Social Tokens and the Future of Media

What’s the best way to pay for the media? The question, always in the background, is being asked out loud again.

The creator economy or the passion economy offers partial solutions to the problem of creating a sustainable economic base for writers, streamers and producers of miscellaneous “content.” But they don’t go far enough. Quite often the prescription is a slightly trendier spin on the old model of getting more clicks or selling more things.

There is another option: tokenised media, with tokenised communities attached to them. Wait a minute, you ask, didn’t someone already try this and flame out? You would be right to point to that cautionary tale — tokenising everything is not a panacea. But the crypto ecosystem is a different place today than 2017 — just look at the explosion of activity in the once implausible area of DeFi this summer.

The basic idea is this: writers, streamers and anyone who creates media products on the internet can improve the odds stacked against them by the platforms by moving value off platforms and into decentralised networks. This value will be contained in crypto tokens that are held by creators, and crucially, by the communities who benefit the most from their work. A virtuous circle is then created, as both creators and their fans generate economic activity and increase the value captured by the social token.

As the investor Jesse Walden memorably called it, it’s the new fan club.

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