Not just an NFT collection, but a force for good in the world.
In 1985, a photograph of Sharbat Gula titled “Afghan Girl” appeared on the cover of National Geographic. The photo — taken in an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan War by the American photojournalist Steve McCurry — quickly became an iconic image; a symbol of beauty, resilience, and suffering in times of war.
In 2021, nearly three decades later, the Taliban took over Afghanistan and suddenly, Sharbat and her family’s life were in danger. Luckily, in November 2021, non-profit groups came together to bring her to safety.
What went largely unreported is that Web3 played a critical role in helping Sharbat leave Afghanistan. Specifically, OnChainMonkey, the debut NFT collection from Metagood, provided the funds that successfully evacuated Sharbat Gula and her family to Italy.
If that’s not a Web3 success story, we don’t know what it is.
Last week, we were lucky enough to catch up with the Co-Founder and COO of OnChainMonkey and Metagood, Amanda Terry, to find out more about that story, the OnChainMonkey’s community, team, and the company’s vision for the future.
The following interview has been edited for concision and clarity.
Nate Kostar: For people who are unfamiliar with OnChainMonkey, can you tell us a little bit about the project, how it started, and what it is exactly?
Amanda Terry: OnChainMonkey just celebrated our two-year anniversary on September 11th. We launched our Genesis collection on September 11th, 2021. We were actually a free mint and were the first 10,000 profile pic collection done in a single Ethereum transaction.
So, these NFTs were all on-chain and SVG files. And then, we took those 10,000 NFTs and inscribed them on Bitcoin when the protocol came out, making us the first 10,000 profile pic (PFP) collection on Bitcoin. And then we launched the ‘OnchainMonkey Dimensions’ collection in June, which was the first NFT collection on Bitcoin that pioneered the use of recursive inscriptions.
We’ve grown a very strong community organically around OnChainMonkey — a conglomerate of the best minds in Web3 who want to create great financial wealth for themselves, social connectivity, and make a positive impact in the world.
We’ve done some incredible gatherings like a private party on the New York Stock Exchange floor, to playing poker with Charlie Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson for holders on Discord. And then we’ve done some impact work in the past, using our secondary sales revenues to do things like getting Sharbat Gula and her family out of Afghanistan.
That was a couple years ago. We’ve done different things like that, as well as donating to the UNICEF Giga Connect to bring internet to schools globally from the sale of a Genesis OCM.
Nate Kostar: Who is behind OnChainMonkey?
The company Metagood is behind OnChainMonkey, and the founders include me and Danny Yang, who is our CEO. Danny has a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford. He founded the Bitcoin Stanford Meetup in 2013. He created MaiCoin, which has been operating since 2013, and is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Taiwan and likely going public next year. He also founded Blockseer, which is a company that government agencies use for blockchain analytics, which he sold in 2018.
Our other co-founder and chairman is Bill Tai, who invested in Danny’s two previous companies and has been in crypto since 2010. He lent the money to Bitfury to buy the silicon to create their initial ASIC mining chip, and he was the first employee at TSMC, a Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturing company. He was a seed investor in Canva, Dapper Labs, and now 23 public traded companies. He’s also on the Board of Hut 8, which is the largest digital asset miner in North America.
I’ve also known Bill for about 10 years through his nonprofit ACTAI Global. And I also run a small early-stage venture fund with Bill called ACTAI Ventures. About half of our investments are crypto and Web3-related.
Nate Kostar: One of the things that really struck me about this project, is this goal to incentivize kindness and helpfulness to support social good. Can you tell me a little bit about how that works?
Amanda Terry: We have an off-chain token called the Banana token that holders can earn if they connect their wallet to our website. If you’re active in our Discord or you Tweet about us, you can earn these Banana tokens. It’s a give-to-earn mechanism, so I could give you a Banana and then I earn a Banana.
The Banana tokens incentivize good karma and people can use the Bananas to do anything from paying the ante for online poker games or buying limited-edition merch from our website.
We’ve also done Banana auctions on some spaces before for different things, which are super fun, and it always amazes me how many Bananas people have stockpiled. They must be poker sharks or something because it’s not that easy to earn Bananas.
There’s a guy named Elijah [in our community] who did these amazing videos. He’s created raps for OnChainMonkey and every time he posts something people send him Bananas as a thank you. So, it’s kind of like our currency that has value within the OnChainMonkey ecosystem, but also in the real world.
Nate Kostar: Can you tell us a little bit about the family you evacuated from Afghanistan?
Amanda Terry: That actually came about from one of our advisors, Louie Psihoyos, who was the director of the film “The Cove,” “Racing Extinction,” and “Game Changers.” He was formerly a National Geographic photographer, and he is good friends with Steve McCurry, who was the photographer that took that iconic image that was called “Afghan Girl” at the time.
Steve kept in touch with her over these decades and she reached out to him when the Taliban was entering Afghanistan saying that because she was on the cover of Nat Geo, she was considered a Western icon and she feared for her and her family’s lives. So, Steve McCurry reached out to Louie and he reached out to us and said, “Metagood could you guys help?”
There’s a nonprofit in the UK called Future Brilliance run by Sophia Swire. They didn’t have the funding to get her and her family visas and airlifted out in a quick time frame. So, we basically used our secondary trading revenues and helped to fund that mission and get them out.
Nate Kostar: Wow, that’s amazing. That’s such an iconic photograph that’s ingrained, I think, in so many people’s minds. The fact that Web3 played some kind of role in evacuating that woman is a pretty phenomenal story.
Amanda Terry: When we put the money into the nonprofit, we had hoped that it would happen. But we didn’t know until we heard the news that she’d actually been safely evacuated. It’s pretty incredible.
Nate Kostar: Are there any other examples of good things your team has facilitated in the world?
Amanda Terry: Another example would be Ukraine. Our art team created an NFT called OCM Earth as a mosaic of 25,000 Genesis monkeys. They created it and we sold it for just two weeks on our website and we generated over $185,000 of sales revenue, then our community voted on how to use the funds. It was actually our first DAO vote.
We asked all our holders which program they’d like it to go to in Ukraine and offered three options vetted by Virgin Unite, since Holly Branson is one of our investors. We told them this is going to go towards helping people in Ukraine and they chose ‘Save the Children’ to help family and children. We donated 100% of those revenues to ‘Save the Children’ for humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
It’s not something we can do every day. We have a company to run and we’re a small team. We’re not a nonprofit. We’re very focused on creating value for our holders at all times. But to me, it was pretty incredible what could be accomplished in a short time.
Nate Kostar: Yeah, with all the negative press and the idea that people have about Web3 as a haven for money grabbers and scam artists, it’s great to see something positive. It shows another side, that these are tools and technologies that can really be used however you want them to be used.
Amanda Terry: Yeah. That’s true of almost any technology. Like AI, for example. I think our belief is that Web3 can bring people together as a digital nation of people with aligned interests that can very quickly put energy and resources to solve global challenges.
We like to use the analogy of a “magic wand” that is directed by our OCM community through our DAO and can be used to bring the internet to kids, restore coral reefs, or provide humanitarian aid to families in Ukraine — all examples of what Metagood has done.
Our community is so global — over 50% of our holders are not US-based, but they believe in OnChainMonkey and what we stand for. We talk about this symbol of OnChainMonkey. It’s kind of a serious face [the OnChainMonkey logo] because we think the world is facing a lot of really pressing issues and we believe OnChainMonkey can make a difference in the world through our community of builders.
Nate Kostar: Before we go, can you tell me a little bit about your team? How big it is and maybe walk me through a day in the life of a team member.
Amanda Terry: Yeah, we’re about 15 people now and my focus is the community team, which encompasses marketing as well.
In terms of day in the life, we have an awesome, full-time community manager, who manages a group of mods, and they’re checking Discord daily to make sure everything is operating smoothly. They help answer questions that might come up in the community and work really closely with our product team to make sure that community needs are being addressed whenever we’re launching a new product.
The community team is surfacing questions that the community might ask and making sure they’re answered and addressed, then working with our marketing team to make sure that we’re communicating the latest news. A few weeks ago, Bitcoin Magazine, CoinTelegraph and nft now [and Rarity Sniper] covered that we’re making a million-dollar investment to move our 10,000 Genesis collection to a Bitcoin Block 9 Sat (the oldest Satoshis on Bitcoin mined by Satoshi on January 11, 2009).
It’s a big investment on our side, and leading into the DAO vote, we had to educate our community. We held Discord chats for the OnChainMonkey holders to educate them on Block 9 Sats and explain why we think it’s valuable for everyone to upgrade to Bitcoin. We’re going to be doing more of these kinds of sessions as we get closer to the migration time, which will be happening between now and the end of year.
Nate Kostar: It sounds like the community is very active and supportive.
Amanda Terry: We have such strong community support, but it takes time to educate the community about what’s happening with Ordinals and why we think Bitcoin is the next big L1 for high value digital assets.
It also takes a lot of faith, which I think people have in us. Danny’s been building on Bitcoin for a decade, so they have a lot of faith in the team and that if we’re making this kind of investment it’s for the good of the community and will position us as the number one collection across every dimension on Bitcoin.
Nate Kostar: This has been great. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with Rarity Sniper.
Amanda Terry: Thank you!
To learn more about OnChain Monkey check out our most recent article: OnChainMonkey DAO Approves 350 ETH for Bitcoin Migration.
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