On Airdrops and Incentives

May 15, 2019   |   by William Glynn   |   

What are Meme Coins and Airdrops?

The Garden of Crypto has been researching meme coins and community tokens in recent weeks and has made a decision to build one for experimental purposes. The meme coin is the vessel for experimentation, and the airdrop is the means of launch boarding such a vessel. The Garden is a cryptocurrency news and blog company that aspires to go well beyond the functionality of a standard blogging website within the crypto space. How we plan to do this is by exploring the utility of cryptocurrency technology in our own domain, in order to offer a more immersive and inclusive experience for us and our readers. This article pertains to our interest in deploying a meme coin, or community coin, that serves our governance and community specifications. In 2019, we also want to explore open and or modular projects to experiment with several cryptocurrency iterations, spanning from public and open, to semi-private consortium blockchains, in order to study the cause and effects of so many market and incentive-based phenomena being revealed by this space.

Airdrops are the bridge between regular community-building incentives from the legacy internet structures, to the now complex and robust internet of money structures we see in crypto. They are a mixture of traditional legacy incentives found in growing networks through internet marketing strategies, and also the newer incentives found in programmable money. To understand where we are, and where we are going with these incentive structures, there is no better place to start than this bridge between traditional social media incentives and new crypto-economic and tokenomic incentives.

Many can argue how unrealized the benefits of these airdrop currencies as money mostly turn out to be, but it is quite difficult to argue against the now overwhelming number of success cases in community building. This article will touch lightly upon these new era incentives but will focus on the most widely used for airdrops and how it is now seemingly the future norm for bootstrapping a digital community/economy.

Why Meme Coins?

The purpose of a meme coin is subjective to its user base. Many see them as jokes, while others point out that they have the ability to accrue purchasing power and network effects, which asserts that they aren’t inherently useless. The meme coins use and worth are up to the market, the coin’s functionalities, and its user base.

The open-sourced nature of crypto makes it easy to develop this coin based on other open source code in the space so that exploration and experimentation are consistently occurring without having to assemble an entire development team. This is sort of the “pick and mix” strategy of sandboxing a digital asset and it enables us to observe the effects native currencies have on communities/“tribes” in practice and apply them to our own layout. This ability allows us to look at and experiment with programmable money in a more practical approach rather than having to trailblaze independently, and confidently use practical means of development. We finally add that we have no intention of guaranteeing or implying any sort of profit to users with our particular meme coin. This token is a utility of its own network, not a security tied to our company. This doesn’t negate however, the open market profitability within the ecosystem, such as networking, growth, and wealth creation in the broadest sense.

The critical innovation is that now a development team anywhere in the world can issue a unique and cryptographically secure digital token to underpin value within the protocol or application layer of a new financial system. Furthermore, they can, if they so wish, directly hard code the rules and economic principles they would like to see in the system to incentivize or disincentivize certain behaviors.

Jaime Burke, The Next Stage in ICOs: The Community Token Economy (CTE)

Airdrops and Incentives

Airdrops are the most crucial point of success in the deployment of a native community coin or meme coin. The airdrop’s sustenance and purpose is parallel to the quintessential reason for the coin itself; awareness.

The crypto space is heavily nuanced in, and built around, programmable incentives. From the original mining protocol of Bitcoin itself to incentive loops of newer projects like Basic Attention Token. Programmable incentives aren’t necessarily anything that is new, but the success and lucrative monetary incentives that have come out of this ecosystem has reinvigorated a fresh and more robust look at how game theory and self-interest can be used as a common utility for success among human actors. This realization combined with the ability for anyone with a computer to create sovereign currencies with specified monetary policies, has made room for new scalability in wealth creation in the form of things such as ICO’s and Airdrops, which is our specific focus. The following are several popular tenets of raising awareness through airdrops and the future compounding of airdrops through off-chain incentives.

  • Distributions based on who already have some crypto assets, such as ETH or BTC, in their wallet.
  • Provide contact details such as email addresses, Bitcointalk profile details, Twitter handles, Telegram usernames and other social media platforms.
  • More specifically, airdrop applicants can earn rewards by retweeting posts with the relevant hashtags or making posts on Facebook. This means that participants earn the airdrop by performing promotional work.
  • Receive additional tokens if you keep the tokens or lock them up or invite more community members/promoters
  • Cold staking- in reference to the previous statement of locking up coins, users who agree to stake their tokens for a long period of time increase their reward
  • Underpinning incentive: airdropped coins initially have no market value or liquidity, we can underpin incentives with our coin by bountying them along with a small portion of a popular coin like Ether for perhaps more serious incentives than just a simple retweet or referral.
  • The​ ​​endowment​ ​effect​​ ​suggests​ ​that​ ​individuals​ ​value​ ​something​ ​higher​ ​if​ ​they​ ​own​ ​it
  • Airdrop trackers: many sites collect airdrop news for enthused users in search of entries into first mover advantage to a new network protocol

With these incentives, one can see how these community/meme coins don’t have to be about the most stellar or up and coming programming, but rather how network growth becomes more of a great network effects race to see which community grows the strongest and fastest in the form of connection, participation, and net resources. The market value is actualized through high speculation and slowly growing usage. With a vested interest in the success of a token, we can see that community developers would be interested in the most active, competent, talented and prominent stakeholders or network hubs on the internet rather than some authoritative appeal. With immutable and deflationary monetary policy, we can instead see currency gain value through usage.

Sending free tokens to users’ blockchain addresses -- can be a powerful crypto marketing tool. Done right, they can build brand awareness, foster community, and kick-start a new token economy.

Longhash, Longhash.com

The Garden of Crypto

We will start with the most simple iteration, which we believe to be an ERC-20 meme coin with basic transacting properties standard within the space; however, we will expand testing to many different consensus protocols. Why? We see it as a chance for us to gain nuance in an information-heavy space with a hands-on strategy, which we believe will improve the content quality of our writers through first-hand experience. In other words, a bridge between specialists (developers) and generalists (crypto journalists). Having a dog in the race will trend our research towards more useful and profitable avenues of content creation. Github provides a generous amount of open information on existing crypto projects and we seek this feature for a simplified and accelerated process in building, rather than attempting to start from scratch. Along with educating ourselves, we think this also educates our readers and creates an opportunity for a stronger 2-way relationship between us and them; a participatory micro-economy in other words. Finally, we believe that although the understanding and measurement of true value in altcoins is nebulous at worst and speculative at best, the network effects that have come of community-based tokens are not. We have clear proofs of concept all over the space with respect to meme/community coins’ abilities to bootstrap a community with a common good to represent value and social cohesion. In the spirit of most meme coins, we follow an altruistic belief that these coins can be used to create work and incentives that are fully and globally inclusive, but more importantly, can be utilized for very charitable distribution and wealth creation. For example, Banano coin, a Nano hard-fork has recently added the feature of earning Banano by having your computer run protein fold simulations, which advances research in the health sciences.

Coming full circle to the introduction, what does The Garden gain out of having its own currency? It’s important for our intentions to be transparent because all entities inevitably act in self-interest. We have no intentions of profiting directly from our community coin, we will push the supply onto the users over time through non-exchange methods such as airdrops and token burns. We are examining particular measurements of sacrifice, such as bountied tasks, that favor the growth of the community. These incentive structures will continue the sacrifice-based distribution of remaining token supply after the initial rollout of free airdrops. Our only incentive is the benefit of the two-way network effect. Community coins and their respective entities have a clear cross-promotional nature and information flow, and we see this as an opportunity for growth; advertisement, exposure, incentives, content consumption, etc. We have clear, selfish incentives in creating these coins that in no way pertain to a long term appreciation of exchange market value. While this is the case, our ongoing research will unearth affective strategies for appreciation in value.

A Look into the Future

Part 2 of this paper will explore explicit strategies of appreciative growth, and the success and maybe failures of certain distribution/awareness tenets and models. Part 3 will go into detail on The Garden’s specific layout for the distribution method as well as protocol specifications, taking the best and most successful facets of practices discovered from part 2. This research is ongoing indefinitely, and later contributions to the topic will involve documentation and additional peer research that appreciates during the maturity of economics and incentives of crypto tech. Ultimately, the name of the game is network effects and best practices in acquiring them. Since money is now pure information, it is more of an afterthought and secondary to the networks that this information is communicated on.

Finally, and in conclusion, for the sake of transparency and honesty, we also acknowledge our self-interest in this project because I personally speculate that we can develop a two-sided network effect between the coin and The Garden website. The value of this tech is so apparent to our company that we are heavily elevating our involvement in the development space in 2019.

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Airdrops are a marketing ploy, and that’s okay.

Michael J Casey, Coindesk.com

William Glynn

I came into crypto for a decentralized web and stayed for everything else. I come from a background of political and entrepreneurial interests, but crypto eventually took immediate precedent, as it was a new infrastructure for every aspect of humanity in the form of trust-less trust. I am majoring in Finance and currently working with Garden of Crypto. I hope to scale into running network infrastructures like Lightning Network and several other crypto network nodes.