Why OnlyFans executives are turning to Web3 avatars with NFT Startup Zoop

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Tim Stokely and RJ Phillips had a big unicorn with OnlyFans, and now they’ve moved on to a new startup called Zoop, which makes Web3 gaming avatars using non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Zoop’s platform allows users to buy, sell, collect and trade 3D digital playing cards of their favorite celebrities. It uses NFTs on the blockchain to authenticate unique digital assets. Zoop will be selling priority passes prior to the summer launch.

To advertise

Stokely co-founded OnlyFans and Phillips helped run the company’s Asian operations. Both will become co-CEOs of Zoop. They hope it will be a stepping stone into the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds all connected together, as in novels like Snowfall and borrow player one

Phillips said the company went through some ideas and turned it into a plan to target Web2 audiences who aren’t tech savvy but want to connect with celebrities and influencers using apps. Cool looking avatars. And over time they will move to Web3.

“They want to have that sense of community and be able to do things with the avatars they’ve collected,” Phillips said in an interview with GamesBeat. “It’s a cool 3D avatar and the dream is that one day Serena Williams will star in Tomb Raider.”

Meanwhile, fans can collect avatars and play simple blockchain games and engage in some kind of metaverse.

“We’ve tried to make it very simple, very inclusive, and very accessible,” Phillips says. ‘And at the same time, I hope you can have fun. And it starts with most of our product. Today we are talking about celebrities and influencers. Tomorrow we will not discriminate against the sectors people come from for what they do. And eventually everyone on our platform will be able to create their avatar, if they are an influencer through our AI software, a big celebrity, with a collaboration with our design team.

Zoop allows consumers to transact playing cards based on their favorite influencers or celebrities. These cards will be NFTs that can verify the uniqueness of digital items, and they will be in 3D. On Zoop, fans can purchase officially licensed, limited-edition digital cards and sell and trade them on a secondary market.

The idea is to create a closer bond between fans and celebrities. And the cards give fans access to perks like exclusive drops or access to interest-based communities. This can happen more easily in the post-pandemic world, where celebrities may not want to host as many in-person fan events as they once did. In this case, they can send their avatars to virtual events or put them in games.

The platform will use the Polygon blockchain, an Ethereum layer 2 chain that has low transaction costs and is more sustainable. Polygon has also invested in Zoop. Zoop plans to release 500 cards per influencer for the first drops and it may eventually launch its own token.

Unlike OnlyFans, which has become a hub for porn and NSFW content, Phillips said the platform will be family-friendly. Since it uses animated characters, the section on creating allowed avatars is easier to apply. Zoop capitalizes on the booming blockchain gamification market, which has become a $40 billion industry by 2021. Rivals include Genies, which has raised a lot of money.

Lessons from OnlyFans

Zoop is a product of the leaders OnlyFans.

As for lessons from OnlyFans, the company knows how to handle marketing and work with celebrities in a way that puts its customers first, Phillips said.

“We’re going to make it inclusive for them, provide great support, and make sure our platform doesn’t exclude people,” he said.

The company focuses on people aged 14 and older. And it determines the style of avatars that can be used in Zoop.

“We’ve helped Web2 users to access Web3 because there’s a huge barrier to entry,” Phillips says. “We hope avatars and applications will grow phenomenally. I think the possibilities are endless.

“We’re encouraging these micro-communities right down to the grassroots,” he said.

Where to use avatars

Zoop competes with rivals such as Genies.

While it probably isn’t cool to take one of these avatars to a pretend game, there is a genre of games similar to Ready Player One where a mix of all sorts of famous characters works really well. Fortnite is a good example.

“That’s the most exciting thing, where the possibilities are endless,” Phillips said.

The company has 14 people spread all over the world. The co-founders have self-funded the project thus far, in addition to funding from Polygon.

In the coming weeks, influencers will launch their cards, after which major celebrities will come out with their 3D cards.

Initial trades will be settled with US dollars as it appeared that focusing on cryptocurrency trades would limit the potential market size.

According to the business model, about 70% of the proceeds from a primary sale go to the celebrities themselves. About 10% goes to affiliates or agents of the celebrity or entity associated with a music label or something else. About 20% goes to Zoop, which has fees such as transaction management.

“It’s a lot like our OnlyFans model, where we charge a small fee to run the ecosystem,” Phillips said.

Utility and interoperability

Avatars are 3D collectibles on your smartphone. The more you interact with them and the more famous you become, the more rewards you can earn. Over time, brand partners will get involved and compete for the attention of avatar owners. As avatars increase in value, people can trade them.

Phillips said he realizes that certain platforms or industries will have different requirements for the technology used in avatars, which is why Zoop needs to hold discussions with partners ahead of time to properly choose the technology.

Although the platform uses NFTs, the company will not emphasize this in its marketing materials, mainly because the target audience would not understand it.

“To us, these are really NFT-powered collectibles,” he said. “The bottom line is that someone makes a purchase in your ecosystem, and then you give them the image that works where they want to use it.”

The company must beware of counterfeits as the NFT market is full of them. And he wants fans to have a good experience.

With crypto prices collapsing, Phillips said the company isn’t necessarily affected, as it bridges Web2 and Web3 transactions.

“The vast majority of the people we target our products at are not those crypto users,” Phillips said. “It is the 80% of the population who care about celebrities and brands and want to gather to connect and have fun with these digital avatars. As I mentioned, the word NFT does not appear in marketing.

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