Aladin Ben is an award-winning, transformational gaming executive known for turning startups into successful business ventures. With a proven track record of raising capital and slashing expenses with deep industry connections laser-focused on business objectives, strategic and operational skills, and experience, Aladin reinforces a culture of accountability and a high work ethic.
He was one of the core contributors to Dota, co-founder of OG Dota, founding member of a live streaming platform with 10M monthly users, and built Gaimz, a massive social infinite game. Aladin Ben is now investing in a project around user experience and onboarding through social AR and AR worlds called Meekey.
Hackernoon got an exclusive interview with the executive, at the Non-fungible Conference in Lisbon, who shared insights on his background and experience.
Aladin’s journey in gaming started a long time ago. He began as a volunteer contributor in Dota, a community game with no big publisher or a big company that now has over half a million players every month across all the different games. A couple of years later, he started working for an Esports company, ESL, while still managing a Dota community with 1.5 million users, Dotalicious.
Afterward, Aladin split his time between venture capital and a live video streaming company, Hitbox, where he was a founding member. Later on, Hitbox was sold, and the entrepreneur co-founded the first Esports team fully player-owner called OG. This Esports team became one of the highest-grossing teams in terms of price in participating in big tournaments, almost $40 million, sponsored by Redbull and with the old players taking the role of coaches.
However, his craving for a fully user-generator platform hadn’t been satisfied yet. And that’s where Gaimz comes to play.
Finally, in 2019, moved by his desire to enable people to do what they love and make a living out of it through user-generated paid content, Aladin Ben started working on his own company, Gaimz. His new project used all the knowledge he had from all the companies and games he had worked on before to create a platform to democratize community ownership for content creators, similar to Youtube and Twitch streamers.
The main difference between Gaimz and other platforms was the direct access a streamer had to its community while monetizing through interaction and having all their content in one place. So, for example, if one person is playing a video game and live-streaming it, they could invite their fans to play with them, subscribe to the channel, or follow the stream - monetization would come by charging the fans that wanted to play with the streamer. Moreover, Gaimz allows the community to watch Netflix and Youtube, build together and hang out - it’s a social infinite game or metaverse.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 hit, and Aladin was forced to sell his project, propelling him to new ventures.
According to Aladin Ben, one of the reasons the general public doesn’t get involved with NFTs is that they lack the considerable amount of money required to go through it. At the same time, the Web3 space can grow without more users, which means that projects are sold at a higher price.
Spotting this issue, our guest made it his goal to bring users and make it easy to participate in the ecosystem in the most accessible and seamless way. So, he started looking into AR filters on major social platforms, like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, and realized that there were over 1 billion filter users across these platforms.
There were 500 million stories posted every day on Instagram using filters. In addition, he found that filter creators weren’t getting a return on their art, meaning their filters weren’t being monetized.
Therefore, Meekey’s founder learned that it was possible to bring NFTs and Web3, which were only being discussed on Twitter, to the masses by using filters and Shopify. Thus, Aladin signed creators and reached out to Shopify to create social commerce, where everyone could buy NFTs directly on Instagram or TikTok without the hassle of creating a metamask. In short, people can purchase filters from Meekey and then use these fun and engaging mechanisms in their content and monetize that content. That way, individuals can promote whatever they want on Instagram while participating in the ecosystem. But the perks don’t stop here:
We are enabling the seamless and accessible purchase of NFTs. We enable micro-influencers to earn rewards when they share video content using our filters. We enable creators to earn money for creating those AR filters. And we help the whole industry grow in a viral and organic way. - Aladin Ben
Upon these developments, the Meekey founder realized one problem: the moment someone posts a filter on one of the social platforms, they stop owning them, and the filter becomes accessible to everyone. So he later developed an application that would allow only the NFT holders to access the filters they’d bought and all the experiences that came with that.
Likewise, by using the advertisement budget and giving it to the users that share their experiences in the most viral forms through rewards, you’ll attract more users, and the cycle will continue naturally. Later on, brands will come in to buy a user’s NFT or buy the users’ time, thus scaling up the network and increasing the gains for the parties involved in Meekey.
Our guest presented us with a fun prospect for the future involving augmented reality and NFTs. Ben’s opinion is that we’ll be able to enjoy AR while outdoors in the future, mixing our old way of life with technology. For example, through smart glasses, someone could be sitting in the park with friends, enjoying the sun, and drinking while having Snoop Dog in AR give them a concert; or go for a walk in New York City and see the Avengers fighting each other instead of simply being in a theater. Hence, there could be different layers to AR and different experiences where one’s NFT would matter, giving people clearance to enjoy distinct adventures.
So much more could be said about the future of AR and NFTs and Aladin’s many accomplishments in the gaming world, but it’s probably best to hear it from him. You can find him on LinkedIn and check out more about Meekey here.