With TikTok facing the prospect of being removed from the US, users should be aware that traditional technology companies are far less trustworthy than the decentralized web.
With a new proposal by a member of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ban TikTok, influencers are scrambling. If the FCC enforces the ban, TikTok creators could lose their fanbases and revenue streams overnight.
People are usually skeptical about Web3, lots of them influencers and digital content creators. Remarkably, many who are reluctant to adopt Web3 are very successful on Web2. Since they have mastered monetization on popular Web2 platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and others, why bother learning the rules of a new game?
The present regulatory debate around restricting TikTok in the United States offers a prime example of the risks associated with Web2 platforms, and why Web3 adoption can both benefit and protect influencers and their fans. The added value of Web3 is twofold – independence and insurance. We hope this TikTok offer provides a wake-up call for influencers everywhere.
Cutting out the middleman
There is a common misconception (not helped by the name) which Web3 is here to replace Web2. Instead of thinking about Web3 as a “new web,” it is better to think about Web3 as a new channel. Web2 is not going anywhere shortly, and as a creator, it’s smart to monetize as many platforms as possible. Influencers need to think this way: If TikTok were introduced today, would you refuse it only because you were already successful on YouTube? Definitely not. The same is true with Web3.
In a Web 3 world, where digital content can be “tokenized” as NFTs, creators can set their own payment terms, and fans can, in fact, own the digital good which they are paying for, whether it’s an artwork, a video, or a piece of music. NFTs can involve royalty parameters; thus, creators and collectors can directly benefit from the revenue from secondary market sales. That type of recurring revenue stream does not exist on traditional Web2 content platforms.
Protecting your content for the long term
For successful influencers, censorship and “de-platforming” offers is a large threat to their income, but many creators see it as an abstract risk. They think that removing bad content is a must and big technology companies can be trusted to make logical decisions. However, good, law-abiding creators like themselves don’t oppose moderation, do they? They also appear to believe that platforms such as Twitch, TikTok and Instagram are very successful which they will be around good. Unfortunately, none of these arguments work.
In deed, popular platforms don’t last forever (remember MySpace and Vine?), and creators who follow the rules are always censored. With so much content on their platforms, companies are forced to rely on automated solutions which often get things wrong, with costly results for creators. Healthy online communities need rules, and moderation is needed to enforce them. But, if you are a creator with an archive of valuable content, there is an opportunity that your content will be lost or become unavailable to your fans.
Web3 is different because it is built on a blockchain (or public ledgers) where data is added but never deleted or changed. Blockchains are decentralized by design, meaning that data does not reside on a server somewhere controlled by a large technology company. Rather, a large network of nodes around the world maintains the accuracy of the network, making it transparent and virtually impossible to hack or compromise.
An instance of the flexibility of Web3 platforms occurred last year when the founder of Tezos-based NFT marketplace Hic et Nunc decided to suddenly shut down the project, leaving half a million NFTs in digital limbo. But, because Tezos is a public blockchain, and because the platform was built on Web3 open-source principles, the Hic et Nunc user community could relaunch it in a few hours, without major disrupting sales. Imagine doing that with Instagram or TikTok.
Though there isn’t a direct Web3 equivalent of TikTok yet, it is just a matter of time. And if you are a digital content creator, there is no need to wait. Web3 makes it possible now to expand your options for monetization and audience engagement via NFTs and other mechanisms. Creators should use as many platforms as possible. Web3 is what’s coming later—and it’s coming quicker than you think.