Blockchain technology has since its emergence, been identified as having the potential to disrupt and transform several business processes. The decentralized network architecture that is the fundamental operating philosophy of the blockchain creates a situation that challenges the status quo in many mainstream markets. Most of the blockchain related headlines are usually stolen by cryptocurrency news, but somewhere in the background, blockchain technology appears to be causing a radical shift in the digital marketing scene.
A number of commentators have described the digital marketing scene as being broken. Indeed, despite being a multi-billion-dollar industry that is dependent on the output of content creators, a large portion of this revenue goes to the big firms like Facebook, Google et al. Content creators, on the other hand, find it difficult to monetize their output. In the last couple of years, some blockchain-based platforms have emerged that offer services which appear to be more amenable to content creators.
Blockchain-based social media platforms like Steemit and Brave are providing a content monetization paradigm that has the potential to be more lucrative for content creators. The emerging blockchain-based social media landscape covers virtually all aspects of the digital marketing industry. There is a growing consensus that blockchain technology might just do to social media giants, what they, in turn, did to the media industry in the wake of the emergence of Web 2.0.
The overall narrative that describes these blockchain-based social networks is one that is based on transparency, security, and decentralization. With smart contract protocols in place, the revenue earned by content creators is no longer determined by a handful of major players in the industry but by specialized computer programs that can be customized to suit any need. These major players also aren’t able to dictate the way the market works due to the decentralized nature of the blockchain.
For one, content creators can exercise more power and control with respect to their output. According to Ned Scott of Steemit, a blockchain-based social media platform, the growth of the community fuels the increase in advertising revenue. Naomi Brockwell, a New York-based video content creator who specializes in cryptocurrency-related videos says she makes an average of $40 per video on Steemit. According to her, this feat would have been extremely difficult to accomplish on a platform like YouTube. The degree of control offered by blockchain-based social networks eliminates many of the barriers to earning significant revenue as a content creator. This, Naomi Brockwell says, more than makes up for the tedious process involved in converting the crypto tokens to fiat money.
Many mainstream social media platforms have begun a campaign to clamp down on crypto advertising in a bid to protect themselves from future liabilities stemming from fraudulent crypto projects. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have all but put a blanket ban on crypto-related ads. As a result, content creators who regularly produce such contents have had to make the switch to blockchain-based alternatives.
Privacy, data security, and censorship are other factors that appear to be contributing to the exodus of content creators from mainstream social networking platforms. Facebook recently came under fire for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal which saw the user data of millions of Facebook users compromised. The government crackdown on cryptocurrency also creates a situation where crypto related content might be censored on these mainstream sites. Thus, creators are flocking to blockchain-based platforms where such censorships are a minute possibility.
Despite the apparent migration of content providers from mainstream social media, it is important to note that the numbers aren’t yet significant in any way. None of these blockchain-based platforms is yet to reach the Facebook monthly average of 2 billion users. So far, Steemit has about 1 million accounts with hundreds of thousands being added per month. There is an emerging narrative that users are becoming aware of just how valuable their personal data is. As a result, people like Dan Novaes, the CEO of Current, a blockchain-powered streaming service, believe that platform’s like his have the potential to challenge to mainstream giants.