Gino’s Big Town is a game centered around trading and selling collectibles that use the blockchain. Learn more about how they have been able to expand their business, as well as what drives them to be part of the ecosystem.
Are you interested in learning more about crypto or NFT Gaming? Spencer James, Senior Product Manager at Gino’s Big Town Chef, spoke with us about his path into the crypto sector. He discusses the most important things he’s learnt and the attributes that make for a successful crypto career.
James started purchasing Bitcoin in 2017 before moving on to Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He grew more interested in the possibilities of Web3 after seeing DeFi products like PancakeSwap. He is now a key member of the Big Town team, working to build the future of NFT gaming.
Away from his computer, James enjoys going on long runs and listening to house music mixes. He also enjoys clay pigeon shooting, something he has done for much of his life. We meet him in his central London office and ask him how it all started…
: What was your first cryptocurrency transaction, and did you have any idea where it was going?
James Spencer: In 2017, I performed my first cryptocurrency transaction by purchasing Bitcoin. During the 2017 bull market, I recall that demand for new user accounts was so strong that several centralised exchanges ceased onboarding new customers. As a consequence, I ended up opening accounts with tiny exchanges I’d never heard of before, each with its own set of KYC [Know Your Customer] procedures.
I recall performing KYC via video and having to hold my passport up to my camera at various angles while a strange person in Germany took screenshots. Please contact me if you come across a copy of my passport for sale on the darkweb.
: What is it about the crypto world that you find appealing? What other profession might you envisage if you weren’t working where you are, doing what you do?
SJ: In Product, we speak about the Eureka moment, which is when a user connects with your product and realizes its worth. That moment for me was when I initially linked my MetaMask to a dApp; I quickly saw the potential of Web3, and it was that moment that lead me to my present crypto career.
If I wasn’t working in Product or Crypto, I’d probably be working in software as a UX designer, software engineer, or even in software sales.
What has been your favorite experience while working with Gino’s Big Town Chef?
SJ: A user just messaged me in our Telegram group to praise us for introducing one of our features. He’d won an NFT in our lottery before selling it for 2 ETH [about $5,600]. He was completely overjoyed! Working on a product that has the potential to transform someone’s life is exciting.
: What were the most important things you learned while working with Gino’s Big Town Chef?
SJ: Jeff Bezos’ comparison of one-way and two-way doors is one of the most beneficial things I’ve learnt and used to my job. A one-way door can only be used in one direction, but a two-way door enables you to reverse your steps if you make a mistake.
When choosing a product, think about whether it’s something you can simply reverse if anything goes wrong (you’ll need a two-way door solution) or something you’re certain will work (you can use a one-way door solution). However, if you’re going to walk through a one-way door, be sure you have the necessary info.
What is more crucial in this business to succeed? Excellent leadership abilities or the capacity to predict future trends?
SJ: They’re both crucial, but if I had to choose, I’d say knowing the industry is more significant. Leaders in business must skate to where the puck will be, not where it has been.
: The ideas that fuel Web3 and blockchain offer a picture of a decentralised technological paradise – do you feel we are entering an age when big tech is loosening its control, or is there still a risk that they will guide the movement to suit their goals?
SJ: I think that blockchain technology, decentralization, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) have the ability to challenge big tech for many years.
However, I recognize that we are still in the early stages of the technological adoption lifecycle; you could say we are still in the early adopters stage. Decentralisation’s advantages are not yet generally appreciated by the general public. Given this, I believe companies have a huge chance to position themselves as the “pleasant face of crypto” while still delivering extremely centralized goods.
: The crypto sector has grown to incorporate collectible NFTs and play-to-earn games, in addition to decentralised finance. What can we learn about the future from the recent quick changes?
SJ: The increased usability of NFTs is one of the most interesting advancements I’ve seen in crypto. NFTs have progressed from being collectibles to being utilized for a variety of purposes. Damien Hirst has sold NFTs that may be traded for real works of art. NFTs are being used as debentures, allowing holders to purchase tickets to live athletic events all around the globe.
At Gino’s Big Town Chef, we offer our own yield-bearing NFTs that provide holders with extra financial incentives. Then there are the games that use NFTs to enable users to move rare things from the game to real-world assets. My own prediction is that blockchain technology will be increasingly used by major game creators to ease inter-player asset transfer.
: Where did the concept for Gino’s Big Town Chef originate from?
SJ: The concept of making a farming game has been on our minds for a while. Pete Wood, our CEO, is the one who came up with the idea. His goal is to build a one-of-a-kind, NFT-based online game that puts players’ farming, trading, and combat abilities to the test. The project has received significant funding and is on its way to become a completely immersive gaming experience unlike any other.
: Who is responsible for the intricate mythology that supports the game’s vision, and why is it significant?
SJ: Our Co-Founder and CDO, Tom Allison, created the Lore. The Lore presents a vivid picture of Big Town’s past, detailing how it came to be and how it developed to be the Mecca of cuisine, attracting foodies from all over The Land to vie for the title of Big Town’s most famed Chef. It tells the backstory of Mayor Burp, including how he led the victorious Townspeople in the Great Food Fight, alongside the Rebel Workers, to free Big Town from Mr. Gloop’s industrial empire. It also exposes us to a variety of historical and contemporary individuals with whom we will interact in-game, giving entertainment and usefulness.
Consider Zelda, Mario Brothers, or Lara Croft: Mythology and storyline are at the core of every great game. Great mythology and characters help to create a more immersive gaming experience.
: When the game is completely released, how do you see people playing it, and how will you make a profit for your investors without sacrificing your vision?
SJ: The goal of the game is to build up your Chef’s XP to the point that you can buy a Big Town cooking license and utilize it to train Next-Gen Chefs. Cook-off bouts, which may be performed as either player versus environment (PvE) or player against player (PvP), allow players to gain XP (PvP). The game will be initially accessible on Mac and Windows, with the prospect of iOS and Android applications in the future.
Staying faithful to the ideas of decentralisation while still being subject to the limits that blockchain technology may now impose will lead to some fascinating difficulties that we’ll need to overcome if we’re going to deliver on our ambition of becoming the Metaverse’s kitchen. We’re certain that if we design a crypto game that is first and foremost enjoyable to play, the profits will follow.
: What is the significance of the future NFT mint and what distinguishes these NFTs?
SJ: The Genesis Chef NFTs will be available for the first and only time at the next mint. All following seasons of Chefs that players mint in the game will have inferior in-game qualities to these initial 10,000 Chefs. The Genesis Chefs’ greater characteristics boost the quality of food they can make, which equates to higher earning potential for the player.
: What part of the game does the Burp token play?
SJ: Right now, users may stake BURP in the Town Hall and get a return in the form of extra BURP. In Gino’s Big Town Chef, BURP will be used in a number of ways. It will be used to reward gamers who finish seasonal missions or reach the top of the leaderboard. But, perhaps most crucially, BURP will be used to obtain in-game culinary licenses.
: What recommendations would you provide to someone interested in getting into cryptocurrency?
SJ: Working in crypto is fantastic since you get to speak about it all day, so you won’t boring your friends or family! However, since you’ll be dealing with so many other individuals interested in the area, you’ll often hear about new coins/NFTs that you may invest in.
It’s critical not to get too caught up in every opportunity that comes your way, and to constantly ensure that you’re correctly managing your own risk. If you’re searching for a job in crypto, I’d suggest doing what I did and using a specialised crypto recruiting firm; it’ll save you a lot of time.
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