The Biggest Trends For 2022 In Creator Economy And Web3

The Biggest Trends For 2022 In Creator Economy And Web3

A 2019 survey found that 29% of American children want to be YouTube stars when they grow up. Coveted professions from past generations, such as astronauts and professional athletes, have fallen down on the list as the creator economy has gained momentum.

Fast forward two years, and the pandemic and Web3 have only accelerated the creator trend. Today, the total size of the creator economy is estimated to be over $100 billion and 50 million people worldwide consider themselves creators.

The explosion of Web3, a new iteration of the internet based on public blockchains, although still in its infancy, is enabling an incredible amount of new innovation in the creator economy. I talked with a group of leading experts and investors focused on the creator economy about their predictions for the year ahead in Web3, crypto and NFTs and more.

#1: A new generation of creators is emerging, which will lead to an explosion of new companies and technologies

Elizabeth Weil, Founder and Managing Partner at Scribble Ventures

“A trend I’m watching closely is the new renaissance of entrepreneurship in the U.S. For years the rate of new business formation was actually declining. But the pandemic appears to have reversed that trend in 2020, and in Q3 this year, nearly 1.4 million new business applications were filed - the most through Q3 of any year on record.

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As a new generation of creators enters the economy at the dawn of Web3, NFTs, and acceptance of remote work, and as young children observe their parents starting more new companies than ever, I expect we're at the beginning of a monumental rise in both new technologies and new entrepreneurs to invent them.”

#2: NFTs are the single greatest technological development for creators since the advent of the Internet - and in 2022 they’ll grow by 1000%

David Lawee, Founder and General Partner at CapitalG

“The Internet has been a mixed bag for creators such as artists and entertainers. It has made content easier to consume, but harder to protect. Leveraging NFTs (blockchain-based records showcasing digital ownership of items like art, collectibles and music), creators can access new, technologically sophisticated revenue streams and engage with users and fans in innovative new ways.

Take gaming as an example: Today global in-app game purchases total $150B annually. Gaming NFTs could easily grow to that size in the near future–and gaming is just one category. Much of the media attention from NFTs in 2022 will come from athletes, artists and celebrities. Forget t-shirts as concert and game souvenirs; in 2022 we’ll take home celebrity and sports-themed NFTs.

Despite NFTs’ significant growth, we are still in Web3’s infancy, equivalent to the dial-up modem of the early Internet. Achieving crypto’s true potential will take time. For the foreseeable future, demand for blockspace will exceed supply. The technical breakthroughs needed to reduce transaction costs and broaden access to asset ownership on-chain will take years to build. I can’t wait to see the creativity and innovation they unlock.”

#3: Social feeds built on crypto wallet will surge, and become the basis for meaningful new communities

Chris Cantino, Partner at Color Capital

“Social feeds built upon crypto wallet activity are going to surge in popularity in 2022. Being able to view the NFTs, coins, and defi protocols your friends and influencers are engaging with is a huge signal, and the basis for forming meaningful communities.

In Web2, companies like Facebook had to bootstrap user data to build efficient algorithms from the ground up, by collecting user preferences over time. In Web3, companies are able to open-source data from wallet activity immediately, enabling quality networks and recommendations to be generated in minutes. One example of this is Context.”

#4: Gen Z creators will redefine what we think of as SMBs

Jennifer Neundorfer, Cofounder and General Partner at January Ventures

“We're already seeing individual creators outgrow the ‘solopreneur’ moniker. I saw this happen when I was at YouTube in the early days - early creators would start producing content on their own, and in success they would build out a team and build a real business around the content.

The way Gen Z creators today are building these businesses is fundamentally different. They rely on decentralized teams of contributors versus full time employees (FTEs); team composition is fluid, even temporal, and distributed from the start; and revenue models are community driven and often based on tokens versus dollars.

These are fundamental changes that make much of the traditional small and medium size business (SMB) software solutions obsolete. In the year ahead, I believe we'll see the rise of new tooling native to the Gen Z creators.”

#5: Explosive growth of social tokens will drive new creators, not hampered by traditional barriers and monetization models

Mattias Ljungman, Founder at Moonfire Ventures

“2022 is going to be a year of explosive growth for social tokens. Using blockchain technology, creators will be able to monetize their content and engage with fans in ways not possible before; and fans likewise will be able to access their favourite content creators easily and securely.

This will in turn lead to the rise of thousands of new creators developing quality content, not hampered by traditional barriers and monetization models.”

#6: There will be a huge need for B2B ‘picks and shovels’ software to allow creators and employees to be paid in cryptocurrency

Mark Mullen, Cofounder at Bonfire Ventures

“I believe that more and more service providers, creators and or employees, if given the option, will prefer to be paid in cryptocurrency. We are investing in the picks and shovel software that allows employers to allow for this option and also to account for the myriad of complications and regulations when related to tax and accounting from a B2B perspective.”

#7: Infrastructure for the creator economy will need to be re-imagined: payroll, benefits, culture, and more

Gale Wilkinson, Founder and Managing Partner at Vitalize Venture Capital

“As many eschew traditional employment in lieu of one or more part-time gigs, infrastructure options to accommodate this growing part of the workforce will need to be re-imagined. Payroll and benefits, including health insurance, will have to offer much more flexibility to cover part-time team members all over the world. Building culture around and engagement among an ever-increasing bench of part-time talent will become front and center whereas in the past, the small part-time crew was an after-thought or not catered to at all. Freelancer marketplaces and communities may even step in to offer some of these core services in addition to hiring.

Web3 will play a big role in all of it - payments will incorporate crypto, creator communities will be DAOs, and the blockchain will be used across all of these infrastructure offerings to keep personal data private.”

#8: Creators will require next gen e-commerce infrastructure as they increasingly own the full customer experience

Richard Wells, Managing Director at Insight Partners

“One creator economy trend I think we’ll see in 2022, is that e-commerce infrastructure will expand to cover every touchpoint, from discovery to post-purchase, for a truly frictionless shopping experience. Creators are increasingly owning and curating not only the product, but every aspect of the customer purchase experience.

In response, eCommerce enablement platforms will need to provide the full tech stack for creators by building product adjacencies in-house or offering partnerships through app marketplaces. Businesses like Rewind and Shogun are being built within app ecosystems to offer plug-and-play solutions and reduce this friction for creators. We’ve also seen companies like Shopify and Nuvemshop expanding their product coverage to include areas such as payments and shipping to minimize hand-offs between platforms with great success. It’s clear that there are massive market opportunities for eCommerce software that are able to successfully crack these new areas of the purchase experience.”

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