How Blockchain Can — and Will — Liberate Content Creators

It can be an article, a video, a photo or even a single ill-timed observation. Just one controversial comment or post and the person responsible — regardless of how many followers they command or the sphere of their influence — can find themselves deplatformed, deprived of income, and digitally exiled.

Sound hyperbolic? Perhaps, but we’ve seen it happen again, again, and again.

Why do content creators agree to operate in such a cloud of uncertainty? Up until recently, they had little choice. That’s because most popular content platforms — YouTube, Facebook, SubscribeStar, Twitter — use outmoded business models dependent on advertisers, payment processors, and other third parties to pay the bills. What’s worse is that these content platforms are entirely centralized. This means platform compromises are only a single, private meeting away. When Mastercard calls for censorship, the demands are swiftly carried out by its dependents. The artist is hamstrung.

Insult is added to the injury when you consider how mainstream platforms not only assert control of over the content, they also monetize it. Twitter, for instance, makes 86 percent of its revenue by wrapping ads around people’s tweets; YouTube, on the other hand, can charge a creator up to 45 percent of their earnings when people click on a video.

Content creators should find these revenue models troubling. (Where else would videographers be expected to surrender 45 percent of their earnings?) But civil libertarians and free speech advocates should be even more disturbed by the amount of control that third-party entities are given over content. At the slightest whiff of controversy, they are empowered to twist the arms of mainstream outlets, preventing writers, artists, and others from accessing their digital podiums and earning income.

If this sounds unfair, it is. But blockchain can mitigate this unfairness.

Leveraging Blockchain

How can blockchain help? By sharing content on a decentralized platform, content creators are immediately liberated from the expensive and heavy-handed oversight that advertisers and others maintain. That’s because blockchain does away with a central office where complaints can be lodged.

But that is just the beginning.

Decentralized, blockchain-based content channels enable creators to communicate directly with their fans and supporters. From a financial perspective, this makes perfect sense. It’s the enthusiast who determines if a creative work should receive financial support, not those running the payment infrastructure. Creators share. If they happen to share something offensive, misguided or just plain stupid, their fan base provides immediate reaction. It serves as an instantaneous litmus test. In other words, fans — not third parties — are empowered to judge creativity.

Not only does this foster creative freedom, it also helps to level the playing field and eliminate financial disparities baked into centralized content platforms.

How? One of blockchain’s greatest appeals is its ability to take unnecessary middlemen out of the equation. For instance, as has been widely discussed, blockchain enables money to be moved without bankers. Similarly, legal transactions can be completed using smart contracts, reducing the need for lawyers.

In the case of blockchain-powered content, the middlemen that can be eliminated are the payment processors and advertisers. This means no more 45 percent fees. Fans can directly support their preferred artists confident that what they pledge goes directly to creator.

Community Content Promotion

This is the reason we founded Patreos. The way we see it, creators already have an uphill climb in front of them just trying to stand out. Patreos gives them a place to share their work without asking them to give up control. Citizen journalists, photographers, artists, and others can directly engage with appreciative fans. And most importantly, no one can take their fanbase away.

To make it work, we developed a token-based subscription model. Fans can use their choice of token to support creators, but when a fan stakes our unique token, PATR, they can enjoy a feeless experience –100 percent of their support goes directly to the creator. Staking our token isn’t required, but for the fan seeking direct support to the creator, it is essential.

The Patreos platform rewards 40 million PATR to users annually (2 percent of max supply). But to further democratize the process, we enable token holders to withhold inflation rewards from creators should they publish materials advocating disturbing viewpoints, hate, or violence. In other words, the platform cannot deny pledges made to creators by fans, but it can deny the shared inflation rewards. This allows Patreos users to voice community values: Should a creator publish something users find troubling, they can penalize the creator as recourse.

A decentralized platform puts the power of ownership solely in the hands of creators and fans. They — rather than advertisers and other third parties — determine the content that will gain a wider audience. Patreos as an entity has zero interest in promoting content that advocates violence, hate, or exploitation but enforcing this will truly be a community effort — as it should be.

About the Author

Britt Kim is the founder of Patreos. He is also a Y Combinator alumnus. He co-founded DataRank, which was acquired by Simply Measured, Inc. in 2015. He has been deeply involved in blockchain technologies since 2013.


Originally published at steemit.com on March 18, 2019.