New Zoop Platform Will Offer Tradable NFTs Without the Baggage of NFTs
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Later this summer, a trading platform called Zoop will debut as a place where fans can interact with celebrities and sports personalities using unique avatars. Zoop is founded by Tim Stokely and RJ Phillips, both formerly of wildly successful (so porn-heavy) social media site OnlyFans. It is inspired by the old way baseball cards are traded and purchased, but introduced in the blockchain era. Recently, Observer editor James Ledbetter interviewed Phillips; this transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
Observer: Zoop is interesting because it occupies this kind of Web 2.0, Web 3.0 space where fans can interact. Start by telling me how you came up with the idea?
Phillips: We wanted to bring 3D avatars to life and then make sure they had massive utility and users weren’t held back from getting involved due to their technical savvy. It’s supposed to be a very low barrier to entry. But the idea is that in the future, anyone who has a sequel or anyone who thinks they have a sequel can come to Zoop, upload their ID, create their base avatar, and then let us continue with the themes. We will then drop these different cool additions of their avatar in different styles. And then it’s up to the market to decide what price it wants to pay for them. They can go out there and do whatever they want with them: if they just want to collect them for rewards or collect them to join communities, or they can collect them and trade them directly for other avatars in our game integrated.
If I understood correctly, what you have just described is a little late. Initially, you are a bit more focused on celebrities and sports personalities.
We’re going to launch what we’ve called rising stars, people with up to 5-7 million followers. There are a hundred in each set in the rising star category. And then every week new people will be added. The first people we dropped in the first week will then see their second editions released the following week. From day one, people will be able to collect these avatars to join communities. And some of them are sponsored brands.
Who do you think is the target user? Who will come to the Zoop and why?
That’s a very good question. We debate it a lot internally because we don’t know. The only thing we can talk about from our past lives is where celebrities send their fans. We can see that this relationship between celebrity and fans is strong. What we also understand from the celebrities we speak to is that useless indie NFT projects leave fans with a bad taste in their mouths, especially if they’re released at the top of the market. We have seen this happen time and time again. These fans have ended up with something they can’t do anything about. So what celebrities like about what we do, and they might be TikTokers from Japan, or they might be college baseball players, they like that Zoop provides some utility behind what we post.
What is the use, exactly?
It is the union of these communities. You are automatically put into a community of the celebrity you purchased when you have this avatar. It can be, for example, fans who support musical artists, but not the music label or association above them. We can provide the direct relationship to the consumer that they don’t have today.
What is your business model? How will Zoop make money?
We charge a small fee to people who sell avatars on our secondary market. Then we also charge brands for building communities around what we do as well.
These are NFTs, they are based on the blockchain. I just wanted to be clear about this.
That’s an excellent question. I’m glad you asked. The word NFT does not appear on our website or in our marketing. Because it cuts off the users we are targeting, right? We are 3D collectibles, we are powered by NFT technology. (Fans) don’t need to know that word to be able to interact with what we’re building.
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