When you go to a special event, sometimes you want a keepsake to remember it. That could be your ticket stub to your favorite band's concert, a refrigerator magnet from a souvenir shop, or a badge from an important conference you attended. A POAP NFT is a digital version of these mementos.
POAP is an acronym for "Proof of Attendance Protocol," and NFTs are non-fungible tokens. Simply put, an NFT is a unique digital collectible. A POAP NFT is a specific type of NFT that shows you attended an event or experience.
While POAP NFTs aren't yet widespread, they're quickly becoming popular. In this guide, we'll dive into how they work, what they can do, and why they're important.
How does a POAP work?
The way POAPs work is simpler than you might think. There's a Proof of Attendance Protocol designed for minting (creating) these NFTs. The protocol is made up of a set of smart contracts, which are programs that run on a blockchain.
Event organizers can mint their own POAP NFTs using this Proof of Attendance Protocol. The POAP website, POAP.xyz, has everything needed to mint and send out these NFTs.
There are three requirements for every POAP NFT:
- It must be minted under the POAP smart contract address.
- It must have metadata related to a time or date period, which can be up to one year long.
- It must have an image associated with it.
After the POAP NFTs are created, the organizer needs to decide how to distribute them. They could put up signs with QR codes for people to download the POAP NFT at their event or send out a download link by email.
The NFTs are Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH) tokens, but they're built on a sidechain called xDai -- a stable payments chain made for fast, inexpensive transactions that allows the creation of POAP NFTs at low costs. It also doesn't use much energy, so these NFTs are environmentally friendly.
How POAP NFTs are used
POAP NFTs can be used to prove attendance at any type of event, including real-world and virtual events. They're effectively badges supported by cryptographic records.
Here are a few examples of how POAP NFTs have been used so far:
- Cryptocurrency community conferences have given out POAP NFTs to attendees.
- Online groups have distributed POAP NFTs to those in attendance at weekly or monthly meetings.
- Blockchain games have used POAP NFTs to commemorate special milestones.
Those are all crypto-related, but there are plenty of non-crypto ways to use POAP NFTs. Here are a few examples:
- Bands can issue POAP NFTs for fans who attend their concerts.
- Couples can send their wedding guests POAP NFTs as a memento.
- Businesses can use POAP NFTs to verify attendance of training programs or other events.
- Schools can issue POAP NFTs to graduates of their educational programs.
Why hold a POAP?
The primary purpose of POAP NFTs is to record your life experiences. Think of them as a form of digital memorabilia. They're a way to look back fondly on important events you were a part of and things you've done.
That's not the only reason, though. Many communities have found ways to incentivize collecting and holding POAP NFTs.
The Bankless DAO community is a good example. To reward people who joined its movement, the community distributed its crypto tokens through an airdrop to wallet addresses that had claimed its POAP NFTs in the past. People who had claimed more POAP NFTs received more tokens.
You might also be wondering about whether POAP NFTS are a good investment. Considering NFT trading volume reached nearly $25 billion in 2021, that's a valid question.
Since POAP NFTs are meant to signify the collector's experiences and are issued for free, they're not normally something you'd buy or sell. For that, you're better off checking out NFT marketplaces. You can technically sell a POAP NFT, but you'd probably only make money if it's from a major event.
Look at a POAP NFT like a concert ticket. It could be worth something if the event ends up being a big deal, just like concert tickets to The Beatles have been sold for thousands of dollars. But you wouldn't invest in concert tickets. They're something you keep if you want a small reminder of a special moment in your life.
How to get a POAP
When you attend an event with POAP NFTs, the organizer will provide either a QR code or a URL with the claim code. You can scan the QR code or enter the URL in a web browser to claim your POAP.
POAP NFTs are designed to be stored in an Ethereum wallet. If you don't yet have a compatible blockchain wallet, you can reserve the POAP NFT using your email address. After you use the POAP NFT's claim code, provide your email address to reserve it. Linking your Ethereum wallet to your email address will mint your POAP NFTs.
If you're looking for events where you can get a POAP, you have a couple of options. The best thing to do is see how you can incorporate POAP NFTs into your own activities and groups. For example, if you have something special coming up or even just a group activity you do weekly, such as a bar trivia night, you could make a POAP for it.
Crypto communities and events are another good way to collect POAP NFTs. Decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, crypto conferences, and blockchain games are all places where you could be issued a POAP.
The POAP site also has a POAP events page. It lists upcoming events where the organizers will issue POAP NFTs.
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How to view a POAP
To view POAPs that you've collected, visit the official POAP SCAN page. This lets you view POAPs in your web browser. On this page, you can connect an Ethereum wallet or input either a wallet address or your email address.
POAP also offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices that you can download to view your POAP. Alternatively, you can view POAP NFTs in the MetaMask mobile app or with Rainbow Wallet, which has built-in POAP visualization support.
The future of POAPs
POAP NFTs are still in the early stages. While quite a few people have at least some understanding of cryptocurrencies and NFTs as a whole, POAP NFTs aren't exactly common knowledge.
That could change as more event organizers decide to join the POAP ecosystem. Since issuers distribute POAP NFTs free of charge, they're a fun way to get your own NFTs without needing to spend anything. They also make it easy to gather digital collectibles of important events.
Issuers can use POAP NFTs to increase engagement and build a community. For example, event organizers have created special POAP NFTs to reward people who attend their events.
As previously noted, POAP NFTs aren't intended as an investment, so the money isn't in these types of NFTs. They're made to show where you've been and your communities.