Joseph Lubin: Decentralization to Allow Content Creators to Receive Better Compensation

Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys, a Brooklyn, New York-based “venture production studio” focused on “building and scaling tools” and “enterprise software products” for Ethereum, has said that “we’re seeing an astonishing range of industries interested in blockchain.”

Lubin, whose net worth has been estimated (by Forbes) to be around $1 to $5 billion, noted in a short video (published on March 12th on ConsenSys Media’s Youtube channel) that “virtually any industry that values trust can benefit from blockchain.” He argued that blockchain is “essentially the new trust infrastructure” as the distributed ledger helps us move “from a world of subjective trust to a world of automated trust and guaranteed execution.”

Not Having To Rely On Costly Intermediaries

Lubin continued: 

Instead of relying on intermediaries to provide trust in different situations, in different industries … content creators or service providers or resource providers can directly access and interact with their consumers.

He then questioned "which industry does not fall into that pattern?" - while adding that “early on we saw the financial industry get very interested in this technology.” According to Lubin’s assessment, financial institutions or service providers initially took interest in blockchain technology because “they were a little concerned about disintermediation, but also I think they recognized there would be tokenization of differents kinds of assets.”

He furhter noted:

[Financial service providers also took interest because they believed] there would be the creation of natively digital assets like cryptocurrencies, like crypto equities, crypto bonds, asset-backed tokens [such as] precious metals, diamonds, real estate or money itself.

Realizing the potential of being able to tokenize real-word assets by issuing cryptographic currencies, financial industry players “jumped in pretty quickly,” Lubin said:

Banks are now using cryptocurrencies to “build more efficient systems, to build shared sources of truth for reference data,” Lubin noted. He also revealed that organizations are increasingly taking interest in cryptoassets - which has led to major banks setting up digital asset trading desks.

"No Longer Requiring Centralized Depositories"

Moreover, institutions are exploring ways to leverage blockchain to develop infrastructure “where you may no longer need a centralized depository for different kinds of securities,” Lubin explained. For example, “you could have a body of different actors in the financial industry that are custodians of a protocol, but they don’t actually have to be custodians of the physical assets themselves because a much more robust system is a decentralized system where there are copies of all the different nodes on the network.” This, Lubin said, gives everyone collective ownership of the platform, as no single entity really owns or “singularly controls it.”

According to the Princeton University graduate, decentralized networks are managed and controlled by “the protocol that all the different counterparties have agreed on.”

Other industries such as the music industry and journalism “where you have these content creators, they can directly access their consumers” through distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based platforms, Lubin noted. Because costly intermediaries can potentially be reduced or eliminated, content creators may benefit greatly from decentralization, Lubin argued.

Blockchain-Based Uju Music Platform Has 1,000 Registered Artists

He also pointed out that the blockchain-based Uju Music platform has more than 1,000 different artists in the creator’s portal who have shared their content, and “have attached their [own] usage policies” for the content they’ve produced. Notably, Lubin believes music artists don’t need “a big record company in the middle [because] artists in the music industry on average capture about 11 or 12% of the value in the industry.”

He added that “big record companies are sucking up [about] 70%” of the total value and we “should be able to replace them” with smart contracts, however there will still be some intermediaries. For instance, Lubin noted that even with a decentralized system, there will still be promoters, curators, and bloggers. These individuals can “participate in that value flow”, but they would be unable to get into “a commanding position where they’re extracting enormous [commissions],” the ConsenSys founder said.

Journalism Is An "Important" Job 

He also argued that the “value that [participants in a system] extract should be commensurate with the value that they are adding to that flow.” This, Lubin believes, “should create a better world for artists of different varieties.” Going on to comment about journalism, Lubin thinks it’s a type of content creation, however “it’s even more important … it’s ethics … so the journalism industry has been gutted over the last couple decades where technology has gotten too powerful and the industry hasn’t been able to keep up. Technology to enable private equity firms, hedge funds, and other kinds of holding companies to buy up properties … such as local newspapers, radio stations, TV stations.”

After doing so, Lubin noted: 

[These entities can just] pump all the content through those channels with no regard for the local context. That, plus the social networking space that is treating us as products and turning everything into a hyper-stimulated binary discussion where there’s really no subtlety in how facts of situations or news is presented. That has turned into a clickbait driven, commercial nightmare. Really, it’s not about telling the truth, it’s not about subtle narrative. It’s unethical.

He further explained: 

There’s a platform we’re involved with called “Civil” which is working to bring content directly to the consumer without that commercial intermediary in the middle sucking up all the value and filtering the information. It enables ethics to be brought to bear again in journalism by essentially creating a constitution, codes of conduct, enabling newsrooms to form, to define who their journalists are, to create a charter by which they operate to post essentially a security bond … a stake on the platform, pledging that they will act ethically. If they break that pledge in some way, their readership, their listenership can call them to task and challenge their stake and potentially have them bumped off the platform.