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It’s part of its plan to enable a “creator economy,” where people make a living from streaming. Afterparty is making it easy for streamers and other creators to fashion their own social tokens based on NFTs, which use the transparency and security of the digital ledger of blockchain to authenticate unique digital items. That enables creators to issue NFT tokens to their fans.
The Los Angeles company is creating a decentralized platform, using Web3 (the blockchain web) technologies, to provide creators with the tools to monetize and manage their fan relationships, deliver live virtual experiences, and sell digital merchandise. Creators can mint and launch their own NFTs on the platform within minutes.
“We’ve really been focused on scaling up the platform,” said David Fields, CEO of Afterparty, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We just launched version two of the events experience with a really enhanced mobile experience. We’ve really focused on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram creators. This is an underserved and under-monetized group. Many creators are making almost zero ad revenue from the platforms they’re on.”
They can issue tokens to fans so they can get into “token-gated” virtual experiences such as VIP parties. And in contrast with Web 2.0 technologies like Instagram, the bulk of the revenue on the decentralized web goes to the creators, the company said. But most creators just don’t have the time to design, mint, and distribute their own NFTs, Fields said.
“We launched our creator tools to help creators who have launched NFTs and social tokens to build more lasting value,” Fields said. “Very few of them have launched NFTs on their own.”
Since NFTs can uniquely identify rare digital items, creators can issue one-of-a-kind collectibles to auction off to the biggest fans or just share as rewards for fan loyalty. Afterparty’s platform also gives creators the capability to host intimate, live experiences for their most dedicated fans. By January, Afterparty hopes to create a marketplace where users can sell their NFTs via the Ethereum or Polygon blockchains.
The NFT craze
NFTs are thriving. If you look at Google Trends, you’ll see that NFTs started picking up in February and skyrocketed after related NFT sales like digital art and NBA Top Shot took off. Dapper Labs has now seen sales and resales of those NFTs top $780 million. In March, an NFT digital collage by the artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. It sounds so dumb. The popularity of NFTs have exposed some serious drawbacks too in numerous scams where people steal art and sell it as their own NFTs. NFT sales hit $1.2 billion in the first quarter, $1.3 billion in the second quarter, and a whopping $10.7 billion in the third quarter as games such as Axie Infinity took off.
“NFTs are sitting at the foundation of Web 3 for the broader creator economy,” Fields said. “Most of the NFT activity has focused around digital artists to date. We’re very focused on this vertical of the creator economy.”
Afterparty has some NFT believers in the form of its investors. Acrew Capital and TenOneTen Ventures led the round, with participation from Palm Tree Crew, Act One Ventures, Hex Capital, Red Light Management, and angel investors including Dylan and Brandon Lee, Louis Beryl, Dave Bonanno, Craig Clemens, Reade Seiff, and Alex Kassan. The funding will be used to accelerate product development for its Web 3 platform, which provides creators with the tools necessary for direct monetization using NFTs.
“Our investment philosophy is formed around the idea of democratized wealth creation, which empowers more diverse groups to have a broader influence on market development and value generation,” said Lauren Kolodny, partner at Acrew Capital, in a statement. “Acrew’s same guiding principle represents the very essence of the new creator economy. Afterparty is undoubtedly at the forefront of this new creator era which makes their platform and team an exceptional investment fit.”
Afterparty got its beta test going in June, and it’s launching its own Ethereum-based NFT marketplace this fall. The creators can choose from many professionally designed NFT frameworks to make it easy to launch polished, visually appealing, one-of-a-kind NFTs that are authentic to their individual brand identity, according to the company. These NFTs tie in seamlessly to the events platform for creators to offer exclusive experiences and merchandise to collectors.
Fields is counting on the generation of gamers who have grown up buying skins and avatars. They’re spending their money around things that bring them value in digital spaces, he said.
The platform uses Layer 1 infrastructure (or solutions embedded in a blockchain’s basic protocol), based on the blockchain. The platform enables creators to choose from Ethereum, BitClout, and other emerging Layer 1s for their underlying NFT or social token, enabling them to capitalize on a more decentralized creator economy with a direct artist-to-fan relationship.
With Afterparty, creators have direct artistic and financial control of their NFT and social token offers through the platform’s blockchain-agnostic model. DJs, bands, and digital artists are using Afterparty.
The company is using the Polygon sidechain to eliminate gas fees, or those related to computing and energy costs. Fields said that nobody has been addressing what to do with NFTs after they’ve been sold for the first time. Afterparty is creating tools so creators can engage with fans in an ongoing dialogue and build deeper connections over time. It also wants fans to participate in a creator’s success over time.
Some of the NFTs are designed to look like jewelry, like custom watch pieces.
Creator Bryce Hall, who held his first Afterparty event on October 28, engaged with hundreds of fans through Afterparty. The event generated $12,000 in direct income. His social token market cap also increased by $250,000, all within 24 hours.
Afterparty will expand its virtual event series, where it just hosted six of the most influential global creators including Hall, Nick Austin, and others. These creators have built global communities on TikTok and recognize the value that Afterparty’s decentralized and direct monetization model brings to their growing success. Afterparty has built the creator tools to enable creators to deliver gated, exclusive experiences that can only be accessed with an NFT or social token they launch.
“I’m always looking for new ways to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with my fans, especially those who have supported me from the start,” said Bryce Hall. “Afterparty has really allowed me to connect with my true fans and build those relationships with them. It’s a brand new platform that helps creators generate more money so they can continue pursuing their passion while also giving fans an exclusive meeting place to connect with their favorite creators. There’s nothing really out there like it, and if you’re a creator or a fan, you should come to Afterparty.”
Fields started the company this year with Dan Rahmel, chief technology officer, and Eytan Elbaz, chief strategy officer. The senior management also includes creator Robert Graham (head of talent) and musician Conner Frey (cozyboy) serving as front-end developer.
Their vision for the company is to merge their knowledge of the creator, music, and gaming industries and launch products that help creators build deep and authentic connections with their biggest fans.
“I think you’re going to see a broader economy around entertainment, like when broadband internet arrived, and you’ll going to see a lot of exciting projects,” Fields said.
Afterparty is focused on delivering security because protecting digital assets is a must for the business, Fields said. The company has strong demand, and it will enter the live event space as well in the coming weeks.
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