Spencer Dinwiddie has over the course of his eight seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) established himself as a solid player. But it is entirely possible that he will make an even greater impact off the court.
Dinwiddie, who began the 2022-23 season with the Dallas Mavericks (the fourth NBA team to employ him), co-founded the blockchain-based platform Calaxy.com in 2020 with tech entrepreneur Solo Ceesay. The site, which remains in the beta stage, is designed to provide fans greater engagement with content creators like Ezekiel Elliott, a running back with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, and R&B star Teyana Taylor.
The site is one of many to emerge in recent years, and a continuation of the trend that began with the emergence of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It has become readily apparent that content creators around the world – and there are 50 million of them, by one estimate – can peddle their wares courtesy of blockchain, a decentralized, immutable online ledger that records transactions. Most often associated with cryptocurrency, it has shown that it has value in a great many sectors, including healthcare, elections, real estate and supply chain management.
In this case it affords artists, photographers, designers, bloggers and social media specialists a great opportunity to monetize their work, while at the same time protecting such creations from scammers and plagiarists. As Dinwiddie told the website For the Win in 2021:
“The people who generate the content are the ones generating the value. It’s the same thing with the NBA. There is inherent value for making a transaction seamless or making it so where you consume the content is easy to find. It’s very nice to know I can go to Barclays Center to watch (star players) Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. But at the end of the day, they’re the ones who are creating the value and they deserve a lion’s share of the profit. The reason why things like that don’t typically happen is because the power has been in legacy systems.”
That power is becoming far more diffuse. Blockchain-powered platforms like Wildspark, Visme, Privi, Steemit, Theta and Pixsy protect content creators from bad actors by giving them a verifiable digital ID. There is no censorship, and such sites afford these creatives an opportunity to build an online community, given the direct access they have to their audiences.
But the big thing is monetization. Carolyn Dailey, founder of a site called Creative Entrepreneurs, told the website Courier.com that such platforms enable creators to “sell directly to their communities, without going through traditional ‘routes to market,’ (which) also take a cut of their profits.”
Dailey pointed out that there is no need to use galleries, music producers or record labels, while at the same time noting that the potential drawbacks are blockchain’s hazy future, investor uncertainty and the potential tax implications for creatives.
At the same time, the upside is readily apparent. One painter, Sasha Zuyeva, told Courier that the interest in his work has “clearly grown.” And Dinwiddie believes “the sky’s the limit.” So while it would be a mistake to believe blockchain can solve every problem faced by content creators, it certainly represents a giant leap forward.