TLDR: POAPs, short for Proof of Attendance Protocol, are digital collector's badges given to users who participate in online or in-person events. Using blockchain technology, POAPs are NFTs minted via smart contracts on the Ethereum sidechain Gnosis. POAPs are gifted and provide people with a way of verifying and/or commemorating their participation in an event.
Humans have always collected keepsakes like theater playbills, stickers and sports medals. Precious creatures that we are, we collect these little souvenirs as reminders of the special moments in our lives. We also display these remembrances to share where we have been, what we value and who we are. (Ever seen a car with eight "26.2" bumper stickers on it marking each time the driver ran a marathon?)
Today, with more of our lives happening online, POAPs are a way to showcase our digital identity and the time spent on token-associated experiences.
POAP (pronounced poh-ap) is short for Proof of Attendance Protocol. POAPs are design-centric badges given to users who participate in online or in-person events. Using blockchain technology, POAPs are NFTs minted via smart contracts on the Gnosis chain, a side chain of Ethereum. They are given to participants as a way of verifying and/or commemorating their attendance at an event. These badges are nice extras to Web3 culture and are unlocking innovative possibilities.
POAPs are a smart way to bridge our digital and physical lives. For example, in May, Lily Wu, co-founder of WOW Pixies, spoke at an event at the UN for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Summit. WOW Pixie community members tuned in to hear her speak. Those who attended the watch party virtually were given a blue POAP with the United Nations logo to claim for attending the party. Just the same, POAPs can be used at IRL events. During NFT NYC, Boss Beauties distributed POAPs to community members who attended the Kesha concert NYC After Party.
POAPs are on-chain records of experiences affiliated with Web3 culture. POAPs are unique from other NFTs because they are free for creators and collectors. POAPs are not meant to hold monetary value (although trading occasionally happens) but rather seen as a legacy of participation.
The nature of the blockchain makes POAPs immutable, meaning they cannot be tampered with or changed. Additionally, for those concerned about privacy, no personal information is needed to collect a POAP. The POAPs must be minted under the POAP smart contract, each having a serial number associated with an image and containing metadata related to the event name, location and date.
To claim a POAP event, organizers, known as issuers, direct participants to a URL or QR code associated with the link. Participants, also seen as collectors, can claim their POAP using their Ethereum wallet address or email address to receive the POAP later. Once the POAP is minted, badges can be seen on the POAP scan or other interfaces backing OpenSea and Etherscan. Collections can also be viewed on mobile devices using the POAP app on iOS or Android.
Innovation is happening all over the blockchain, and the utility for POAPs is no exception. Not only are POAPs seen as digital mementos for collectors, but issuers are also unlocking ways to use POAPs to reward community engagement. Recently Warner Music Experience (WMX) commented in Forbes they will be using POAPs as part of their Web 3 strategy. POAPs distributed for concert fans of WMX artists can be used later on for early access to merchandise drops or exclusive artistic content. Tools like Perk Shop allow Web 3 companies to attach perks to community POAP holders. Endless possibilities can be used to invite Web 3 participants into other related decentralized experiences, including the metaverse.
Bottom line: POAPs are popping up everywhere in Web3. They are being signaled on social media, displayed in wallets and being picked up by Web 3 companies to engage community members. If you haven’t started collecting, now is the time to do so.
Amanda Hyslop (aka MizzuzB) is a writer in Web 3 exploring the intersections of culture, finance and technology. She is an avid NFT collector and advocate for women building on the blockchain.
This article and all the information in it does not constitute financial advice. If you don’t want to invest money or time in Web3, you don’t have to. As always: Do your own research.