Social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube have thrown up their own set of celebrities with huge fan followings. Most have found ways to monetize this with brand placements, paid advertising, and viewership monetization. Talented artists, budding singers and musicians, and even entrepreneurs are using this unique way to get returns on their artistry. Another way to monetize your creativity is through the use of social cryptocurrencies.
Roll, a startup, has started cryptocurrencies based on the blockchain protocol to incentivize social content creators and their fans.
Social currency startup Roll has raised $1.7 million in a seed round to help content creators monetize relationships with their fans.
The seed round was funded by Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX, Gary Vaynerchuk, TechStars Ventures, Hustle Fund, and TechStars NYC. Vaynerchuk, a digital media entrepreneur, has also invested in Snap, Twitter, and Venmo.
“From our perspective, the most important thing is those creators have to be in control of this economy,” Bradley Miles, one of Roll’s co-founders, told CoinDesk in an interview.
“I am excited to work with Roll,” Hayes said in a statement. “I believe in their vision that allows influencers and artists to better monetize their contribution to the world economy using digital tokens. It is a worthy vision and a concept that will prove successful.”
Social tokens as a currency attracted attention in January when Dinwiddie, the Brooklyn Nets’ point guard, tokenized his NBA contract for $34 million. So how does Roll intend to use its social currency? Roll allows you to a mint certain amount of digital tokens unique to your online presence, allowing you to own, control, and coordinate the value you create across platforms.
Roll provides an exchange to buy and sell ERC-20. And for each content creator, it mints 10 million ERC-20. The content creator can utilize 2 million of these as and how one wants. Roll gives them the rest in monthly lump sums for the next three years.
The content creator determines the ways social money will be earned and spent by the community. The funds will be bought off the artist for a unique experience, and then he/she can again charge the fans for other exclusive rewards, ads, add ons, etc. in the same currency, so there is a continuous flow.
For example, a romance novel podcaster wants to float a social currency, s/he can call its Roma$ and offer all fans 10,000Roma$ for tweeting about the latest podcast. S/He can add another Roma$1000 incentive for carrying the logo on their social platforms. In turn, the podcaster can charge Roma$5000 for getting a unique peek at the first chapter of the next novel podcast. The podcaster can even offer the audiobook at a discount for everyone who buys into the unique peak.
Your social money will be valued by your network based on the value of experiences and rewards your community can obtain in your social money, now and in the future. You set the rules for your own social money.
In other words, the token created by the creator ends up having real value, but this value is created by the content maker and revolves around how ably the creator can market it. This is an independent way for content creators to interact, incentivize and monetize the relationship between the creator and the fan directly that is not controlled bu the e platform they are sitting on. “We’ve seen creators over the last few years become unsatisfied over the level of control they have over the platforms,” Roll’s Miles, the co-founder of the company, said.
Siddharth Kalla, another co-founder of Roll, said that what the company wanted was the creator should be able to own that relationship with the fans irrespective of the platform.
By using a blockchain, Roll hopes to build units of value that can exist independently of a creator’s chosen media platform.
“We’re excited about Roll and the potential for social money to alter the dynamics of social media as it exists today, giving much more control to creators,” Phil Toronto, VaynerX’s SVP of investing, told CoinDesk via email.
Miles said they are looking for creators who interact heavily with their followers. The company is confident of attracting vloggers, gaming streamers, and myriad entertainment personalities who have made a career on the social platform. Roll can boast of early successes. In May, 22-year-old Australian crypto-entrepreneur Kerman Kohli attracted 24 investors who spent $23,500 on a token sale for $KERMAN on the promise that he would let them vote on some of his life decisions.
Thirty people bought $25,000 worth of tokens $ALEX from crypto entrepreneur Alex Masmej, who promised “up to 5X ROI in 3 years,” a cut of his salary, and, like $KERMAN, the opportunity to vote on some of his life decisions.
Roll, which is currently in private beta, launched last summer. Roll currently offers about 160 social tokens. It is said that Roll has on its rolls Fred Wilson, one of tech’s most influential venture capitalists, for whom they have minted $AVC.
“In the next decade, we see Roll serving as the social money layer that really wraps around the web,” said Roll's Miles.