Exploring the Web3 Creator Economy: Insights from ETHDenver

This episode is a pre-recorded fireside chat at ETHDenver with myself and Shannon Wells from Livepeer who interviewed me on my thoughts spanning the web3 creator economy.

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Mint Season 7 Episode 24 is a pre-recorded fireside chat at ETHDenver with myself and Shannon Wells from Livepeer who interviewed me on my thoughts spanning the web3 creator economy. Our conversation covers the definition of the web3 creator economy, the tools having the biggest impact on it, and the importance of building a strong community. We also discuss the different platforms and chains I use for my podcast’s NFT giveaways, the evolution of the creator economy beyond digital art, and how web2 companies and brands are entering the crypto-enabled creator economy space. Finally, I suggest building a web3-native podcast player at the hackathon and using tools like Bello to succeed on your crypto journey.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 01:19 – Creating the Mint Podcast 
  • 02:35 – Defining the Web3 Creator Economy
  • 03:28 – Differences from Web2 Creator Economy
  • 04:47 – Tools Impacting the Web3 Creator Economy
  • 05:37 – Cross-Chain Nature of the Creator Economy
  • 06:30 – First Movers in the Web3 Creator Economy
  • 08:00 – Web2 Companies Entering the Web3 Creator Economy
  • 09:20 – Getting More Creators into Web3
  • 11:34 – Opportunities for Builders
  • 13:34 – What is Bello?
  • 14:00 – Outro

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Bello is the no-code blockchain analytics tool that empowers web3 creators and communities with actionable insights on their collectors through a simple search.
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Hello. Hello.

Shannon Wells: Hey. Hey. Nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you too.

Shannon Wells: Um, so for those of you who don’t know, Adam Levy actually hosts a podcast called The Web three Creator. Well, I think the subtitle this, the subtitle of your podcast, mint is the Web three Creator Economy.

It’s called Mint. And then I add this like additional long thing. It’s like we’re Crypto Meets Creators.

Shannon Wells: Amazing. Yeah. So when I was putting this event together, I discovered the Mint Podcast and realized that for the last year and a half, maybe longer, Adams interviewed literally everyone who is, um, directly or indirectly related to the Web three Creator economy. So I thought this would be a great chance for us to hear from you what you’re, what you’ve learned, um, over the last, um, you know, year you’ve been doing the podcast. So Adam and I also want want you to tell the audience about what, what you’re doing, um, with Bello as well. But maybe to start, why did you create the Mint podcast?

Creating the Mint Podcast 

Yeah, so my name is Adam. I host the Mint podcast, and, uh, what’s up? I get to be on re’s live streams or her content page. I’m honored. Um, so we’re almost at 400 episodes of the MIT podcast, which is kind of wild over a year and a half. And, um, I created a mid podcast because when I was working at a fund at the time, I felt like there wasn’t enough content on the creator economy and nobody would talk to me about it unless I told ’em I would have a, I have a podcast for them to be on. So it just so happened that I like hit record and selfishly try to learn this stuff myself. But then it kind of evolved to something much bigger than that. And, uh, we publish multiple times a day, three newsletters, an episode every single day, whether long form or short form.

I just did the math this week or last week. We published about like 60 pieces of content a week on the Web three Creator Economy. So it started because I’m a creator myself, I’ve been a drummer since five years old. And I got into crypto by seeing how music was helping or how crypto was helping musicians. And then I ended up going through like the fund route and I kind of got like bored of that and I wanna do something else. So I was like, all right, let’s start a podcast. So I quit the fund to start a podcast. I don’t know who does that, but that’s what I did. 

Defining the Web3 Creator Economy

Shannon Wells: Yeah, And what is the Web three Creator economy?

That’s a good question. I think, um, the way I understand the web three or crypto enabled creator economy, it’s creative entrepreneurs using crypto primitives to build, monetize, and own their audience. So right now, a bunch of us, we are web two native creators. We are in this thing called crypto Twitter. But, um, there’s a new paradigm evolving where we get to own our audience. We get to own the platforms that we publish our content on, and through that we can discover new means of monetization in ways that we couldn’t have done before. And crypto is like the primitive, the foundation to enable that new era. So a web three native creator economy is like a crypto native creator economy where creators use crypto tools, minting tokens, forming dows on chain activities to kind of build an audience, monetize an audience, and move accordingly.

Differences from Web2 Creator Economy

Shannon Wells: And what makes that different than the old creator economy or the Web two creator economy?

The biggest thing that makes it different is when we build an audience today, um, we are kind of like slaves to that audience. So when I build a following on Twitter, for example, right, that audience is native to Twitter, I can’t take that to TikTok, I can’t take that to Instagram. And uh, then I become a, a slave to sort of like this algorithm. So a crypto enabled creator economy from my perspective is using crypto primitives and building an interoperable audience. So an audience that you can take with you from platform so that you’re not bound to the rules and barriers of the platform they’re originally building, uh, an audience on. But you can use NFTs other means of tokens to kind of like take your audience with you wherever you want, so you actually become the platform, right? So wherever you go, your audience follows, and now all the platforms want you because with a simple message, you can take your community of collectors wherever you want. So I can take them across lens, I can take them across Zora, I can take ’em to sound, I can take them anywhere I want in ways that I never was able to prior. That’s like the zero to one is sort of like how I understand it.

Tools Impacting the Web3 Creator Economy

Shannon Wells: Yeah. Beautiful. Thank you. So you’ve, you’ve interviewed a lot of people, you’ve literally asked all of the questions about the Web three Creator economy. Um, what projects do you think are having the biggest impact on the Web three Creator economy today?

So a few months ago I published this blog post on mirror called the Web three Creator Stack, and I started the blog post kind of like shilling the, the tools that I use. And then at the end, selfishly was a plug for Bello and how I use data sort of to kind of navigate my collector base. So my tool stack that I use as a creator and I see other creators use is Guild xyz as a way to build a community lens protocol as a will, as a way to build like a follower base, like an interoperable follower base. Um, I use sound to collect NFTs and to support creators. Um, telegram Mirror, there’s a bunch of tools. I think it really comes down to kind of using tools that understand that you are the creator and you are the platform and that they build tools to kind of empower your collector base, right? So there’s a, there’s a variety of tools. I can, I could list a laundry list if you’d like, but I plugged a few here and there.

Cross-Chain Nature of the Creator Economy

Shannon Wells: We’re at ETH Denver. Um, is the creator economy an e thing or is it cross chain? What are you seeing outside the Ethereum ecosystem? Or do we have a strangle hold on it?

Creator economy is definitely multi chain. Um, two biggest networks are ETH and Polygon, um, biggest platforms on eth it’s like kind of hard to tell, but Polygon, you have Lens Protocol, right? Everybody can build an audience, an interoperable audience on Polygon. Um, those are the two main platforms that I use personally where every single season on the podcast I give out like free NFTs to my listeners. And these are non-transferrable. They have no speculative value and I always mint them on Ethereum and Polygon. So I’d say those are the two primary chains. Yeah.

First Movers in the Web3 Creator Economy

Shannon Wells: Cool. And who are the first moving web three native creators that you think are having a big mark today?

So how many of you guys were here for the Nifty Gateway era? That’s what I like to call it. Okay. Um, if you guys remember, there was a bunch of artists that kind of left their corporate jobs and their, they, they were, they had great platforms on Instagram and then they found NFTs as a way to, as a tool, sort of find like their creative liberation, the creative freedom. There’s a few that come to mind like fuck render, ferocious, slime Sunday, Justin blau, like these are some like the premier creators that sort of set the tone for the Web three creator economy. But now it’s evolved and if, if you guys recall from the nifty gateway area era, it was mainly just like digital art. But now we have podcast NFTs, we have Music NFTs, we have video NFTs, and there are all these like sub pocket of communities and all these like premier creators are, are, are, are kind of like kind of arising from. So for music NFTs, I’d have to say Daniel Allen, Rio Kragan, shout out to them. Um, they’re killing the game when it comes to music. NFTs, uh, video NFTs, I think there’s a bunch. I think when you look at video NFTs like the first platform that comes to mind, it’s glass and I know live Pierre is like the foundation of glass. So there’s all sorts of artists kind of like minting and, and kind of like being experimented on the video front podcast, NFTs, I have to shout out the Mint podcast. We’re dropping podcast NFTs every almost every week and trying to experi kind of experiment what that kind of looks like. Um, photography, I’m not too well adapt with the photography, uh, space, but I collect a lot of music. NFTs podcast, NFTs, occasionally digital.

Shannon Wells: Are think there’s some photographers on the lens ecosystem.

Are there any photographers in here? Come on guys. Who’s taking pictures? There we go. What’s up?

Web2 Companies Entering the Web3 Creator Economy

Shannon Wells: Um,  how are web two companies and brands entering the web three creator economy space, and if so, how are they trying to muscle their way in?

So if you guys remember, like at the height of the bull market, you saw like all these like Pepsi brands and all these like big mainstream corporate brands. They’re, they’re, they were tweeting like, uh, wame and they were, they were tweeting, uh, uh, gmi and that was like the top signal 100%. Um, but now we’re seeing in the bear market really cool brands and different forms of IP and web two and to web three. The first one that comes to mind that did a really good job in my opinion is Smurfs. Do you guys know Smurfs? You guys heard of Smurfs? Should I show hands? Is this room awake or what? <laugh>. Okay. All right. So Smurfs did a really cool entrance on, on Lens and it was a very sort of like low barrier to entry, non-threatening way to kind of enter the ecosystem. And they took their existing IP tokenized different element elements of it. I think in the, in the height of like the movie, if I’m not mistaken, that was coming out. There was some sort of creative event and they kind of brought in their old collector base or their old audience and merged it with the new audience on chain. So I thought that was pretty creative.

Getting More Creators into Web3

Shannon Wells: Cool. Um, you recently tweeted that every creator is going to be crypto native in the next few years. How do we get to that?

I wish I knew. No, um, I think, uh, everyone likes to say it’s like education. You know, like people need to get educated on what a meta mask is cuz that ends up being your entry into all these, all these primitives that we we use on a daily basis or a weekly basis. Um, I think the way more creators get into Web three is that they see more use cases and case studies of crypto native creators finding success in web three. So I think the best example that we saw recently is the height of the music creator. And, and this is thanks to platforms like Sound XYZ and Mint songs, which shut down recently, but there were key players in this movement that tried to sell out drops or tokenized music and have creators find new means of monetization through that. Um, so I think using those people as examples and kind of obscuring away all the, all the buzzwords and all the lingo will end up influencing a lot more people and forget what I think. Like that’s what happened, right? You saw someone like Daniel Allen raise 140 K in like 48 hours with 200 Twitter followers using a mirror crowdfund that’s gonna wake up people, you know, and he’s independent. He started making music in Covid was a nobody prior to that. And overnight, overnight became somebody he took six months and like seven months to actually get himself ingrained. But that sparked a lot of light bulbs for a lot of other independent music artists and then motivated them to come into the space. So I think education first and foremost, but you have to be driven by use cases, show other creators outside of Web three the monetization opportunities and do it in a way where you can show like ethical, like commemorative, you know, ways on how to monetize and build an audience cuz the industry’s filled with scams and unfortunately like that’s, that will end up going trending on TikTok. You know, like people like clicking on that, people like viewing on that, but there’s a bunch of other use cases that we need to, we need sort of like double down on. I feel like that sort of set the example for everyone else.

Opportunities for Builders

Shannon Wells: Yeah, I feel like that time to meaningful profitability is really huge. Like even six to seven months is a, is a lot shorter than two to five years, which it can take on YouTube. Cool. Um, last question. What are the biggest opportunities for builders in this space? So a lot of people here actually hacking at East Denver or looking to start their next project. What should they build to help grow the Web three creator economy?

So I’ll, I’ll give an example of something that I tried to build that didn’t work out. I think el where was it? The last hackathon? Columbia, yes. Didn’t work out, but I still want to see somebody build it and then I’ll give sort of like a general sort of like a kind of tidbit in the air. So if you’re hacking this East Denver, try to build a Web three native podcast player and through that it would be really cool if I can direct my listeners to listen to my content through that. And then they would get an N F T based off when they stop listening so that I can understand my drop-off rates and understand who my listeners are on chain. Because I built an audience on Spotify and Apple Music and on lens and tokenizing audio a across the web, pre ecosystem and web two ecosystem. But I still don’t have like, listenership based data. So that’s one example. I think that’d be super cool. And then I, I have different ideas as to how you could do it. And then I think if you wanna build for creators at East Denver, try to become a creator for a few hours and whether it’s gonna be like a, become a video creator or a podcast creator or a photographer, like try to be the creator and see what it’s like, sort of like publishing content and then try to find pinpoints of, of paints, you know, pain points through that. Um, yeah, there’s bunch of ideas if you, if you want to come chat afterwards.

What is Bello?

Shannon Wells: And your building, I think your co-founder is also here in the audience and you guys just got into a 16 z crypto startup school. Yes. Congratulations. Thank you. Just quickly tell us what you’re building with that Yes, he’s excited

Dog. Let’s go Um, alright. So Ellie and I were building Bello. Bello is a no-code tool to help creators understand who their collectors are. So I alluded to earlier that I give out a ton of free NFTs to my listeners. I feel like I’ve minted over 20,000 across, uh, six seasons to date. And, um, for the longest time I knew nothing about who my collectors were, couldn’t go to Nason and look at the trading data and I couldn’t go to Dune cuz I don’t know how to write code. So we sort of build this tool as a way to help creators understand what their data means and find interesting trends and insights through their collector base. So what can we surface? We can help you figure out a price at which price point to sell your NFTs at. We can help you determine what day and time to sell your NFTs at. We can show you what assets in common, in your collectors whole, so that you can find communities to cross promote with and so many other insights that you can use. And part of our thesis at Bello is we believe that your community of collectors will surpass your community of followers. And with that requires a new set of tools. One of them is being Bello, so Bellos away. So if you’re a creator, you have collectors, you’re dropping NFTs, come talk to Ellie and I, we’ll help you understand more about who they are so that you can succeed on your crypto journey.


Shannon Wells: Adam, thank you so much. Give him a follow Levy.eth sign up for his podcast. Nft, thank you so much.

Thank you.

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