There is no doubt that the advent of the internet has fundamentally altered the way we spend our lives. From getting cabs to booking flight tickets, listening to music and paying for everyday things, everything is just easier to do via the internet. However, the content creators that bring immense value to all of the online social media platforms still struggle to get paid fairly for their work. Let’s take a look at how blockchain technology can help these people get their fair share.
Challenges of the Current System
When the internet began in the early 1990s, no one could have predicted the immense amount of impact that it was going to have on our lives 20 years later. As a result, the most significant social media platform – Google, Facebook and Microsoft, all overlooked the problem of fair compensation for digital media. For example, music piracy has been on the rise ever since the beginning of the internet. The growth of the internet has cost the music industry billions of dollars every year, with some estimates putting the loss due to digital piracy in 2014 at around $8 billion. Facebook is also notorious for copyright violations as several big Facebook pages regularly repost popular YouTube videos without giving the original creators any credits or royalties. This current system provides no incentive to the content creator to create quality material. Instead, these systems make a lot of money for these large pages that steal content regularly. Luckily, the blockchain technology allows us to manage ownership and distribute royalties in a much fairer way. Smart contracts on Ethereum give us the ability to automate the process of tracking and paying royalties entirely.
The Brave Platform
As it stands, the current online ad management industry is dominated by big players like Google and Amazon, who extensively track their users to gain insights into customer behavior. These users, however, do not get any profits in return for the personal information that they are forced to share. The Basic Attention Token platform uses the Brave browser to link advertisers directly with users by eliminating intermediaries. By doing so, the Brave platform gives much more control to the user over how their personal information is used.
The Brave browser ships with an ad blocker that is turned on by default. Users can, however, choose to watch ads in return for payments in the Basic Attention Token. All of the bookkeeping required to keep track of payments is handled from within the browser, so there is no need for a centralized server to track usage patterns. The Brave Platform helps the smaller content creators, like YouTubers who do not have significant followings. Anyone can sign up for the Brave Platform making it much more equitable. Users can choose to distribute their donations among the pages they visit based on how much time they spend on every page. This allows for very fair payments for the original content creators.
Next Generation of Social Media – Steemit
Dan Larimer, the creator of EOS, created Steemit to deal with the fair compensation problems that social media platforms like Facebook suffer from. Steemit is quite similar to other social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit, where users can share images, videos, and other web pages. Users can also comment on other people’s posts and ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ posts. Steemit unique feature, however, is that people get paid for the work that they do on the website. For popular posts, the creators of those posts receive payments in Steem Dollars which are tradeable on other exchanges. Platforms like Facebook derive a lot of value from their users and the content that they provide – text, images, and videos. However, these users do not see even a penny of those profits. Steemit is taking on a much fairer approach where content creators are compensated for their efforts.
The internet has led to a significant increase in the amount of pirated digital media because it is tough to ascribe ownership to files online. SingularDTV is trying to address this problem by creating a token based economy. In this token based economy, the value will be derived from an artist’s work and benefits all their supporters. The SingularDTV platform will track ownership of the content and use smart contracts to ensure that content creators are paid fairly for their work.
SingularDTV’s unique model lets artists tokenize their works for raising funds. For example, an artist can choose to raise funds for their next album in this way. People who participate in such a fund-raiser become shareholders in that album. From then on, every time that album is played, everyone, including the artist and their shareholders are paid royalties. Singular’s model leverages the blockchains ability to ascertain ownership to track how content is consumed. This is a unique way of raising capital for artists which lets them bypass traditional recording studios and also get paid more accurately.