Web3 doesn’t have the most inclusive reputation, but so many crypto entrepreneurs are talking about bringing the next 100 million users into the space. Statistically speaking, the next 100 million cannot possibly consist entirely of a homogenous group of cis white males who spend most of their waking hours coding and/or day trading (no shade, just pointing out a fact)!
This week on Chain reactionI interviewed Devin Lewtan, a twenty-something founder who seems to have found the secret sauce when it comes to bringing web3 to new audiences.
Her NYC-based media company, Mad Realities, just debuted its first season of “Proof of Love,” a reality TV show focused on dating that lets viewers get involved in the action and vote on important decisions through NFTs. In April, Mad Realities raised $6 million in a seed round from investors including crypto VC firm Paradigm and socialite Paris Hilton to build a platform they hope will become the “Netflix of web3”. You can listen to the full interview with Devin below.
“We think what’s going to bring the next 100 million people into crypto is going to be happy, because it’s intuitive. It’s a real consumer use case,” Lewtan said on the podcast.
Lewtan, who shot to tech world fame when she co-hosted the viral Clubhouse show “NYU Girls Roasting Tech Guys” during the height of the pandemic, first became interested in NFTs when she started chatting with her friend and now-co-founder Alice Ma about how crypto can help change the way media is financed.
“We put out a blog post that basically said, what would it be like if we were on this dating show where people typed our NFTs and they could vote on who got on the show, what happens and who who win and get fun, special, management benefits based on the level they purchased,” Lewtan said.
Shortly after the Mad Realities team released their first blog post in November, they had raised the equivalent of ~$500k USD worth of ethereum to fund production. In just a few months, they had whipped up a five-week, interactive show filmed in person in New York City.
The audience for the first season, which ended in April of this year, was ~65% female and consisted mainly of people who were just there for the entertainment value of the show in the beginning, rather than for the connection to web3, Lewtan said.
Once audiences saw the benefits and voting rights of Mad Realities’ NFT holders, dubbed “rose holders” in a nod to “The Bachelor” franchise, they were intrigued.
“They were able to tell their friends, I’m pretty sure these rose holders that keep popping up are people who bought NFTs and those NF Ts let them vote on things and then funded the money from the NFTs -ones the show. And then they’re like, it actually makes sense to me, more than most projects in the space … it’s not really like the fraudulent kind of use cases that I think of with NFTs,” Lewtan said.
As for what’s next, Lewtan said the next season of “Proof of Love,” which launches this fall, will inform the startup as it creates a broader vision for what a web3 media platform could look like. They are experimenting with ideas like bringing other content creators onto the Mad Realities platform and helping them launch their own NFT projects to the public, she added.
Above all, Lewtan emphasized the importance of keeping usability at the forefront while building the product.
“One of the things we’re focusing on now when we’re building out our app is that it’s important that [creating a crypto wallet] is not one of the steps in the process. You should be able to just create an account and not think about it being connected to a wallet,” Lewtan said.
“A wallet is compatible, but if you sign up, you should be able to have an NFT in your wallet and your app and not even think about it… So much of what we’re focusing on is, what’s the experience like being so user-friendly and mobile first where it doesn’t even feel like a crypto product?”