Come Together: The Evolution of Communities

A look at how communities have changed through time and practical examples of crypto communities we’re enabling

Simona Pop
Sep 26 · 7 min read

As humans, we “come together” with others all the time, in all kinds of ways: playing sports, marching in protest, attending music festivals or tech conferences — even though many believe we are drifting further and further away from the true meaning of community. This is in no small part because of technology.

But what is the meaning of community today, and how has it evolved from its standard dictionary definition?

Throughout history, if you asked someone to define “community,” they’d likely involve some sort of physical location elements in their definition. People’s communities and their belonging were primarily derived from the places they found themselves in the world: their school, home town or country. With the dawn of the 21st century and an internet that enables us to connect to people across the globe, this necessary physical bond in defining communities has weakened.

Defining the term today, it is much more connected to one’s identity than to one’s physical space. The Oxford English Dictionary sums it up as “A body of people or things viewed collectively.” In this sense, the term has become an active choice rather than a passive happening. Coming together is based on shared beliefs, goals, and values, regardless of physical proximity.

As a direct result of this shift from passive to active, people tend to discover the communities they feel a belonging to as opposed to being attached to a community de facto simply by being born into it. An individual’s identity then becomes a much more fluid concept, inevitably changing our understanding of “community.”

To feel a belonging or an affinity to a group of people across borders and beyond proximity is empowering. It’s a new kind of social capital: one in which the individual person, rather than the group, is primary. Individuals then unite not just on the basis of mutable circumstance, but on the basis of shared values and goals.

Crafting Crypto Communities

One of the main things we realized while exploring the use of bounties across verticals is that anyone can participate in and be a part of the communities we are creating. By creating different bespoke networks around distinct events for almost two years, we have gained a deep understading of how incentives and engagements stimulate individual action for communal benefit.

The idea of creating bespoke bounty networks came from the desire to provide a market space for the individuals coming together for a particular event to interact and transact with eachother. By facilitating these actions, we enabled the environment for behaviours and relationships at the very core of what can be defined as community DNA.

Colorado Coin

February 2018 was the first iteration of our communities with the Colorado network. The blockchain community here is one of the strongest in the space and had already minted their own coin! They were also the first to launch a solid coin in 2018. The Colorado community has been running events and meetups since inception and is a great example of what a strong bond shared values and interest can create. Great Colorado ambassadors like Dan Shields, Jonathan Palmer, Kevin Owocki, John Paller and many others have been leading many of the blockchain activations we have in the space.

Moksha

With the learnings from Colorado, we expanded and created the Moksha Coin and network that engaged over a third of the total participants at the ETHIndia 2018 hackathon. 42 Moksha Coin bounties created and 131 total submissions took the bespoke network exercise to a whole new level and showed us just how meaningful incentives can be in stimulating community growth. The bounties didn’t just help sponsors get things done, but gave some of the less technical participants a set of clear avenues through which they could interact and contribute, and feel like a part of the larger community even though they were still very new to the space.

“Our mission at ETHIndia is to build and nurture a world-class ecosystem of Ethereum developers and entrepreneurs in India. While there is great developer talent here, we’ve been missing the community engagement and collaboration piece. We believe that the Moksha coin will help us bring the community together, fostering the spirit of learning and sharing. Our collaboration with Bounties Network is a huge leap forward to help accelerate the #BUIDL movement across India!”

Shakti Goap — ETHIndia

Community Feedback

BRLN

By the ETHBerlin hackathon on 7th-9th of September 2018, there was clearly a lot of value in organizing community specific engagement environments and bounties continued to be the perfect fuel to ignite participation, learning and community collaboration.

We created the bespoke network on our brand new explorer, designed with a “user first” flow in mind because we all know an easily accessible platform is key to adoption. As we now had a fully responsive interface, over half of the bounties created and fulfilled during the hackathon were via mobile.

The ability to interact with a live dApp and earn a token for tasks around the ETHBerlin hackathon took Ethereum beyond ideation and into concrete expression. This was way before the Burner Wallet experiments and the regular dogfooding we see at events today, and we were delighted to lead the charge in encouraging Ethereum developers to actually download mobile wallets.

BRLN Bounties

  1. Spill the beans 👉 Tell me the best things to do while in Berlin! 🇩🇪
    Extremely useful when you’re travelling to a new city! We found out that you can do some graffiti art (legally open to the public) in Mauerpark with a spray paint shop just a block away!
  2. Complete your profile on Berlin Bounties Network
    We had over 25 submissions in just under 24 hours. Creating profiles helped a great deal with being able to connect around the hackathon as adding a face to an anonymous key is that much more sociable and engaging.
  3. Promoting Women in Blockchain Event at Full Node
    Attending and promoting events in the space is a natural fit for non technical bounties as it not only incentivizes participation but also offers a practical application attendees can get involved with.
  4. ETHBerlin MakerDAO Challenge: Dai Dappy Hour
    MakerDAO incentivized people to attend their Dappy hour!
  5. Collect proof of attendance for ETHBerlin
    Zinc collected proof of attendance at ETHBerlin in the form of profiles on their network.
  6. New use of the BRLN Coin in under 12 hours of launch
    Matteo fulfilled the first Berlin onboarding bounty and then decided to sell one of his songs for 1.69BRLN! He’s had an interest in a city wide token for a while so when he came across the BRLNCoin post and a chance to get involved — he jumped at the opportunity.

This a natural socio-economical progression path community relationships follow when they have the space to develop and the means to transfer value between members.

The BRLN community grew even bigger this year during Berlin Blockchain Week with #ETHSommer, a broader collaboration to include a full week of incentives, event activations and creative propositions.

Education Centered Communities

Community education is designed to develop the capacity of individual members to improve their quality of life through assimilating new concepts, learning new skills and accessing various resources.

We’ve believed education is one of the key factors to crypto adoption from the outset of the Bounties project and our work on the “earn as you learn” model has been a key driver in helping onboard beginners to our ecosystem.

UNICEF Innovation Surge Community

At the start of 2019, we launched a partnership with UNICEF Innovation promoting blockchain education across geographies. We setup the SURGE community network that was used for numerous workshops and even a SURGE hackathon in Bangkok, Thailand.

We also minted a Boost token for the UNICEF Innovation team.
Boost (BST) are digital tokens which reward an individual’s positive actions through bounties. It is a non-monetary, ERC20 token created together with UNICEF Ventures and UNICEF France in an effort to experiment with tokenization, and incentivization meant to encourage the creation of digital public goods.

ETHScholars Community

For Devcon V, we partnered with the Ethereum Foundation, ConsenSys Academy and UNICEF Innovation to run and support the ETH Scholars programme.

By developing the bespoke ETHScholars environment, we created a space for the 50 scholars to learn, earn and experience blockchain applications before they even touchdown in Osaka. There have been over 400 content submissions to date. This is the style of sustained incentivized action that fosters inclusion and connectivity with lasting benefits for community members.

Conclusion

We are at a tipping point in the evolution of communities. A point where we have the technologies to create spaces and tools for a variety of communities to develop and thrive through. The work we’ve been doing so far has already given us key insights into the makeup of crypto community DNA, patterns of behaviour and relationship dynamics. The build has only just begun.

Thoughts on communities? Drop us a line. In the mean time, subscribe to our updates, follow us on Twitter and join our community.

Bounties Network

Bounties on any task, paid in any token on Ethereum.

Thanks to Mark Beylin

Simona Pop

Written by

Co-founder @ethbounties, creative & speaker. Omelette eater.

Bounties Network

Bounties on any task, paid in any token on Ethereum.

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