A New Era of Media Begins With Tokenization

Published on by Coindesk | Published on

The solution, according to various media innovation prognosticators, is the "Passion economy." The argument goes that, since anyone can create content now, it follows that the lumbering media institutions of the past will be unbundled and replaced with a swarm of individuals: Smart, sharp, upstart newsletter writers, podcasters and maybe even TikTokkers.

This is the media stack, as the polymath provocateur Balaji Srinivasan calls it.

The media stack as it exists today is found wanting.

Sari Azout, of Level Ventures, argues for a "Participatory economy" where fans benefit alongside media creators.

Media creators today can issue their own cryptographic token and design distribution and incentives around it to trigger a virtuous cycle for themselves and their fans.

A simple token economics model could help media creators bootstrap funding for new projects, reward early fans and rally communities towards a common goal.

The tools and models for tokenizing these media relationships are being built right now.

Land is a system that lets media creators gate a Telegram or Discord chat group so that only fans holding a certain number of tokens are let in; the pseudonymous issuer of the $WHALE token is now amassing a digital art collection that backs his coin, effectively turning it into an index fund of collectibles that anyone can buy; the news title Decrypt allows readers to earn tokenized rewards each time they engage with stories within its app.

The possibilities continue: Can volunteer-run, community efforts like meetups avoid a tragedy of the commons by issuing their own tokens to attendees and organizers? Will it ever be possible to bring in non-crypto native fans into a tokenized community? What happens when personal tokens are permissionlessly tacked on to the rest of DeFi's money Legos?

Just as bitcoin has offered us a decade of permissionless value-transfer over the internet, years more of exploration for more equitable and more creative media products lies ahead of us.