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In the world of Web3, memes can turn into your wildest dreams.
Or, at least, that’s what happened to the pseudonymous Bored Elon, who now goes by just “BORED” in all caps on Twitter. Bored has amassed 1.7 million Twitter followers since starting the account a decade ago, but there's a real person behind the polygonal faux-Elon Musk avatar.
We met on a bustling sidewalk on a crisp, overcast morning in San Francisco. The coffee shops were crammed near Union Square due to attendees of the Game Developers Conference. It's a week of professional nerds gathering in massive convention halls with large branded backpacks to talk development and funding—and maybe make a few friends and collect business cards in the process.
Bored was here for business. He looked more or less exactly like his voice sounds (he's a frequent Twitter Spaces host and guest), and he did not divulge his real name. Bored said that he started the parody account after Elon Musk published the Hyperloop white paper in 2013.
“The paper basically said, ‘Here's the map of how to do it. I don’t have time, anybody who wants this can have it for free,’” Bored said. “And I just thought: OK, you do some pretty wild thinking while you’re bored.”
We were sitting on the sidewalk in uncomfortable metal chairs, his just feet from the road. We both held tiny microphones but no one around us seemed to notice or care as we talked about the rise of his gag account.
“I will say it was my 10th attempt at creating a parody account,” Bored told me. “And it is wild that, you know, the person that I ended up parodying now owns the platform itself. I never would have expected that timeline.”
I'll split 50% royalties on any successful AI generated tweets that use my humor. Same deal as I would with any tweeter i collab with. Feel free to use my humor without penalty. I have no talent agency and no legal bindings.
— BORED (@BoredElonMusk) April 25, 2023
Bored is not your typical Crypto Twitter “influencer.” He isn’t fresh out of college, yelling on Twitter Spaces, or wearing flashy clothes at drunken mosh-pit parties. He’s an introverted guy, a little bit corporate even, and said that he’s worked in the video game industry for a long time. I asked him where he had worked, but he kept his response vague. Bored does not want his real name to be revealed or uncovered under any circumstances.
“I’ve kind of stepped away from being this character,” Bored said of his Twitter evolution over the years. “But it’s kind of like being a writer for a show—like, you just run out of ideas. So I don’t necessarily want to play that character anymore.”
From Elon to gaming
Bored has moved away from the comedy bits and rebranded as a co-founder of Web3 startup Bored Box, which he started with pseudonymous co-founder Subtle Rebuttal. Bored Box aims to showcase curated Web3 games and grant Box NFT holders with exclusive gaming NFTs and other perks.
He borrowed the "Bored" branding from his massively popular Twitter persona—and the vibe checks out, given that gaming is a common cure for boredom. Finding worthwhile games in the Web3 world right now, however, is a challenge in his view.
“The general problem we’re trying to solve for Web3 is that shopping for games and discovering games—it kind of sucks,” Bored said. “Every place you go to get games is like eBay, right? It’s just a trading platform.”
— Bored Box (@BoredBox_) April 13, 2023
“What it really needs to look like is the Steam Store,” he added, “or the PlayStation Network Store or Nintendo eShop.”
As the Web3 gaming industry takes its relatively early steps, there are already a few different game launchers out there offering a range of titles in varying stages of development. Elixir, HyperPlay, and the Epic Games Store have emerged as early options for gamers looking to find vetted Web3 games.
Bored Box aims to be another option, with its own twist. The Bored Box NFTs were initially launched in May of last year on Ethereum. Each one resembles a game console, and they were intended to be like “loot boxes” for select Web3 games.
Now, Bored said that the boxes are evolving into more of a Web3 storefront that acts as a membership pass of sorts, allowing owners to accrue soulbound (non-transferable) “boredom points” over time that can then be exchanged for NFTs or IRL items.
“They are what gamers are used to," Bored said of the points,"which is like an in-game currency that you can trade for cool stuff."
As Bored curates his Web3 gaming steps forward, he continues to hold his pseudonymity dear and doesn’t understand why some “anons” eventually reveal their identities.
“I think a lot of people who have done what I've done after a couple of years have basically let their ego get the best of them, and decided that they wanted to let the world know who was really behind the character,” Bored said. “I don't have that at all. I actually prefer to separate those two lives completely.”