For this week’s Fast 10 Qs, we sat down with Aussie-based Koko, the humble and down-to-earth founder of an NFT brand marrying emotive art with lore and mental health. Led by a team of deep NFT enthusiasts, the Therapets project was launched in response to the undeniably shocking levels of burnout experienced from the NFT community.
“What do we do when the forest we live in is too much, when it becomes too dark to be enjoyable, too confusing to be a place of peace,” Therapets’ lore story shares. While the team seeks to “embrace our forests for all that they are,” they admit that the thickets are intimidating, with noise that induces anxiety and a “dark blanket of nightfall that pushes fear.”
NFT proponents often appear to be more public about mental health concerns these days than they do excitement about their projects, specifically in a time where sentiment in the once adrenaline-fuelled high-value market has dropped.
Therapets feature 2222 unique characters that are an ode to mental growth, mental health, emotional support and the power of art as a therapeutic practice.
Each NFT embraces an animal to help guide holders through “the forest of their mind”, reminding them of their intrinsic power, provide protection against darker thoughts, and provide a community that can lead the way when their path needs illuminating, as Koko shares. Each holder access a community hub for mental wellness and growth.
Can you tell us the story of how you first discovered NFTs?
My journey into NFTs was a wild one! I first discovered Web3 when a friend of mine invited me out to brunch to tell me what she had been working on, and invite me to work with her. That friend was Betty of Deadfellaz. I went home, created a Twitter account, joined Discord, and began working with Deadfellaz as a content writer.
From that point onwards, Web3 became my life.
What led you to launch the project?
In the meat-verse I have been working as a mental health counsellor. Then, after spending a month or so in Web3, I noticed that the community seemed to all be experiencing the same struggles – burnout, imposter syndrome, and an inability to unplug.
The constant bright shiny lights of the future NFTs promised us made neglect our self-care to focus our attention on building generational wealth (if everyone else around us was making bank, we could have that too, right?).
So, I felt the need to propel the idea of working with NFTs in a healthy way, and having fun rather than burning out.
What did the process of building the community look like?
A lot of connecting with other people and communities. It feels like you are at a party and you have to go around talking to every person, explaining who you are, what you do, and why they should be excited about it. It is extremely hard work, with late nights (especially as I am in Australia) and endless days.
However, being able to meet so many incredible people and connect with others with common interests is worth it.
What’s the core message and value of the community?
To find yourself and be yourself. That you do not have to look to others for validation, or mimic others to find success. Therapets is all about recognising that you have innate power and ability within you, sometimes you just need someone to show you how that it is all there.
What do holders currently have access to?
At present, holders have access to a token-gated website where we will host workshops and seminars. In the past, we have also hosted competitions, quiz nights and guided meditations.
What are your long-term plans for the project?
This is a very timely question as it is something that I have been thinking of a lot lately. 2022 was not a great year for NFTs (post the early bull run) and so many of us have to pivot and recreate. At the moment, the plans are still to continue creating a safe space where everyone can come and be heard, and redesigning what that looks like.
What goes on in the community right now and what do represent?
At the moment, a lot of genuine conversation and connection. We are a small community but one that is incredibly supportive. We even have a ‘message in a bottle’ channel where anyone can anonymously ask for advice. So, I would say the community represents connection and kindness.
What are your highlights (good and bad) that happened this year in the NFT space?
This has been a wild year. For Therapets specifically, highlights would be having supported individuals who have gone through a difficult time, either by hosting mental health spaces or the community rallying around to speak with them in Discord. For the NFT space in general – too much to say!
What are some of your predictions for what will go down in 2023 when it comes to the NFT industry?
I believe that NFTs are getting ready to break out of this prolonged bear market. We are slowly seeing a more mainstream adoption of NFTs by more traditional industries. Overall, I believe that utility-driven projects and passionate artists will continue to thrive.
Anything else you want to share with our community?
If you’re new to NFTs, welcome! If you’re a seasoned veteran, congratulations on still being here. Let’s make 2023 a year to remember.