Web 2.0 Content vs. Web3 Content

Openness, scarcity, and monetization for creators on the internet

What impact could advances in web3¹ have on the creator economy? Drew Austin explores this in the essay Paid in Full. Here he compares content in the Web 2.0 world with what’s possible in web3:

Web 2.0’s incentives emphasized quantity — more posts, more content, more engagement, more followers. Everything was free so that users would consume more of it and sink more of their attention into platforms, which had every incentive to increase information’s fluidity (more data should be collected, more information digitized and uploaded, more users should generate more content, etc.).

Yes, this is familiar.

This put them at cross-purposes with the creators whose content they depended on, who have come to see that their best path to earning money under those conditions is by restricting access to their content than letting it circulate freely.

This refers to paywalls or subscriptions to access the content. There’s another approach which is less intuitive and kind of seems like it shouldn’t work, but we’re already seeing some evidence that it could through the interest in NFTs:

But as Web3 matures, creators will eventually be able to do away with Web 2.0’s legacy approaches to monetization and give their audiences the ability to directly invest and even speculate in content, purchasing tokens that correspond to specific images, texts, or relationships with creators and communities, while that content continues to circulate as widely as it could in Web 2.0. Instead of paywalls, NFTs.

This has been one of my fav essays recently, read it here:

¹What is web3? Think of web3 as what happens when blockchains meet the consumer internet. The qualities of decentralization and trustless transactions are introduced more rigorously into services we use on the web. This allows for a quality of uniqueness, without a centralized authority to deem that uniqueness. For a nice overview of the evolution from web 1 to 2 to 3 and what it all means, check out “What Is Web 3.0 & Why It Matters”:

Web 3.0 enables a future where distributed users and machines are able to interact with data, value and other counterparties via a substrate of peer-to-peer networks without the need for third parties. The result: a composable human-centric & privacy preserving computing fabric for the next wave of the web.



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Kawandeep Virdee

Kawandeep Virdee


Author of “Feeling Great About My Butt.” Previously: Creators @Medium, Product @embedly, Research @NECSI. http://whichlight.com.