Key points to remember
- IreneDAO became the talk of the crypto space after her debut NFT collection soared in value on the secondary market.
- Irene Zhao launched the DAO to show the promise of her decentralized social media project SO-COL.
- Other similar NFTs have gained traction in recent months, while DAOs have also taken off.
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IreneDAO launched on Friday and quickly took off. NFT passes to enter the DAO are already trading at 1.25 Ethereum.
IreneDAO’s NFTs are trading at a premium
It would seem that DAOs are not limited to the acquisition of valuable NFTs, the US Constitution or the Blockbuster chain– now they are starting to take the form of fan clubs.
A new DAO called IreneDAO is causing a storm in the crypto world after its launch on Friday. The DAO is dedicated to Irene Zhao, a 28-year-old Instagram model, influencer and cryptocurrency enthusiast who recently quit her job as a commodity broker to pursue a career in the crypto industry. IreneDAO began as a collection of stickers with an assortment of photos of Zhao in various poses. Each photo features a text overlay, often featuring popular crypto memes such as “WAGMI” (which stands for “We’re all gonna do this”) and “gm” (“hello”.) The stickers were later tokenized into 1,107 NFT , described as an access pass to the DAO’s “Genesis Tribe” and given away with a free mint. They are already trading at 1.25 Ethereum on OpenSea, or around $4,125 at press time.
NFTs became a hot topic of conversation this weekend as prices and trading volumes soared. Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz confirmed he bought one of the tokens in a tweet on Sunday amid talks. “Proud team member @Irenezhao_ I love the hustle. This young lady has created her own brand in less than a year. And NFT allows her to bring her community together,” he wrote.
Yes we are!! Proud member of the team @irenezhao_ I like the bustle. This young woman created her own brand in less than a year. And NFT allows him to bring his community together. pic.twitter.com/iZiAqXj1iX
—Mike Novogratz (@novogratz) January 16, 2022
SO-COL aims to transform social media
While some have dismissed the Zhao drop as just another disposable NFT collection, IreneDAO seems to have big ambitions. On Saturday, Zhao posted a storm of tweets promising that there would be “a lot in store” for the DAO and that he hoped to become a “grassroots movement” for the creator economy. She added that the DAO’s core values are “Simplicity, Integrity, Meaning and Purpose”, which is probably a subtle reference to “simp” – Internet slang for a person, usually a man, who shows an excessive amount of affection towards another person. , usually a woman, in an attempt to get their attention.
Zhao rose to prominence in crypto in 2021 as Chief Marketing Officer at Konomi Network and is currently building a decentralized social media platform called SO-COL on a layer 2 solution powered by StarkWare. In fact, SO-COL seems to be the main focus of the DAO. SO-COL, short for “Social Collectables”, advertises itself as a “decentralized version of OnlyFans, Discord, Twitch and Patreon. Zhao, who has notable social media experience having garnered 500,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter, told Crypto Briefing that SO-COL aims to be a decentralized alternative to Web2’s main social networks. “IreneDAO started as a social experiment to prove SO-COL’s core concept of empowering creators by connecting them to their communities through NFTs,” she said. “The ultimate goal is to create hundreds or even thousands of such communities via the SO-COL platform. Communities can be large or small, and each community, along with the creator, will define the usefulness of that creator’s own “collectibles”.
In other words, NFTs can be used as membership cards for communities on SO-COL, and IreneDAO is the first project to show its potential. SO-COL is powered by StarkWare’s StarkEx Layer 2 solution and leverages the DID protocol. “We are working on the technology for SO-COL by developing our own decentralized identification protocol (DID),” Zhao said. “For now, we let the DAO community discuss what they want—that’s the whole idea. The community and the creator will engage in a conversation about the value they want to instill in “collectibles”, in this case the IreneDAO passes.
An NFT and DAO explosion
While most NFTs have taken the form of tokenized JPEGs with little use to date, the concept of using them as membership cards is nothing new. Arguably the most successful NFT collection of 2021, Bored Ape Yacht Club, has branded its cartoon monkey NFTs as membership transitions to an exclusive club. Since its launch, the club has developed a thriving community, garnered interest from celebrities like Eminem and Steph Curry, and partnered with global brands Adidas and Universal. Bored Ape Yacht Club also says that a game of tokens and play-to-win is on the horizon. Passes for Bored Ape Yacht Club were available for less than $200 when they launched in April and are now around $274,000 in the secondary market.
While NFTs were undoubtedly the big talking point of 2021 in crypto, DAOs have also started to show early promise. DAOs, otherwise known as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, provide a way for groups to coordinate at scale, where rules are encoded in smart contracts on the blockchain. Unlike traditional businesses, there are no hierarchical structures in DAOs, at least in theory. DAOs typically have their own governance token to vote on key decisions affecting the group; a larger allocation of tokens generally represents more voting power. In 2021, the crypto space has seen a number of DAOs form with the aim of raising funds for a specific cause. PleasrDAO initiated the purchase of an NFT pplpleasr and then acquired the one-of-a-kind album from Wu-Tang Clan Once upon a time in Shaolin, ConstitutionDAO raised $45.6 million to buy a physical copy of the US Constitution (but ultimately failed), and BlockbusterDAO formed to turn Blockbuster into a Netflix-style streaming service. In December, a DAO formed to free Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht from prison. He lost $6.2 million on his first NFT collection to raise money for Ulbricht and other prisoners.
IreneDAO appears to be one of the earliest examples of a DAO fan club and potentially paves the way for a future where musicians, celebrities, and other creators leverage blockchain to interact with their fans.
Disclosure: At the time of writing this article, the author of this feature owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.
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