Social networks are an indispensable part of the web2 experience. Not only did they bring about a paradigm shift in the way humanity connected but they also paved way for the $100 billion creator economy today. Today, over 4.62 billion people across the world use social media and at least 50 million people identify themselves as digital content creators on these platforms.
However, even after two decades of social media reign, there is no real way for users to benefit from the value they generate for the platform. This is the major drawback of social media today. In this regard, we’ve recently had a conversation with Kevin Chou, the co-founder of the next-generation social media platform Taki. He gave us an insight into the future of social media and how it is poised to become user-centric.
1. Hi, Kevin. Thank you for your time. Before we discuss your project, can please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey in the blockchain industry.
Hi. Thanks for having me on board. I actually began my career as a venture capitalist at a firm that invested in consumer internet and digital media. After working on some exciting projects there, I founded Kabam, a leader in free-to-play gaming. After the successful sale of Kabam, I began exploring the blockchain industry.
I co-founded two multi-billion dollar crypto projects - Rally, a social token protocol, and Forte, an end-to-end blockchain game development infrastructure. Rally in particular is relevant here because it enables creators and communities to build their own digital economies.
As we built out Rally, we started to think more deeply about SocialFinance or SocialFi. We realized that the concept of social tokens could be applied to great effect within social networks. Within our web3 venture studio, SuperLayer, I joined forces with co-founder Sakina Arsiwala and built Taki which is a new-age social media platform with an engage-to-earn model.
2. Now let’s look more closely at SocialFi. Can you please explain what it is in simple terms? And how will these platforms shape the overall experience of Web3?
Sure. SocialFi, short for social finance, where people can tokenize their social influence. This is achieved with the integration of social tokens and NFTs into social media platforms that allow creators to monetize their popularity directly.
As regular users of social media, we’re all aware of the immense value we generate for the platform. But it is lost to the platform, and as creators or users, we get little to nothing out of it.
SocialFi tilts this dynamic to ensure that users and creators get the maximum share of the value generated. Platforms achieve this by integrating cryptocurrencies and NFTs at the core of their operations.
SocialFi platforms are mostly decentralized and managed by their users’ communities. Data scams, unnecessary content censorship, and uninformed algorithm changes could become a thing of the past, creating a unique social experience for all players. I believe these platforms are the next natural step in the evolution of social media.
3. Okay! Now that you mention it, can you tell us more about social tokens and how creators can leverage their power?
Social tokens are cryptocurrencies backed by the creator’s brand value. The idea is that creators use these tokens to incentivize fans for taking certain actions. Fans, in turn, can use these tokens to buy special products or get exclusive access to the creator’s work.
For instance, if you are a course creator, you could incentivize users with social tokens every time they refer someone to your program. They in turn could use these tokens to get access to your special masterclass or an exclusive mentorship session.
The use cases are really endless. Anyone from newbie creators and influencers to celebrities can use these tokens to build a brand and monetize their work without the need for intermediaries.
4. What kind of earning opportunities do you think SocialFi platforms bring for creators and fans and how can the relationship between them evolve?
SocialFi allows creators more freedom in how they produce content, monetize it, and share value with fans. By introducing social tokens, creators can create product-specific content for coin holders or transactors, and gain insight into their super fans. Creators also get to keep the lion’s share of the economics from transactions and have multiple different tools at their disposal to monetize their token economy. Lastly, fans who hold social tokens get to participate in the upside, and have the freedom to sell when they want to exiot.
Additionally, everydayusers can earn on these platforms by simply engaging and participating in the network. This is because user engagement creates value for the platform and SocialFi platforms redistribute this value to its users. It’s called the engage-to-earn model.
5. Please give us a brief insight into Taki as a platform and what creators and their fans can expect from it.
Taki is a token-powered social media platform that integrates an engage-to-earn model. The platform leverages the unique potential of cryptocurrencies to reward both creators and fans for their participation on the platform. Creators can simply launch their own social token to kickstart their fan economies. Fans can pledge their support to their favorite creators by purchasing these tokens and contributing to their economies.
Fans can also earn daily rewards on Taki just by chatting, sharing, or commenting on content. Taki even has daily quests to encourage user participation. So, long story short, at Taki, we leverage the power of SocialFi and social tokens to create a futuristic social media network that benefits all participants. And through this, we also aim to create an easy on-ramp for users into the crypto industry, hoping to bring in the next 100 million users.
6. Lastly, how is the tech world responding to the massive impact that SocialFi will have overall? Are we beginning to see social media giants and the venture capital market stepping into the SocialFi realm?
I believe the tech world is well aware of the immense potential of SocialFi and is making efforts to incorporate the model. Twitter has been toying with the idea of bitcoin tipping for creators on the platform for a while now and even platforms like Reddit and Meta (Facebook) envision incorporating cryptocurrencies into their operations soon.
With major tech companies making strides towards SocialFi, the VC world is also trying to keep up. Binance Smart Chain announced a $500 million investment program back in December 2021 and mentioned SocialFi as a key area of interest. Solana Ventures also announced $100 million funding in 2021 for Web3 social startups. This was in direct association with Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
So, I think it is overall safe to say that the big tech companies, investors, and VCs alike are betting on the next generation of social media.