Roll raises $10M to bring ownership to creators with social tokens
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have ushered in a new era of creative expressions. Creators, small and big, are now using social money to build up the dollar value of their communities and give it back to their users. Social tokens incentivize more inclusive and equitable collaborations, with a reduced role for ad-driven business models.
Like Stripe’s positioning within traditional eCommerce, one new tech startup is trying to do the same for the creators and become the Stripe for social tokens, branded digital currencies that are specific to communities.
Enter Roll, a New York-based startup blockchain infrastructure for social money. Roll’s platform enables the issuance and distribution of social money. The Roll network mints branded digital tokens unique to online presence, allowing them to own, control, and coordinate the value that is created across platforms. Unlike other platforms, Roll’s currencies are portable and can be used to strengthen bonds among communities on different platforms.
Today, Roll announced it has secured $10 million in Series A funding led by IOSG Ventures, Animoca Brands, Alchemy, Huobi Ventures, Weekend Fund, Mischief Fund. The latest round brings the company’s total funds raised to $12.7 million since it launched in 2019. IOSG joins existing backers in Roll, which includes Galaxy Interactive, Hustle Fund, Gary Vaynerchuk, Trevor McFederies, Ryan Selkis, and Balaji Srinivasan.
Roll said it will use the new capital injection to allow the growing creator economy to experience social tokens as a way to build communities, share ideas, and create value on the Ethereum blockchain across platforms for streaming, gaming, etc.
Founded in 2017 by Bradley Miles and Sid Kalla, Roll’s platform helps creators advertise and market their brands — they are able to connect and engage with other creators in the platform for unique collaborations. For creators on Roll, they are able to determine the ways their social money is earned and spent by their community, effectively setting the market for their social money economy. When it’s time to spend social money, Roll acts as a payment gateway to enable the experiences and rewards the creator offers.
To date, Roll has been used by 350 creators from NFT innovators like Whaleshark to household names like Terry Crews. In the past month alone, Roll’s social tokens have eclipsed $250MM in market value and over $2MM in daily trading volume.
“Shepherded by the explosive growth and popularity of NFTs is a cultural bull market that’s become a renaissance for artists, musicians, and creators from all over the world,” said Bradley Miles, co-founder and CEO of Roll. “Social tokens help bridge this cultural renaissance with decentralized finance, and have resulted in a 650% increase in trading volume on Roll’s social tokens alone.”
The bigger picture story here is that creators are leaving Web2, the ‘Platform Age’ where platforms dominated the industry and starting to enter the `Creator Age` which will be led by Web3 creators and community-owned networks. Many of these creators on youtube are now interrupted by ads, now with Web3, there are more community-owned networks and brands are making their own social tokens to monetize engagement!!
“We see an internet where hundreds of social token applications will emerge. Most platforms will use social tokens in one way or another this decade,” says Sid Kalla, co-founder and CTO of Roll. “They’ll all require the right infrastructure to be successful and interoperable across the web.”
By using Ethereum smart contracts to develop social token infrastructure, Roll’s social tokens can interact with both traditional web platforms and smart contract applications that others have built, including DeFi protocols which collectively hold over $90 billion in total locked value. Some of Roll’s social tokens like $WHALE from creator Whaleshark are beginning to list on major exchanges like Huobi, an incoming investor in the round via Huobi Ventures, and a top 3 cryptocurrency exchange by 24hr trading volume.
“Roll is at the forefront of the new world of social interactions, communities, and DAOs. Bradley and Sid have a clear vision on how they want to bring Web3 to the mainstream and change the way we form and interact with communities today,” said Jocy Lin, Founding Partner of IOSG Ventures. “Through Roll, DAOs and communities can tokenize, trade, and gate-keep content for those that are part of the community. Anyone holding a community’s social token is welcome to join and contribute.”