Some online communities offer bonuses to participating members in order to spur growth, but a new YouTube competitor called Rize wants to take that concept a bit further by offering a new cryptocurrency called Props as a participation prize for both content creators and community members. The new currency and the first app to use it are sponsored and partially funded by YouTube celebrity Philip DeFranco, who says that he seeks to democratize the creative process and “remove the middleman” in any capacity possible. The idea behind Rize is that the community at large will dictate what content is popular and which creators can make a living on the service, and everybody has a stake; if the platform fails, Props won’t pick up value, so creators won’t get paid, and fans won’t see the platform grow and their own personal Props stash pick up more value.
The innovative approach was essentially born of necessity; DeFranco has been an extremely vocal critic of YouTube’s methods of content guiding and community enforcement for some time, and some of the latest changes have a side effect of making things difficult for any new talent seeking to join the platform, as well as confound and confuse longtime YouTube celebrities, all in the name of ensuring that content on the service does not scare advertisers away. YouTube also takes a fairly hefty cut of ad revenue from the creators that it does allow to monetize their work on the platform, and this is another factor that DeFranco wants to see done away with in Rize. Details are scant on how Rize will build up value as a brand and for Props, with the only method revealed thus far being in-app purchases of Props.
Methods to generate Props, how many total Props can be issued, ways of getting Props outside of Rize, and how secure Props are in general, transition from user to user, and how can they be cashed out for real money will all be driving factors in Rize’s success, and potentially the success of other apps and services that use Props in the future. The concept holds the potential to completely revolutionize how content creators make a living on the internet, but it could just as easily fall flat and end up as a footnote in the history of the constantly changing information economy.