The New Creator Economy: A Journey into the NEAR Ecosystem

In the last article, I talked about the pitfalls of the current creator economy and how NEAR’s infrastructure allows for the perfect balance between creators communities and open finance. Cheap and fast transactions coupled with great developer support and grant opportunities is what allowed amazing projects like Sputnik DAO and Mintbase to take off and bring the creator economy to the next stage.

The robustness of NEAR’s technology is what positions it as a game-changer in the crypto space and in the past six months, facts have spoken loud and clear: NEAR is the promised land for creators and their communities. This may sound like a brash statement, but if you bear with me, I will show you why NEAR Protocol does it better. Allow me to take you on a journey into the NEAR ecosystem and show you what innovation looks like in the crypto space.

Community, Ownership and Creators’ Empowerment

From the most recent NEAR Community Town Hall

The new creator economy built on NEAR is based on the underlying idea that for innovation to flourish, creators and contributors need to have access to incentives and funds for jumpstarting and sustaining their work. The best way to incentivise participants in the creator economy is by transforming creators and participants into shareholders and creating a peer-to-peer relationship between them and their communities. Then, the key is to turn the participants to co-creators and break down the hierarchies that characterise the current creator economy.

Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) offer an alternative and more efficient organisational structure that enables creators, contributors, and their communities to invest in the entity, acquire voting rights, and actively shape the organisation’s future. The participant’s investment results in a token, that is DAO’s “equity”, and the revenue coming from the entity’s activities are then pooled to a treasury and managed publicly.

The digital assets created by DAOs are minted as NFTs and means that the DAO’s shareholders are collaborators on the NFT asset. This allows them to reap the benefits of the product’s performance in perpetuity, maintain ownership, and even split royalties into fractional shares. NEP-171, NEAR’s NFT standard, enables all of this. The implications for creators and communities are substantial. Firstly, creators would not have to worry about the authentication of their works due to the immutable and public nature of the information recorded on the decentralised chain. Secondly, creators would finally own the profits of their work without being exploited by a third party, unlike the current platform-driven creator economy. Finally, a split revenue structure allows for multiple stakeholders in the asset incentivising collaborators to promote it and profit it off of it too.

This system encourages creators and their community to align their incentives and collaborate under a new ownership mechanism that does not leave anyone behind. It is a very promising system but for it to be fully realised it needs an infrastructure that is both user-friendly, scalable and cheap, in other words: NEAR.

Community Governance on NEAR

Sputnik DAO Website

NEAR’s approach to community governance is one of the most innovative in the crypto space. DAOs are essential for the long-term development of open-source ecosystems as well as for the thriving of the creator economy. DAOs allow for more equitable and democratic interactions between the parties involved in the creator economy, and for their empowerment through ownership and incentives.

In the past year, NEAR has seen many DAOs emerging in its ecosystem as well as a mother DAO: Sputnik DAO, that guides and funds new projects that want to launch new DAOs. What it provides is a layer of metagovernace that facilitates decentralised governance and fosters the creation of tailor-made DAOs. As James Waugh from NEAR Protocol explains:

“The theme of Sputnik DAO is a DAO of many DAOs. It is a factory creating DAOs and really these DAOs are councils and you can think of them like multi-sig wallets, with the difference being you have configurable parameters for the DAO, not just the multi-sig. That means there is a meta-level of governance, so you actually can handle the governance of the parameters. The members of the council will have the flexibility to change how it works overtime to accommodate changes in the future as well.”

To appreciate Sputnik DAO’s innovative character one needs to think that DAOs are usually created as independent entities attached to particular projects or protocols. What Sputnik DAO’s allows through its structure is to create more flexible and diversified DAOs, all with different responsibilities, goals, social tokens etc. This speeds up decision-making processes and movement of funds since it is no longer concentrated in one DAO but different projects can easily fund parallel initiatives (source).

This system fosters collaboration and coordination among different projects without sacrificing speed, decentralisation, nor freedom. This is one of the pearls of the NEAR ecosystem, a paradigm shift for DAOs and an excellent tool at the service of creators and communities.

Building the Future of NFTs on NEAR

NFTs are an essential component of the creator economy as they have countless use cases that go way beyond storing and trading digital assets. However, there are very few projects that have worked on unlocking their potential. This is because there are very few protocols that offer the right infrastructure to build such projects. Ethereum, for instance, the biggest player when it comes to NFTs, turned into a hostile place for purposeful NFTs due to its soaring gas fees forcing projects like Mintbase to migrate to NEAR.

Offering cheap and fast transactions, interoperability through the Rainbow bridge and Aurora, an easy programming language, a user-friendly environment, a flexible account model, and a robust NFT standard, NEAR is just the perfect match for projects focused on exploring NFTs’ use cases. All these features made it possible for Mintbase, a platform that allows for the easy creation of digital assets, to really delve into NFTs’ use cases and bring to light exciting new use cases.

Mintbase enables users to deploy their own store/s through a smart contract in which they can directly mint and trade their NFTs. Users are no more stuck to a platform and retain full freedom and control of their economic endeavours. Importantly, the NEAR NFTs (NEP-171) come with a royalty system embedded that allows creators to earn passive income from secondary sales. Additionally, the royalty can be split and be automatically distributed across different accounts. This allows creators to monetise on their products in a more efficient and freeway and to explore different incentive mechanisms to engage creators, contributors, and communities. In short, it allows the development of a fair and efficient creator economy.

The NEAR ecosystem is Flourishing and so Will Creators

NEAR infrastructure is attracting more and more developers and creators that are looking for the perfect environment to build cutting edge applications. Sputnik DAO and Mintbase are just two examples of innovative and socially useful projects among the many that are coming to light.

These two projects together are the gunpowder that will make the creator economy explode and impose new paradigm shifts in the world of crypto. Being in their very early days they are still lacking visibility, but it is just a matter of time before creators and users will turn to them since these projects satisfy the necessity that other platforms fail to provide.

Crypto scavenger and cypherpunk ally, writing on privacy, crypto projects, philosophy of technology and more.