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When it comes to Steve Aoki’s expansive career, “DJ” doesn’t even scratch the surface. Aoki is one of the world’s most travelled and sought after music creators, the founder of Dim Mak Records, a fashion visionary and a published author.
If you attend one of Aoki’s 300 shows per year, you can expect gasp-worthy stunts, stage dives, crowd surfs and, of course, legendary cake throws. This electric energy has garnered him an incredible community of fans and nearly 4 billion streams. And while Aoki is most commonly recognized as a two-time Grammy-nominated DJ and producer, this jack of all trades is mastering more than just music. No matter the industry, Aoki consistently breaks new ground with creative vision, edge and an “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality.
His insatiable need to innovate has made him a force to be reckoned with in music, fashion, art and now the world of blockchain with his latest launch of A0K1VERSE.
What is A0K1VERSE?
Aoki’s newest project capitalizes on the widespread blockchain adoption and an ever-growing metaverse to take his community to a new level. This never-been-done-before NFT-led (non-fungible token) membership community is an intersection of Web3, Web 2.0 and IRL (in real life) experiences. As a tokenized social club accessed by NFT collectors, members earn rewards when participating in the A0K1VERSE ecosystem.
Upon redeeming A0K1 credits, members will receive a Passport that allows them to engage in different experiences in the A0K1VERSE — from attending concerts to joining the discord, all with a focus on building a premium community. There will be concert tickets, early access to exclusive projects, metaverse experiences, private events, free apparel, digital wearables and exclusive access to brand collaborations including physical toys and digital collectibles. As members engage with the community, their Passport will be updated, essentially stamped like a real passport, to showcase participation and achievements in the A0KIVERSE and partnering communities. For citizens who wish to get even closer, Passport upgrades can include Playhouse hangouts, invites backstage and more.
Giving us a sneak peak into the metaverse, Aoki describes how he’s bridging IRL with the metaverse through his 16,779-square-foot Vegas playhouse. “I envisioned this house to be this art gallery-esque, exhibition-esque funhouse. A place where people can let loose, get creative and feel connected,” Aoki says of his art-filled Vegas home that features everything from foam pits to 20-foot murals. “With the metaverse, I can bring that experience to the masses. The digital playhouse is a destination where members get to explore, create, see virtual performances and even come hang with me.”
Organizing a community-driven metaverse is only the beginning. “The A0K1VERSE is larger than me,” Aoki says. “This is not only my world, but an intersection of all of the worlds that I am a part of. There are so many great projects I get access to where I wish my fanbase and supporters were involved, and now there’s a way — ultimately where we all win. It is combining my entire career’s worth of relationships, my music, my art and my network.”
Blockchain is transforming business on a fundamental level
While some artists may cling to the traditional format of creation, Aoki is ready to disrupt the norm and unlock a new level of potential. When asked if he is alarmed at the rate technology is advancing, he says, “I believe that limiting our use of technology can only limit the expansion of our minds. When we work with technology to create experiences, we allow ourselves to do something truly unique. I want those ‘never been done before experiences.’ I am on a mission to discover these futuristic opportunities and bring them from science fiction to reality.”
Across many industries, blockchain is changing how businesses work on a fundamental level. Communities are being affected as well, and Aoki is all for it. “When I used to think about the future, I always pictured this Utopian Sci-Fi world,” he says. “But the reality is, the future is happening right now, right in front of us. It’s up to us to embrace all of this new technology, and work with it to enhance creativity and connectivity. Web3 is all about inclusivity. We can finally bridge that gap between artists, creators, influencers and their audiences. Tokenization allows me to reward my biggest supporters. All of my many communities now have a place to socialize. And that is just a tiny piece of what is possible.”
Clearly unstoppable, Aoki is no stranger to NFT launches. His first, the Dream Catcher series, generated over $4 million. He went on to co-create the first blockchain-based episodic series with Dominion X, partnered with Sothebys on their live auctioned Contemporary Curated series and recently partnered with legendary comic book artist Todd McFarlane to launch an NFT marketplace empowering creators to freely exhibit and market original digital art.
So, how does Aoki stay so many moves ahead? “I’ve always lived by the mantra ‘by any means necessary,'” he says. “This has allowed me to stay focused on my goals. With dedication and a bit of curiosity, life is full of endless possibilities.”
What’s more, Aoki doesn’t shy away from the gamble associated with being at the forefront of these new technologies. “There is no greater risk than not taking any,” he says.