The Social (Token) Network: Rally, Friends With Benefits and the Future of Branding

The Social (Token) Network: Rally, Friends With Benefits and the Future of Branding

The Social (Token) Network: Rally, Friends With Benefits and the Future of Branding 1 !llmind is a Grammy-winning producer. He collaborates with artists like Beyonce, Kanye West and Lin-Manuel Miranda – it’s a long list.

The secret to his success? A concept he calls “BLAP,” which originally stood for Beats, Love, Alcohol, Parties. He builds communities. This started back in 2007, in a Soho lounge called Katra, where he threw events for up-and-coming producers to dance, drink and swap ideas on how to collaborate.

“It turned into a mini networking event,” said !llmind, who then expanded to meet-ups in London, Berlin and across the U.S. He kept building. He launched an online business that sold tools to musicians, like the “BLAP Kit,” a digital drum kit of “over 2,100 one-shot WAV snares, kicks, hi-hats, percussion, claps, snaps and more.” (Along the way, BLAP evolved into Belief, Love, Action, Positivity.) Then he embraced Twitch, Discord and even virtual reality studios.

Then came the $BLAP coin.

In April, !llmind used , a social tokens platform, to mint the $BLAP coin, which aims to create a sort of “local economy” for his fans and community. The token gives you perks. Let’s say you’re an aspiring producer, hoping to one day work with Kendrick Lamar. If you pony up enough $BLAP, you can send !llmind “melody templates” – like a four-bar guitar riff or a piano loop with no drums – and he’ll make you a custom beat. Or maybe you just want !llmind to give you a personalized video shoutout that you can post on Tik-Tok; send him some $BLAP and he’ll hook you up. BLAP can unlock online training courses, deals on his drum kits or a Zoom session to collaborate.

“This is the type of technology that I wish existed many, many years ago when I first started doing this,” said !llmind. And these are the types of things you can do with social tokens, the latest blockchain disruptor d’jour.

Quick primer: Social tokens come in three flavors, more or less: Creator tokens, community tokens and the token platforms. $BLAP is a creator token. “Friends with Benefits” is a community token. Rally is a token platform.

“Social tokens put the power in the hands of creators,” said Bremner Morris, the CEO of Rally, a former executive at Patreon, and – most impressively – somehow able to pull off a bold Clark Gable mustache. “Creators have an independent economy that they own wholly.” And creators can be almost anything: guitarists, DJs, tech influencers, thought leaders, celebrities or streamers on Twitch.

Creators can be college athletes. Historically, even the stars of NCAA football and basketball teams, who drive an estimated $18.9 billion in profit to their universities, have never received a nickel. Then something extraordinary happened: All nine Supreme Court justices agreed on something, deciding, in June , that student athletes could now profit from their NIL, or “names, images and likeness.” Suddenly they’re eligible for social tokens. “These college athletes have valuable brands, and they’re going to make a lot of money,” said Mason Nystrom, a research analyst at Messari who studies social tokens.

Read more: What Happens to a Social Token When Its Creator Dies?

Some have already started. Jaylen Clark, a sophomore guard on UCLA’s men’s basketball team – who also has a side hustle building a following on YouTube, Instagram and Tik-Tok – created the $JROCK coin on Rally. Bruins fans can buy $JROCK for the current price of $0.63, essentially betting on his future. They’re buying a new kind of equity. If, one day, Clark gets drafted into the NBA and becomes an All-Star? This could make his fans rich. (Note: Rally and Clark don’t view $JROCK as an equity, and Clark has repeatedly said that his coin is meant to unlock benefits for fans, not be used as speculation.)

Of course, it’s easy to visualize the reverse. Imagine if Greg Oden, the top prospect from the 2007 NBA draft, had been able to issue a social token. Oden was hailed as the second coming of Shaq. He was destined for the Hall of Fame. Then injuries torpedoed his career, forcing him into an early retirement. If you aped into an $ODEN token? Rekked. The Social (Token) Network: Rally, Friends With Benefits and the Future of Branding 2 Clark isn’t alone. Kayvon Thibodeaux, a defensive end for the Oregon Ducks (already with four sacks on the season), recently created the $JREAM coin on Rally. There are many others. The platform, which launched in October 2020, […]

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