wearekickback
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wearekickback

When real and virtual meetups converge

  • Kickback for online events?
  • POAP (Proof Of Attendance Protocol)
  • CryptoVoxels
  • Jin and Cry, my navigators to the world of CV
  • Putting them all together
  • Things we need to improve
  • What’s next?

Kickback for online events?

Since I posted a blog post called “The rise of You token” which was an experiment to stake your social token on Kickback, I have been getting a few requests about potentially using Kickback on online/virtual events.

In theory, you can use Kickback regardless of online/offline events. The challenge would be how to check-in people. Check-in large volume of people is a bit of struggle even for real events. We always get several missed check-ins hence we usually have a few days of “Dispute period” to email people who weren’t marked as checked-in (and they reply with some evidence). In the online meetings, most meetings allow anyone to join the call so the check-in would be even harder.

I have been thinking about ways to do it then Alex Masmejean (the one who organised first ever Kickback event to stake $ALEX token) made an excellent suggestion during OrochiDAO party at EthDenver, “Use NFT”.

Just drop some NFTs at the virtual venue and mark those who own the NFT as attended. And we actually have NFT tokens which do exactly that! Meet POAP(Proof Of Attendance Protocol).

POAP

POAP was born at last year’s ETHDenver by @worthalter and the team and has been giving away these cute little badges to over 6000 people for the last one year. On the back of these badges, it has a QR code that allows you to claim your NFT token to the ETH address (or ENS name ) you specified.

They are at the forefront of crypto user onboarding and they have now built quite sophisticated onboarding process. The POAP team kindly allowed me to use their service so we decided to create a mock event at an upcoming virtual world called CryptoVoxels.

CryptoVoxels

CryptoVoxels is a virtual world powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Each land is ERC721 NFT token called “parcel” which you can buy at OpenSea. If you want to add color to your area, you can buy $COLR ERC20 token via Uniswap. It is becoming one of the go-to places for NFT artists and curators to display their art at their parcel.

Jin and Cry, my navigators to the world of CV

So here is the step to put all three services together.

  • 1. Decide where to host an event on CV
  • 2. Create an event on Kickback
  • 3. Leave POAP token claiming URL at the virtual venue
  • 4. When participants visit the venue, they can claim POAP
  • 5. Check-in people who own POAP tokens.

When I decided to try out this experiment, I’ve only visited CV a few times when Mintbase guys hosted a virtual NFT holiday advent calendar. I knew how to go back&forth and occasionally float but that was all I knew.

I asked around help at CV discord channel and two people stepped up to it.

The first person was Jin, who happened to be at EthDenver hackathon which I was also participating in. He said he will be at a place called “MakerSpace” of the hackathon venue so I went up and spent the Saturday afternoon shadowing him to learn what CV and so-called “Metaverse”.

He told me that I have to buy a parcel to make anything on CV, including dropping the NFT token. It turned out that these parcels are quite expensive.

When CV first started a few years ago, it used to cost about 0.3 ETH. CV has a limited number of parcels and now it’s less than 500 parcels left, the price has surged.

I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to spend a few ETH just for an experiment. Jin also told me that I can ask some existing parcel owners to add me as a collaborator so that I can drop NFT Tokens. I once again asked around and “cry” this time responded. Apparently they owned places in “Gangnam”, “Frankfurt”, and “Shenzhen” and I can use one of them but I had no idea which place is good, so just picked Gangnam. It turned out that it’s an up and coming (literally) vibrant neighborhood.

The neighborhood of Gangnam has some colorful buildings

Putting them all together

Now that we have a venue, we can do this!

I created a Kickback event page just as usual, and asked around to a couple of friends to RSVP, then follow the instruction on how to participate in the event.

While waiting for my friends to join, we had to build up space.

I spent probably 30 min trying to figure out placing a box but it is quite difficult to place objects using trackpad of my mac book air. I quickly gave up and asked cry for help.

This is the first iteration. We put a wall and wrote down an instruction.

Once you click the POAP link, it jumps to the claim page.

Once you type your ETH Address or ENS name and press “Claim my badge”, it generates the POAP token in your wallet.

The quick mock worked for the first three users but as space ran out, cry shuffled the layout of claim numbers to be placed around the wall as well as placing some of well-known artworks.

The final part is to use POAP token data to check people in. You may think I can just hit OpenSea API to get the data but it’s not as easy because POAP has all the token data of all events (over 6000) so traversing each item is a bit time-consuming. Luckily we have TheGraph protocol which allows anyone to define how to index these data (called subgraph) and someone has already done the hard work of indexing it. So all I had to do is to query the indexed data.

And this video shows how it all fits together.

Things we need to improve

Checking in people is one of the hardest work at Kickback so it is exciting that this now has the potential to scale up to 1000s of people. However, there are things we could improve which I didn’t know whether it’s possible without making huge protocol change on CV and POAP.

  • Dynamically show claim token to each participant (or show unique claim token per participant) = We had one participant who wasn’t able to claim because he went to the already claimed page. It is not practical to place all claim tokens and remove them as they are claimed so it would be great if there are some simple scripting on the CV which allows that (or I could write a simple web service doing that). There are other token minting services such as Unlock protocol, Mintbase, and Rarible and each has unique UI and functionalities so we could try these instead.
  • Restricting a claim per participant = At real events, there is less likely that someone tries to get all claims as you have to be handed over by the event organizers. If you just place all these tokens unattended, would someone take them all to prevent people from claiming? I discussed this point with cry and they think less of an issue because a virtual reputation actually matters in this space.
  • Incentivizing early commitment = Even crashers (people who turn up without RSVP) are the problem on real events but it comes down to event organisers whether you let people in or you refuse (mostly due to the physical capacity). In the case of virtual space, there isn’t a reason to reject these participants nor these virtual space actually have no ways to turn people down. I again discussed this with cry and they suggested giving “write” privilege so that they can modify the parcel. That could be a unique way to create a collaborative space within CV, but again it would be great if there is a way to automate it.
Thank you all for participating in the experiments

What’s next?

We already live in the world that you attend more online meetups than real meetings through zoom/hangout/etc, and eSports has massive market through platforms like YouTube and Twitch. Can these virtual spaces add more value than just being a novelty?

While I was at the MakerSpace, Jin told me some exciting development happening around the use of VR in the educational environment. Tools such as Mozilla Hubs allow you to turn photos and documents into a 3D objects and share in the room which is very hard on the traditional “Webinar” style.

Jin was even walking through the entire EthDenver venue to capture the 3D model of the entire venue. It could be possible to have “virtual reunion” of EthDenver at some point in the near future.

Each VR toolset has pros and const and there won’t be a “one size fits all” solution. However, if each platform becomes “blockchain aware” and it allows the developer to define a set of rules based on token ownership, it makes interoperability much easier across these virtual worlds.

In this blog post I showed the potential of using multiple blockchain services to run events on both real and virtual spaces. If there are any event organisers who want to explore this space further, just let us know by filling in our early access form.

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