Chris: Hi! Can you tell us more about yourself and the role you're playing in that blooming project?
Brandon: I'm Brandon Ash Nanos, the founder, aka Supreme Allied Commander of the GRUNTZ. I'm an active duty U.S. Army Soldier. I've been in the Army for 16 years & I am drawing close to retiring to hopefully dabble even further in the NFT & Web 3 Space. I'm a lifelong learner, so this has been quite the experience. I joined the Army right out of high school as an Infantryman. I spent 10 years at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the prestigious 101st Airborne Division. I deployed as part of the surge to Iraq in 2007, as well as part of the surge to Afghanistan in 2010. Infantrymen are nicknamed "grunts", therefore that's how I came up with the name, GRUNTZ. I created the GRUNTZ LLC & trademarked the name & logo.
Chris: GRUNTZ represents caricatures of soldiers fighting in the Metaverse. What were some of the early inspirations to create these digital representations of soldiers from all over the world?
Brandon: I entered the NFT Space much like many others, as a consumer. I blindly got onto a marketplace, and purchased a couple of NFTs I thought were "cool". My first purchase was a fake Bored Ape on Mintable. I then began binge-watching YouTube videos and even took courses on Udemy to broaden my knowledge about NFTs. After that, I began playing with the idea of creating a collection of military pieces with silly, over-exaggerated features, to capture the diverse and animated people I've met in my career. One thing led to another, and I deeply felt that this should be much bigger than an American-centric project, I wanted an international "Alliance". Besides, we're all human beings that are in this venture together, so inclusivity and cohesion are two of my goals for the community. The military is one of the most diverse organizations in the world, and the military community is definitely underrepresented, and I wanted to change that. Having these digital representations of Soldiers from all over the world showcases diversity, and allows people from all over to identify with these tokens, whether from a physical identity aspect, or because of the flag that is in the backdrop represents the nation-state of their homeland or ancestral lineage and instills that sense of nationalism, patriotism, and pride.
Chris: Consequently, what are the traits and characteristics of the token? How is each token different from the others?
Brandon: There are a total of 93 traits and characteristics within the collection. Each piece has a flag in the backdrop, and may be a perfectly unblemished flag or a grungy, tethered flag. The GRUNT himself may have different: skin complexions, uniform patterns, tattoos, weapons, eyewear, headgear, hairstyle, hair color, facial hair, eye shape, eye color, head-shape, and facial expressions. On March 25th, we launched our UKRAINE collection. It was a collection of 150 NFTs that all had the flag of UKRAINE in the background. This collection was a free-mint, those that won our raffle only had to pay for gas fees. Ukraine was always going to be in my collection, however, due to the current circumstances I decided to make it a free-mint collection and all royalties from secondary-sales are sent to the Ukrainian Relief Fund, which can be tracked on etherscan. In the upcoming collections, Ukraine will be excluded in order to ensure that those who want a Ukraine GRUNT, must purchase from the Ukraine Collection on OpenSea. Our immediate collection we're marketing right now is called the OG Collection, which is the OPERATOR GRUNTZ. This collection is unique because it'll have NFTs with the Green Beret (to denote that they're Special Forces), as well as other traits that will only be seen in this limited collection. There will be 1776 potential OG's, however, after going through the rigorous training of the Q-Course (Qualification Course for OPERATORZ) there may be only a fraction of the candidates that make it to the elite status of becoming an OG. Our next collection is the rest of the GRUNTZ, which will be a 10k NFT collection showcasing all the various traits. Future collections include a FEMME edition (all-women) and a CYBORGZ edition (cyborg-humanoid).
Chris: Moreover, the Gruntz collection is to be sold in phases. What are some of the important dates to be kept in mind for the OG sale?
Brandon: The current OG WL sale is on April 15th. It was initially April 4th, however, I decided to move it to afford the opportunity of our growing community to join in on the raffle. This OG collection will be rare, as to reflect how the Special Forces community is in the actual military, only a fraction actually venture forth to become an OPERATOR & only a fraction of that population actually makes it. Our public sale will be announced at the conclusion of our OG WL sale.
Chris: So, what will be the cost of each Gruntz token at the public minting? How much of the cost will go towards gas?
Brandon: The date & price of the public sale will be announced at the conclusion of the OG WL sale. However, I have lowered the prices for both, in order to reflect the changes in the market. When I had initially priced the sales, ETH was >2400, as we were in somewhat of a bear market. Now that the market has somewhat stabilized and is on the rise with ETH >3500, I lowered the price to make it reasonably affordable. This isn't a money grab, & I feel I have much to prove to everyone the worth of this project, so I will not come into the NFT Space with some ridiculous price if I haven't earned my keep. The sales will open up when gas prices are the lowest, but as a consumer I know that sometimes, especially with a new project that has a beautiful entry price, the gas fees may amount more than the NFT itself. We're trying to avoid that, but it is a slippery slope.
Chris: The royalties from the secondary sale go towards a charity fund. What is the objective of the charity? How will the charitable trust be chosen for the purpose of donation?
Brandon: The royalties of the Ukraine collection goes to the Ukrainian relief fund. The royalties of all subsequent collections will be: 5% to a military focused nonprofit organization in order to support and address the mental health issues & suicidal ideations that continue to plague the Veteran community. This is near & dear to my heart as I have seen & felt the hardships of the effects of PTSD, and I have lost several brothers-in-arms to suicide. I want to help reverse this statistic & get Veterans the help they need. 5% of mint proceeds will go to the Ukrainian relief fund in order to support the millions of displaced Ukrainians that have had to flee from their homes. And finally, 5% will go to the project's treasury. The proceeds of this first collection will most likely go to the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars). I highly doubt that they have a crypto wallet, so I may have to extract those funds, sign one of those huge checks for photo ops, and go down to the local VFW to take a photo with the head representative there with the check. All other donations will be able to be tracked on etherscan. The wallets I have established for the project are: SpoilsOfWar.eth (treasury), CryptoGRUNTZ.eth (project operational costs), GRUNTZgiving.eth (charitable donations wallet).
Chris: Similarly, minting proceeds to the tune of 5% will be collected for Gruntz treasure wallets. What will be the aim of this wallet? Who will decide on the utilization of funds?
Brandon: The treasury wallet (SpoilsOfWar.eth), will act as a community pool of ETH, that will only be spent on expenses that the community votes on. Whether it's for land in one of the popular virtual worlds (Sandbox, Decentraland, Upland, etc.) or if it's for merchandise, staking, game development, or the investment into a blue-chip NFT project. GRUNTZ is an Alliance, a vessel for the most loyal, passionate, patriotic, and motivated community members out there. As I continue to say, "Through our Diversity, We Unite in Strength."
Chris: In the end, please describe your marketing campaign that is aimed to gain popularity for the Gruntz tokens. Do you also plan to have some collaborations?
Brandon: My marketing strategy will primarily be through uniquely crafted content shared on social media platforms, with a primary focus on Twitter, as Instagram & TikTok seem to have fallen to the wayside when it comes to the NFT Space, however that is based on my experience & I've seen some projects have substantial success on other platforms. In addition to the unique content, having a robust community that utilizes the project as a vessel to bolster the amount of community members will also prove to be an invaluable asset, as it is self-evident that successful projects are community focused & community driven. Collaborations have been a valued component of our marketing strategy, especially reaching out to fellow Veteran Owned projects that are trying to find their niche in the space as well. Moving forward, I'm optimistic that new collaboration opportunities with more renowned projects will begin to surface, and we will capitalize on those partnerships.
Thank you for the interview. Remember, Live Well. Die Well.