How Airdrops & NFTs Can Regenerate The World
If you leverage these two features of web3, you can multiply the potential of your movement ten-fold. Here’s how.
Crypto/web3 gets a lot of shit because of its association with people like SBF.
A lot of people assume that there's no real use case for the space beyond creating an unregulated internet casino of shitcoins.
They assume it's a shady way for the rich to get richer.
I don't blame these haters and skeptics.
But the upside of web3 far outweighs the downside.
I talk about this in a recent blog post, "Web3’s Holy Grail is Censorship-Resistant Movement Infrastructure."
A key message I tried to convey in that post was that web3 has unprecedented potential to empower everyday people with big ideas to coordinate with other idealists to build movements that change the world.
In this post, I'd like to elaborate on how blockchain enables this new, powerful kind of coordination, with specific examples.
Let's get started.
First, I want to talk about what it takes to coordinate a lot of people over a sustained period of time to achieve a common goal, aka create a movement.
Movements must be nurtured to possess MANY qualities in order to actually achieve ambitious collective goals. For example, a movement needs effective communication, strong leadership, broad participation, organizational capacity, resilience, adaptability, and more.
Books could be written about each of these qualities. But for today, let's focus on just one: a consistent sense among participants that their contributions are valued.
When participants feel that their contributions are valued, they will unleash their genius for the success of the movement.
When they don't feel valued, they check out.
It's that simple.
How Web3 Can Help Make Movement Participants Feel Valued
In order for movement participants to feel valued, a movement must have fair processes for defining…
What actions are valuable to the movement (Valuable Behaviors)
How Valuable Behaviors are recorded for posterity (Behavioral Records)
What rewards participants will receive for possessing certain Behavioral Records (Behavioral Rewards).
You can try to do this with web2. And it works okay. I mean, I even tell people to track contributions in a simple Notion database while they figure out a more powerful, long-term method.
But using web3 to build these processes is a game-changer.
With web3, you can create progressively decentralized processes where DAO members help define Valuable Behaviors, Behavioral Records, and Behavioral Rewards, so it's not just some centralized team that always decides what's valuable and how its recognized and rewarded.
This is important because movements that are highly centralized are vulnerable to "capture"—that is, if you want to take down a movement with a clear leader who has centralized data and decision-making under his control, all you have to do is take down the clear leader to disable the movement.
Beyond helping create capture-resistant processes, web3 also enables the awarding of on-chain NFT merit badges as Behavioral Records.
The power of awarding on-chain NFT merit badges is the following:
A centralized team can decide to airdrop crypto from their treasury to people who have some NFT merit badge as a Behavioral Reward.
But more importantly, ANYONE can airdrop crypto to people who have some NFT merit badge or collection of them as a Behavioral Reward.
Re: point #2, this means that web3 enables peer-to-peer compensation to movement contributors, not just compensation from a centralized authority to movement contributors.
That is mind-blowing.
Let’s use an example to illustrate this point more clearly.
Example: SpongeBob Society ⚓️
Let’s say a group called the SpongeBob Society (hilariously) want to create a movement to make SpongeBob SquarePants the national mascot of the US.
They would want to define Valuable Behaviors such as:
Convincing a celebrity to make an endorsement of the idea
Getting an op-ed published in an established newspaper
Creating a video that gets at least 1,000 views
Then, they would want to define a Behavioral Record for each of these Valuable Behaviors:
“Influencer Insider” NFT merit badge
“Op-Ed Pro” NFT merit badge
“Viral Video Virtuoso” NFT merit badge
Let’s now assume that three movement participants were awarded the following NFT merit badges for their Valuable Behaviors:
Viral Video Virtuoso
Viral Video Virtuoso
What happens now that Sally, Joey, and Nick have NFT merit badges recording their Valuable Behaviors?
Because their contributions are stored on the chain, the SpongeBob Society could decide to airdrop crypto as Behavioral Rewards to these contributors.
This is how traditional organizations work. A centralized authority gives money to employees or contributors in exchange for work.
But here's the thing: since these Behavioral Records are stored on-chain, it's not just the central authorities that can issue Behavioral Rewards...
It's ANYONE (let's call them "Patrons") who wants to reward people for their contributions!
For example, let’s say Bernadette is a super wealthy super fan of SpongeBob, who is also really old school and happens to think that Op-Eds are way more important than influencer out-reach or making viral videos.
She could easily use Etherscan to get a list of all the Ethereum addresses that have the “Op-Ed Pro” NFT merit badge.
In this case, the ETH addresses associated with Joey and Nick would be added to Bernadette’s list.
Bernadette could then decide to, say, send 2 ETH to both Joey and Nick through some battle-tested airdrop tool like Coinvise.
At no point did Bernadette need to ask the SpongeBob Society for permission to compensate Op-Ed publishers. She just did it.
The permissionless nature of peer-to-peer compensation in a web3-enabled movement is WILDLY underrated.
Bernadette is just one Patron of movement contributors. Imagine many Patrons compensating movement contributors using whatever criteria they want to select who they want to compensate, and deciding to compensate the contributors selected however they desire.
The possibilities are endless for a movement with NFT-based Behavioral Records.
Conclusion: Don’t Underestimate Web3’s Potential to Empower Movements
There's little doubt in my mind that peer-to-peer compensation will be a big part of why movements in the future will have the impact they can have.
Ultimately, a movement will fail if participants don't believe their contributions are valued. And those contributions won't be valued to the extent they should be if they're not recorded in a transparent, unchangeable way.
Web3 paves the way to a future where contributors can feel consistently valued, in part by enabling movements to award contributors with NFT merit badges that record valuable contributions.
These on-chain records enable peers to reward peers without having to ask for permission from a central authority.
Don’t underestimate web3’s potential to empower movements.
I'm excited to see what Massively Multiplayer Movement Building games are built on top of it.
Very interesting post Gary, I'm still not schooled up on Web3 and appreciate the way you've laid out these potentials. Definitely stirring my imagination.