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Launching a Social Token: Mason Geyser on Key Learnings from $ALLIE coin

Launching a Social Token: Mason Geyser on Key Learnings from $ALLIE coin

Mason Geyser has spent the past few years helping creators like Allie Strasza build web3 communities. Here, he shares critical insights for creators looking to launch social tokens.

Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Mason Geyser on a series of things social tokens. Mason, who has been in the crypto space since early 2017, now works with a variety of creators to build out and manage their social token strategies through his company, Social Token Management. Among these many creators is one of Bonfire’s earliest, Allie Strasza, a Twitch streamer and popular content creator who has been pioneering innovation in the creator economy. Over the past few years, Allie has launched a successful social token, $ALLIE coin, and has recently dropped an NFT collection, AllieCats, which will be leveraged as part of a play-to-earn Discord game.

$ALLIE coin has been instrumental in shaping the growth and development of Allie’s community. Picture via rally.io.
$ALLIE coin has been instrumental in shaping the growth and development of Allie’s community. Picture via rally.io.

Mason, who is largely responsible for the strategic implementation of tokens within the Allie community, had many insights for creators, both for those aspiring to launch social tokens and those working on achieving greater success with their social tokens. He makes a strong case for the use of social tokens in digital communities, emphasizing the importance of understanding the multi-faceted value of these tokens, and how to properly integrate them within a community. While speaking with us about the journey behind $ALLIE coin, he shares various learnings, three of which we have highlighted here.

Learning #1: Don’t launch a social token for the sake of launching a social token.

An unsuccessful social token is one that might exist passively alongside a community. A successful social token is one whose presence greatly enriches a community, providing experiences that would have been impossible to provide otherwise. In their journey to create the $ALLIE coin, Mason and Allie discovered both kinds of tokens.

They initially started experimenting years ago, way back in 2017. The first version of the $ALLIE Coin was actually an ERC20 token that was created on the Ethereum blockchain. While the experiment was, according to Mason, an interesting endeavor, he would not have characterized it as a success. He explains that after sending community members the $ALLIE coin, there was no apparent use case for the original token. Community members would ask Mason questions like, what can we do with our tokens? His answer, besides sending tokens to other wallets, was: “well, nothing really…” Mason describes this first $ALLIE coin as an experiment, one that didn’t yet have a clear value proposition.

Despite this, Mason and Allie continued to explore the idea of social tokens, eventually transitioning the $ALLIE coin to Rally, a platform that enables creators to launch social tokens on a private side chain, joining a host of other Bonfire creators (While Mason and Allie decided to move their token to Rally, it is important to note that there are still numerous creators with successful Ethereum-based communities. Deciding where to launch a social token is a community-specific decision, which is why Bonfire supports creators across various networks. In fact more recently, Mason and Allie have started the process of migrating to Solana, which you can read more about here.).

While they worked on the transition to Rally, Mason and Allie were also thinking through an endeavor that had been highly requested by Allie’s community for some time: online Hearthstone tournaments. These tournaments would be a fun way to further engage with Allie’s community, however, according to Mason, running tournaments was a time-consuming process that, without sponsorships, would likely result in one-off events lacking long-term opportunity to capitalize on engagement.

It was in 2020 that Mason and Allie discovered that the $ALLIE coin, which they had started airdropping to active community members via Rally, but whose value was still elusive, could be used to run tournaments in a way that was worthwhile. According to Mason, using the $ALLIE coin as a foundational level for these tournaments provided an “opportunity to the community who held these coins to create value for the coins.” Fans who held a certain number of $ALLIE tokens were guaranteed access to tournaments and the $ALLIE prize pool that would be distributed amongst winners. With this model, it became abundantly clear that the better the tournament experience, the more valuable the currency to enter and participate in these tournaments would become. This idea motivated participants to contribute to the Allie community. They were incentivized “to participate in the tournament, to market the tournament, to help admin the tournament.”

Community members who participate in online Hearthstone tournaments have the opportunity to win prizes such as $ALLIE coin and NFTs.
Community members who participate in online Hearthstone tournaments have the opportunity to win prizes such as $ALLIE coin and NFTs.

The result was that tournaments could run continuously as a joint endeavor between Allie and her community, providing “better opportunity cost for her time” while also building momentum. What Allie and Mason had uncovered was that social tokens had made something that felt previously implausible, entirely plausible and exceedingly successful. If you’re interested in learning more about these tournaments, check out this Rally interview with Mason and Allie.

Learning #2: Social tokens must have real value and utility for holders

The best implementations of social tokens provide value to both the creator and the community, where this value is clearly defined on both ends. We discussed how $ALLIE coin provides value to its creators, but what about for its holders?

If you have poked around Bonfire before, you may have come across some cool use cases for social tokens. We have seen Bonfire creators use social tokens for voting rights in a DAO (hey, @Daniel Allan ), and use tokens to gain access to VIP experiences, (rock on, @Odesza). While Mason recognizes the value of such use cases, he envisions a scenario which extends much further than one specific use case, one in which the $ALLIE coin is an integral part of interactions within the community.

Mason explains that for community members, “the direction we’re moving towards is that the coin is going to be the currency…it’s the underpinning for the whole ecosystem.” In one example of this, Mason talks about using the $ALLIE coin as a medium of exchange for other tokens, like NFTs. In the future, Mason hopes that the $ALLIE coin will also be used to purchase merch drops, or gain access to cool products. “For instance,” Mason says, “gaming PCs is a big one that we’d like to do.” Of course, these use cases come in addition to the already successful online tournaments which $ALLIE holders have guaranteed access to.

All this to say, Mason and Allie have spent a lot of time trying to understand just why a community member would want to hold their token and have worked to ensure that these desires are met. Mason says “…by creating these incentives that people actually want, and using the token as a medium to get there, that’s where I think we’ve seen the success.” In other words, community members hold $ALLIE because “it gets them something that they want.”

Mason and Allie have been hard at work developing the $ALLIE coin ecosystem. Their roadmap lays out just some of the perks that $ALLIE holders have access to.
Mason and Allie have been hard at work developing the $ALLIE coin ecosystem. Their roadmap lays out just some of the perks that $ALLIE holders have access to.

Learning #3: Meet your community where they are, or at least half way

On their journey to develop a successful social token, Allie and Mason have uncovered one of the golden rules of community building: meet your community where they are.

Like many creators that have ventured into Web3, Allie and Mason have had to work hard to overcome the difficulties of transitioning traditional communities into the participant-driven, digital structures of Web3. Mason spoke to us about these challenges and discussed two aspects of his approach to bridging the knowledge gap when it comes to creator tokens. First, he spoke to us about education.

Similar to the resources that Bonfire has compiled for creators to learn about Web3 onboarding, Mason and Allie have developed a library of content for learning about Web3. Mason says, “we started a separate YouTube channel in which we just make crypto videos on all these different topics. So when someone has an issue with things or doesn’t see the potential in why we’re pursuing this, we want to explain that in a video format.” On the $ALLIE Coin Youtube channel, Allie discusses various relevant topics in the social token landscape, such as purchasing Rally tokens and protecting your crypto accounts. Mason and Allie understand that there might be considerable knowledge gaps when it comes to social tokens, and these educational resources help them to bridge that gap and create a more supportive environment for community members.

Furthermore, Allie and Mason have sought to help their community members understand that the $ALLIE Coin and social tokens provide real value. As an example, Allie and Mason have utilized unique promo codes so that individuals can purchase exclusive merch with $ALLIE coin from their Bonfire storefront. Mason says that having external options to purchase with social tokens is important because “when you suddenly have outside products and services, you’re like, oh, I can see how this is actually a currency.” Allie community members also have the ability to purchase Amazon gift cards from their Bonfire store. Mason explains that these gift cards “are great for people who aren’t crypto savvy and don’t want to go through the really lengthy process to set up a Coinbase account…” He explains that this technique is “part of our marketing… trying to explain to people that there’s going to be more utility for this coin than just buying things within the Allie ecosystem.” For Mason and Allie, introducing a social token is about curating this balance, understanding that the comfort levels of community members may vary, and it is important to develop an active approach towards guiding your community into new territory.

All this to say…

Launching a social token can be a daunting task for community members and token holders alike. Mason and Allie have learned valuable lessons in their experimentation with social tokens and it is our hope that amplifying these learnings will help ease the journey for Web3 creators. Regardless, it’s important to note that Allie and Mason’s first foray into the space wasn’t entirely successful, but through iteration and experimentation, they were able to develop a token model that was incredibly enriching for their community. For more case studies and resources on social tokens, check out our Knowledge Base and sign up for our newsletter here.

Mason and Allie have worked together to grow Allie’s digital community through $ALLIE coin. Picture via rally.io.
Mason and Allie have worked together to grow Allie’s digital community through $ALLIE coin. Picture via rally.io.

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