Social money startup takes on YouTube

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Roll is a social currency startup and according to Coindesk it “has raised a $1.7 million seed round to help content creators monetize relationships with their fans.” Arthur Hayes, the CEO of BitMEX, led Roll’s seed round. Other investors include Gary Vaynerchuk, Techstars Ventures, Hustle Fund and Techstars NYC.

Bradley Miles, one of Roll’s co-founders, told CoinDesk in an interview, “From our perspective, the most important thing is that creators have to be in control of this economy.” Miles also described Roll as “a blockchain protocol and platform that creates social money.”

Hayes said in a statement: “I am really excited to work with Roll. 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.”

Incentivising content creators and fans

Content creators — the popular term for online personalities on YouTube and other platforms — often need ways to incentivise their fans to take helpful actions. With Roll, creators could create a specific currency that carries their own brand, running on ethereum.

Coindesk has provided an example of how it works: “So, for example, a creator with a podcast could create a co-branded currency. A news show, for example, might call the currency it creates on Roll “mics.” With Roll, they would create a supply of “mics,” with a limit enforced by its smart contract, and then start creating a market with their users for earning mics and spending them.

They could give users five mics if they posted about one of their episodes on Twitter. Then later they might let people join a private video chat with the hosts at a cost of 75 mics. They could also be redeemed to, for example, cut the line at a live event, get a special autograph or other unique things that a random person might not care about but a super fan would value a lot.”

Roll’s CEO said the company is looking for creators who interact heavily with their fans. They expect to see a lot of early adopters in the most interactive online entertainment verticals such as beauty vloggers, gaming streamers and fitness personalities.

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