Last week, I had the pleasure of being joined by the diversely talented and visionary Jimmy Chan, who is co-founder and chief executive of Oly Sport. This NFT blockchain-based platform allows players to buy, breed and race virtual horses so they can earn within its metaverse. Prior to starting Oly Sport, Jimmy was CEO of Odyssey3D, a company which, under his leadership, grew to be in the top 1% globally within the virtual reality real estate space. As a student, Jimmy was originally known for hacking university applications and received 14 merit-based scholarships to study at Canada’s most elite business schools. He’s also a previous winner of Canada’s ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award. Outside of work, he’s an avid bookworm, advanced salsa dancer, African drum enthusiast, and barefoot trail running junkie. As you can imagine, there was quite a lot to discuss in our conversation!
Naturally, we had to start off by discussing Jimmy’s experience hacking college applications, which he did by “playing the numbers” and applying to programmes in which he’d have the best odds. This rose out of his desire to optimise his potential whilst flexing his creative potential, after realising with his first paid job at age 16 he didn’t have to limit himself to the doldrums of a low salary, and that for the innovative, there’s no real limit to the “time versus money equation.”
A true visionary, Jimmy has never stuck to a predictable life pattern, but always sought out the inspiring, exciting, and “cool.” He found his way to his diverse interests by “reinventing” his university education, and spent the majority of his college career backpacking through South America, where he gained his salsa dancing skills and helped launch a Taiwanese startup amongst other adventures. He eventually found his way to Israel, the startup capital of the world, where he ultimately started Odyssey3D.
Whilst many of his business school friends took on traditional jobs and focused on the goals of capital gains and “chasing the unicorn” of a billion dollar valuation, Jimmy’s goals were always to optimise self-discovery and learning, paying forward what he’d discovered on his own journey to make the world a better place. His 20s were dedicated to such exploration, which he described as encompassing anything and everything, “so long as [he] didn’t wind up in jail,” and that today he’s most focused on empire building and legacy. To Jimmy, it doesn’t make much sense to worry about paying a mortgage or making the most money if 10-20 years down the line we won’t have a future to look forward to. As someone thinking about his future children, Jimmy’s started to consider how he needs to do what he can with his work to create a future he’d be proud of passing down, and his recent work places a focus on equity and unification central to its goals.
Oly Sport rose out of a desire to disrupt the injustice Jimmy saw during the Covid-19 pandemic. He was heartbroken by how many people were devastated and jobless as a result, and dismayed by the inequity of the pandemic’s impact, which disproportionately hurt those with fewer resources, whilst generally the rich remained comfortable, or only grew richer. In Oly Sport, Jimmy sought to create a metaverse in which people could engage in game play and actively earn a living, with a crypto economy that would amend the traditional financial systems that are corrupt and inefficient. He also sought to create the first metaverse that would connect NFT land to real land in order to democratise land ownership, which has long been prohibitively expensive for the majority of people in the world. For Jimmy, Oly Sport is his play to contribute to this new world, where he can allow people to unify and tackle the issues of our future together.
Jimmy explained why he chose horse racing for Oly Sport, as well as how breeding works on the platform. First, Jimmy sees horse racing as an evergreen sport – other games are popular but lack staying power, but racing can remain relevant and won’t need to have a version 2.0 or update. He explained that, while there’s no gambling on the platform due to different countries’ laws and restrictions, there are a number of ways to earn, whether that be by racing, owning a race track, or breeding horses. He explained the platform has six bloodlines of horses that are sold as NFTs (since launching, Oly Sport’s had the top six all-time NFT sales) and then bred through a genotech algorithm.
Looking towards the future, Jimmy said he’s taking a “stoic” view at the market’s current dive – he was well on the way to having a “unicorn” himself before the recent fluctuations. Instead, he’s focusing on his big picture goals of encouraging cooperation, unity and a better future, where we can all work together to take on the challenges we’re going to face.
To hear more of Jimmy’s globe-trotting adventures, rebellious spirit, and optimistic takes on the metaverse’s democratising potential, you can listen to our full conversation here.