Crypto Tinhorn & Former Journalist Anand Venkateswaran Talks About Buying A $69M Digital Art Piece, Collecting Stories & Catalyzing Change

Anand Venkateswaran, also known as Twobadour, went from working as a journalist to virtual shopping with artists for the world’s largest NFT fund, Metapurse along with his business partner Vignesh Sundaresan (aka Metakoven).  The fund is estimated to be worth $189 million and is known for buying the $69 million Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 days” at Christie’s auction house.  Now, Anand uses the concept of storytelling to proliferate information about crypto and NFT to make it more available and accessible irrespective of your circumstances and geography. 

How did you get from being a journalist to running the world’s largest NFT fund?

Well, the reason I became a journalist is because I had very little academic skills. I was not good at subjects likes math, physics and chemistry. The only option open to me and the only thing I was decent at was communications. I could write because I enjoyed it and so journalism was open to me. It took me about 8 years before figuring out that journalism wasn’t my true calling but communications was.  Since then, I started looking for other avenues to express myself. I stumbled into corporate communications and wrote pretty much about everything before I stumbled into crypto. I started working with Metakovan (Vignesh) in 2017 where I found my groove after years in 2020 when I discovered NFTs for the first time. 

I read about the serendipitous nature of how Vignesh got to participate in the ETH ICO because of his work with the Bitcoin ATMs.   I bring this up as you weren’t as convinced right off the bat as Vignesh.  How do you put yourself out there to create opportunities? 

To be honest, I don’t think there’s any other choice but to look for these tiny elements of serendipity in our lives because the way the world works right now, you can’t depend on a linear path. Let’s say take a very narrow slice and examine it. My father spent 27 years in the same job and it wasn’t his true calling, he’s a poet at heart; a poet in Tamil.  I spent about a dozen years in a career that didn’t speak to me at all before I discovered NFTs. The people I work with might have wasted their lives into pursuits that didn’t lead them to pursuit of happiness but that cycle is gradually becoming smaller.  It is  because there are so many other opportunities out there and obsolescence is creeping up extremely quickly. 

How did you and Vignesh meet?

I met Metakovan when I was a journalist at The Hindu way back in 2013. He knew a little bit of information about crypto and Bitcoin. This soon led him to land in Canada on a crypto entrepreneurial journey. A few years later in 2016 when we reconnected, it started to make a lot of sense.  By that time I wrote about financial technology, and I started to understand what he meant when he spoke of uncensor ability or financial independence.

Why do you call yourself Twobadour? 

One of the reasons we adopted pseudonyms,  I suppose, is for abstract reasons and instead of saying our full names, you could just our pseudonyms.  Not that the pseudonyms are any easier to pronounce on a stretch, but at least they’re more fun to have. As far as origin stories go, mine is pretty boring. I had an idyllic childhood. I was born in Madurai in 1983, and I grew up in Vizag, which is a coastal town in Andhra Pradesh in the south of India. 

What did you and Vignesh (aka Metakovan) decide to make the $69 million Beeple purchase? 

My only job here is to find creative ways of spending his money.  I’m just a devil on his shoulder egging him to go and complete things.  However, the purpose of this fund is something that we’ve been trying to discover ourselves. In the six to eight months preceding the setting up of Metapurse, both Metakovan and I were on our independent journeys in the NFT space. We found out at some point our theories about the NFT space converged. The theory I just described is that NFTs are going to be the primary vehicle for crypto. That converged, and that’s how Metapurse was born.

The purpose of Metapurse is to collect stories and catalyze change. Collect interesting stories from the metaverse which would then inspire other people like us to converge into this renaissance and to catalyze real-world change.  The reason why we want change to happen is this idea of decoloniality, which Metakovan spoke about recently. It’s an interesting concept which I think people of our background can relate to. The idea is to increase representation of underrepresented cultures, which is currently not possible, not just financial opportunities but cultures, practices and forms of expression which were buried under the bulldozer of modernity. 

Now that a lot of people know who you are because of this purchase, how are you finding the experience of dealing with the fame/notoriety?

It’s a mixed bag of feelings. There’s no point in complaining about the bad press that comes. It’s impossible to tell everybody every nuance, aspect of my story. However, as far as I see it, I think it has been overwhelmingly positive.  The big thing is really the opening up of more serendipitous doors. It forged relationships with some incredible people from all over the world, which we would not have met probably if this hadn’t happened. I think it’s worth it to just open some new doors, open up some new possibilities of collaboration and to help ourselves grow individually.

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