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Crossing the Bridge

Solving the dependency dilemma to bring fandom across the bridge.

We previously explored the potential of bringing fandom onchain. The valuable end-state is onchain fandom graphs built from fan activity across touchpoints (streaming, tickets, online content, etc.) available as a composable data layer to build new, better, and more tailored experiences.

Read more about it in the original post. 

This sounds good in theory, but there are barriers in practice. A major on is the dependency dilemma:

Most of the value onchain fandom creates is unlocked only after bringing fandom onchain. It requires product and infrastructure prerequisites that, in isolation, have low direct value creation. The value comes from the second-order effects; the products and experiences we can build on top of an onchain fandom graph. 

When somebody comes onchain for the first time, they do so with a blank wallet—a clean slate. As the user (and her wallet) act and transact, the wallet accumulates assets and data. The organic way to bring fandom onchain is to hydrate the fandom graph slowly, over time, as products come onchain and users interact with those products.

This is already happening, and we’re already the proliferation of cryptonative culture onchain. This space will continue growing, organically fed by a growing onchain user base. 

The increasing adoption of onchain will pave the way for gradual and seamless integration of fandom onto blockchain rails. As more users engage with decentralized applications and transact onchain, the onchain fandom graph will gradually expand, incorporating diverse fan interactions and activities.

This evolution will enhance the value of onchain fandom and foster a vibrant cryptonative ecosystem. With ongoing development and user participation, the potential for innovative onchain fan experiences will continue to grow exponentially. But it will take time. 

Another angle may accelerate the process of bringing fandom onchain. There’s a lot of discussion in crypto circles about onboarding. The conversation is generally honed in onboarding the user and their financial assets, with fewer discussions about onboarding data.

Onchain fandom graphs could be jumpstarted by enabling users to onboard with data from existing web2 platforms. This may prevent the space from being stuck in the dependency dilemma. Instead, leapfrogging to the phase where we can build out the novel value props that fandom onchain uniquely enables.

I recently talked with a team building the jumper cables. The Camp Network is an Ethereum L2 specifically aimed at this problem. Their approach is to let users connect their onchain identity with their accounts on web2 services like YouTube and Twitter. The data from these off-chain services are bundled as a “digital backpack” attached to the users’ onchain identity. Onchain products can then create tailored experiences for onchain users from day one without cold-starting completely outside of the established (web2) paradigm. 

Over time, as users interact with onchain products, they will generate first-party, onchain data for more tailoring. And around the flywheel spins. 

When done properly and wrapped in frictionless user experiences, coupled with fandom objects (artists, franchises, etc.) that attract attention, this approach can provide important zero-to-one moments for onchain fandom. 

Bringing fandom (and entertainment at large) onchain is not a binary battle between incumbent, traditional media/entertainment properties versus new, cryptonative ones. It’s not zero-sum. Traditional media can improve through onchain features, models, and experiences. New media, native to the technology, will be built and succeed by forging new paths. The sum of the parts is that more people, products, and economic activity come onchain, which is a net-positive for everyone.

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