Discovering ways to innovate in the metaverse gives way to creative freedom, but when it benefits others, it’s even more empowering. Take the founding member of the legendary N.W.A. Arabian Prince, for example, who has taken action to help close the gap of lack of access to proper healthcare with the help of the virtual world.
Having grown up in an inner-city along with being an early adopter of technology, the entrepreneur possessed the ability to connect the underserved communities with life-altering ways to improve their health. To create such health opportunities and a gateway to more knowledge, Arabian co-founded MdDAO — an organization that is working to “reimagine the future of health and wellness.”
With the collaborative effort of medical experts, healthcare professionals, and health consumers, the platform recently announced the launch of the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), which aims to disrupt the healthcare system by linking consumers directly to healthier living through the power of the metaverse.
AfroTech chatted with the OG about his steps to founding MdDAO, the membership NFTs it offers, and what the future of the organization will look like.
Editorial note: Portions of this interview have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.
AfroTech: I know that you've been into tech since a young age, but prior to this launch what first drove your interest in the metaverse?
Arabian Prince: I mention to people that I’ve been in the metaverse for pretty much my whole life because I’ve been a gamer. The type of gamer that I was growing up — I was into role-playing games. And if you were an RPG player, you pretty much lived in a virtual world. You had your alter ego, you had your character. Like, in Dungeons & Dragons, I was what they would call a chaotic neutral character, which meant that I’m kinda good, but don’t piss me off because I’ll smack you. And that kind of aligns with my character in real life.
I lived in video games forever and when the metaverse came around — the actual word the ‘metaverse’ — and people started talking about living in the metaverse I’m like, ‘Eh, this is nothing new.’ They just put a name to it because kids have been playing Fortnite for the last five years or more.
And, you know in Roblox, all of these different games where the kids are just going online and hang out with their buddies, that’s the metaverse. It’s not that it’s something new, it’s just something that now more people will adapt in their everyday lives.
AT: MdDAO's main goal is to reimagine the future of healthcare and wellness. From your perspective, what are a few key elements in that vision?
Prince: Number one for me is giving access to communities that don’t have access such as rural communities and inner cities — people who don’t have healthcare or money for healthcare. That’s my first goal.
Growing up in Compton, I understand where I came from. And even though I’m in the entertainment space, I see a lot of people pass away in the inner cities. My peers, family members, neighbors, all because they don’t have the proper healthcare. Both my mother and father passed away from cancer and I don’t want to see that happen to people.
So, my goal is to give everybody equal access to healthcare by creating an interactive space in the metaverse. Now, anyone can reach or interact with anyone. A doctor, healthcare facility, or community that’s driven by people who are like-minded about being healthier.
AT: Would you say there was a specific time where you were like, 'Now is really the time for this organization to come out?' Or, was it just more so the accumulation of these healthcare horror stories that you've heard over time?
Prince: I think a little bit of both, but because of COVID it was the right time. A lot of people every day are worrying about their health. People are woke now to this and it’s the perfect time to build and get people involved in saying, ‘Hey, what do you like about healthcare? What don’t you like about healthcare?’ My partners are doctors. People who actually own clinics and pharmacies and hospitals. And it’s like, ‘What don’t you like about the healthcare system?’ Let’s all come together and help to change it. Not get rid of it, just change it for the better.
I use terminology a lot. I love Bruce Lee, he used to say, ‘Be like water.’ And what that meant was adapt. And if we create healthcare in that way to where it’s like water, it becomes whatever the vessel you put it in. That’s what we wanna create.
AT: I really like how the organization caters to having the voices of its community be heard. What exactly will the process look like when it comes to them being able to share what they would like to see from the membership NFT tiers?
Prince: We have three membership tiers. We have professional healthcare — doctors, hospitals, anybody in the professional healthcare space.
The second vertical would be alternative healthcare, any and everything alternative, including yoga, psychedelic medication, CBD, yoga studios, people who make green juices, all of that is alternative.
And then we have the third vertical, which would be just a regular everyday person that just wants to live a healthier life. A person that just wants to just explore new ways of being healthy. Those are our three verticals and those are the people that we want to bring together to help us create this metaverse from the ground up.
AT: Since becoming one of the founding members in 2021, what is a key takeaway that you've learned through your interactions with healthcare professionals, wellness partners, and everyone that's been on board?
Prince: That everyone’s looking for a change. I was surprised because you think that the doctors in the hospitals don’t want this. But, they do want it. UC Irvine is actually creating a building just for alternative healthcare because it’s coming and people are starting to realize that. Especially because of the opioid addictions and people being addicted to drugs, there has to be a different way. There are alternative ways to cure pain, and cure illness. And I think they’re now starting to explore those ways.
Also, I’ve realized that I was voted to run this thing. It wasn’t like I said, ‘I’m going to do this.’ I didn’t want to do it. I don’t want responsibility, but I know that it’s actually probably good because I understand a lot of different sides. I come from the inner city, born and raised in Compton. I understand what’s needed in the inner cities. I understand what’s needed in rural communities. But I also understand the corporate side and the business side of things as well. So I’m able to kind of compartmentalize and put all those things together to create this thing that I think hopefully is successful. And, and we’ve had a lot of great responses from everyone — from healthcare officials down to companies and regular people.
AT: Tying into how this medical metaverse is all about the future of healthcare and wellness, what do you believe the near future of MdDAO will look like?
Prince: It’s going to be a community. We’re at the point where we just did the announcement, we dropped the whitelist, which means that people can come and register on our website and be a part of this. We want people to help us build. We want people to give us their ideas. We want people to get on board, to be a part of that initial launch. We want those founders to get their voice heard on what they want, so, later on down the line, when people go, ‘Oh look what they built. I didn’t have a say.’ Well, we gave you a chance. Sign up, get on board, and that way when we launch you’ll be one of the founders that can help us build out this amazing platform.
To learn more about MdDAO, click here.