Stealcam, the novel decentralized media platform that recently saw users auction off selfies and other single images for thousands of dollars apiece, announced this week that it is pivoting from its signature “steal to reveal ” mechanism and rebranding with a new name.
The platform’s next incarnation, called Friend.tech, will launch in two to four weeks according to its founders. That platform, instead of allowing users to steal NFT-based photos photos from each other at steadily escalating prices, as Stealcam did, will center on social tokens—cryptocurrencies, in this case launched on Ethereum scaling network Arbitrum, tied to individuals and designed to monetize fan communities.
“Stealcam is a very specific product that has some passionate users,” pseudonymous co-founder Racer told Decrypt. “At the same time, we have new ideas we think can engage a significantly larger audience.”
We’ve been busy building new social experiences for Stealcam users and we realized we need a name that isn’t limited to photos.
Introducing: https://t.co/YOHabcBde9. Your home for social speculation on Arbitrum.
Learn more and subscribe for launch notifications on the site: pic.twitter.com/Rm3C7kdUV7
— friend.tech (@tryfriendtech) May 22, 2023
Though a social token launcher with liquidity pools and other financial services may appear a far cry from an informal image-sharing marketplace, Stealcam’s creators believe Friend.tech will distill the elements that made Stealcam briefly gain the buzzy traction it did when launched in March.
“Stealcam users would discuss photo prices as a proxy for social capital,” Racer said. “[That’s where] the idea for the social token launcher came from.”
In Stealcam’s first weeks, the site’s top creators—including pseudonymous conceptual artist Shl0ms and cosplayer D0unbug—earned thousands of dollars apiece posting mere handfuls of images of themselves and/or their work.
The stream of speculative capital flowing into Stealcam has since trickled to a halt, however. Since early April, the incomes of Stealcam’s top earners have almost completely stagnated.
Stealcam’s creators are confident that a social token launcher will attract a broad swath of users intrigued by the prospect of profiting off their friends and favorite creators via bespoke cryptocurrencies.
They would not be the first to think so. Numerous other social token startups, most notably Roll, have been around for years. Rally, another prominent social token platform, shut down in January after failing to generate enough “ongoing support.” The social token trend seen brief spurts of interest and excitement over the last few years, but the concept has yet to truly catch across the crypto world.
Friend.tech’s creators say they have learned from the past mistakes of other social token platforms. All profiles on the site will be linked to Twitter accounts, and a token will only be able to be made in the image of a Twitter-linked individual with that person’s consent. Further, the platform will—according to its architects—avoid “exploitative” tokenomics and instead prioritize safety and transparency.
That combination of features will, so Friend.tech’s designers hope, recreate the initial, socially charged speculative frenzy enjoyed by Stealcam in its earliest days—albeit on a much larger and more sustainable scale.