I firmly believe that the only way to grow Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction is to create a new center of literature in the region, away from the Anglo-US sphere of influence. Perhaps Web 3.0 can help build a decentralized infrastructure for regional writers and artists, while providing a means to fairly compensate them for their work.
Watch this space for future announcements!
This article first appeared on my channel on Medium last 17 April 2023.
The advent of Web 3.0 is a game-changer, much like the discovery of the internet in 1996. It offers exciting opportunities for writers, publishers, editors, and readers, not the least of which is the potential for developing new hybrid art and writing forms that bring a new mode of transmediality and intermediality. Unfortunately, making sense of how it will revolutionize the way we write, publish, and consume written content has been mostly buried in hype, disinformation, and hard-to-understand jargon.
Web 3.0: A Brief Introduction
Web 3.0 is the next iteration of the internet, characterized by decentralization, collaboration, and immutability of content. It is built on top of an electronic ledger called a “blockchain,” which enables a decentralized internet that is not controlled by big tech companies, but owned and governed by its users. It is essentially the democratization of the publishing industry.
Web 1.0 involved desktops connected to the internet. Web 2.0 was centred on mobile phones and apps, including social media apps that allowed us to leave comments on content. Web 3.0 takes it a step further by enabling writers to publish their work directly on the blockchain, where it is permanently stored and can be accessed by any reader with an internet connection and a mobile wallet.
Smart contracts ensure that authors earn crypto rewards for contributing to the network based on the quality of their content and the engagement it receives. Decentralized platforms like Steemit and Hive allow writers to publish their work without intermediaries such as publishers or literary agents. This will force traditional publishing models to evolve and present both opportunities and challenges for new revenue streams.
Collaborative Writing Platforms
Web 3.0 also enables the development of collaborative writing platforms that can allow multiple authors, editors, and even readers to contribute to a single work. For instance, Textile can be used as a decentralized platform that enables writers to collaborate on a single novel. Each writer’s contribution is recorded on the blockchain to ensure that all contributors receive proper attribution, and the final work is transparent and tamper-proof.
Blockchain and Writing
Blockchain technology enables a new breed of hybrid textual artworks that are limited only by the authors’ imagination. Kalen Iwamoto is a Japanese-Canadian conceptual crypto writer and artist who converts blockchain processes into rules for writing and inserts poetry in web3 spaces (e.g., her “Few Understand” series). On the publishing side, blockchain technology can be used to authenticate original work, manage royalties, and prevent plagiarism. This technology also offers an unprecedented level of security and trust, ensuring that writers receive proper credit for their work and are paid fairly for their contributions.
NFTs and Literature
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become increasingly popular in the art world, but they also have potential use cases in writing and the publishing industry. NFTs can be used to monetize literature and create new revenue streams for writers. There are already various NFT marketplaces that already allow you to mint your own poem as an NFT. An eBook can be minted as an NFT, providing digital proof of ownership (or at least access rights, depending on the jurisdiction) that cannot be erased or rescinded by an Apple or Amazon. However, it’s important to note that NFTs aren’t the art or content themselves, it’s more accurate to say they are simply the digital certificates of ownership.
A note on Sustainability
This has been an unfortunate misconception. Not only does a Web 3.0 approach mitigate carbon emissions, it also creates a whole new world of privacy and security by design that cuts down on the need for even more physical infrastructure to support the tens of billions of attachments sent around the world every day.
The Future of Writing and Publishing?
The impact of Web 3.0 on writing and publishing is potentially far-reaching. It is crucial for writers, publishers, and readers to understand and adapt to this change. Web 3.0 offers a new level of transparency, security, and trust, making it a powerful tool for writers, publishers, and readers. It is up to us to embrace it and make the most of it.