An alternate income strategy for Medium is a Spotify/Product hunt model. Only members on Product Hunt can comment, and Spotify awards the artist per listen. So in this new model, a Medium member can pay for an account with limited number of recommends per subscription level. Free members would get 2 recommends, $5/month would give you 10 recommends, $10/month 30 recommends, $20/month 100 recommends etc.
The above numbers are randomly chosen and can be more or less after proper research. Each writer can then benefit from a large percent of the price per recommend used. Medium gets a small percentage and the remaining unused recommends every month, since they won’t rollover.