Seed Club Creator x Crypto: Social Tokens

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Seed Club Creator X Crypto Summit

Seed Club (@Seedclubhq) is currently hosting a conference called the "Crypto x Creator" summit bringing together some of the most interesting thinkers at the intersection of the Creator Economy and the Crypto world. They hosted three panels today, I was able to catch the panel "How To Launch A Social Token in 2021", hosted by Jade Dharmawangsa (@jadedarmawangsa)

 

I was able to jot down some notes as people were speaking, and hopefully this sparks some exploration in the space, both for myself and others.

 

How to Launch a Social Token in 2021?

 

Speakers: Jade Darmawangsa (@jadedarmawangsa - Moderator), Mahesh Vellanki (@mvellank), Reuben Bramanathan (@bramanathan), Jess Sloss (@thattallguy)

 

Why should you launch a social token? Reuben answers that his token was a personal token, being redeemable for an hour of his time. He mentions NFTs are cool but that social tokens allow more of a community building thing.

Jess mentions Rally is like a shopify for a creator economy, starting with social tokens, but we later may launch into NFTs or other things. Right now its invite only, fill out at vip.rally.io - once you set up you have a templatized coin, where you don’t have to worry about other things (supply, ERC-20, need for wallet,etc. which are abstracted away by Rally). Fans can buy the coin then with credit card or with other crypto. All tokens build on Rally are backed by a Rally token which is an ERC token.

 

What have we seen as alternate ways to create currencies? Jess - Rally has been busy extracting the crypto from it. When you are buying a creator coin you are buying a token on the Rally platform. We see other projects where they are building straight up ERC-20 coins that people can buy. Creators thinking of building their own institutions, legacy projects, etc and want to build that way may want to spend the time actually building a token on Ethereum. Rally v Roll, Rally is more about abstracting away the crypto part. Reuben - There are gonna be more tools for people who want to build their own tokens. One thing about social tokens is there is only one shot; unlike NFTs which you can release a lot of, you really only have one shot to release a social token which does have much of your social credit tied up in it.

 

Jess mentions there is an idea around Minimum Viable Token, and more features can get built out. A lot of creators start out by having gated discord or telegram channels where you need a given number of tokens or value to access.

 

Audience: Are tokens like domains in Web 2.0? If you have XXXX on Rally, is it prevented from being used on Roll?  Mahesh: Its not like domain names, because every blockchain has different platforms. Ethereum would be separate from FLOW, etc. When the tokens become ERC-20, the coins will have their own Ethereum token address.

 

When does a creator community know when it makes sense to launch? Mahesh - What we have learned so far from Rally experience, is that its best to work with communities/creators that already have some semblance of an economy; ie creators/streamers that sell a lot of merch or get a bunch of donations. An economy consists not just of giving coin away for free, holding incentives, and uses when a coin is sold. Those three things in conjunction are a fully formed economy.

 

How have you seen people encourage those exchanges? Mahesh - All those creators are already interacting on various platforms, so what we have done is help them integrate their coins into things like discord servers. We have integrations with Stream Labs on Twitch. We create more transactional capabilities, use an API that pulls that crypto components into Web 2 experiences.

 

Fragmentation - If every creator launches a token, will it become like instagram where you have a close friends separation from everyone else? For the consumer/investor side, how do you see future of creator:collector increase in ratio? Reuben - When you introduce economic incentives to an existing community, you could tear the fabric of the community. Concepts of close friends/100 true fans/etc, tokens allow us to reward them, and align them to the creator and around the collective. Around them is a circle of loosely involved people. Around them is a circle of speculators. It is important to incentivize true fans. Jess - We have been looking at really interesting experiments over large audiences, Web 3 allows for really interesting transfers of value. Transfers of value differ from mere transfers of information. Abstracting away challenges for creators is good for people with huge followings, and other creators are trying out more experimental things. There's a discord called SongCamp that has 30 people but is doing very interesting things in that space. Jade - I did meetups as a creator over 10 years, I didn’t have a huge audience, but I had a community. Vanity metrics are just vanity metrics, you  don’t need 1MM followers to have a community.

 

Are social tokens a pyramid scheme? Reuben - You can design a pyramid scheme if you want, but the successful social tokens will be the communities that create lasting value over time, with rewards for contributors and stuff. A successful social token is an inverted pyramid where value is given away. Mahesh - We put into place flow restrictions/volume caps, where large token holders can only sell up to a certain amount of coins per day. We don’t see social tokens as a stock market so we try to reward those who generate real value.

 

What are the precautions creators should take on the security /legal side? Reuben - I wrote a post on this in December. Securities agencies are very aligned on definitions of tokens. If people are buying to speculate, it will be treated as a security, if its from more of a community mindset it gets treated in a different manner. The more the messaging, design, participation, is centered around membership rather than value speculation, the better.

 

Jade - Firstly, the priority has to be a community, what's the place for financial upside? Reuben - There should be some financial upside for the community and nothing wrong with it, but when its purely around financial upside, then that creates problems for the community.

 

How do you prevent audience going crazy on the token? Reuben - You don’t want crazy hype and pumping price, but having token holders and community and fans advocating for you is something you want.

 

Distribution of tokens? Jess - There is no one size fits all.  There's securities regulations concerns and concerns over how community will be structures and those are likely the biggest concerns. Questions around how to reward your most active fans. There's also some interesting distribution built around gamification. Questions of "Who's in your community / Who do you want to hang out with / Who do you want to co-own with?" are important, there needs to be some binding tie to make sure community is bound long term. Reuben - Some people will define their earliest fans as the people that deserve the most tokens, some will for those that bought a lot of albums. When you start a new community from scratch, there might be other questions to explore. Social tokens are interesting, because it allows us to organize in new ways, and also figure out new ways to organize and relate to each other.

 

Reuben - Social Tokens and DAOs are two ways of organizing a community, in fact in the future people might think of them as the same thing. Jess - Many of our projects are releasing NFTs as milestones in a community, so NFTs can also be merged or used in conjunction as well. All these things are increasingly tied together.

 

Do you see non-Ethereum blockchains being competitive, or will Ethereum win? Reuben - In the long term its not going to matter to creator, the blockchain the token is built on will be abstracted away by companies like Rally. It doesn’t matter for creators but likely does matter for builders. Jess - It might matter in the short term. Where is innovation happening? We see innovation in a small number of blockchain including ETH. We want our creators to be playing in a place where big volumes are happening. Ethereum also has a lot of liquidity.

 

Jade - Main thing I drew from this conversation is that a big community is not necessary; a strong community empowers things to happen.

 

 

Creator x Crypto Summit Day 2 Notes

To get more updates, both on exploration of Web 3.0 and on musical releases, make sure to sign up for emails here and follow me on socials!

 

Seed Club Creator X Crypto Summit

Seed Club (@Seedclubhq) is currently hosting a conference called the "Crypto x Creator" summit bringing together some of the most interesting thinkers at the intersection of the Creator Economy and the Crypto world. They hosted three panels today for day 2 of their summit: (1) "Unlocking Value in Creator Economies ", (2) "Music Hits Web3 ", and (3) "Pushing Token Boundaries ".

 

I jotted down some notes on (2) and (3) as the speakers (all of whom were exceptional) were chatting, and hopefully these notes can spark some exploration around these topics both for myself and others.

 

Music Hits Web3 Panel

 

Speakers: Nicole d'Avis (@mybellalogica), Matthew Chaim (@matthewchaim), Jeremy Stern (@jzstern) , and Jack Spallone (@jackspallone)

 

Matthew Chaim talked about how Web 3.0, specifically NFT and Social Tokens brings more value back to the creators. Jeremy Stern describes NFTs are cultural LEGOs, and mentioned artists like 3LAU selling NFTs around publishing rights, which can potentially decentralize roles in music publishing. Nicole d'Avis noted that in 2016-7, a lot of the conversations around music in blockchain were more about getting rights, credits, and profit splits put on-chain, whereas now Music x Web 3.0 is more about distribution and pushing the boundaries of what is on-chain.

 

The conversation ended by mentioning that NFTs and Social Tokens for Musicians have been discussed widely, but the next step is discussing the intersection of DAOs and music. Jeremy Stern mentioned that a DAO that takes the shape of a record label could provide more equitable results for artists. Matthew Chaim sees a potential future in which superfans could be able to leave their jobs and work for their favorite artists. Jack Spallone mentions artists might flock to new forms of curation and music discovery mechanisms and ideally that the music landscape looks less extractive and more value-add after that.

 

Pushing Token Boundaries

 

Speakers: RAC (@RAC), Trevor McFedries (@whatdotcd), Cooper Turley (@Coopahtroopa)

 

RAC mentioning that he started an agency to help people get into the NFT world. Both RAC (RAC) and Trevor (FWB) started social tokens. RAC points out that as he built out the Twitch and Discord groups, that RAC fans began not just connecting with him, but connecting with each other, which builds a superior community. He goes on to mention Web 3 is still developing from a user interface perspective.Trevor mentioned that seeing thriving producers with mansions in LA while many of his own producer friends were struggling inspired him to look at ways to create value for artists. Coopahtroopa mentions that the value of social tokens is not just the appreciation of the token price, but the strength and vitality of the community surrounding it.

 

RAC mentions that one power in the social token world is that if his community decides on a certain feature or improvement, that it could be something that is applied across many social tokens, and potentially become a best practice of sorts. He also mentions that for platform users (ie Facebook, Twitter, etc) you are creating value for the platform and the value is going to the platform owner. In contrast, he mentions that social tokens allow for that value to be captured by the community and those creating the value in that community.

 

Trevor mentions that since NFT > DeFi (as far as media attention and in the popular consciousness), the cultural component of tokens is important especially to the younger generation. He posits that the financialization of the economy might play a role, and also that "infographic activism" can be applied to building better governance, firstly in the virtual space through DAOs, and then ideally those lessons can be applied in the real world. So he certainly sees DAOs as having a potentially transformative effect, not just limited to the digital world. He mentions that to accomplish all this, we need to figure out governance at scale. Trevor also used his social token community, FWB, to mentor other artists such as Jacques Greene.
Coopahtroopa mentions that community tokens + cash flow would make a powerful combination. Tokenizing rights and catalogs is an interesting area and space. RAC mentions that as people get on-ramped into the Web 3.0 space, they start by making a Metamask wallet, maybe minting NFTs, then many steps later they could be buying land in Decentraland and curating other people's NFT art. All these elements are interconnected. You could theoretically then look a person up and see what communities they are in on-chain. Trevor wonders if there is a way to measure the value that you are generating on-chain through a clout score, though he mentions that is mildly "Black Mirror"-esque in many ways. Both Trevor and RAC mention  that creator communities and on-chain consumption has a large component around "signaling", and that real-life signaling is moving to the digital world too. "Your public wallet becomes your source of truth" - RAC.

 

Trevor is curious about multisigs and their potential for creating collective identity, which seem like the equivalent of Zines where dissident and interesting thinkers all contribute to one Zine in the real world. RAC builds on that, saying having an FWB approved piece of art would be an interesting example of community sign-off. All three mention "degen scores" (something I will need to look up after). RAC mentions that artists need to be judicious about what they do with their Public and Private accounts, like for instance buying shitcoins on your public account may send the wrong signal. Public accounts become part in some sense of a "new social graph".

 

March 2021 Update

March has been an eventful month, make sure to stay tuned on updates by following on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and via Email!

 

Music Releases

Like many others, I was entranced by the new Tamil independent song "Enjoy Enjaami", which at time of publication is right around ~70MM views. Incredible track. Given that the song has a strong afrobeats vibe, I first tested out a mix of it with "Dumebi" by Rema on TikTok, and then given strong reception, released a full version in Audius, and (due to upload difficulty) a shortened version on Soundcloud. Check them out here: Audius / Soundcloud

 

Audiovisual Releases

The chief audiovisual release of this month was my first NFT - click here to read my post about the NFT minting process. 

 

Additionally to keep up with any NFT releases, follow me on Showtime: https://tryshowtime.com/Margib

 

Short Video Releases are listed below, make sure to follow on Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube to get these as they drop!

Enjoy Enjaami x Dumebi : TikTok / Reels / YouTube

Obsessed x Mashallah: TikTok / YouTube

Ghar More Pardesiya x Mann Mandira: TikTok / Reels

Lamberghini x Brown Munde: TikTok / Reels / YouTube

 

Collaborations

April is set to be a big month as I have collaborations with Nachle Deewane, Origins Classical Championship, and an unannounced third competition in the works for the month. Its going to be a whole lot of new music, across some very diverse languages and genres, so make sure your passport is up to date.

 

 

Minting an NFT

NFTs in the last month have gone from a topic of discussion largely limited to crypto-forward circles to a topic used in popular parlance.  

Now how did NFTs get on my radar? 2020 lockdowns caused me to (1) get back into the crypto world in general and (2) listen to lots of podcasts. Two podcasts paved the way for my introduction to the intersection of music and blockchain. The first was an episode of the Solana Podcast with RAC a grammy-winning producer and well-known figure in the space at the intersection of blockchain and music. That was the first time I heard about NFTs and the potential for using tokens to crowdfund music as well as monetize a fanbase.

A few weeks later, a good friend recommended I check out “Pod of Jake”, hosted eponymously by an intellectual personality known as Jake. His conversation with the producer and DJ 3LAU, had more gems, including ideas on how artists and fans can have aligned economic incentives where fans can earn $$ from promoting an artist’s work.

Tangentially and in the meantime, I built a profile and started releasing music on Audius, a decentralized music streaming platform, link to my profile here.

Why did I decide to mint an NFT? I thought the concept was cool and wanted to be an early mover in the space.

How did I mint the NFT? First, I chose a platform. @HelloShreyas, author of “Investing as Entertainment” was kind enough to send me a Zora.co invite so I went with Zora. I linked my Ethereum wallet to it and filled out my creator profile to start.

To create the art piece, I took a screen-recording from my DAW of a drop from a completed Future House track and layered it over the audio. I’d largely seen NFTs with either visual or audio-visual content and figured that was a good method.

Uploading and minting with Zora is very easy, as the site has great UI and UX. I waited for ETH price to drop for about a week after creating the NFT, and my gas fees were 70% lower the day I minted it thanks to the quick dip in ETH prices at the beginning of March.

The link to the NFT (screenshot below) is: https://zora.co/margib/1256

What are the lessons from the process?

  • Figure out what Blockchain you are minting on – Ethereum is getting cost prohibitive (See below)
  • Monitor ETH and Gwei prices – This can vastly change how much it costs both to mint your NFT, and for people to bid (if the platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain)
  • The market favors big names – the super high value music NFT sales are going to artists like Diplo, 3LAU, RAC, Disclosure, etc.
  • Better used for targeting your existing fans than expecting the “NFT to the Moon” hype train to fetch you a high selling price
  • The more engaging the visual content, the more likely your NFT will stand out.
  • The lower-end NFT market is and will become more saturated as friction is removed from the creation process

What’s next in this space?

  • Exploring other NFT minting platforms
  • Collaborating on audiovisual NFTs with talented visual designers
  • Thinking through how creators (especially in the Desi Dance scene) can utilize Web 3.0 artistic tools such as NFTs, Social Tokens, and Metaverses

To follow the journey – follow on my socials!

February 2021 Update

February was a month marked by one major release and a few assorted TikTok and Reels snippets released.

The major release of February was the “2021 Telugu Vibes Mixtape” which has gotten some rave reviews! For all the audio links, please check the blogpost for the mixtape release.

Among the TikTok/Reels mixes, the most recent was the Fortnite Song / Bang Bang (TikTok, Reels) mix that combined a viral Fortnite parody of Estelle’s “American Boy” with the Bollywood song “Bang Bang. It was started and ended as a bit of a joke, but those songs go together incredibly well.

Top Tucker x Blockbuster (TikTok, Reels) was a kuthu combo- the new Bollywood/Kollywood banger “Top Tucker” mixes well with the Telugu banger “Blockbuster”. This one inspired some awesome choreo, getting tens of thousands of views. Check Harini’s take (TikTok, Reels) as well as Aaryan Kharel’s (TikTok), with more covers on the TikTok sound.

Last up was a TikTok mashup with the popular song “Beat It” by P. A. Teezy mashed up with “Adhiya” by Karan Aujla and, given that it was TikTok, had to end it with a little Pop Smoke, specifically “Mood Swings”. Check it out here!

2021 Telugu Vibes Mixtape

2021 Telugu Vibes Mixtape now out on the platforms below. Includes 11 minutes of vibey Tollywood mashups, including a few crowd favorites from TikTok! Make sure to LIKE, SHARE, and SUBSCRIBE across the following platforms to keep up with more Margib updates.

 

Links:

 

TikTok Mixes Featured:

 

January 2021 Update

January was a month without much music, but watch out for a mixtape release next week! Q1 and early Q2 will also feature collaborations with some big dance competitions!

 

Made a small appearance in the Pitt Dhirana 2021 Mixtape, hosted by G-Tam, and also featuring Swizzee. The mixtape is available on Soundcloud, Audius, Audiomack, and Mixcloud!

 

Continuing to get more of my own collection on Audius, and launched three playlists: All Margib Uploads, Telugu mixes, and Punjabi mixes.

 

Additionally, released a few TikToks and Instagram reels of mix concepts, make sure to follow at:

 

Below is a snippet from a mix of Atif Aslam and Ariana Grande, was released on IG and TikTok in January, that got some great responses.

December 2020 Update

Happy to announce:

  • Two recent releases
    • Future House remix of “Nobody” by NOTD for a recent contest. Available to stream currently on Soundcloud!
  • Launch of my presence on Audius – follow me at https://audius.co/MargibMusic/ and looking forward to participating more in the space at the intersection of the blockchain and music!
  • A big update to the website, with much more to come in future months!