What are POAPs?


“Woodstock happened in August 1969, long before the Internet and mobile phones made it possible to communicate instantly with anyone, anywhere. It was a time when we weren’t able to witness world events or the horrors of war live on 24-hour news channels.” ~ Richie Havens

The cost of attending Woodstock was $8 per day and while tickets were issued, many were probably never sold because the event was made free and tickets were not needed.

Attending this event was a once in a lifetime status symbol. Aside from memories and a few photos most don’t have a record of their attendance. Now that constant connection and global communication is made possible by the internet, things have changed dramatically. We share our lives with the world online through social media on a minute by minute basis. 

You may have seen the Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAPs) mentioned lately, but what are they and what do they have to do with Woodstock?

The name is on the tin. Essentially a POAP proves attendance at an event. They are an NFT that functions like a digital badge and can be used simply to remember the occasion or as a record of your participation in something of note. 

They can be thought of like collecting ticket stubs. If we rummage through old drawers and photo boxes, we likely will stumble across an old ticket stub reminding us of a memorable event. In the recent past it wasn’t uncommon for people to frame ticket stubs or put them in scrapbooks as a piece of treasured memorabilia. In the case of POAPs, it is now a digital keepsake.  

The POAPs are stored on the blockchain and kept in the holder’s wallet. Not only can they represent items like events and concerts but participation in classes and conferences. NFT communities now regularly give these digital tokens away to connect with their members and offer benefits. Awarded to attendees of in person or virtual events, they typically have their own unique design that signifies the event and makes for a collectible item.

The first POAP came in 2019 for the ETHDenver convention. They were rewards for hackers that attended the hackathon. There is a POAP official smart contract and a variety of tools that issuers or holders can use. For example, POAP fun can be used to create raffles only available to holders of specific POAPS. This helps groups reward their community for participating in events. POAP Vote is a tool that allows anyone to create polls, surveys, or proposals targeted toward holders of specific POAPs. Once the poll is created, holders can cast their vote by simply connecting their wallet that holds the POAP. 

The POAP system has just begun, and the use cases are new and there will likely be many more in the years to come. As a tool for community engagement the options are endless from a business and customer standpoint. Imagine if the organizers of Woodstock could reach out to everyone in attendance and invite them to the next event or offer them a discount on a new record. They may have even sent out a poll about where previous attendees would like the next Woodstock to be held. What will come out of POAPs in the next few years will likely disrupt the entire community building system. This is one protocol to watch, learn from, and use.

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