Social token builder Roll has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by IOSG Ventures with participation from Animoca Brands, Alchemy, Huobi Ventures, Weekend Fund, Mischief Fund and Audacity.
The new financing brings Roll’s total funds raised to $12.7 million since it launched in 2019; existing backers include Galaxy Interactive, Hustle Fund, Gary Vaynerchuk, Trevor McFederies, Ryan Selkis and Balaji Srinivasan.
Internet creators and communities find themselves in a digital renaissance powered by the explosion of things like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi). Roll’s play is selling picks and shovels at this cultural gold rush, providing developers of games, marketplaces and others with the infrastructure and APIs to seamlessly create and integrate social tokens into new or existing web applications.
Roll, which saw some of its social tokens hacked back in March of this year, competes head on with other well-known social token startups like Rally.
The aim now is to become the “Stripe for social tokens,” said Bradley Miles, co-founder and CEO of Roll (also an early researcher and contributor to the CoinDesk “State of Blockchain” report back in 2015).
“We started with this idea that digital communities will inevitably have their own monetary systems that will exist completely independent of platforms,” Miles said in an interview.
A fascinating development, says Miles, is watching the social tokens developed using Roll, such as the branded currency attached to digital creator and NFT collector WhaleShark, for instance, being listed on exchanges and beginning to explore the world of DeFi.
“Thanks to DeFi, we are literally able to start to make markets for some of these communities as well,” said Miles, adding:
“Instead of just getting a million subscribers, it could be more interesting to create a market thinking about your community as a digital asset and seeing what ownership is like for that community instead of subscribing or donating.”
Jocy Lin, founding partner of IOSG Ventures, sees social tokens overlapping with the concept of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), a blockchain-based governance structure enjoying a resurgence at the moment.
“Through Roll, DAOs and communities can tokenize, trade and gate-keep content for those that are part of the community,” Lin said in a statement. “Anyone holding a community’s social token is welcome to join and contribute.”