Valued at over $ 1 billion in 2021, Cameo celebrity autograph service has been publishing NFT since February. Upon unveiling a new collection on August 29, the co-founder and head of the Web3 / NFT division details the startup’s ambitions at JDN.
JDN. Cameo’s core business is the video interaction between celebrities and their fans. What was the motivation behind Cameo Pass, the company’s first NFT?
Oliver Maroney. We have always wanted to transfer our core business to real life, which has led us to create real experiences where we invited celebrities to our platform and people outside. How to improve this experience with Web3? Rather than a regular pass – there are many – we launched this 3D pass, which rotates on itself and incorporates art, because we asked three of our favorite artists to each draw a version of a pass. With this pass, the holder benefits from physical, virtual and artistic experiences, namely access to the physical events we organize and the NFT outings of the talents we collect and that we believe have been there for a long time.
Precisely, CameoPass unveils the avatars of its 4 on Monday 29 AugustAnd collection, sold out within a weekend. Can you tell us more about this decline?
The artist of this Daydreamers collection, Ross Plaskow, had decided not to continue this project, so we decided to buy it so that our owners could receive what they were promised. Few projects would have done it. These NFTs will play a role in the governance of CameoPass by granting owners voting rights on the projects we will carry out.
“For the future of Web3 it is important to produce for the virtual but also for the real”
How do you proceed with the selection of the artists associated with the collections?
We have had hundreds of discussions with hundreds of artists and not everyone always understands this space, we conclude with those who wish to invest in the long term and we help them do everything possible for it.
For example, we collaborated again with Luke McGarry, who had designed one of our first three passes, for a completely hand-drawn collection, which I had never seen before in this space, and our community was able to acquire it for free. thanks to our step.
Beyond the NFT releases, have you been able to deliver on your promises of real experiences?
In the last six months we have created six events in six different cities, such as Miami, London, Los Angeles or New York. We have another one in early September. They are all different. And we will continue to build on this. I can’t say much, but we are designing virtual experiences tailored to our community. I think it is extremely important for the future of Web3 and for the future of Cameo Pass that we continue to produce not only for the virtual but also in the real world.
“There are too many NFT projects and not enough requests”
Is the NFT bear market affecting your ambitions?
Everyone is feeling the consequences of this bear market, whether we like it or not. At the same time, I believe this is the best time to reflect on our business, our evolution and our way of doing things. I see there are many excuses, complaints and I don’t see many solutions emerging. It is very important that Web3 is serious. We see the price of ether falling, some NFT “flagships” lose 50-60% of their value, but I believe that we are simply witnessing a consolidation of the market and, at the same time, a dissociation: you have the collections and projects who have produced and are focused on their task, and you have others who have not kept their promise and will be forgotten.
Ultimately it is very good for the sector. It’s a bad patch but it had to happen. People like Gary Vaynerchuk (Facebook investor, Uber, CEO of VaynerX) say it well: there are too many NFT projects and not enough requests. We are in the phase where we will see 10, 20, 30 dominant projects that will remain because they have been delivered. That’s why, honestly, I couldn’t care less about the price of our collection. When I see our community, the welcome around our project, the loyalty rate of our NFT holders, I am very happy.
However, no company aspires to lose money. Cameo’s NFT division is winning …
It was never our only intention. We are sorry to interrupt you but our wish is that the funds received during our initial minting will be redistributed in our events, in the collections we publish and we are convinced that if we continue to produce cement, we will see the secondary market flourish, even if it is not immediately. We believe that there are not many elite projects: few do it our way and we are sure that the public will understand our vision, even if it takes one, two or three years. If not, there will be some changes of direction to be made, but we have structured our project so that we can continue to build and grow. There is one thing that works in our favor: we have a great team.
How durable is it?
As long as Cameo feels it, CameoPass will stay. I’m not really the financier of the company, even if I necessarily manage a budget. Of course we have to make sure that money comes in, but you know, we raised a lot of money during the initial minting of our subscriptions last February. (about 1,200 ether, or $ 3.3 million at the time). We are in a great position and, I believe, one of the few collections that can continue to make big bets, like with the Daydreamers collection. I cannot give you all the economic details, but we are in a very good situation, financially as well as in terms of the team, for the next year and a half or for the next two, three years.
Is this NFT division one of Cameo’s main objectives today?
Devon Townsend, one of the co-founders of Cameo, has been working on this project, and only this one, for over six months. This speaks volumes about the direction we envision for Web3. The founders of Cameo understand what impact this can have in the short and long term, not only for our company but also for all others. The really nice thing about Cameo is that we are still small enough to be flexible. Not all companies can tell. Personally I am very proud to have been able to release a project like Cameo Pass and to keep our promises, even more: I do not turn to anyone but there are many projects that are content to release an NFT without follow-up, without added value.
“There is nothing equivalent to Passtronaut in this area”
What are the prospects for the Cameo Pass? And do you plan more activations for your international cardholders?
We are planning an IRL event for NFT London and will subsequently launch Passtronaut, an innovative profile picture, customizable so that you can integrate the NFTs that represent you and it will be a universal portal for Cameo experiences. We are not here to denigrate the other collections but, on the contrary, to grow with them and give them visibility. There is nothing like it in this area.
Can we expect a link with traditional cameo services, such as live video calling?
There is a real appetite for bridging the gap between the virtual and the real and I think what we do will be truly groundbreaking. I can’t say more, but it will be an opportunity for all people based in Europe, Asia, to benefit from a unique virtual experience. We expect this for this last quarter.
Former basketball reporter for the US press and then head of media strategy for the Big 3 (the emerging basketball league founded by rapper and investor Ice Cube), Oliver Maroney immersed himself in NFTs during the Cryptopunk wave. Since January 2021, he has co-founded and led the NFT and Web3 division of the celebrity signing startup Cameo.