Empowering Communities With Social Money

September 25, 2020

With the changing dynamic of the way we interact with one another in the digital space, content creation and collaboration is taking on new forms in a “remote-first” world.

Content creators and curators are driving much of the value on the internet today. With growing numbers of bespoke communities around these content creators, this begs the question as to whether they should have their own currencies.

With the evolution of smart contracts, ERC-20 tokens and now social money on the Ethereum blockchain, content creators and community builders now have the opportunity to create and distribute their own social currencies to their followers and fans.

There are any number of use cases for these social currencies. Access to premium content, private groups, 1-on-1 conversations and meetings, and even selling digital art.

Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens saw the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) phenomenon as its biggest use case during 2017 and 2018. ERC-20 became the standard for crowdfunding during this period. Thousands of projects utilized Ethereum’s blockchain to issue their own tokens in exchange for promises of future value and utility. No doubt there are some who never delivered on their promises; but it showed the power of what ERC-20 could do for helping to crowdfund projects at scale.

So what does this look like for content creators and community builders issuing social money in 2020?

One company tackling this problem is Roll. They call themselves a Blockchain infrastructure for social money. Roll is an Ethereum powered decentralized app that mints branded digital tokens for creators. This allows creators to own, control and coordinate value across various platforms. Roll uses their own smart contract within Ethereum to generate these branded digital tokens for creators.

From a community perspective, this gives the value back to the hands of those responsible for generating it in the first place: the community members. It also allows for a more interactive experience between creators and consumers and incentivizes them to keep coming back for more.

Taking this a level deeper, one entrepreneur recently sold $20,000 worth of personal tokens on Ethereum to fund his next venture. Holders of his personal token will receive up to 15% of all his income for the next three years as he embarks on creating a Decentralized Finance startup in silicon valley. Personal and community token issuances are a unique new way for raising capital and value transfer in these uncertain times.

On a more macro level it has been interesting to observe many online creators directing their followings from large social media giants towards the likes of Patreon. Here, followers can support creators’ content on a recurring monthly basis. It is clear that advertising models from many of the social media giants are not satisfying creators and their communities on a number of levels. Lowering the barrier for a more seamless flow of value can be seen with the likes of Patreon. Blockchain and digital assets takes this a step further. I think the idea of social money for creators and communities is the next iteration of this. Social money is truly platform-independent and serves to empower both creators and their communities. A sense of belonging and a closed loop of value exchange enhances the dynamic of the creator to consumer relationship.

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