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Rashid Ajami, CEO of Metropolis World, on Building a Metaverse and the Synergy Between E-commerce & Crypto | Ep. 212

In an exclusive interview with cryptonews.com, Rashid Ajami, Co-Founder & CEO of Metropolis World, talks about building an immersive world without AR/VR, blending e-commerce & blockchain, and creating web3 apps that look & feel like web2 apps.

About Rashid Ajami

Rashid Ajami is the Co-Founder & CEO of Metropolis World, a metaverse experience and virtual landscape comprised of stunning art, a physi-digital marketplace, and an immersive itinerary of curated programming, perks, and events.

Rashid is also an electronic music producer and sound design artist based in London. He has released critically acclaimed tracks on renowned labels such as Anjunadeep, Get Physical, Noir, Tale + Tone, TOR, and Armada Electronic Elements. He’s collaborated with electronic music heavyweights Booka Shade and Julia Govor, been remixed by the likes of Maya Jane Coles and Ramon Tapia, supported by Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1, as well as featuring in some of the world’s biggest music titles such as Rolling Stone, Mixmag, DJ Mag, and Clash.

Rashid Ajami gave a wide-ranging exclusive interview which you can see below, and we are happy for you to use it for publication provided there is a credit to www.cryptonews.com.

Highlights Of The Interview

  • Blending unique properties, e-commerce, gaming, art, fashion
  • Moving from the music industry to crypto
  • Secret sauce of building in a bear market
  • Building an immersive world without AR/VR
  • Web3 apps that look & feel like web2 apps

 

 

 

Full Transcript Of The Interview

Matt Zahab 
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the Cryptonews Podcast. We are buzzing as always, and I’m super pumped to have today’s guest on the show we have Rashid Ajami, coming in hot from beautiful London England one of my favorite cities, easily top three city in the whole world you gotta love that place. Rashid is the Co-Founder and CEO of Metropolis World a Metaverse experience and virtual landscape comprised of stunning art, a physi-digital marketplace and an immersive itinerary of curated programming perks and events. Rashid is also an electronic Music Producer highly recommend checking out his tracks I will include these in the show notes. I’ve been bumped him all week, and Sound Design Artists based in London. He’s released critically acclaimed tracks on renowned labels such as Anjunadeep, Get Physical, Noir, Tail and Tone, TOR and Armada Electronic Elements. He’s also collab with electronic music heavyweights such as Booka Shade, and Julia Govor, been remixed by the likes of Maya Jane Coles and Ramon Tapia also been supported by Pete Tong on BBC Radio One we’ve all heard that Pete Tong intro you’ll love that as well as featuring in some of the world’s biggest music titles such as Rolling Stone, Mixmag, DJ Mag and Clash. Been a hot minute we finally got him on Rashid, welcome to the show my friend. 

Rashid Ajami 
Great to be here. Really happy to be here. 

Matt Zahab 
You live in London man how much of a treat is London I love starting off by getting to know the guest city. It’s every time I go to London such a magical place. The only thing I don’t like is you guys don’t get a lot of sun, which sometimes irks me a little but every time I’ve been there it is beyond world class. How sweet is it live in in London man? 

Rashid Ajami 
It’s amazing. I mean, I was born here grew up here and for me London’s a beautiful city, you know you have a lot happening. But then you have great parks good nature as well in the middle of the city. So it’s definitely home. 

Matt Zahab 
You must have DJ that some pretty sick clubs there as well. 

Rashid Ajami 
Yeah, I mean the scene here for music is one of the top scenes I’d say it’s very intimate. You have these intimate clubs, that people they come there for the music, East London has a great vibe. So I actually spent a year in LA, which I love for the weather it was phenomenal. But I ultimately still ended up back in London. It’s definitely where my heart is at. 

Matt Zahab 
Before we get into the Crypto and Metropolis World Rashid, I’d love to buzz on the music forefront for a little bit. How did you get into it? Me personally, I have next to no music fibers in my body. I love listening to music. I feel like in life, you’re either blessed with athletic genes or musical genes, I got the athletic genes, I can’t play any instruments to save my life. I’ve always wanted to I’ve tried. I just don’t have it. So I’m always made perhaps jealous is the wrong word. But I have such an appreciation for people like yourself who have this musical gene. Did you get in at a young age where your parents you know, put you on to music lessons and all that and then walk me through? How did you actually become a sweet DJ, and what was it like working with some of these massive labels and DJs in the space as well? 

Rashid Ajami 
Yeah, totally. I mean, I did grow up playing piano and violin, in the classical sense of my parents forced me to do it at a young age, and I’ll be honest I didn’t enjoy that. So it wasn’t something that I was super passionate about. But it at least did give me some musical background, and at university I was actually at Georgetown in Washington, DC. There was a lot of great you know, parties happening and people were starting to listen to deep house, and I just started creating music out of the blue I started of GarageBand and downloaded Logic and started playing and created a track called Rule the World with no musical experience in production, and actually ended up getting it remixed by Maya Jane Coles, I just sent it out to a few people. She picked it up remixed it and it’s a very simple track. It’s got limited, you know technical, isn’t it’s not a technically good produced track, but it had some sense of vibe to it, and just having that confidence of Maya doing the remix was where my career basically started in university and just from that I gave me the confidence to keep pushing, keep learning and grow the career. 

Matt Zahab 
Being a DJ at Georgetown uni. That must have been an absolute treat and a half. 

Rashid Ajami 
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s just coming from London was one great thing. I mean, you know it’s just, especially in the States going to university that having being free, you know leaving home, and then just getting into the music scene in DC was really exciting, and it was really at the time when deep house was becoming a thing you know, before that you had the big EDM element Swedish House Mafia days, which I loved and I actually really liked their music. It has this emotive feel to it. But for me, I was all about creating these more chilled vocal house tracks and I just got really into it. I was very passionate about it and it was very lucky to start off on great labels like in Junior Deep and having Maya kind of gave me the chops very early on when I really wasn’t actually that experienced as a producer. 

Matt Zahab 
I love that. Who tickles your fancy right now? For me I think my I’m sure you’ve heard a Fred Again, he’s blown up. I love his tracks. It just gets me in some type of vibe. But I still think and this is pretty cliche nowadays, but like Rufus is my top. I feel like you can study to that you can do research to that you can run go to the gym chill on the beach. I feel like it’s just perfect for everything. Who on this sort of electronic side gets you going right now? 

Rashid Ajami 
Yeah, funnily enough I have to agree Rufus is one of my favorites as well, because it’s not melodic, easily accessible music so I really rate them and then Blond:ish I like a lot from a DJ perspective, because she has this very broad ability to play to you know different styles. So and funnily enough, I really like all genres. I also like hip hop, I love classical even just because of having played it in the past. So I’m very open to a lot of different music. But unfortunately with my currently doing Metropolis I haven’t been producing as much recently. That’s the one downside, 

Matt Zahab 
Of course, and we’ll get into that how you and the team at Metropolis are going to tie in? Well, you’ve already tied in but are going to continue to tie in that musical element. But was such a crazy musical background, why the jump to Crypto, why the jump to sort of the Metaverse niche, and for those at home listening like check out the website, the NFTs, it’s absolute bananas. It’s just a crazy vertical futuristic world, the art is phenomenal. But before we get into metropolis, like why the jump from music to crypto? 

Rashid Ajami 
So really it was music that brought me to Crypto and NFTs because I was feeling frustrated with the music industry in the sense that unless you’re like really heavily on the DJ circuit and touring, it’s not an easy, it’s not easy to make money really, you know you’re in a position is where if you’re just purely producing, which I was getting to the stage was focused more on production, there was no way to really monetize that firstly was the first thing I was looking at it and two I’m interested in audio visual, and I saw NFTs and it was this opportunity to create these audio visual pieces and it just opened this whole thing of digital to me and actually launched on April falling through eternity which was short music clips with cool visuals and then unlocks even more music can you start to have this ability to create a journey that you don’t typically have doing the typical release on a label, which is a way of producing music. 

Matt Zahab 
And on the traditional music side as well I’ve been fortunate enough to have a bunch of guests on similar to yourself who have you know, pretty amazing experiences and resumes in the music industry, and it seems like there’s a ConsenSys that Blockchain tech and NFTs will unlock so much more for the avid and you know, diehard fan of artists and I assume you’re living in the same yard as those people. 

Rashid Ajami 
Yes, totally. Because I’ve noticed one of the key aspects of Blockchain and I think works for music is this idea of fan base loyalty, opening that up and having a better relationship from artists to listener, and it gives you a sense of kind of ownership of the music, especially if it’s exclusive if you launch an exclusive NFT that you lose a little bit with today’s typical streaming because you know the old days you go to a vinyl store you pick it up it might be exclusive, no one else has it, then it was CDs and it was a fun experience of that purchase. That is a bit lost in you know, just streaming music on YouTube even and that’s great gives a lot of access, NFTs almost takes you back to owning a piece of music that and cherishing it and having provenance around it. 

Matt Zahab 
It’s crazy. It’s pretty bananas, how much the music industry has changed over the last like even half decade, specifically with the prominence of social media, like even I’m not a big TikTok guy but again, as a marketer and as someone with clients, I have to spend a short period of time every week on TikTok to know the new trends to know the new songs and like there are so many artists that are blown up just from having one hook and one song go viral on TikTok and another sort of caveat to that is like the new trend of artists no longer creating you know, classic Stairway to Heaven. What is that eight, nine-minute song now? It’s like you create songs that are two minutes and 20 seconds long, just so people stream the shit out of it. Like I find it absolutely bananas. 

Rashid Ajami 
Absolutely. I mean, it’s funny because it feels like it’s getting shorter and shorter. Eventually people are making like 10 second records. But yeah, I feel the same way and it’s in a way I liked that opportunity opens up obviously the ability for people to make it big and get their voice. I know a lot of young artists that great talented artists that they struggle to get out there because they don’t know the right gatekeepers in the music industry. So I think something like that on TikTok amplifies that. But then NFTs also amplifies that because you have this ability to have a new medium to release music and offer something different, which doesn’t currently exist. So it’s really exciting. I don’t think music’s fully formulated from the Blockchain Web3 perspective, I think it’s like the next thing that people are looking at and I think it needs more mass adoption, just generally Blockchain and Web3 for it to really take off. But I think there’s definitely something in there from a music perspective. 

Matt Zahab 
So Rashid let’s say I want to start you know the, I want to be a DJ. I’ll call myself Matt easy on the decks whatever. I started, you know making some deep house songs because if I were to start I’d be doing some tropical house or some deep house, you know the kind of tracks that I like listening to? How would you recommend if you were to give me just like a one to two minute primer? How would you recommend I utilize Blockchain technology NFTs or perhaps even just traditional routes, obviously there’s the basics like, get on TikTok, YouTube shorts, you know Snapchat, Facebook reels, do all the things that scale, the easier ways to blow up. But I guess, speaking in traditional Web2 social media platforms, and using Blockchain NFTs, what would be your two-minute primer to make a name for yourself as a new musician in the industry. 

Rashid Ajami 
Totally. So I think on the traditional side, so if someone’s trying to release music in a traditional way, I’d say from my experience trying to get a recognized artist, or more recognized it doesn’t have to be, you know Maya Jane Coles or Black Coffee, but someone who’s already has a following to some degree to do an edit or a remix of your track, is a really great way to immediately have a new audience because let’s say you had a Maya Jane Coles do the remix, immediately her audience potentially becomes your audience, and you can kind of row from that. So I would look at that, I’d say you know, don’t be precious of the music in the sense that let people edit it, let people rework it, get it out there for even other creators. On the Blockchain side, I think the beauty there is that you can build and Blockchain these small, very heavily engaged communities through Twitter, and because it’s a small crew, compared to the larger you know, worldwide listening audience, the people in Web3, it’s a small community still. So if you’re consistent in a small community, even if you build up 50 listeners, but they’re going to follow everything you do and buy your NFTs, and you can get them in a discord, talk to them get feedback, that’s the first step I think and once you have 50, then it goes to 100 and 100 goes to 1000. Before you know it, you’re starting to get more opportunity. So I would take those two avenues at the same time. If I was starting from scratch and trying to DJ because it does help I have to say like getting some gig, you know you’re let’s say you’re in Mexico as you said somewhere, like you go to the local place, play that consistently, people are gonna be like, who’s this guy and you actually builds up over time. 

Matt Zahab 
And all it takes is like one influencer, or one person in the audience with a big following you know, taking a quick TikTok video, or Instagram video posting to their story of you buzzin on the decks and you’re off to the races, it’s pretty crazy. And just a caveat to your point as well. It’s like I want to say, I learned this on the Tim Ferriss Podcast, but it’s the rule of 1000 true fans where it’s like, once you have 1000 true fans who will purchase anything you put out, like if you put something out for you know, 50 bucks a pop, and you have 1000 true fans, we’re gonna pay for that $50 release, whether it’s an NFT or anything else it’s like, you can make a living off that and getting 1000 In today’s day and age with social media having a reach of what half the world about 4 billion people with internet connections? Like it’s not that difficult to do you know what I mean? 

Rashid Ajami 
Exactly, I realized I’m a big believer in that’s the way to do it. You have to you know, you treat every single listener as the listener you know, as the you give everyone that that level of attention. I used to always just anyone that commented on my SoundCloud, I’d respond, I’d give a personal message because that what’s the listener right, that will listen to all your stuff, you know go on that journey with you and I think we forget that sometimes in this you know, whenever you see people have a million likes and their stuff. But the way to really build a true audience is to build the first core audience, your true people who really believe in you back you and it’s the same in Web3 we’re seeing that in Web3 of all these different communities are tiny communities, who are doing a lot as a small group of individuals. 

Matt Zahab 
They truly care well said. Let’s jump into Metropolis World. It is a crazy Metaverse experience the virtual landscape, you have the crazy art. You have the creative programming, perks, events, you name it. What was sort of the aha moment or inception story of Metropolis World? When did you and your sis sort of decide? Wow we got to make this happen. 

Rashid Ajami 
Totally so I think for me, I started looking at NFTs on the music side, the one of one NFT so looking at known are rich and super rare at the time when that was really kicking off, then started looking at these larger collections, the PFP collections jumping in the disk was getting into the communities, and that what I felt was missing was a depth to the worlds that they were building, you know that kind of mythology behind some of these collections, the artwork, it was good, but there was room to do more and really develop something more, and my sister created something called PIP Silent, which was an immersive experience in Times Square for kids, a bit like Sleep No More, I don’t know, if you remember, Sleep No More was a big thing that people would go through it, and there’s actors, and you engage with them and you’re in these sets and it’s like a real world immersive experience, and seeing she’s been doing that for many years world building for many years, I felt there was an opportunity to bring my music side, her world building experience, and create something that’s really next level. So always from the beginning was like, let’s create next level of like forget generative you know, let’s build a city that every single building is unique, and let’s make sure that every building has a story, and it’s a world as rich as Harry Potter and so we went head one point first, you know like it was all about let’s build the content, the partners, we had brought on board 75 founding citizens, people like Steve Aoki, Blond:ish all the way to artists, to Yung Gravy, all these cool individuals to contribute to the world, and we kind of went content partnerships, IP first, versus building a 3d world with empty, that we felt you know it, no one’s there because there’s nothing to do. 

Matt Zahab 
The art side of what you guys did is so intriguing to me. Like, how did you come up with that style? And how did you go about drawing each building by hand? Like, again you can tell that this isn’t computer generated? Because each plot of land slash building whatever you want to call it, each NFT is so different like, who was the art director? How did he or she or they come up with this? Like, walk me through that whole story. 

Rashid Ajami 
Yeah. So my sister is Chief Creative Officer. So she kind of looks, handles the whole world building the aesthetic, you know what we want to build and we brought on board an artist called Raphael, and he had this talent of drawing very detailed properties and buildings and his landscapes, and we work just you know, hour after hour, day after day, building each property going back and forth, and we wanted to create a world that was realistic but fantastical at the same time. So you know, my sister took a lot of inspiration from Miyazaki from you know, these fantastical worlds, but then grounding reality in it that you’ve got you know, the drugstore, and the arcade and real world places, the pizza shop, the kebab shop, but then done in this kind of fantastical way. So it’s relatable, that then takes you into a world that you know, you can get lost in that has a magic to it, and it was really heavy work that for a city. I mean it’s truly non generative and we have a dream that one day you would just see it on a massive wall. We’re all about physical experiences and you could just spend hours looking at the details. In a physical environment like a real artwork. 

Matt Zahab 
That’s you literally just put my next question on absolute platter for me, just a layup and a half. The physical aspect of Metropolis, crazy events, concerts, there’s tying in AR and VR. How do you tie in the whole physical aspect? It’s so difficult to do to make people feel like they’re actually there in a virtual world. What’s the secret sauce to that? How do you work that magic and actually make it come to fruition? 

Rashid Ajami 
What we identified as the first stage of that which we’re launching pretty soon, is that we felt there’s a huge opportunity with commerce and figital items. So we’re launching this avatar marketplace where essentially you can fully customize the avatar on chain in one week. It can be wearing supreme t shirt, you know then you can stick a cap on every item is its own NFT essentially. So you have a wardrobe of NFTs that you dress her avatar with, and we’ve gone implanted with 100 brands and partners. Steve Aoki has his fashion line. Mike Shinoda has his fashion line, Christian Cohen, he’s an up and coming great designer has his line, and those tie back to physical items, the same physical item so if you buy the virtual, you redeem the physical, and then we’re going the other way around, right if you buy the physical so at one of our pop ups, we’re launching pop ups in New York, LA and London, where you’ll have events, you’ll have DJ sets, you’ll have art, music, coffee shop community, but then, you know you buy the t shirt and in shop, you can then redeem the virtual version and you teach people how to get into the Metaverse set up their wallets, joining Metropolis World virtually, from something they already understand which is a really cool, you know piece of clothing. So we’re doing both ways and we think commerce is the first step because it’s something that brands understand. It ties back to what they want, and the general consumers, you know Web2 consumers understand it as well. So that’s what we’re betting on for the next three to six months. 

Matt Zahab 
So you guys are going all in on the whole e-commerce sort of Web3 collab. 

Rashid Ajami 
Yeah, we’re trying to build the supreme of the Metaverse so that it’s like, you know because if we take it, let’s take another Metaverse. I don’t want to install any Metaverse. But sandbox is cool like we don’t think you’re going to wait in line in New York Soho to buy a Sandbox X whoever t shirt, Paris Hilton t shirt, right? But Metropolis is something we want it to feel like the supreme of the Metaverse it needs to be a brand as well as a virtual world, and we’re going to emphasize that through these beautiful pop ups where you hang out you meet people this community that has its digi-physical it relates back to your real life. The products are at high quality, they unlock exciting things if you buy the Steve Aoki Metropolis t shirt maybe unlocks an unreleased record for example. So things that people can understand and that are tangible. Really, I think that’s where we have to initially focus. 

Matt Zahab 
True that tangible aspect is absolutely huge. Rashid we gotta take a quick break and give a massive shout out to our sponsor the show Big shout out to RSTAKING. This podcast is brought to you by RSTAKING, decentralized staking platform which creates its own liquidity pools, the liquidity pool of RSTAKING the overall one the big kahooni is already worth more than 1 billion USD. There is a fixed 25% per year on more than 200 tokens and Crypto coins and nine different networks. Rewards get paid very quickly every three hours in tether or BUSD tokens since 2019 RSTAKING is considered to be one of the most secure Blockchain companies in the world, as the company created a standalone and secure project focused solely on staking. Speaking of stability RSTAKING offers 25% per year with the possibility of self closing and rewards every three hours in USDT or BUSD, everyone and anyone can register with RSTAKING and receiving 10 RHIN tokens free of charge and open his or her first stake. RSTAKING is the platform where everyone will find a suitable token or Crypto coin for themselves registered now and start studying RSTAKING at rstaking.com again that is rstaking.com huge shout out to RSTAKING our sponsor of the show and now back to the show with Rashid. Rashid one of the things that I love about Metropolis World, is you guys continue to build in the bear market, your socials are still buzzing, Discord is still buzzing, everything is still buzzing. How do you in the team keep the community engaged in a bear market? It’s not an easy thing to do. You guys still have folks who comment on every single post, you guys still have true fans, what’s the secret sauce to building in the bear market? 

Rashid Ajami 
I think for us, it was from the from the get go we really tried to build a community that we’re interested in the project as opposed to kind of speculating on the NFTs from a financial perspective. So we have this kind of fandom experience, we’ve seen our community expand on the lore build up in terms of what we’ve built, and you know expand on that, and that for us, I think is the critical piece so that you know we have this really positive community that are in this for the long term, and believe in the vision that we’re creating, and I think that’s really critical in this space. Because a lot of projects, they come with a lot of hype, and you know they go there’s so much hype, it’s only really down from there versus our approach has been more systematic, like just build day by day, add value day by day, consistently just give more learn, like a true startup, you know like any real world company, it’s about iterating building value consistently over time, versus you know having a big moment of hype and then you have to sustain that, and it can be difficult. So I think it’s been it’s similar to what we talk about on the music side. It’s just, you know people’s view of the vision we have we communicate that vision clearly and we have very clear step by step goals that we try to achieve as a company to add value every day, every week, every month going forward. 

Matt Zahab 
Just kicking out the can I love it. Another thing you guys do I know I keep just going over all the good there’s really a lot of bad here, but there’s no bad here. But on the good side, building an immersive world without AR VR, I know that this was potentially discussed on the roadmap and whatnot, you guys decided to gas it. I’m a huge fan of that. I’ve tried on the AR, you know, the AR goggles, the VR goggles, I think AR, whether it’s apple, I think eyeglass, they’re calling it or Apple glasses, whatever, I think that may have a chance with, you know, Apple’s track record in the hardware, building space, but AR and VR specifically, it’s just not cool right now, you know like you put the headset on if you feel like it’s just not there, perhaps in a couple of years it will be. But I love how you guys are deciding to build this immersive world focusing on tangible physical events and assets like you’ve discussed, but was it just an absolute no brainer from the beginning to really not try to intertwine AR and VR while building an immersive world? 

Rashid Ajami 
You know, it’s really been a realization that has come about of watching the market and seeing what’s been happening currently existing Metaverses, and what we realize is that they still don’t have the adoption, to have that level of engagement that they should. So we’re seeing that the adoption is not quite there. So what we’re doing from the virtual side is building this concept of property hubs, where when you enter a property, it’s almost like a virtual Squarespace, where you can do what you like. So let’s say you have your space, you could invite some friends and play poker, and then chat and have fun and engage with that you could host a podcast, you could have an AMA, you could sell goods, if you’re a brand, you could bring people in there and you know ask for product feedback. So it’s these interactive spaces that are 2d meets 3d, with all these plugins that are more realistic that people can actually use, and these spaces we see them as like an evolution of a social network, it’s like you have your Instagram page that’s great for photos, you have TikTok that’s great for your video content, and then you’ve got your Metropolis World property, which is more about interactions, it’s about, you know hosting an event, doing a concert, hanging out with friends, playing a game of poker, whatever it might be. So that’s what we’re trying to build. But we’re going really slowly because we’re trying to test it to the point that we just that we know it’s sticky. So we’re testing iterating, testing iterating until we have that product that then later can become yeah, like ready player one level, and yes maybe you go in with the VR and AR but to build VR and but not have the content, the community, the visuals, the partners, the art, like all that happening stuff doesn’t make sense, because then you’re just kind of it’s too gimmicky. Whereas with this approach, you’re building all the recipe of what is happening city should have, and then you create the tools to experience that city of the backup, and that’s kind of the we flipped the approach, and I think that’s our biggest differentiator, but I’m always telling people. 

Matt Zahab 
Another approach you guys took, that’s rare in the Metaverse World is no coin, I love that why no coin? 

Rashid Ajami 
So we want it we felt that to do a coin, we need to have a reach a point we have a larger audience and understand really what people are doing in the world, and what they want out of Metropolis World to create then that kind of governance that the coin allows you to do because a coin could be super cool in the sense that you could vote for the mayor of the city, you could have a fine art board that choose what is them. You could have people who vote on who should DJ at Metropolis Worlds Festival it can be really epic. But to do that to the coin first, as much as it’s financially could be very you know, it’s people who launch these coins, they make a ton of money, I think to have a successful coin and token, you need to do it off the back of an ecosystem that is already well grounded and established. So we’re taking the long term view. 

Matt Zahab 
Agreed. It just seems like everyone who builds a Metaverse it’s like it’s just sort of par for the course you know, it’s almost a parallel you launched the Metaverse and almost the coin at the same time or months later, it just seems like an opportunity for the creators to make a quick couple mil and pray to God that you know, the coin doesn’t drop too much. So then it’s an easy way to give your community a quick bump at the beginning. Often there’s a quick little pump after the coin launches. If the team does you know a good enough marketing push and PR push people who aren’t part of the community will you know try to make a quick buck and profit off said coin but I feel like 99 times out of 100 the coin gets absolutely crushed and then you know your community who got some coins is now hates you as well. It just it seems like this is a playbook that more Metaverse builders should be cognize enough. 

Rashid Ajami 
Totally. What we have done is we created something called soft slay which is the on chain token that we will eventually launch and as we change the name but then we have soft clay which we look at it as the Avios of the Metaverse, and the idea of that is a way to reward our holders with discounts in the e-commerce shop, for example. So if you do release that Metropolis World, limited edition t shirt, they can unlock the discount, they can get it for free, they could utilize this soft clay as like your Avios points, and as we onboard brands which is something we’re focused heavily on, that becomes a really interesting concept, and it’s proven concept. You look at how Avios works, you can earn it, you can earn it through gaming in our world, I don’t like the word play to earn, because it’s not played to earn per se, but it’s like XP points. So you can gamify soft clay, people who are active in your ecosystem can earn it and then unlock real world rewards, and that system to us is really interesting at least as the prerequisite to an on chain token. 

Matt Zahab 
Rashid, you keep bringing up the E commerce aspect which again, I have an E commerce background, this is something that intrigues me so much. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a couple of brands who have also kick started some Web3 e-commerce lines, I find the biggest pain point is the payment processing, especially when you’re in the NFT space. Or if you have a coin, whatever the case may be, there’s really only a few payment providers in the space that will allow you to accept Fiat and accept credit cards, heck bank transfers, that’s a whole another world if you can find a workaround there your God. But how much of a headache has it been, you know building out the full tech stack that you guys have with obviously NFTs on open sea, of course you need some solidity, and then you have your website, which is extremely immersive, crazy high graphics, very high pixels, and then also tying in payment processors, allowing the consumers to pay in Crypto and Fiat like walk me through that whole process and how much of a nightmare that’s absolutely been. 

Rashid Ajami 
Yeah, completely. I mean, what’s crazy about kind of Blockchain is that once you release a smart contract that’s it, you can’t edit it felt like when you build a product. I mean, the countless hours I spent with my CTO just conceiving every possible scenario for the next three years of what a small contract like needs to do, you know can they can they purchase with a credit card in store in New York location, and then redeem the good without a wallet, and how would that work and this like constant iteration around that, but in short the vision is that when you buy even an NFT in our world, so you’re buying an NFT t shirt, you don’t even know you’re buying an NFT, that’s the level we want it to be at like Apple for the Metaverse, Apple Pay style, the way we’re trying to do that is fruit one, allowing you to utilize a credit card, and that’s great in terms of you know yes, if you have a wallet, but also just using a credit card not needing a wallet, having it held in a wallet, that we hold for you until you’re ready to claim it into your own wallet. So that would allow you then to still have access through just traditional signup you know, sign in with Twitter or sign in an email, you see all your assets and your profile on Metropolis, and that’s great you don’t actually ever need a wallet until you really decide, You know what I want to move my assets elsewhere, because now I’m getting into Crypto, I don’t want it to just be here on in this more centralized wallet, I’d like to move this off to whatever I want to move it off to. So for us, the goal is to make it that you can do this in any possible way. It is a challenge. But I think we’re as good as we could get with what’s currently available to do that there are some good technologies that allow you to have that level of ease, and I’m lucky to have a CTO, that’s pretty much he’s like yes, and he says yes to a lot of my ridiculous ideas, which is very rare from the CTO. 

Matt Zahab 
You brought up a point that I’m that you were you and I are so in the same yacht, and that is building Web3 tools, services, applications, products that feel, act and look like Web2 products tools, services and applications. I feel like that might be the number one catalyst for success and mass adoption is to build Web3 things that feel like Web2 things. 

Rashid Ajami 
Completely, because that’s where you know, for me user experience, quality, the content quality, I still don’t think it’s caught up in Web3, and I feel that’s where we have this kind of ability to change that. So that’s where we’re putting a lot of energy, and I think the only way for mass adoption is you have to create that bridge, and that bridge has to be almost not noticeable by the consumer. It just has to happen, and if whoever’s achieves that, and I hope it’s also achieved that will really be able to I think mass adopt, and we’re seeing that with the brands we speak to because when we show them like for example the avatar marketplace, it’s tangible to them, and like I get this this plugs into my current

e-commerce system. I can see why this is a value to my brand and so then we end up with this ecosystem where you bring brands consumers together, you reward your holders by giving them discounts, early access, and then you’ve promote that to both the brand’s audience, your audience and that really is a kind of sustainable growth that we see as the way that this kind of paves out in the next year to two years. 

Matt Zahab 
Rashid you have been absolutely on fire dropping knowledge bombs left right and center. There is one more part of the show and that is the hot take factory my friend, we got to let our listeners get a couple of Rashid hot takes that only you believe in whereas most other people do not doesn’t have to be Crypto or FinTech or Blockchain related can be health, wealth, happiness, politics, crazy shit, AI, space, VR you name it, but give me a couple Rashid hot takes that only you believe in whereas most other people do not. 

Rashid Ajami 
Totally. I think okay on a well being kind of spiritual level I really believe in if you stay fully present like surrender to what’s happening you actually end up getting to where you want to get versus trying to force things so other people are about very much doing. I believe in almost flowing with the universe. I did have that sort of spiritual take. It’s a well being take. From a blockchain perspective maybe there’s not as wild but everyone’s all about Blockchain gaming and games is like the next big thing I believe it’s e-commerce is the next big thing that’s going to come out more quickly because it’s tangible. I think there’ll be a greater adoption that not so crazy, but just set up something that I’m seeing in the market from a Crypto perspective, and yeah those two kind of things that I go by from a business perspective and just a personal how I run things. 

Matt Zahab 
I love the e-commerce point very rare we are 210 episodes in and I want to say you might be the first person to have that take so I love that I’m gonna do some more research on that point as well. Because after doing research for you and Metropolis that the whole e-commerce and in Crypto slash blockchain synergies has truly been really interesting. Rashid one last thing that you and I talked about and just for the listeners that you guys never get to hear I always ask my guests as a soundcheck once we go live, what they had for breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending on you know, where they are in the world. I’m on the East Coast, most of my guests are ahead of me, and I asked Rashid twice now what he’s had to eat and he’s a faster like myself so perhaps that could be hot take as well. Any tidbits to the folks out there who want to fast and maybe I’d love if you could just speak to like that superpower you get from you know that our sort of 16 to 20 mark. 

Rashid Ajami 
Yeah, absolutely. I find I mean it for me it started just because I used to have so many meetings and just jumped into my day and I would forget to eat. But then I realized that you end up having this very strong energy that kicks in if you do it regularly. Where you feel this clarity you feel energized. I do drink coffee. So I admit to that I do like caffeine two times in the day, but I found that it’s a great thing to do at least three times a week you fast at 6pm It kind of gives your body a break from food, you feel energized. So but I just kind of stumbled upon it accidentally I didn’t really make the point to start it but it’s really been something that works for me. Um, you can see me now at 6pm and on pump still feeling great and I haven’t even logged into it. 

Matt Zahab 
He’s an energizer bunny. I heard something years ago when I started fasting I want to say 6 7 8 years ago and I don’t know if it’s true I should probably I tell people all the time and this is so cowardice of me but and hypocritical of me but someone I once read or heard from someone that if you if there’s a cheetah in the wild and it attacks a beautiful big zebra and the cheetah family goes to town on the zebra, they’re full and then you know you airdrop a creative filet mignon perfectly seasoned whatever, the cheetahs will not eat it because they’re full and they understand that like you know, your body is a temple and you should eat good food a solid amount of good food at one time and then give it a break, and on the flip side, you know if you do that in front of a pack of domesticated dogs, golden retriever, lab, wiener dog whatever the case may be, they are going to eat until they puke, right? So it’s like what kind of animal do you want to be? Again I don’t know if that’s true. I’ve never seen the experience firsthand. I’d love to actually airdrop some filet mignon to some cheetahs after they’ve eaten a zebra or whatever animal they’ve eaten. But that’s something that always sort of sticks in my head. 

Rashid Ajami 
Well, funny enough that they once asked the woman that’s the oldest living oldest person in the world what’s your secret? And she said, eat as little as possible? That was what she said. 

Matt Zahab 
Crazy. Love that. Rashid what a treat man this was truly so much fun. I learned a ton from you and I’m very proud of you and the team at Metropolis World. You got an open invite onto round two I can’t wait to have you on but before then can you please let our listeners know where they can find you personally and Metropolis world online and on socials. 

Rashid Ajami 
Totally. So I’m on all socials @rashidajami Instagram, Twitter and so on. Same with Metropolis World @metropolisworld and it’s definitely worth checking out our site which is metropolisworld.io for a first experience of what we’re building and do you want to learn more about the company. 

Matt Zahab 
Crazy site do go check it out. Rashid thanks a lot man. Appreciate it and can’t wait for round two. 

Rashid Ajami 
Thanks Matt. 

Matt Zahab 
Folks what an episode with Rashid Ajami from Metropolis World dropping knowledge bombs left right and center we’d love to see that, and a great little part about something I’m very passionate on fasting at the end do give that a try folks, it is truly a superpower. Not only does it make you a little fitter, and makes your brain buzz on all cylinders, but you can get to save a little bit of money to you’re not eating three times a day I highly recommend checking that out. Big shout out to Rashid and the team at Metropolis. Guys if you enjoyed this one I hope you did please do subscribe it would mean the world to my team love you guys. Justas you’re the man appreciate everything you do for the pod and to listeners love you guys keep on growing those bags and keep on staying healthy, wealthy, and happy bye for now and we’ll talk soon.