Jehan Chu – Trad Art Dealer, Crypto VC, NFT Unicorn – Theory of NFT investing

On today’s episode SabreTooth and Kizu are joined by special guest Jehan Chu. Jehan is Chairman and Founder of Kinetic, a crypto VC firm, as well as Chairman and co-Founder of Social Alpha Foundation. Because of his background as an art dealer and his early involvement in NFTs, Jean is a perfect guest for the show. 

Jehan’s interest in NFTs began through investing in Decentraland. His firm Kinetic was the first blockchain VC in Hong Kong and one of the earliest in Asia when they got started in 2016. Kinetic were seed investors in Decentraland, the first decentralized metaverse, in 2017. The company did much research on digital value and how it converted to real world real estate fundamentals and investment strategies. Jehan began his career as a front end developer before he was recruited by Sotheby’s, and transferred to Hong Kong in 2006. Two years later, he left the company and became an art dealer and advisor immersed in the contemporary art world. He identifies the three major pillars of art collecting: the critical importance of the artwork, the work’s market position and your personal relationship to it. These principles serve the same framework when applied to NFTs. Jehan became interested in crypto in 2013 and left the art world professionally in 2016, when he founded Kinetic. 

Jehan considers PFPs to be collectibles, representative of community, self expression and membership, rather than fine art. While NFTs are creative and artistic, he doesn’t consider them to be art themselves. He reveals that the context for fine art is missing in the NFT space, because the NFT space is far too generalized, and the conflict between both sides is a result of misunderstanding on both ends. The institutions of fine art have been around for many years and are unlikely to be overrun now. Aside from influencer signaling, price is the only other reference for the value of an NFT. 

As more PFPs come into play, engagement and commitments of communities often drop. As a result, the NFT world is on a very weak foundation. There needs to be a broader understanding of the cultural significance of NFTs to bridge the gap between NFTs and art. Elaborating on the tension between crypto artists and artists just joining the space who have made a name for themselves otherwise, Jehan reveals the world of NFT is not filled with artists, but designers. There must be education in the art schools to understand the tools and concepts of the NFT medium. As today’s episode draws to a close, Jehan highlights a few of his favorite artists in the space. 

Thanks for listening and don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review! 

Timestamps: 

0:44 – Introducing Jehan Chu. 

1:23 – How Jehan got into the world of NFTs. 

3:13 – The contemporary art world as a backdrop for NFTs 

9:06 – Art vs PFPs 

17:58 – What constitutes value for PFPs?  

19:50 – Tension between traditional artists and crypto artists. 

26:41 – Graphic design in the NFT world. 

31:38 – Jehan’s favorite artists. 

24:43 – Thanks to Jehan for joining us today 

Tags: 

NFT, cryptocurrency, art, design, art dealer, jehan chu, social alpha foundation, crypto, VC firm, kinetic, decentraland, blockchain, blockchain VC, hong kong, asia, seed investors, investing, metaverse, digital assets, cryptokitties, art world, traditional art world, front end developer, sotheby’s, contemporary art, art career, art collectors, PFPs, fine art institutions, cryptopunk, digital art 

Links:

Connect with Jehan Chu. 

Follow Floor Is Rising on Twitter. 

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