A POAP is a digital collectible that, when grouped with other POAPs over time, creates a unique collection that can only belong to one particular human. An individual’s POAP collection becomes a provable record of one’s attendance at events and contributions to the world.
Simply put: your POAPs showcase how you choose to spend your time and your money, and you are how you choose to spend your time and money. The great Kurt Vonnegut once said, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Had he been alive in the Web3 era, he may have said, “We are the POAPs we mint, so we must be careful about what POAPs we mint.”
Identity before POAPs was more complicated and less fun
In the Web2 era, you might meet someone, get in conversation, and say something like:
- I was at the last concert before that venue shut down.
- I bought that jacket the first day it went on sale, before the designer was even popular.
- I have been to literally every book club meeting this year.
- I built that house with my own two hands.
- See the awe-inspiring cantilever pedestrian bridge spanning that highway? I wrote the charter for that project.
But it would be nearly impossible for the person you are chatting with to verify this information, or it would require some elaborate sleuthing that combined bank statements, social media, and phone calls (hey, you don’t know me, but did you work with someone named Maria on a cantil-something pedestrian bridge project?)
Perhaps more importantly, all these topics wouldn’t come up naturally. If you manage to rattle off hundreds of items from your past in one conversation, you’re probably bragging a bit too much.
With your POAP collection, not only are these milestones quickly provable, they can all be found in one place. Your identity and reputation is communicated in an instant via a visual feast of beautiful digital collectibles; one quick humble brag to break the ice that requires you to reveal no personally identifiable information (PII).
The vital role of POAPs in the emerging identity ecosystem
Bankless predicts that POAPs and the digital collectible identity ecosystem will see its next wave of major activity in 2023; it’s a hot topic that has quickly gained traction as one of the most promising current use cases for Web3 technology. Vitalik Buterin recently did his own deep dive, as part of a broader article on “what in the Ethereum application ecosystem excites me” (recommended reading).
This hype is not for some abstract idea of how things could look in the future. Highly specialized use cases for POAPs as identity and reputation tools are happening now in areas such as:
Collectors who complete training or educational courses can share those POAPs on their resume. If you have a number of POAPs related to specific skills or work experience, Welook profiles allows you to tag those POAPs and share them as a collection.
The proliferation of “You Met Me” POAPs and the launch of networked products such as 9dcc have shown how POAPs, in the words of Gmoney, “allow people to build communities that transform from the digital realm to the physical.”
What are your thoughts?
POAPs are already redefining how people approach identity and reputation, but it’s just the beginning. Where do you see things heading? Or where would you like to see things heading? Consider the following questions and respond in the thread below!
- What are some of your favorite ways collectors can use their POAPs to boost their reputation and/or prove their identity?
- When have you used your POAP collection to tell people something about yourself?
- How might POAP further interact with other identity protocols that currently exist?
- What apps would you like to see that would make POAPs even more powerful tools for building identity and reputation?
- Do you have any areas of concern or confusion related to POAPs as an identity/reputation tool, or to the broader digital collectible identity ecosystem?