A Social Token Incubator? An interview with Seed Club Instigator Jess Sloss

ForefrontInterviewSep 7, 2020
Jess 🌱 SlossDisclosure : ForeFront is a founding collaborator at Seed Club

As the crypto world gorges itself on farming, VC vs Degen and DeFi narratives, our guest today is making the case that Social Tokens might be the trend that crosses over from crypto narrative to the mainstream.

We sat down with Seed Club instigator Jess Sloss to talk about Social Tokens, his vision for creators and why he’s convinced that communities are the next billion dollar crypto economies.

FF: Jess, thanks for sitting down with ForeFront today. To start, can you tell our readers about Seed Club?

Seed Club is an experimental incubator for social tokens. We’ve brought together some of the space’s top project creators, entrepreneurs and technologists to collaborate to launch successful social token projects.

If you’re a creator, brand or community that’s interested in experimenting with launching a tokenized economy, we want to help you do it.

FF: What are social tokens, and why should we care?

Social Tokens are the broad category of crypto projects that often includes Personal Tokens, Creator Tokens, Community and Brand tokens. They represent the value and ownership or relationship to a creator or community.

FF: Can you give us some real life examples?

We’ve seen a few early experiments with Social Tokens. Individuals like Alex Masmej and Kerman Kohli have launched personal tokens that represent some future claim on their earnings or time.

We’ve also seen communities like Karma Dao, JAMM and Cherry launch community tokens that give ownership and access to a telegram account or newsletter.

Finally, artists like RAC, REVERSE LAND and mollysoda are using platforms like Zora and Foundation to create art and collectibles linked to a token that’s priced on a bonding curve.

These are all really interesting explorations of the use of markets in areas of our society and economy that haven’t traditionally used them. This design space is huge and I have no doubt that Social Tokens will be a billion dollar category.

FF: We’ve seen permissioned telegram groups like KARMA Dao and JAMM find early traction. Are these permissioned telegram groups your vision of billion dollar crypto communities?

Permissioned telegram groups are an early obvious use of social tokens. For many of us in the crypto space it is a concept that just clicked. Being part of a community that creates value is valuable to me. Holding tokens that give me access and a degree of ownership in the community is valuable to me. It just makes sense.

I expect we’ll see more of these (in fact there are half a dozen that have launched so far and we’re working on a few more).

But this is just the beginning.

There are a lot of other uses and platforms that are supporting those uses. We’ll see the idea of token permissioned access expanding to different media types (like newsletters and websites), we’ll see new platforms launch to help creators leverage some of these new crypto primitives (Like Zora, Foundation, DFAME and Roll are doing) and we’ll see influencers mix and remix different primitives to create new experiments that we haven’t fully imagined just yet.

Some of the most hyped crypto projects of the last few months have been built on the value of the social layer [community and governance]. Creators are masters of creating social value and we see tokens creating interesting dynamics here.

FF: Where does this idea go wrong? Or said another way, what barriers (social, technical etc) might stop this vision from coming true.

The biggest gap is social. The idea of owning a part of a community or a creator's creation is something that we haven’t really seen take off in the mainstream. It's a very crypto thing and unfortunately right now the brand of tokens and crypto is more often aligned “price goes up!” than value creation for the creator. But I think time solves this.

We also have a number of major technical hurdles to clear. Many of these are issues that face crypto adoption more broadly. It’s still hard to get capital in and out of the crypto world. Transaction fees on ETH are prohibitive, so we’ll need to build social token infrastructure, a side chain, or L2 or a more scalable L1.

Finally I think the biggest risk is that we focus too much on the speculative side of social tokens and not enough on the value creation side. We like to think of social tokens as features that add to a community or creator, not the product themselves. The barrier is low to creating these things, so I expect many experiments that might not follow our creator focused ethos to launch and gain attention.

FF: What role do you see Seed Club playing in this future?

We work with creators to conceptualize and launch social tokens that drive impact, value and alignment with their community. We’re a decentralized group of collaborators who, through receiving a small % of tokens from the projects we work with, are incentivized to help creators grow.

We’re focused on being in the trenches with creators, running experiments and learning on the front lines. Think of us as the social and educational infrastructure that will help social tokens break out.

When we think about the future we see ourselves operating at the nexus of social token creation and technology.

FF: If our readers want to know more about this space, who should they follow.

The smartest, nerdiest, most passionate people in the social token space are founding members of Seed Club.

You should follow us @seedclubHQ, and also follow our members directly (because they are amazing).

Alex Masmej ($ALEX)Priyanka Desai (The LAO) Brian Flynn ($JAMM)James Duncan (Abridged) Joon Ian Wong ($JOON) Reuben Bramanathan ($CNSL), Cooper Turley (Social Token Agency) Bradley Miles (Roll) Carlos ($SWAGG) Jess Sloss ($TALL) Collab Land, Roll

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