Gifto allows fans to reward content creators with virtual gifts (graphics and animations) that can be converted to Gifto Tokens or cash.

Their decentralized virtual gifting protocol (built on Ethereum) can be used on various existing content publishing platforms on the Internet, such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Gifto aims to provide an alternative revenue stream for Internet content creators who struggle to monetize their work.

The company plans to build a self-sustaining ecosystem for the following key participants:

  • Content creators: Creators who produce video, music or art for their fan base
  • Virtual gift creators: Contributors/artists who create the virtual gift assets, from images to animations (these can also be content creators themselves).
  • Curators: The panel who reviews and curates virtual gifts for quality, categorization, and pricing.

How it Works

Step 1:

The content creator selects the gifts that are a good fit for their type of work:

First Step Gifto

Step 2:

A Web link is created for the content creator to show the gifts to their fans:

Second Step Gifto

Step 3:

The content creators can past the link on their Instagram Facebook or LinkedIn channel:

Fourth Step Gifto

Step 4:

A fan clicks on the link, opens up the customized Gift Store, uses GIFTO tokens (GTO) to purchase and send a gift. Users get full access to the Gifto protocol when they are signed up to Uplives app.

First Step Gifto
Images via Whitepaper

Once a content creator receives a virtual gift, it is stored in an inventory, where they can choose one of two actions:

  • Redeem the virtual gift and convert it into GIFTO Tokens
  • Keep the virtual gift, which can be sent to others on the Uplive platform.

History & Team

Gifto.io was launched by the Asia Innovations Group, a mobile entertainment company that has experienced a lot of success with using virtual gifts as a highly effective monetization method for content creators.

The company’s flagship product – Uplive, is a live streaming service that allows users to broadcast or watch real-time videos on their smartphones.

On Uplive, users can buy thousands of virtual gifts for live broadcasters.

Virtual gifts not only drive significant revenue for global content creators, but also enhance the relationship between creators and their fans.

Since its launch in June 2016, the Uplive community has grown to 20 million users in over 100 countries, and the platform generated over $100m in revenue in 2017 (Over 25 million virtual gifts were purchased and sent on Uplive during the month of September alone).

The team behind Uplive decided to develop the universal Gifting Protocol based on these positive results.

Andy Tian, Uplives CEO, believes that the use of smart contracts to facilitate transactions will allow broadcasters to receive profits directly from viewers, rather than having to go through Uplive, a process that can take up to 30 days..

Furthermore, using Gifto tokens removes the need for Uplive to process many different fiat currencies on their virtual gift marketplace. Users also won’t have to deal with the hassle of converting fiat currencies to buy gifts. As the founder said in an interview

By integrating these contracts into the virtual gift itself, a transaction could automatically be executed, allowing for the instant delivery of revenue share to gift creators and producers

On December 14th, 2017, Gifto launched their Initial coin offering (ICO) , raising $10m in a matter of seconds, which in large part was due to their existing userbase from Uplive.

Uplive brings 60,000 Uplive broadcasters and 20 million users to be the first testers of the Alpha version of the Gifto Protocol, which began testing at the end of 2017. The Beta version followed after in Q1 2018.

Gifto also announced a partnership with Tron (TRX), another high profile player n the crypto space that is hoping to build a global entertainment ecosystem. The aim of their partnership is to further monetize decentralized content.

Gifto Team Members
Images via gifto.io

The Gifto team is made of a variety of successful serial entrepreneurs across Asia.

  • CEO Andy Tian is the founder of Asian Innovations Group, his fourth startup. He was previously the general manager of Zynga China, and worked at Google, where he introduced Android to the Chinese market. Andy graduated from MIT with a Masters in Computer science in 1998.
  • Chief Crypto Officer – Charles Thach is a Seasoned banker with 15+ years experience, as well as an AML/KYC expert. He’s also Invested in Blockchain companies, and Co-authored US patent pending technology to build a massively scalable and transactional crypto currency wallet.
  • Chief Crypto Architect – William Nguyen is a Serial entrepreneur, educator, lecturer and Inventor. He Co-authored a US patent pending technology to build a massively scalable and transactional crypto currency wallet. He is a former Alfred P. Sloan Fellow at Harvard.

Pros

Let’s take a look at some of the main advantages and unique selling points of Gifto.

Revenue Streams

Gifto is providing an alternative revenue stream for Internet content creators who struggle to monetize their work.

Only 0.3% of videos on Youtube have over 1milion views, but these videos only earn $2,000 on average.

A sub-economy has been launched off of the creating, curating and trading of Virtual gifts, which content creators (and virtual gift designers) are now able to generate steady income from.

Smart Contract Functionality

Gifto uses smart contracts to implement their virtual gifts, removing middlemen like Youtube, Uplive or other publishers who normally receive the money creators earn.

Moreover, these centralised networks will pay them out many days later and according to their own terms. Now the payments are made directly from the fan to content creator.

Equitable Distribution

When a fan purchases a gift with Gifto tokens, the tokens are split to reward all key participants:

Gifto Project Token Distribution
  • Content creator will earn up to 80% as he/she is considered the main contributor to the ecosystem.
  • Gift creator earns 5%: If an established IP is used, then the IP rights holder will be entitled to a portion of this token revenue share. Actual % is up to agreement between gift creator and IP owner, and there will be a custom data field in the smart contract for this gift.
  • Gift Curator earns 2% for work done in reviewing the gift created.
  • GIFTO Protocol earns 10% for operational support and maintenance of the ecosystem.
  • the remaining 3% would be accumulated into a rewards pool to be paid out periodically to all viewers/fans as bonus or lucky draw prizes to reinforce the element of fun and gamification.

This provides incentives for all participants to create, curate and review fairly.

Strong Team

Giftos team is highly experienced due to their success with Uplive. They are also very engaged online and give weekly updates via medium.com

Strong Engagement

Users’ rewarding their favorite content creators with gifts makes the payment process less transactional and more fun and engaging. When users are more engaged in the virtual gifting ecosystem, they will tend to give more.

This ultimately means more money for the content creator and for the Gifto protocol (according to Giftos’ white paper; sales statistics show that users are willing to pay $1,471 for an “Around the World” gift, one of the most expensive gifts offered on Uplive).

Concerns

Although there are a number of advantages that come with Gifto, one of the major factors that is likely to hamper adoption is the supposed image “virtual gifting”.

Gifto’s virtual gifting protocol may not be a good fit for creators who have a more serious audience. Some might view virtual gifts that can be converted to digital tokens as a bit redundant.

If both gifts and tokens can be converted to cash, then it only seems like the gifts exist for aesthetic purposes (i.e; gifting a creator with a virtual gem or crown, as opposed to an ordinary token).

For the users who enjoy it, it hasn’t been redundant and has actually shown to boost fan/creator engagement as well as company revenue, but it will be interesting to see if creators of more serious content (education, politics, instruction videos) would rather just have fans gift them with tokens directly.

Coin Performance & Value

As of May 7, 2018, the price of Gifto (GTO) is $0.46 per token. The token launched on December 18th at a price of $0.28. The company launched their Initial Coin Offering on December 14th, raising $10 million in a matter of seconds.

Gifto is currently ranked #94 for market cap.

Gifto hit its peak price on January 12th at $0.98, and has experienced 3 other peaks, one on February 16th at $0.61, on April 27th at $0.59, and recently at $0.63 on May 3rd.

Perhaps not coincidentally, each peak has coincided with a new announcement on the Medium.com blog from the companies CEO – Andy Tian. The team frequently posts products updates and new features, which helps strengthen the communities trust in their platform.

Competition

cryptokitties
Image via CNBC

The most high profile player in this space is Crypto kitties. Crypto kitties made a name by allowing users to buy, sell, or trade their digital cats like it was a traditional collectible.

The hype around trading these items got so big that someone actually purchased one for $100,000, proving that value is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Gifto differentiates itself by having a much more diverse selection of gifts that are curated and designed by artists who receive Gifto tokens as an incentive.

The company also has a much bigger goal, which is to provide alternative and sustainable revenue streams for content creators. This should give investors more confidence in their long-term success.

Should You Consider Gifto Tokens?

Gifto is one of the few crypto companies that are able to integrate their protocol with the 20million users from their successful Uplive platform. In China alone, live streaming was a roughly US$5 billion industry in 2017.

This gives them a huge advantage over competitors because they not only have the audience, they also have the experience of working in the virtual gifting space, and can make the transition to a decentralized protocol without losing a step.

Uplive has already been generating millions of dollars of income for over 60,000 content creators every month. This constant income stream is generated directly from their dedicated viewer base in Asia, and now expanding globally.

Uplive Statistics
Images via Whitepaper

Furthermore, the products created under Asia Innovations Group (the company behind Uplive and Gifto) have together accumulated over 100 million users, and the company generated more than $130 Million in revenue for 2017 alone.

As for the success of content creators who receive virtual gifts, the top broadcasters on Uplive regularly make over $50,000 a month, for broadcasting only 1-2 hours per day.

Based on these metrics, it looks as if GTO tokens could be considered a good investment. Of course, you have to do your own research in order to be completely comfortable with the investment.

Conclusion

Overall Gifto is an expansion of Uplives already successful business in the virtual gifting space. The company has figured out how to turn what would normally be a very bland and transactional process of paying content creators into something fun and engaging.

Uplive has realized that there is an added emotional reward to receiving virtual customized gifts that help fans and content creators build stronger relationships.

As more content continues to pour unto the Internet, creators will find it harder to monetize their work through ads and other traditional means.

They will need to figure out how to build a real relationship with their fans, and a decentralized virtual gifting protocol seems like the perfect way to turn the monetization process into a creative partnership between broadcasters, curators, and fans alike.

Featured Image via Fotolia

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

Posted by Toju Ometoruwa

Toju Ometoruwa is a Northeastern University alumni who is the co-founder of Pazima, a start-up that provides secure lending options for low-income workers. His passion is to empower communities across the African diaspora through the blockchain.