Mayor Bimps – Fantom Community Spotlight

Mayor Bimps – Fantom Community Spotlight

Welcome back to the Fantom Community Spotlight, where we shine a light on the amazing individuals who make up our vibrant community. This time, we’re featuring Mayor Bimps!

Read about their relationship with art and technology, their role as mayor in a metaverse, and their belief in digital playgrounds as places for constructive group work.

What’s your background?

I’ve worked with enterprise software for a while now in different roles that span the software development lifecycle. I’ve shifted from less technical roles to more technical ones and finally ended up as a programmer.

Early on, I worked in non-programming roles. During that time, I felt like an artist at heart who should have studied to be a programmer instead.

In my free time, I wrote prose essays, short stories, poetry, and music. I played in progressive rock bands and produced electronic progressive rock music. I also painted…

But at some point, the scenario reversed — I became a programmer and wished I spent more time on artwork.

Web3, NFTs, and metaverses — particularly on Fantom — have been an opportunity to strike a balance.

And how did you first get into crypto?

I had been aware of Bitcoin for a long time. An old friend mined it back when people were excited to spend it, before the store of value narrative. He had a produce stand at the market and occasionally someone would be excited to see he took Bitcoin payments for corn or tomatoes.

Despite that early exposure, I didn’t get started for years. I don’t recall a catalyst, maybe it was just dissatisfaction with wagie life — a foreboding feeling about the future — working till age 50 or 60 and stuck living very frugally after. “Digital gold” and “magic internet money” were, and still are, very appealing.

At the same time, my wife and I moved to a different part of the country and had two children. Our expenses increased, retirement seemed further away our friends and family were all farther away. On top of that, I couldn’t concentrate the way I used to, couldn’t write, and couldn’t paint. It wasn’t as easy to keep in touch with friends, make new friends, and socialize.

All of this increased the appeal of the frenetic, 24-hour, and international nature of crypto. My attention span was shorter, and crypto was there whenever I had time.

So what about this international nature of crypto fascinates you the most?

The fact that I’ve become friendly with people around the world who are drawn to crypto for different reasons. That is what fascinates me the most — the diversity of people and interests that converge at this intersection of technology and economy.

As an artist, programmer, and aspiring NEET (with a trad-wife and kids, good luck), I reside in a few crypto domains. I am also fascinated by the pseudo-privacy and anonymity that is acceptable in these domains.

Obviously, our transactions are not private, and our identities can probably be deduced by motivated parties, but in many cases, it is acceptable and harmless to simply be your handle or profile picture.

This convention is exploited by malicious or just “cringe” individuals, but more often it is experienced as a harmless liberation from identity (e.g. I’m being “me” but without some baggage).

As for me, when I tweet, sometimes I tweet as Thai-kun, the Iron Mayor of Pod Town. Other times, I tweet as the co-founder of Joseangie’s List or the owner of Kwexy Ducks. Sometimes I tweet as a sort of zealot from the “cult of Joseangel.” These personas are just for fun, a kind of performance that has no place except for certain internet settings.

Did something in particular convince you of this technology’s potential?

I think the most lucid example is the opportunity NFTs represent for artists. For the moment, ignore that this is being exploited by outright scammers, grifters, charlatans that toe the line, and marketplace polluters. Let’s focus on the positive.

Among other things, NFTs represent a standard for conveying, and conveying the authenticity of, digital artwork.

In the context of permissionless blockchains, this means barriers to access are low, and in the context of Fantom, this means costs are low. Maybe there is a perception that there is a technical barrier to overcome, but dApps and launchpads can remove it entirely (cost/benefit trade-off).

Artists have access to a variety of marketplaces with an international audience and payment systems, virtually for free and without KYC.

And do you have any funny stories from your time in crypto?

I recently published a Twitter thread on what I believe to be Fantom’s greatest and funniest story: The Prelude to The Story of Joseangel!

I recommend reading the whole thing, but in short, it is a very funny (and heart-warming) story of how Fantom NFT degens have rallied around a silly NFT persona.

The story will continue in the near future when my organization Joseangie’s List, in partnership with C Monet, hosts Joseangel’s Homecoming Parade in @8play_games’s metaverse.

Then, not so much a funny story as a funny fact, I am the mayor of a Pod Town, a Web3 zootopia funded by a Vietnamese tech incubator. For me, that’s pretty funny.

So the mayor of Pod Town, could you tell us what that’s about?

Simply put, Pod Town is a Web3 zootopia, and I am the mayor. The Pod Town civil service consists of about 40 artists, programmers, and administrators. We are designing a virtual world that will host games and DeFi offerings. We have occasionally opened “the verse” (metaverse) for special events, but it is still very much in development.

As for the role of the mayor, depending on the needs of the day, I play the necessary role. You can usually place me somewhere on a spectrum that ranges from privileged complainooor to respected autocrat. My preference is to perform the role in an amusing way, but I become “Iron Mayor” when I must. Even the most loving, fatherly leader must instill discipline and impose order. Mostly this happens behind the scenes.

In any event, history will remember me as a Founding Father. I was an OG Cyber Neko minter. I served dutifully served as Town Lady and Town Guardian. I ran the bathhouse operations as Bimps Kieu, then I became Town Thai and took the name Thai-kun. I liberated the Juggalos, founded the Town Juggalos, disbanded the Town Ladies, and founded the Town Miladys.

I also designed the Town Flag. I am the Town Betsy Ross.

Lastly, I sit on the advisory board of Mochi, which is an open-source Web3 Discord bot that shares a dev team with Pod Town. It combines Discord server management capabilities, games, and Web3/DeFi tools. Its first original game offering, Triple Pod, is a puzzle game where players build a town by arranging items on a grid. The goal is to arrange 3 alike items side-by-side. These “triples” level up into rarer items, which in turn can triple into even rarer items.

Right now, the game is implemented in Pod Town, my Kwexy Ducks / Lil Fowl Bits, and some other discord servers. There is also a web version of Triple Pod hosted in Pod Town’s beta metaverse (note: this is a beta site and might only be up temporarily). Come try it out!

Currently, the roamable area in the beta verse is a small area. The team is more focused on implementing infrastructure, features, and optimizations than full maps. Larger maps will come later. Even still, the look and feel of the beta verse demonstrate the polished aesthetic experience we are going for. Meanwhile, for a taste of what a full map might look like, below is concept art we’re sharing here for the first time.

You mentioned Kwexy Ducks, we’re curious to learn what that is!

Kwexy Ducks is my first NFT collection. When it’s complete, it will be a collection of 69 pixel-style ducks, styled as pop culture icons, and some Fantom icons. I treat these as founder tokens.

They are mainly owned by my earliest supporters who have since become close friends. Owners will benefit from any other NFT work I do, which already includes several collections.

For example, Kwexy Ducks holders received Pod Town Juggalos, a collaboration between myself and Pod Town; Lil Fowl Bits, my follow-up to Kwexy Ducks; and Lil Fowl Xmas, a holiday collection given to Lil Fowl Bits owners as a Christmas present, which introduces some new friends (characters) to the Fowl Bits family: Smoochmasters (a friend from @moon_masters), Nekos (from @pod_town), Reindeer, Joseangel, and Frosty.

The lore of the collections essentially is that the Kwexy Ducks are a rare breed raised by a mystical priestly group. They entrusted the ducks to my care, and in turn, I entrusted them to the current owners. Since then, the beneficent creatures that they are, they took the form of our fondest pop culture memories.

Lil Fowls Bits represents the next generation of the Kwexy Ducks. They have lost some of their magic ability to induce nostalgia and are more like “us,” more human, slightly degenerate, and yet they seek the deeper meaning of life.

They incorporate more spiritual symbolism, and less materialistic/consumer symbolism, including astrological and religious symbols.

I’m working on new artwork to develop this further in March. It won’t be long before I share some details and sneak peeks. For now, I can only say it is planned as a free collection for Lil Fowl Bits holders (which includes all Kwexy Ducks holders because they were dropped Lil Fowl Bits). It will likely release in small batches over the course of 1 year.

Meanwhile, Lil Fowl Bits are still minting.

I will also mention, Lil Fowl Bits will almost certainly be the first non-Pod Town NFT collection integrated into the Pod Town verse.

With all your projects on Fantom, what’s your experience with the platform?

I started transacting on Fantom in the summer of 2021. I was struck by how small it seemed — in the best way! (This is in contrast to Binance Chain, the cesspool I came from.) In very little time, I felt like I knew all the players. Most were accessible, and I became friendly with many of them.

I was also struck by the DeFi mechanics on Fantom. They appealed to my technical side, even if they ended up just being memes dressed in technical documentation.

Eventually, I felt most at home in a few NFT groups. I started making small contributions, like server emojis, stickers, and memes. Little things for fun. That was me getting my feet wet, as it were, preparing to make stronger contributions. I thank Pod Town and ACryptoniano from Lost Fantom Saga for being especially encouraging with these early efforts.

To learn how to make NFTs on Fantom, I mainly found what I needed online. Because of my background, I can usually at least get the gist of technical documentation, and then it’s just a matter of spending the time to put it into practice. However, there are two people who have been extremely helpful at different times, Stinky, and hnh from Pod Town.

Other than what we learned above, what else are you working on?

In addition to serving as Iron Mayor of Pod Town, on the advisory board of Mochi, and as owner and artist of Kwexy Ducks / Lil Fowl Bits, I am the co-founder of Joseangie’s List.

Joseangie’s List is a quasi-satire, surrealist take on the home improvement referral site Angie’s List. Earlier, I cited a Twitter thread about the other co-founder, Joseangel, whose ethics and aesthetics inform its guiding principles.

The artists on Joseangie’s List have an intrinsic understanding of what the list represents. Certain people know it when they see it, others will never get it, and the closer they examine it, the fuzzier it’ll seem. It is a type of filter in that way.

In most cases, artists reach out to me about enlisting, and I can tell if they “get it” or not. Or, in some cases, artists have preemptively produced artwork that is consistent with its principles, and it’s a no-brainer.

On rare occasions, I have asked an artist to be on the list and they didn’t heed the call. It can be disappointing, but that is the list’s intrinsic function as a filter at work. In any case, it’s an actively managed venture, especially as more and more parties seek to be a part of it, such as KingsFantom with Solidly.

I’ve also been speaking with Don Cryptonium. He is most active on Cosmos, yet — even though I have never done anything on that network — I enjoy his Twitter account and YouTube channel very much. I would love to see more authentic, smart, feisty, funny people like Don on Fantom, who aren’t afraid to take an unpopular stance . I don’t know if we’ll collaborate in any formal way, but we are talking about it.

What are your goals for your future in crypto?

My goal is to develop a web3 culture with a mature ethic that transcends crypto transactions.

That is what I want to develop with Pod Town, a Web3 playground or workshop where the mode of interaction is not oriented toward crypto transactions. I want membership and participation to transcend this contingency and dependency.

Don’t get me wrong, there is room for transactional (acquisitive) topics like alpha, contests for giveaways, new collections, and mint parties. My goal is a shift in emphasis. I want to extend the social models I see most often in “crypto-oriented” groups.

I want to design a social experience with crypto/Web3-literate people that does not insinuate payment or investment (subsidy) from group members, especially on an ongoing basis. I want to get beyond the meta of buying a membership or paying to participate — “own this (many), get that.”

I used the words “playground” and “workshop” above. I think of playgrounds as settings or structures to have fun and play. In addition, in programming the term playground describes a dev environment that can be wrecked without putting production processes at risk. I think of workshops as spaces for tradesmen, or sometimes a community space with resources for members. My goal is to facilitate this sort of atmosphere of constructive play.

Pod Town is a great setting for this kind of experience for many reasons, but one exceptional reason is because of their work on Mochi. I mentioned it’s an open-source Web3 Discord bot.

That should imply it is an opportunity for collaboration. I would love to see “citizen builders” make contributions. Whether they are programmers, artists, writers, or people with interests and ideas they want to explore.

Whether they are interested in Mochi, their own project, or each other’s projects, there are opportunities to play, learn, and work with a group.

Many solitary hobbies can be group hobbies. Solitary work can be group work. I would like to facilitate those transformations. I say this from a Vonnegutian perspective, I think many people are lonely and starved for meaningful social interaction and purpose. I would love to see watch parties, listening parties, video game streaming, voice chats, peer programming, and cultural exchanges.

And finally, who would you recommend to follow on Twitter?

  • Justin Silver
    Exactly the type of personality I respond to, a smart guy with tech chops whose presentation style is not flashy or arrogant.
  • elle
    Even if she wasn’t undeniably Fantom’s GOAT artist, she communicates a much-needed, mature take on Web3, and is a living/breathing identity/brand management masterclass.
  • degenpuss
    An old friend from Pod Town whose public and private insights about art, social scenes, and the market have always been top-notch (he turned me onto @ButtcoinFTM 🤣).
  • Don Cryptonium
    I mentioned above, Don works mainly on the Cosmos network. Even though I don’t use Cosmos, I enjoy his content and personality very much, and would like to see him, or energy like his, move to Fantom.
  • alias
    One of the only Fantom accounts who aren’t afraid to speak his truth to power. I respect his perspectives very much, and whether I completely agree with him, I like hearing more than one perspective.
  • Buttcoin
    One of the funniest Fantom accounts.

Thank you Juan, Ash, and the Fantom Foundation for working with me on this. If ever you need me, please ring the mayor’s office and tell my assistant to patch you through.

Also please let me use this opportunity to thank everyone who has enjoyed or supported my antics and ventures, and the citizens of Pod Town for their unwavering faith in the mayor. Special thanks to vePuss, Danny Lux, Yanuz, Cups, Matt, and hnh for their support and friendship very early on.

Thank you to Mayor Bimps for featuring in our Community Spotlight! Make sure to drop @bimpmeister a follow on Twitter.