For over a decade we have witnessed explosive growth of the digital content industry led by a variety of
web and mobile content platforms such as Reddit, Youtube and Spotify. It has become an indispensable
part of our modern daily life, with audio and video streaming constituting 70% of Internet data traic.
However, the success and fairness of the industry is impeded by several long standing challenges facing
creators, consumers, advertisers, and distributors of digital content.
• Content creators struggle to profit from their own creations. It is extremely diicult to monetize one’s created content online. On many content platforms such as YouTube and Instagram,
users create all the content, from which platforms profit enormously by selling advertisements.
However, the vast majority of creators are rarely compensated for their indispensable contributions to these digital platforms. In addition, when creators do get paid for their content, layers of
intermediaries siphon o a majority share. Creators are in a weak position and lack bargaining
power to negotiate equitable monetization and payout terms. It is not surprising platforms take
most of the revenue and creators only collect a small piece of the pie. For instance, when a song
is streamed, only about 15% of the sales income goes to its creators, the bulk goes to streaming
service providers and record label owners.
• Content consumers receive no compensation for their contributions. Consumers engage in
a wide variety of value-creating activities vital to content platforms, but are never financially
rewarded. Curation: users spend valuable time interacting with platform content (e.g., liking,
voting, flagging and commenting), filtering low quality from high quality content and receive no
payments for their participatory work. They are commercially exploited by powerful platforms
(e.g., YouTube) at the expense of users unknowingly providing free services. Share: sharing
within or outside a content platform (e.g., sharing a YouTube video with followers on YouTube or
Facebook) brings more visibility to content and attracts more traic to the platform. Attention:
the Internet is flooded with all types of digital content with greatly varying qualities. Therefore,
content is no longer scarce, per se, but a user’s attention is. A user spending limited attention on
content, including advertisements, is valuable.
• Aggressive competition between content platforms. Since key user information and content
is locked in their proprietary data silos, it’s nearly impossible for the content platforms to build
mutual trust, which oen leads to fierce competition in the digital content industry. It is not
uncommon that we see big content platforms bid for copyrights of popular content with insanely
high prices, driving up the cost of the bid winner and at the same time, leaving the small and
medium-sized platforms no choice but to turn to low quality or pirated content. And usually
these surging cost will be transferred to end-users through longer ad times or higher subscription
fees, eventually degrading the user experience.
A Blockchain-based Ecosystem
Our solution to the problems mentioned above is the ContentBox Platform, which aims to build a
blockchain-based ecosystem for the digital content industry of tomorrow. Under ContentBox, the
whole industry will gain three invaluable features: a shared content pool, a shared user pool, and a
unified payout system.
Unlike traditional open platforms such as the App Store or WeChat Open Platform, the ContentBox
Platform is fully decentralized, autonomous, and driven by the open source community instead of
an industry platform giant. ContentBox will help various web and mobile applications share digital
content and user bases in more eicient ways than before, and process payments swily without
ceding control to a third party.
In principle, ContentBox is designed to benefit all stakeholders in the content industry including but
not limited to, creators, consumers, advertisers, distributors, and application developers. ContentBox
allows them to collaborate, innovate, build, engage and transact with a new generation of digital
content applications that play on fair terms within the ecosystem.
For content creators, ContentBox’s payout system will allow them to get rewards every time their
content is consumed, motivating them to create more diverse and higher quality content. Top creators
of the most popular content still reap big rewards while everyone else now receives compensation in
proportion to their content popularity. In addition, ContentBox will connect creators directly with their
consumers by streamlining and automating business transactions without intermediaries chipping
away at a creator’s revenue share.
For consumers, they will be rewarded with tokens according to their contributions. Those contributions
can be social sharing, voting or commenting on content, or reporting spam content, as long as they
are beneficial and add value to the platform. They can spend their tokens on content consumption,
like viewing a movie or streaming a song. If a user has a stake in the success of the platform, they will
put more eort and research into curating and advocating for it, as evidenced in the rise of Bitcoin.
Advertisers also will benefit from the new ecosystem. With ContentBox, advertisers can tap into a
shared advertisement statistics ledger and pay by actual advertisement viewership automated by
smart contracts, instead of relying on opaque statistics reported by distributors. Since the ledger
is open, they can audit and verify it and have peace of mind. This can help them to build a unified
and coherent marketing strategy, instead of running paralleled campaigns on dierent platforms.
Furthermore, they can lower spending by leveraging a token-based bounty program.