Welcome to the Creator DAO Revolution

As we move from Web2 to Web3, we’ll see a shift toward a more creator-centric economy. In this ecosystem, creators will no longer sit at the bottom of the totem pole picking up scraps leftover by corporate giants but will instead be able to earn in full and instantaneously for their work.

The convergence of the creator economy and DAOs is where the magic happens. The decentralized, non-hierarchical structure of DAOs serves as a turbo boost to propel the creator economy (which is mostly theoretical right now) into reality.

The problem with the current (lack of) creator economy

After I quit my job as an attorney to travel the world in 2017, I became a travel blogger and Instagram influencer to pay the bills while not having a “real” job. I got a nice camera, leveled up my photography skills, spent hours each day trying to build my social media following, and learned the latest marketing strategies for building an online following.

I was creating content regularly, posting daily on social media and multiple times per week on my blog. I grew my following to over 15,000 monthly views on my blog and 20,000 Instagram followers, but it wasn’t enough. There were other travel bloggers and Instagram influencers with larger followings, and I wasn’t able to secure the largest brand deals because I didn’t have the largest following.

Despite the struggle to monetize my content, I had a loyal and active audience. I received messages regularly from inspired fans and noticed a group of followers commenting on all of my posts.

So why did I have to rely on Instagram and other centralized platforms to decide whether my content was valuable when I already received validation that it is from my audience?

The creator economy of Web3

The creator economy of Web3 will revolutionize the way artists, musicians, and content creators have been monetizing their work for decades. Rather than relying on centralized platforms to pay them a fraction of what consumers are willing to pay, creators will get paid directly by their fans. That means creators will receive the full amount that consumers are willing to pay because intermediaries will no longer exist to take a cut of their profits.

This doesn’t mean that all of a sudden, creators will all become millionaires. On the contrary, competition will only become stiffer as more people discover the freedom that comes with being a creator. That’s why it’s important for creators to not only have opportunities to create for themselves and for their followers but also for decentralized projects and protocols that have larger and more reliable funding engines.

Creator economy, meet DAOs

This is where DAOs come in. A DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization, is a group of people who have a common mission and are governed by rules coded into a smart contract on the blockchain that all members of the DAO agree to. The founding members of a DAO decide on a set of rules to code into the smart contract that will govern the DAO, and anyone who joins the DAO after that agrees to abide by that set of rules.

Each DAO is formed with a specific mission in mind, and that mission can vary widely. A DAO can be set up to fund proposals (Moloch DAO), buy NFTs (pleasrDAO), support communities (Panvala), or just for fun (pizzaDAO).

One type of DAO that hasn’t made a noticeable impact yet is the creator DAO. The intersection of the creator economy and DAOs has always felt natural and inevitable. DAOs democratize access to resources, pulling them away from the top of hierarchical structures and redistributing them amongst creators. Instead of the traditional model of

Stack resume with top credentials → Get a job/income → Contribute

where most people can’t make it past the first step, DAOs allow creators to at least have some skin in the game by shifting the model to

Contribute → Make money → Contribute more → Make more money

Competition amongst creators will remain strong, but this model at least gives creators an opportunity to compete - not just amongst themselves but against larger, more established entities. Creators will find more opportunities to work on interesting projects that were traditionally outsourced to agencies or built in house with full time staff.

What a creator DAO might look like

There are a number of ways in which a community organized around this shared mission to help Web2 creators make money in Web3 could form. One constant that I believe should always exist is diversity. A diverse community of creators, each with a unique voice, will bring new audiences and perspectives to Web3 that we’re currently lacking and ultimately help us build a Web3 that serves everyone globally.

Some general goals that a creator DAO might solve for include the following:

  • The desire to do what they love but the inability to monetize their work
  • The procurement of a dedicated following but the inability to monetize that following
  • The need for freedom but the inability to earn a consistent income

And some benefits that creators in the DAO might receive could include the following:

  • Learn how to create content in Web3
  • Match with Web3 projects and protocols to collaborate on paid work
  • Be part of a community of other Web3 creators
  • Earn tokens in proportion to the amount of content you create
  • Get access to exclusive community-only talks and events

Feel free to tweet any questions or thoughts you have to me at @ddwchen. I’d love to continue this conversation.

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