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As Patreon tests the waters, can crypto open doors for content creators?

Since Twitter implemented its crypto tipping feature, it appears as though more content creator platforms may start to do the same in the near future.

As the digital asset market continues to break new ground, seemingly with each passing day, there is no denying the fact that crypto adoption has continued to increase at a fairly rapid pace globally. In this regard, it now appears as though online content creator platform Patreon is actively looking to devise its very own social token — or “creator coin” as it likes to call it — as a way of diving into the world of cryptocurrencies.

Patreon executives recently teased the idea at the 2021 Creator Economy Summit with CEO Jack Conte making an appearance alongside chief product officer Julian Gutman. During the event, the two interacted with the audience at length and when asked about their decision to venture into the digital asset space, Conte replied by saying:

“I really love the idea of creators owning their media and owning their content. […] I love the idea of shifting power away from institutions and toward individual creative people.”

Even though Patreon doesn’t have a full-time crypto-focused team at the moment, Gutman stated that he is actively looking to ensure that his company doesn’t get left behind and is, therefore, considering creating a roster of high-quality blockchain talent in the near term. “We’re continuing to ensure we’re creating a sustainable recurring future for creators, [which] is why we’re evaluating the crypto space more broadly,” he added.

It is worth mentioning that Conte’s statements came just a month after the firm had released a feedback form asking clients whether they would be interested in the prospect of a creator coin and/or a social token. 

The community chimes in

To get a better overview of whether Patreon’s move will help content creators expand their monetary horizons in any sort of real, tangible manner, Cointelegraph reached out to Michael Gu, founder of Boxmining — a cryptocurrency-focused YouTube channel with over 250,000 subscribers. He told Cointelegraph:

“Absolutely — not only does it provide an additional source of revenue but it also provides additional ways for creators to engage their community. In fact, there will soon be a situation where if a platform doesn’t adopt crypto content, they risk losing their existing creators to platforms that do provide crypto adoption.”

Cryptocito, a prominent crypto YouTuber, is like-minded. He believes that Patreon’s move is great for the industry, as it really highlights the many real-world use cases that digital assets have to offer. Furthermore, he believes that moves like these show that cryptocurrencies are slowly but surely gaining credibility within the mainstream. “For content creators like me that are native to crypto, it’s definitely an interesting move that has me intrigued to learn more!” he told Cointelegraph.

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In Cryptocito’s opinion, it is only a matter of time until news events like these become more commonplace, something he attributes to the basic nature of the internet-based economy that we are currently living in. He said that similar to how Uber disrupted the taxi market, cryptocurrencies stand to change the global digital economy — it is only a matter of who implements them first.

The future for digital content creators

Nic Merten, the creator of DataDash — a crypto YouTube channel with 479,000 subscribers — told Cointelegraph that Patreon’s interest in the digital asset market signals a major step forward for the industry and should be viewed with positivity:

“For the last few years, when people asked if there was a recurring way to support the channel with crypto, unfortunately, I had to give the same response time and time again that it just wasn’t possible at the moment. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I felt a bit hypocritical on the matter, being mainly a crypto channel.”

Furthermore, he believes that the move could not only be a great way for Patreon to expand its user base but also for crypto adoption to increase on a mass scale, especially from a payments standpoint. “I do believe that although crypto is still establishing itself as a rising store of value, the future of payments is digital and, more specifically, digital assets! With a large sum of Gen Z and Millennials’ net worth being in crypto, I think it’s not a matter of if, but when,” Merten added.

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However, he did concede that there are still some unanswered questions when it comes to mainstream platforms accepting crypto donations. For example, the issue of high network fees is one that cannot be ignored, and it will be interesting to see these companies deal with the problem. “Hopefully, they’ll explore layer-two or side-chain solutions, like Lightning Network for Bitcoin, and Polygon for Ethereum,” Merten stated.

Only a matter of time?

In September, social media giant Twitter rolled out a crypto donation feature as part of its “Tipping Jar” module, allowing users to send Bitcoin (BTC) to their favorite content creators. The move seems to have caught the attention of companies worldwide, and it appears as though the trend could continue to garner more traction, as was made evident by Patreon’s decision to potentially release its own social token.

On the subject, Cryptocito believes that as we move into a highly digitized future, we will continue to see a growing list of cryptocurrencies succeed thanks to their increased adoption by platforms such as Patreon and Twitter:

“We are at the beginning of entering a new era on how we [form a] community, transfer value, access information and keep track of things. Therefore, I’m very excited for technological norms such as IBC or other interoperability protocols that will enable seamless connectivity and compatibility between sovereign networks and DLTs.”

It should be noted that Patreon’s terms of service still prohibit users from employing the platform to deal with cryptocurrencies in any shape or form — with the exception of users doling out personal investment advice. In fact, back in 2019, Patreon’s crypto censorship policies forced Dave Rubin to abandon the platform because he wanted to start accepting donations in Bitcoin. 

Thus, moving forward, it will be interesting to see how this space continues to evolve and whether or not more companies — especially those that have previously taken an anti-crypto stance — will amend their existing policies to make it easier for their users to transact via digital currencies.

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