I don't know if I'm in, like, any position at all to give, like, I guess, advice to, other people, especially, you know, even at this age. But I guess maybe something that I would tell to myself maybe before is, some of my practical skills. Like, networking is huge. I don't think we could have done what we've done if we didn't have, connections. Like, whether even that's, you know, Christian who found Dean, you know, our dev, and also, you know, other your friends in the space, reaching out. Network is probably a very a really, really powerful tool. I mean, it can also inspire you, and it can also lead to a lot of other open doors.
So so that's, I guess, a practical thing. Also, another practical thing is there's a huge, huge power in personal branding. So I think that if you're interested in that. You should definitely start. Like, for example, posting on YouTube, Twitter. Although you might think people don't care, you know, some people might, and it could also lead to a lot of good things. And I think now, attention is the new, I guess, digital, or new oil or new gold, whatever you wanna call it. So if you wanna do that, I would highly recommend it.
Like I said earlier, work hard and, I guess, try to grow and just try your best, to do new things. And as long as you're growing, I think that's the the main point. And as long as you're getting better, then I don't think you can necessarily, quote, unquote, a fail in that aspect.
Ryan Maruyama [00:47:06]:
Gentlemen, Brandon, Christian, thank you guys so much for coming on the podcast. We really, really appreciate it. And by the time that this comes out, I should be seeing you in person in a couple of weeks.
Let's go. Oh, I'm excited. Jamaica, baby.
Get the boys back together.
Ryan Maruyama [00:47:27]:
Boys back together. Like Alright, guys. See you soon. Alright.
Thank you for having us. Yep.
Ryan Maruyama [00:47:33]:
How was it? I know that I enjoyed having this conversation. If you like this episode, please consider sharing this episode with a friend and leaving comments. Leave any questions that you have for Brandon or for Christian Or for myself at our YouTube, just go to youtube.com/atdegreefree. And if you would like to receive a short weekly email that has different degree free jobs, different degree free companies, and how you can get hired without a college degree. Go to degreefree.c0forward/newsletter to sign up for our free weekly newsletter. And as always, show notes are at degreefree.c0forward/podcast. And that is it for this week. Until next time.
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