The rise of the creative crypto-economy is a way of the future

On March 11, 2021, an NFT (non-fungible token) created by digital artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $ 69 million. Overnight, NFTs became the # 1 topic in the designer economy. After a wave of glowing eyes Sales To crypto-rich investors, the hype has exposed the world to the opportunities that crypto offers artists. A new creative crypto-economy has emerged.

During my time at Patreon, I saw the potential of a direct-to-fan monetization model. By enabling creators to generate a stable and sustainable income stream through direct engagement with their communities, the system – which puts control and ownership in the hands of creators – will build a more beautiful and rewarding creators economy. In order for artists to maximize the benefits of crypto, they will need to think beyond NFTs and start building a more cohesive and inclusive system where all fans (including crypto whales) can participate. Artists can focus on what they love: disseminating art and bringing value to their communities.

NFTs are only part of a bigger crypto revolution

While the NFT craze apparently exploded out of nowhere, another blockchain development simmered in the background: the concept of social tokens. Social tokens are personalized cryptocurrencies created by creators – artists, musicians, celebrities and others – to foster deeper connections with their communities and to fuel financial transactions within their fan ecosystems. They represent a new monetization paradigm by taking the concept of membership model to a new level: they provide the infrastructure for a creator to fully own their economy and integrate that currency wherever they interact with fans and perform. transactions for physical and digital goods. services.

The concept of social tokens and NFT is not new. Artists have always been at the forefront of embracing new technologies to connect with their fans. In 2009, Radiohead pioneered the direct-to-fan experience with the release of their album In the rainbows (with mixed results) and in 2017, Björk rewarded people who bought his album Utopia with crypto. But it is only recently that musicians like Portugal man to co-create independent economies with their communities through crypto.

In recent years, there has been a massive investment in building software, networks, and platforms capable of building NFTs and launching social tokens at zero or extremely low cost. This ease of use opened up access to technology and led to a ton of experimentation on the part of the creators. The musician JVCKJ launched an EP and a streetwear fashion brand via its own cryptocurrency earlier this year, and Post Malone has created a celebrity beer pong league with fans using NFTS. Actress Cara Delevingne raised funds for her foundation by auctioning an NFT video in which she explores the concepts of ownership and self-expression, while Jack Dorsey donated the $ 2.9 million he received from the sale of his very first tweet as an NFT to the GiveDirectly charity. While social tokens and NFTs are currently viewed as separate developments, a continuum is emerging of crypto-focused services and products that provide tools for creators to build a sustainable crypto-economy. A process that began when Patreon empowered creators on their micro-economies is now thriving on decentralized blockchain.

The appeal of crypto to creators and artists

While we’ve only recently seen it crystallize, it’s been inevitable for some time that crypto will become an integral part of the creator economy. The crypto economy favors artists over the big tech-owned social media platforms that have profited from their work over the past decade. Creators need fewer fans than ever for a living, and crypto allows them to directly own their financial relationship with fans instead of relying on tech giants to mediate. Additionally, cryptography gives creators control over their own economic success and helps them retain ownership of their intellectual property in perpetuity.

Just a few years ago, podcasting, hosting a YouTube channel, and blogging were considered hobbies, not professions. Now any of these avenues can be a viable entrepreneurial activity. There are universities that teach creators how to run their business. There are venture capital funds looking to invest early in the careers of creators to help them grow their channels. Thousands of new companies are popping up every day looking to help creators in all aspects of their engagement with fans and in all aspects of running their business. The challenge was that the creators had no way to tie it all together into a cohesive economy that goes with them wherever they interact with their fans.

With crypto, they do. They can launch their own savings and mint their own currencies which provide unique value to fans. These supporters become holders of tokens that they can use to certify their superfandom or access exclusive content and experiences. Artists like DJ / producer Wax Motif offer goods and services in exchange for their currency: last month, he launched $ WAXM to get closer to his fans, and offers a a myriad of advantages ranging from $ 75 WAXM for a birthday to an in-person meeting for $ 500 WAXM. As a result, he and his community have injected nearly $ 1 million into the WAXM economy. Likewise, streamer Alliestrasza regularly plays card games with fans on Twitch. Fans buy Twitch subscriptions with her coin, tip Allie directly, and if they wish, tip other community members when they do something positive. The savings of $ ALLIE are now over $ 1.2 million.

The spark ignited by the world’s obsession with NFTs could be a game-changer for the fair remuneration of artists who contribute so much to our culture. From a product and user experience perspective, NFTs are only at the beginning of what they will become over the next few years. The NFTs of the future will be much more respectful of nature by reducing the large amounts of energy used to build blockchains (via advances like Proof of stake). They’ll be interactive for fans – and as such, they’re arguably more valuable than the old-fashioned collectibles of yesteryear. More importantly, they will only be part of that personal savings instead of the whole story.

Bremner Morris is Rally CMO / CRO. Previously, he was responsible for global marketing and revenue at Patreon.

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