Over the past few years, the Proof of Attendance Protocol, commonly known simply as POAP (pronounced “poh-ap” or “poe-app”), has grown by leaps and bounds as the NFT space has grown. Once seen as a simple platform for issuing commemorative NFTs to the Web3 community, in 2022 alone, the protocol was upgraded with a $10 million funding round and merger. However, while POAPs have spread to the furthest reaches of the irreplaceable ecosystem, ordinary NFT enthusiasts are still unaware of the true power of unique platforms. While many are happy to click the link, collect commemorative badges, and move on, few have taken a deep dive into the possible implications of POAP in relation to blockchain technology and Web3 culture. As POAP has grown in popularity, the company’s head of communications, David Chung, and head of growth, Anthony Bertolino, continue to vouch for their platform’s viability in the ever-changing NFT market. We sat down with them to learn about the technology and team behind the evolving protocol, and find out why Chung and his colleagues believe POAP is “the perfect marriage of the human condition and Web3.”
What is POAP?
Simply put, POAP is a protocol that enables users to create digital badges or collectibles by using blockchain technology. The company’s origins date back to 2019, when it was launched at ETHDenver. Similar to other marketplaces/platforms in the NFT ecosystem, POAP allows users to create NFTs. Rather, it is a very specific and unique commemorative badge-style NFT. And these NFTs are often called POAPs.
Screenshot of Vitalik Buterin’s POAP collection. Credit: Twitter by Buterin. Yes, that’s right, the platform itself is called POAP, and badged NFTs created on the platform are also called POAP. It is important to note that while other commemorative NFT platforms similar to POAPs do exist, the Proof of Attendance protocol was the first of its kind, resulting in almost all NFTs of a similar nature being called POAPs. Think of it as a generalization, as facial tissue is often referred to as Kleenex®. The main function of the POAP platform is to allow event coordinators, project developers, and even ordinary people to create commemorative tokens to immortalize events, activations, and memories on the blockchain. (More on the process of creating POAPs later.) “Throughout human history, humans have been collecting things. Whether it’s the latest baseball cards, movie tickets, or concert tickets. Or, if we go back a long time, it’s like It’s like passing shells between tribe members,” Bertolino said. “POAP is one of the first protocols for digital collectibles. It’s built on blockchain technology so collectibles can be stored permanently without you having to maintain them.”
What is POAP mainly used for?
As the NFT space grows throughout 2021, POAP is quickly becoming a way for organizers to reward event attendees, Twitter Space attendees, NFT drop attendees, Discord members, and more. Over time, POAPs began to gain utility as a status symbol, incentivizing holders to collect them on OpenSea for potential privileges. To date, some artists and developers have used POAP to whitelist holders for subsequent placements, and Gmoney’s Admit One series has become one of the most prominent series to do so. As POAPs gain more utility, they even become a backward-compatible prerequisite for participants of earlier events to acquire NFT tickets for future events. But Bertolino points out that while portability, transferable provenance and immutable digital ownership are of course distinguishing features of POAPs — like NFTs in general — the protocol exists in a way that allows not only those familiar with blockchain technology , but also the ability for ordinary people to become issuers. This is where POAP really shines as a steward of mainstream NFT adoption. Talking about the use cases for the POAP platform, Bertolino emphasized that POAPs can be created for any type of physical or digital event. “It’s everything from large corporations where you want to distribute digital collectibles at your booth, to personal events like commemorating a wedding or birthday, or community events like a Twitter space,” Bertolino said. “You can use [POAP] in any way you want. You can use it for token gating, you can use it as a loyalty badge for the 10 attendees to your event each year, or it can be used to build a small community of individuals. It’s very easy to access. I guess that’s the word we should be using. Everyone can use it,” Chung added.
Memorial NFTs are cool, but are they useful?
There is no doubt that POAP is known for its monumentality and accessibility. While these two functions may seem trivial, they represent core values that help drive innovation in the NFT ecosystem. Notably, the low-key utility of POAP has recently emerged in 2022 with the introduction of Soul-Bound Tokens (SBT). While SBT, proposed through a paper partly written by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, has become a shining example of the potential power of NFTs and blockchain technology, Bertolino sees POAP as the original proof of concept for identity and reputation tokens. “The truth of the matter is that, on a spiritual level, POAP is actually the original soulbound token. Just because we didn’t set up a contract to lock the token to your address doesn’t mean POAP isn’t a Soulbound token,” Bertolino said. “[POAPs] It’s your memories, they are tied to your soul. Whether or not they are tied to your wallet address is a completely different matter. Bertolino noted that while POAPs do not embody the specific functionality of Soulbound tokens as it relates to how SBTs operate in a decentralized society, they do adhere to narratives that link real-life achievements and honors to organizations and events It seems that the biggest difference between POAP and SBT is the immutable aspect, as POAP can be made by anyone and traded to anyone, while SBT is said to be non-transferable and fixed in an individual’s “soul wallet”. How do we think about SBT and Another difference between POAPs is the accessibility factor. SBTs are inherently inaccessible because they require a strong sense of security to be viable. For POAPs, security is of course an important factor, but for any NFT collectible or common For hobbyists, it’s just as important. According to Bertolino, POAP exists separately from speculation in the NFT space. “Suppose you make a POAP for your birthday. There will be no secondary trading volume on the market. No one wants to buy it,” he said. “So POAP is one of the few use cases where we can see expansion into mainstream adoption, has nothing to do with speculation, and also proves that blockchain technology has value. “Without piling up ETH, submitting transactions, paying gas fees, and all the other things that come with being an NFT collector, the barriers to entry into the POAP ecosystem are low. Since POAP is so easy to use, virtually anyone can participate, while No NFT knowledge or context is required. “We’re constantly iterating on the protocol and experience to make it simpler, more fun, and friendlier,” Bertolino said.
How to get started with POAP
The POAP platform is constantly expanding, which means builders are more likely to gain access to new opportunities. In fact, both Chung and Bertolino are confident in the future of the POAP platform, although they are not authorized to say why. For now, though, if you wish to participate in the POAP ecosystem, you will want to do so as a publisher or collector.
How to create a POAP
Creating a POAP drop occurs on the POAP Events page. Just click on the “Create New POAP” icon. Fill in the information on the “New POAP” page. This will include uploading the image you want to turn into a badge. It can be PNG or APNG, but cannot exceed 200KB. For best results, use a circular image with dimensions of 500 x 500 pixels. After filling in all required details and going through the prompts, check your email for POAP edit and claim codes. If you have to make any changes to event information or badges, your edit code is required. Although you already have the code, you will need to wait for pre-event approval to go live on the POAP platform. This process usually takes about 24 hours. Once approved, send your claim code to everyone you wish to receive POAP. If you need more code, you can get it through the event edit page.
How to collect POAP
To apply for POAP, you first need to download the POAP app, available through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. After downloading the app, navigate to the bottom right corner of the page and tap the “Mint” button to see the available minting options. A POAP can be claimed in one of three ways: entering a password, scanning a QR code, or entering the last six characters of the mint link. Once you choose one of these three methods and click mint, POAP is now ready to be shared across the metaverse. But keep in mind that POAP is not minted on the Ethereum mainnet, so to move it to your regular NFT wallet, you have to follow a simple process and submit a transaction to migrate it to the mainnet. These processes may or may not change as the POAP platform evolves. However, one thing seems to remain the same: The Proof of Attendance protocol and its growing community are here to stay, as Bertolino puts it, “fun, smart, and connected.”