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Roll Upgrades Ethereum Social Token Platform With Memberships, Staking

Are social tokens ready for their moment in the crypto spotlight? Roll believes the tech is on the verge of enabling breakout adoption.

4 min read
Crypto tokens. Image: Shutterstock

In brief

  • Social token platform Roll has launched on-chain Ethereum memberships and staking features for creators.
  • Roll is working on an API that will let creators sell social tokens through other platforms, potentially including Twitter and Twitch.

Social tokens offer a way for web creators to construct and monetize communities of fans, and Ethereum-based platform Roll has just launched a pair of new features—memberships and staking—to enable creators to provide extra benefits to token-holding supporters.

Roll’s membership functionality is designed to give creators, influencers, and DAOs—or decentralized autonomous organizations—the on-chain Ethereum infrastructure to enable subscriber tiers akin to Web2 site Patreon, establishing different levels of token ownership to allow access to various benefits and perks. And it’s permissionless and non-custodial tech, too.

If a lot of 10,000 of a creator’s ERC-20 tokens is considered the first level of access, for example, then five such lots (50,000 total tokens) could enable additional benefits that are exclusively available to those eligible holders. Creators can also add certain fans to the token allowlist so that they can purchase certain amounts of tokens before the public launch.

“We see this concept upgrading the internet,” Roll co-founder and CEO Bradley Miles told Decrypt. Miles believes that social tokens can onboard the “next 100 million users” that maybe haven’t handled Bitcoin or ETH, but are keen on supporting their favorite YouTubers, Twitch streamers, musicians, and other online creators.

On top of memberships, Roll’s new staking feature then lets token creators launch liquidity pools, which holders can contribute to by staking their tokens or depositing them within the pool, thus earning rewards in return.

Miles said that social token creators that wished to offer staking rewards previously would have had to deal with manual pool setup and asset tracking.

Launching the two features in tandem is Roll’s way of attempting to not only make social tokens more beneficial for creators and fans but also more accessible.

Roll creators can now deploy such features from a code-free interface without understanding the complexities of Ethereum smart contracts—or paying someone else to do it for them.

To be clear, Roll’s focus isn’t the Patreon-esque delivery of token-gated content like private Twitch streams or exclusive blog posts. Instead, Miles explained, Roll is purely focused on the social token infrastructure, while other Web3 startups like Bonfire and Tellie harness it to provide special access for holders.

Miles pointed to some Roll creators that are using the new features, such as author QuHarrison Terry (The Metaverse Handbook), whose 1Q9X token is designed to allow a DAO community to co-develop initiatives to combat youth illiteracy. Terry told Decrypt that Roll’s features let him “focus on the idea and execution, without being slowed down by all the technical details.”

Meanwhile, Brady McKenna is the creator of the TIDE token, which is earned by people who watch his Web3-centric Twitch channel and will tie into an upcoming creator funding platform called StreamTide. McKenna said that Roll’s infrastructure helps his viewers onboard into crypto while not locking their support specifically to Twitch or any other Web2 platform.

“Staking and memberships are a huge step forward if I ever want to expand beyond Twitch,” he explained. “Staking allows my community to learn and experience the DeFi ecosystem in a very safe way with a low barrier to entry—likely one of the lowest in all of crypto.”

While there’s been some buzz around social tokens and their potential impact on creators and personalities—such as athletes that have launched their own through Roll and rival platform Rally—they haven’t seen the same kind of boom as NFTs, DeFi, or DAOs. Miles said that Roll has had to build a lot more supporting tech to make creator tokens more viable.

“The reason I think social tokens haven't had a true moment yet is because the infrastructure isn't there,” he explained, likening it to how gig economy apps like Uber or Grubhub might struggle without established payment rails available.

Roll’s roadmap forward includes building a software development kit (SDK) and API plug-ins that let creators offer tokens and related functionality directly through other platforms—potentially including Twitter and Twitch—rather than just through the Roll website.

Additionally, Miles said that the firm has become a FinCEN-regulated entity and is acquiring state licenses to enable fiat on-ramps. If social tokens are going to become a mainstream phenomenon, they’ll need to be both regulated and easy to purchase by the average web user, said Miles. All of Roll’s development since 2019 is leading up to that moment.

“We will be there next year, for sure,” he said, “and we've been building for that for a while.”

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