POAPs. Essential collectibles or the pinnacle of all pointlessness? Will Proof of Attendance Protocols make the party live on.
People love to collect all manner of things, be it stamps, antiques, or Pokémon Go cards. And if you’re a millennial, chances are you once owned a shoebox filled with every concert ticket stub or festival wristband you’d ever been to. This all changed when tickets went digital and our once precious shoeboxes were stowed away.
Now, this old concept is being dusted off and is making a comeback in the form of POAPs (pronounced “po-ap”). Short for ‘Proof of Attendance Protocol’, a POAP is a commemorative digital badge created as an NFT and minted using blockchain technology (more on NFTs here). Think of it as the digital equivalent of a keepsake ticket stub, but with added benefits. These badges of honour serve as proof of attendance to special events, both online and offline, and can commemorate anything from an outdoor music festival to a concert in the metaverse. Basically, they’re bragging rights to say you’ve been there, and have the digital badge to prove it.
Your collection of POAPs provides a reliable digital record of important life events at a glance, and does so without storing any personal data. Stored in a holder’s Ethereum wallet, you might be wondering if it’s worth the hassle (and expense) – especially if you need to set up a crypto wallet from scratch. While you’d probably need to set one up in the long run if you’re to fully take advantage, POAPs can be reserved with an email address and minted anytime in the future (ahem, when the tech comes standard with the phone…).
While POAPs offer value to the holder, they’re also sellable, that is if an event has enough cultural clout. While the idea of buying a memory of someone else’s experience might not compute for everyone, is it really any different from selling a ticket from, say, an early Beatles gig? For the vast majority however, it’s not so much about the ‘selling it on’ aspect, but more about the ownership of and bragging rights. Just think of all the people who’d want to flaunt their POAP from 2019’s Fortnite Marshmallow concert. It’s ‘concert merch’ with the added benefit of a potential loyalty programme if used in the right way.
From a brand experience perspective, POAPs could be an exciting new tool for engagement. They can unlock added perks for the holder by allowing event organisers to provide a more customised experience. For example, the badge artwork for each POAP event is custom designed, adding to their collectability. They can also be used to reward holders, where the issuer can distribute prizes using raffle tickets, provide private chat rooms, or grant exclusive access to future events, behind-the-scenes content, brand merch, and more.
Perhaps you’re asking, ‘why go to all this effort when you can just take photos on your phone that act as the same memory?’ Well, we guess the answer goes back to whether you’re the kind of person who keeps a special shoebox full of memories…
While the jury is still out on this one, clearly this is a concept that could very well appeal to a younger audience of early adopters, or passionate members of a given community. Whichever camp you fall into, there’s no denying the possibilities it offers, and it certainly has our attention. We can get behind the idea of it being like a band’s concert t-shirt that you can only get if you were there. And if it leads to perks for being part of a community, even better. Being proponents of NFTs and having done multiple Virtual Atoms campaigns, we love how this is making NFTs accessible to the everyday consumer. Sure, there may still be some tech technicalities, but those will be ironed out soon enough. So what team are you? Nope to POAP or POAP FTW? We’d love to know your thoughts.