How Blockchain Can Empower Content Creators
As someone who founded a successful social media agency, Good Audience, I know first-hand how incredibly tough it is for individual content creators to earn a living from their work. You need to first spend years building an audience and creating content every single day. Even then, you will be lucky to earn enough to cover your rent.
Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram run a ton of advertisements. Those dollars go directly from advertisers to the social media platforms. Content creators don’t see any of it unless they have a special arrangement with the advertiser or the social network. For the majority of creators, this is not the case.
Decentralization and blockchain would be the perfect fit to solve this problem. Every single piece of unique content could be recorded on the blockchain along with impressions, likes and comments. Content creators would have transparency into the impact they are making for brands or social networks and be properly rewarded for it.
One social network, called Steemit, allows content creators to be rewarded in STEEM tokens based on upvotes from the community. Those tokens can be exchanged for fiat. The platform was started in March 2016 and now has a little over 750,000 users. As of November 2017, $30 million has been paid out to over 50,000 users, according to Wired.
However, content creators need to be on the Steemit platform to be rewarded. You won’t be rewarded for any the hard work you put in to building your audience on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These existing social networks are still powerful and the mainstream public still spend the majority of their day interacting on those platforms.
Gifto, a decentralized gifting protocol coming right out of Hong Kong, aims to solve this problem by allowing fans to reward content creators in the form of virtual gifts. These gifts can be exchanged for GTO tokens which can then be exchanged for fiat. Fans can do this from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any social media platform where they follow the content creator.
Hong Kong, being part of the Greater Bay Area, is a hotbed for crypto activity and is the perfect link between the east and the west. It’s no surprise that Uplive, a live streaming application in Asia that has 30 million users, came up with the idea for Gifto.
I reached out to Andy Tian, CEO of Asia Innovations Group (the creator of Uplive and Gifto), to find out why he believes blockchain empowers content creators. As the former head of Zynga Asia, he’s been thinking about gamification for a long time. Virtual gifts is one way to keep both fans and the content creator engaged by rewarding them for their work.
According to Tian, Uplive generated $100 million in revenue in 2017 via virtual gifts and is projected for $300+ million in 2018. Gifto will replace the existing gifting infrastructure of Uplive. It seems like this is one of few blockchain projects that have a real business model other than the value of the coin rising. Additionally, the number of token holders will increase dramatically from 12,000 to potentially all 30 million Uplive users.
Steemit is taking it from a single platform approach. Gifto is going at this cross-platform. Another interesting route is going at this from the browser level. Brave allow users of the browser to reward websites directly for their content using the BAT token and removes ads. This also puts the power of rewarding content creators to the hands of the users.
Whichever approach earns the biggest adoption, blockchain is surely empowering content creators to earn what the public thinks they deserve.