In recent months, we’ve seen a growing trend around the proliferation of social currencies (also known as personal tokens) – or those tied to specific individuals or brands. Using smart contracts and platforms like Roll, issuers are able to tokenize themselves, effectively offering investors access to the future upside in the form of an Ethereum-based asset.

Today, we saw this initiative taken a step further with the advent of $WHALE – a social currency by the prolific NFT investor WhaleShark.

What’s unique about this social currency is that the tokens are said to be backed by over $1M of high-profile digital collectibles including but not limited to the rarest NFTs from Gods Unchained (GU), Rare Digital Art (CryptoArt), Cryptovoxels (CV), Sandbox (SB), JOY, Avastars, Ethereum Name Services (ENS) and CryptoMotors (CM). Getting more granular, over 5000ETH has been invested in this portfolio including:

  • Two of 3 available 1/1 Mythic cards from Gods Unchained
  • Center parcels in CryptoVoxels
  • Top cryptoart pieces from notable artists like Hackatao, XCopy, and Coldie
  • The only 2 Genesis Avastars, #0 and #1

Thanks to the transparency of Ethereum, those curious to learn more can check out the Vaults OpenSea account for a deep dive into the various assets under his control.

$WHALE Distribution

For those familiar with Roll, you may recognize the 10M supply standard across all social currencies issued on the platform. For $WHALE in particular, this is divided as follows:

  • 4,000,000 sold to the public. 400,000 $WHALE sold at launch, with a regular market making release pace of 30,000 $WHALE per month following for the next 120 months.
  • 1,000,000 (1 Million) $WHALE will be reserved for bootstrapping and partnership opportunities to increase the usability and utility of $WHALE.

The remaining 5M is not listed in the whitepaper although we know Roll retains 12.5% of the total supply, leaving ~32.5% of the currency to be distributed through in waves to both the public and key partners in the coming year.

$WHALE Utility

Outside of the speculative nature that WhaleShark’s underlying portfolio will grow in value, $WHALE can also be used to:

  • Purchase certain NFTs from the Vault
  • Purchase exclusive NFTs from WhaleShark’s partners
  • Rent digital real-estate owned by WhaleShark
  • Receive consultation from WhaleShark at a rate of 1 $WHALE per minute

What arises is a hybrid currency in which users are not only long on WhaleShark’s Vault, but also long on the belief that he will continue to make sound investment decisions in the future.

Social Currency Evolves

As someone who is a huge proponent of social currencies, the premise of being able to own a partial allocation of such a grand portfolio is quite exciting. The interesting thing to note is how the divisible nature of these NFTs are actually established in practice. Seeing as someone can not “redeem” 1/100th of all the assets backing the Vault, the value actually comes from the claim on that portfolio as a whole.

To further illustrate the value case for $WHALE, the whitepaper describes that the tokens will also be used to govern and vote on future investment decisions, along with sales from the Vault being partially allocated to buying $WHALE off the market (and possibly burning those tokens).

While Ethereum is continuing to make strides towards the divisible nature of valuable NFTs, it’s fascinating to watch this experiment play out. If there is anyone capable of curating a social currency centred around an eccentric digital portfolio – it’s WhaleShark.

As a quick anecdote – I remember watching the most recent SandBox land sale and seeing the WhaleShark logo popping up all over the place. My immediate thought was – who the hell is this guy and what is he going to do with all that LAND? Well, with the advent of $WHALE, it looks like he just became the biggest digital real-estate landlord the world has seen to date.

Looking Forward

As we continue to watch a trend of more innovators leveraging social currencies to their advantage, it will be fascinating to watch the subsequent markets that emerge – including DEXs to trade them on. Right now, most of this trading happens natively on Uniswap.

However, with Roll’s custom Uniswap front-end painting a good example, it’s likely that entirely native social currency exchanges will emerge rather than them supplementing growing projects like Uniswap in which users must retrieve the contract address to start trading.

If one thing is for sure, we’re quite excited to see how this experiment plays out and recommend joining the official Discord to stay up on the conversation.