Roll: Web3 & Connecting With Your Favorite Communities Through Social Money

By Nicole Choma | March 30, 2022

In 2017, Bradley Miles and Sid Kalla founded Roll, a blockchain infrastructure for social money on Ethereum. Roll allows for content creators, artists, streamers, and various communities to connect themselves further in their online presence by allowing them to control their social economy by who owns, manages, and values the digital tokens within that community. EDITION caught up with Miles, co-founder of Roll, to discuss their company mission, some of their exciting collaborations, and what’s next for the brand.

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How did Roll come about? Was it something you saw that the public needed?

Roll came about after a realization that Ethereum is creating the next version of the internet. This means all of us building on top of Ethereum will be responsible for building the next version of the creator economy. We think that social tokens are a big part of that, and Roll has become the main infrastructure provider for social tokens on Ethereum. We're excited to explore a few other sidechains as well.

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What kind of rewards and experiences can clients expect to receive on Roll from investing in social tokens?

Social tokens represent a form of ownership in digital communities that weren't possible even a few years ago. If you own someone's social tokens, you have a stake in how that community will grow and what it can evolve into. Right now, by holding social tokens, you can gain deeper access into a given community, similar to what we're seeing after you subscribe to a creator on platforms like Patreon.

Roll also functions as a bit of a rewards platform as well. We enable users to spend social tokens on individual social experiences with creators. The next step here is Web3 specific rewards. This means creating ways to reward things that matter in Web3, like liquidity on an exchange or access to an NFT launch.

What are some of the benefits of acquiring social money? How is this beneficial in both the short run and long run?

Roll is realizing the centuries-old idea of social capital through Ethereum and social tokens. We can understand social capital roughly as the value of someone or something's network. Roll and social tokens make this fungible. Ethereum makes it interoperable across networks. This means as someone continues to grow their community on Web3 (Ethereum), social tokens represent a metric of that overall community's success. The new innovation here is everyone gets to share in that success as co-owners, not just the creators. There's an incredible brand on Roll right now named Beauty School Dropout (nice Lucid Dreams cover) that minted $DRPT. Success for them in Web2 may mean streams and subscribes, but success in Web3 means creating a market with $DRPT and eventually decentralizing the community around their token.

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How do you connect with creators and artists to partner with Roll?

In the very early days, I would go to events like Vidcon and go up to creators one by one, explaining the concepts of these types of tokens and Ethereum to creators. For every 100 nos, I would get one maybe and try to turn that into a yes. This is how we built out the initial category. Four hundred creators later, we're working with a lot of different parties that bring creators to Roll, and we now have a sizable amount of inbound.

How much does it cost to get started and to start investing in various social coins?

Roll handles the initial minting cost of creating a social token on Ethereum. We also have custodial infrastructure that enables you to pass your tokens through things like email, Twitter, text, or images. We see a world where hundreds of millions of people will hold social tokens this decade.

How profitable can one expect their social token to become? What makes one's social token increase in value?

We've recently started to categorize markets for social tokens on Roll. We're seeing social token markets on Roll, collectively, in the hundreds of millions with about 800k to $1.5 million in social token trading volume a day.

What was it like to work with Shepard Fairey and take his art into the metaverse through NFTs?

Part of working at Roll is helping iconic people think through their entry into Web3. One of those people is Shepard Fairey. I grew up skateboarding, so I've been a fan of Shep ever since I got a Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 demo from Pizza Hut, bought a skateboard, and started seeing OBEY stickers around NYC. He and his entire Obey Giant team are visionary and have been for decades. They've been doing NFTs independently of Roll (we only power social tokens), but when it came time to launch a social token, they already had a great plan in place, we were lucky to be the right infrastructure to turn that vision into a reality and got to help plan the launch of $OBEY, their social token, as well.

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How did the collaboration with Steve Harvey and Vault come about?

We have some mutual friends, and when the team began to think through Web3, we got connected. They are a really smart team with an enormous media presence that is starting to think through what is possible with tokens. $VAULT is the token of Vault Empowers, a learning platform for future leaders powered by Steve Harvey.

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What is next for Roll, and what can we expect to see in the coming months or year?

The path for Roll is going to be similar to the path of companies like PayPal or Stripe. You'll begin to see Roll as a financial tool integrated into many other platforms. First other startups, then eventually mass social platforms like Twitter and Discord. Imagine tweeting some tokens to your followers or dropping some tokens in a stream or group chat. These are all features that Roll will enable seamlessly in the near future.

In tandem with this, we will begin the decentralization of Roll, similar to what we've seen from other protocols but with some new innovative features specific to how we think of the next version of the creator economy.

Photography by: Matteo Prandoni