Hello, and welcome to this very special episode of Rhizome’s Eye on Icon podcast in which we’re completely flipping the tables and reversing roles. That’s right: The Iconist is visiting Eye on Icon for a special print episode, and this time our Editor, Dean, is interviewing Eye on Icon’s co-host, Fez, to learn about how he got involved with the ICON project and some things that Rhizome has in store for the future. Let’s get into it!

Dean: Fez! Always a pleasure to see you again. Thanks for “having me on the show” and giving me the chance to do this quirky interview. I think it’ll be fun.

Fez: Likewise. I’m looking forward to it!

Dean: So, we all know you co-host Eye on Icon with Iconographer, but I’d like to hear about how you got started. Before getting involved with the ICON community, you founded something called Crypto Setups, did you not?

Fez: Right. Crypto Setups was “the original plan”. My friends and family were always running to me to get answers about how to get set up with crypto. I decided to make a business with a paid service to help anyone who wants to dive into crypto but is too afraid to set up their wallets, but it wasn’t successful. So I changed it to an educational channel on Youtube and started making tutorials. The goal for the tutorials was to keep them very basic. I saw that there were a lot of tutorials out there, but there was no one going, “This is what a wallet is and how to install it.” So, I did a bit of this for about eight months as a hobby.

I’ve also spent a lot of time in Ethereum DeFi. I’m a big fan of Bankless — I learned a lot thanks to Ryan Sean Adams and David Hoffman’s podcast. They teach how to use different DeFi protocols. Now, I’ve always been an ICON bag holder from the early days, and as I started to investigate, I noticed these ICON DeFi products getting built that were great implementations and far simpler than other products. So I started making a few ICON tutorials, and Corey retweed these to the icon community. Then Mounia from ICONPLUS reached out to me and took me under her wing, because the videos I was making really weren’t polished. She helped by creating all the video covers, intros and outros, and eventually asked if I wanted to join the ICONPLUS team. And that’s how my journey in ICON commenced.

Dean: Oh, so you started with a different P-Rep team? How did you transition to Rhizome?

Fez: Yeah, so when I started with ICONPLUS, I was kicking around this idea for a podcast. I’d always wanted to do a podcast. Bankless and Into the Ether are Ethereum podcasts that I listen to regularly, but with ICON, not much was getting published. So I got in touch with ICONOGRAPHER on a whim one day, because I’d always loved his articles, and I shared some ideas for a podcast in which we would break down the news and share our thoughts about the ICON ecosystem. It didn’t take long before he was on board. ICONOGRAPHER came up with the name Eye on Icon.

I also used to liaise with Andrew from Rhizome, and I was always tapping in on the potential of MetrICX, which he was building. I told him, “You have something unique here. You could recreate something like Zapper, the Ethereum DeFi dashboard.” And we got chatting and realized that we both happen to be in Australia, while everyone else was always so many time zones away in Europe and the US. So Andrew and I always chatted about tons of potential options and I got very involved in that side of things.

In the end, ICONPLUS was fantastic, but I was spending a lot of time with Rhizome. In my day job, I’m a Project Manager, and the dream is, if you’re passionate about something, you want to work in that industry. With Rhizome now shifting from content creation to building projects, I mentioned to Andrew that, as a PM, it could be great to work together. I hadn’t even thought about changing teams or anything, as I was quite happy at ICONPLUS, but Andrew spoke with Brian and keyed everything up and they asked me to join Rhizome. ICONPLUS was really great and supportive of the transition, especially Reda and Mounia.

Dean: Can you tell us more about MetrICX?

Fez: Yes, MetrICX is an app that Andrew and Alton from Devshack built together. It essentially aggregates all the information that is going on at your wallet address. V1 was simple: your staking reward fees, who you staked to, and it gave you all that data. V2 was released just recently. It’s a mobile app available on Android and iOS that aggregates all the different Dapps you’re interacting with and gives you that information in your hand without having to be logged in to your wallet. It’s quite a popular app.

Now, we’re planning MetrICX V3. And, this hasn’t been announced yet — The Iconist is getting an exclusive on breaking these new plans: Andrew and Alton are focusing V3 on a web app that displays all the same information about the Dapps you’re connected to, but with a cool gamification component. The goal is for you to finish quests, gain experience, get power-ups and earn NFTs that you can level up, all just for doing things that you would do daily. We’re going to hire artists to design the NFT collectable cards, with lore targeted to the ICON ecosystem, and they’ll be quite rare. We’re really excited about this. There’s a lot of activity exploding around collectables these days, so we thought we’d build that in and see how people react.

Dean: It’s DeFi the RPG! Very cool. So, tell me about some of the other things you’ve been working on lately.

Fez: A little while back, I actually took eight weeks off my day job to work full time making content, doing everything I can to help Rhizome, to help ICON and help my channel grow. Because, it’ll always come back to this:

I love ICON, but I’m not a one-coiner. I never will be. And the idea of ICON is not to be a one-coiner. It’s goal is interoperability. As many people have realized, our community is passionate and we care about ICON, and we need to open those doors and connect with other communities. So I’ve been using this extra time I have right now to reach out and interact with our BTP communities. There’s a real opportunity there to expand each community and introduce what their chains are and what sectors they’re focused in.

Also, coming back to this Bankless podcast that I listen to: They did something very unique in the way they created their DAO. They randomly dropped a whole lot of BANK tokens that are worth nothing. Then they announced to their community that you need these tokens to join and vote on anything related to their new DAO. And I kid you not, they’ve now got thousands of people all working together, trying to create revenue for this DAO. And they’re succeeding. It’s a prime example of how all these people who just got a worthless token, all came together to find a way to make it worth something. And when I look at the ICON community, and how supportive they are, I think there must be heaps of people who actually want to do something instead of just complaining about the price. So I started speaking with Brian about this, and that’s where the Rhizome DAO was born. We want to attract anyone interested in doing things that can make a difference for ICON and crypto in general to work together in the Rhizome DAO and see what we can accomplish. We’re very excited to see where this goes.

Dean: Very interesting! Let’s talk a bit more about Eye on Icon. You’re 54 episodes in now?

Fez: That’s right. We’ve been delivering almost three episodes a week: an interview, a community session and the weekly news. My plan is to start integrating the BTP announcements, which I haven’t been successful at doing just yet and need to figure out how to make this happen. I want the podcast to be for the ICON community, but I also want those other ecosystems to go, “Hey, this episode connects the dots. I can listen to this.”

Dean: Excellent! Maybe we’ll see episode 100 before the end of the year. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Fez: Yes, I’d just really like to give credit where credit is due. Brian from Rhizome has been really fantastic to work with. And when Eye on Icon kicked off, Geo and Paolo from ICONBet reached out to us and offered a sponsorship. And later on, ICONation did the same thing. It was completely unexpected — making money off the podcast apart from Youtube was never really a goal of mine, so I’d like to give a special thank you to them for their support. Scott Smiley has also been very helpful, constantly making time to jump on our podcast and answer my neverending questions.

And lastly, I’d also like to thank my wife! In all of my failed ventures, she was the one urging me to keep trying and keep pivoting. Even when I wake her up at seven am on a Saturday morning because I have to take an interview.

Dean: Thanks, Fez! It’s been great having you on the show.

Fez: It was fun! This was my first time being interviewed on the other side. Let’s do it again sometime!

Eye on Icon: The Bonus Episode!

If you enjoyed this special print episode of Eye on Icon, we have more for you! At the end of our chat, Fez flipped the table back and hosted a bonus interview with me about The Iconist’s first month back in action. All recorded in video!

We shared this 11 minute video podcast segment on Youtube and Twitter last Saturday, but in case you missed out, here it is again. If you’d like to see more content like this (or more quirky articles like the one above), let us know on Twitter @TheIconistNews — we always enjoy hearing from our readers.