How CrowdPad wants to empower content creators using blockchain
If you’ve ever considered becoming a content creator after watching a YouTube video or an Instagram post, then you are not alone. With increasing access to social media, content is no longer restricted to media houses, enabling thousands of people to jumpstart their careers in film, music, art, and more.
According to a survey by Forbes Magazine, the creator economy is estimated to be over $100 billion dollars. However, only a few, extremely popular creators are able to make money working on their dream projects. For a vast majority of creators, monetisation is often tricky and comes with years of struggle.
In an attempt to bridge the gap in the creator economy and empower creators by leveraging blockchain technology, Joel Alexander and Drishti Chawla co-foundedin 2021.
CrowdPad, the founders say, is a tokenised community-building tool for everyday creators to create, discover and manage their communities all in one place. The platform has built a TikTok-esque video-first approach to community discovery.
According to founder Joel, the name CrowdPad is the amalgamation of crowd and a launchpad.
“With the DApp, it is easier for a community to believe a creator and launch them as a founder,” he tells The Decrypting Story.
The age of Social Tokens
Non-Fungible Tokens dominated news cycles in 2021, with several celebrities dropping their own NFTs. Close cousins of NFTs, social tokens promise to help creators take back 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 monetise or build a community who are ready to invest in the creator. With this, creators do not have to rely on middlemen like Spotify or YouTube and can work on projects as autonomously as possible.
Over the past few years, several tokenised communities including SeedClub, Forefront, and Radicle, have worked on social tokens. CrowdPad says it is different from other DApps in the space due to its focus on the Solana chain.
“Most projects are built on Ethereum mainnet, but we are building CrowdPad on Solana chain where TPS (transaction per second) is relatively high and transaction costs are low. Even to post a picture or to like a comment on Ethereum mainnet, it would be expensive and hence we are building on Solana,” Joel says.
Joel explains, “As most of us spend our time on our mobile phone, we decided to opt for mobile-first approach as CrowdPad is the first mobile social token app.
He adds, “For our DApp we are taking a creator first approach; we are working very closely with the popular content creators.”
The startup says it has a non-custodial wallet, through which it makes revenue on token swaps. CrowdPad takes a 0.01 percent fee on that transaction. Additionally, CrowdPad holds five percent of every social token or creator community launched on the platform. This is how the platform earns revenue.
It enables a fiat on-ramp that helps users to buy crypto from a credit card. “We assume a lot of users are first-time crypto users, hence 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 women-led startups inspired them to launch their venture.
“We were wondering why female funded business were not getting funded, and how can we fix this problem because we learned that swiping on founders was actually harder than swiping on people to go on dates with,” says Joel.
The duo started researching how they could get a wide range of investors to view the project, “Drishti and I started to explore the crowdfunding space, we pondered on the idea of holding crowdfunded money on smart contracts, and then we started working on a Tinder + TikTok for crowdfunding of sorts,” adds Joel.
Joel pursued his degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) while Drishti studied at Loughborough University. Both the founders have known each other since childhood.
“In May 2021, my university's entrepreneurial arm, LSE Generate decided to give us a £5,000 grant to jumpstart this dream. Hence, we decided to co-found a crowdfunding platform that links founders and creators."
How the platform works
With a team of nine members, CrowdPad is Solana chain-based community-building project. The startup enables users to join their favourite creators through a mobile application and helps creators create their own digital coin, enabling users and creators to build a token-based community.
Usually, to join any DApp, creators need to go through a six-step procedure, which includes setting up a wallet, voting, community management, and other tasks.
“But to use CrowdPad users do not to go through the tedious process instead with a simple click, an individual can launch their own community that allows their earliest believers to buy into their social token,” he says.
To join CrowdPad, creators can upload a 10-15 second video. Once they swipe on someone’s social currency, creators can basically enter the token gated community which gives them access to exclusive posts, events, and bounties,” the co-founder adds.
At present, the mainnet is live in private Beta mode. “We are planning to launch the mainnet in public beta mode on June 5 and people in our beta list will get the access,” Joel explains.
In the month of April, the startup raised $2.5 million in the seed 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, and co-founder and CFO at Earn.com; Furqan Rydhan, Co-founder at ThirdWeb; Julian Weisser, Co-founder OnDeck; Tanmay Bhat, stand-up comedian, and YouTuber; Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory; Ali Abdaal, popular YouTuber, and Wong Joon Ian, Founding co-president of the Association of Cryptocurrency Journalists and Researchers also participated in the seed round.
(This story was updated to change the headline, reflect new date of launch, and to correct three grammatical errors)