Soon you could be spending money minted by Terry Crews—certainly an exciting piece of news if that’s been an ambition of yours.
The former NFL player, actor, and game show host just launched his own social currency via the startup Roll, a platform that allows so-called “creatives” to crypto-monetize themselves and their own content via what is essentially a decentralized blockchain-based crediting system. The company says it sees itself as a way for people like Crews to engage with their fans and audiences in an entirely new way.
The former Expendables cast member now offers $POWER, his own currency, which has so far been dolled out to about 100 people, TechCrunch reports. “If I give you $POWER, you own a piece of me,” Crews recently told the outlet. “There’s no other way to put it.” Crews says the ultimate goal of $POWER is to empower artists.
If you’re confused about what “social currency” actually is, that’s okay—because the concept is fairly new and is a little bit hard to pin down. In Roll’s case, the company claims to give creatives the power to “own, control and monetize the value of their social interactions across all platforms.” Each creative using Roll is issued their own blockchain-based currency, which can then be customized for specific audiences and content. So it’s a little bit like a bizarro version of Patreon (wherein people subscribe to artists they like and are awarded gifts for their contributions), except with specialized crypto rather than real money.
But, with Roll, creatives don’t have to play by the pre-established rules of a normal market; instead, they get to determine how their currency is earned and how it can be spent. The system is basically set up to be integrated into the traditional market, though. On the company’s website, they provide this hypothetical scenario:
Anna just started a substack newsletter all about her digital art and offers 7,000 $DANGER to the first 10 people who subscribe. She wants to spread the word a bit more and offers an additional 1,000 $DANGER to anyone who retweets her post. Todd is a supporter of Anna’s work. He subscribes to her newsletter and retweets her post, earning 8,000 $DANGER. Anna creates a few market opportunities in $DANGER where her supporters can get a shoutout in her newsletter for 2,000 $DANGER, and a digital art piece for 10,000 $DANGER. Todd doesn’t have enough to get an art piece but he’d love to show his support of Anna by getting a shoutout. He spends 2,000 $DANGER on a shoutout and gets recognized in her weekly digital art newsletter.
Great job, Todd. Don’t spend all of those $DANGER bucks in one place.
Roll currently has some big money behind it—and it has been picking up steam. A number of other celebrities recently set up their own social currencies with Roll, including rapper Akon. Soulja Boy is also apparently considering launching one.
“Anyone, anywhere, anytime can create their own content,” Roll founder and CEO Bradley Miles told TechCrunch. “We refer to this as mass personalization of content. Right now, Roll is experiencing the same thing with money itself. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can create their own money.”
Part of the big draw of a site like Roll is the ability for creatives to cash in on non-fungible tokens, NFTs—that hot new trend sweeping the crypto industry. Our own Tom McKay has a really good breakdown of how these work (as well as the unfortunate carbon footprint they leave behind). In short, NFTs are unique crypto tokens, minted via the blockchain ledger Ethereum, which typically will be represented by some sort of art (say, a picture, a tweet, a music video, or a collage, for instance).
Essentially, anything can end up taking the form of an NFT. You could take a picture of a half-eaten tuna sandwich, tokenize it and post it to a crypto market like OpenSea (which recently integrated with Roll), and voila! you have yourself a special, unique NFT that could be incredibly valuable (depending on whether people want to buy it or not). Granted, if the average person took a picture of a half-eaten sandwich, chances are nobody would want to buy that. Celebrities and other public figures, however, can basically cash in on their own renown, offering special art or content that is unique and one-of-a-kind: A picture of Johnny Depp’s half-eaten sandwich might be worth big Depp crypto-bucks, etc. That’s why NFTs have frequently garnered comparisons to baseball cards or other collectibles.
In Crews’ case, he is envisioning the eventual offering of NFTs via $POWER, as well as an assortment of other products and “experiences,” though currently, engaging with the currency gets you access to Crews’s Discord channel. TechCrunch reports:
In the case of Crews, he envisions folks earning $POWER via blockchain art purchases, NFTs, physical goods and experiences. Initially, Crews is engaging with his $POWER community through Discord. Folks with 50 $POWER, for example, can access a special channel within Discord...
Crews told the outlet that, eventually, he would like the community around his currency to grow and “to become this thing that this community can live and exist in.” This could take many different forms, Crews said, with one eventual goal being to launch a micro-loan program for other creatives. You can check out $POWER’s page on Roll by heading here.