NFTs & Collaborative Creation

Shaan Ray
Published in
5 min readOct 12, 2021

Popular user generated digital content is often collaborative and evolves incrementally. Examples of this include games and memes. Groups dedicated to specific topics or interests meet on platforms like Reddit or Discord where users create and share content like memes for others in the group. This content often evolves and progresses in stages. For example, users in the popular subreddit WallStreetBets can repurpose memes to make jokes about current financial issues related to a particular stock. These memes can evolve as the story of the stock unfolds. NFTs can help power the evolution of such digital content and ensure that all of the contributors to an evolving piece of content are compensated fairly.

Content Creation, Collaboration & Evolution

Popular content is often edited, tweaked, or recreated by fans and enthusiasts.

In film, Fan Edits are versions of the film edited by fans, where material is added, removed, or reordered to create something new. Some people consider the fan edits to be better than the original.

In video games, a Fangame is made by fans where either original games are mixed together, a new game which is a copy of the original is built from scratch, or an original game is edited by fans and released as a fan version. Some fan games have even performed better than their original versions.

Memes are another popular form of content that go through various stages of development and evolution. I’ll cover some examples of the Drakeposting meme and its evolution in the next section.

These are all part of the remix culture, which encourages derivative work to produce a new work or creative product. As of this writing, most of this material is open source and royalty-free.

Example: Evolution of the Drakeposting Meme

The Drakeposting meme format is posting reaction images from Drake’s 2015 single Hotline Bling.

First comes the creation of the meme format. Below is the original meme format for the Drakeposting meme.

Original Format.

Memes in Generation 1 of the Drakeposting meme follow the original Drakeposting format.

Generation 1.

In Generation 2, we see memes following the Drakeposting format with Drake present in the meme in some form.

Generation 2.

Lastly we have Generation 3, where we have memes recognizably following the Drakeposting format but without Drake in any of the memes.

Generation 3.

I’ve organized some examples of this meme format in generations in order to understand the evolution of digital content better. No such formal generations of classifications exist for this or any other meme format yet.

As these memes evolve, multiple people tweak parts of the previous meme to make the next one. Several enthusiasts would have contributed to earlier editions of the Drakeposting meme by the time they got to generation 4 in the example above.

How NFTs Can Power Creative Collaboration

Non-Fungible Tokens will allow multiple users to own a single piece of digital content such as a meme, a game, or a movie. The ownership of digital content can be embedded in a non-fungible token, and then the terms of use and royalty sharing agreements can be established through smart contracts and logic within the NFT.

Some popular non-fungible token standards are the ERC721 and the ERC998. Several other token proposals on the Ethereum blockchain exist for hybrid ownership, such as the ERC1190. Many other non-fungible token standards exist, and several more are under development.

How to Split Up Ownership & Royalty Rights

Using specific types of NFTs, the digital content creator will be compensated regardless of how many tweaks and edits the original content goes through. Logic and Smart Contracts, which are embedded in an NFT at the time of its creation, can define how future collaborators along the way can edit the original content and the format in which they will receive part of the royalty generated by their edited content.

Popular use cases could include digital art, games, memes, music, movies, and other media. Future use cases could include AR, VR, and MR content which may or may not be geo-positioned in virtual and augmented worlds.


Fair compensation to collaborators has traditionally existed in the music industry. For example, when a new group remixes a song, the original creators of the song are entitled to part of the royalty that is generated each time the remix is played. Compensation and monetization of user-generated digital content hasn’t been as straightforward.

Popular digital content in the metaverse is usually created collaboratively and goes through multiple stages of evolution. While most of this is currently open-source and royalty-free, NFTs could lead the way in protecting the financial interests and rights of original creators and all of the collaborators that contribute to a piece of evolving digital content.

Shaan Ray

Helping clients identify and invest in Emerging Technologies early on so that they can innovate and grow exponentially. Follow Lansaar Research for the latest in emerging technologies and new business models.