We are in the middle of an evolution of people moving online now more than ever. With talks of the metaverse and social media, we find that this impacts mental health in both a negative and positive way. Which is why we brought George from Zenape to talk more about Web 3, cryptocurrency, fostering a “zenlife”, smart contracts, and how to adapt to this new virtual world. Read on to learn more!
Who is George from ZenApe?
I have a background in real estate and then I moved into stocks, cryptocurrency and NFT’s. When I first heard about NFT’s selling for millions, I thought it didn’t make sense. So I started to learn the potential of NFT’s and the underlying technology. The first one I went into was “Cyberkongz” . I learned more about NFT’s in general, made a lot of investments, made money, and lost money. It was a good learning experience.
And then from there, we observed NFT’s and so much so we decided to have fun and play around. This led 5 of us to create ZenApes, which happened spontaneously. It was more like “let’s do something fun” once we did that and we wanted to give it a reason for existence. We have a physiology of openness and want to welcome people in. It's about collaboration, not competition. We are not scared of sharing our ideas. There are a lot of projects out there that are very siloed and private, but we try to take the balanced approach of being open minded and open to builders, innovators and chill zen people. The motto of the project is wisdom, virtue, and mindfulness.
Coronavirus’s Impact on Mental Health
Covid has been a furnace for people. Some people have adapted well to it and others have not. You can see that it’s very much reflected in the overall psyche of the collective of the human race:
Some people feel the isolation: they may normally be really outgoing and then all of a sudden they are trapped at home. And humans tend to be social creatures so they get sad and anxious.
Then some people are like “this is not a good situation but when you get lemons you make lemonade”. And because you’re isolated, it gives you more time to meditate and shut out a lot of the previous noise. For me, I played a few video games during isolation but I took the opportunity to read a lot more, do more mediation, and learn a lot about NFT’s and the underlying potential & technology.
The isolation aspect has forced people to go introspectively. And those who are natural introverts would be more climatised in spending time in solitude, but I feel for the people that draw energy from others. Personally, even being an introvert it was very tough. And of all this adds to the complexity of people spending more time online.-Kriben Govender
The Definition of Web 3, The Metaverse and NFT’s.
Metaverse: is a virtual reality. It's a new layer of reality that is generated by human technology. It's very much like the games that we used to play (like world of warcraft) but now they are all interlinked with each other. All the different online mpgs are siloed from each other and are on seperate servers. But in the metaverse, you have everything interconnected with each other in a web. You can think of the metaverse as a new layer of reality that's interlinked with each other in a vast webway consisting of ownership and new experiences.
It's kind of like the book and movie, “Ready Player One”. It will have opportunities for developments for online wellness retreats and wellness worlds. This is what I see ZenApe doing. Being a community of people that encourages mindfulness, wellness, and all of the healthy elements of life but in an online space. And there’s also a discord that is very popular, where the community actually interacts with the NFT’s. -Kriben Govender
Web 3: So Web 1 is read only, you consume it. Web 2 is the big companies like Instagram and Facebook where you can interact and it's all on these central databases. Web 3 is an evolution in the direction of decentralization. It has all the elements of Web 1 and Web 2 but now the governance of the stakeholders and the share in revenue all of it, is decentralized and is spread apart.
Cryptocurrencies are a use of Web 3 technology. All of the NFT’s and cryptocurrencies are backed by blockchain technology. Which can be used in different ways. NFT’s are basically cryptocurrency but they are nonfungible. Which means each NFT is different and has a different price. Whereas all cryptocurrencies have the same meaning. For example: one bitcoin is the same as another bitcoin but one NFT isn’t the same as another NFT. Nonfungible means they are different from each other. For a fungible token you can exchange one for another.
The History & Future of ZenApe and Why They Chose The Mindfulness Genre
ZenApes happened naturally. We all knew each other in real life, we played around with NFT’s, and we each learned a lot. We decided to do some art > which evolved into a 5k collection > then it evolved into giving it a meaning and a reason for existence. We were doing something innovative and fun at the same time. We minted in December of 2021 (which means we sold out the NFT collection).
And from that time we had been building and what came from that was “Zentask”, which is: a social business networking decentralized application based around trust networks. In this space it's challenging to find work or people to work for you. With Zentask, we aim to stop that issue. In Web 2, there are millions of users but in Web 3, there may only be 5k users. It's challenging to activate network effects with thousands. With Zentask, we will be able to combine all of the NFT communities together in a Zentask confederation and branch out in the crypto sphere as well.
Zentaks is like a Web 3 Linkedin platform. It shares many similar characteristics with Linkedin but it’s different enough to be something of its own unique value proposition. Linkedin is about flashy photos of people in suits, but Zentask caters to pseudonymous identities. Because in this space, many people choose to be anonymous. Even the most well known names in Web 3 are anonymous. That doesn’t mean they are bad people. Zentask will enable people like that to create profiles without having to fully reveal themselves.
And the mindfulness and the zen factor was a reflection of the lessons we learned from trading stocks, cryptocurrency, and NFT’s. It’s very easy to get caught up in emotions and in the frenzy. Whether that means buying into euphoria in a bull market or selling into pessimism in a bear market. You are being governed and controlled by your emotions and not the other way around. For most investors, that is the number 1 mistake and destruction in their portfolio. We should embody a more zen lifestyle, be mindful of our emotions, and then we will make optimal decisions. And this isn’t just for investments!
ZenApe is all about community as well. And “Opensea” is the main NFT marketplace that is used. From there, you will also find ZenApes. NFT’s are about building communities. In ZenApes, if I’m a Cyberkong and Kriben is a Zenape, we have a connection with each other. We already know each other so becoming further friends is much easier. Some of the best friends I've made have been inside Cyberkongs or ZenApes. I’ve learned more about them and about our mutual interests. And eventually you might meet up. NFT communities are a way to bond with people that you know you have a lot in common with. If you were both drawn to Cyberkong and ZenApes then you may share similar characteristics in your persona. There's a strong potential for establishing human connection using Web 3 technology and utilizing the power of community.
I believe that Web 3 and NFT’S are going to be a huge part of our lives. It’s the early days in terms of technology, but just like facebook was 10-15 years ago, at some point it’s going to hit the masses and be prevalent in our lives. Many big brands and companies are getting involved in the space. It’s here to stay and the utility of NFT’s are going to play a huge part in our lives. -Kriben Govender
Lifestyle Hacks to Foster a “Zenlife” State
>> Discipline: It's very easy to get sucked in and obsessed with something and then sit in front of a screen for 16 hours a day. But if you can develop a simple schedule and say “at this time I do this and at this time I do that” whatever it is…having that discipline. And scheduling investment decisions as well. This is a much more optimal and sustainable approach than being on a 16 hour grind and going to bed at 4am. There are a lot of people that made a lot of money from doing that grind, but I don't believe it's sustainable long term for most people. And you can be a lot happier by having a more balanced life.
>> Perception: how you react to: news, what people say, what they write, people's emotions, is all very important. Framing how you see reality from a personal level. Perception is so important that if you can control it, you can control reality itself. Fostering a mindset that you can air on the side of positivity, choosing that instead of the negativity.
Advice for Older People Navigating The Online World & Fostering a Thick Skin
The first thing is that you need to lose the perception that you’re old. Ultimately it's not about the age, the only thing that matters is willingness to learn and adapt to new technology. Age is completely irrelevant in discord. And if you prefer face to face contact (like most people), you can use chat and discord for less sensitive topics. Since 90% of all human communication is nonverbal, all of that gets lost in text when you are bringing up sensitive topics. So you have to adapt to that. One of the biggest pieces of advice I would give is: don't be reactive and get offended. The internet is full of jerks because everyone is anonymous and they feel like they can get away with anything. Oftentimes it can be hurtful but the reframe is: no one can hurt you through text, it's you allowing people to hurt you.
It's so important as we move towards this online world, that we foster a thick skinned mindset. My advice is that when we use the internet, use it like we are talking to someone face to face. It's really difficult to be mean to someone when you are right in front of them. And also, be non reactive and don't take anything to heart. These are the principles of zen and stoicism, which is going to set us up well when we interact in this online space. It's a new frontier and we need to be careful and be good human beings. We can’t control how others behave so the best thing at times is to switch off, take a break, and go back to nature. And as far as replying when you're heated and your fight or flight response is activated, take a step back and sleep on it if you can. Not responding with that interaction in the heated space. Making sure to respond when you're calm, clear, more relaxed, and logical. In a corporate sense, these are the ways I would react but if you don’t have to respond the best thing to do would be not respond at all. In my own experience, we get a lot of trolls on social media and sometimes it's just not giving them the air, not feeding the troll. You’re never going to get everyone on the same page on the same issue, there is always going to be conflict between people. Some people just don’t get along. -Kriben Govender
What is a Smart Contract?
The potential of uses for NFT’s is endless: from real estate, to physical merchandise, to the tracking of food sources. Underlying all of this is the smart contract. An example of a smart contract is: people paying millions of dollars for a cryptopunk, they are actually paying for the underlying code. So of that cryptopunk, for example number 200, a smart contract is underlying the entire collection of cryptopunks that exists on the blockchain. Which means all of the records of ownership and transactions of who bought it or sold it, is there for as long as the blockchain exists.
So when you buy Zenape, it's not only the art, it's also the underlying code. As it’s popularly said, the code is in the art and the art is in the code. The smart contract defines everything in cryptocurrency, Web 3, and in NFT’s. They define how the cryptocurrency works, they define how an NFT works, what an NFT’s can do and what its utilities are. Some NFT’s can unlock access to certain things and that’s all in the underlying code.
It’s almost the way of “trustless transactions”. For example: when you buy a house, you pass over ownership. But in the future, buying assets could be a matter of using a smartphone, interacting with a map, and then the record of that purchase is transferred to the purchaser without having to sign. It makes it more seamless. It’s like how we are currently pulling out our phones for QR codes. It could be just pulling out your phone to get a house in a way that is trusted by both parties. - Kriben Govender
That is a major aspect of smart contracts; it removes the middle man. And a much more seamless transaction between parties. So if you buy NFT art or real estate, it would be a matter of both parties signing the transaction and it’s done. Imagine if you can just get your phone out and sell it in 20 minutes.
The Bottom Line
Cryptocurrencies, NFT’s, Web 3, and smart contracts are the way of the future. The better we can adapt to them with a mindfulness and zen approach, the better off we will be. Remember to take a step back before you react, dig into more education around these topics, and take care of your mental health with nature. You can email George at email@example.com and join the ZenApe community! Don’t forget to share this with a friend that would benefit from this information.