The Creator Economy: Today Vs. 2025

The Creator Economy: Today Vs. 2025
s/o Visualize Value

We live in an age with countless options where the financial rewards for curiosity have never been higher.

You can:

^Work done for its own sake. Check my pals out ;)

This essay will break down why creating content will be better than working for a career. No, it’s not ‘self-help’ bullshit writing. The purpose is to demystify the future of work through the lens of crypto. This essay will explain:

  • Creators Inventing Jobs
  • Web 2.0: Internet Of The Past
  • Crypto + Internet = Web 3.0
  • The Creator Economy

Creators Inventing Jobs

When I say “creator” I’m talking about “people posting on the internet”. Like a Pixar film saying “anyone can cook”, the internet has made it so that “anyone can create” or consume:

A creator economy means that people can build a career using the internet. The web allows us to create at low-cost, while attracting an audience for it. Those who distribute products online are called creators, builders, founders, or whatever else.

You can share an item, video, audio, picture, writing, or code on platforms like Amazon, YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, or Github. These are online products getting distributed.

For example, my product is this essay. I’ve created content sitting on public pages for anyone to access, read, and share at any time. The words are written with zero cost (aside from thinking). This web domain and my Twitter are two of the platforms I use for distribution.

That’s the creator economy in a nutshell: People building careers by producing and distributing content on the internet.

Web 2.0: Internet Of The Past

Web 2.0 is the current version of the internet. It's the network we’ve all come to love, yet ignore its flaws. Internet platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok control internet distribution. They offer creators a place to showcase content, but monetize all data being shared in exchange.

Creators don’t own their digital labour on a platform despite increasing the network’s overall value. Platforms pay creators and offer monetization methods, but they don’t give equity to users for what they directly contribute.

Web 2.0 doesn’t incentivize for people to create content online. It encourages platforms to monopolize on data instead. The internet makes it easier to become a creator, but it’s the ease of ownership, monetization, and authentication of digital content that needs to be solved.

Let’s see how crypto changes the economic rules of the internet:

Crypto + Internet = Web 3.0

“Behind it all is surely an idea so simple, so beautiful, that when we grasp it — in a decade, century, or millennium — we will all say to each other, how could it have been otherwise” – John A. Wheeler

The crypto industry is the biggest experiment happening in the world today. It’s raw, new, barely a decade old, and wildly misunderstood. The internet that we know and love is called Web 2.0. New prototypes are being built by marrying crypto with the internet — giving birth to Web 3.0.

An experiment’s purpose is to succeed and/or fail. Your current stand on crypto doesn’t matter. Don’t look at what it is today, look for what it could be in the future. If it succeeds, Web 3.0 will offer creators the tools to own direct equity from their online content.

Let’s consider what makes Web 3 special:

Internet Native Money

“Prior to 2009, you could send any information you want to anybody, anywhere in the world, instantly…except the most important information of all: value. Now we are all caught up.” – allen farrington

Crypto offers native money specific to the internet. We must know how the web works to truly understand that sentence:

Protocols are rules for devices to communicate with each other online. The internet is made from layers of protocols stacked together. TCP/IP are two internet protocols that deliver data across networks. They allow for chunks of data called “packets” to communicate between other internet layers. You wouldn’t be able to read this without TCP/IP packets.

Cryptocurrencies aren’t just money. They too are protocols resting on the internet. This allows for payments to turn into packets similar to TCP/IP. Crypto provides internet native money because it transfers value the same way we deliver messages through the web:

Bitcoin was the first digital money that was conceived from the internet. It runs directly on top of TCP/IP layers––allowing for money to travel in bytes rather than banks. Why is this special?

Software Can Now Hold Money

Money can now be stamped into code. This is a completely new invention.

Over the past century, finance has adapted to technology known as fintech. Payments have now diversified outside of physical cash also making daily transactions go up. A majority of purchases are no longer happening with cash alone. Money today is transferred via “payment rails”, which are infrastructures built to move digital value. For example:

Digital transactions in the US would likely reference:

  • ACH (“Automated Clearing House”)
  • Fedwire
  • CHIPs (“Clearing House Interbank Payment System”)
  • Debit Cards
  • Credit Cards
  • PayPal

The payment rails above would link to your bank account to complete the transaction. Fintech software doesn’t really hold any money. All it does is map to the appropriate bank account, which then points to the cash. So while fintech uses technology to make payments easier, all it’s really doing is improving an inefficient system.

With crypto turning payments into network packets, we can transfer money through software alone. This allows for crypto to evolve with the internet––instead of legacy systems conforming to it. It’s bonkers to think about, but here’s an example:

Compound is a smart contract sitting on top of the Ethereum blockchain. It allows borrowers and lenders to exchange loans. The code itself handles the transactions by locking money in the form of ‘cTokens’.

Here’s a piece of Compound’s code as an example:

The code above liquidates the borrower's assets if they do not pay the lender. Notice the cToken automatically being repaid to the lender? It’s digital money that doesn’t reference payment rails, banks, or your identity. It directly connects borrowers to lenders, while the code itself secures the money.

How are Web 3 protocols like Compound different from Web 2 applications like PayPal? The code is all open, the community runs the platform, and equity goes to network contributors. There are no central servers and no employees that handle any transaction between lenders or borrowers. It’s entirely done through software alone. No payment rails involved. Why is this special?

Tokenomics: Fungible And Non-Fungible Contracts

“It is interesting to me to see blockchains and smart contracts being used to replicate many of the things we use to build applications on the Internet. Slowly but surely a decentralized infrastructure that mirrors the centralized infrastructure is getting built out.” – Fred Wilson

With network native payments and software securing money, we now have digital contracts to prove media ownership. How? Through blockchains and tokens:

Tokens are the value-holding software deployed on a blockchain network. (Cryptocurrencies101).

Blockchains are a cryptographic model for trust without central validation. Agreements are met by having scattered computers combining to form a secured network. Each computer individually does work to verify the correct information is settled. This guarantees a consensus will be reached regardless of some system failures.

Tokens can be thought of as units of account with built-in property rights. They use blockchains to make strong commitments that its code will run as designed. Tokens guarantee value from blockchains the same way currencies get backed by central banks. It makes sure that the rules on the protocol can’t be changed — unless it’s agreed upon by consensus.

Think of blockchains and tokens as another way of verifying ownership whether it’s money, media, utility, networks, or value. The difference being centralized vs. decentralized. While central validation is fine and dandy, blockchains offer other ways to authenticate information. Not replace them.

Tokens use the governance powers of blockchains to prove value in two ways:

  • Fungible: interchangeably valued
  • Non-fungible: uniquely valued

Fungible tokens are like ‘digital economic contracts’ on the internet. Owning a token gives you a private key that allows access to its underlying service.

Examples of fungible tokens and their protocols:

  • Bitcoin (digital native store of value)
  • Ethereum (virtual computer hosting smart contracts)
  • Uniswap (decentralized crypto-exchange)
  • Compound (borrowing and lending loan service)
  • MakerDAO (stablecoin pegged to the US dollar)
  • Stacks (smart contracts on Bitcoin)
DeFi Tokens On Ethereum’s Blockchain

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) serve as ‘digital property contracts’ on the internet. They're basically online content that comes with a cryptographic address attached to the media file. This address proves originality for any audio, video, picture, or text on the internet. NFT's can track who the creator and owner of the original content is.

Examples of non-fungible tokens and their markets:

Bored Apes NFT’s

Video games are a good analogy for both tokens working together:

  • Roblox is an online game with its own online currency called ‘Robux’ (fungible tokens):
Robux (fungible value used as currency)
Rare collectibles (non-fungible value used in markets)

The creator economy will soon mimic this format.

Fungible tokens and NFT's prove ownership of digital information. The logic of tokens give built in property rights to its creator and owner. This will turn people into investors just like how the internet made people creators. That's the creator economy in 2025.

The Creator Economy

“If you can compensate each person for their exact contribution, you don’t need to pay everyone the same salary. And if every person gets paid for their contribution, those who are particularly productive or innovative will get paid more than ever. And those who aren’t will no longer have a stable salary” – NFTs and the Future of Work

There's a quote from the Hamilton soundtrack that goes:

"My God, In God We Trust. But we never really know what got discussed."

The fundamental idea behind crypto is the concept of trust. Central systems involve people trusting the decisions of others––without being in the room where it happens. Web 2.0 is built in a way that makes our private lives become a public commodity. The structure of the internet will change this as decentralized applications get built out.

With the birth of blockchains, we can outsource validation to software. It counters central trust by providing the math and computation needed to run a trust-less system. If this happens, we'll go through a shift similar to the internet era itself:

Imagine doing this to watch TikToks…

What we need to understand about crypto is that it's new. The use cases are still being figured out and many things are still scams. The functionality for crypto is still too early, inconvenient, and difficult to use––just like the internet once was. As progress is made, we'll have no choice but to adapt. So it wouldn't hurt to start learning about it now.

This essay’s purpose was to explain why creating content online will be better than working for a career. The crypto ideas above show us new ways for creators to sell small bits of content without any middlemen. More importantly, it gives creators a certain level of control on how their content is used and monetized.

Crypto shows the possibility of one day being able to own, monetize, trade, and share what you create online at economic scale. Build content with thoughts of it being digital insurance that you’ll one day get to claim. That’s if the Web 3.0 experiment ends up succeeding. Until then, produce deliberately with hopes of compensation, not attention.

Au revoir,

-rushil

TLDR: creative work > career work