In an era marked by payment hurdles and the looming threat of de-platforming, adult content creators are increasingly seeking refuge in decentralized alternatives to mainstream platforms like OnlyFans and Patreon. These innovative creators are tapping into the vast potential of Web3 technology, which offers not only enhanced control but also newfound financial security.
Leon Lee, the visionary founder and CEO behind Only1, a decentralized counterpart to OnlyFans, believes that a transformative shift is underway, redefining the dynamics of content creation. Lee asserts that Web3 is orchestrating a substantial power shift, effectively diminishing the role of intermediaries while empowering creators to thrive financially.
In a recent interview, Lee emphasized this shift, stating, "The role of intermediaries is diminishing while the role and earnings of creators are increasing." This transformation is primarily driven by the desire to surmount the challenges that have long plagued traditional platforms.
One glaring example of these challenges surfaced in August when Patreon struggled with creators facing difficulties withdrawing their earnings due to banks flagging payments as fraudulent. Moreover, OnlyFans made headlines in 2021 when it controversially attempted to ban sexually explicit content, eventually backtracking on the decision. These incidents have underscored the inherent risks content creators face on centralized platforms reliant on traditional payment systems.
Lee contends that content creators will forever remain susceptible to de-platforming as long as they remain entrenched in centralized ecosystems. To unlock their full earning potential and fortify themselves against censorship, he advocates for a swift adoption of decentralized platforms underpinned by blockchain technology.
A burgeoning wave of startups is exemplifying this movement, with Only1, launched on the Solana blockchain in March 2023 with the backing of Animoca Brands, standing as a prominent illustration. This pioneering platform offers a crypto-centric approach to adult subscription services.
Simultaneously, other platforms, such as WetSpace, a crypto-powered adult content platform conceived by former OnlyFans model Allie Rae in 2022, have emerged as viable alternatives to traditional centralized platforms. The Web3 landscape further boasts platforms like Proof of Peach, SEXN, and Keyhole, all catering to the creative talents of the adult entertainment industry.
More recently, creators on OnlyFans have been exploring Friend.tech, a decentralized social media platform integrated with Coinbase's layer-2 network Base.
Lee predicts a sweeping migration of creators from centralized intermediaries as disillusionment with censorship rules grows. He asserts, "Creators are already waking up to the fact and are becoming less dependent on intermediaries to monetize." While TV producers, advertisers, and brands continue to play essential roles in the creator economy, Lee envisions a future anchored in peer-to-peer payment structures built upon blockchain technology.
"This is the inevitable future and the unrealized potential of blockchain technology," Lee declares.
Despite challenges posed by the 2022 crypto market crash, Web3 continues to captivate marketers, particularly in the activewear and luxury brand sectors. Trailblazing companies like Nike and Adidas have embraced blockchain technology, weaving it into loyalty programs and fostering vibrant communities around their brands. Nike's .Swoosh community, launched in November 2022, epitomizes this trend, empowering members to partake in online and real-world activations, interact with Nike athletes and creatives, and utilize virtual Nike gear in gaming experiences.