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Interview with Tom Hale, Founder & CEO of Melon

UTC by Andrey Sergeenkov · 9 min read
Interview with Tom Hale, Founder & CEO of Melon
Photo: Depositphotos

NFTs are a way to make digital pieces of content limited in supply, which dictates their level of rarity. The rarer an asset is, the higher its perceived value.

Non-fungible tokens are an essential aspect of the evolutionary path of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Many possible use cases exist for NFTs, particularly pens that go beyond art and collectibles. It is crucial for service providers to cater to the needs of this booming industry and provide the necessary infrastructure to fuel future growth.

One crucial use case is creating a new paradigm of interaction and engagement. Whether it is between celebrities and fans or an influencer and their followers, NFTs can introduce a few interesting benefits to explore. However, it is not just a matter of creating NFTs and randomly distributing them to community members.

Instead, the focus shifts to creating ever-lasting memories recorded on a blockchain. Bringing a degree of real-world utility to non-fungible tokens creates a new paradigm that was previously unexplored. Although the concept is still a novelty at this stage, service providers do well to explore the opportunities that lie in front of them. 

Q: Why are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) so important for today’s creators?

A: NFT technology is going to transform the Creator Economy. Here’s why.

Today, creators’ content is locked inside the walled gardens of big tech companies. Creators never truly own their content, and are extremely limited in terms of how they can monetize it. The centralized platforms impose restrictions and creators are at the mercy of changes in strategy – or platforms disappearing altogether, as we saw with the cases of Vine and later Mixer. 

What’s more, today’s creator platforms capture most of the value generated by this content – not the creators, and much less the fans who spend hours consuming and engaging with it.

NFTs turn this old logic on its head. 

It’s now possible to limit the supply and verify the ownership of digital assets. This means creators can earn directly from their online content, since the rarity of limited supply NFTs gives the content value. And creators don’t just earn once, but in perpetuity, as every re-sale of their content is linked back to them and triggers royalties automatically. 

This puts creators on a path towards what TikTok recently called “creator independence”, as they are able to break away from being fully reliant on centralized platforms and algorithms that dictate their success and earnings. 

On top of all this, fans can share in the creators’ success, too.

Q: How can fans also benefit from this new technology?

A: Imagine you follow a creator on TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube. Or maybe it’s your favorite Twitch streamer.

What NFTs allow you to do is to collect key moments from them. Once you buy an NFT from a creator you like, you become the verified owner of that unique asset – as recorded on a blockchain, the permanent open ledger which records every transaction and cannot be altered or tampered with. 

This means you now own a valuable asset, which can be traded.

As the popularity of the creator goes up, the demand for their NFT also rises. The supply of the NFTs will remain limited, hence you may end up owning an asset that is appreciating in value. So, as a fan, you can re-sell the NFT and turn a profit.

But there’s more. NFTs can also have what’s called “utility”: real-world benefits that only the holder of the NFTs can access. This creates a better, more rewarding experience for fans altogether.

Q: What makes the Melon platform so special amongst all the other NFT plays out there?

A: Melon is the one and only NFT platform built specifically for social media creators and their fans.

Most NFT platforms are over-saturated, include all types of content and niches within the NFT market, and are both expensive and confusing for newcomers.

We, at Melon, solve all these issues by providing the best, curated experience for creators and fans in one place. 

We’re also very different from most NFT projects in the space. Many NFTs are created out of thin air, and can be created in ever more editions. This dilutes the value of the NFT, and whilst celebrities can earn a lot of money from this, fans end up with low-value assets they often struggle to make a return on. 

In contrast, on Melon, you can find NFTs of content that is already gone viral. The fact all these social media pieces are viral makes them significant because they set trends and gather millions of views, likes, and comments. This type of content is unique, and cannot be duplicated infinitely.

So, the NFTs on Melon are only exclusive or limited editions of already viral content, which therefore has proven demand for it. We call those “viral NFTs”.

It’s a completely new proposal which we are the first to execute on at this scale.

Plus, we have some of the world’s top talent in the social media industry signed up to the platform. And, unlike many NFTs, most of the assets minted on Melon are packed with real-world benefits for fans to unlock.

Q: Can you tell us more about some of the influencers Melon is working with?

A: We have partnered up with a range of top talent for our platform launch – around 100 creators with a combined following of over 250 million. Each of them has been handpicked by us to ensure only the top creators and content appear on the platform.

These include big names such as Liane V, Don Benjamin, SwagboyQ and Tim DeLaGhetto – to name but a few. Most have millions of followers across multiple social platforms and many viral pieces. Their first-ever YouTube videos and most-viewed TikToks are now sold as rare NFTs on Melon.

Our creators are eager to connect with their fans in new, revolutionary ways and unlock new revenue streams for themselves in the process. This is what Melon enables them to do.

Q: What are some of the benefits you mentioned earlier which fans can redeem on Melon?

A: This depends on the creator, but just to give you an example, SwagboyQ (a global influencer and fashion icon with 20M TikTok followers) is offering never-released music and merchandise, as well as a flight to LA to go meet with him and shoot a video, for holders of his exclusive Melon NFTs.

Such benefits are incredibly valuable for someone who is a fan and has been following the creator’s journey over the years. In this case, they could get exposure to millions of views by being featured in the next SwagboyQ video.

By purchasing one of SwagboyQ’s NFTs on Melon, they not only own a rare and valuable asset they can trade, but they also unlock benefits no one else has access to. This deepens the relationship between creators and fans, and gives more value to consumers of the content.

As another example, Omar Bolden, star athlete and Super Bowl champion also signed up to Melon, will offer his NFT holders a face-to-face personal training session. 

This is once more a unique benefit that cannot be accessed from anywhere else and adds enormous value to fans.

Q: How can a viral piece of content seen by millions become rare?

A: This is the beauty of NFT technology, applied to social media content.

NFTs are a way to make digital pieces of content limited in supply, which dictates their level of rarity. The rarer an asset is, the higher its perceived value.

Now, social content that is viral has been viewed by many. The catch is, for the first time ever, ownership of that content in NFT form can be limited to a single exclusive edition, or a limited edition of say ten copies.

This means that only one or a small number of people can ever be the true owner of this digital asset

This is what we mean by viral NFTs. Melon makes viral content scarce in NFT form because there is only ever going to be a limited number of copies of the content available on the market.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: First of all, we will launch our very own $MELON token in the coming months. 

This token will give community members access to a range of benefits, such as lower fees and a stake in future key decisions. This will be part of a Melon DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), bringing together a strong community of NFT and social media innovators.

Currently, the platform runs on Ethereum as well as the Polygon network, to give our users options including the lowest-possible fees and limit the energy consumption of the activity on the platform. In the future, we will integrate other blockchains, including Ethereum, to expand the reach of Melon NFTs.

Melon NFTs run on open standards, which allows us to become the one-stop shop for top creator assets across the decentralized web. 

Ultimately, Melon will act as the social layer of the metaverse – where creators and users can create digital assets that proliferate across this new, decentralized web.

The platform supports the mainstream ERC-721 standard, and will also support the dual-purpose ERC-1155, amongst others. We want to play a major part in this next phase of the Creator Economy as a decentralized aggregator and an entry point for creators and fans into the metaverse; and we are putting in place the building blocks to achieve this.

Lastly, we plan to open up the platform to more creators and deploy a “mint with a URL” feature: a creator will be able to simply copy and paste their social links to instantly turn their content into rare, digital collectibles!

We’re excited to play a pivotal role in the Creator Economy/ web 3 revolution, and can’t wait to see creators and fans join us on this journey!

Guest Posts
Julia Sakovich
Author: Andrey Sergeenkov

Founder and editor at BTC PEERS. Andrey writes about financial experiments, DeFi, cryptocurrency, and blockchain.

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