Introducing the Curation Body

What does a decentralized organization look like?

Isabel Gonzalez


Curation — the function of manually reviewing drop petitions for regulatory compliance as well as spiritual alignment with the goals of the Proof of Attendance Protocol — is a core function of what we do here at POAP. In order for POAP to become the cornerstone piece of social technology we have envisioned, both the integrity of content on the platform as well as governance of the acceptable uses are paramount. In recognition of the importance of this challenge, POAP inc. has established the POAP Curation Body: an independent and newly-formed group that will be stewarding this function going forward.

Scaling up the process of curation has always been a challenge, and is expected to remain one for the foreseeable future.

In the last quarter, POAP has grown from approximately 30,000 to approximately 50,000 individuals minting POAPs weekly, and currently processes something in the range of 2000 petitions per week for issuers to drop POAPs for the preservation of personal, social, commercial, and other memories. Apart from representing a massive effort to scale blockchain technology (in December, over 500,000 NFTs were minted on the POAP smart contract — an immense feat, if you think about it), it also represents a huge initiative on the content moderation front: petitions are each reviewed and analyzed by humans, according to a set of (codified, but never before public) guidelines that curators attempt to interpret contextually to the best of their ability.

POAP maintains this manual process due to our conviction in the protocol as a public good for the overall improvement of the human condition. Although we wish to become a fully decentralized protocol with no central governing body, that wish currently takes a back seat to ensuring that we are able to build POAP for the world to use. We want a protocol for the preservation of memories, an ecosystem for the reliable recording of shared experiences, and a tool that makes people into more vibrant versions of themselves to exist in this world whatever it takes, and our sole interest these days is in figuring out the best way to make this happen.

Structure and function of the curation body

Maintaining the standard of quality for the drops done on the protocol, while providing expedient and timely decisions, is the function of the newly-formed POAP Curation Body; an independent group currently within POAP which has the well-being of the protocol and the POAP ecosystem as its sole concern.

The POAP Curation Body will incrementally gain more separation from POAP inc. as the horizon for its independence opens up, with the ultimate goal of completely separating the spiritual and ethical interests of the Proof of Attendance Protocol from the commercial and strategic interests of POAP inc. Our intent down the road is to make this separation a functional (as opposed to a simply symbolic) one; once established, the POAP Curation Body will have an Executive Director, a Chairman, as well as several more senior managerial functions, in addition to a compensated full time staff of Curators.

We see full decentralization as the mature end state of what we’re here to build, but there are many incremental steps along the way which allow us to complete our mission while preserving the ethos of what we want to achieve. While the curation system that has been in place to date had been adequate in some ways to for demand of one order of magnitude, today we need a different way to communicate and coordinate with issuers and the broader POAP ecosystem.

The establishment of a separate entity for processing drop petitions, with its own leadership, team, and mandate is the first piece of the puzzle in the challenge of decentralizing the protocol. The second piece is improving the persistence of information in the POAP ecosystem. The third piece of the puzzle is improving information liquidity.

In addition to opening a variety of dedicated positions in order to staff the POAP Curation Body (which can be found here), POAP inc. is supporting the curators of the protocol as they lay the foundation for dedicated operations infrastructure to convey usage guidelines and current best practices to everyone within the POAP community.

To assist with the need for more persistent information, the POAP Curation Body now has a home on Discourse, which will be the primary point of contact between invested members of the community and the POAP Curation Body going forward. We anticipate that maintaining a dedicated space for the community to find and discuss issues pertaining to particular petitions, general drop and minting best practices, and curation policy directly with curators will smooth over much of the friction that’s been created due to the scaling challenges that we’ve been facing.

While the platform will evolve to have public, gated, and private sections in the future, it will always retain some element of persistent pseudonymous identity, in the interest of maintaining a level of security for members and accountability for behavior. Above all, Discourse intends to act as a starting point for the POAP community to discuss, enact, and review policy as it pertains to proper usage of the protocol.

Discord will remain a place for more general and casual POAP-related discussions, as well as a place to solicit input and receive help from other members of the community. We’ll likely cross-post some key announcements between the two platforms from time to time, but Discourse will be the source of truth for policy as well as the best way to communicate with curators going forward.

Customer support inquiries will continue to be handled via Intercom (check out the Help Center if you haven’t already!), as a function of POAP inc. To chat with our customer support team about implementation details, best practices, and other questions related to drop execution, please head to check the chat bubble on the POAP home page.

Forums for discussion

As we outlined in a previous thread, there is a clear vision for the structure of the POAP ecosystem. Our desired end state is one of many highly-organized, materially self-sustaining cells, within a less structured primordial soup that may periodically spawn new self-contained bodies. We recognize that moving towards this vision will require much faster transmission of information across the POAP ecosystem than what has existed to date, and are excited to be prioritizing this in 2022.

To make a first push in the direction of greater liquidity of information, the POAP Curation Body is going to be establishing a weekly dedicated platform — live on Discord stages, led by members of the community — to congregate casually around all things POAP.

Unlike Discourse, where high content density is the goal, this weekly chat intends to be unstructured and open format by design. We have ideas around including members of the POAP inc. team, the curation body, and inviting others from the ecosystem (including issuers, developers, and passionated collectors) to participate — but the intent here, and the only immediate commitment, is to start with something small and consistent.

We firmly believe that the consistent efforts of ordinary people are what over time, can accumulate into producing extraordinary results. Magic happens when structures are created to allow that compounding to continue, be made visible, and eventually morph into extraordinary results. To that end, we invite the POAP community to join us in the first of many iterations in the simple practice of showing up on Friday, January 14th, 2022, in the POAP Discord server, led by superphiz, colfax, Tap.eth, and DeFi Dude.