Bankless - The Creator Economy with Jesse Walden, Li Jin, Cooper Turley

Primer: Learn all about the Creator economy from the 3 illustrious panellists - Cooper Turley, Jesse Walden and Li Jin. Read about the four-act structure of the Creator economy and how crypto fits into all this. Find out how the Creator economy is going to change our work life in the future and what sort of skills are needed to navigate this changing world. Lastly, read about the practical advice given by the 3 panellists for someone just getting into the scene.

The panellists

Cooper Turley

Jesse Walden

Li Jin

About the Creator economy

  • A relationship between creators and community to share value with one another

  • Creator economy is the process and system by which people are able to monetize and accrue value financially for the content they are producing online

  • We're all creators on the internet but there isn't a lot of reciprocation of the value created by each of us as individuals yet. Crypto is going to change that

  • There is a major shift in which creators are being recognized for the value they are contributing to the platform they are using

  • Old monetization mechanism: from ads, revenue share, branded content, sponsored content

  • New monetization mechanism: subscriptions, direct user payments, tipping, patronage

  • Crypto introduces ownership of digital media on the internet, the concept of digital scarcity and also economic coordination of how to reward contributors

Four chapters in the Creator economy

First chapter: 1.0 era

  • E.g. Facebook (early days), Myspace

  • Rise of social networking and user-generated content (UGC) platforms

  • Everyone was a user and creator and using the platform to communicate to each other

  • We see the rise of influential users that attracts other people whom they didn't know in real life

  • This leads to the creator class on the internet

Second chapter: 2.0 era

  • E.g. Instagram, Youtube

  • These creators amass influence and fame, started monetizing primarily through advertising

  • Act as a conduit for other businesses to achieve their goals

Third chapter: 3.0 era

  • E.g. Substack, Patreon

  • Creators realized that they can become the business

  • Don't have to sell someone else's product and become the face of other brands

  • Can be their own brand, product and a business

Fourth chapter: 4.0 era

  • E.g. Crypto creator platforms that are rising up now

  • Creators are not just trying to create a business and have a transactional relationship with their audience

  • Are creating micro-economies and richer ecosystems beyond just a one-sided monetization

  • Blending the line between audience and creator

How crypto fits in with the Creator Economy

  • Crypto gives ownership to everyone over the value that they create, regardless of where they are

  • Just need an internet connection

  • Ownership is a powerful incentive to attract talented people to work and contribute

  • In the crypto world, there is no distinction between the team behind the projects and the community

  • Once creators go deeper with the audience they are building and give them a shared stake in the projects, the creator brands will be 100x more valuable than they are today.

  • Creators will no longer be bounded to one platform - they are their own digital nation-state with one single ID

  • They can port the whole community and reputation around different platforms

  • Instead of the platform aggregating content from different creators, it's now the creators aggregating in different platforms

Different spectrum of creator empowerment

  • Empowering creators and the language of creator empowerment is very popular and common now

  • A lot of platforms that are not creator-friendly are co-opting this movement

  • Creator empowerment exists on a spectrum

  • From platform helping creators build an audience, sharing ad revenue with them, allow them to build a subscription revenue and product offering

  • To being part owners in the platform itself

  • In centralized web 2.0 platforms, there is always value extracted from the creator in order to make the platform valuable, and which locks the creator in

  • On one hand, the centralized platform allows creators to create content and build a following and reach audiences that are otherwise hard to do

  • On the other hand, they have the power to monetize the content without sharing anything with the creator or ban you from the platform

"But at the end of the day, creators are building their businesses on rented land when they're building on these web 2 platforms" ~ Li Jin

  • There is a tension that is both empowering and disenfranchising the creator

  • Sometimes creators don't even know if the platforms are creator-first because of the marketing and psy-ops around the platforms that are said to be creator-friendly

The fundamentals of creator-first platforms

  1. Economic ownership by all creators as reflected in the cap table, not just the biggest top creators

  2. Transparency around decision making

  3. Creators have a say in decision making, not just passive recipients of decisions made

How the creator economy movement can invigorate people

"It's my belief that the creator economy is an advanced version of meme investing, where you're buying based on the back of the community, rather than on the back of a financial statement." ~ Cooper Turley

  • Creator economy is an advanced version of meme investing where you buy on the basis of a strong community rather than the strength of the financials

  • No longer has to sacrifice time for money - where you work, get a paycheck then enjoy hanging out with friends outside of work

  • Can merge what you work daily with financial rewards, so can be empowering

  • Permissionless - no more taking instructions from higher-ups

  • Eg. if you have value to contribute to a conversation, bring it to discord, or a governance forum, make a proposal and get paid for the value offered

  • Will wake up every day all ready to go to the work you enjoy

"Guys, your parents will never believe that you're earning a full-time income by playing Axie Infinity and selling small love potions." - Ryan Sean Adams

  • Work in the future will increasingly have no formal employer relationship, but you're earning an income doing fun things like playing a game

  • However, there is still rampant inequality among the creator economy where a very small number of creators can make a full time living salary and many many others just earn a meagre amount

  • One reason is that discovery of content is still controlled by a small handful of centralized platforms

"Like, to me, it's, it's fundamentally broken that if you're CEO of one of these creator platforms, you're making like 1000s of times more money than the most successful creators on the platform, because arguably like the platform would be nothing without those creators, whereas the internal employees are somewhat commodities." - Li Jin

The real skill needed in the creator economy is...

  • Tech know-how is not the core need in a creator's economy - it's social skills

  • Social skills are going to be more important than financial capabilities

  • 'Weird' skills like moderating a discussion in discord, organizing a 10 person zoom call in 5 different time zones, are going to be important

  • Basically, you can find what you are good at and do it without somebody else telling you what you should or should not do

On the significance of DAO in the future

  • more cases of random people coming together to do things, possibly more significant and more sophisticated than a centralised platform like Facebook with a single visionary CEO and many employees

  • e.g. PleasrDAO & pplepleasr, partyDAO pools resources together to buy and collect NFT

  • very similar to Wikipedia in the 90s, which is lead up a group of random people on the internet to build the biggest and best encyclopedia ever

  • never bet against the Internet hive mind

  • DAOs will be the new limited liability company (LLC) in the future, except that in DAOs, there will no longer be equity in companies, just tokens and networks

Advice for people just getting into crypto and creator economy

  • Don't be discouraged by the rough edges of crypto, still in a nascent stage

  • Will get smoothen out over time and the benefits talked about earlier will shine through, so just get in first

  • Don't start a community, just join one

  • Everything is still in the early stages, so get involved by working for them

  • Don't worry about what tokens to trade in the secondary market - it's more about earning social capital from doing community work like a Discord server,

"I learned most about creators just by being a creator myself and talking to other creators. And so if people are interested in investing, studying, analysing, creating, like, just do it and try your hand at being a creator. So if you want to learn about NFT, just mint an NFT, sell it. If you want to learn more about social tokens, buy some social tokens. I think just participating and being a part of the ecosystem is a great way to learn." - Li Jin

  • the social capital earned is more valuable than anything else you are going to earn financially by buying a token in an exchange

  • Just learn by doing and participating

All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Summaries are prepared by The Reading Ape. While reasonable efforts are made to provide accurate content, any errors in interpreting and summarizing the source material are ours alone. We disclaim any liability associated with the use of our content.