Fan engagement has come a long way. From listening to the radio to watching live events on television to now enjoying real-time interactions on social media, fans are getting closer and closer to their favorite entertainers and idols.
However, fan interactions have never gone beyond observation. Fans invest time, energy, and money into celebrity shows, major league games, and music concerts. But they never get a chance to directly benefit in any shape or form, making it a one-way street.
This is where fan tokens come into the picture. Blockchain’s ability to tokenize has paved the way for innovators to create fan-centric platforms that promote two-way communication, giving fans what they always wanted—a voice.
The why: benefits of acquiring fan token
The intent behind buying crypto tokens is not the same for all. While some offer traits like store-of-value and medium of exchange like bitcoin, others tend to be associated with utility, either within the protocol or in the real world.
Fan tokens fall in the second category. And the utility offered to token holders comes in many forms.
For starters, fans participate in the decision-making process on the managerial level of certain events and activities. For example, a sports team can put out a poll asking fans to select a new logo for the club, and token holders can voice their suggestions through voting. The more tokens one holds, the more voting power one will have.
Membership perks also extend to exclusive and extended content. Moreover, token holders can win VIP in-person experiences by actively showing support.
For example, fans can win free tickets to live events, get signed sports jerseys, and even interact with their favorite player or artist one-on-one.
While an exclusive community with various benefits takes fan interaction to new heights, most people invest in fan tokens to get monetary incentives. For example, when sports clubs perform well and win championships, the value of their token goes up, giving fans more monetizable opportunities.
The possibilities of fan tokens are endless. But who’s building the necessary solutions to bring them to life? It is time to find out.
Fan tokens were first implemented in the sports world
Major sports leagues in football, rugby, basketball, and racing were the first to embrace fan tokens. Clubs partnered with Socios, a sports fan engagement platform, to activate new marketing initiatives by issuing tokens.
Fan Tokens are created on Socios using the Chilliz blockchain, and people can buy them using its native token, $CHZ. If one wants to buy fan tokens before they get listed on exchanges, they can participate in a fan token offering.
An FTO offers a period where one can exchange $CHZ to buy fan tokens for a predetermined price. For example, the famous Barcelona football club sold their $BAR tokens for a set rate of $2 and raised $1.4 million in 2020.
A few more notable fan tokens include Manchester City (CITY), Paris Saint Germain (PSG), Alpine F1 (ALPINE), and Inter Milan (INTER). These tokens ushered a new wave of public interest, helping them reach tens of millions in market cap.
While fan tokens build an active community and add new revenue sources for sports organizations, the fans seem to have limited upside. The tokens are mainly used for voting, and fans must keep grinding on the app to earn rewards.
Emerging blockchain platforms are targeting a bigger market of content creators to flip this dynamic and add greater token utility for fans. And the leading platform bringing this change is XCAD Network.
Content creators lead the next wave
Creators of social media platforms like YouTube are rapidly becoming the go-to source for entertainment and education, and some of them are amongst the most influential people on the planet.
They can monetize well through ads, merchandise stores, and other media ventures. But, creators have not been effective so far when it comes to giving back to fans and growing a loyal fan base.
The XCAD Network aims to change the current fan-creator relationship by allowing creators to reward fans for viewing their content. XCAD handles end-to-end management for creators and fans with its YouTube plugin.
One has to simply add an XCAD extension to their browser and can start earning creator tokens for watching videos.
Since its inception in 2021, XCAD has been able to attract creators who collectively have more than 500 million subscribers.
Some top XCAD YouTube backers are Mr. Beast, KSI, Niko Omilana, W2S, and Lance Stewart. XCAD also has a dedicated token tracker for these creators.
As XCAD rewards fans who watch the entire YouTube video, creators see a spike in watch time, which is the key metric for the YouTube algorithm. This ultimately increases views and overall earnings.
For fans, XCAD offers staking features to earn more rewards. Furthermore, the tokens can be used to buy NFTs, join exclusive communities of YouTubers, vote on different governance proposals by creators, and generally get closer than ever before.
XCAD is also venturing onto the Twitch streaming platform to expand its audience and creator base. With more such integrations, XCAD can help grow the Web3 creator economy and drive a new wave of public interest.
It can even facilitate onboarding new users to Web3 because it’s easy to use, offers rewards, and presents zero entry barriers.
Do fan tokens have staying power?
Fan tokens are helping organizations and individual creators bring global audiences closer and build an active community. This is helping them improve fan interactions, viewership, brand visibility, and revenue.
However, there are concerns moving forward regarding regulatory frameworks. If they limit token issuance and impose strict guidelines, it can be challenging for creators and sports clubs to launch their fan tokens in certain jurisdictions.
Further, fan tokens need to have more utility outside of incentives to sustain user interest.
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