A Proper Look at the People Behind the Screens
Right now, blockchain is all about the BIG ideas. Whether it’s looking at which industries this tech will utterly revolutionize or whatever millions Bitcoin will be worth by the next bull run, the focus is almost unanimously on the long game and end goal. In the eyes of the skeptical but intrigued public, blockchain can be hard to recognize or put a face too. We all hear the five-alarm stories of crypto bashing and hyping but not nearly enough from the people championing innovation at the ground level.
Since the ICO digital gold rush of late 2017 going into early this year, we haven’t heard much from the companies that used to make headlines for capital raised. This is evidently due to most of them going belly up, but in a few unique cases, it’s the exact opposite. The Props Project is one such frontrunner, notable in the blockchain arena for their application of an existing successful platform YouNow to decentralize video streaming. Their transparency and attitude towards a mainstream goal made them the darlings of crypto-content creators and embodied the possibilities of functional companies transitioning to blockchain.
We at The Creative Crypto have interacted with the Props team and their work for several months now, exploring their new dApps and discussing extensively with a team which we believe to be one of the most energized groups in the space. Even aside from the actionable and big-idea prospects of integrating blockchain technology, we found the individual stories nestled within and around Props to be just as compelling and wanted to highlight the individuals working tirelessly towards a decentralized future.
What do you do at or on Props?
As the CEO, I focus on both longer term planning and shorter term execution. I collaborate with the different department leads and facilitate good communication within the organization. My priorities are the goals we set for ourselves and always make sure we are on track to achieve them.
At Props, we are building blockchain middleware and consumer apps that share the value creation with the users who constitute the network and drive its success. Now, for the first time, regular users can build equity value in a network they devote time to and participate in. This is nothing short of a revolution. Building community ownership is a complex product and engineering challenge, which we need to make simple to experience for regular people. We are leveraging our experience with building and growing YouNow, a community of Millions of passionate users.
“We are building a gamified, practical experience to be easily understood by consumers.”
I have been a daily live-streamer on YouNow for the past 2 years. I create engaging content with my audience through a variety of games and competitions. One of my passions is traveling and I also like to share this with my audience. I provide tips/answers to questions regarding different countries I have traveled to and try to help first time travelers feel more comfortable about their journey. I love live-streaming because I am able to provide engaging content to people all across the globe through YouNow. I have always been a fan of live video and how spontaneous it can be. Each and every day that I go live I am still surprised by what happens. I also enjoy helping people whenever possible and am able to give advice as often as I can and promote positivity on a daily basis.
I handle growth, marketing, and creative content efforts for our apps. In the past, this has included user growth and talent acquisition (recruiting and nurturing relationships with live-streamers) on YouNow, but these days, I focus primarily on growing our new live game show app, WTF, and figuring out how to best leverage the content that we generate there.
I am a host and writer of YouNow’s live game show and app, WTF. I feel so lucky to be a part of the first game show app that uses cryptocurrency, and to become a part of this community of users, where we are sharing a live experience together.
“As someone who is very new to the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency, I feel like I’ve been flung into the future, and it’s pretty exciting.”
I manage the team of partner support managers that personally serve the thousands of content creators who populate and perform on the YouNow platform. We identify talented individuals who want to share their work with the world, introduce them to the YouNow platform, and help them grow as performers, personalities and people within the YouNow community. I am constantly inspired by their hard work, creativity, and star-quality. I also drive the Props Project’s brand, marketing, and communication strategy. It is my job to succinctly and coherently explain Props’ accomplishments and aspirations to our current and future stakeholders, and ensure the message is delivered through the most impactful channels possible.
What are you most excited about concerning the project?
Jake – We are reimagining the ways in which businesses distribute value to the very networks that grow and sustain them. For decades, those people whose ideas, creations, and hustle contributed to the growth of wildly successful enterprises like Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and others have not seen a dime’s worth of recognition for their work.
Props flips today’s dominant business model on its head, because we believe that the network should serve its stakeholders, and not the other way around. Every content creator, developer, contestant, audience member, investor or contributor to any app on the Props Network that helps the network grow and succeed should be recognized and compensated for their contribution to Props’ success. They’ll be heard and they’ll have a say in the Props Project’s future direction and governance decisions.
“For the first time, a social platform exists that is both built by and built for content creators. That’s the blockchain revolution making a tangible and material impact on millions of people. What’s not exciting about that?”
Connor – I started broadcasting a couple years ago while I was in college. It was a completely new experience for me and I stumbled upon it by chance. I never imagined myself being a live-streamer but the more I kept going live the more I realized it is something I enjoy doing. YouNow has always worked hard to keep its product ahead of the game and constantly adapt and create. Props is a prime example. I am very excited to see where YouNow takes the Props network in the future and to watch it grow. I know the company has always worked hard to innovate and they have done so with a lot of success.
Kevin – The Props token attempts to completely change the relationship between platforms and content creators. Today’s social media giants benefit immensely from selling their users’ data, attention, and creative capital; the users are the products, or at best, contractors who are building value for the platform while receiving pennies in return for their hard work. We believe in a new paradigm where all members of the community receive ownership and fairer compensation for their efforts, and have a greater say in the direction and future of the network, not unlike a stockholder owning and having certain rights in a public company. Being one of the first to innovate in a new direction always presents daunting challenges, but I simultaneously find that to be the most exciting part of what we are currently undertaking.
What does a decentralized future look like?
Julia – To me, a decentralized future is sort of a “for the people” future, where people can contribute to things and help them grow, and everyone shares ownership. Data and finances won’t be manipulated by third parties. In the Props world, it’s pretty exciting that WTF players can essentially win part-ownership of the network.
Jake – A decentralized landscape enables those stakeholders that contribute to a network to freely operate within the rules and business models that they themselves determine are fair and equitable. That future celebrates the creativity and output of content creators by equipping them with the power to determine their own success, rather than forcing their dependence on a third party platform that does not prioritize their best interests. The days of powerful centralized bodies like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube arbitrarily demonetizing content will be over. Creatives will be able to choose when, how, and to whom they want to distribute their work, and their long term interests will be fully aligned with the success of the platforms they use to do so. A decentralized future means that network providers empower their users, rather than users empowering those few providers. It’s a future I’m excited to help build.
Connor – As a creator, it’s easy to feel left out/powerless when a company makes a big move. Most of the time, creators have no say in how big companies like Youtube, Instagram, Facebook handle their monetization. A decentralized future would give creators the opportunity to have more control on how their content is monetized and distributed. It would also give the creators the chance to vote on important issues and keep them more informed on where the company currently sits and where it is headed in the future.
“As a broadcaster, I would love to feel like I am a part of the bigger picture and be able to make more important decisions that would not only benefit me, but the people around me as well.”
Kevin – When YouTube first came out in 2005, I was still in high school, and the platform at the time had a profound effect on me. Prior to social media, establishing a creative career in entertainment, film, music, etc. required artists to go through gatekeepers, i.e. Hollywood and record companies. The internet changed that by creating a more egalitarian system, in which creators could carve their own paths through a bit of self-promotion and hustle. Specifically as an ethnic minority and immigrant kid, I had always struggled to find role models I identified with in media or entertainment, but through YouTube, I found for the first time people on camera who looked like me and provided representation for other marginalized communities, like the African and Latin diaspora and LGBTQ+ groups.
Now that the social media space has reached a level of maturity making it difficult for new platforms and creators to emerge, I believe that blockchain and decentralization will open the floodgates for the next massive wave of opportunity for creatives. Decentralization, to me, is simply about further disbanding the power held by gatekeepers, which now include tech behemoths like YouTube and Facebook, and giving more options, ownership, and opportunity to individual creators. This is how we continue to inspire the next generation of youth, stimulate their creative potential, and help them self-actualize.
“It’s a world in which value is distributed much more widely and fairly and opportunity is available to many more people. The gap between rich and poor shrinks and our self-governance, by the people and for the people, is more effective than ever. – Adi Sideman”
A tremendous thank you to the Props team and community for joining us for this conversation. Be sure to follow their work and development on their various blockchain-centric products with the links below.