If you’ve ever considered becoming a content creator after watching a YouTube video or Instagram post, you’re not alone. With the increasing access to social media, content is no longer limited to media, enabling thousands of people to jump-start their careers in film, music, art, and more.
According to a survey by Forbes magazine, the creator economy is estimated at more than $100 billion. However, only a few extremely popular creators are able to earn money working on their dream projects. For a large majority of creators, monetization is often tricky and comes with years of struggle.
In an attempt to bridge the gap in the creator economy and empower creators leveraging blockchain technology, Joel Alexander and Drishti Chawla co-foundedin 2021.
CrowdPad, say the founders, is a symbolic community building tool for everyday creators to create, discover and manage their communities in one place. The platform has built a video-first TikTok-esque approach to community discovery.
According to founder Joel, the name CrowdPad is the fusion of crowd and a launching pad.
“With the DApp, it’s easier for a community to trust a creator and launch them as a founder,” he said. The story deciphered.
The era of social tokens
Non-fungible tokens dominated news cycles in 2021, with several celebrities dropping their own NFTs. Close cousins to NFTs, social tokens promise to help creators regain control of their content. While NFTs represent certain rights, functions, and ownership in relation to a specific entity, such as a piece of music or a work of art, social tokens are more about the person or group behind it.
Social tokens help creators monetize or build a community ready to invest in the creator. Thanks to this, creators do not have to rely on intermediaries like Spotify or YouTube and can work on projects as independently as possible.
Over the past few years, several tokenized communities, including SeedClub, Forefront, and Radicle, have been working on social tokens. CrowdPad says it’s different from other DApps in space because of its focus on the Solana chain.
“Most projects are built on the Ethereum mainnet, but we are building CrowdPad on the Solana chain where the TPS (transaction per second) is relatively high and transaction costs are low. Even to post a photo or like a comment on the Ethereum mainnet would be expensive and so we rely on Solana,” says Joel.
Joel explains, “As most of us spend our time on our mobile phone, we decided to take a mobile-first approach, as CrowdPad is the first mobile social token application.
He adds, “For our DApp, we take a creator-centric approach; we work closely with popular content creators.
The startup says it has a non-custodial portfolio, through which it earns income on token exchanges. CrowdPad charges a 0.01% fee on this transaction. Additionally, CrowdPad owns 5% of every social token or creator community launched on the platform. This is how the platform generates revenue.
It allows a fiat access ramp which helps users buy crypto from a credit card. “We assume that many users are first-time crypto users, so we have a fiat on-ramp feature,” he says.
The origin of CrowdPad
According to the co-founders, an article about the lack of venture capital investment in female-led startups inspired them to start their business.
“We wondered why companies funded by women weren’t being funded, and how can we fix this, because we learned that hitting founders was actually harder than hitting people to go with. on dates,” says Joel.
The duo started researching how they could get a wide range of investors to see the project, “Drishti and I started exploring the crowdfunding space, we thought about the idea of holding funded money by crowdfunding on smart contracts and then we started working on a Tinder + TikTok for crowdfunding of sorts,” adds Joel.
Joel went on to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) while Drishti studied at Loughborough University. The two founders have known each other since childhood.
“In May 2021, the entrepreneurial arm of my university, LSE Generate, decided to give us a grant of £5,000 to launch this dream. So we decided to co-found a crowdfunding platform that connects founders and creators.”
How the platform works
With a team of nine members, CrowdPad is a community building project based on the Solana Channel. The startup allows users to join their favorite creators through a mobile app and helps creators create their own digital coin, allowing users and creators to create a token-based community.
Usually, to join any DApp, creators have to go through a six-step procedure, which includes setting up a wallet, voting, managing the community, and other tasks.
“But to use CrowdPad, users don’t have to go through the tedious one-click process, an individual can start their own community that allows their early believers to purchase their social token,” he says.
To join CrowdPad, creators can upload a 10-15 second video. Once they’ve swiped someone’s social currency, creators can essentially enter the gated token community which gives them access to exclusive posts, events, and bounties,” adds the co-founder.
At the moment, the mainnet is live in private beta mode. “We plan to launch the mainnet in public beta mode on June 5 and people on our beta list will have access,” Joel explains.
In April, the startup raised $2.5 million in the funding round, led by Infinity Ventures Crypto, joined by Coin Operated Group, Serum Incentive Ecosystem Foundation, DXB Fund, Morningstar Ventures, Creator Led Ventures, Kosmos Ventures and Ocular VC.
Investors including Balaji Srinivasan, Lily Liu, entrepreneur, co-founder and CFO of Earn.com; Furqan Rydhan, co-founder of ThirdWeb; Julian Weisser, co-founder of OnDeck; Tanmay Bhat, stand-up comedian and YouTuber; Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory; Popular YouTuber Ali Abdaal and Wong Joon Ian, founding co-chairman of the Association of Cryptocurrency Journalists and Researchers also participated in the round.
(This story has been updated to change the launch date and to correct three grammatical errors)