NFTs, the metaverse, social tokens, and community
Like most of my fellow non-tech graduates from university, it was a bit of a struggle to find a promising career path upon graduation. I spent the better part of a year launching my resume into the void of entry-level roles. And from that void was an equal barrage of automated rejections with the occasional pyramid scheme pitch sprinkled in.
“I may have fucked up,” I whispered to myself as I cracked open another bud light following a long Tuesday of job applications and call of duty.
The existential angst of being jobless, moneyless, and aimless led me down a path. That path became later known as “the Tai Lopez YouTube ads audience segment.” For the blissfully ignorant, Tai Lopez is an internet marketing guru of sorts. He had a notorious YouTube video that started with him in his garage in front of a Lamborghini. Tai sold online marketing courses, social media marketing courses, and things of that nature.
To put it nicely, he was unfortunately everywhere and didn’t quit until you were in one of his $1000 mastermind courses.
I guess my search history was the exact demographic that he was looking for. And it wasn’t knowledge. I imagine it was something along the lines of:
- How to make money online in your pajamas
- How to make passive income without any skills or friends
- How to chug a bud light in under 3 seconds
- How to get adopted by Jeff Bezos
- How to become a digital nomad
But to get to the crux of this article, I limped into the internet marketing part of the web and surprisingly, emerged with some actual skills to succeed in the digital realm, a love for content creation, branding, and an understanding of entrepreneurship. I also learned how to unironically stand in front of a Lamborghini.
But what does this have to do with web3?
For the indoctrinated, online marketers and entrepreneurs are actually some of the more prepared individuals with the fundamental skills necessary to succeed in the web of the future. Before I explain why let’s quickly define the evolution of the internet which includes Web3.
The Internet was filled with static HTML pages that could only display information. No way for users to change the data or upload their own. Social interactions were limited to the most basic forums and chat features.
~Early 2000’s, a more interactive internet that was dynamic and had an emphasis on user-generated content via Google, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. A shift from observation to participation. Big tech companies have centralized control over a lot of web content and you need to be present on those sites to be able to participate.
In a recent piece, my colleague and Liquiditeam co-founder Thomas wrote about web3:
“The term web3 is used predominantly in the blockchain community and describes the next iteration of the internet that will
- be less centralized, in both a technological and economical sense,
- give users and creators more control over their data,
- (re-)prioritize interoperability and open standards over gated islands.”
It’s also worth mentioning that web3 doesn’t happen in isolation. Rather, there is a conversion between the web3 tech stack and other emerging technologies, as excellently outlined in this article on “Web4” by Conor of web3labs. Those developments will, among other things, lead to even more relevant content discovery, and “suggested for you” style content recommendations. This is because of the massive amounts of user data and the progression of machine learning. We are already seeing the first iterations of this on our favorite social platforms.
In this piece, I explore what web3 means for creators and small publishers.
The main consequence of its advent is a shift from centralized control over content publishing to a user-owned internet. An internet where everyone can become their own publisher and data aggregator.
This means creators need to start to think as if they are individual publishing firms. As I mentioned, one-man brands have accrued skills that prepare them for such a future. Internet gurus were accidentally leveling up all of the necessary skills to stand strong as individual creators.
Web3: Creator-focused, community-driven
Web3 powers the next version of the internet that revolves around 3 core concepts:
- Ownership and exchange of digital goods and values (aka “internet of value”)
- Automated and customized experiences
- Creator and community ownership
It allows content creators to move away from centralized and rent-seeking platforms, have direct user relationships, and build an independent business. In such an ecosystem, the content creators with skills around these two topics will be best equipped. Whether it be bloggers, YouTubers, Twitch streamers, social influencers, etc., content is the core product.
But the question is what else can you do to build on that?
A loyal audience = varied revenue
Not specific to web3, a loyal audience opens the door for some lucrative revenue models for creators. Here are some of the traditional business models that stem from having a loyal audience.
A platform where users can spend their time is a way to turn your audience into a community. It represents a shift to a two-way communication stream between creators and their audience. Not only can your audience interact with you, but they can also co-create with you or even actually participate in decision-making.
That might sound offputting to some content creators but the extent of that participation can vary. Some examples of community-focused applications:
- Facebook Groups
- Dedicated forums (niche-specific sites)
What these platforms lack are ways to reward users for their contributions and tools to give users more control and influence over the community and its direction. In web3, tokens and NFTs are used to solve this and give users more of a “stake” in their communities. At the same time, they also give creators a new way to generate revenue independently from the big platforms.
A platform and revenue streams for Web3
Alas, most creators aren’t developers and until recently, the web3 toolkit wasn’t accessible to those mere mortals – which includes me as said. But Unyfy luckily changes this by giving creators a simple, no-code solution to take more ownership over their business, powered by web3.
Simply put, Unyfy is a web3 content and community management system that enables creators to launch a digital home for their fans and content.
The core features enable everyone to:
- launch their own creator token
- create free and/or premium content release NFTs with scalable utility for fans
- Earn money via selling NFTs, token packs, and subscriptions
- Have their own easy-to-use web platform whose users don’t need to be familiar with web3 tech at all
Let’s dig a little deeper into some of those.
The easiest one is NFTs. While they are categorically close to a “product,” they are actually a combination of a few categories. They are digital products that are also access passes, speculative assets, and pieces of art (if desired). This means ownership of a particular NFT or entire collection (an assortment of NFTs), can grant access or perks in the digital or physical world.
This can be done with a physical ticket or non-fungible asset of course. The reason NFTs make for a compelling shift is the transparency provided by having the assets exist on the blockchain. Transaction history, ownership, and non-fungible nature allow for such access tickets to be verified as real.A pretty exciting prospect when you think of the profit margins on digital goods, especially ones that can get progressively more valuable over time.
A creator token is another type of digital asset that creators can utilize to enable micro-transactions and in some cases, revenue share. Within Unyfy, creators can sell and enable their own creator tokens to be used within the community and, in doing so, launch their own economy of sorts.
There are several ways to think about creator tokens.
Community members earn tokens when they actively contribute. This works fully automated by default (if you want to fine-tune the “tokenomics”, you of course have all the controls). So, your creator tokens are, in a sense, a representation of their owners’ reputation in your community.
Your creator tokens give its owners more options and influence in your personal “metaverse”. Your fans can use them to boost (think upvote) questions, content, and ideas. Or up the stakes and let your fans token vote on meaningful matters.
You can create premium content that your fans can unlock using their creator tokens. Such a “tokenwall” is a great, fan-friendly alternative to offering subscriptions. More flexibility for you and your audience. You can also make NFTs unlockable with creator tokens.
wAnd last but not least, a word on how tokens get into your community. Again, you have multiple options:
- sell them directly to fans, either in individual packages or as part of a membership/subscription
- create exciting digital partner activations that reward your fans with free tokens presented by your sponsors
- give them away for certain activities in the app — such as completing your profile — or in real life — such as visiting the arena.”
Web3 will be all about the creators that inhabit it. Equally important will be the aspect of community and loyal fans. Even today, powerful and loyal communities make for some of the most financially powerful assets as a creator.
As we shift more toward a decentralized internet, the need for tools that enable that is vital. Blockchain technology is the current solution to help us get there and NFTs, tokens, and fan engagement solutions are the core to self-sustaining in such an ecosystem.