Unlock uses NFTs to open subscriptions
The Future. A startup called Unlock is using blockchain technology to build a universal membership for creators across multiple platforms. When one subscription works for everything, creators may need to reconfigure how much to charge for access. But the biggest disruption Unlock presents is to tech companies — expect them to lash out the strongest as they see the platform encroach on their closed ecosystems.
One key to rule them all
Unlock is trying to create the master key to unlocking paywalls.
- The startup has developed blockchain tech that allows people to port their membership or subscription credentials across multiple platforms — like a universal password.
- It does this through an open-source, Ethereum-backed NFT protocol to make sure that your credentials are authenticated on any platform that uses Unlock.
- Some developers have already started using the tech through WordPress plugins and a plug-in created specifically through Shopify.
Unlock has raised $4 million from VC firms like Betaworks, Cygni Labs, GMG Ventures, and Metacartel Ventures China. It will soon roll out partnerships with media brands that already use the tech.
So, how does this really work? Instead of subscribers scattered across Patreon, Twitter, and Soundcloud, creators can package all of these subscriptions through Unlock. This presumably allows fans to pay one flat fee to access a creator’s work wherever they host.
The question remains how creators will respond to this universal access. If they can’t monetize separately across multiple platforms, they may have to upcharge their Unlock subscription in order to see the same revenue. Will fans follow?