Detroit-based Benzinga, a media and data provider bridging the gap between retail and institutional investors, sent its team to Miami, Florida, April 6-9, for Bitcoin 2022.
During that time, the company checked out digital assets innovation and spoke with founders, investors and entrepreneurs.
The following is a conversation with Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneur Jordan Edelson, the CEO and founder of TradeZing, a live-streaming social engagement Web3 platform designed for millennial and Generation Z traders. Check it out!
Benzinga: Care to start off with an introduction?
Jordan Edelson: I’m an entrepreneur and started my first business when I was 14 years old.
I’m a self-taught programmer that created mods in video games and worked with teams remotely. That gave me a very early view of management and team building.
Then, I moved on and created pretty much what Twitch TV is today, about 20 years ago. It was the ability to stream video games to the web. I pioneered the technology and it was under a company — Esports TV and Game Broadcasting Live — that I owned.
I didn’t get a $980 million exit to Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN but I did well with the property. I ran it for about eight years and we were streaming esports video games with Samsung as a partner and all over the world.
Then, I was CTO of the first publicly traded hip hop company, H3 Enterprises.
I worked with Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Franklin Chavis Jr. on hip-hop-themed restaurants. My connection to that was through a deal I formed between Microsoft Corporation MSFT and Paramount Global’s PARAPARAA Viacom.
We built these centers at which you could play video games on the tabletops.
Later, I started a digital agency right at the onset of the Apple Inc AAPL iPhone. That skyrocketed my career in the mobile app development space and I still own an agency, probably the largest for mobile app development in New York City, called Appetizer Mobile.
Appetizer built over 400 mobile apps with Lady Gaga, 50 Cent, Kim Kardashian, and was the only development firm to receive praise from Steve Jobs before he passed.
We got two iPad TV commercials and were featured in Apple keynotes.
Through Appetizer Mobile, I incubated a lot of startups and even started a company with my wife called Chic Sketch.
How did you get involved with markets?
During the [COVID-19] pandemic, I realized there were a lot of people investing and losing money.
We’ve heard stories of losses and suicide. Just terrible stuff. I realized there is a problem and it really is an educational disconnect.
At this Bitcoin 2022 conference, we announced the company to the public — TradeZing — and it’s a platform for edutainment geared towards Millennials and Generation Z.
What is the focus of the platform?
It’s a platform for education, entertainment and the management of financial communities.
You go on the platform and talk in a massive community [on] four main verticals: stocks, crypto, NFTs and the metaverse.
What apps are to Facebook is what widgets are to TradeZing. We have both first- and third-party widgets, and a number of partners and exchanges that will be building into our ecosystem.
We’ll be working with a lot of these different groups to launch, drop and mint NFTs on our platform.
Talk to me about monetization.
To be able to play and navigate on TradeZing, you need to your local convert currency into Zings, our on-platform currency.
Then, what you’re able to do is when you convert, we actually take a percentage when money goes into the platform and back out.
Money will typically come out of the platform when we’re paying creators.
With the infrastructure already in place, you could easily expand coverage to other assets, right? Collectibles, maybe?
Absolutely. Any income generation opportunities. Sports betting, too.
We’re a platform for community engagement. Incentives and communication are centralized.
There are a ton of exchange providers and, potentially, new entrants that may mimic what you’re trying to create at TradeZing. How do you compete?
We’re actually looking to partner with all these different groups and let them get in front of this captivated audience so they can actually build their widgets right into our ecosystem and get right in front of them.
Ideal partners for us are exchanges.
You’ll be able to use that same service on our platform and it’ll be nicely integrated and you won’t have to go to ten different spots. Learn and trade from one place.
How do you maintain a competitive edge?
We’re competing against financial content on social media. The problem with content on Alphabet Inc-owned GOOG GOOGL YouTube, for instance, is the noise around, say, Apple stock.
If you search for an apple on YouTube, you’re going to get a dog eating an apple, a recipe for an apple pie, and, maybe, some information about Apple stock.
We’re connecting you directly to financial content around that on a platform built with the trader and a learning-type experience in mind.
Additionally, we’re building a moat around our business through partners and integration.
We’ve brought on Michael Irvin who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will be on our platform acting as a board advisor and investor working directly with athletes and helping educate them on different financial opportunities.
If you think of an athlete, for instance, they make a lot of money but then, a lot of them don’t plan for their future, financially. Many don’t even understand how to monetize their likeness, afterward.
On the other end of the spectrum sits a pure creator. The Foodgod, who is one of the biggest food influencers out there, is working with us. He’s on the board and an investor in the business and will help creators and influencers produce content that’s successful.
Moderation and protecting the community. We will defer to our community to kind of help spot the issues.
Just like any decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), we want to put the governance, to a degree, in the hands of our community. We’ll allow them to pick and choose the people that will rise to go from standard streamer to affiliate streamer and partner streamer.
Vision for the future?
We think we’re building a stickier mousetrap in terms of content production.
We’ll be rolling out to a lucky few over the next couple of weeks and then opening more of an open beta.
Beyond that, we see ourselves expanding into other, different verticals and bringing on other key influencers and people from different sectors.
We’re trying to educate, elevate and entertain.
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