Jack Harlow concert-goers scanned QR codes on their phones before entering the multi-platinum rapper’s show on Monday in Lexington, KY.
What they may not have known was how their entry had been facilitated by blockchain tech.
MITH is a Polygon-based fan engagement startup that partnered with Harlow to offer on-chain VIP tickets for the rapper’s recent mini-tour in Kentucky. The company created on-chain records of attendance at the shows, but its founders told Blockworks they are taking a “mullet” approach to get users on board — Web2 in the front, Web3 in the back.
In the future, MITH will launch platforms for creatives to monetize fan interactions and for fans to accrue rewards and collectibles — with the on-chain pieces happening behind the scenes.
Incubated by Range Media Partners in 2022, MITH came out of stealth in late November after Jack Harlow debuted his MITH-powered website where fans could purchase premium experience tickets for his upcoming slate of shows.
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MITH validated the tickets with Tokenproof, an on-chain ticketing protocol, so fans had the option to add their ticket to a crypto wallet but only needed to scan a QR code to enter.
MITH didn’t pay Harlow for his use of the platform, the company’s co-founders told Blockworks, saying he “wanted to advise on the future” of the product and “have upside.”
Soon after Harlow’s website went up, Axios reported that MITH raised $3.5 million in seed funding with participation from Warner Music Group, Winklevoss Capital and the NEAR Foundation, among others.
MITH initially built a more complex platform for Harlow before the rapper asked the company to scale back the “Private Garden” website to focus just on tickets, Sanchez said.
A demo of the scrapped site, which is more in line with MITH’s broader vision for the platform, shows a place for Harlow or other creators to make membership tiers. Creators could gate live streams or chat rooms depending on how much fans pay, for instance. Purchasing behavior and fan engagements all go on-chain, but the platform otherwise bears a Web2 look.
“Jack is creating smart contracts back here without even knowing it,” Sanchez said of the tiered membership site.
MITH has a post-FTX sensibility, co-founder Matty Ayers said, focusing on the technological possibilities unlocked by blockchain without letting lay perceptions of crypto scare users off.
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“We create a wallet for you, and we don’t even tell you,” Ayers said. “If you focus on ‘wallet,’ that has a certain feeling. If you focus on ‘account,’ like this is my profile, it’s a completely different feeling.”
Emilia Clarke and Halle Berry are currently advisors to the project alongside Harlow, and Sanchez said MITH plans to open up “self-serve” to more creators in the first half of 2024. Ayers said MITH is also working on “co-creation” where fans can create derivative works started by popular creatives, and monetization and intellectual property rights are handled via blockchain.
MITH’s founders believe the best uses of blockchain tech for fan engagement will ultimately emerge down the road.
“We’re meeting with some heavy hitters in the digital identity space that are tied to [layer-1s] and we’re saying, ‘are you guys going to jump into the future with us?’ It’s not gonna be about speculative assets. It’s gonna be about participation and playing in a playground and testing tools and assumptions,” Ayers said.
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