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In the last few years, crypto has become much more widely adopted and understood due to consumer-friendly experiences that are aimed to appeal to the next cohort of crypto adopters. We’re now even seeing some of the world’s biggest creators, celebrities and athletes signing endorsement deals or even launching their own tokens.
While we’re still in the early phases, this is a paradigm shift that is here to stay. Creators, celebrities and athletes should take a thoughtful approach when exploring a sponsorship, partnership or even launching their own social token.
Here are three tips creators and celebs should consider.
1. Don’t rush into a sponsorship or partnership
If you have an active following and express an interest in the space, crypto companies will come running for a partnership. Just like with any other sponsorship deal, It’s really important to pick the credible ones to partner with. You’re selling this product to your fans and, at the end of the day, you want them to benefit from what you’re endorsing. Think about the fundamentals of the technology you’re promoting. It’s important to do your own research on the origins of the crypto product to understand its vision and business model. Oftentimes, researching the founding team will shed light on the caliber and legitimacy of the project. Regulation and compliance are also developing areas that are critically important to monitor. Talk to your lawyer when evaluating your options and make sure you only work with projects you can trust. Furthermore, perform a media audit to determine if they’ve been received positively in the press.
And then actually try using it. Would your fans benefit from this? If they would, great! You might be helping bring a powerful new technology into the mainstream. It could even become part of your legacy. If not, or if you don’t know, then you might be encouraging them to speculate without doing their research.
However you decide to get into crypto, it should fit into your brand. Find the companies that are building something relevant to what you’re known for. A good example of a celebrity crypto sponsorship done right was Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen’s recent partnership with crypto exchange FTX, one of the fastest-growing and most credible projects in the space. As part of the deal, the pair received an equity stake in the company, furthering their credibility as investors in the space. Bündchen will also become FTX’s environmental and social-initiatives adviser, a smart collaboration that furthers her reputation as an activist while acknowledging the company’s intention to reduce its carbon footprint.
Related: 8 Benefits of Blockchain to Industries Beyond Cryptocurrency
2. Crypto isn’t just about getting rich
One of the biggest misconceptions about crypto is that its sole purpose is financial gain. One of the most exciting parts of getting into crypto is finding cool and innovative projects that are shifting existing models of engagement.
Finance is the most obvious area where crypto will change the status quo. Decentralized finance is an emerging financial system that is gaining significant traction in trading, borrowing and lending by eliminating the need for third-party intermediaries like banks using crypto technology. This is making financial tools more accessible and transparent for users, compared to the established tools used today.
Crypto is also giving collectibles a digital makeover. Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, exploded in popularity earlier this year. This technology allows artists and creators to create digital items in limited quantities. This scarcity creates value that didn’t previously exist in the cyberworld. The technology underlying NFTs is still evolving; in the future, NFTs will unlock benefits for their holders and leave a negligible carbon footprint.
But one of the most exciting models that crypto is flipping on its head is fandom. Crypto has the power to remove the middleman — oftentimes big tech platforms — and let celebrities and creators own their financial relationships directly with their audiences.
Related: Cryptocurrency and Taxes: What You Need to Know
3. Rather than plugging someone else’s crypto project, launch your own social token
Celebrities and creators can own their financial relationships with their fans by launching their own cryptocurrency or “social token.” In this system, the cryptocurrency unlocks certain benefits or exclusive content for fans, and they can participate in an economy alongside their favorite creators. Instead of using fans as a of transactional income, social tokens align everyone’s incentives to build a bigger and more vibrant community.
Creating these shared economies is not as hard as you might think — Rally is building tools to help creators build vibrant economies alongside their fans. Not only can you make an income via your own crypto, you can also invite fans to share in your success. This is a great option especially if you have an active fanbase online. The more open to exploration a creator is, the more potential long-term benefit they can unlock.
Grammy-winning rock band Portugal The Man delved into this new, digital model of the “fan club” where fans can purchase their $PTM coin to unlock benefits such as access to the band’s private Discord chat and exclusive virtual events. Holders of the coin can participate in a shared economy alongside the band instead of just functioning as the group’s ATM. But, you don’t have to have a No. 1 hit or a Grammy to build a fan economy. Twitch streamer Alliestraza streams card games to her 225,000 subscribers. Allie and her community of token-holding fans built a vibrant economy by backing the token’s value with unique benefits like entries to fan tournaments for various games.
As more creators discover this technology, we’ll see billion-dollar, community-driven economies emerge over time.
Related: 3 Popular Myths About Cryptocurrency (and the 1 Truth That Matters Most)