Introducing Web3 ‘Do-to-Earn’ as the New Norm for User Engagement
Every social media platform faces a fundamental challenge:
How do you maintain genuine user engagement?
For a select group of dedicated internet users the thrill of consuming content, sharing their own content, and having a ‘share of voice’ on the gigantic world wide web is enough of a motivator to keep them going. Think about content creators on YouTube or Medium who just want to establish a foothold and do something for themselves in their spare time. They are not always motivated by money or status, but rather by the personal satisfaction of having read something, posted a video or learnt new skills.
Nevertheless, the truth is that a vast majority of users enjoy content-making more superficially: for status, recognition, and, frankly, the ego boost. They want more than personal satisfaction for learning a new skill or gaining knowledge by engaging with the content others have produced. Whether it be community recognition for their work or even a monetary reward, users are interested in earning a reward.
Both these scenarios seem to point in opposite directions: Intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. On one hand, some creators are motivated by personal satisfaction. Alternatively, others are motivated by external rewards. The interesting relationship, nevertheless, is that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are actually more similar than you might think. Despite the inherent inverse relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, they are actually more similar than what you might think. How can technology developments align these motivations for all creators?
The key solution is one unifying thread: The idea of doing something for a reward, or more aptly, the notion of ‘Do-to-Earn’ engagement.
What is ‘Do-to-Earn’ Engagement?
When applied to the social media space, ‘Do-to-Earn’ can be defined as performing a particular action on a social media platform for a reward. For example, an avid viewer of YouTube will watch videos for their own enjoyment, to learn a new skill or to simply find something to fill their spare time with. A blogger might write blogs for the personal satisfaction of learning a new skill or sharing their knowledge. While these rewards aren’t status-oriented or monetary per se, they still have some intrinsic benefit for the user.
If intrinsic rewards aren’t enough, being a content creator can come with the allure of earning an income from producing content. Many platforms come with the promise of monetisation through channels such as advertisement revenue, affiliate marketing and sponsorships.
This is the current landscape of content creation in our Web2.0 world. Internet users consume content for their intrinsic reward and produce content for their own satisfaction or potentially in the hope that it will get monetised. Unfortunately, power on the internet is centralised in that it is concentrated in the hands of the host platform to the detriment of the user. Web 2.0 has several limitations:
- The internet is saturated with content creators making it difficult for new creators to build an audience and monetise their content
- Platforms start rewarding users only after they have met a certain threshold of subscribers or followers
- The consumer never gets rewarded and is often the one that needs to pay subscriptions to access quality content
Sad as this may seem, fortunately there is another way. What if all users, consumers and creators, could be rewarded for their contributions to the platform from Day 1? What they could receive a reward that is commensurate with their effort as opposed to receiving a fraction of what they are entitled to?
This is where combining Do-to-Earn with Web3.0, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology come into play. As we shall see, Web3.0 is the enabler of a fairer Do-to-Earn engagement model where everyone can be rewarded for producing and consuming content regardless of how new they are to the party. Fundamentally, Web3.0 Do-to-Earn represents a paradigm shift in the way society interacts with the internet. In a world-first, everyone is rewarded in a way that is proportionate to the value they create on any platform.
Let’s see how.
Taking ‘Do-to-Earn’ One Step Further with Web3.0 and Crypto
The user’s engagement on Web3.0 Do-to-Earn platforms can be broken down into three steps:
- Users earn crypto tokens by performing desired ‘actions’ on the platform, whether this be writing a blog, exercising or playing a game
- Users can then spend these crypto tokens on use cases native to the platform
- Rinse, lather, repeat!
Already, we have seen several permutations of ‘Do-to-Earn’ such as Web3.0 gaming platforms like Gala Games and Axie Infinity. Both these platforms are seeking to popularize the idea of ‘Play-to-Earn’ where users are incentivised to participate in the game by earning crypto tokens for their actions.
In the blogging space, we’ve seen Web3.0 blogging platforms such as Mirror.xyz, BULB, and Steemit incentivise user engagement through ‘Write-to-Earn’ and even ‘Read-to-Earn’ models where users are rewarded with blockchain enabled tokens for writing and reading blogs.
As if Do-to-Earn couldn’t get any better, we’ve even seen Web3.0 companies apply ‘Do-to-Earn’ engagement to physical activity! Web3.0 fitness apps such as STEPN reward users through their ‘Move-to-Earn’ engagement model where users are rewarded for running or walking.
With this innovation, there are widespread challenges. Web3.0 Do-to-Earn platforms have to facilitate widespread crypto adoption so that all users can enjoy Do-to-Earn platforms even if they do not have a Web3.0 background. They also face the task of creating a vibrant on-platform crypto economy, one that their users see value in and are willing to engage in.
Needless to say, Do-to-Earn has the potential to disrupt how platforms engage their users by flipping the narrative where the onus is now placed upon the platform to engage users through monetary incentives and crypto economies. This marks a complete paradigm shift from current systems of engagement where users are the ones who are expected to contribute most of the value to the platform without a commensurate reward.
The possibilities of Web3.0 applications for the Do-to-Earn model are boundless. Imagine a day where your current passion forms the basis of yet another ‘Do-to-Earn’ model. Imagine a day where you could Cook-to-Earn, Learn-to-Earn or Draw-to-Earn. It’s only a matter of time before the ‘Do-to-Earn’ economy enters the public conscience and becomes the norm for user engagement. After all, who doesn’t like to earn-by-doing?
All you have to do is imagine!
 BULB, ‘BULB’s Vision for a Do-to-Earn Web 3.0’ (online, 13 October 2022) <https://www.bulbapp.io/p/dcea6ada-936c-4415-83f4-0923448cb5c4/bulbs-vision-for-a-do-to-earn-web-30>.
 BULB, ‘All You Need to Know About Do-to-Earn Blogging’, Medium (online, 23 October 2022) <https://medium.com/@bulbappio/all-you-need-to-know-about-do-to-earn-blogging-bb84a24ff4d1>.
 ‘What is Web3?’ UNCB UNSW (online, 29 October 2022) <https://uncb.xyz/whatisweb3/>.
 Swish Goswami, ‘How Digital Assets and Web3 are Driving the ‘X to Earn’ Movement, Forbes (online, 1 December 2022) <https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2022/12/01/how-digital-assets-and-web3-are-driving-the-x-to-earn-movement/?sh=612e9cfc33f4>.