By Taylor Scott
If you are a creator who is operating online, you’re likely stymied by many challenges that are part of the creator ‘framework’ that exists today. Meanwhile, the audience of content consumers seems to be ever-growing, and the ‘creator economy’ has become ever-present.
Emerging platforms, such as Substack or Patreon, have laid a foundation for creator-first platforms – but many creators, even those that are far from presenting controversial content, face uphill challenges through today’s set of platforms. However, constraints for creators span far beyond just platforms.
In a constantly evolving landscape, let’s look ‘bitcoin fix this’?
Creator’s Current Affairs
Our colleagues at sister network NewsBTC highlighted recently how NFTs have already opened doors for creators, especially digitally-native artists. However, there’s still a lot more on the horizon, especially for musicians, journalists, and other creators.
A recent report, “From Dependence To Independence,” took a qualitative and quantitative approach at the challenges creators face in today’s landscape. While there’s much to be said about the state of today’s ‘creator economy,’ the report is undoubtedly worth a read; when it comes to crypto and the potential impact that could be had on creators? “Ignore the connection at your own peril,” the report reads.
Where do the troubles lie? The white paper lends several ideas: “the algorithms are designed to benefit the platform, not the creator.” Additionally, content could fall out of favor from advertisers, or platforms can wield unnecessary decisions, often with little support systems in place.
One case study around this was crypto commentator Anthony Pompliano and his YouTube-hosted “Best Business Show.” Pompliano is a vocal cryptocurrency advocate and in recent months, had content pulled from the platform with little reasoning provided as to why he was being banned. Pompliano didn’t shy away from generating more content from the platform’s decision, which was eventually reversed.
This is amplified when considering the numbers revealed in “From Dependence To Independence.” A majority of creator revenue is driven from advertising rev share, and 65% of creators “feel overworked and/or underpaid.” As traditional ad dollars shift over towards more organic content that is often better suited with independent creators, there is arguably a brighter financial future ahead. But creators today are burned out and face regular uphill battles.
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As Ethereum gas prices are optimized in the years to come, and emerging scalable and gas-friendly competitors continue to gain footholds in the NFT and social token markets, expect NFTs to continue to be a valuable tool for creators. | Source: ETH-USD on TradingView.com
A Croissant’s Case Study
The crypto croissant @CroissantEth recently addressed this as well; how can creators monetize work without sacrificing income, decentralization, interoperability, and most importantly, ownership to centralized platforms? The croissant resorted to leaving behind Google Adsense and turning to memberships, and turned NFTs into webpage keys by utilizing the Unlock Protocol. Users can access membership via NFTs, and wouldn’t be priced out from expensive Ethereum gas, as the NFTs were supported on other chains as well, such as Optimism, Arbitrum, and Polygon. In a croissant-ian conclusion, “NFTs give ultimate power to the creators.”
However, it is worth noting that in present day, some mediums are going to be more conducive to this sort of success than others. Music, for example, is a category that has been present in the NFT world, but not prevalent. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean the potential isn’t there. It simply means we’ll need more time for mainstream consumers to adapt.
Another great example of this is laid out from Reddit Product Manager Peter Yang, who has some excellent pieces around crypto and the creator economy. In March, Yang published a piece detailing different creators engaging with social tokens – essentially tokenized memberships. Indeed, there is extreme versatility for creators across many if not all mediums, from digital artists to YouTubers to musicians to adult content creators that can find success with social tokens.
However, a token doesn’t solve all problems. Yang lays out that price fluctuations, the immense commitment level, and potential regulatory impacts should all be considerations when looking at social tokens for creators.
NFTs have undoubtedly changed lives from creators that were once worried about their next meal. However, in the short-term we will still need to shift the social media paradigm to drive a gaming equivalent of ‘play-to-earn.’ The emergence of DAOs on a social level, which is yet to be seen at large scale, could potentially change that. Regardless of where we land, compensation for individuals who are building something, even if it’s creative and fun, is deserved.
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Featured image from Pixabay, Charts from TradingView.com