Tech

Joe Conyers III to Head NFT Platform for Crypto.com: Exclusive

Joe Conyers
Stephanie Severance

Joe Conyers

"There's going to be whole new ways to tell stories through this medium."

Cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has hired Joe Conyers III to lead development of its new invite-only NFT platform, the company announced today.

In his new role, Conyers – who joins Crypto.com from Downtown Music Holdings, where he served as chief strategy officer – will serve as the company's executive vp and global head of NFTs, forging relationships with top artists, athletes and sports leagues to take part in the new platform.

Speaking with Billboard, Conyers says the currently exploding NFT market represents a way for artists to exercise control over their art and careers in the digital arena. “I think the storytelling aspect has been taken away from them in a lot of ways with the DSPs,” he says. “It's just go, go, go to playlists, and now there's more ways to tell your story. In the same way I think also the music video had its own heyday of telling stories, there's going to be whole new ways to tell stories through this medium.”

Conyers’ leadership and innovation skills were well borne out during his time at Downtown, where he co-founded Songtrust, now a leading songwriter royalty collection service. (For his efforts at the company, he has been recognized as a Billboard Digital Power Player four years in a row.) He launched his career more than 15 years ago after co-founding the art media company ArtObserved.com and has been playing in the cryptocurrency space for a decade, having worked with singer-songwriter Imogen Heap on her blockchain project Mycelia through his role at Downtown.

Given that previous mini-NFT crazes have bubbled up and then quickly fizzled over the last few years, Conyers understands why there would be skeptics. But he believes this time is different.

“I think the big difference between historical things like this is this resale market,” says Conyers, referencing resale royalties for artist owned NFTs via so-called “smart contracts.” “To be able to resell what you what you bought and have the artists participate changes the economics of [how] these things work. Everyone is getting their interests aligned. It's not just the auction house that's interested, it's not just the artists, it's the fan too. It's this triangle of success for everybody.”

“As we work towards growing from 10m users to 100m over the next two years, there is no doubt the NFT market will be a major growth driver,” said Crypto.com co-founder and CEO Kris Marszalek in a statement announcing Conyers’ hire. “Joe’s unique experience building and managing some of the largest creator driven companies in the world will accelerate our growth in the NFT market. While excitement for NFTs reached an all-time high recently, this is just the beginning.”

Conyers says that while the possibilities with NFTs are great, he'll guide creators in taking a more measured approach to the emerging, and increasingly crowded, market. "I think you have to be very careful how you do it," he says. "You want to do it very tasteful, and because there's a bit of a gold rush right now, you have to make sure who you're buying your shovels from is the one that doesn't break in your hand when you're digging the rock."

You can find out more about Crypto.com’s NFT platform here.

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