GenZ, the emergence of The Creator Economy, and Covid-19 have changed the status-quo of companies as we know them. Individuals worldwide crave more flexibility, autonomy, and companies still struggle to evolve quickly enough to keep up with all those changes.
Some of our friends or family have started new side-projects or have pursued their hobbies during the pandemic, and for some of them, it's now their dream to quit the traditional career path and live from their passion.
We're leaning toward a more fluid way of working, where individuals will follow their interests, collaborating on multiple projects simultaneously, without having the constraint of working at a company (hierarchy, office hours, silo…). We're seeing this unbundling of traditional employment happening in front of our eyes. As a society, we have to re-invent the way we work, interact socially, communicate, and ensure comfort and security at work.
Innovation in Crypto has led us to a new era which will revolutionize how we make money and collaborate. Indeed, DAOs, NFT, Web3 & Social Tokens will allow talented individuals to team up and work on new projects. Thanks to those new technologies, individuals will earn a living by exploring their curiosity and contributing to different projects simultaneously.
Creator's DAOs, which are collectives of Creators working in an autonomous and decentralized way thanks to crypto mechanisms, will redefine the way we work. It's time to build the infrastructure of those Creator's DAOs to change the lives of millions of creators.
1/ The rise of the Creator Economy
GenZ is the side hustle generation. They admire Youtubeurs that can live from their passion. They've found out they can create a meme page and sell it for a thousand dollars. They can resell clothes from famous brands and earn a couple of bucks.
From a young age, they realized they could hustle to make money online. According to a recent Nielsen study, about 54% of Gen Z indicated they wanted to start their own company. Gen Z is the most entrepreneurial generation to date, often defined as 'self-starters.'
GenZ are also creators. They post on the internet, share photos, join forums, and curate articles. The internet levels the playing field, and anyone can use their hustle and savvy to amass a following and monetize that following. This is the creator economy.
The Creator Economy results from a complete paradigm shift in the way GenZ sees the Work. They don't want to work for others as they discovered they could make money on the internet by applying their skills in areas they love. They don't want to follow processes at a big corporation but rather collaborate on projects in which they thrive.
Some of these new Creators have a bigger audience than traditional media, and brands are ready to pay a lot of money to have access to their audience.
But there are still two major problems for creators today: Ownership and Collaboration. Since the appearance of the Creator Economy, we've seen three main phases for Creators on the internet :
- From 00' to 10' - Rise of social networking and User Generated Content platforms (TikTok, Instagram..). We saw the emergence of social media, which allowed everyone to have a voice on the internet and express their creativity through their content.
- From 10' to 20' - People who amassed an audience started to monetize. Creators, also called 'Influencers' at this time, discovered they could monetize their audience through those platforms and that it was possible to earn a living from their passion. They were helping others (brands & businesses) to achieve their goals.
- From 20' to 30+' - Creators will become their own business. Creators discovered they can now BE the brand, BE the product, and they could do for them what they were doing for others. Creators can now build a direct relationship with their 'fans' and create their ecosystem
Creators need ways to be free from those platforms. Indeed, by posting their content on Instagram or YouTube, creators don't own their content anymore. Creators are dependent on those platforms. If Youtube decides to ban a channel for no reason, they could do it. The same thing goes with music on Spotify or videos on TikTok.
They also need better infrastructure to join forces and accomplish high ambition goals. It's highly complex today for creators to collaborate as they don't have the right tools to do it, nor the experience.
To help creators perform in this 3rd phase, we need to give them ownership over their content.
2/ Social Tokens - Financial Legos for Creators
How can we give back the power to creators? How to enable these individuals to build their businesses? How to help them leverage new technology to live from their passion? How do we help them collaborate with other creators to achieve their high ambition goals?
The path that seems the most promising for creators is Crypto. The revolution is already happening, as we've seen in recent months in the mainstream media talking about NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens) and Social Tokens.
Creators now have the power to create their virtual currency, aka Social Tokens. Social Tokens are virtual currencies that are enforced on a blockchain with smart contracts. Just as you need to convert your USD in EUR when going to Europe, you'll need to convert your USD in the Creator's social tokens if you want to get involved in its economy/project.
Social Tokens have led to new business models and a new way for creators to interact with their community without being dependent on platforms.
Social Tokens will be used to pre-pay for content in advance - Fans won't simply support your project. They'll possess a piece of it. You will get Social Tokens and get a part of the Creator's revenue. By investing early, you could own 1% of a creator's income, which will grow over time. For example, Alex Masmej has created the $ALEX token and has decided to sell 10% of the $ALEX token supply against $20,000, claiming to give some of his future income for the next three years. Ownership changes everything.
- Share profit once the Creator/Project earns money - As a Social Token holder, you're incentivized to hype your favorite Creator. Creators/projects won't have to do marketing. They'll have their community.
- Be used for governance purposes - You'll vote on the future strategy the creators/projects should apply. It will reinvent how to create content and collaborate. Fans could suggest the title or the thumbnail of the next video.
- Add an element of social signaling - As everything is on-chain, you'll be able to prove that you were there from the beginning, that you were the first involved. It's revolutionary for Day one fans.
- Allow creators/projects to granular their price tiering easily - Instead of having everyone paying the same amount for content or an experience (eg. Paywall in front of an article), the 1% of the audience will fund access to the remaining 99%. Creators should allow their best fans to have a premium experience for a high price. Social Tokens enable them to imagine more personalized experiences/contents for their top 1% of fans.
For years, creators have needed intermediaries to earn a living. There weren't other solutions for a singer than to go to a record label, for a writer to partner with a publishing house, or for an artist to partner with museums to expose their art.
Social Tokens finally allow them to own their content without being dependent on platforms. But helping them be independent is only the first step to create a whole new economy and reinvent the way we’re working.
By giving them a better solution to monetize their work, creators will be able to reach a bigger audience, have the financial security they need to fully express their creativity and potentially work on more ambitious projects that involve other creators.
Indeed, to create a whole economy, we need creators to collaborate, and social tokens have shown their efficiency to incentivize individuals to share their skills with others.
3/ Creators DAOs - How Creators are building together
As Packy McCormick describes in his Cooperation Economy article, we will see "liquid super teams, collections of individuals, each with their strengths, powers, and network, who combine forces to achieve goals".
So, we'll see startups appear, right? Well, not really.
People started to create companies as it was easier to collaborate with someone in the long term. By hiring someone, you would assure that this person won't reveal the company's secrets, trust is created, and save cost on searching and onboarding new employees.
But over time, working for a company has shown limits. As a creator, accepting to work for a company for five years means saying no to hundreds of other exciting projects. You lose your flexibility as you have to work office hours, and you're not incentivized to do your best work as you have a monthly salary. Even though the model has been very successful, our daily lives have changed drastically, and some new models might be more in adéquation with what people will want in 5-10 years.
We're seeing this unbundling of traditional employment where the individual is now the atomic unit. Creators want to have the flexibility and the freedom to work on what they wish to, be their boss and work on projects that excite them. At the same time, those creators often need others to achieve their high ambition goals and don't want to work independently for the rest of their lives.
Working on a project with someone is all about trust. How can you ensure that this person you want to collaborate with is hardworking, reliable, and won't go out with the money? How do you put a group of highly talented individuals from all around the world that have never talked to each other together?
DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) have emerged in recent years, allowing people to collaborate on smaller-scale projects than companies. DAOs are organized around a mission that coordinates through a shared set of rules enforced on a blockchain. Put it simply, DAOs are a new way to finance projects, govern communities, and share value.
DAOs, compared to traditional companies, are open, global and transparent.
Thanks to cryptographic mechanisms, DAOs let people collaborate most easily and more efficiently together. Here are the benefits of DAOs:
- Incentivize people in a more thoughtful way - DAOs have the power to mint/issue/award tokens to their members that labor for the DAO. Tokens reward the most active users for their collaboration and motivate and incentivize people to participate and make sure the project will succeed. Indeed, by getting tokens of a project, you'll see its value growing over time if the project succeeds.
- Share the benefits - By creating a Token, a virtual currency for your DAO, you'll be able to reward contributors for their work. You'll be able to split the revenues in a more thoughtful way, where everyone will be rewarded in pro-rata of their contribution?
- Better governance - The fundamental difference between DAOs and companies is that it's the group of individuals who team up around missions and values that vote for their decisions. Its users vote on the proposals. The more tokens you have, the more voting power you have. It allows a genuinely flat culture and removes all hierarchy. Everyone can vote on future decisions in a truly equal way.
- Increase productivity - DAO's will establish a new paradigm in work culture, where individuals won't work from 9-5 and won't need to go to the office. People contributing to DAOs genuinely believe in the projects they are working on as they receive the DAO virtual currency, which has no inherent value. Working with passionate people changes everything.
- Easier onboarding - DAOs are using cryptographic mechanisms to enforce every action by a blockchain. Therefore, everything is on-chain, which means that everything is public and that you can prove the actions that have been taken in the past. It allows new ways of collaborating. For example, by enabling people to demonstrate their past experiences and their skills with on-chain credentials, hiring someone competent and HR won't have to guess if a candidate is skilled or not, nor based their choice on the reputation of the School of the candidate. It will also allow people to bring their reputation to new projects.
- More flexibility - DAOs will also allow working on more flexible and small-scale projects. One of the reasons why you're creating a startup is for legal status. It's to make sure a contract binds together you and the people you're working with. But smart contracts solved the trust problem. It won't make sense to create a startup if you want to work with other designers on a drop or a 2weeks project, but it will make sense to create a DAO.
We're already seeing a bunch of Creators DAOs emerge and accomplish their vision. For example:
- Creator Cabin - $CABIN - The Creator Cabin DAO has built a new cabin designed as a collaborative co-living and working space for independent online creators. Their goal is to find ways to sustainably fund independent online creators and develop DAO-based governance models for physical spaces. They've crowdfunded their projects thanks to Social Tokens, and they collected $42k to experiment with their idea.
- PleasrDAO - $PEEP - PleasrDAO is a group of people collecting rare NFTs. They have join forces and coordinated on the blockchain to buy art worth millions of dollars. Cryptographic mechanisms allowed them to trust anyone and put their money to own rare NFTs collectively.
- WhaleDAO - $WHALE - Whale DAO is an exclusive, self-governed community where crypto & non-crypto affiliates gain access to unforgettable experiences, epic projects, & limitless profitability. The community, supported & enabled by Whaletokens (WAOs), aims to be a decentralized, micro-economy that facilitates the most credible, cross-chain movement of projects worthy of being funded.
Helping creators join forces and create DAOs is no small task, though, and everyone's still trying to figure things out on the governance mechanisms, the tools to use, and the best collaboration structure. Giving creators crypto’s solutions (such as social tokens) they can leverage to have ownership over their content and reach financial security is a first step to educate them and their whole community about crypto. We're still in the early stage of Creators DAOs, and maybe the collaborations won't happen through DAOs in the end. But the Future of Work will be made of individuals seeking autonomy and meaning at work who want to collaborate to achieve great things.
The idea behind DAOs is that people don't need to be gig workers for someone else; they can find a group of people and build their own business together. Why would you want to work for others when you can be your boss and collaborate with friends around common values?
There will be fewer gatekeepers. Traditional economic and cultural institutions will have less influence and power. Work will continue to disaggregate, and the next generation of entrepreneurs will be "solopreneurs."
We're still early, and many DAOs are more focused on grant-giving or resource allocation than earning. However, it shapes and creates the foundation for a new way of collaboration. DAOs that create/collect NFTs will be some of the first to generate revenues and will drive the adoption of a whole new economy.
About Eliot Couvat
I'm a french guy passionate about community, Web3 & Creator economy. I work as a Community & Content Creator at CoinviseCo where we help Web3 Creators & Communities Build Open Economies.
To learn more about me, check out the links below :
Coinvise helps web3 creators & communities build open economies. Our tools can be utilized to mint / exchange Social Tokens or NFTs & build strong incentives around them. We aim to build a social network where people can discover & contribute to the future of Creator DAOs.