Chris Cummings, Founder and CEO of Iconic Moments: the first NFT Marketplace for museums and cultural institutions around the world, featured in the latest episode of Dinis Guarda YouTube podcast series in collaboration with citiesabc, openbusinesscouncil, and fashionabc to discuss the role of Web 3.0 in leveraging the art of storytelling.
Chris Cummings is an entrepreneur who has founded the storytelling platform Pass It Down and a former attorney in Louisiana. As a strong believer in technology, Chris founded Iconic Moments as a digital exhibit design platform transforming how museums and cultural institutions engage their visitors, where he is currently the CEO. Being from a family of entrepreneurs, Chris was passionate since his early career days to find solutions and build businesses. Chris told Dinis that his first exposure to technology was at a Venture Capital firm, SwiftWing, in Tennessee.
"The best part about being a Venture Capitalist is your exposure to all these very passionate entrepreneurs- they have ideas and businesses in different parts of the world you have never seen and you get every day to learn something new, it was really fun,''
he recalled in the new chapter of Dinis Guarda YouTube Podcast Series.
The interview soon turned a little serious when Chris shared with Dinis that the idea of storytelling first crossed his mind when his mother developed early dementia at the age of 43. This powerful event was the motivational moment in his life that inspired him to bring up a solution where people could share their stories that are otherwise archived in a basement or an attic.
"I would say storytelling is the most powerful way to communicate an idea into the world, it is the original form of communication. We told stories before we could write. It is literally hardwired into our body through received stories better than any other form of information. So, we designed a platform to digitally enable people to tell stories and it was amazing just the amount of ventures we gathered so quickly.",
he explained, stating that there are over 50 million artifacts of content that are archived. He explained to Dinis how there is a huge opportunity for major brands to collaborate with museums. Such collaborations, he said, have been a huge component behind NFT drops, and Iconic Moments is a big proponent of it.
"These museums that we have possessed some of the most interesting themes in the world that big brands can build businesses today. So, our market includes not just traditional marketing and Web 3.0 marketing but big brands have specifically theme drops that can utilize these social channels as well. We are looking forward to bringing Web 3.0 to new audiences worldwide that never really knew museums- through storytelling.",
The inception of Iconic Moments
Dinis was interested to know the story behind the revolutionary idea of establishing the first NFT marketplace for museums and cultural institutions. Chris explained these institutions of cultural heritage primarily engage local patrons and their stories are literally inaccessible to the rest of the world. Further, according to him:
"When you look at the product pages- the NFTs and the platforms, you see a JPEG, maybe some transaction history, that's it. You don't see the story behind the NFT, you don't see the artist behind the curation.",
he said. So, transforming these art pieces into digital collectibles that tell the story behind the curation was the idea behind Iconic Moments. Iconic Moments has outreached 140 museums and cultural institutions across 13 countries to this day. The company is witnessing cultural institutions interested in engaging communities on Web 3.0.
"We are definitely not selling the original ownership of any museum, but what we are doing is that we are tying tickets, membership, and a variety of experiences to the NFT to function as its utility mechanism. We have tons of utility to work with, in terms of being able to blend physical and digital worlds together and to be able to build some very compelling experiences connected in these things.",
he told Dinis.
Storytelling in Web 3.0
When Dinis asked Chris about creating space in the metaverse, Chris replied that the world is at the early stages of this technology. This is the area where the technology needs to grow a little bit faster as possible, particularly on the rendering front. He explained some of the areas that would need development would be seamless transactions and hassle-free wallet management.
“I think once we can really hide what's going on behind the scenes of technology, you'll start to see mainstream adoption,''
he said. When asked what makes Icon Moments a unique platform, Chris said that the utility of Iconic Moments is to create a global “passport” between museums and cultural institutions.
"Imagine buying an NFT from one of our clients at the Universal Hip-Hop Museum that's in New York, and then, that's going to increase your experience of another music museum around the world and vice versa. Individually, this won't be possible, but because we are bringing these institutions together to be able to collaborate and be really able to create a space for museums to engage in Web 3.0, we can create really unique value that isn't possible anywhere else in the world.",
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