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  • #26: Most Valuable Digital Asset Creators Don't Own

#26: Most Valuable Digital Asset Creators Don't Own

Also: Who Owns TikTok Memes?

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The owners of the @x and @xai Twitter handles were deprived of their account handle without warning or financial compensation (offered some merch and HQ tour) after being informed that the handles are “property of X”. This shocked users and creators whose entire identity and brand equity is often tied to a unique username. In the past, Elon Musk already threatened to reassign @NPR to ‘another company’. The original owner of @g on Instagram commented it’s “a reminder that we are merely borrowers on these platforms (…) Platform risk is real. Diversify and build an audience across many channels – and try to own at least one (email list most reliable)”. In response, Twitter/X decentralized competitors are busy enabling user-owned ENS handles.

Fantano is best known as an internet-based music critic. A TikTok video of his reaction to a video of a pizza being sliced went viral in 2021 (“enough slices” exclamation). Recently, Activision used the “slices” audio in a TikTok video promoting its product. Fatano reacted by requesting the company to “either immediately pay him substantial monetary damages or be prepared to defend a lawsuit” for what looks like an unpaid endorsement. Instead, Activision is now preemptively suing him to declare it didn’t break TikTok terms of service (and alleges the influencer has previously threatened some other companies too).

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2021 ruling that allows amateurs to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights, America’s student-athletes were transformed into student-athlete-influencers. Among them is LSU gymnast-turned-TikTok phenomenon Livvy Dunne — the most-followed college athlete in the country. With 13 million followers and a seven-figure paycheck while still in college, she is offering a blueprint for the future of college sports and a career outside of going pro.

A bid from Snoop Dogg to create a virtual empire is looking more and more like a house of cards. The rapper partnered with the Sandbox during the height of the metaverse craze in 2021, which drove virtual land sales up to $450,000 for the privilege of becoming Snoop’s ‘neighbor’. Now the average prices have tanked, and even the artist’s portfolio is down ~80% from the peak. The loss in metaverse interest can be attributed to crypto’s bubble burst, VC’s interest in AI, and kids’ preference for Roblox games (without blockchain).

NBA star Baron Davis is hoping a new pro sailing team ran by a decentralized organization will prove that sports teams can be better run by fans than by elites. “If fans can participate in a team, make decisions, and get rewarded, that’s just a great way to organize” Beyond financial incentives, team members will have a direct say, like a board of directors, over the team’s leadership and direction. Also, since SailGP is a uniquely data-heavy sport, teams usually hire a data analyst to parse that valuable data, but now could hand the task over to the wide tech-savvy owner base.

The decline in creator mentions comes as Pinterest changes its strategy with influencers under [new CEO] Ready, who joined Pinterest in June 2022 from Google, where he oversaw commerce and payments. Ready has focused Pinterest on becoming a destination where users not only browse for items, they buy them there. (As the chart shows, shopping has remained a hot topic!) (…)

Pinterest last fall discontinued its creator rewards program, which offered cash bonuses when creators completed goals such as hitting certain engagement metrics.

More than three-quarters of Meta’s advertisers now use Reels ads, and the annual revenue run rate for Reels now exceeds $10 billion, up from $3 billion last fall, per Meta. That brings Reels into much closer contention with TikTok, which we forecast will have $13.16 billion in ad revenues worldwide this year, up from $9.89 billion in 2022.

The big red flag for future monetization growth is that Meta continues to expect time on Reels to monetize at a lower rate than its Stories and Feed, since people tend to scroll more slowly through video content.

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Author Bio

Kuba Szewczyk is an NFT Product Strategy Lead at ConsenSys, helping build NFT tools for creators and brands. He previously worked at Bain & Co. Digital Assets and earned Harvard MBA.

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