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How the Creator Economy Gained a Monetization Channel

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are coming to Instagram.

Speaking at an SXSW event last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta (FB) is all set to roll out NFT support in the coming months.

Although it isn’t quite clear how Instagram will be using NFTs, Zuckerberg has confirmed that users will be able to create, showcase, and sell their NFTs on Facebook and Instagram in the coming months. 

While this decision certainly aligns with Zuckerberg’s vision of Meta and the company’s gradual transition towards “some form of decentralization,” it’s also a logical next step in mainstream social media’s increasing emphasis on support for the creator economy.

In the past year, Instagram rolled out experimental native capabilities for creators to earn from brand collaborations with affiliate links, and to co-author posts with sponsors.

Another possible reason for the NFT announcement lies in the growing dominance of Web3 platforms. Web3, powered by decentralized networks, is a transformative Internet movement that is beckoning a paradigm shift in our use of social media by transferring more power to audiences and creators. 

Transitioning Towards Creator-Centric Economy

NFTs have found their way into the mainstream market, primarily via Web3-based initiatives like play-to-earn NFT games, GameFi, SocialFi, and the metaverse. 

Through blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, Web3 allows creators to tap into several revenue opportunities while at the same time rewarding users for their continued participation and patronage. This form of a circular economy, where there is no single owner, is continuously attracting scores of users and brands alike.

Take, for instance, the Indian short-video platform Chingari, dubbed the “on-chain TikTok,” which recently transitioned from Web 2.0 to Web3.

Powered by its native token, the platform now allows creators to monetize their content in a censorship-resistant ecosystem. Creators can mint NFTs, sell them, and even sell custom merchandise on the platform to expand their income streams.

At the same time, users can also earn tokens for viewing the content and interacting with the platform. 

Since its transition, the platform has amassed more than 90 million users and is among the fastest-growing Web3 social media platforms in India, soon to expand in other neighboring countries. 

Other content sharing platforms like dTube, Publish0x, and Peepeth, to name a few, have also introduced novel ways for users and creators to generate additional revenue.

Hence, mainstream brands, and even platforms like Instagram, jumping onto the NFT bandwagon shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

Minting NFTs

Even though NFTs have been around for quite some time, they’re still far from gaining mainstream adoption. The primary reason behind this is the technical knowledge required to find one’s way around the fragmented and diverse blockchain ecosystem. 

Things can get complicated quickly between setting up wallets, adding the required token, and going through the entire process of minting and listing NFTs. This steep learning curve has been a limiting factor in promoting greater use of NFTs across real-world settings. 

Beyond those barriers, there are a lot of misconceptions about NFTs among the general public, which has further constrained the growth of NFTs. These misconceptions primarily boil down to the ideas that NFTs are purely speculative, expensive, and intricate to mint and own. 

However, the emergence of easy-to-use content creation platforms like the apps created by Lightricks, the continual evolution of blockchain technology, and the rise of no-code, one-click NFT minting platforms, have lowered barriers for both content creation and monetization.

Lightricks, serving the needs of the creator community, features a suite of video and image editing applications including Videoleap, Motionleap and Facetune. 

Designed to support digital creators, the company’s more than 500 million downloads to date underscore the widespread popularity of the accompanying tools and services. 

“If Instagram, where visual creators feel most at home, rolls out one-click NFT minting capabilities, then this can help level the playing field,” said Gilad Bonjack, SVP of Creator Services at Lightricks.

“Streamlining the NFT development process and removing the necessity for technological know-how makes this service open to people of all experience levels.”

‘True Ownership’ Pickle

Currently, there are millions of NFTs lying around on marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible. With mainstream brands like Nike adopting NFTs through its planned launch of digital sneaker collections or McDonald’s McRib NFTs, these digital assets will be at the center of the social interaction between brands, creators, and communities, thereby inviting all stakeholders to benefit. 

More importantly, this shift grants creators a valuable means to continually monetize their efforts and even collect royalties stemming from the licensing and use of their original works. 

Additionally, by design, NFTs offer “true ownership,” and the underlying smart contracts open up numerous recurring revenue streams through royalties and commissions.

Amid the growing number of no-code, one-click solutions, it is now straightforward for anyone to get into the world of NFTs. When paired with heavyweight brands like Instagram, it will benefit the creator community the most – in terms of ownership, control, and monetization.

Considering the pace at which blockchain technology is disrupting traditional business models, it is evident that cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other digital assets will become a significant part of the global economy in the coming years.

With tech-savvy consumers quickly realizing the potential of “true ownership” and decentralization, Web 2.0 platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter will have to adopt NFTs to retain users – and the sooner, the better. 

“In recent months, with the opening of new ‘creator funds,’ revenue sharing programs and subscription-based content paywalling functionalities, we’re finally seeing the big social platforms prioritizing the needs of content creators who drive the most engagement, and therefore make the most money, for the platforms,” Bonjack concluded. 

“It would be huge if Instagram makes it possible to mint and sell NFTs from visuals posted in its ecosystem. The potential is enormous, and we are still just in the early stages of this breathtaking trend.”

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