The Block Experiments with Web3 Paywall and Integrates Access Protocol

Michael McCaffrey
The Block
Published in
4 min readAug 25, 2022

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The Block is excited to participate in an experiment with Access Protocol, a web3 alternative paywall for creators developed by the Access Foundation, which will be integrated into theblock.co.

Our decision to participate in this new web3 project is influenced by the challenges media organizations have, such as low audience penetration rates for subscriptions, account sharing and content monetization struggles. In addition, we understand the difficulties consumers face like frustrating sign-up and cancellation processes. This experiment could alleviate challenges for both creators and consumers.

The Block’s unique position at the epicenter of crypto and media gives us a personal perspective into the plight of content creators. We have dedicated ourselves to providing crypto news, research, and data for more than four years. When evaluating Access Protocol, we leveraged that experience. And fortunately, The Block’s ownership structure allows us to experiment with cutting edge and novel solutions like this web3 integration. The Block will initially apply the Access-powered paywall to ~20% of articles published on theblock.co.

Creator Benefits of Access Integration

At The Block, we’ve long thought that the size of media, info services, and creator businesses does not reflect their societal impact or value. Some creators generate tens of millions of monthly readers yet fail to achieve the financial metrics or valuations proportionate to their influence.

The number of crypto projects circling these issues continues to increase. However, other solutions have come with considerable drawbacks, as they do not meet users where they are. The Block doesn’t want to make any changes that inhibit accessibility for its users. We believe that Access Protocol avoids these pitfalls and we are excited to integrate it directly onto our site.

The table below outlines some of the frictions that the Access Protocol alleviates for The Block.

Consumer Benefits of Access Integration

Creators aren’t the only beneficiaries of this integration. We also see significant improvements in the reader’s user experience.

Reduced Clickbait

  • Creators are better incentivized to focus on creating content their users find valuable, and not just sensational headlines designed to garner a click or subscription conversion. Instead, as a result of Access Protocol, users will have the ability to subscribe (stake) or unsubscribe (unstake) at any time.

Simplified User Sign-in Process

  • Consumers will be able to utilize the same web3 wallet to connect with creators, removing the need to manage different credentials across different publishers. Once a user creates their account (wallet), she can use the same wallet to connect and unlock content from participating creators. She does not need to create a new wallet for each publisher, reducing sign-up friction.

No Recurring Fees

  • Once a user has subscribed (staked the minimum threshold of ACS), there are no additional fees to maintain access to the creator’s content. The staked ACS will not decrease and there are no recurring credit card transactions.

Ease of Cancellation

  • A user can “unsubscribe” in one click rather than suffer through frustrating and convoluted cancellation processes.

How it works

Rather than users paying upfront and locking themselves into an annual or monthly commitment, Access Protocol enables flexibility for creators and consumers alike. Through Access’s ACS tokens, consumers can support creators of their choice, like The Block, and consume their content by staking a minimum threshold of tokens as defined by each creator. Consumers maintain access for as long as their ACS tokens remain staked at each respective creator.

Staking ACS tokens on The Block’s website will unlock new content on theblock.co. Users stake a one-time minimum amount of ACS on theblock.co and then will enjoy access to content until they choose to unstake.

Learn More

If you are a media company or any kind of creator, we would be happy to speak about how we made the decision to integrate this new web3 alternative paywall. We believe that collaboratively addressing the frictions in the creator industry will result in healthier, more vibrant ecosystems and pave the way for creator opportunities that do not exist today.

To our clients, please look out for details related to what Access integration means for you and how you can participate in the experiment.

Interested parties that are not existing clients, please visit theblock.co in Q4 to test out the experience.

For more information on The Block’s participation, contact press@theblock.co. For details on how Access Protocol works, please visit the Access Foundation website at www.accessprotocol.co.

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