We are generally interested in niche applications for crypto. This is the best way to capture the market, after all. Get the first initial users who are passionate about the product and also see great value. Then expand beyond the initial use case. This is the tried and true model for startups, and should be adopted more by blockchain/crypto startups too.
Today, let’s look at one such company – Wemark. It is a project in a very specific niche – photo licensing. And that industry could definitely use some new technological disruption. After all, photographers hardly made a third of the revenue these companies generate! It is a huge oligopoly because it is a two-sided marketplace. The big ones – Shutterstock and Getty Images, have cornered the market for paying clients, so photographers are left with no choice but to play ball and go with whatever they offer.
There are all sorts of competitors in the space, as is expected, given these profit margins. However, none has succeed in replacing these behemoths. Could a crypto startup do it?
Wemark provides 85% of the revenue to the photographers. That’s around 3 times what they can share with the larger companies. The sell for photographers is a no-brainer. The biggest question is, will Wemark be able to attract the commercial deals that these large companies specialize in? We’ll have to wait and see how that turns out, since it is only now beginning to operate and offer photos to such clients.
Wemark offers payments to photographers in its own native token, which may be an issue for more mainstream photographers down the line since it would be harder to convert into fiat, but as a first step in acquisition, it should be manageable or the company itself can run some sort of informal exchange for the photographers.
We originally talked about dominating one industry and then going on from there. If Wemark is successful in the photography business and can actually provide value to both sides of the marketplace and more importantly actually see parties on both sides of the marketplace, then there is no reason why it cannot go beyond. The company already plans to enter the digital asset space using a similar model. This can be anything – doesn’t need to be photos, after all.
How the company performs in the photography market remains to be seen. The company also needs to provide value and utility to its native token, since that is what is being used for payments, and shouldn’t have too high of a velocity, which would cause the market cap to remain small.
Overall, the photo licensing industry is one that is definitely in need for some disruption. Wemark approaches this using a crypto token for payments and providing a higher percentage of payment to photographers. Whether these are enough to attract buyers remains to be seen.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Kennedy