Intellectual property is much more than patents; influencers, streamers, and other content creators will benefit from strengthening the connection between blockchain and intellectual property rights.
Content creation on platforms like TikTok and others is a multi-billion dollar business with a global reach, and blockchain can play a key role ensuring this success is distributed to those who have earned it.
The concept of intellectual property might, and not unreasonably, strike some as a relatively dry topic. What usually comes to mind when discussing this area are items like patents, trademarks, copyrights, and accounting topics like goodwill that can seem confusing on a good day. Taking a step back, however, and the landscape for intellectual property, protecting intellectual property rights, and appropriately compensating the owners and creators of this property is much broader.
When the subject of TikTok or other content creation sites is raised there are usually two reactions, ignoring for the moment the political machinations currently underway. One perspective is that this deluge of self-created content is a waste of valuable time, as well as being a breeding ground for false narratives and fake news to proliferate. Conversely, and tangentially touching on the political debates of the moment, individuals who upload so much of themselves and their output for free run the risk of being cut out of the proceeds from their efforts.
Specifically there are risks and obstacles related to privacy, fake news, and compensation that routinely pop up anytime a new content influencer is crowned, or a new application sets the space on fire.
In this instance the truth lies, as is usually the case, somewhere in the middle.
Content creation, no matter what form it takes, has long been at the center of virtually every industry, and just because it takes different forms than it had previously does not reduce its importance. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that greater blockchain integration with intellectual property, including the influencer economy, can help accelerate equitable growth in the sector.
Privacy. The topic of privacy is one that is in the headlines of the business press virtually every single day. From technology CEOs being grilled by Congress, to allegations of hacking being hurled back and forth on a (seemingly) daily basis between the U.S. and China, this is a major business, political, and geo-political issue. While blockchain is not perfect – no technology tool is or can be – it has proven extremely effective at safeguarding information. Particularly since large amounts of influencer intellectual property consists of the images and ideas of an individual, securing this data is of paramount importance.
One example of a blockchain organization seeking to grant individuals more control over their identity, sometimes to referred as self-sovereign identity, is ShareRing, which enables individuals to establish and secure an individual digital identity. Privacy has many different facets, and is especially important for online influencers and other personalities.
Reputational damage. Although recently the concept of fake news has been impacted by political connotations, the implications of it can have a much wider impact on the influencer economy than just misinformation. Especially since a large amount of the influencer economy is based around an individual personality and points of view, the threat of deep fakes and reputational damage cannot be overstated. This has already started to have an impact on some content creators, the streaming ecosystem at large, as well as several prominent deep fake videos that have circulated featuring celebrities and business leaders.
Reputation, and maintaining an appropriate reputation is always important for any business, but is even more important for an online presence so closely linked to reputation. The risk of fake news, false rumors, and even deep fakes are a real risk for these individuals. Fortunately there organizations, including Bitconch and PoRX (among many others), working on developing blockchain-based systems to secure and protect different forms of reputation online. Still an emerging field, a blockchain-secured way to manage ones reputation online will be a game-changing application.
Compensation. As nice as it might be to think that content creators, streamers, and other creators of influencer intellectual property start these projects and create this content simply for entertainment purposes, there is an undeniable financial aspect as well. Ensuring that the rightful creators and owners of the intellectual property – the influencers themselves – are reaping the rewards of their creations, is essential if the influencer economy will continue to grow. In other words, there is a market need for a blockchain-for-payroll platform.
The idea of a blockchain-for-payroll or compensation might seem like an abstract idea, but is closer to the mainstream that might be initially thought. Avanti is an entirely new banking organization focused exclusively on blockchain and cryptoasset banking and financial services, and is a landmark development in the space. Specifically focused on payroll, Nine Peaks is just one of the payment providers integrating blockchain into current operations.
The idea of an influencer economy or streaming economy might have caused eyes to roll just a couple years ago, but the reality is that this segment of the economy is growing fast. More importantly, it is the part of the economy (and type of engagement) that is most appealing to the increasingly important millennial and Gen-Z cohorts. Blockchain is not a perfect tool, but if properly implemented can help ensure that organizations like TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, and whatever comes next create great entertainment for users, and financial success for the hard-working creators.