Creators as a crypto primitive

Today, creators serve platforms. Tomorrow, platforms will serve creators.

JammSession is a newsletter about the latest trends and stories of crypto & gaming. Each week, I jam on the latest trends and happenings of how the story of mainstream adoption is unfolding.

If you’ve been following my newsletter for the past two years, you probably know that I’ve recently been thinking about what the next breakout crypto consumer application looks like. It’s been my fascination since the birth of CryptoKitties.

One common theme throughout each post in the past two years is acknowledging that creators have much to gain with open platforms, more than any other persona.

Creators have built-in audiences, seek monetization strategies, and they can’t be forked. They’re building on platforms that serve them rather than serving the platforms. They’re the entire business of platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

With the Twitter hack happening this week, the rush to build the next open platform for creators has been accelerated by a year by crypto teams. We need a place for creators to earn while being able to bring their audiences with them.

A place for creators to earn, and fans to speculate

Zora and Foundation are the first types of applications that brings creators into crypto with redeemable goods. I believe that while redeemable tokens are the first stage, we’re about to encounter a second stage of applications (with the caveat that we figure out high scalability & high throughput) that can bring even more creators into crypto with their audiences.

Here are the requirements:

  • Need a way for creators to earn, users to speculate

  • Needs to have high throughput, high scalability, cheap transactions

  • Needs to have the middleware stack (TheGraph, Magic/Torus, Wyre on-ramp)

In the beginning, the application will feel similar to CryptoKitties: a game to speculate, earn money, and reward creators in the process through fees.

The creator then becomes a primitive: once they’re onboarded into the ecosystem through this initial breakout application, developers will build around them and their massive audience. Creators will no longer serve platforms like they do today in web2, but the web3 platforms will serve creators. Developers will offer the tools for creators to monetize, similar to that of Substack for newsletter and Anchor for podcasts.

Driving network effects of the application through markets

If their streams of revenue are transparent, then you could predict how much money creators may make from the application/contract.

For example, a developer can build an Augur application on top of this primary application that creates a market for how many fees the creator will earn over a specified period. The creator can put this link in their link.tree page to earn affiliate fees from the volume that they’re driving to this market.

In the next stage, DeFi lending platforms can accept the creator tokens (tokenized creator fees) as collateral. The building blocks that we’ve been building in the Ethereum ecosystem over the next year will latch itself on to creators who have built enough liquidity within each of their communities.

What’s important is that for 80% of the users, they’re only interacting with the initial application that gives them the ability to speculate in short sprints. They don’t need to pay attention to the markets being created, similar to how many users don’t care about DeFi today.

Creators want stans, not fans

Most creators want to build businesses after they build their initial distribution, but don’t know what to build. Projects like ZebraIQ help creators identify core members of their community through surveys.

Rather than the creator finding new ways to earn, they want fans to turn into stans, a way to advocate for the creator and build a real, sustainable income while also receiving upside. The “superfans” are the most interesting for developers because they are the new creator agent. Developers will work with the superfans who have upside to figure out what to build for the creator. The creator becomes the primitive.

Social money like Roll and coordination mechanisms like Aragon provide a vehicle for superfans to emerge in communities. But for these building blocks to become valuable, we first need to build applications that will drive creators and superfans to participate in the open economy.

TLDR; We’re missing the application to drive adoption

We’ve built the middleware, protocols, and tools to drive mass consumer experiences. We’ve created the money legos to make it possible and have platforms become entirely community-owned. The only thing we’re missing is the application that will drive consumers and creators into crypto.

There needs to be a shift from an attention economy to a speculation economy. Because if the stock market proved anything this year, speculation drives attention.