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Publishing Industry

 

The Era of the Metaverse:
Will It Allow Authors and the Publishing Industry to Coexist?

 

2022.03.07

 

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Metaverse: Metaverse is a term consisting of “meta,” meaning “virtual” and “transcendent,” and “universe,” meaning space. It refers to a three-dimensional virtual world where social, economic, and cultural activities take place just like reality.
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NFT: Meaning “Non-Fungible Token,” NFT refers to a token that represents rare digital assets.

 

Transition to an era where we can own a famous writer’s poem

 

On June 5, 2021, the third poem collection Rat and Oyster (Hyundae Munhak) of writer Bae Soo-Yeon was published in the form of an NFT, sold at 2.94 Ethereum on Opensea, an online NFT marketplace. The momentary currency of 2.94 Ethereum was approximately 9 million won, which today costs about 10 million. If we think that a poem collection usually costs about 9 thousand won, the purchase was made at a price 1,000 times higher. Also, considering that there was no intermediary in the purchasing process as it was a direct trade between the writer and the buyer, the purchase has actually brought the writer more than 1,000 times profit. Writer Bae says she will donate the entire profit to an organization advocating the democratization of Myanmar.

 

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An online NFT marketplace “Opensea
where the NFT work of writer Bae Soo-Yeon’s Rat and Oyster was registered

 

 

 

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The production and purchase record of Rat and Oyster written in the blockchain

 

 

The screenshot above shows the production and purchase record of the NFT Rat and Oyster written in the Ethereum blockchain, and how the work was transferred. As such, the data recorded in blockchain is open to the public, and nobody is authorized to modify or delete the record.

 

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The profile of writer Bae Soo-Yeon registered on Opensea

 

 

Above is the profile of writer Bae Soo-Yeon registered on Opensea, the biggest NFT marketplace. If we search “0x4c54…3a29,” which is her Ethereum address, we can easily find out her NFT production history, sold price, and transfer record. In addition, anyone can see who currently owns her NFT, and if the NFT has been resold to another person. And these all have the unique characteristics of the blockchain, where no records can be modified or removed.

 

NFT publishing market and prospects in Korea

 

Korean NFT markets are expanding, but are currently limited to games and artworks. However, games and works of art also have problems choosing a platform on the NFT market (like a blockchain network such as Ethereum). It is the reality that many authors are having trouble publishing and selling NFTs due to linguistic and technological barriers.
Yet, if we look at Korean NFT markets, growing little by little or having good prospects, an NFT marketplace based on Klaytn developed by Ground X, a subsidiary of Korean conglomerate Kakao, seems to be growing steadily. Klaytn is a blockchain network that works the same as Ethereum, using the open-source Ethereum. As writer Bae Soo-Yeon published her NFT using Ethereum, many other authors will also be able to publish their NFTs through Klaytn. Klaytn’s gas is currently cheaper than Ethereum, and relevant communities are facilitated in Korea. It is also advantageous for authors as there are websites servicing Korean, enabling them to publish and sell NFTs more easily.
As there’s a wallet inside Kakaotalk – the representative messenger app in Korea – where people can use Klaytn, authors and domestic users can have easier access to it. Nevertheless, the market for the production and trade of NFT works based on Klaytn is not facilitated yet in Korea. So, with the market in its infancy, there is a desperate need for a domestic platform where authors can get help producing and selling NFTs like Opensea.

 

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An NFT production platform, “Krafterspace,” based on Klaytn, the representative blockchain in Korea

 

 

How can authors and the publishing industry coexist in the metaverse era?

 

When the Internet was first born, some experts talked about how the future might change. However, it did not directly impact the audience. However, today we are all living with the Internet, feeling its importance in daily life.
Now, the era of the metaverse is upon us. It has a subtle influence on our lives yet, and a number of experts are setting the stage preparing to jump on the new wave.
We can also have a taste of that groundwork through the “NFT.” It is yet a difficult and unfamiliar topic, but a few early bird authors are using NFTs to sell their works and making new works with the profit. This could be a threat to the traditional intermediaries, but it can also be a good chance for authors if used properly.

 

As a new market is open, there needs to be a domestic platform
that can help authors produce and sell NFTs.

 

The NFT has heralded the emergence of the metaverse era. Now the world has changed, and authors and readers can have direct exchanges of works by means of a new technology called the blockchain. And this trend is expected to develop further with the metaverse.
But there are still many ways for writers and the publishing industry to coexist in the midst of change. For example, many authors are having difficulties publishing and selling NFTs. The publishing industry could play a critical role in supporting their troubles. It could serve as a platform similar to Opensea, the world’s largest NFT market, and further develop its role.
Such a market is still wide open and is becoming a land of possibilities for people seeking new opportunities. The era of the metaverse has already arrived, and if we do not join the generational transition, only regrets will await us.

 

 


Written by Kim Dong-Hwan (Hankyung columnist)

 

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Kim Dong-Hwan (Hankyung columnist)

#Metaverse#NFT#Rat and Oyster#Bae Soo-Yeon#Blockchain
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