The creator economy in Web3

8 Min Read - By Brian Wong

Defining the creator economy 

The creator economy is the group of people who make money from their creations, typically as an entrepreneur on the internet. The creator economy encompasses artists, writers, musicians, social media influencers, photographers, videographers, and more. Your favorite Youtuber and the painter you order wall art from on Etsy are both parts of the creator economy. 

The creator economy has opened doors for more artists to make money on their passions. Now, more people than ever can make money in flexible, unique ways. 

But there’s one less rosy side:

Web 2 creator economy 

Most of the revenue from creation ends up with the platform rather than the creator. Unless you’re in the top 0.5% of creators on the platform, you’re not bringing in a reasonable living through your hard work—it’s going toward the platform. 

YouTube has advertisements in most of its videos, but that money goes mainly to Youtube itself, not the people whose videos the ads were shown. If social media influencers want to make money from their creations, they must find another avenue.

Overall, the creator economy of Web2 could have been better for creators. Part of this is because we’re used to “free” content on the internet and only have to pay for a few services. 

Marc Andreesen, who played a significant role in the early founding of the internet, said the lack of seamlessly-integrated payment systems on search engines was “the original sin of the internet.” Those creators often use platforms to amplify their work. And users became accustomed to getting creators’ work for free while outlets took the revenue from advertisements or subscriptions.

Web3 has the potential to change that. 

Web3 creator economy 

Web3 changes the creator economy landscape because, through blockchain technology, you don’t need a middle-man to sit between creator and consumer. Instead, creators and consumers can engage peer-to-peer without a platform taking profits. The ethos of the Web3 creator economy is that individual creators should keep the majority of profits, not platforms. 

With the advent of blockchain technology, the new creator economy will be an environment for individuals to make money directly on their creations rather than a middle-man taking the profits. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay for every video you watch or article you read. Instead, it means that platforms will decrease in power, and what you pay for services (or watch or read through ads) will go to creators rather than corporations. 

In Web3, platforms typically don’t take creators’ revenue; if they do, it’s a small sum—2.5% on Opensea, for example. And they certainly don’t take ownership of the asset. Instead, the creator has all the ownership, and therefore all the power, in their hands. They can tokenize their work by launching a token, which fans would hold in the hope of increasing value. Or they could mint their work as NFTs. We’ll dive into more examples in later courses. The creator economy makes ownership of your work and the opportunity to profit and make a living off it feasible because platforms don’t need to be middle-man taking profits anymore.

NFTs’ role in the creator economy

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are a fundamental part of the creator economy of Web3. This is because they are based on the principle of digital scarcity, meaning that something online can be coded to be “scarce” or limited in number. This scarcity can make something valuable, so artists can sell their work and generate revenue without a platform eating up all the profits.

An artist makes a piece of digital art and mints it on a blockchain. It has a verifiable record of ownership. Think of it like a spreadsheet, but no one can edit it. Once it’s minted, the artist can put it up for sale. Web3-native platforms such as OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, and Binance are places where artists mint and sell their artwork. 

Buyers can then use the platform to bid on the piece, and the highest bidder takes the artwork once the bidding period is over. Now, the buyer’s NFT is their own piece of digital art, verifiable on the blockchain. The buyer can keep it or “flip” it to make a higher profit. The secondary market of buying and selling can then take off.

This is vastly different from how art was bought and sold before Web3’s new version of the creator economy. 

Are you looking to launch your NFT collection? Read more on how to make money with NFTs.

If you were an artist, you’d need to make physical items and sell them to make a profit. No one would buy a jpeg file of a piece of art because there was no way to record ownership.  Without blockchain technology creating an immutable record of ownership, anyone can “right-click save” that piece of art and technically “own” it. There’s no absolute ownership on the internet without the blockchain. 

The possibilities of this are exciting, but we’ve only just reached the tip of the iceberg. It’s exciting for every creator out there. But the question remains: will the creator economy take off in the next decade, or will large platforms jump in and continue to reap the profits? 

How can content creators monetize on Web3?

Currently, Web2 is inefficient and constrained for creators and fans and is intended to serve advertisers and the centralized platforms on which these relationships exist. 

Today, most content creators earn money by partnering with brands or selling products online and in-store. Content creators are concerned about their careers because they do not own their social media accounts and are constantly “fighting” with other creators to monetize their content.

In addition to earning more revenue, creators can now provide more genuine, engaged, and accessible experiences through a system redesign. Fans will be free to choose what they want to buy in the future, with trust, loyalty, and personalized content guiding their relationships. New monetization methods will allow celebrities and followers to be autonomous about how they contribute to the relationship.

Web3 offers more ways for content creators to monetize their careers. When entering the Web3 space, content creators could consider three different approaches. 

If you’re running a Web3 startup that helps content creators monetize their work and take control of their careers, reach out to our founder to learn how we can help increase the discovery of your brand.

1. Selling NFTs

Using blockchains as global transaction registers (at a minimum, their receipts), NFTs will have almost limitless possibilities. An NFT allows users to own things like pictures and music, as well as digital personas and environments, and to sell those works for money.

There are many types of NFTs. Content creators can choose from fractional NFTs to Soul-bound NFTs depending on their business and audience. NFTs allow creators to set up royalties which can translate into recurring revenue.

Creates must clearly define the value they are offering their supporters before they launch an NFT project. 

2. Create a social token or a personal token

Many DAOs have issued tokens through crowdfunding projects to raise funds to build products. Similarly, creators can issue tokens to create their content (think large-scale content) or create a group for their loyal fans (token-gated communities).

With social tokens, creators can establish an economy for their network of fans by trading them for specific offerings, transforming their skill or service into a social currency. Through social token purchases, fans can access exclusive content like unique tracks from musicians, shout-outs from influentials, or coaching sessions with gurus from any industry. Through this framework, both the creator and fan can benefit from combining physical and digital experiences.

For example, Coinvise, an open platform on Ethereum, enables creators to build social communities based on tokenized assets. For creators who want to make their tokens, Coinvise provides an extensive resource library. To learn more about social tokens, read this guide.

There will be many kinds of content creators in the coming years, and better creation tools will enable users and businesses to create unique content. As a result, content creators will have the opportunity to monetize their careers through other Web3 technologies.

3. Become a creator on our platform!

We are the first social education platform that allows people to earn as they learn. We are always looking for content creators to create educational content that’s useful and valuable for professionals, creatives, and hobbyists alike. 

Currently, we have the Continuum content creators creating educational content on digital marketing, branding, and freelancing, and we also see different demands through conversations with the community.

Our platform allows creators to earn up to 500 gems for uploading quality content. Gems are our virtual currency, which users can convert into $UUM. $UUM is our cryptocurrency based on the ERC-20 standard. We are currently working on tokenomics.

In the future, creators on Continuum will be able to sell premium content or services directly to their fans and followers.

Premium content or services could include the following:

  • Sale of tangible items such as ebooks, cohort courses, workshops, etc.
  • Paid video responses to questions learners ask of you. You can set your price.
  • Premium access to gated parts of your community within the Continuum app.
  • Our mission is to democratize education and create new pathways to financial freedom through the pixelated economy.
  • And more! 

Continuum is very excited to be onboarding the next generations of learners and creatives to the future of income, work, and ownership.

Get our learn-to-earn app today and apply to become a creator!

Wait before you close this tab. Find out more about the Continuum ambassador program. It is a great trial run for creators looking to create content for our community.

Brian Wong
Brian has experience managing communities for web3 startups, DAOs, and NFT collections, leading social media efforts for SMBs, as well as working in film production, and talent management roles. He is based in Singapore.