Y’all got any more of those POAPs?
In recent months, we’ve seen an emerging POAP trend not only in our own community but within the broader Ethereum ecosystem, even with Vitalik Buterin mentioning POAPs as an alternative for non-coin governance in one of his latest articles 🤯
If you are a community builder then we suggest that by all means you try and experiment with POAPs. It’s fun and it’s free!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and take a step back.
What is a POAP anyway?
Well, officially it stands for Proof of attendance protocol and it was originally developed during ETHDenver 2019 as a hackathon project.
What started as an open-source and free-to-use protocol for issuing and displaying cool crypto badges, being mainly used for live Ethereum community events, has evolved into a kind of digital identity with a reputation system already built-in.
And let’s not forget the art!
Every POAP has a custom design, created by the event organizers. Each POAP is created as an NFT (non-fungible token), so some of these representations of life experiences or major events can turn into coveted pieces of digital memorabilia.
Or in more simple terms, as Worthalter, one of POAP co-founders, put it on Thales’ Discord: a POAP badge is a digital collectible.
And this leads us down the rabbit hole of collectibles…
Why do we collect things?
There are many psychology perspectives that try to analyze and interpret why human beings (and other species too) feel attracted to collect the most diverse set of things you can imagine, from miniature dolls to baseball cards, or from digital rocks to digital frogs.
One theory says it’s because it makes us return to childhood (mentally and emotionally, the closest thing to time traveling). Collecting behavior peaks at around age 10, with most children having some type of collection by that age: toys, sports cards, gaming cards, stones, bottle caps, seashells, books, etc.
Another accepted theory posits people participate in collecting because they want to feel connected to something bigger. This tendency to feel part of something greater than oneself is clear in people that join a religion, movement, or tradition, but it also applies to people that don’t necessarily share a particular belief or mental state but feel a connection to a specific span of time and space, like coin collectors who feel connected to the first days of the mint or to a specific historic period.
A third theory says we collect things because it’s in our genes and it has been that way since we were hunters and gatherers. Carl Jung popularized this theory and traced collecting to the way that pre-agricultural cultures survived by gathering food and storing it against lean times. Those who most successfully piled up food and other resources were more likely to survive winters, droughts, and other difficulties, letting them pass on their genes to future generations. Accumulating became an evolutionary advantage and the feeling of security from surrounding oneself with valuable possessions encouraged people to continue this behavior.
But enough of psychology. Let’s cut to the chase!
Why did we start this at Thales?
The simple answer is: Fun.
We thought that this would be a fun experiment to run with the community but we never imagined that people would like it so much!
After successfully running our first POAP event, we kept digging into the potential use cases and what we found blew us away.
Once you’ve created a POAP event you can also use other tools within the ecosystem to expand the capabilities of these badges.
For example, with POAP.vote you can create polls for your event attendees, with POAP.fun you can create raffles for them (giving the winners things like special access, prizes, or merchandising), and with POAP.art you can have a painting party!
How did we integrate POAPs at Thales?
Community growth is critical to maintaining Thales’ forward momentum towards scaling the project 100x and beyond.
One of the great things about POAPs is that they could serve as a communication facilitator with specific individuals.
It could be used to differentiate strategic parties such as capital backers, mods, testers, OG community members, and other various early-stage supporters.
Or it could be given to individuals who voluntarily decide to complete a quest, effectively differentiating those willing to engage.
Thales POAP initiatives
First community call
As we mentioned earlier, our first initiative was including POAPs paired with an “OG Community” Discord role for our first community call (this role has currently evolved to “OG Titan”)
The response from the community was awesome and they seemed to really dig it, so we continued with more events.
Retroactive POAP distribution for tester candidates
As part of our road to mainnet (arrived on July 28th, yay!) we opened up spots for closed beta-testing and shared a Google Form to be filled for those who wanted to participate. One of the fields in the form was to give a valid Ethereum address, so after we got the final selection we decided to deliver an “Early supporter” POAP to everyone who participated in filling the survey.
And if you are wondering: Yes, we manually delivered those 274 POAPs.
Discord quests: “Disciple of…”
This one was a blast! (both in terms of fun and amount of work, totally worth it).
As Thales is embedded in an Ancient Greece theme, we decided to give people in our Discord the chance to align themselves with other pre-Socratic philosophers and with Hades (for those chaos lovers out there).
For this purpose we created 4 different channels to represent the 4 Ancient Greece figures:
Every channel had a different quest, and those who wanted to participate wrote their entry there. The winners were decided by emoji-voting.
Thales’ second community call
For our second community call, we decided to go with the same formula as for the first one, but with a slight twist.
Those who received the second edition POAP also got a colored “Titan” role, which will be open for more people down the line, as we do more qualifying events for it. This is different from the “OG Titan” role, which isn’t available anymore as a way to recognize those who were with us since day one (or in this case call number one).
All these strategies can be replicated, improved, and scaled by other communities.
So far we’ve explored POAPs as collectibles, but before we get to the takeaways here is something to get your creative juices flowing with other possibilities 👀
Experimenting with POAPs it’s still pretty much uncharted territory, so we are positive there are much more to do and many other use cases for this tool.
Takeaways for POAP event creators
(You can skip this if you are not interested in creating events, be it online or offline, like ever)
After running a few POAP events and delivering 400+ POAPs some takeaways which might help other projects or event creators looking to leverage this tool are:
- Use manual distribution if possible. I know the process of sending one by one is tedious, but with so many POAP bots getting abused we felt this was the right choice. One added benefit is that you, as the sender, get to see every participant’s collection which can be good for inspiration and to get to know your community members a little better.
- Have a way to confirm and register everyone’s participation at an online event, be it by filling a form or by doing some specific action required which is revealed only during the event itself (like writing a message or reply, sharing a tweet, etc)
- When doing POAPs for Discord events pairing those with colored roles not only makes the whole experience more rounded, but it makes your life easier as a POAP distributor because you can create a private Discord channel and assign the newly created role to be invited in, then tag the role asking for participant’s addresses in a semi-private setting.
- Always offer the chance for people to send their addresses on DM (for those with privacy concerns).
- If you don’t want to keep the colored role in Discord, then you can create a transitory one just for the event, and then once the POAPs have been distributed remove the role and close the private channel.
- Asking for addresses then inputting those instead of just sending the POAP code gives you an extra opportunity to engage with your community, to thank them for participating, and sometimes to gather feedback they didn’t communicate before (regarding the event or something broader).
- Remember that every POAP event has a downloadable CSV file with all the addresses that got it. This can be leveraged however you see fit to reward or incentivize your community.
- When in doubt refer to the FAQ or just join POAP official Discord and ask for help there.
- POAP team is exceptional in supporting projects to roll out POAPs. They are very friendly too!
If you are a community builder then just going for it and trying it out would be the best way, in our opinion, to get the hang of it to start adapting the use of POAPs for your community’s specific needs.
If you are a community participant we suggest you be on the lookout for the next POAP events, not only from Thales (by joining our Discord) but from other projects you want to be part of too.
Also, don´t forget that you can check your POAPs while on the move with its beautiful POAP app, available both in the App store and in the Play store.
And lastly, we’d say you’ll enjoy this POAP-hunting even more if you look at it as a novel way to engage within a community, as opposed to as a task to be done just to farm the badges (for whatever purpose).
If you enjoyed this article please share it with anyone that’s building a community 🙌
Let’s spread the POAP love! Game on!