Blockchain’s rise is sending a wave of change crashing over far-ranging industries — and a Kansas City-based design and branding studio is ready to hang ten, its founder said.
“I saw it as an emerging market of opportunity,” Ocean and Sea’s Brendan O’Shaughnessy told Startland News, detailing the popular design firm and clothing brand’s nose dive into the world of crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“I saw it as something that was going to be — inevitably and permanently — part of the future of the internet,” he explained, recalling his first dip into the waters of crypto in 2017 and the immense amount of knowledge buoyed within.
“It got me to the point where I had some skin in the game,” O’Shaughnessy continued.
“From 2018 to 2020 I really [took] a deep dive [and said,] ‘What the heck is this? Why does this matter? Is this going to stick around? Can it be banned?’ … Those concerns are justified, but [I found] it’s all about risk versus reward,” he laughed, adding he purchased his first NFT in spring 2021.
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A visual artist, passionate about innovating within the creative space, O’Shaughnessy’s next ride on the crest of crypto was an easy one, he said.
“I knew I was going to dabble in it.”
Ocean and Sea minted its first NFT, sunsets, on Dec. 31, 2021. It sold 31 hours later for 0.34ETH or $841.12 — triple O’Shaughnessy’s asking price.
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“I was [initially] thinking, ‘This is more experimentation. If I sell this before 2023, I’ll be happy,’” he said of his approach to the project, which saw him produce a 1 minute and 38 second video that captured an array of 2021 sunsets falling over Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin — a place O’Shaughnessy has found much inspiration throughout his career.
The project was set to music composed by Jake Wells, a local musician.
“It really wasn’t about the money. The time investment that I put into this art piece far outweighed the monetary gain,” O’Shaughnessy explained, painting a picture of the piece which plays heavily on his interest in exploring the intersection between shape and texture — juxtaposed by simple geometric forms and natural surfaces.
“What I’m really excited about — and I think this applies to any business or entity — is the credibility it builds. A new foundation within what people are coining Web3.”
Discovering the opportunity the space washes ashore for clients of Ocean and Sea further excites O’Shaughnessy, he added.
“We see NFTs as not just a wing of what we’re doing, but a strategic focus,” he detailed, swimming deeper into the ethos of the future of Ocean and Sea and its evolution into a Web3-based design studio.
“I want to be known as the person that [creatives] come to for advice or education in the space,” O’Shaughnessy continued.
“I have this passion for learning crypto and figuring out what this implies for businesses — and specifically how I can help my clients further innovate in whatever space they’re in.”
Doubling down on educational content for its YouTube channel and working to assemble a collective of creatives in crypto are two of the first guideposts that will help Ocean and Sea as it sets sail down the blockchain.
“Within the blockchain ecosystem, whether you’re talking about Ethereum or Bitcoin, you get the ability to make life-changing passive income that is not available in traditional finance.”
Helping Ocean and Sea clients and peers within the creative space unlock such potential could anchor O’Shaughnessy well into the future, he said, noting he’s excited by the possibility of helping transform Kansas City’s creative space into an era that could see most activities carried out solely in the digital world.
“Entrepreneurs, business owners, creators, artists, dreamers, anyone that falls underneath that category and that’s interested in crypto, we are going to be meeting this year — in person — in Kansas City to guide people on the process of this confusing space,” he announced, noting several of his peers in the creative space have signed on to help.
The initiative also aims to bring the diversity found within the creative community into the crypto space, which traditionally is all too often void of representation, O’Shaughnessy added.
“One of the challenges of crypto right now is that it does lean, pretty heavily, white male. One of my passions as an educator in Web3 is to really be an advocate for minorities — specifically women — to engage more within crypto because currently they’re underrepresented,” he said.
“We can help the whole community as opposed to one silo.”
Want to get involved? Click here to connect with O’Shaughnessy directly.
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