In this conversation, Rami and Chadi discuss their experiences in the crypto and blockchain space. Chadi, originally from Lebanon and raised in the Emirates, shares how he entered the world of crypto during COVID when Dubai allowed crypto purchases using credit cards. He became the first AI generative artist on Cardano Blockchain, creating historic NFTs. They reminisce about the early days of Cardano, stressing the system and pushing boundaries. Chadi talks about his involvement with projects like Plutus Art and UNHCR, as well as his interest in innovative projects on Cardano, such as Book.io. The conversation reflects their passion for the MENA crypto community and their excitement for future Blockchain and Cardano related developments.
Rami: Ok. Hello, everyone. Hope all is. Well. Hi, how are you?
Chadi: Good, good. How are things?
Rami: It’s great. It’s going great. Finally, finally I get the chance to get to know you more because you’re everywhere, you’re all around here and there and I always see new projects popping up working on new projects. There’s always something with you. It’s never, you’re doing nothing, which is great.
Chadi: I wish I could be doing that sometimes. I wish it’s just, just chill, do nothing. It’s a little breaks from time to time is really important for sure.
Rami: So, Chadi. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself about your background? How did you get into crypto? Where were you before Crypto and Blockchain?
Chadi: So I am Lebanese born and raised in the Emirates. So I called Dubai my home because it is, this is what I know most and I was in just luxury retail before then. So I worked with two of the top groups in luxury retail. And then during COVID, I’ve always been into crypto and I’ve always wanted to understand more and learn more. But everywhere I lived, it was illegal to own crypto before COVID. So I wasn’t able to buy any. And then during COVID, I just tested the app with my credit card and Dubai was allowing crypto, Dubai credit cards were allowing you to purchase crypto, which brought me into the whole crypto scene that kind of transitioned more into Blockchain. And now I try to do a bit of both because even though Blockchain and crypto are interrelated, they’re not exactly the same. And I started off as an artist with on Ethereum, a friend of mine on one of my clients on Ethereum that bought my collectors that bought my pieces. He said, OK, I don’t think he should be on Ethereum. You should come to Cardano and I hadn’t sold much of that collection yet. So he said, would you be willing to burn that collection on Ethereum and jump on Cardano? I was like, yeah, sure. So I did that and that’s how I became the first AI generative artist on Cardano Blockchain. So that collection is considered one of the OG NFTs and one of the historic NFTs on Cardano in the sense that it was a new type of NFT. Yeah, I think it came out very early, not long after space buds and that whole generation of NFTs. It was back when, back when everything was being tested. We didn’t really, we didn’t have NMKR. We didn’t have any of those, you know, you have to go in and do your NFT s and stuff. It was where I met my co-founders in Plutus Art and Fettuccine and Stale. Stale was the one that minted my first collection. So there’s that connection too and that’s how we became friends. And Fettuccine was kind of one of my biggest allies in selling my artwork, introducing me to new collectors, etcetera. So there’s a bit of that, that’s how we became friends. We were not happy with the scene when it came to marketplaces. We didn’t think it was being done the way the community wanted, which is why we started Plutus Art. Now we are just, we found one thing that needs fixing. So we put it on maintenance mode for the moment. Luckily, it’s a bear market which allows us to, you know, really breathe and take it slow instead of trying to rush it back out. So we will be bringing it back. But in a, I can’t tell you much, but I can tell you that we will be bringing back Pluto Art in a new way.
Rami: Amazing, good news. I hope building goes great and it’s fluent and there’s not much there’s always obstacles, but I hope it’s, it’s a smooth ride. It’s a smooth sail with Plutus Art. Yeah, I, can relate. I remember and it was very difficult to do anything in the beginning. Like you have to do, you have to become kind of a developer in order to, or a computer technician or an engineer to, to launch or you had to really trust the developer that they will not mess it up for you.
Chadi : Exactly. Exactly. So I still really, those were fun days though, like, because those were when we were all like Patrick from NMKR, a few of the space spots teams if you know, he’s one of the biggest collectors of NFTs on Cardano, especially the historic NFTs and he has a Equine the equine project on Cardano.
So there was a group of us that were always in contact one way or another trying to push the, the space forward. And if you remember when NFTs first came out on Cardano, a lot of people disliked it. So the Cardo OGs is the ones that really helped launch the Blockchain itself. They were not really for it. I would say maybe less against it but not really for it. But the way we saw it is as an NFT community is that not only are we having fun, we are doing everything, you know, we’re bringing a new scene. To Cardano. We were building that scene but we, we were also stress testing the system. Like I still remember days when a transaction would take 10, 15 minutes because we, that’s how much we were stress testing. Sometimes even more, sometimes hours before you click send and then you would get your NFT because that’s how much we were stress testing the system, stress testing the Blockchain. And so yeah, NFT s people say are dead, but there are many use cases including testing their live test. That’s what, that’s what we were doing in a way.
Rami: Yeah. So what I want to ask you is your personal opinion on now, what are some of your favorite projects on Cardano? And I’m sure you’re participating in many because I remember we had a chat right before project catalyst Fund10 and we talked a little, we checked some proposals which are great with great, amazing people. So would you like to share a bit about your opinion and whether you’re participating in anything in the space right now?
Chadi: So I’ve given my opinion on actual project catalyst to, to the Cardano Foundation. I don’t, I won’t repeat it again because I’m very opinionated about project catalyst. But in terms of projects, I mean, there are great projects both NFT related and not. And that’s the beauty of our community is that we have such a vast array of projects. It’s not a Blockchain that’s only focused on one or two things. We really have a lot. So NMKR, for example, just came out with adamail, if you saw adamail, I think I just got an Adamail account. I think Adamail is a really interesting use case for using the Blockchain, like having your email on the Blockchain, having a Blockchain account. All of that. I think that’s very, very innovative Book.io a super interesting use case because basically they’re becoming the Amazon of book NFT s and what they’re doing like if you know when you buy a digital asset on Amazon, you cannot resell it, right? It’s in your, you, it it’s not something you can resell it basically because you’re not buying the book, you’re buying the rights to read that book with your account. What’s happening now with book.io ? For example, you are buying a book? So that book, that digital asset becomes yours, it’s only your wallet, it’s your asset. Of course, you need their infrastructure to read it, but it is your asset. So someone else like a kindle, for example, maybe Book.io will come out with a kindle alternative soon. I hope so. I don’t know what they’re doing. I haven’t spoken to them in a while, but if they end up coming out with something like that, what would be interesting is I finished reading a book. You don’t want to pay full price, they want to still get their cut. The author still gets a cut because they put a royalty. So I let’s say I sell you the book for 5 ada. You still get your 5 ada that they get their royalties as an author that is revolutionary that is doing for authors. What, what everyone like what NFTs did for artists, you know what I mean? So I love that project. I think it’s, I really wish them the best. I think they’re doing it right. They do come from the industry. So that helps that they understand books, they understand authors, they understand their needs. So that’s what I’m very excited about in terms of NFTs and art. There are two that will always be my favorites. They’re great human beings and they’re also great at what they do. You have Ionian Sky. So their whole, they did this big, big, big project where you buy the NFTs and you put them together and you have this massive piece of artwork that’s all interrelated and it’s full of Easter eggs. So when you zoom in, you find things here and there and there’s Withspaces. So Tyler Withspaces, he also ended up having Reddit NFT one of the best selling Reddit NFT s from season four or five, I think, you know, Reddit, the little, I forget his name. The Avatar. So he had one of those also. So he kind of branched out of Cardano. I thought that was great. That was really cool. And other projects, I mean, you have Aiken, people don’t see it as a project because it’s a programming language. But those Aiken guys have done something that we’ve all been waiting for. We will be using Aiken. Now, that’s one of the things we’re doing is upgrading our contracts into ac So because it’s such a lightweight and easy to learn language, any programmer can learn it. Even if they don’t have Plutus background, it’s easy. It’s an easier end to Plutus and to our Cardano Blockchain as a whole. So there’s a lot of projects that I think are great.
Rami: So now what about you? Like, what are you working on? What are you participating? And if you have something in mind to start soon?
Chadi: Yeah, I mean, for me personally, I have my Plutus art that takes up some bandwidth now, maybe less because now it’s on the developers. So Stale is handling a bit more of it than we are. We are handling another aspect that we will talk about publicly soon. But yeah, so we’re actively trying to raise funds for Plutus. You can, one thing I’ve learned in tech is you can always need you will always need more funds. There’s also my artwork, I’m still working on my artwork. The latest collection is the one with the UNHCR. So I have a project with the UNHCR. We will be promoting it and showing it heavily at the Cardano Summit. So people can come up and see. I will be doing a few things to incentivize people to donate because when you buy one of those projects, you’re donating half the price to the UNHCR. So I will be doing a few things maybe to kind of incentivize people to buy it and donate to the UNHCR and a few other personal projects that are not Blockchain related yet, but I’m trying to find ways to make them Blockchain related.
Rami: That’s nice. That’s nice. So good luck with that. And I’m sure it will be very, very interesting. All these projects will be very interesting because I remember you have, you always have this very original and not very conventional ideas usually. So big fan,
Chadi: Good luck kind of stuff too because it’s not easy to put yourself on youtube. You know, it’s not easy to put yourself out there and you’re doing it. So like give yourself a pat on the back too. You’re doing something that not that many people do.
Rami: Thanks man. Thanks for the very sweet words and let’s, let’s hope we keep doing what we’re doing in the future. And I guess it’s, it’s contagious in a positive way. So, yeah, we motivate each other and I hope to see more of your work soon and hope we hear good news about Plutus Art soon.
Chadi : So one thing I want to mention is if people are coming to the Cardano Summit, someone like me who was born and raised in the Emirates feels let them know that they’re, they’re free to send me and ask what to book or how to book things.
I know a lot of people. It’s probably their first time or maybe their second time in Dubai or something. So if they’re coming to the Cardano Summit and they want to book all those, you know, Burj Khalifa or this or that, they might not know that there are long waiting times if they don’t book the VIP ticket, for example, pay a little extra, but don’t wait three hours is a good thing, you know, like and we are planning to do some events around the Cardano Summit. So we expect people, everybody, we’ve asked, people are saying, yeah, I’m gonna come a few days earlier, I’m gonna leave a few days later. So for people that want to hang out meet other crypto enthusiasts or Blockchain enthusiasts, we were trying to find as a community. Me Kaizen crypto and Discover Cardano. We’re trying to find either events happening or create events for people to come and meet each other outside the summit.
Rami: Amazing. So here’s a shout out and hopefully it will be very festive.
Chadi: And we want to see you here. So try to get yourself here too.
Rami: Yeah. Yeah, I, would like to see myself too just you know, work, work, work. So you, you got to find this time, you got to find the, yeah, the time and energy to be able to do it and come back to your day to day job. And, yeah, of course. So, thanks again for your time. It was great to have you and, hope to hear, soon from you again. So have a good, have a good weekend. We’re, we’re, we’re approaching the weekend, so have a great weekend. And thanks again. Bye bye.
Chadi: You too.