Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are blazing new trails for the creator economy.
With new opportunities to unlock access to a global audience while developing a worldwide brand, creators across the board are jumping in (and cashing in!)
Undoubtedly, NFTs let creators experience a more meaningful, intimate connection with their community and fans. But it's the tech behind NFTs that offers genuine benefits for both creators and fans. Not only can work be fully authenticated and widely distributed, but the intermediary “middle-man” is becoming a thing of the past.
Thanks to blockchain, NFTs let creators easily mint and copyright their work, listing it for sale on open marketplaces. All of these transactions are unchangeable. This means over time, tokens can gain value, increasing rarity and driving even more demand for creativity.
NFTs have welcomed a thriving resale market, offering a golden opportunity for creators to earn income from their assets forever, anytime their work is resold.
Welcome to a new era of creative ownership.
More than $2 billion was spent on NFTs in the beginning of this year, representing an increase of more than 2000% from Q4 2020.
Indeed, the world is obsessed with NFTs, and the tech has set the stage for the fair compensation of artists who influence our culture.
We are at the heart of a new digital creator economy, only this time, it’s an innovative overhaul of the early 2000s revolution. The turn of the 21st century and the advance of Web 2.0 welcomed the first creator platforms like Youtube and Patreon.
We are currently witnessing the next evolution of the creator economy, powered by the latest tech—Web 3.0 and blockchain—which together have pioneered NFTs.
Let’s break it all down.
Who remembers the first few Youtube videos to go viral: SHOES or David After Dentist? Or the fact that Nyan Cat shot to fame on YouTube back in 2011, before NFTs were even a thing? The impact of these videos created a tidal wave that has forever changed the way content is distributed to the public.
Seeing an opportunity to cash in on the creator economy of the 2000s, YouTube launched its Partner Program to attract users to its platform. The idea: upload quality content, get paid via YouTube’s advertising revenue streams—and the rest is history.
It didn’t take too long for more platforms to hit the creator scene. Patreon introduced a more personal community engagement model. Creators were given control over their content while having a shot at earning a living and engaging the fans. Similarly, Kickstarter forged the way for creators from all walks of life to raise funds to turn their dreams into reality.
Just imagine if someone had told you that you could hop on your phone and watch your favorite music videos or play highly sought-after video games without having to wait weeks or even months for artists or gaming companies to announce release dates. That, my friends, was the first remarkable modern-day creator resurgence.
It’s much easier to appreciate the impact of NFTs on the modern-day creator simply by understanding what happens behind the scenes.
In a broad sense, non-fungible tokens are a method of storing unique digital items on a blockchain network. Let’s say you minted and sold an NFT from your first digital art collection. Each time your NFT is resold, you can get paid royalties—forever.
Thanks to blockchain development, it has become easier than ever before to share your work with a much wider audience, and NFTs are thriving on blockchain because of its very nature: it is inclusive, transparent, and fully decentralized.
This means creators have the freedom to release content to supporters and fans without the need for a middleman and with complete control over artistic vision.
In addition, blockchain transactions are tamper-proof, which means original works can’t be misrepresented.
NFTs are enjoying so much popularity this year that even your mom has started asking you about them. With no end in sight, many digital collectibles are being sold for millions upon millions of dollars.
Is it any wonder that creators far and wide are minting unique NFTs to earn income with the added benefit of connecting with fans on a deeper level?
Creators have been given a golden opportunity to monetize their brand and connect with their audience in ways only the biggest rockstars in the world could previously enjoy. In a recent interview for Rolling Stone, Portugal, The Man breaks it down for fans:
“We saw a unique opportunity to build a community that provides for the fanbase, is controlled by the fanbase, and is supported by the band.”
Back in 2008, the music industry experienced a crash like no other, introducing music piracy .mp3 platforms like Napster. To say that artists were losing a lot of money is putting it lightly. In many ways, the music industry still hasn’t recovered from the practice of illegal downloads.
Next came the heavy-hitters: Spotify, iTunes, YouTube. These platforms made accessibility convenient for fans, but took away the value of scarcity and creativity.
Under the guise of a “join us, and we’ll make sure you never get ripped off again” campaign, these platforms lured musicians in, but ultimately failed to deliver. Once again, the average musician was left high and dry.
Enter today’s creator economy. NFTs have reintroduced the concept of scarcity into the digital realm while giving creators a new way to monetize from their supporters. This holds for any tokenized assets from gaming to music, photography to art, and anything else one can dream up.
From here, creators across all content channels can build around their NFTs and expand their digital fan clubs.
From limited releases and signed artwork to live virtual experiences, this is still just the beginning. Some creators are even tokenizing excerpts from books they have written. Others are tokenizing tarot cards, recipes from a food series, even rare illustrations of concept cars and exotic collector cars.
In fact, NFTs are evolving so quickly that conscious creators can already take advantage of the technology on new, eco-friendly blockchain networks.
2020 was probably one of the most devastating years for many of us, especially the cultural workforce. So many were suddenly out of work, but the silver lining is that creativity became the mother of invention in the greater scheme of things.
Blockchain adoption, in general, took flight; "DeFi" and "NFTs" became household names; and the future of art and digital asset trading has never looked more promising.
So bring on the new creator economy, NFTs, and all that comes in tow.
As the wise Yoda once said, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”