Trips Community 2021 Review
Still Experimenting Before the Wave
2021 was amazing for everyone involved in crypto.
The harsh winter years faded from memory, the ice melted, streams of fresh water came down from the mountains, flowers blossomed, and the occasional rainbow unicorn has been spotted.
Yet for those who lived through the cold days, do not forget: all this can end at anytime.
It’s seasonal, cyclical, but beautiful.
Let’s cherish it while it lasts, and look back, before we move on to 2022.
We started off with a very detailed Road Map.
We did not develop the Open Reviews nor the Escrow Payments, but we kept collecting donations for it, in the Gitcoin grant.
We also launched a new grant for a Travel Open Protocols Fund.
As I re-read it, I realized it wasn’t really a road map, but instead an analysis of the situation and a declaration of intent.
A “we’ll do what we can according to the available tech, markets and adoption”.
And this, we did.
The growing crypto markets attracted some attention from the mainstream vacation rentals industry, and so we thought that maybe it was time to build a DAO.
We had the open interest and cooperation of Simon Lehmann, the undisputed industry guru, and yet we failed to win over enough people to actually create the DAO.
Why? Lack of wallet adoption is the simple and true answer.
It felt like telling people “let’s all meet in Zoom at 3pm on Monday” when those people did not have a computer, a phone or even an internet connection.
The modern version of “Can we do it via fax?” is “Can we do this web3 stuff but in an easy way so that I don’t have to do the work to learn any new tech, but I get the benefits anyway?”
If you try to accommodate these requests, you are setting yourself up for months and months of training of people who are not motivated enough to do it by themselves.
Well, we tried anyway, and created a set of guides, Clubhouse rooms, online meetings and so on.
We gave it a try and launched a public effort to create a DAO.
What the industry could accomplish if only it was able to coordinate with these new, fantastic tools we have now!
“Is this finally happening? This is fantastic!”
Nope. Not happening, dude.
So, finally, we gave up a whole industry we had been talking to, for 4 years.
Our attention then heavily shifted to the native crypto crowd.
We had started a few months before and had seen our Discord server go from a few hundreds members to 4000 in March, but now we could focus and grew it to over 10,000 in the following months.
It was mostly speculative joins, fueled by airdrops, but it also brought in interesting and young people with whom we could continue the journey.
At the end of March we started experimenting with NFTs and this marked the end of the “let’s all get together and create a decentralized Airbnb” (too early for that) to the “let’s experiment…stuff”.
If I had to give it a name, that would be Trips Community Labs.
That was also the beginning of an incredibly fun part of the journey.
Our first big NFT experiment was the booking of a villa in Spain, which, to this day, is the undisputed FIRST NFT BOOKING IN HISTORY.
We even formed a DAO to buy the used NFT from the guest, and bet on its future historical value.
We tried to replicate the NFT booking with a villa in Como, which did not sell.
Both experiments provided enough data to conclude that we were too early for scaling.
Still, we learned a lot, and had a confirmation, if any was needed, that much more wallet adoption is needed before marketplaces can thrive.
In May, we received the Gitcoin airdrop worth today about $27,000.
Another NFT experiment in June: we airdropped some Trips to anyone in the travel industry.
The takeaway was that wallet adoption had indeed grown a bit.
What about NFTs for fidelization? We tried that with the “an NFT for our guest” project, sold all of them and did not really follow through because, again, little interest.
I mean, the buyers should have gifted them to past and future guests (and maybe some did), but we did not start a support system for them, so it kind of died out.
We held elections for a new Gnosis Safe which would held the funds necessary to manage liquidity pools and rewards in xDAI (now Gnosis Chain).
It ended up with a few people we never met, managing over a million Trips ($20k) and self coordinating in Discord.
In August, we had a major breakthrough when the biggest Italian Tour Operator, AlpiTour, asked us to help launch an NFT for a new Hotel in Venice.
The NFT sold for 1 ETH (about $3200) and a lot of good press ensued.
✌️ First Hotel NFT booking in history, ladies and gentlemen
In August, we went underground, created some private Telegram groups and started working on a new project with the working name “The NFT”.
We basically disappeared from the public eye exactly at the moment when we were working the hardest.
This is a sneak peek in what’s coming.
We love it.
While on stage, I had the chance to ask how many people had crypto wallets and the reply was staggering: over 20%!
Probably some of them have a just a Binance account and think they have a crypto wallet, but this is part of the learning process.
Anyway, since the wallet adoption will be exponential, this may signal that mainstream adoption may be not that far away.
Still, after 5 years of hoping so, I prefer to be cautious about this kind of predictions.
Silent month, lots of underground work in the PFP space with the NFT DAO.
I went to ETHLisbon and got some great insights.
In 2022 we will try to attend more of these conferences, as they are really great.
I launched a personal podcast called “Web3 in Travel” because I thought this could be a good way for new people to approach this nascent industry.
I mostly hope it will protect newcomers from the sharks which are coming, ready to feast on their lack of knowledge.
November is also the month when the term “Web3” started replacing “Crypto”.
I remember changing my narrative in London in 2019, and explicitly saying, “We have to stop using crypto and start using the Web3 term”.
Web3 says “you know this thing called the web? You use it, right? It’s going to change radically”.
People could ignore cryptic “crypto”, they won’t be able to ignore “web3”.
In November, we received the ENS airdrop worth about $9000 now.
In December, we announced the NFT project and spoke at the Hicon conference in Bologna, Italy.
We received the EPNS airdrop worth about $2800.
The Trips Token
The token lost a lot of its value since the beginning of the year.
This is understandable because it does not have any utility yet, apart as a coordination tool.
We never bought or burned them to pump the price, as we prefer to let the market price it correctly.
As a coordination tool, the price does not matter too much anyway, because we can simply give more.
Actually, a low price will allow more people to get a stake in the network.
This may allow a rebalancing of the distribution, which historically was too much in the hands of the early adopters.
We did not look for investments this year.
No one in Trips needs a salary and there is no risk of the project dying out, as it’s run by volunteers.
Investments will be put to good use when we get out of the experimental phase, and we’re getting closer but are not quite there yet.
Raising money just because it’s easy is not a good idea.
We are launching the NFT project in February, and then we’ll assess the situation and will decide what the next steps are.
This year, we are finally building!