Mad Realities' Devin Lutan Guides Crypto Users Through Reality TV - TechCrunch

Web3 doesn’t have the most comprehensive reputation, but so many crypto founders are talking about bringing the next 100 million users into the space. Statistically speaking, the next 100 million cannot possibly consists entirely of a homogenous group of cis white males who spend most of their waking hours coding and/or day trading (no shade, just stating a fact)!

This week on Chain reactionI interviewed Devin Lutan, a twenty-something founder who seems to have discovered the secret sauce when it comes to introducing web3 to new audiences.

Her New York-based media company, Mad Realities, just debuted its first season of “Proof of Love,” a dating-focused reality TV show that lets viewers engage with the storyline and vote on key decisions through NFT. This 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 will bring the next 100 million people to crypto will be satisfaction because it’s intuitive. It’s a real consumer use case,” Lewtan said on the podcast.

Lutan, who catapulted to global tech fame when she starred in the release of the viral Clubhouse show NYU Girls Roasting Tech Guys during the height of the pandemic, first became interested in NFTs when she started talking to her girlfriend and now co-founder Alice Ma on how crypto can help change the way media is funded.

“We’re putting out a blog post basically saying what would it look like if we put this dating show where people mine our NFTs and they can vote on who gets on the show, what happens and who wins and they have fun, specials, bonuses for management based on the tier they’ve purchased,” Lutan said.

Shortly after the Mad Realities team released their first blog post in November, they raised the equivalent of ~$500k USD worth of ethereum to fund production. In just a few months, they had prepared a five-week interactive show filmed in person in New York.

The audience for the first season, which ended in April of this year, was ~65% female and mainly consisted of people who were there just for the entertainment value of the show at the beginning, not because of its connection to web3, Lutan said.

Mad Realities CEO and Co-Founder Devin Lutan

Mad Realities CEO and Co-Founder Devin Lutan Image Credits: Contributed by Devin Lewtan

After audience members saw the privileges and voting rights granted to Mad Realities NFT holders, called “rose holders” in a nod to The Bachelor franchise, they were intrigued.

“They were able to tell their friends that I’m pretty sure these rose holders that keep showing up are people who bought NFTs and these NF Ts allowed them to vote on things and then the NFT money funded the show. And then they’re like, this actually makes sense to me, more so than most projects in the space… it’s not really like the trick type of use case that I’m thinking about with NFTs,” Lutan said.

As for what’s next, Lutan said the next season of “Proof of Love,” launching this fall, will inform the startup as it crafts a broader vision of 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 for their audience, she added.

Above all, Lewtan stressed the importance of putting user convenience first when building the product.

“One of the things we’re focusing on now as we build our app is that it’s important [creating a crypto wallet] is not one of the steps in the process. You just need to be able to create an account and not think about the fact that it’s linked to a wallet,” Lutan said.

“The wallet is compatible, but if you sign up, you should be able to have NFTs in your wallet and in your app and not even think about it… So a lot of the things 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?”

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