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Fintech Spotlight: How Businesses Can Leverage Blockchain, NFTs For Added Value

March 4, 2021 7:10 pm
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Fintech Spotlight: How Businesses Can Leverage Blockchain, NFTs For Added Value

In light of the blockchain, tokenization, and Web 3.0 revolution, as consumers and producers look for new ways to assign and transfer value, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become a hot topic as of late.

In understanding how blockchain can be used to create an incentive-driven, ownership economy, Benzinga chatted with Adi Sideman, founder at Props, a company creating equitable media ecosystems.

About: Founded in 2017 by Sideman, most known for founding YouNow, a live streaming app that enables creators to earn money for their content, Props allows creators and valuable contributors a personal stake in the networks they build.

The idea behind the company came after YouNow offered Sideman a unique perspective into the power of blockchain and utility tokens.

“From our experience in sharing value in the revenue-share realm, we thought that there’s something better than just cash or capital,” the founder said in reference to a token that unlocks utility, or benefits. “It’s a scarce asset so it has the characteristics of an upside in the network, but you can provide it in a productized, gamified, and scalable fashion.”

Evolution: In 2019, the company launched a main net where apps like Dating.com, and Camfrog, could partner with their users by providing utility for Props’ token, as well as rewarding users with the asset.

“We have half a dozen apps that joined the network, each with millions of monthly users,” Sideman said. “We have a unique approach and, today, across these apps, there are 8 million token holders, which is significant.”

After establishing proof of concept, Props successfully solicited investment from YouTuber Casey Neistat, Union Square Ventures, Comcast, Venrock, and Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon.

Props is using funds to expand the depth and breadth of its platform’s functionality which allows users to earn tokens for creating and consuming content, as well as tipping.

“Our thesis is that cryptocurrencies and blockchain are ushering a revolution,” Sideman noted. “99% of all apps today will want to take advantage of the power that blockchain and cryptocurrency are unleashing, but are not necessarily going to want to re-engineer their entire business model.”

For those apps, Props provides solutions that look similar to a traditional loyalty program.

“It works on today’s platforms — web, Android, iOS — and it allows these apps to effectively share or align their most valuable users with a financial asset that can provide an upside for people who add value to the network and care to hold and grow with it.”

More On Workings: Props’ solution is an app-level protocol and the token is backed by the aggregate utility of millions of users.

“That means that apps are effectively mining, receiving tokens from the protocol, based on the demand they are generating for the token, [and] utility value they provide.”

If an app solicits poor demand, the protocol will provide little to no rewards.

“Say an app is giving discounts, VIP support, and it unlocks special content or features,” Sideman said. “If a user is using the app and says it is worth $5, they may not give up all the benefits and discounts. But, for $500, they’ll sell it.”

Props, simply put, makes it easy to assign and transfer valuable app benefits. Its approach is impactful; according to a Props study, when apps provide utility or some reward, users’ actions are reinforced.

“You’ll create more of that activity.”

Recent Developments: In 2020, Props completed financing and took steps to improve liquidity, adding GSR Markets, a crypto trading firm and liquidity provider, to provide a tight market for its token.

“Over the past few weeks, our token was listed on multiple international non-U.S. exchanges, including OKEx, KuCoin, and Gate.io,” the founder said on providing access to Props’ international user base.

“In the U.S., we’ve been qualified by the SEC, under Reg A+, which means that we have the unique ability to work with U.S. companies, which are generally risk-averse. They don’t want to jump into new products or technologies that may expose them.”

Going Forward: Props plans to amp up its compliance efforts, as well as grow its network.

“In the next two weeks, we expect to announce more partners,” Sideman said. “Throughout the year, we’ll announce tools, built around Props, that make it easy to integrate — SaaS-like, admin, and web-view tools.”

These plans come as real businesses are asking themselves how they can leverage blockchain and token technology to align with their users and enable more engaging experiences.

“We’re sort of in the right place, at the right time, to be able to provide these easy-to-use solutions for traditional businesses.”

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