Gabby Dizon: Founding Yield Guild Games (YGG), Web3, Gaming & Crypto Infrastructure and Generational Shift from Millennials to Gen Z - E358

· Founder,Start-up,Web3,Philippines,Podcast Episodes English


“Just because something has verifiable scarcity doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be expensive. A table has value even though a table need not be expensive. For example, in my house, there are X number of tables or X number of chairs. Some of my furniture in the house can be scarce and collectible, and that might have a higher, amount of value. And it's just assigning those principles to, the digital world. Because there hasn't been any form of digital scarcity, you couldn't apply value to a lot of these assets before. But being able to say that, for example, I can put the copyright of something, assign it into this NFT, and whoever owns this NFT has the value of that copyright. Now you can assign value and now you can also trade it. I can collateralize it. So there's many things that you can do now that it becomes a verifiable digital asset.” - Gabby Dizon

“The most interesting thing about Web3 is the concept of digital ownership or digital property rights. You can own assets that are on the internet and these assets correspond to something meaningful or valuable. That’s very important because there's always been a lot of data on the internet and the internet economy is really big and valuable now, but digital data has always been infinitely replicable. So the idea of creating a digital property, digital scarcity, assigning it to an internet asset that can correspond with value is such a powerful idea.” - Gabby Dizon

“There are many ways to assign value to digital assets, and interoperability is one of them, but the greater value is that we're reading off the same immutable database so that we can verify that an asset we see in a database is an asset that everyone else is seeing. And we do this to some extent. For example, cookies are something that a website puts in your computer so that the website identifies you. Imagine if you put some of your data on a chain. It has the same effect except that these things are immutable and the users own them. One of the concepts we're doing at YGG is having achievement NFTs or so-bound tokens, or NFTs that are not tradable. So if you complete a quest in a game, you get that achievement which proves that you did something in the game at that time. This achievement contains the metadata for that so it becomes like a credential. This is an important concept that is made possible by a blockchain.” - Gabby Dizon

Gabby Dizon, Cofounder of Yield Guild Games, and Jeremy Au talked about three main themes:

1. Founding Yield Guild Games (YGG): Gabby reflected on his childhood passion for computer games which led him to a career in game development and startups. He shared how he first met his cofounders Beryl Li and Owl of Moistness online, and how his CTO maintained his anonymity during a later $4.6M funding round from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

2. Web3, Gaming & Crypto Industry: He delved into the cyclical bull-and-bear nature of crypto, and the contrasting roles of good and bad actors. He also discussed digital scarcity and how it applies to the gaming world, emphasizing the parallels with physical assets and trading. He also discussed YGG's strategic evolution from an asset lending model to a more comprehensive system involving quests, achievement platforms, and the integration of real-world applications like credentials.

3. Generational Shifts: Gabby spoke about the importance of bridging the gap between millennials, Gen Z, and future generations. He underscored the founder's responsibility of reshaping the world and normalizing new technologies and connects this to his personal experience as a father who is comfortable discussing with his children about Web3 as a place for learning and experimentation.

They also talked about the future of work and the relevance of traditional education, how content consumption influences actions, and the impact of communities in the crypto and gaming sectors.

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(02:13) Jeremy Au:

Hey, Gabby, really excited to have you in the show. We had a wonderful dinner at the Hustle Fun Camp in Bali and just figured that we got to have this conversation as well so that more people know your story. Could you please introduce yourself real quick?

(02:24) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah, sure. The short intro is I grew up in the Philippines and have always been fascinated by video games, been a gamer all my life, and wanted to be a game developer and got my start 20 years ago when I became part of a team that created the first game out of the Philippines. So this was way back in 2003.

In 2014, I started my own game studio, Altitude Games, which is one of the first mobile game startups out of Southeast Asia. And then from 2017 onwards, I've been involved in the NFT and crypto space.

(02:55) Jeremy Au:

Amazing. So what were you like as a kid? You say you love video games as a kid. Could you tell me what games you played?

(03:01) Gabby Dizon:

Growing up, I was always a PC gamer. Parents didn't give us consoles because they wanted PCs to be educational as well. So, in the 1980s, the first PC that I got was a Commodore VIC 20, which my dad took home from a business trip to the US And that started my love for games. I also started programming at a very early age. And yeah, I was always just around computers growing up.

(03:23) Jeremy Au:

So what did you learn from having a computer as a kid?

(03:26) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah, I grew up with computers, so, just having been around games made me really more curious about how software was made and that actually set out my path on becoming a software developer and playing all of these games, wondering how these games are made. It's really shaped me into wanting to become a game developer.

(03:45) Jeremy Au:

Oh, amazing. And how did you get started as a game developer?

(03:48) Gabby Dizon: O

kay, so, when I graduated there were no game companies then in the Philippines. So I actually started as a programmer for one of the news websites in the Philippines. And one day while doing my programming, one of the articles came up that there were a few people who were trying to make the first game in the Philippines. So I saw that article, got excited, and went to the website. And then visited the team and it was just like five people trying to make a game. And I joined the game and we released that first game in 2003.

(04:15) Jeremy Au:

Tell me more about what that game was and paint a picture.

(04:19) Gabby Dizon:

So that first game was called ANITO: defend A Land Enraged and ended up, there were seven of us that created that game. It was a single-player PC RPG. And what was notable then was there weren't a lot of easy resources on how to make a game. There weren't any game engines you could pick up on the shelf. E-commerce wasn't really a thing back then. And we had to buy books to get tutorials on how to do a lot of things in-game. So a lot of stuff we really had to figure out for ourselves. And it wasn't an easy journey and there wasn't a lot of money to get investments for games back then. And most of the sales for games were actually in the retail being sold in Walmart or Target. So yeah, there's a lot of things that we basically had to figure out from scratch.

(05:01) Jeremy Au:

Oh boy. And from there, what did you learn from that experience? Cause you went on to do more with that knowledge.

(05:07) Gabby Dizon:

I guess even though I didn't own the company, I learned a lot about entrepreneurship then because we were doing a lot of stuff for the first time. Of course, games were already being made in the US and other countries. But what I learned was that if you really want to be part of a scene or if you really want to do something, really nothing beats joining, being early, and then figuring it out for yourself.And that's part of the theme that has really carried out with me and into the different parts of my career.

(05:34) Jeremy Au:

And so tell me more about what you did next.

(05:37) Gabby Dizon:

Okay. So I stayed in games. I ended up working for a game company and then in 2014, I left that game company and started Altitude Games. So it was a mobile game company. Two of my co-workers at the first game company I worked for became actually my co-founders there. And yeah, we started making our own mobile free-to-play games. We also got a small investment from a public tech company. And that was my first experience with having professional investors as well.

(06:05) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. How was that experience? What was your role? How did you feel about it?

(06:09) Gabby Dizon:

It was very different getting investment versus bootstrapped. Of course, I'd read all about, you know, getting VC money, getting investors, and just learning how to do, you know, pitching, how to create a business plan, how to create financials for the first time, as well as creating your first game. It was a very illuminating experience.

(06:27) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. And, you know, during this time period, you eventually got into WebTree. So how did you first start hearing about WebTree?

(06:34) Gabby Dizon:

So, I've been making games for a long time then, and some of my friends started getting into Bitcoin around 2014. I wasn't really interested in Bitcoin because the use case in the Philippines was mostly around remittances. And while it's a very important use case as a game developer, it wasn't really very personally interesting to me.

So it wasn't until 2017 that I heard about Ethereum and the concept of a smart contract or being able to program value. And that was very interesting to me because in, in computer games, a lot of what we did was creating interesting things for people to interact with and also creating virtual economies.

And what smart contract did was basically make a value pro programmable, right? So the idea is that you could have assets in a game, be programmable and have real value, and be converted easily. For example, to a fiat currency, to dollars or pesos. That was super interesting. And that was really what hooked me into crypto in the first place. And then in November of 2017, crypto kitties were released and crypto kitties popularized the NFT or the nonfungible token. And that was where I could see the power of NFTs and how it could change the game industry. And there's no looking back for me since then.

(07:47) Jeremy Au:

I think there's this interesting timeframe that you said, right, where, you know, you were skeptical between 2014 to 2017. And I think there's a feeling that many people have. The skepticism, because, you know, even, I guess, in 2024, 2025, people will still have that hurdle, right? Trying to understand. But I guess when you, in 2017, what do you think made you kind of click and say, like, this is something that makes more sense rather than less sense?

(08:08) Gabby Dizon:

Well, it took me a lot of time to actually study and learn more about crypto. I remember 2017 was getting my feet wet, buying some of my earliest crypto, but it was also reading a lot on a technical basis on how it works, why it's important, what it means for there to be an immutable ledger or to store data that cannot be changed on the blockchain and why it is important. So there was a lot of learning to be able to have the conviction that this is an important technology that I'm here to stay. And it was something that I could apply to the next phase of my career.

(08:42) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. And so how did you start exploring? So the first step you said you started exploring was about Fusee by buying various, you know, I guess, Ethereum and Bitcoin, you know, and so on and so forth. But what would you say were those early steps that you took? Because at that time it was very much in infancy as well.

(08:55) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah, very much so. So we started with. learning how to use smart contracts in Ethereum using Solidity. Because for us as application developers, it's really being able to use smart contracts in useful applications, right? Then we made our own blockchain game. It was a racing game where the cars were NFT parts.

That achieved some level of traction and then I started participating in buying different kinds of NFTs and participating in the community with different projects. Notably, I was one of the earliest community members in 2018 of Axie Infinity and it was really that deep involvement in these communities that shaped my presence in Web3.

(09:32) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. And I think what's interesting, obviously, you started talking about NFTs and some of the uniqueness that we have here. So from your perspective, you know, how would you explain the appeal or the value web tree to folks today? Because I think at that time, you know, very much in the early days, it was about currency, right?

So it's about moving away from fiat to currency. That was very much the early drive, I would say, and then decentralization. But it feels like now you're starting to talk about different things, right? We talked about programmable, NFT, we talked about smart contracts, we talked about NFT, which is about, you know, scarcity, uniqueness.

So could you tell me more about how you think those directions of WebTree from your perspective is valued?

(10:05) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah. So I think for me the most interesting thing about Web3 is the concept of digital Ownership or digital property rights, the fact that you can own assets that are on the internet and these assets correspond to something that is meaningful or valuable. I think that's a very important concept because there's always been a lot of data on the internet and obviously the internet economy is very big and very valuable now. But digital data has always been infinitely replicable. So the idea of creating digital property, digital scarcity, assigning it to an internet asset that can correspond with value, I think that's such a powerful idea, which whose time has come.

(10:46) Jeremy Au:

I think one interesting part is that, we've obviously seen a lot of excitement around the idea, and the truth is, in the physical world, there's also physical uniqueness, but a table, even though it's physically unique, there's a million IKEA tables of the same design, right? So the value is not very high because a lot of competition is mass manufacturing. And I think to some extent, you know, in the internet, there's also that zero marginal cost of replication, right? You know, the joke of NFTs was like, right-click, copy, and paste, right? Then I have your property, right? So I think there's a big hype cycle. Now it's settled down a lot. So, you know, after we kind of like move past this hype cycle, what do you think is the value of that ownership going to translate into from your perspective?

(11:23) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah. Just because something has verifiable scarcity doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be expensive. A table has value even though a table need not be expensive. For example, in My house, there are x many tables, x many chairs. Some of my furniture in the house can be scarce and collectible, and that might have a higher amount of value. And it's just assigning those principles to the digital world. And because there hasn't been any form of digital scarcity, you couldn't apply value to a lot of these assets before. But being able to say that, for example, I can put the copyright of something into, assign it into this NFT, and whoever owns this NFT has the value of that copyright. Now you can assign value to it, and now you can also trade it, I can own it, and I can I can collateralize it. So there are many things that you can do now that it, it become a verifiable digital asset.

(12:18) Jeremy Au:

I think what's interesting is that you know, we see some of this, for example, in like collectible card games, right? So obviously we have Pokemon cards and I remember playing with those, and then some of them are very expensive today. Maybe I shouldn't thrown them out.

(12:29) Gabby Dizon:

That's right.

(12:29) Jeremy Au:

I don't think I had anything valuable. I'll tell you that. And then obviously there's magic to gathering cards. You know, there are some cards, only 10 of them in the world, I recently tried to do one in the world for magic gathering and technically, you can just photocopy it and then make it exactly the same and so forth. So there's some level of scarcity, there's authentication. But I think what's interesting is that those are like game ecosystems where the value is within the ecosystem, right? And that's obviously a viable way, right? even today if you play Halo or any computer game these days, they often have more valuable items and less valuable items. And the cost of authentication is within the server within the publisher's thing, walled garden.

But I think what's interesting for me, and I still, to be honest, I'm confused by or still thinking about is I think the wish to make this interoperable because it's part of the global ecosystem. And so there's an interesting dynamic where you have walled gardens where there's utility. And then there's like this interoperable part where people are not necessarily collaborating. So I'm just kind of curious how you see that playing out.

(13:19) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah. So, there are many ways to assign value to digital assets and as he said, interoperability is one of them, but I think the greater value is that we're basically reading off the same immutable database so that we can verify that an asset that I'm seeing in that database is an asset that everyone else is seeing as well. And we actually do this to some extent. For example, if you think about the concept of cookies, cookies are something that a website puts in your computer so that the website identifies you. And imagine if you put some of your data on a chain. It has the same effect except that these things are immutable and the users themselves own them. For example, one of the concepts we're doing at YGG is having achievement NFTs or so-bound tokens, which means that NFTs that are not tradable. So if you do something in a game, if you complete a quest in a game, you get that kind of achievement where it says, Oh, I can prove that I did this thing in the game at this time. And this achievement contains the metadata for that. So it becomes something like credentialing as well. So I think these are important concepts that are made possible by a blockchain.

(14:28) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. I think this feels like there's this war between these walled gardens which doesn't have the same economic center as what you just described. So for example, you know, Steam is one side that doesn't allow this to happen because they want achievements to happen within the Steam universe, right? And so I go open up my steam account and I have all my achievements and they are transparent across games, but they are obviously not on that ledger. Obviously you see Apple as well, pushing back Microsoft, pushing back. So how do you see that? Do you think it's like more collaboration or more competition?

(14:56) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah. So winning on the internet from the early 2000s to the, I would say like late 2010s meaning means that you basically built this walled garden of proprietary data and are able to monetize off that, whether it's app stores, whether it's Steam, it's Facebook or Google, it meant that you were able to capture the majority of that value. And the idea of Web3 actually goes back to the early internet days where instead of Facebook you had blogs, for example, which everyone could read. It makes the data open and openly verifiable and puts them on chain so everyone could read that. And it also puts the data ownership at the user level, which means that they can share what data to share.

And the idea there is that I can build these open networks and still be able to capture value at the user level, which also means that the the platforms building on top of it have more value. But it means that the company that built the platform isn't owning all of that value. A lot of that value is being shared with the community, with the people that are creating that value as well. I think that's one of the central tenets of Web3 that sharing a value that is created by platforms that makes it very powerful.

(16:06) Jeremy Au:

And I think I understand that YGG is very much based on those principles. I'm curious about how you started to co found and found this company.

(16:14) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah, so, YGG was born of me experimenting with different NFTs and blockchain games and heading into the pandemic, a lot of people were stuck at home, right? And I was no different. And so I was diving a lot deeper into NFTs and blockchain gaming. And I was playing Axie Infinity at that time. And What I noticed was that during the pandemic, a lot of people from my home country in the Philippines were starting to play the game and earn tokens as a way to earn money.

And how Axie Infinity works is that you had to buy the NFT called Axies to play the game. At least two years ago, that's how it worked. And then when you won games inside the system, you earned this token called SLP or Smooth Love Potion. And that token is used to breed more Axies. So you couldn't create more Axies without the SLP tokens.

But because the SLP tokens were crypto tokens, then they can be converted to Ethereum. And then Ethereum can be converted to Philippine pesos, Singapore dollars, whatever your currency is, which meant that there was a monetary value assigned to your time spent inside the game and winning games. And of course the value of that wasn't set by anybody, not even by the developers, that value was set by the market because people were willing to trade SL, SLP for Ethereum and Ethereum for pesos.

So that created a market where your time playing games was valuable. And during the pandemic, the demand for that started to grow as more and more people started playing the game and earning tokens and buying NFTs.

(17:40) Jeremy Au:

And how did you meet your early team?

(17:43) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah, so, I have two co founders and both of them, I was experimenting with crypto, DeFi, and NFTs. So, Beryl, my co founder, comes from the finance side coming into crypto. So she's really coming from financial use cases and we were we were learning DeFi together. My other co founder, Owl of Moistness, is an anonymous developer.

I met him at the Axie Discord. And we were actually learning how to do yield farming together in 2020. And when the opportunity came for us to do YGG, I asked both of them if they could join me and they said, they both said yes.

(18:15) Jeremy Au:

Amazing. And what's interesting is that this is actually an interesting time, because I really feel like Web3 is a pioneer, not only that concept of virtual work, I would say, because everyone's collaborating globally, but also I think the concept of anonymous identities as well. So how did you build trust between the three of you? Because, this is something that you're building on. And I think even at this time, three years ago, there's a lot of cases of people running away with cash, and there's a lot of bad actors in the space as well. So I'm just kind of curious.

(18:40) Gabby Dizon:

So the trust was really built from learning how to work together without actually needing to know who the other person is in real life. I think you can actually. I learned a lot about someone's character by working with them. And that doesn't mean that you necessarily know like what their real name is or what their country they're from.

And I was completely comfortable working with an anonymous co founder because I'd already done a lot of different things with them. Like we did side projects, we did stuff together in the Axie ecosystem and yeah, that, that made me comfortable asking him to be my co founder as well.

(19:14) Jeremy Au:

Amazing. I think I remember you sharing about this, but did you ever end up meeting or knowing who he is?

(19:19) Gabby Dizon:

So the funny thing is the first time I met my co founder Owl in real life was around 18 months after we started YGG, after we'd already gotten VC funding from Andreessen Horowitz and other top tier VCs. So we had an offsite in Manila and then that's the only time that I met him in person.

(19:36) Jeremy Au:

Okay. That's great. I remember you making history with that. I remember reading that because it was like what the first ever time a term sheet was given to an anonymous co-founder and then everyone was like, how do you do KYC? How do you do due diligence on someone? Could you share a little bit more? Because, I'm kind of curious how that process went about.

(19:52) Gabby Dizon: That definitely was a novel one. We were one of the first, if not the first investment that Andreessen Horowitz made that where we had a co founder and definitely having myself as a founder who is publicly known helps. So I could vouch for him. Now, it's actually a lot more common across crypto and DeFi where VCs sign term sheets with anonymous co founders. And that just really goes towards the nature of crypto where work can be verifiable online, on chain, and people are seen by their merits and not necessarily who they are or what country they're in.

(20:27) Jeremy Au:

I think what's interesting, from my perspective is that I think YGG has gone through actually several evolutions since that term sheet, right? Could you share a little bit more about how you feel like those evolutions have

(20:38) Gabby Dizon: The first product we had at YGG was our asset lending or what was known then as the scholarship program. So what was happening then was that people who had a lot of axies lent out their assets to other players who wanted to play and then they could get a revenue share out of it in the SLP tokens that were being created. And this was something that the community organically found out how to do. It wasn't something that was directly planned by the developers, Sky Mavis itself. And so, people who had a lot of axies started renting out their assets to other people. And when we started YGG, we were the first ones to really scale and automate this in a couple of ways.

One was that we raised a smaller seed round then of a little bit over a million dollars to buy and breed more axies and be able to scale up the creation of more assets. Second was with biotechnology, we use smart contracts to automate the moving of the assets from one wallet to another so for easy usage . And then third was that rather than managing the players ourselves, we made the use of community managers that we gave access to our technology our platform in our assets so that they could go ahead and recruit the players themselves instead of us doing it manually. So this allowed us to scale more quickly, more than anyone else who was doing this. And that's how we became the biggest guild in the world.

(21:56) Jeremy Au:

Amazing. And I think I understand that you're starting to see obviously some impact from the recent crypto winter. There's obviously kind of crisis with FTX. And obviously a lot of reverberations as people are not only thinking about what they are going to do with the Web3 assets, but also I think the broader sentiment as well as the change in interest rates as well. So how do you feel that has impacted maybe the Web3 space at large? And then maybe we'll talk a little bit more about how it has changed YGG later.

(22:22) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah, crypto itself is very cyclical in nature. Even from the founding of Bitcoin in 2009 to today, it happens in roughly four year cycles where crypto surges a lot and then there is what's seen as overinvestment in the space and then it pulls back massively. And then there's a period of quiet where a lot of people leave and then some people stay and kind of build more towards the technology that they want to see happen in the world. And then new developments happen, new products, and then that cycle repeats again. So this has happened in 2013, 17, 21 and a big part of 2021 was driven by NFTs and Web3 gaming and definitely Axie and YGG were at the center of that. And in 2022, the market has gone down a lot. There's some, I would say, bad actors in the space that have contributed to that news.

And so a lot of people who were playing games because they wanted to get yield, a lot of them have less in the space. So we're back in the cycle where things are down again and then people are building the future that they want to see. And I think that cyclical nature of crypto will continue.

(23:30) Jeremy Au:

Looking ahead, what do you think are the major, use cases you think have a lot of value? So for me personally, I think remittances is a big one. Some level of cross border transfer is a big one. Regulatory arbitrage is probably another one. So those are the two major ones. Maybe infrastructure is a bucket for all the other use cases. And a fourth is maybe a bucket called experimental. I'm just kind of curious what you see the major pillars of value thing moving forward.

(23:53) Gabby Dizon:

Well, there are definitely many different use cases for crypto and that's increasing now. But the one I'm really focusing on is being able to assign value to virtual economies. If you look at games like Roblox and Fortnite, for example, they are very thriving virtual economies that are very close to our economies that are maintained by the companies that own them, whether it's Epic Games or the company behind Roblox, which is now a massive public company.

And I think more and more in the future, there'll be virtual economies where the economies are more open. There may still be a developer that contributes to the building of that world, but these will be run more like countries where there are people who are creating open economies that a lot of different actors may participate in, whether by playing a game, buying assets in the game, trading these games assets, or becoming content creators for the game. And then there'll be a lot of different people that can share in the value of that economy. So that's the main use case that I'm really focused on.

(24:50) Jeremy Au:

And I understand that YGG also has started a shift strategy as well, right? So how are you thinking about planning and building for the future?

(24:56) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah. So when we started apart from the lending or scholarship program, we also bought a lot of assets in many of these games. So we have assets in over 50 games, whether it's NFTs or it's tokens, but two years ago, we started building what we think is some critical infrastructure that the Web3 gaming space needed to be able to proceed.

So we started building a quest and achievement system. So quests are basically do something in a game and get the reward and the achievement system is the reputation layer. So achievements are underpinned by what we call soulbound tokens or non transferable NFTs, which become your achievement badges for proveably doing something within the game or within the community. And I think that reputation is very important.

Obviously a reputation is important, whether it's personal reputation, online reputation with platforms like LinkedIn. And I think Web3 reputation is something that's very important as well. So there's something that we're building towards in the form of achievement system. So that quest and achievement platform that we've been working on is the main product that we've been developing since a year and a half ago.

(26:01) Jeremy Au:

Insights from your previous products and your previous approaches and previous philosophies are embedded in this new product.

(26:07) Gabby Dizon:

There are still a lot of elements of game design. So even though at YGG, we're working with a lot of different games, we're not making a game ourselves but there's still a lot of gaming elements. Of course, all gamers are familiar with achievements, whether it's from your favorite game, from Steam, from Xbox, from Apple. Maybe people don't think of achievements in a way where they're more like credentials, similar to what LinkedIn is doing. But as people play more of these games and they get their achievements and they realize that these achievements actually get them special access.

For example, if I'm very good at strategy games and then a new strategy game comes out. That gives me a special offer to try out their game and maybe there's a new item or it recognizes that I'm part of YGG's guild or gives me special YGG items. Then they realize the power that these achievement badges will have.

(26:56) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. What do you think beyond that? I'm just kind of curious. Do you have any ideas about anything else you want to build or think about?

(27:03) Gabby Dizon:

I think that as we go along in the future, especially with the rise and the advent of AI, there will be a loss of a lot of, I would say, what the current jobs are in the world. So I think actually, and AI, if you look at it as a technology, it's a technology for unbounded abundance of content. AI can create more content than humans can ever make, and I think it actually underscores the need for digital scarcity even more now, you will need to have authentication on who is the first one that created this piece of content.

Where do you attribute the creation or if there's any copyright attached to it? Where would. roYalties flow, for example. Where does value flow for the creation of the content? So I think there's actually yin and yang before behind AI and crypto. I don't think that one technology is necessarily better than another, but I think as AI drives more and more digital abundance. You will need crypto for its ability to create verifiable digital scarcity.

(28:04) Jeremy Au:

Right. So I'm curious. AI seems to be a question in your head. What other questions do you have that you're trying to figure out now? What are the questions in your head?

(28:12) Gabby Dizon:

One of the biggest questions is that what will jobs 10 years from now look like. Will education, formal education, schools, universities still matter? And if they don't, what will the jobs look like? Is there employment? Is it a never ending set of gigs? Are there companies or are they just guilds or groups of people working online together? I think these questions are going to be more and more relevant in the next few years.

(28:38) Jeremy Au:

As you think about that, is there any people that you'd like to read or books or blogs that you're reading now for this question?

(28:46) Gabby Dizon:

I consume a lot of my content primarily from Twitter. And the great thing about Twitter is that there's the real time stream of information from a lot of the smartest people in the world. So yeah, a lot of my primary consumption now is from there.

(29:01) Jeremy Au:

What are some of the people that you follow on Twitter?

(29:02) Gabby Dizon:

A lot of people in crypto, people like Mark Andreessen, Elon Musk, and a lot of Twitter founders, a lot of them are anonymous people in their space who are doing different NFT stuff. Yeah, just a lot of different tech founders that are providing like different kinds of value, different kinds of context to the world.

(29:20) Jeremy Au:

And I always remember the host. There was this moment when Twitter was going to monetize the ecosystem that you just described, the value of information. They're going to more crypto feels like that's gone, right? I feel like that's a different direction that Elon Musk is taking them, but I think hypothetically, let's just say, like, if Twitter was an ecosystem that was friendly to Web3 and that you were the CEO of Twitter, or X, how would you go about this? Kind of curious, like, creating that value because a lot of what we discussed earlier ecosystem contribution jobs, knowledge. A lot of that is community. A lot of that is valuable. So I'm just kind of curious. How would you go about? I know this is a speculation, putting you on the spot here.

(29:55) Gabby Dizon:

Elon is actually creating more and more, I would say, financial rails. On top of Twitter or X as it is now, and he's always been around crypto, although he doesn't really mention it like, so for example, he's, he tweets about Dogecoin, which is a meme coin every now and then at some point. The balance sheet of Tesla has has held Bitcoin, so he's actually very aware about crypto. And I think that when it comes to rewarding community for creating and sharing content that becomes monetizable. Right now, people are doing it where content creators with a certain amount of impressions can get revenues revenue share. But I can see a world where that could be shared by a crypto token in the near future.

(30:38) Jeremy Au:

So your visualization is more like a crypto token that kind of distributed across contributors and key comments, for example.

(30:46) Gabby Dizon:


(30:46) Jeremy Au:

You know, I think what's interesting is that, there's this dynamic where Twitter used to be a, I think I might call like Aristocracy, like people who are endorsed and selected, and then, there's no transferability. And now it's becoming more of a capitalist society where people can buy the blue check mark for X dollars a month, right? And I think there's a huge revolution, and obviously a lot of change, a lot of dynamics there. But it doesn't feel like it's gone full revolution yet because it's still a Web 2.0 kind of approach where you pay subscription, so it's not like that value is not going all the way down to like individual posts or comments and value. How do you think about that?

(31:17) Gabby Dizon:

Well, I think that Twitter is really undergoing a rapid change to go from what is basically a web to a social network to like I would say more of a community-owned platform, whether you're using crypto or not. And that speed of change is something it could never have done as a. And now that it has basically a sole owner that can try different experiments, see them fail, and do something quickly.

I think a lot of people actually don't like where Twitter is headed for better or for worse. But now that it has a solo owner that has a driving vision around it, at least they can create the changes no matter how unpopular they are and see. Basically, see where it lands.

(31:54) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. On that note, could you share about a time that you personally have been brave?

(31:58) Gabby Dizon:

I would go back to the point where I was a web programmer and I told my parents that I was going to go into game development. So this was 20 years ago and they weren't very happy with that decision. There's no game industry in the Philippines and games were seen as a thing that young people did so they probably felt, at that point, that I was sacrificing my career in it to join the world of video games. But yeah, looking back, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

(32:25) Jeremy Au:

Why was it scary?

(32:26) Gabby Dizon:

There was no industry. There were no large companies. And I left a media-tech company to join a seven-person startup in a time when startups weren't really, I would say popular in the Philippines back then. So, there was definitely, like, you couldn't really see where the future headed then, or what, where games could be. And I was just taking a leap into the unknown because I knew I wanted to do it and I'd always been interested in it.

(32:52) Jeremy Au:

You know that you have always been interested in it, right? Because it's such a scary thing to do. Like you said, the industry doesn't really exist. You're right. Startups have a man team. Like, how did you know, I guess?

(33:02) Gabby Dizon:

What was weird for me growing up was that I always knew that I wanted to make games. So I actually didn't understand people who didn't know what they wanted to do for their careers. And it's taken me talking to a lot more people to decide to find out that for other people. That process is more of a discovery and something that takes them into adulthood. Even when I was young, I knew I wanted to make games.

(33:22) Jeremy Au: Wow.

That's amazing. If you could travel back in time to that point of time, would there be any advice you would give to that younger version of yourself?

(33:30) Gabby Dizon:

It's hard for me to really think about what could have been different because I would say not just in the Philippines, but in Southeast Asia, there was really no scene where you could learn from a lot of people if you look at where games flourished in the past, whether it's certain places in the US like Texas or Seattle or, in Finland in the demo scene, there are real pockets of people who were trying things out that led to quick development of the scene. Maybe if there was one thing that I would have done, it was like search out those pockets and join that scene earlier, but that scene didn't exist in the Philippines.

And we basically had to create it from scratch. And it was also linking up with game developers across Southeast Asia in the decade after that, that is where I would find people to talk to about what we're doing.

(34:15) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. I understand that you now have a family as well. I'm so curious. Has that changed you over time?

(34:20) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah, definitely. So, my kids are teenagers now and they're into games. They're very aware of what crypto is. And I think that even in the world of tech and startups, I think having a family is very important because I always keeps me grounded on the long term of what I'm building for and who I want to share it with.

(34:38) Jeremy Au:

Any stories that you have about family? Any moments that stand out to you?

(34:42) Gabby Dizon:

Well, three years ago I was playing Axie Infinity with my son and it was basically playing for me. And then I would buy the SLP that he would earn with some Ethereum. So, he had some amount of Ethereum, and this was before the boom of 2021. And then after that, when Axie Infinity launched their own crypto token, AXS on Binance, he put everything that he had earned into AXS at 12 12 cents. And at one point, the value of that grew a thousand X. So that was worth a lot of money. So yeah, my son owns, not insignificant amount of crypto. Yeah.

(35:17) Jeremy Au:

So you managed to get out, I guess, uh, to

(35:20) Gabby Dizon:

He's still, he still has a crypto. Yeah.

(35:24) Jeremy Au:

I'm kind of curious because you're probably the first family I know of that has like two generations you know, kind of like everything crypto. Do you discuss it over the dinner table? Or is it something that you both have an interest in? Or do you swap notes? I'm just kind of curious. How does that composition happen?

(35:39) Gabby Dizon:

Yeah. My entire family with my wife and kids, they all have crypto and we talk about it. And because I work from home a lot, they also hear a lot of my conversations, meetings, and podcasts. I wouldn't say it's something that dominates their day-to-day lives, but they're definitely aware of the work that I'm doing. So it's just something that is normal and present to them.

(35:57) Jeremy Au:

So you asked, and you said, what do you think in 10 years when people have jobs, AI, and so forth? I'm just kind of curious, in maybe 20, 30 years time, when your kids are the same age as you, what do you think life will be like for them? Crypto will be more mainstream more AI. How do you think that? I'm just kind of curious how you see that.

(36:13) Gabby Dizon:

So I think that preparing kids for a world where most of the value in the economy is created digitally is something that's very important. I'm not sure whether the jobs we're training them now are still available 10, 20 years from now. So it's really important for them to learn principles, how to be curious, how to learn, how to be comfortable in a fast way, changing digital economy, because if you think about the role of, oh, what is a graphic designer? What is a computer programmer? Those roles may be very different 10, 15 years from now, but there are still principles on how to learn that, like, what are the principles that underlie those? And I think having that curiosity and learning how to pick up these principles and learn is the most important thing we're teaching them.

(36:57) Jeremy Au:

Thank you so much for sharingOn that note, I'd love to wrap things up by summarizing the three big takeaways I got from this conversation. First of all, thank you so much for sharing about your own early journey as a young kid playing with your Commodore games, but also deciding that you wanted to be a game designer and how you eventually took that leap to join what you didn't know was called, but it was actually a startup of seven people, including yourself. So it's just fascinating to hear about your early journey in terms of game design, but also how you eventually started exploring crypto several years after the start. And then it was just a very interesting journey of that early time that I really thank you for being so personal and sharing candidly about.

Secondly, thank you so much for sharing about YGG. I thought it was interesting because we're basically talking about not just YGG, but the company you founded across the three co-founders, one of whom was anonymous and made history. But I think also more specifically talking about how the industry has gone through several evolutions, in terms of that there's the underlying philosophy, but also in terms of where the perception of value is, the bull and bear market, cyclical nature of it, but also some of the bad actors out there versus I think the good actors who are still building even today during this crypto winter. So I thought it was a very interesting dynamic to talk about the past, and the present, but also I think where you see the future starting to emerge, especially with the use of AI and job changes in the future. So thank you so much for sharing about your product roadmap as well.

Lastly, thank you so much for sharing about how the first two have, call have fed into the generational shift, right? I thought it was nice of you to share about your family and share the context of how you think about our generation, which is invented slash figuring out slash trying out experimenting in the crypto space. I thought it was interesting just to hear how you think that's going to change and evolve jobs in the future, but also how that applies to your own family, right? In terms of the context of future jobs, the dinner table, and even, I think it's just an amazing moment that you had I don't know, just like playing games with your kids, right?

(38:43) Gabby Dizon:

That's right.

(38:44) Jeremy Au:

Also, giving them, I guess a crash course in history, economics, programming, and financial markets. So I think that's just an amazingly wholesome story of family exploration. So, thank you so much, Gabby, for sharing your journey.

(38:55) Gabby Dizon:

Thanks for having me.