This article is part of an ongoing series highlighting the movers and shakers; individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to the growth of the Proton blockchain–whether by adding tokens to the chain, creating products, or just offering their stalwart support. This installment features Matt Conn, the Founder of SLAMchain DAO on Proton.
This season has seen a plethora of meme coins materialize–almost overnight–in imitation of Doge, the original meme coin. One might be forgiven for writing off SLAMChain DAO and the wrestling token $SLAM as just another crypto meme. For instance, a recent SLAMChain contest awarded a prize of 1,000,000 $SLAM tokens to a single Proton account holder who correctly guessed the winner of all featured wrestling matches. Participants excitedly cheered on the action as it unfolded in a live watch party. But strip away all that fun, and underneath is some serious business too.
Dan: Welcome Matt; I've been anticipating this sitdown with you for quite a while. I found myself transfixed while watching the wrestling matches that took place during the recent contest/watch party. I'm not even a fan–or at least I wasn't until that moment. Correct me if I'm wrong, but crypto is more of a recent foray for you isn't it?
Matt: Hi Dan! Yes and no to [the question] if I’m new to the crypto world. I actually have been involved in crypto since the formation of Dogecoin! Way back in, I (believe) 2013, I started attending the Doge hackathon events. [That is] where I met Marshall and Jackson and all the OGs of the Dogecoin world and got involved a bit there.
At that time, I was running a convention as well as developing a video game; and there weren’t really games being built on-chain then. So, while I loved the Dogecoin community and vibe, I wasn’t really involved in making products or developing on-chain. Only in the past year or so have I really had my eyes opened to the idea that crypto and blockchain are so much more than just a replacement for physical currency; and [it adds] to all the opportunities that DeFi and blockchain can provide to games, DAOs, and so much more.
Dan: You began in the industry as a game developer, right?
Matt: I actually originally started in music-tech. I worked at a company called BandPage, and we had, for a little while, a top 10 app on Facebook with over 30 million MAU (Monthly Active Users). [By] working there, I gained the confidence to be able to create my own game studio and [gaming] convention and cut my teeth on publishing a few games. I’ve had the honor of being able to work on both Indie titles (where I could really get super weird and build from the ground up) and publishing multi-million dollar titles that required a bit more planning and careful steering of the ship–like ToeJam & Earl in 2019.
Dan: Wrestling and games aren't as dissimilar as one might think. They both involve their own unique kind of gamification if you will. What drew you to combine the two–gaming with wrestling, and how does crypto fit into this picture?
Matt: I just like to work on projects that fit alongside my hobbies. I love wrestling and gaming. If there’s a way to combine those things, as well as my interest in blockchain, [then] I think this really allows me to do something that feels less like a job and more like a passion. In general, I think crypto is very dry and focused only on profits and losses. I’m hoping that, by injecting gaming-fun and wrestling attitude, we can make crypto way more fun and interesting to people who just wanna play and are not looking at it as an investment vehicle.
Dan: Let's talk a bit about your plans to utilize the $SLAM token in the promotion of live and streaming events. How can wrestling organizations and event planners use $SLAM?
Matt: My goal with $SLAM is (in part) to [demonstrate] reasons why people would want to watch together, and [show] ways that performers can add something fun to their offerings. By giving $SLAM away to promoters and wrestlers, and allowing them to give them away to their viewers, we hope that we can give them a fun souvenir, and something that they can give away to people who engage with their products. In the past, if someone was a super-fan, you could maybe send them a shirt, or a 8x10 signed photo. But [today], sending $SLAM is so easy and instantaneous. And with no shipping [needed], it really helps scale-up being able to reward people easily.
Dan: Explain the purpose of the $SLAM DAO Vault.
Matt: I strongly believe we’ll see games and apps similar to NBA Top Shots as WWE (Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment), AEW (All Elite Wrestling), and [other] wrestling organizations begin to understand the power of NFTs and blockchain. I want the SLAM DAO Vault to be ready on day one to collect genesis [NFT] drops from these organizations; and be positioned to be the leading collector of professional wrestling and (potentially) other types of combat sports, NFTs, and digital collectibles. With a DAO, users can be a part of a vault that might have highly desirable NFTs that might otherwise be unapproachable as an individual collector; and (as a team) we can really grab some rare and unique items.
Dan: Readers should be aware that the website, SLAM.money has a faucet that distributes 500 $SLAM every 6 hours and also a slot machine DApp (Decentralized Application). Do you have any other DApps planned?
Matt: SLAM Slots was sort of a proof-of-concept. Unfortunately, it was made in a way that had a pretty serious vulnerability. So, we took it down, for now, until we can launch a safer V2 version. Also, we do have another game planned–SLAM Land, which will be a mix of roster building, land development, and hopefully a rewarding DeFi experience.
Dan: Thanks for being here today. Its been fun! I’d like to invite you back soon to tell us about your other venture on Proton–$VLA (a land ownership and game token). Do you have anything else you would like to add that we didn’t cover?
Matt: I’m really excited about the possibilities of games and services that use Proton natively. It's fast [and] allows for fee-free transactions. I’m [also] excited about where Proton will be in the coming months, as these DApps begin to get built out. Thank you so much for having me, and I think my closing [comment] to readers is this: consider what you could build on Proton. Building a DApp or token is accessible with all the documentation online, and purchasing resources is at the lowest cost ever. I want to see what you build on Proton! Also, please consider following @SlamChainDao and @VirtualLandDao on Twitter!