Web3 Publishers

Web3 Impact On Publishers

More and more publishers are getting down to business with these new “realities” of Web3 and the Metaverse. How publishers should be ready to Web3, what does it mean and what could be the impact of web3 impact on publishers.

What is Web3 and how does it differ from Web2 and Web1?

Web 1.0 or Web1 is the most basic form that the Internet took and was characterized by being unidirectional and based on static content. It is read-only; the main element was the text that was completed with HTML, hyperlinks, and the first visual browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc). It means that if the content was not updated by a webmaster, it would not change. It’s basically the web from before the dot-com rush of 2001, when the internet took a brutal turn.

On the other hand, Web2 started in the middle of the first decade of this century. Its objective is to share knowledge and allows users to interact with other users or change website content, something that could not be done in Web1. The consumer is now the one who generates quality content, and this point is what has surely attracted users the most. Also, the user can make easy and fast transactions through different platforms.

Whereby Web3 is a decentralized and more secure digital platform in which you own your data, you can earn money with it and you have access to all kinds of new functions such as payments. In other words, an improved version of the Internet. It differs from the traditional use of the Internet in three fundamental aspects: speed, security and privacy.

The security is provided by token-based economies and blockchain technology. Although there are currently some security issues with blockchain, Web3 supporters believe that it will be very secure in terms of privacy. In this way, users will be able to transact directly with each other without the need to use a centralized platform.

How are publishers currently using Web3 technology?

The commercialization of NFTs is an example of the use of Web3, the internet of value. It is the missing step for technology to democratize and expand, generating a true hinge in the 21st century.

These are non-fungible tokens. To explain fungibility we say that one bitcoin is equal to another bitcoin, in the same way that a $100 bill is equal to another $100 bill. On the other hand, an NFT is not the same as another NFT. It has a unique character. It certifies the file generated by its creator and acts as proof of ownership for a user who has paid for a certain digital product with cryptocurrencies.

Currently, several publishers have used the NFT such as The Economist, Time, The South Morning Post and Gannett and the result has been very good and positive.

Proof of this was The South China Morning Post where in March 2022 they managed to raise up to $250,000 with a post related to their historic “front page” stories from 1997 for 13,000 NFT. It was possible to sell everything in 5 hours where the collectors obtained unique covers, which they can sell again if they wish or collect them.

Due to the success obtained, The South China Morning Post unveiled ‘Artefact Labs’, an NFT-based business to help, for example, other media in different countries.

“Artefact labs has the mission to help other media, historical, and cultural institutions around the world step into Web3 through their preservation of their archives on the blockchain. In doing so, we hope to create many new business models that will sustainably fund the recording and protection of history.” – Gary Liu, CEO of South China Morning Post and Founder of Artefact Labs

On the other hand, TIME was not far behind and also launched a magazine in 2022 involving NFTs, a joint project with LITDAO, since the launch of the TimePieces project in September was a success. The editors said “push the boundaries as to where we can provide unique opportunities and value to our consumers.”

What are the long term benefits of Web3 for the publishing industry?

As mentioned above, Web3 brought benefits to publishers like The South China Morning Post, Time and other online magazines, which can be seen as short-term benefits. However, Web3 can offer much more in the long term.

Information security and more profitable business models

Publishers, over time, accumulate archives and with this, the loss of data can mean a problem both economically and security and this is where the blockchain would be the hero. If publishers published their news using the blockchain by means of a main ledger that is invariable, long-term security would be guaranteed.

As you know, many publishers’ historical files/archives are very well kept due to their value, but would it be possible for publishers and digital media to sell these files using micropayments? This would welcome a good business model.

The appreciation and royalties of historical NFTs

There are investors who would be willing to finance the productions of publishers and this is thanks to the fact that time helps to give value to the stories. Assets will rise in price over time benefiting publishers and media outlets as ownership and information will continue to be available to both parties.

On the other hand, readers can also be part of this business and subscribe and operate increasing their profits. Thus, in the long term, subscribers will be able to validate their membership using NFTs and be content owners too.

Monetising stories as NFTs

We already know that there are artists who sell their paintings as NFTs, so why the same couldn’t be implemented with written stories? This topic is still being debated but the idea is that these stories are sold multiple times for each time they are accessed. The value would grow thanks to the fact that readers buy part of the NFT linked to the story. It would also be possible to use social networks to share and that the author receives an income for it.

As for the value of the story, it would be determined by the readers. They will be able to give value to the content and appreciate the work of the journalist.

Potential for micropayments with the adoption of the lightning network

Given that cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity and growing more and more among users, it is very possible that we are close to using micropayments thanks to The Lightning Network.

Lightning Network is a protocol that works as an outer layer on the blockchain of a cryptocurrency. It facilitates the speed of the transaction, as well as the reduction of costs. We delve into this protocol, its operation, usefulness and use model, as well as possible future uses.

The costs of transactions through the lightning network are low compared to the price of traditional transactions, which would be a profitable alternative for publishers. This would bring several benefits to them such as allowing them to monetize their stories without losing readers.

Another way to monetize with the Lightning Network is by using smart contracts where publishers could get paid for every time someone shares the story on social media. Something similar was introduced by Twitter in 2021:

“Looking to get a little support with tips? Tips is now rolling out to everyone (18+) on iOS. Add the Tips icon to your profile from the “Edit profile” button.” — Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 23, 2021

Validating digital assets through NFTs

Author and journalist Stephen Dubner detailed in a Freakonomics Radio podcast episode that NFTs have a lot of potential for digital assets to be validated. For example, according to Eric Budish, an economist at the University of Chicago explains that if artists sold their tickets as NFTs, they themselves would have control of sales without the need for resellers to be in the middle, thus allowing the artist to directly receive more profits as well as prevent their falsification.

This could also be applied to publishers so that the news provided is not falsified and is validated by them and thus help readers trust them.

What threats and limitations are foreseen in Web3?

The fact that publishers themselves can monetize their stories using NFT sounds very tempting as Web3 has been shown to open up a new world for some companies in terms of monetization, which has brought them success. However, the value of cryptocurrencies has dropped quite a bit and by not presenting a regulation, this can happen again.

The problems that arise have to do more than anything with technical problems, so only time can provide answers to this. On the other hand, NFTs do not yet offer the necessary guarantees to create a corresponding value.

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