Blockchain Is Putting Power in the Hands of Content Creators

Published on December 17, 2021

In the fall of 2021, executives at Patreon teased the company’s dive into the blockchain and crypto space, which could heighten security and personal data and introduce a “creator coin”. Among the users who rely on Patreon for income and understand blockchains, the reaction was hugely positive. 

There’s a good reason for it. Patreon is one of the leading platforms in the creator economy, supporting content creators directly. The combination of blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality, swirling together to create Web3, is specifically focused on user support and empowerment, stripping away platforms and services that play the role of middleman. 

This isn’t to say Patreon is leading the charge. A decentralized web has been discussed for years. Only since the recent explosion of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the art space has the conversation around blockchain in creative industries taken hold. 

In fact, there are several reasons beyond NFTs and new cryptocurrencies that will empower creatives to take full control of their work. 

Smart contracts will finally guarantee payment—and faster than before

Smart contracts” are a shorthand to describe interactions between creatives and their clients that are automatically logged in a blockchain. A blockchain itself is an encrypted record of transactions—NFTs use blockchains to record and verify the true ownership of artworks, while cryptocurrency traders use the technology to prove financial transactions and trades. 

In the creative industry, these same blockchain technologies can make obsolete the need to write out contracts that guarantee payments and royalties. At my company, Alteon, we are using blockchain technology to log every transaction between creatives—in our case, mostly professionals in the production industry—and their clients. 

By relying on “if/then” clauses in the blockchain code, payment for work, for example, can be released automatically upon client approval. That doesn’t just guarantee payment for creatives—it makes payment processing significantly faster. 

Produce NFTs in a single click, hassle-free

Creatives are not always tech-savvy. They may not understand what blockchains or Web3 are. But the best technology democratizes industries, the way WordPress and Squarespace universalized custom website creation. 

NFTs are still currently a niche market. They soon won’t be. Any content creator will be able to produce an NFT of their songs, albums, videos, photos, stills, videos or any other kind of artwork with a single click.  

Imagine producing a piece of content, like a song or video, and uploading it to a digital platform. You could click a button like “Export NFT” or “Publish to NFT Marketplace”, if you wanted to send it directly to an NFT marketplace. It makes monetization significantly easier—especially for creatives with their own followers and communities.

Sell your work directly to your fans

NFT markets such as OpenSea, Rarible, and Nifty are opening new distribution and sale channels to creatives. They are putting creatives in complete control of their work by establishing clear copyright, true transparency of ownership, secure transactions and enforced royalties. 

In many ways, this is the solution to piracy concerns that have damaged the film and music industries for the past 20 years. The ability to cement copyrights and support creators directly will almost certainly push creatives to lean into the NFT space, bringing their fans with them. This would drastically shift industries to be more user-focused. 

A certain future

While industry-wide predictions are impossible, these trends are clearly happening right now. The only question is the speed with which they will catch on, and the degree to which they will infiltrate specific industries. The world of digital art was arguably the easiest entrypoint; multimedia creators are only now waking up to the blockchain’s possibilities. 

These changes are necessary—and inevitable. Creative industries have suffered from systemic problems for decades. Timely and fair payments, empowered independent creators, content security, direct patronage: these are issues that technology can solve. The question is not whether changes will happen, but how soon they will take to be widely adopted. 

Matt Cimaglia is the co-founder of Alteon, an ecosystem for production professionals that simplifies cloud-based workflows, asset management and remote collaboration. Built with decentralized blockchains and Web3 concepts, Alteon addresses many of the pain points felt by independent creators worldwide, which Matt understands firsthand, having spent more than 20 years as the head of Cimaglia Productions, an award-winning creative agency.

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