Zooted Zoo logo from zootedzoo.com.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrency, the metaverse. Lately, it seems like that is all people are talking about.
The Future of Technology
Recently the news was flooded by Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of rebranding Facebook into Meta. With Meta, Zuckerberg hopes to create the metaverse, a place of “interconnected virtual experiences, [that uses] technologies like virtual and augmented reality,” said Zuckerberg during his keynote on November 1st.
The idea of a Metaverse comes straight out of a science fiction movie. Ready Player One, Tron, The Matrix, and Ryan Reynald’s Free Guy, can all give us an idea of what Zuckerberg’s vision is. “An embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it,” he describes in his Founder’s Letter.
The feasibility of the Metaverse is still up in the air. A manifested space where users can buy, sell and use items in all corners of the internet will take years to develop. Regardless, Zuckerberg plans to do just that, and with the Metaverse, NFT’s space in the world’s social and economic market stands to grow.
An NFT is essentially a digital asset. They can come in many different forms; music, URLs, domain names, but most come in the form of JPEGs, or digital artwork. Each NFT is unique, and one can only buy it with cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, or Dogecoin.
In 2021, NFTs have allowed for a new type of digital ownership. They are scan-able and can be used as tokens for real world transactions. Many believe it to be the future of retail, especially if the Metaverse comes into play. NFTs have become so popular that even the stoner community has hopped on the wagon.
One company is merging NFTs with the world of cannabis.
Zooted Zoo is a cannabis inspired NFT. They come in the form of JPEGs and are designed to be zoo animals smoking cannabis, and wearing the traditional “stoner” look. They are, at their core, digital works of art that can be bought online with cryptocurrency.
Sophie Meynard is the head of the Zooted Zoo experience. She explains that after graduating from Northeastern University during COVID-19 pandemic, she turned to NFTs out of boredom and curiosity.
“I graduated into the pandemic, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was really bored and lost. So I decided to look into NFTs because I just heard so many people talking about it. I approached it with a sense of skepticism and curiosity,” she tells Emerald. “As soon as I looked into it, I realized it was incredible. It was the future.”
Meynard was raised in the wild mountains of Vermont, skiing and smoking cannabis. She explains that her early childhood inspired the idea behind Zooted Zoo. Meynard also expresses her enthusiasm towards cannabis. She believes that smokers are calmer, more self-aware and that overall there is a specific energy to them.
Zooted Zoo’s Animals Snuck Out
When Meynard realized that she could design and sell her own NFTs, she wanted to make sure that they paid homage to the wildlife she grew up with, and the cannabis community she found herself in.
“I always smoked weed. I’ve always been a cannabis enthusiast. I never understood why cannabis was so much more taboo than alcohol growing up. I [always] looked at the facts and ignored the social norms,” she explains. “If you ask any health professional, they’re going to say you’re better off smoking weed than drinking alcohol. I guess from that social standpoint I became passionate about the topic, not just because I like to smoke weed but because it’s something that is really missed-construed in society.”
When it came to design, Meynard let Patrick Meynard, her brother and lead artist, creativity run wild. NFTs are already known for being weird, quirky characters. Most are inhuman in appearance. Zooted Zoo sticks to this surging trend.
“[When] we were brainstorming we had a couple of ideas. We almost landed on Cannabis Land, a spin-off of Candyland,” Meynard explained. But then, “we settled on Zooted Zoo because we thought the story made sense. Sneaking the zoo animals out to smoke weed; it was very nostalgic of my teenage years, sneaking out and smoking weed. I feel like that’s something a lot of people can relate to.”
A Community of Stoners
Zooted Zoo’s value also transfers to real life.
“NFTs are not just about art. There are a lot of artists who sell their NFTs as art and it ends at that. With profile picture collections, which is what we did, people are searching for utility. Where you can create a token which provides real world benefits.”
Zooted Zoo plans to open a smoke shop where holders of the NFT can shop at a discounted price. Collaborations with weed manufactures and brands for Zooted Zoo apparel, and smoking accessories are in Meynard’s future plans.
However, their most ambitious plan is to create a “network of stoners” where cannabis users can share their experiences through Zooted Zoo’s discord.
“The idea,” Meynard says, “would be to provide actual weed for our holders regardless of where in the U.S. they are. We spoke to some notable individuals in the cannabis community who are already preparing for the day when cannabis is legalized on a federal level. It is still early, but we are coordinating with them so Zooted Zoo can be the first to provide such a service.”
Zooted Zoo also hopes to be able to give back to the wildlife community, with a goal of one day being able to donate 50% of its profits to wildlife causes.
What’s to Come
About 4,200 Zooted Zoo animals were originally launched on Sunday, October 31st. The NFTs were released on Ethereum blockchain at a price of .069420 eth.
“[The launch] was alright,” describes Sophia, “what happened was that Ethereum, right now, is really pumping. The issue is that when Ethereum pumps, people want to panic sell their NFTs and put their Ethereum back into Ethereum, so they can make money that way. Because Ethereum has been doing so well, in a weird way, NFTs have been doing really poorly.”
Because of the market’s unpredictability, the launch was halted on Thursday, November 4th. Meynard however, remains optimistic and describes an ever-changing market in the NFT community.
“The market in the NFT world changes so fast,” she says “sentiment will completely fluctuate [in] a matter of a week. You always hear about those drops, that are super hyped up, and the creators make millions overnight, and it’s great. You then start to realize that those communities aren’t as strong as the communities that build over time. The slower the community builds the stronger it becomes.”
“The key to a good NFT project is really rooted in its community,” Meynard continues. “If people love the community and love the project, they won’t want to sell their NFTs, which causes the price to go up.”
For now Zooted Zoo remains on the drawing board. But Meynard’s idea is just another glimpse of the future of what the cannabis industry can become.