Here’s How Crypto Will Empower A Massive Demographic

Written by Lauren DeLisa Coleman

Many members of the technorati dealing with crytocurrency and blockchain are focused on the controversy over price that’s shutting people out of the influential Consensus 2018 conference taking place this week in New York City.

Other visionaries are working to make crypto open, using digital currency to help balance the wealth gap and empower regular consumers.

Frank E. Banks is the founder and CEO of ZEN, a new startup based in California. The former lead systems engineer at Zynga, Banks has created an unprecedented offering in the crypto space.

On its website, ZEN describes itself as the only blockchain-powered social video platform for fandom communities everywhere.

Frank E. Banks, founder of ZEN. Photo provided

Specifically targeting teen users, ZEN is a decentralized network designed to support the emerging generation of pop culture video editors. The ZEN app lets creators build an audience and share their work with fans in any region around the globe.

Eighty-five million U.S. teenagers are spending more than eight hours a day consuming media — that’s nearly 250 billion hours annually, according to Nielsen research.

How Crypto Will Empower

Banks decided to create a platform to meet the needs of a key segment of this population who creates short-form video for fans of the latest video games, movies, and anime.

Such impetus came directly from his experience being one of few people of color in his particular area of expertise in tech. He wanted to create a space so those who are interested in participating in a much-hyped arena like crypto can finally have access.

However, this is not just another social media offering. ZEN is building a decentralized marketplace and new ZENCoin cryptocurrency that enables peer-to-peer transactions and advertising revenue to flow through, giving every creator the opportunity to generate income.

The app operates on top of the ZEN Foundational eXchange (ZENFX). Built on the blockchain and using the company’s new ZENCoin cryptocurrency, ZENFX enables creators to make money through peer-to-peer transactions as well as audience- and advertiser-driven programs.

In offering such a business model, the company is one of the first to transform creators into stakeholders in this manner. ZEN is replacing informal shadow markets with a platform that will empower teens to connect to a community who values their work.

ZEN already has a core group of users who are providing insight into this community and validation of the product roadmap.

“With ZEN we’re building an automated marketplace to match these creators with ad buyers, whether it be their peers or third-party brands, and make them stakeholders in the whole thing by using ZENCoins as the only way to make payments in the marketplace,” Banks said.

The company is also unique in that it is one of the first to create a pre-ICO crowd sale licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Banks said.

“We chose this path to provide the broadest access and build the strongest investor community possible,” Banks explained. “Our ethos of empowerment extends to every facet of this business including how we choose to raise money.”

The emerging crypto space is anything but established. Crypto as it currently exists is only for the elite, those in-the-know, or for pure B2B applications. By ZEN offering something to the public at large, they can get up over the noise to be heard. The crypto space is very, very crowded and overlapping. Something is needed to stand out and help to create long-term value prop.

As cryptocurrency becomes an even more dominant part of our world narrative, startups that take the initiative to provide unique offerings to the public at large just may differentiate themselves for competitive advantage in the long haul.