Unsyndicated Brief #2: Rookie Cryptocurrencies

Athlete Tokens Are Here & Google Glasses are BACK, sorta.

Hey everyone, I hope you all had an excellent start to the week. Here’s the brief.

1. Rallying Around $JROCK 

*Parent voice* Make Good Life Choices: Recently, UCLA basketball player Jaylen Clark became the first NCAA athlete to launch his own social token, $JROCK. Kudos to Clark for picking an objectively cool-sounding name for his token.

While the Bruin made the poor choice of attending UCLA – fight on – he made an excellent decision by launching $JROCK on Rally one of the leading social token platforms. The Rally platform uses $RLY (rally) to back all social tokens created on its platform. To date, Rally “creator coins” have been predominantly issued by artists, Twitch streamers, and other social media influencers. The Youtuber & hooper plans to provide tickets for token holders as well as unique content for his over 22,000 subscribers. 

The  NCAA is not your friend: Jaylen Clark’s token issuance is possible only because collegiate athletes now have the ability to monetize their name, image, and likeness which was historically controlled by the NCAA. The sports governing organization has long monetized athletes in the name of “protecting” them but now the athletes have newfound power to experiment and earn money based on their unique gifts. While most collegiate athletes will not be able to make significant revenue by selling their name or image (e.g. sponsorships), athletes with strong social media followings are set to capitalize on this new rule change. 

Not the first Tech guy with a jumper: Last year, NBA Spencer Dinwiddie launched a security token based on his NBA contract. Dinwiddie’s goal was simple, earn some of his contract upfront and experiment with new technology. Dinwiddie’s security token offering only raised 10% of his original goal, potentially a result of Dinwiddie contracting Covid early in the pandemic shortly before his token offering. Additionally, Dinwiddie’s token was only available to accredited investors. In contrast, Clark’s token is open to everyone although he’s not nearly the player that Dinwiddie is today. 

The Takeaway

The Athlete Creator Economy: While individual social tokens have yet to find their monetization or growth model, athletes make for an interesting genre of social token issuers. I’m excited to see what ideas Clark brings to the social token world in terms of creating utility for $JROCk holders. One idea might be to have social tokens used for real-time sponsorships (e.g. Clark will wear [$JROCK Bull] clothing brand once a week if they hold 100,000 of his tokens. While social tokens initially grow from speculation, continuous growth will require the issuers, like Clark, to bring utility to his token.

2. Google Glasses Are BACK: Facebook Ray-Ban Collab

Third try’s the charm: Facebook has released Google Glasses, I mean Snapchat Spectacles, er, Ray-Ban Stories.. by Facebook. The glasses are the latest attempt at bringing us more Hardcore Henry first-person shooter video content. In fairness, the glasses look much cooler than Snapchat’s failed Spectacles and comes half a decade after Google’s first attempt. It’s possible that both were too early and that Ray Ban’s beloved style might make Facebook’s glasses more successful. Still, I’m skeptical of the market demand, mostly because I personally struggle to remember to wear sunglasses in my inevitable quest to get cataracts. Still, it’s possible that these might succeed for content creators and at worst the glasses will produce some great TikTok videos. 

Make AR Great, Once: Augmented reality (AR) – bringing the digital realm into the physical world– is going to be massive. To date, the most successful AR applications have been Snapchat filters and Pokemon Go. While Facebook glasses might eventually be able to possess AR features, the first applications revolved around recording live video. Documenting culture – popularized by motivational speaker and NFT issuer Gary Vee – where influencers produce a raw video of their lives has grown since the launch of Google glasses. It’s possible that these glasses might help enhance the live video market although the initial use cases seem limited. 

The Takeaway

Doubling down on the Metaverse: The bigger takeaway from this experiment, in my opinion, is that Facebook is doubling down on the Metaverse (insert your own definition). Although we may not want to live in Facebook’s Metaverse, Faceverse? ZuckTown?.. Facebook clearly wants to capture as much of the Metaverse as possible, whether that’s in VR, AR, or simply expanding their reach into the live video market which will be a core component of whatever world you decide to live in.

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Special thanks to my brother, Gunnar Nystrom for his feedback and edits!