Token-Curated Communities

William M. Peaster on 19 Aug 2020

Token-curated registries, or TCRs, incentivize users to stake tokens in order to curate decentralized lists of trusted information, e.g. reliable project websites. TCRs were a larger focus in Ethereum’s ecosystem in years past, though they’ve seemingly slid into the background lately as flashier things like decentralized finance (DeFi) have started commanding the limelight.

That said, a somewhat related conception to TCRs has gained traction so far this year: token-curated communities (TCCs). These “communities with tokens” use tokens, of which a minimum amount must be held at all times to maintain membership in these groups, to establish and confer special membership rights.

For example, these rights might be access to an exclusive members-only chat room where the brains of other elite crypto users can be picked, or better yet collaborated with. Or these rights might be access to exclusive real-world events, or any other kind of perks that could be offered to holders of the requisite amount of tokens.

Notably, most of the TCCs we’ve seen take off in 2020 have been built atop the Collab.Land bot, which provides a “user-friendly, tokenized, community management system.”

This automated concierge service makes it easy for TCC members to directly interact with their tokens in community hubs like Discord and Telegram.

Yet Collab.Land is just a popular management tool. It’s up to TCC creators to actually mint the underlying tokens, and on this front there are a few viable options currently. Social money project Roll is one of them, as the platform allows creators to easily spin up their own personal or community tokens per a preset structure.

Another practical minting service is the ERC20 token generator created by developer Vittorio Minacori. The generator lets users “easily deploy [a] smart contract for a standard, capped, mintable, burnable ERC20 token,” Minacori has explained. Lastly, it’s of course possible to manually spin up your community token if you have the requisite coding know-how, but this is naturally a more intensive approach.

The interesting thing about TCCs is the value they can create for and among their communities, real and perceived. While these ventures are still young, some users are already putting up good money (in the form of required tokens) to participate in these exclusive, cryptonative social opportunities.

Communities with tokens

$DFIO

$DFIO is the membership token of DeFi Omega, a self-described “global network, a DeFi think tank, and a group [of] policymakers with the goal of shaping future policy in decentralized finance.”

The activist group has hailed $DFIO as a social experiment that has no inherent value. To join with a base membership, you must hold 100 $DFIO. For a board membership, of which there are 10 total, you must hold 10,000 $DFIO. Total members are capped at 1,000 during the project’s first month, after which 100 new members can be added every 30 days. Two board members can also be added per year according to the TCC’s rules. Additionally, DeFi Omega members will vote on new DeFi enterprises to invest 10,000 $DFIO in per quarter.

At the time of this post’s writing, $DFIO cost $3.06 each on Uniswap with a total liquidity of $70,000.

$PARTY

Described as a “24/7 online party,” Money Party is a TCC that uses the $PARTY token to determine membership to the group. The token allows holders to enter MONEY PARTIES events around the world and to enjoy intel-sharing and partnerships with cryptoeconomy professionals.

In order to be admitted to this TCC, one must purchase 250,000 $PARTY. With each of these tokens currently trading on Uniswap at the $0.0006 price mark, it thus costs ~$158 or roughly ~0.39 ETH to join right now. With the appropriate number of $PARTY secured, holders can apply to join the TCC’s “mastermind” Telegram group where festivities, collaborations, and more are organized.

Presently, $PARTY only has $12,000 in total liquidity on Uniswap, so the new project is still quite small.

$JAMM

$JAMM is the token of Brian Flynn’s Jamm Session newsletter community. Flynn unveiled $JAMM in August 2020 as a means to “curate a group of individuals who who want to try out the weird and whacky things in crypto,” adding:

This newsletter was always [about] highlighting how creators can use crypto to monetize, and now we must dogfood ourselves to lead others into the new passion economy.”

Per this spirit of experimentation, Flynn has accordingly committed to adding a new element to $JAMM once a week to extend the TCC project to new horizons. In this sense, $JAMM is not a fixed experiment and will enable different things as time goes on. Yet Flynn has mentioned a few perks on the slate for Jamm Session members, including exclusive newsletter content, access to products from Jamm Session partners, programmable swag, and more.

The cost of joining this TCC is 1,000 $JAMM, which equates to roughly $90 per the token’s current price of $0.09. $JAMM presently has ~$7,250 in total liquidity on Uniswap.

$DDIM

$DDIM, or the Duck DAO Dime, is the community token of the Duck DAO TCC. The Duck community is striving to be a “decentralized DeFi VC” organization that provides startups an avenue to raise private rounds from determined community members as opposed to mainstream VC firms. In this sense, the TCC’s pitch is that its DeFi-savvy member-investors are committed to the long-term success of their incubated projects and will actively and loudly support them for years to come.

Notably, the Duck DAO uses $DDIM as part of a tiered membership system. To join the TCC’s private Telegram chat, one must hold 200 $DDIM. Moreover, a VIP group will be accessible to holders of 2,500 $DDIM. Separate and more exclusive VVIP and Top10RichList groups will also be available, though they don’t have fixed token thresholds for now.

As for trading, $DDIM presently enjoys $162,000 in total liquidity on Uniswap and each token is going for $6.13 right now.

$KARMA

Karma DAO is a TCC that began in July 2020 as a Telegram-based professional networking community. It costs 200 $KARMA to join the venture. Spearheaded by Web3 Journal founder Andrew Lee, the group’s mission focused on building a “community ownership” economy aimed around “being helpful to others and [contributing] value to a greater community.”

The project proved popular quickly, as its members swelled past 200 within two weeks of launching. In that span, Karma DAO also organically evolved toward becoming a “pitching forum for people building interesting projects in DeFi and blockchain.” As such, $KARMA is currently $9.06 and has $142,000 in total liquidity on Uniswap.

$LADZ

Layer1, a crypto podcast content company, used the Roll platform to tokenize its brand back in July 2020. That token, $LADZ, is earnable by folks who participate in activities around the Layer1 ecosystem.

It takes holding 1,000 $LADZ to earn access to the #LADZ Discord, while users can spend 250 $LADZ to purchase one tweet to be posted by Layer1’s Twitter account among other things. Since this TCC project hasn’t supplied $LADZ to Uniswap yet, the token doesn’t have an exchange rate or liquidity for now.

Conclusion

Token-curated communities still comprise a small nook of Ethereum’s ecosystem relative to other sectors, but the space has seen a lot of movement in recent weeks. All signs point to TCCs continuing to pick up steam for the foreseeable future as users continue exploring new cryptonative ways to organize and create value.

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About the author
William M. Peaster
William M. Peaster is a writer and curator of the DeFi Arts Intelligencer, a newsletter tracking Ethereum’s digital collectibles arena. He is not a financial advisor. The thoughts shared in this guest post are his opinions and reflect his personal experiences and personal optimism around Ethereum. He currently owns some cryptoart and ETH.

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