London-based Yuser adds non-fungible token (NFT) creation and marketing tools to its social platform
IF YOU’VE KEPT up with tech news lately you might’ve heard talk of NFTs ― or non-fungible tokens ― and the dizzying amounts some artists (and investors) are making on them, with the most high-profile NFTs selling for tens of millions of dollars.
And if you’ve been thinking that you ought to get in on this game, then the London-based tech app Yuser might be the app for you. They have just launched what they say is the first social platform that allows you to monetize your content by selling it as an NFT.
Let’s back up. You might be asking: what is an NFT? Which is an important question here.
Story Continues Below
At the highest level, they are like trading cards: digital files that can be certified as unique and one-of-a-kind. Though this uniqueness and one-of-a-kindness is largely theoretical: most NFTs are things like JPEGs or short video clips that are, by their digital nature, endlessly replicable; what you are actually buying is ownership of replicable content.
If you and everyone else have the exact same JPEG file on their hard drive but you acquired yours through an NFT marketplace, then in the fuzzy, conceptual logic of NFTs, you own the original and everything else is a copy. You own, in a sense, the uniqueness of something that due to its digital nature is not all that unique. (Is this confusing and complicated? Yes!)
NFT defenders will say this opens the door to a healthier and more rational way to value digital art as a medium; its critics see it as bad way to commodify art and, since the average NFT (which depends on energy-intensive blockchain tech) consumes around the same amount of energy as an average European citizen does in an entire month, have likened NFTs to an “ecological nightmare pyramid scheme.”
Back to Yuser. Launched in 2019, Yuser is an app designed to help people monetize the content they post on social media. Likes, retweets, faves and comments are all worthless on other apps without brand deals, but on Yuser, content creators are rewarded for their content with Gems, which you then use to buy things on the Yuser marketplace where Gems are the coin of the realm. When they launched, Yuser focused on the local economy, with companies like the Root Cellar, Booch Organic Kombucha, London Brewing and Boho Bars all offering deals for anyone with enough Gems.
Now, in addition to posting content to Yuser to earn Gems, you can also post content to Yuser to sell as an NFT.
“While selling content online can expose your work to more buyers, it also exposes you, the artist, to the risk of having your art stolen,” the company says. “This is exactly why NFTs are becoming such a popular option among digital creators. Both lucrative and secure, they allow you to profit from your art, without the worry of it being pirated. When you upload to Yuser, your content is automatically converted to an NFT that can be sold by you ― and only you ― and protected from theft on our secured network.”
It fits within the broad ethos Yuser is trying to embody ― a social media platform that is designed for creators to be fairly compensated for their labour.
Story Continues Below
“NFTs are the most highly regarded smart contract that blockchain technology today has to offer,” says Tom Cermak, Yuser’s CEO. “We are proud to be able to help creators better protect their digital rights and monetize their works as we envisioned back in 2018 when we started Yuser.”
Yuser says it is the first social media app to build NFT sales into its systems, though it isn’t the first social media content to be sold as an NFT (Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet as an NFT earlier in March). But by building it into the app, Yuser’s hope is that it will attract creators and artists to their fledgling app in hopes that they will be able to cash in on the NFT boom.
“Whether you are a graphic artist, musician, photographer or filmmaker, you can participate over Yuser in the growing NFT market space, which has already expanded to well over a billion dollars,” says Yuser’s COO, Eunika Sot. “The world needed to catch up to the notion and importance of NFTs, and now that the word is out, we’re ready to help creators shape the future of social media.” Kieran Delamont