[Interview] We meet Kris Tucker, Global Head of Business Development at Leyline.gg and Proof of Good DAO. [Views are his own]
I see lots of passion and mission-driven values in web3
We meet Kris Tucker, Global Head of Business Development at Leyline.gg and Proof of Good DAO. [Views are his own]
Leyline is an NFT collectible platform and social good organization centered on rewarding philanthropy and gamifying acts of kindness and service, providing users a positive online digital identity and rewarding users’ acts of social good. They serve the entire social good ecosystem, which includes nonproﬁts, NGOs, foundations, corporations, education institutions, and the individual change agents who support them. The name of the company refers to the mystical energy lines that criss-cross the planet in folklore, and which intersect and create nexus points, which in our case represents organizations and people who do good in the world.
Tell us about your background, interests and how they led you to Leyline and to your current function?
I have a background in environmental science, government affairs, management and education. My career has developed in the public, private, academia and nonprofit sectors. My last role was in the public sector as a Town Manager. The bureaucracy and slow moving machine I was up against every day destroyed my soul. The right incentives simply weren’t in place, similar to the systems at the federal level. By chance, I listened to a brilliant podcast between Emmett Short and Jeremy de la Rosa’s about an organization called Leyline. It was such a powerful message and inspiration to me that I reached out to him immediately on Linkedin, offering to help in any way I could. As background, Jeremy had left a comfortable job, sold his house and invested everything into crypto, which he managed to quickly triple in value. He then put his entire net worth into forming Leyline, a dedication to his ideals that I found incredible. Inspired by that sense of true possibility, which I had almost given up on, I too decided to leave my career behind and work full time as a volunteer for the organization. I was fortunate to have some modest savings that allowed me to live frugally and do this. But that too highlights the challenge in doing good in the world: opportunity cost. If one needs to hustle 24/7 to pay rent, that leaves no time to help ourselves and others build a better world.
I now serve as Global Head of Business Development for Leyline and Proof of Good DAO, so I get to spend my day building and maintaining relationships, figuring out who I can help, and who can help us, and trying to find needles in haystacks – impact investors and organization that care about the future, and feel some passion about making the world a better place. I also search for value-aligned partners to join us in building the largest ecosystem of social good the world has ever seen, all self-governed and transparent. If, in five years, you see a social impact cause that is not part of our expansive and welcoming community, vetted by peers and recorded on a transparent blockchain leger, perhaps you should be wondering, “Why aren’t they”? There is no downside to collaboration, within the “network of good” we are creating. All great causes are welcome.
I am convinced that the equity and opportunity we are creating here will open up possibilities to solve our most tenacious global problems. And we are creating a protocol and ecosystem that will make investors money, and will make our community money, while solving the world’s toughest challenges. Money doesn’t really do a whole lot of good if the world is both on fire and sinking – why not work toward a system where we all financially flourish, while also helping secure our future, and our children’s future, on this planet? That’s why I am here, every day, reaching out. If you want to be part of this effort, I’d love to hear from you. Reach out on LinkedIn.
Tell us about Leyline. You are a Web3 social impact organization, what have you set up to achieve?
Jeremy de la Rosa founded Leyline in 2020. There are well over 70 of us working for the organization, many of them as volunteers, while we raise money to build out our ecosystem. Many of us have given up a lot for this project, like turning down well-paid jobs, because we believe so strongly in Jeremy, and in Leyline’s mission to lift people out of poverty. We all want the next generations to have a future, and social equity is the starting point to address climate change and work all together as peers towards mitigating its consequences.
Our goal is to bring 1 million people out of extreme poverty, and help them develop sustainable incomes. Most people don’t want charity, they want to see a path for opportunity. That’s why we have set out to develop a profitable philanthropy business model, as the old model clearly isn’t working, and perhaps never has.
We are working to build an economy which incentivises, values and gives visibility to “good acts” as part of a user’s digital resume of kindness. We want to create win-win-win initiatives which encourage enlightened self-interest and rewards people doing the right thing. We understand that economic scarcity leaves little room for traditional volunteerism, and believe that the solution to this is rewarding people for doing good, and meaningfully showing them that their efforts are valued. As a bit of a tangent, it blows my mind that a company would think that spending money on traditional advertising would build better brand loyalty than using that same money to reward someone for doing good in the world. If Leyline rewards our community for helping make the world a better place, and that reward is attached to a company – that company now has a customer for life. Everyone wins, right? Personally, I actively avoid companies that splash my life with banner ads and/or annoying commercials; but, a company that does good in the world, and wears their values on their sleeve…that gets my attention. I can’t imagine I am alone in this feeling.
Tell us about your progress and success stories
In the early days, our focus was simply on gamifying good deeds, and rewarding participating community members with Good Points, redeemable in our ecosystem for crypto and prizes. There are expected to be 2.6 billion gamers by 2025. Our simple message was to change the game (economic incentives), and thus change the world. We were highly inspired by UC Berkeley’s BOINC project, and approached them as an early partner to our cause. Their platform uses passive computing power to solve some of the world’s most tenacious (and often underfunded) problems, such as climate change, cancer research and near-earth asteroid detection. One of our other goals is to supercharge charities by driving users and money to their causes, providing rewards to their volunteers and reducing overhead costs (“providing digital swag to replace their physical swag”, tracing engagement, providing community meeting spaces, etc.).
We then started developing a community and a marketplace, as well as a mystery box, where users can spend their earned “good points” to get randomized NFTs, crypto and other prizes. We now have several “on the ground” operations in global communities of need (Bali, Botswana, Haiti, South Africa, among others) and provide weekly educational sessions on all things crypto/blockchain/NFT/Web3/security, etc. Our goal is to bring 1.1B unbanked people into the global economy and to a world of opportunity and sustainable incomes. This is the beginning of our philanthropy for profit movement, combining the best of both worlds, and providing true incentives for improving the world, socially and environmentally.
More recently we have developed a Proof Of Good DAO. We at Leyline cannot alone define what it means to do good or how to value it. Not only should this be an open conversation for a global community, but our global stakeholders (oracles) should have a meaningful say in shaping this process. And the DAO gives them a place to germinate thought-leadership, collaboration, volunteer recruitment and visibility to show the world what they have accomplished, all vetted and stored in perpetuity on the blockchain. It also provides a way for the community to evolve what acts are considered “good” over time, creating a multi-generational community and ecosystem. We are about so much more, as well, please come help us evolve and become a part of the global movement!
Can you explain in plain terms what is Web3 and what is the role of NFTs in the development of the new web?
We all know that the emerging web protocol, web3, will be a trustless, permissionless, AI-assisted, integrated metaverse, but that list of traits can feel somewhat detached to a lay person, like myself. As such I also have a rather non-tech appreciation of web3. I see web3 as the means of which people control their personal data, while enjoying anonymity and open-access, and where a mission has a place alongside profit. NFTs play a big part in this simply by being an expansive and evolving tool, with the maliabilty to fit emerging needs and the appeal needed to galvanize communities. By using the transformational tech of blockchain, records can finally be kept safe, verifiable and immutable, in perpetuity. And blockchains serve as the backbone that all emerging web3 tech can be built off of, allowing creative developers to focus on building great products which they know can easily synergise with the greater web3 ecosystem. It truly is a tech revolution.
Gaming, art, crypto, and NFTs are converging. How can this flow back into improving society and our environment? What potential do NFTs have to further the common good?
Passion is the main driver. NFTs can make highly technical relationships and utility functions relatable and fun. You don’t, ideally, just have a digital picture, but you have in your digital wallet the key to an artist’s livelihood, current and future, via royalties in the smart contract. You have a cog in the smart contract/blockchain machine that serves to make your asset unique while solving a larger world problem. You have a tool to build and excite a community. And you, hopefully, have a tradable, valuable asset that can grow in function over time, tell stories and educate. NFTs are what we decide they will be, and the functions we value most will be the ones we reward the most.
Art has always been about expression and pushing boundaries. NFTs blend art with mission and community. For example, Leyline works with artists, helping them market and sell their NFTs, splitting proceeds between the artist (with royalties in perpetuity, via smart contract) and vetted charities. Instead of a traditional “middle-man”, taking a large slice, an agreed upon portion of the sale goes toward helping the world that we are all a part of, which also flows back to the artist, in a million different ways. As a 501 © (3), we can also provide tax receipts for any cash, service or art donation, creating a true win-win-win ecosystem. This is just one of our many vehicles to promote art, environment and upward social mobility, while strengthening our growing community; through our continuing evolution and partnership network, new opportunities to reward good acts and creativity emerge almost weekly.
Share your thoughts on the current crypto philanthropy trend and the role of Leyline in it.
I don’t see it as a trend. I see it as a foundational element of the emerging space. I have worked in public, private, nonprofit and higher education sectors, and I have never experienced the level of passion and mission-driven values that I see in web3. And the true joy for me is seeing everyone’s willingness to help each other out, collaborate and share ideas, and be part of something bigger than themselves. Sure, money is often a large part of the equation, but, for once, it’s not everything or, often, even the primary driver. I have been to ETH Denver 2022, and the people I meet here, from investors to inventors to the crypto-curious are so full of energy and desire to improve the world, that just being around all of them makes the world feel brighter to me.
Leyline brings passion, fun, recognition and reward into the web3 space, to match the energy and creativity we find here already. We reward acts of real value – actions that make the world a better place. We bridge the growing gap between real life and the emerging metaverse. Plus, we make it meaningful to show off what you’ve accomplished, because it’s for the common good. I am highly unimpressed seeing influencers sneaking into Chernobyl take selfies to virtue signal or show off. Show me a picture of yourself mucking out cages at a pet shelter and you are half way to winning my heart. We tell those stories. Stories of our community and partners making the world better. And they are stories you will be proud to have told. I envision a future where your “proof of good” that you earn with us is just as important to a company as your traditional CV. We all want kind, compassionate people with energy and follow through working for us. Now, with Leyline and Proof of Good DAO, you’ll be able to prove it in a way that feels natural and humble, rather than braggadocious.
Tell us about Leyline’s ecosystem, the importance of community, and how you are distributing value across it.
Community is everything. It is why we are here, as a global team, 7 days a week, building something bigger than ourselves. Our community, both in Leyline and within the Proof of Good DAO, is spread across a few social media outlets, but primarily resides on our two Discord channels: https://discord.gg/tTKrtdh5 and https://discord.gg/23jUJvhx. While we also have web pages, with activities, a marketplace, resources, etc., most of our community gathers and supports each other on Discord, where they can type, voice talk and video chat, and where we hold our happy hours, AMAs, meetings and DAO Halls. There are support channels, kind acts channels, educational channels, web3 news channels, governance channels and partner channels. Everything for a robust community to connect, engage and flourish. Users are rewarded with NFTs and POAPs, directly to their wallets, by attending our events, just as they are rewarded with spendable Good Points for participating and supporting each other. It really is the kindest place on the internet. I know this sounds terribly unprofessional of me, by traditional standards, but I truly do love the team and community I work with. These people walk the walk, every day, and bring me hope for the future. For the first time in a long while.
What are the pitfalls to unlock the Web 3.0 potential and what measures are you taking to mitigate potential problems in your community?
Our incentives are misaligned, as a society, and as an economic system. We reward the wrong acts and goals, most times. Unabashed greed is rewarded and kindness is often undervalued. If web3 isn’t built on the proper pillars (outlined above) then we will revert back to the same old ways that we always see, i.e. many of the hippies of the 60’s turned into cut-throat capitalists of the 80’s. Several things I see in this space offer some hope that this time we can get some more mileage out of our ideals like 1) the spirit and collective energy behind many missions I find in web3 space, 2) the rise of DAOs, which allow community providence over their own governance and lives and 3) the existential crisis of climate change, as well as the moral crisis or economic unbalance and extreme poverty that we are facing. Tipping points are upon us. It’s now or never to make this planet safe for the next generations. We don’t need to view this as a sacrifice, we just need to reprioritise so that we can all contribute to a fairer, sustainable world.
What are the best practices that you have identified in the NFT for good ecosystem?
Where do you see Web 3 and its decentralization and distributed value promise in 5 years?
I hope it has matured into something enduring and meaningful, with some focus on humanitarian and ecological impacts behind every successful company. There needs to be a balance between profitable activities, mission-first projects and accessibility/anonymity for the model to work. A user should be using a wallet to connect to services, those services should be vetted on the blockchain, value promises clearly spelled out, and the process should be seamless to end-users. They won’t care, or in most cases even know, what blockchain they are on, or protocol they are using. It will just work. The system will be more “a la carte”, with users able to choose the products and services that they value, transacting through their connected wallets, and creators will be paid directly without intermediaries taking a hefty cut. Finally, for the first time in history, people don’t just use their purse to buy products that reflect their values, they chose to buy said products with the mission-driven crypto that speaks most to them, like Koii Network or Ekta. Choosing tokens from projects that support/fund causes you believe in, effectively doubles our ability to reward the companies and projects you feel makes our world a better place. You have to actively build the world you want to live in, and/or raise a family in, and crypto can make your actions more meaningful and impactful. As NFT utility matures, communities will gather around projects that do good and reflect their individual values. There is power in numbers, as always. This is the potential, anyway, but reality will depend on us and our shared mission-driven decisions. If we want this future, we need to work and fight for it.
Best practices I’ve seen and sought to promote, which are also major advantages of web3, include transparency, data ownership, collaboration, mission adhesion, upward mobility, inclusivity, efficiency, follow through and community engagement. There are more, but these are the ones that have me most excited.
Among companies we admire and collaborate with is Ekta.io which drives the development of projects relating to blockchain, natural capital conservation, cleantech, wise tech, fractionalized real estate investing, ocean startups, alternative medicines, permaculture and aquaponics. And Koii Network , also an innovative and exciting company, which is building a decentralized publishing protocol and Java-based web 3.0 library to promote anti-censorship and fair compensation for creators, and so much more. They offer grants to builders, and mission deeply underpins their operations.
But we have many, many amazing partners. Leyline and Proof of Good DAO are rather unique in this space, as two of the only open-source, open-knowledge projects that have mission at their core, yet provide win-win-win opportunities for investors, philanthropists and the global community to invest (time and/or money) and profit from doing good. We “flip the script” on what success means in the global economy – rewarding actions that make the world better, and not worse. Web3 is giving us this rare opportunity to create a new economy, and the entire team, and our ecosystem partners, feel that opportunity acutely, which is why the long hours are as rewarding as they are necessary. The world gets one shot at a reboot. And it’s now. The global stakes are the highest they have ever been, and most of us in this web3 space feel that pressure every day.
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