A Proof of Attendance Protocol (pronounced poh-ap) is a unique NFT given to people to commemorate and prove they attended an event (virtual or physical). Often referred to as “an ecosystem for the preservation of memories,” over time, people can accrue a collection of POAPs to document their physical life experiences and activity through cyberspace.

POAPs are minted through smart contracts as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain. They are ERC-721 tokens created to celebrate and record the attendance of an event.

Emergence of POAP

POAPs were initially minted and distributed on the Ethereum mainnet. It was first created at the ETHDenver Convention in 2019 to reward hackers who attended and participated in the hackathon event. In October 2020, POAP migrated to the Ethereum sidechain xDai due to its higher speed and lower transaction costs. This allows issuers to mint POAPs for minimal cost.

Need For POAPs

From Attendees’ POV

  • Proof of Individual’s Work: A POAP collection can be a blockchain-style resume. As the underlying technology reflects immutable data, some employers may find POAPs a more credible, transparent way to view and track the support of potential applicants in a community.
  • Ownership Of Limited Edition Assets: Similar to how physical memorabilia like tickets to the first-ever Beatles concert have become highly prized collector’s items, so too can POAPs gain value through being tied to the legacy of historical events and cultural milestones. In the context of the metaverse, POAPs related to foundational technologies like Ethereum and its early in-person events could be in high demand due to the nostalgia and meaning shared between core contributors.

From the Event Organiser’s POV

POAP offers a new way for event organisers to engage and interact with their community.

  • Alternative To Mailing Lists: For event organisers, POAPs can be a better way to manage subscriptions. As users store POAPs for future value and wide-reaching potential, an organiser can feel confident knowing they have a direct line with their audience and attendees rather than wasting time on emails with low engagement rates.

Characteristics of a POAP

  • POAP NFTs can be minted through the official POAP platform.
  • They must contain an image and information related to the event, with a specific time or date.
  • Each POAP badge has a unique serial number.
  • They are immutable and can be collected via the POAP app as a digital representation of the holders’ life experiences.

What prevents a token from being a POAP?

Governance of decentralised protocols is really hard. Most users barely understand the consequences of their actions, and even when they do, they often can’t prevent undesired outcomes. The conditions that prevent a token qualify as a POAP are:

  • Tokens that don’t have a direct association with a calendar-based timed period. For example, tokens that represent membership in groups.
  • One-off tokens don’t provide any verifiability because no third parties besides the issuer and the only receiver can attest.

How do you claim a POAP?

Claiming a POAP is relatively simple. As per the POAP FAQ, there are several options available depending on the type of event:

  • Batch delivery of badges: If people entered their Ethereum wallet address when signing up, the organiser would airdrop (automatically send) the badge to them.
  • Manual sending: An organiser can scan your wallet QR code for physical events and instantly send you the POAP badge.
  • Self-service claim: Another method is to have attendees claim their POAP via an intranet-only decentralised application (dapp) or secure Wi-Fi network. They will then be prompted with instructions on how to complete the process.

Generally, people can scan a QR code or click a link on the webpage that has created the POAP. They will then need to enter an Ethereum wallet address to receive it.

Once received, badges can be viewed on POAP scan or any interface that supports Etherscan or OpenSea by typing the Ethereum wallet address or directly linking MetaMask, WalletConnect or Portis. For mobile devices, collections can be viewed on the POAP App on iOS or Android. Once a wallet is connected, people can share their POAPs on a range of supported social platforms, including Twitter, Reddit and Telegram.

An official guide has also been created to directly view POAPs on MetaMask rather than through a POAP scan.

Potential in POAPs

Since the POAP project launched on Gnosis Chain (xDai) in October 2020, its value has grown significantly across several ecosystems. Platforms like SushiSwap distribute badges to engage with members who attend weekly community meetings, participate in ask me anything (AMA) sessions or vote on governance proposals (a method that helps a group of people determine the direction of a decentralised network or organisation). That said, POAPs also have broader growth potential with suggested applications like social graphs and helping to reflect online identities better.

In the future, POAP may expand its use cases beyond proving one’s attendance. For example, it can be used to acknowledge contributions or offer community members privileges. POAP collection could also function as a reliable blockchain resume for people to prove their expertise and educational background.

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