After two years and lots of COVID-19 restrictions lastly subsiding, the world is welcoming the return of in-person theater, motion pictures, comedy, music and sports activities. This has left some questioning what’s going to occur to the legions of digital creatives who occupied and entertained us whereas regular life was at a standstill — and to the multibillion-dollar economic system they inhabit.
Will the world neglect the platforms and artists they found throughout the pandemic now the doorways of festivals, style exhibits and live shows are open to them once more? Is the creator economic system, which latest estimates recommend will exceed $100 billion this 12 months, sturdy sufficient to face up to a stampede again to real-life experiences?
I strongly imagine it’s. Authorities-imposed restrictions could have accelerated the tempo of change, however the transformative developments in video streaming we witnessed throughout the pandemic have been nascent earlier than and would have caught maintain regardless.
And, whereas I declare no deep coaching in macroeconomics, I’m a technologist who has spent the previous a number of years working in and round one of the crucial transformative new applied sciences to come up in many years: the blockchain. That is the expertise that may fully reshape digital life, supercharging the creator economic system within the course of.
Enjoying on a digital stage
The enforced slowdown has given many artists the time — and the push — wanted to experiment within the digital sphere, discover new audiences and discover new methods to showcase their skills.
Even musicians who would possibly by no means have given severe thought to stay streaming a live performance have taken to the digital stage. And, there’s proof this can proceed. Take singer Dua Lipa, who broke paid livestreaming data with 2020’s Studio 2054 live performance. Initially mentioned to be reluctant, Dua Lipa determined to go the livestream route after being compelled to postpone an album tour. This turned out to be a very good name: Her digital look drew greater than 5 million views globally.
A survey from Middlesex College and funded by the UK Financial and Social Analysis Council confirmed that some 90% of musicians and 92% of followers imagine livestreaming would stay an efficient method to attain followers unwilling or unable to journey to venues within the post-pandemic world. Suppliers ought to take be aware: The research additionally discovered that audiences don’t count on free entry to stay music and should not notably discouraged by paywalls.
The rise in artistic power has impressed the developer neighborhood as properly. New area of interest streaming platforms have grown up, helped by the emergence of low-cost decentralized infrastructure that permits utility builders to encode video, retailer knowledge and deal with id with out having to pay costly centralized cloud suppliers for such companies.
These centralized suppliers will more and more discover themselves on the defensive. Two attention-grabbing incidents in 2021 are illustrative: Hackers attacked Twitch and launched personal details about its code and its customers to the world. And, Fb suffered colossal reputational injury from a prolonged outage and whistleblower claims that its administration has repeatedly chosen to prioritize revenue over security.
What comes subsequent?
Huge Tech’s woes and pandemic-related restrictions have sped up elementary adjustments already underway in how the world produces, consumes and makes use of video content material — adjustments prone to propel development within the creator economic system properly into the longer term. And, given the growing availability of low-cost decentralized blockchain infrastructure, these rising gamers have a shot at mounting a severe problem to the FAANG-run streaming suppliers.
There are 5 ways in which blockchain will hasten development within the creator economic system, and assist cement it as a central drive in worldwide tradition and leisure:
Exclusivity: Nonfungible token- (NFT-) gated entry and NFT ticketing are solely two of the decentralized instruments that enhance the digital expertise for event-goers: NFT tickets curb scalping whereas giving attendees a singular memento, all whereas token gating helps distinctive experiences for followers resembling entry to non-public teams and direct messaging with creators.
Fan possession: The Web3 period is outlined by the shift from extracting worth from renters to accreting worth to homeowners. Simply because the blockchain allows followers to have interaction straight with their favourite creators, it presents a pathway to asset possession in particular person creator economies outdoors of conventional centralized platforms.
Low-cost streaming: Video streaming accounts for greater than 80% of Web2 web visitors and counting. Builders, desperate to seize a bit of this market with out being crushed by excessive prices, are more and more in search of blockchain-based reasonably priced infrastructure to assist creator streams. With their new means to attract international audiences by way of on-demand access-anywhere streams, creators are turning to uniquely Web3 options resembling tipping, paid entry and stay buying to monetize their content material.
Immersive interactivity: The one-way nature of Web2 publishing is already giving method to immersive interactivity that rewards customers for participation. With the power to report immutably and securely on the blockchain, creators can incentivize interactions with out sacrificing privateness.
Area of interest down: Whereas Web2 was constructed to scale up, Web3 is constructed to area of interest down. With its decrease value, elevated safety and resistance to censorship, the blockchain makes it attainable to construct micro-communities serving smaller niches than can be economically viable in Web2. That’s a elementary shift that not solely places creators in management but additionally makes communities much less interesting to attention-seeking trolls.
The stage has been set for a blossoming of artistic exercise, and people poised to take it is going to be assisted by decentralized infrastructure.
Digital creatives have at all times acknowledged that they have to be nimble to succeed. Now, there’s a expertise that may empower them and their analog friends to achieve new audiences on their very own phrases with out having to cede energy or revenue to tech behemoths like Google and Amazon.
My religion within the means of musicians, players, influencers and creators to adapt to the brand new realities to come back — and to thrive in them — has by no means been stronger.
The creator economic system? The clue’s within the identify.
This text doesn’t include funding recommendation or suggestions. Each funding and buying and selling transfer entails danger, and readers ought to conduct their very own analysis when making a choice.
The views, ideas and opinions expressed listed below are the writer’s alone and don’t essentially replicate or characterize the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Doug Petkanics is a co-founder at Livepeer, the place the staff is constructing a decentralized stay video broadcast platform to allow the subsequent technology of video streaming. Previous to Livepeer, Doug was co-founder and CEO of Wildcard, a cellular browser. He additionally co-founded Hyperpublic, which was acquired by Groupon. He was the VP of Engineering at each.