Investing in Roll
Next generation of cultural movement, interactions and engagements
Roll is a social token issuance platform with over 40 creator coins trading on Uniswap and over 350 creator communities who minted ERC-20 creator and community coins. Social tokens represent participation and ownership in a particular community or DAO. The platform aims to be a full-stack issuance platform to mint social tokens and bootstrap communities. Branded digital tokens can be designed with attached benefits such as discounts, access to exclusive content and/or upside in the value of the community. Social tokens allow creators to monetize their largest moats — their communities.
Roll was founded by Bradley Miles (CEO) and Sid Kalla (CTO) in 2018.
The concept of tokenizing brands and marketing might seem new, novel or largely affiliated with NFTs but Bradley & Sid were the first ones to take on this mission.
Bradley Miles & Sid Kalla started as researchers in crypto at CoinDesk and Smith & Crown respectively. They envisioned a new horizon for social organizations where monetization of digital communities would be possible and exist independent of platform. Their shared interest and passion in this mission led them to found Roll and build on Ethereum at the early stages of the blockchain’s ecosystem.
Till date Bradley and Sid work hard on creating one of the leading platforms with a creator-first approach. We believe that their perseverance and resilience throughout different crypto market conditions and setbacks will be instrumental in making Roll a hub for all creators and digital economies.
Rise of Creator Economy subsequently driving the early adopters
2021 marked various milestones. One, it solidified the “thesis — market fit” for creator & ownership economies and two, it brought early signs of crypto mainstream adoption like never before. Technologists make Web3 more scalable and user friendly by solving core infrastructure problems, the rise of DeFi brought an inflow of traders who contributed back to DeFi and now NFTs (creator tools) and DAOs (community tools) have brought early adopters to Web3 in form of creators and their thousand true fans!
If you look closely at the Adoption Curve, we’re still early into crypto’s adoption cycle and moving towards the chasm between early adopters and early majority. As a community, we still have a long way to go before we enter the early majority and this includes re-inventing several flywheels, business models and products!
The in-house thesis is that consumer-fronting applications will likely bring the mainstream users to crypto. Amidst the NFT hype cycle, Metamask had a record-breaking 5M+ monthly active users in April 2021.
Why social tokens?
NFTs, DAOs and Social Tokens provide infrastructure to execute a creator’s vision trustlessly (i.e. no biased middlemen) and with the ability to monetize directly and capture the full value of their brands. Historically, middlemen and platforms would gobble up the majority of the margins.
Value creation for an artist in Web2 is platform specific and relies heavily on sponsorships to monetize their brand, status and content. According to CB Insights report, key revenue streams for creators come from brand deals and the rest of the value is distributed evenly across ad share revenue, affiliate marketing, tips and subscriptions.
Applying blockchain technology to social platforms allows creators to tokenize and monetize their content. Individual tokenization of value creation provides an alternate style of monetization which is independent of sponsorships and alleviates “buy” fatigue for their followers.
NFTs are part of this narrative and have acquired the most attention but the other side of this trend is social tokens. A more underrated version but equally potent solution that can capture the user’s contribution! They allow fungible access to communities and retain the DeFi elements whilst engaging with the creator. Also, fun take — if you think about it, governance tokens of NFT DAOs and guild tokens function as social tokens anyway! Social tokens already exist and quite successfully — they don’t need to compete with NFTs, they need to co-exist and
Creator Coins and Roll V2.0
Roll currently provides the blockchain infrastructure to launch your own branded token with a fixed cap of 10M total token supply with 1 year vesting and a wallet infrastructure that can connect directly into Web2.0 as well as Web3.0 — leverage and bridging the best of both worlds. Currently, the process of minting tokens on Roll is also permissioned. Roll-issued social tokens are traded on Uniswap and can be bought by interested members to join the respective communities. For instance, you would need to own 100 $RNG tokens to enter and participate in the RNG community — a thought sharing initiative by Richard Kim of Galaxy Interactive.
In Roll V2.0 creators can expect decentralization of the platform, flexible token minting, cheaper minting process and lastly a surprise feature which we will allow Roll to announce when they’re ready! With its next set of smart contracts, Roll V2.0 is heading in a direction where its users will determine the future of all economic decisions made at the protocol level. Including fees collected in social tokens, which plan on vesting to owners of the protocol instead of the company.
What makes Roll and their new design special is that they offer freedom to creators and communities in the social token economics without stringent bonding curves or restrictions on trading platforms. $WHALE token is already listed on centralized exchanges like Huobi Global and Gate.io. After the launch of its new contracts, we hope to see Roll’s new features becoming common amongst DAOs, creators and other social organizations. As the company grows and in the spirit of decentralization and transparency — Roll may even issue a governance token allowing it to decentralize its issuance process!
As the creator economy continues to thrive and more creators join the space, they will seek for more differentiated ways of marketing to their followers. While NFTs may be the best solution for some, social tokens will be ideal for companies and artists who aim to maintain constant engagement with their communities. The future is platforms and DAOs not just onboarding users but their tokens as well. Roll plans on playing a significant part in how these features and concepts develop overtime across the web
Future opportunities for Roll
While the B2C business model is currently live, having a flexible V2.0 model will unlock many doors for Roll such as providing white label solutions for enterprises and positioning itself as the Stripe for Social Tokens.
Usage of NFTs vs. Social Tokens for Marketing & Outreach: Monetization & tradability is important and the promise of using crypto. While NFTs are a great marketing tool for many, social tokens provide the ultimate solution for a constant source of engagement. They serve as a source of value and unit of account in communities. NFTs focus on digitally unique and scarce items and while they’re great hype tools, social tokens will grow to dominate the community space. Social tokens have a higher turnover rate than NFTs which can alleviate buyer’s remorse too.
Social tokens seen as traded securities: Roll alleviates this risk by outsourcing the trading activity to Uniswap. Typically, the communities or creators also don’t use them as legally-binding contracts and instead use tokens as gateways to exclusive content. Anything perceived as an investment contract without any other utility (e.g. a tokenized sports contract, a token-based fundraising mechanism for a company) would be out of the context of a community Roll would support and would be better suited for platforms like Fairmint and Republic that directly work with digital securities.
Risk in market direction comes from social tokens being seen as securities. An commonly taken approach is to restrict trading activities of the tokens and/or implement a forced bonding curve to prevent volatile speculations on the asset.
IOSG is extremely excited to partner up with Roll and contribute to it’s community-first approach. We’re looking forward to seeing the project growing, onboarding a class of creators and communities and empowering brands and their loyal customers through their social tokens!