Jelly Belly Founder Is Going All In on NFT Jelly Beans—That You Can Breed

From founding the delicious candies to exploring the realm of NFTs and web3, David Klein is hitting all the bases of business

In 1976, David Klein helped create what has become one of America’s most iconic candies —the beloved Jelly Belly jelly bean—alongside his partner, Herman Rowland. Now, he has decided to bring the candy into the alluring and often eyebrow-raising world of NFTs, with Jellyz.

Like the rest of the world (or at least those who are not confounded by the technology), Klein was captivated by both the design and potential lucrative nature of NFTs after they exploded into the mainstream in 2021. He put together four tech-savvy strangers and founded Meta-g, Inc., to navigate the deeply complicated world of web3 and help establish his footing in the space.

David Klein, the founder of Jelly Belly jelly beans.

“When I started out in this, all I knew about was the NFT market and the fact that I was attracted to them instantly,” Klein tells LAMag. “The main appeal is that [the NFT market] hasn’t reached anywhere near 1/100 of its potential.”

With the Meta-g team and business partner Scott Maples, Klein’s next step was to draft a white paper that offered something truly unique, so to stand out in a market that is often viewed as hyper-saturated. With figures like Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Madonna all stepping into the NFT space, he knew he could not become prominent off his Jelly Belly fame alone.

So Klein went back to his roots and is centering the project around his monumental contributions to the candy industry. That’s right, jelly bean NFTs—specifically, he’s creating 10,000 unique Jellyz NFT characters—all holding custom genetic lines, or their own “DNA strands” that are represented by URLs.

But the true appeal is the gamification of the collection, with the digital jelly bean characters able to—ahem—breed with each other and create new Jellyz babies. By selecting two Jellyz NFTs, users can have them breed and spawn an entirely new line of baby Jellyz. As users become more involved with this process, the NFTs accumulate and, in theory, become more lucrative. However, to dodge the inevitable cheat that this could produce, parent Jellyz have a chance to disappear upon breeding. Yes—we are talking deadbeat dad digital jelly beans here.

(Photo by Jellyz/Meta-g, Inc.)

“After you breed one or both of your Jellyz parents, they have a percentage chance to burn in the breeding process,” Maples explains. “Also, once you have that baby Jellyz it doesn’t auto evolve… it’ll stay a baby until you level it up.”

Jellyz has entered the NFT market in a troubled period for the entire crypto space, which has been shocked by a crash that did not discriminate—essentially, all entities are being impacted in the current slump. But where many skeptics see a disastrous downfall with no end in sight, Klein and Maples see this as a “leveling out” period.

“We’ve been working on the project since mid to late January. Crypto was obviously substantially higher at that time of the year,” Maples tells LAMag. “There are a lot of people who want to sensationalize things and call it a crash… to me it’s more of a correction.

“There was a bubble that was created during COVID. People were at home, they were bored, they had some money to invest, and that artificially inflated the market for NFTs and crypto to a level that it probably should not have been,” he added.

While crypto’s future remains unclear, in the company’s near future Klein and Meta-g plan to officially release the collection to the public soon. To find out more, check out the Jellyz Discord channel here. 

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