Startup Stories from Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch

Thanks to Justin Khan for publishing this article with us! If you’d like to write a guest post for our blog, let us know at [email protected] 


Hi everyone! My name is Justin Kan. Most of you probably know me as the co-founder of Justin.tv, which I turned into Twitch and sold to Amazon for almost $1 billion. However, along the way, I’ve been through the ups and downs in the startup world trying to find my path to happiness through several startups that have succeeded and failed, becoming a partner at Y Combinator, and more. 

Now, I’m happy with myself and my journey investing at my venture capital firm, Goat Capital and working on my podcast, The Quest. About a month ago, I decided that I wanted to start sharing my stories, startup advice, throwback stories, live behind-the-scenes content and what helped me achieve happiness with videos on YouTube and have been working with my friend Jen to get those videos out. The response from everyone watching has been amazing. 

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all this on OpenSea’s blog. What does any of this have anything to do with NFTs? 

We decided to mint my videos as NFTs! These will be my very first YouTube videos minted as as NFTs. Each of these stories mean so much to me, but seeing the amazing response from my little corner of the internet on YouTube inspired me to let you all in on the fun. 

Whether it’s sharing startup inspiration, finding my path to happiness, just behind the scenes stories from Twitch, Justin.tv, and more, I’ve been having a lot of fun sharing the real stories and backstage look into the ups and downs of my life and learnings. After Jen and I read so many people watching in my comments saying that you invested at 1K subs or that you’re here before the channel blows up, before we get to 1M, I’m humbled and we figured, “hey I gotta make this happen.” So, we launched Certified Justin Kan Stories, so you can collect stories that you love from my YouTube channel. 

Think of collecting a Certified Justin Kan Story as collecting an autographed version of my YouTube video. The video itself will continue to live on YouTube, so what you’re purchasing is a digitally signed certificate of this video that is certified and verified by me that is scarce and unique. You could own a Certified Justin Kan Story to collect it and virtually hang it up to show off to friends or inspire yourself, trade it with other Certified Justin Kan Story enthusiasts, and who knows maybe we’ll do something special with Certified Justin Kan Stories holders. 

For the first drop, I decided to mint several NFTs. Some are super rare, where there is only 1 copy created. Others are limited edition and have a certain number of copies based on something significant from the video. Here’s what we got: 

  • Be the only one to collect and celebrate my first YouTube video, “Getting arrested with the Reddit CEO proved Justin.tv worked?” In this video, I tell the story of one of my wildest nights in the early days of Justin.tv, where Steve Huffman (CEO of Reddit) and I got arrested! This is incredibly rare and exclusive since there is only 1 copy of this video minted and sold via auction. Bidding will start on Thursday, 2/25 12pm PT and last until Tuesday, 3/2 12pm PT. Please make sure your bid does not expire before Tuesday. 
  • Another rare one is my YouTube video, “How we ALMOST sold Twitch to Google for $1 BILLION.” In this video, I tell the real story of what happened behind-the-scenes in of what it was like to walk away from $1 billion dollars. This is incredibly rare and exclusive since there is only 1 copy of this video minted to represent that $1 billion dollar deal that never was and sold via auction. Bidding will start on Thursday, 2/25 12pm PT and last until Tuesday, 3/2 12pm PT. Please make sure your bid does not expire before Tuesday. 
  • Selling Twitch to Amazon was an emotional rollercoaster. Be one of the few to collect and celebrate my YouTube video, “Selling Twitch to Amazon…the real story.” In this video, I tell the real story of what happened after we walked away from Google and how I found out we sold Twitch to Amazon at Burning Man. To represent our $970 million deal, there will only be 97 copies available. Feel free to make your offers now, but only offers that last until Tuesday, 3/2 12pm PT will be considered. Please make sure your bid does not expire before Tuesday. 
  • Did you know we were THIS close to never starting Twitch at all? Be one of the few to collect and celebrate my YouTube video, “We ALMOST started “TikTok” instead of Twitch?!” In this video, I tell the real story of how we pivoted Justin.tv into Twitch instead of the TikTok-like Socialcam and nearly broke the company in the process. To represent the key moment of us learning from our customers who wanted to make $50 streaming on Twitch, there will be 50 copies available. Feel free to make your offers now, but only offers that last until Tuesday, 3/2 12pm PT will be considered. Please make sure your bid does not expire before Tuesday. 

We decided to partner with OpenSea to allow you to safely bid, buy, and trade my NFTs. Now, I can’t promise anything besides bragging rights, but hopefully as more people find our little corner of YouTube, who knows, maybe demand for these NFTs will blow up and I might have more types of NFTs up my sleeve.

So, that’s the story! Long story short, I decided to make each of my YouTube videos an NFT aka a Certified Justin Kan Bragging Right. Even better, you can be one of the first to collect and support the first ever YouTube videos minted as an NFT on OpenSea as a way to be a little part of history.

Check out the collection here and subscribe to my YouTube channel! A huge thank you to Devin and Alex and the rest of the Open Sea team for partnering with us and helping Jen and I through this entire process! 

For any questions, please email [email protected]



Now, if you’re curious about the behind-the-scenes on how this all happened, Jen’s going to tell that story. 



Whew, it’s been a whirlwind these past couple of days! Let me take you behind-the-scenes from the initial idea to dropping Certified Justin Kan Stories in JUST 7 days. 

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jen!  I work with Justin on everything YouTube and TikTok as an Executive Producer/TikTok coach/meme filter, which means anything from teaching Justin how to use TikTok properly over Zoom to coming up with YouTube video ideas, editing all the content, and coming up with fun ideas to try to engage with everyone watching. At the same time, I’ve also been following the NFT space closely ever since I learned about the space last year as a super newbie. After learning about how artists like Beeple and Hashmasks, musicians like 3LAU, and even Logan Paul were all getting into NFTs in a different way, I was especially excited about how creators could get in the space and engage with their audience

As Justin mentioned, we finally launched his YouTube channel a month ago to share his inspiring, behind-the-scenes stories from his startup journey through Justin.tv, Twitch, and more (and trust me, we have plenty more stories and new content coming soon). With both TikTok and YouTube, with all of the amazing support, it’s been growing super quickly. Justin has passed 20,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 150,000 followers on TikTok. 

BUT, just a week ago, when Justin reached 10,000 followers, I made this little animation for fun. 

It got me and Justin thinking. 

“How do we let our audience in on the fun?” 

“People always comment that they’re ‘investing’ in this channel before it blows up. What if that could happen?”

“Should we mint our content as NFTs?” 

“Has anyone actually made their YouTube videos as NFTs?”

So I started to look into different marketplaces, protocols, and different examples of how digital artists, musicians, communities, NBA TopShots, and even individuals like Mark Cuban were dropping their NFTs. For example, let’s look at NBA TopShots

Just 3 days later, I tweeted this: 

I wanted to make sure that if we launched an NFT that we tried our best to do it right. Basically, I was looking for a best practices resource on how creators can be thoughtful with their curation, heard anecdotes about balancing expensive rare items vs cheaper drops, so more people can participate, trying to figure out how to explain things in an accessible way, and if it even made sense to drop the YouTube videos as NFTs. 

It was kinda intimidating with artists creating such beautiful artwork, was there room in the space for Justin’s stories? Would people think it’s a good idea? While these stories were close to Justin’s heart, would anyone want to collect these stories for themselves? 

Hence, just a little while later, a call for some advice. 

Just a few minutes later, Devin, the CEO here at OpenSea replied in the comments and then, we got on a call…at 1:30am in the morning…ooof. 

After Devin spent over an hour walking me through all these questions and more, we decided to do Justin’s first NFT drop on OpenSea. Here were some of my questions that I asked: 

  • What’s the difference between the different marketplaces and protocols? What are the pros and cons of each of them? Which would be the best fit for our videos? 
  • What the heck is gas and who pays for it? 
  • How do people decide how many copies to mint per NFT? 
  • Do you have any advice for pricing an NFT? Should we do an auction or a set price? 

The next day, we got our first NFT up on OpenSea. Alex from OpenSea helped me get larger files up on OpenSea, walked me through the different types of auctions, showed me examples and numbers that we could base our auctions and set prices on. 

7 days after our initial idea. 3 days since we got help from the OpenSea team and put the first one up on OpenSea. Now, we’ve launched Justin’s first ever YouTube videos as NFTs and I guess we will see what happens! 

The main point that I want to get across while telling this story is that we couldn’t have done this ourselves. What strikes me the most about NFTs is the strength of the community and how helped everyone was in helping a newbie. Besides the OpenSea team, here were some key people who helped along the way: 

  • Phil, James, Alex, and Cameron who agreed to host an NFT and social tokens talk in the community that I run all about the creator economy. This is when I first really understood the appeal and potential of NFTs, so I’m so grateful! Also, I want to shoutout Jess for reassuring me that this was a cool idea. 
  • Everyone who spoke at the nightly NFT room in Clubhouse and the artists that inspired us and paved the way, 3LAU, Beeple, Hashmasks, and many more. 

Thank you and let’s see how this experiment goes!

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