Web3: A Paradigm Shift for the Creator Economy

Note: This is my article about the creator economy in the Web3 era, mainly from the perspective of technical structure to introduce some of my thoughts on the creator economy in the Web3 era.

These are the best times for all creators.

In 2003, I joined the creator community as a musician and worked as a freelancer in the music and film fields for over 10 years. This experience has given me two treasures: 1) my understanding of the industry; 2) how to survive and live better as a creator.

I got into the Crypto space because of DAOs, because I think DAOs can help people who, like me, can’t achieve self-worth under the traditional system. But it was 2018 and it was too early, so I started to get involved in building some infrastructure, learning and waiting for the day when the time came.

Today, it is standing before us.

New technologies, new ideas, and new social consensus are jointly driving a new wave, a wave called Web3. It is transforming many industries and groups, including creators.

What is this change? How can we get involved?

Before answering these questions, let’s take a brief look at the creator economy.

What is the creator economy

Many people will mistake it for a new concept. In fact, it has always been around us, including YouTubers, podcasters, writers, self-media, musicians, painters, etc., but it is by no means the whole picture. How to define its scope? I summed up a few features:

  • free

  • creator-centric

  • Creative work (usually digital products or virtual services)

  • Profit through monetization tools

Freedom means that you can create content as you wish without having to hand it over to anyone. Creator-centric means that the economic activity runs around the creator rather than a homogeneous product. Here are the categories of creative work I put together:

  • music

  • painting

  • photos, illustrations

  • Comics/Cartoons

  • design

  • Same

  • Newsletter

  • blog post

  • literature

  • e-book

  • Sprinkler

  • audiobook

  • Video/Video Blog

  • live video

  • guide

  • financial advice

  • course

  • Internet Conference

  • application

  • game

  • tool

  • Encyclopedia

And some monetization avenues:

  • Sell ​​digital content

  • Advertisement Income

  • Sponsored Content

  • product placement

  • subscription

  • tip

  • One-time sale or donation

  • Accept donations from the fan club

  • Participate in Affiliate Marketing

  • Donations from fans

  • Course Fees

  • Monetization of fans

  • Live or Virtual Events

  • Social Token

Note: Thanks to Werner Geyser’s article “State of the creator economy” for giving us many use cases for creative work categories and monetization paths.

We can summarize the creator economy in one sentence: the creator economy is a creative economic behavior based on free individuals. Another angle can also be described like this: Do what you love and profit from it. If you don’t love it, even if you’re a freelancer, you’re still just working, not creating. So there is also a saying: Passion Economy.

Now that I believe you have an initial impression of the creator economy, let’s go deeper and look at the creator economy in the Web2 era.

The Creator Economy in the Web2 Era

The evolution of Web2 is amazing. The improvement of computer performance and network bandwidth, the maturity of network technologies such as 4G, WiFi, online payment, and cloud services, the substantial reduction in the cost of hardware equipment (especially professional equipment), and the emergence of new user interaction methods represented by IOS , so that everyone has the conditions to create and share digital products or virtual services. This is the “era” premise for the creator economy to take place.

And on top of this premise, we can see a clear basic structure, a structure composed of infrastructure and platforms. It is used in almost all application scenarios of the Web2 era, including the creator economy as well.

The Structure of the Web2 Creator Economy

Web3: A Paradigm Shift for the Creator Economy

File storage, data, and payment are three important infrastructures for the creator economy.

  • File storage brings your content to the digital world, it’s the foundation of everything

  • Data records all your data in the creator’s economic behavior, it is your ledger

  • Payment provides you with a revenue settlement system

Platforms use this infrastructure to set the stage for you. They integrate file storage, data services, and payments into their products and services, providing creators with authoring and distribution tools, helping creators find audiences through content discovery mechanisms and traffic strategies, and helping creators through monetization tools Get income.

These platforms have created the prosperity of the creator economy in the Web2 era, allowing creative individuals to compete on the same stage as groups (even monopolies) that have been operating for decades. Today, a lot of the news you see comes from individuals, most of the lessons you learn come from individuals, and most of the programming that brings you joy comes from individuals.

Does it sound perfect? Many people will say NO!


The reason why we say NO is because most of us may have experienced some unpleasant encounters, such as accounts or works being frozen by the platform inexplicably, terms being unilaterally updated by the platform, data being deleted or used by the platform quietly and without interest, and profits being lost. Platforms are irrefutably deducted and so on.

We cannot deny that these platforms provide us with a very good experience to run the creator economy, even for free. But the price is that we hand over something that is especially important to creators: ownership.

Ownership is the sovereign and exclusive power we have over something . When we upload the work to the platform, it is no longer as simple as copyright, it involves:

  • Account Ownership

  • content ownership

  • data ownership

  • Copyright

  • User relationship ownership

  • monetized ownership

As mentioned above, in the structure of the Web2 creator economy, file storage, data, and payment are directly integrated into the platform. In other words, the platform is the de facto controller of these ownerships. What are the consequences of this? Let’s do a little analysis:





Account Ownership

Your identity on the platform. It proves that you own your work and the right to generate income

controlled by the platform

The platform can freeze or delete your account at any time

content ownership

Your work published on the platform

controlled by the platform

The platform may remove your content at any time, or use it in accordance with its own user terms.

data ownership

Interaction, transaction and other data of your work

controlled by the platform

The platform can delete your data at any time, or use it for profit without your authorization.


Copyright of the work

Relying on copyright notices and laws

There are more negative examples than positive examples of platforms in this effort

User relationship ownership

Your user network and social network

Confined within and controlled by the platform

You can’t really own your user because you can’t take it with you. Just imagine, can you bring your subscribers to Spotify from Apple Music and continue their previous subscriptions?

monetized ownership

your revenue network

controlled by the platform

The platform can control whether you can earn income or not. And you have no way of knowing the real revenue your work is generating.

The conclusion is clear, the issue of ownership is not just as simple as who controls it, it is about the core interests of creators, which is a very important fact:

The essence of the creator economy is the ownership economy.

However, the above analysis tells us that the basic logic of the creator economy in the Web2 era is that creators hand over ownership to the platform in exchange for profit opportunities, and the platform uses these ownership to maximize its own interests.

We can’t call this model wrong because it depends on whether you care as a creator. Do you care that the platform controls everything about you, and do you care that the platform uses your ownership to produce greater benefits but never distributes benefits to you.

If you don’t care, then Web2 is perfect for you. I have always held a view that Web3, like DAOs, is not about solving problems on the opposite side of the problem, it is just helping those who need it.

But if you care, let’s go to a new world!

The Creator Economy in the Web3 Era 

Time to talk about Web3.

Web3 represents a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift means a change in underlying logic, thinking, and even worldview.

A description is popular on Twitter:

  • Web1: Read

  • Web2: Read, Write

  • Web3: Read, Write, Own

We’ve learned that in the Web2 era, creator ownership is in the hands of the platform. So does Web3 naturally give ownership back to you?

not at all.

While there are plenty of excellent Web3 infrastructures out there, it doesn’t mean that applications built on top of them are Web3 for granted (MetaMask has shown us this fact). Many applications are still using various barriers to restrict users from leaving themselves, which is completely different.

What you see in Web3 is not as perfect as you might imagine.

I think the essence of the problem is the lack of an open protocol layer between the infrastructure and the application.


Web3: A Paradigm Shift for the Creator Economy

I am sure you are familiar with the terms HTTP, TCP, IP, which are common internet protocols. The significance of the protocol is to realize the data transmission and communication between end-to-end by formulating a unified technical standard. In the context of Web3, a protocol is usually a smart contract, which also provides some standards and conventions to implement end-to-end transactions, especially transactions, without the need for third-party intervention. Since it’s just a set of standards, it’s not enforced to be owned and controlled by anyone, and since it’s a smart contract, it’s executable and must be executed.

For the creator economy, an open protocol layer makes everything around ownership sovereign and fluid.

  • Non-sovereignty prevents us from truly owning all the value we create.

  • Immobility prevents us from truly breaking away from platform barriers to allow our creations to flow freely and produce value across different platforms.

Take a simple example:

Under the Web2 creator economic structure of infrastructure + platform, you have created a lot of content in Substack and have many subscribers, but now you have found a place with better user experience and services, let’s imagine it as X for the time being. You cannot log in to X with your Substack account to manage your content on Substack, and allow your Substack subscribers to continue to enjoy the subscription rights of your subsequent creations in X, and at the same time get income directly from Substack subscribers on X.

Likewise, you can’t do the same between Spotify and Apple Music.

Can the protocol layer reverse this? Let’s take a look at an example of the IDX protocol:

IDX is an identity protocol based on the Web3 infrastructure Ceramic, any application can build its account system through the IDX protocol, just like DAOhaus has already implemented. The account you registered with DAOhaus (including wallet address, nickname, avatar, introduction, social links, contact information, etc.) is not stored on DAOhaus’ servers, but is recorded on the Ceramic network and decentralized storage through the IDX protocol, and stored by you fully control. When you access any app that supports the IDX protocol, you just need to connect your wallet and your account will be automatically synced to the new app. It’s like registering an account with Amazon, and then you can log in directly to Google with that account.

As you may have noticed, this is a real use case of infrastructure (Ceramic) + protocol (IDX) + application (DAOhaus). Through this structure, we achieve the sovereignization and liquidity of account ownership. If account, content, data, copyright, user relationship, monetization and other matters around ownership are protocolized, it may bring us into a whole new imagination space:

As a creator, you can connect your wallet address on any platform to create an account and start creating. When your creation is completed, your creation will be “deposited” to your wallet address, just like ERC20 Token, you have absolute sovereignty.

When you want to expand your audience, you just need to connect your wallet on other platforms, and the content you create on all platforms will be recognized and executed (including sharing, distributing rights, earning revenue, etc.).

You can choose from monetized LEGOs offered by different protocols, such as subscriptions, sales, product placement, etc. to initiate your economic actions. Monetized LEGOs from different works, different platforms, and different protocols will form a liquid settlement network, linking various platforms like an oil pipeline and flowing revenue to your wallet address. It also completely belongs to you like the assets in your wallet, and no platform can interfere with all of this, let alone deprive or deduct your income (but I suggest that the protocol write a benefit distribution parameter, such as a protocol, creator, platform The proportion of interest distribution formed by the three parties, when the creator confirms, it will be automatically distributed by the smart contract from the moment the cash flow is generated).

The same goes for your user relationship, which will be recorded at the protocol layer and thus truly owned by you. No matter which platform you migrate to, all your user interaction data such as user subscriptions, fan relationships, social records, etc. will always be with you.

This is only the creator’s point of view, this change will also bring new imagination and new opportunities for all participants. So its significance is not only to liberate creators, it may redefine the ownership economy, as well as the traffic and data economy. This is a market with tens of millions of creators.

So, are we ready to meet them?

A blueprint for the Web3 creator economy

I have organized some ecological projects of the Web3 creator economy according to the structure of infrastructure->protocol->application. First of all, the items in this blueprint are limited to the infrastructure->protocol->application structure, so it is narrowly defined and does not cover a large number of items outside this structure. In addition, I want to focus more on the creation itself, so I did not include peripheral services, such as the NFT trading market.

Web3: A Paradigm Shift for the Creator Economy

For ease of comparison, I have drawn a graph similar to that of the Web2 creator economy. The bottom is the premise of the era that makes the creator economy in the Web3 era possible.


Storage, data, and payments remain critical infrastructure for the creator economy in the Web3 era. Arweave, Ethereum, Livepeer, IPFS are already well known, let me briefly introduce Ceramic.

Web3: A Paradigm Shift for the Creator Economy

Ceramic is an open data network. As you know, data records all our interactions in the network and is our important asset. In Web2, these user-created assets are not owned by the user, but by the platform. Ceramic’s goal is to give data sovereignty back to the user. Users can fully own and control their data and authorize the platform or others to use it. This allows Ceramic to play an important role in account ownership, content ownership, data ownership, user relationship ownership, so I think Ceramic is an important infrastructure for the creator economy, the cornerstone of Web3. I believe that in the near future, Ceramic ecology will produce many great Web3 applications. However, Ceramic also needs to support more teams for protocol development and component packaging to improve the usability of Ceramic.


IDX  is an identity protocol, as described above, accounts created through it can be fully owned by users, and account data can flow freely between multiple applications.

Lens Protocol  is a highly composable social protocol. This means that you can communicate and interact with “Discord” and “Telegram” (of course this is just an analogy). However, the Lens protocol can also play an important role in the creator economy, such as user relations, which allows your users to be completely yours and flow with you, as described above.

Unlock  can provide monetized LEGOs for the creator economy, and the Unlock protocol provides convenient ways to monetize, such as subscriptions, purchases, and more.

IQ Protocol  is a rental agreement. It realizes the leasing service of DeFi, game assets and other scenarios through FT or NFT with a time limit. And for the creator economy, it’s a fun way to monetize Lego for things like subscriptions.

Lit Protocol  is an encrypted access protocol. It can encrypt the access links of ZOOM meetings, Google documents, Gather and other applications to form access restrictions, and users can decrypt and access them through Token. It is suitable for scenarios such as live teaching and content.

meTokens  is a social token protocol. Creators can monetize their future value through it. And as an investor, you can invest in an individual’s future as you would a company.

XMTP  is an open encrypted communication protocol for encrypted community and application communication scenarios. XMTP can provide creators with a crypto-native community and content sharing solution.

Drips  is a profit sharing agreement. Purchase access to content and services through subscriptions, one-time payments, and more. At the same time, Drips can automatically distribute profits, including profit splits.

MuseX  is a protocol dedicated exclusively to the creator economy. Its goal is to provide creators with a LEGO protocol suite covering content creation, distribution, monetization, etc., thereby helping creators to better run the creator economy. MuseX proposes two interesting directions:

  • It is allowed to set ownership and ownership rights for the work. It enables the flow of value between owners and users.

  • DAOs. MuseX provides a collective of creators with a solution for collaboration, benefit distribution, and governance. You can create an account (DAO) owned and controlled by multiple people, and MuseX also provides a very flexible membership role scheme.

In addition to this, it has many more innovative experiments. MuseX will be launched in the near future, if you are interested, you are welcome to experience it at that time.


Currently online or about to be launched include:

Self.ID is an account application. It helps you build your account based on IDX. The advantages of this solution are described in the IDX example above.

Orbis is a Ceramic-based social application. Social networking is an important scenario for the creator economy. Through monetization methods such as Token restricted access, Orbis can help creators build communities and conduct lectures, live broadcasts, and knowledge sharing in the community. As an Orbis supporter, I’m also helping Orbis iterate the product, with many new features coming soon.

MuseX. The MuseX team has developed an application to help developers and users understand the MuseX protocol. It will cover all the functions provided by the MuseX protocol.

As you can see in the picture, the application layer I only listed Self.ID, Orbis, MuseX, this is because these protocols themselves are still very new (most of them will be launched in 2021), we still need to leave the application layer Developer some time. However, a lot of application practice is already on the way:

Write Together is a story creation application designed for multi-person collaboration, built on the Lens Protocol and Lit Protocol.

b.trax is a music-focused application built on the Lens Protocol.

Detok is a decentralized TikTok built on Lens Protocol. But as the developer said, Detok is a Demo he made 24 hours a day, so it only shows very basic concepts.

Mad.finance is an app that provides creators with a way to monetize LEGOs.

LensBook is a reading club built on the Lens Protocol and Lit Protocol. It enables private access, such as only those who have purchased the book can enter the club.

The Manago Jelly is a video creation and discovery platform built on the Lens Protocol and Lit Protocol.

You can see more interesting projects in this issue of ETHGlobal winners and the ecological list shared by Lit Protocol.

Looking back at the history of Internet development, we also first had infrastructure, then began to appear various protocols, and finally gave birth to the prosperity of the application layer and the prosperity of the entire Internet. Today, we are once again standing in the construction phase of the protocol, and if we draw an analogy between today and the construction phase of the Internet protocol, it is not difficult to see that the period we are in today contains a lot of opportunities. Moreover, the development speed of Web3 will definitely exceed that of Web2, and the bloom of the application layer will come soon.

write at the end

I’m a newcomer to the Crypto space at the end of 2018, and I was blown away when I saw The Web 3 Manifesto by Pet3r_Pan at the end of 2019, and I really understood what a DAO is and what Web3 is. So I started thinking about solving real-world problems through Web3. In order to solve the problem of entrepreneurs, I launched DAOSquare. At the same time, as a creator, I also hope that Web3 can help more creators live better.

In the creator group, only 1% of creators are doing well, and most creators’ income is not ideal. But I don’t think middlemen are the culprits of this problem, I gave an example before, what we’re trying to do is not kill the record company, but build a record company that belongs to Web3. The existence of some roles is valuable and necessary, and what needs to be changed is the unreasonable logic and structure, which is the same as DAO. While it’s hard for us to change the 1% law, and while we can’t make 99% of creators as rich as the 1% right away, at least we can help them be free.

Many thanks to 3Box (Ceramic’s parent company) and Oed and the other 3Box creators. They introduced me to a whole new idea in 2019 and helped me find a way to think about the creator economy. In 2021, I started discussing my thinking with some developers, hoping that a team can make it happen. Today, with the efforts of the MuseX team, these thoughts have become more complete and will soon be presented to you, which is exciting to me.

However, I must admit that the views and thinking mentioned in this article must be flawed or even wrong. So if you’re interested in the creator economy, if you have any suggestions or different perspectives, I’d be more than happy to discuss them with you! In addition, I will continue to share my thoughts on the creator economy. In the next article, maybe we can talk about topics outside the technical structure, such as copyright, record companies in the Web3 era, and so on. In a word, the creator economy in the Web3 era is still in its very early stages, and it will still face a lot of challenges, but it also contains a lot of opportunities. Let us promote its development and enjoy its fruits together!

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/web3-a-paradigm-shift-for-the-creator-economy/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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