What is POAP?

Read 5 min
Key Takeaways:
— POAP stands for Proof of Attendance Protocol

— POAPs are NFTs that function of digital badges to prove you attended an event

— Using POAPs benefits event organizers by creating a direct line of communication with attendees, allowing more interactive, more responsive events and a more reliable way of building relationships with guests and followers

— POAPs benefit individuals by creating a completely personalized story of a person’s life, linking them with moments in time without sharing any data with big centralized platforms

You may be seeing the term POAP appearing more and more often at events, but aren’t sure what it means. What is POAP – and how does it benefit you? Here, we explain.

You’ve bagged yourself a ticket to the most exclusive event of the year. Everyone is talking about it and you can’t wait for the inevitable ragged ticket stub to prove to everyone you were there, and keep as a memento of the experience.

But what if, instead of a ticket, you got a digital keepsake that you could carry with you – in mint condition – forever? And what if, instead of just bragging, you could actually prove you were part of the event?

Welcome to the world of POAPs – the digital bookmarks of your life that you’ll be seeing more and more of. 

Not sure how POAPs work? Don’t worry, we weren’t either – let’s get into it.

What is POAP?

First, let’s get the name out of the way. POAP is an acronym for the creatively titled “proof of attendance protocol”. The concept is pretty simple: POAPs function as digital badges you can collect at events, both to prove that you were there, and to remember the occasion.

The idea was first conceived for hackathon in 2019, where a set of event-specific tokens were given out to reward hackers for taking part. The idea was a hit, and two years later the project – which is incidentally the most used, non- monetary Ethereum app – is gaining traction. It even caught the eye of Vitalic Buterin himself.

So how do POAPs work?

POAPs are NFTs, created using the ERC-721 token standard. But not any NFT can be a POAP.

Since they’re designed to be collectible, every token conforms to a standard visual format and protocol. Therefore, to qualify as a POAP, a token must be minted through the POAP smart contract protocol and must also contain a cryptographic record of the time or date of the event it relates to. 

When the event itself takes place, attendees can then scan a QR code, which unlocks a unique NFT to prove they were present. And since POAP badges are unique and immutable, once you have one, you’ll be a part of that event forever.

Image Credit: POAP on Medium

What’s so interesting about POAPs?

Well aside from being cool mementoes, these NFT keepsakes bring a number of benefits for both event organizers, and the attendees themselves. Let’s take a look at a few of the main advantages they offer.

POAP uses for organizers

For event organizers, the value of POAPs lies in the fact that they create a direct and effective line of communication with participants. This has a number of benefits.

Farewell to mailing lists

If you’ve ever managed a mailing list, you’ll understand the sheer frustration of painstakingly gathering thousands of email addresses, only to send out a cumbersome newsletter that goes straight to the spam folder.

Using POAPs instantly permits event organisers to connect with attendees, meaning less time spent on more admin and more time spent on creating great experiences for the audience.

More engaging, more responsive events

Using POAPs allows organizers to communicate with their guests in real time, as the event takes place. This could include sending out updates about schedule changes, announcing the start of a performance, or even sending out live votes that guests could respond to, making the event an interactive experience. This empowers organizers to offer more engaging, more agile events to their attendees.

Long-term relationship management

Longer term benefits can be envisioned too. Say you’re a touring band or DJ, and want to reach out to your top fans – using POAPs at every event will allow event organizers to identify their most dedicated attendees, and offer rewards or unique experiences in return for their loyalty.

POAP benefits for you and me

Enhanced privacy

If you’re in it for bragging rights, checking-in on social media does the trick – but at what cost? Not only are you sharing your experience with your friends, you’re also submitting your personal information, and even your whereabouts, with the not-so-trusty central entities that govern social media and the internet. 

By contrast, since POAPs exist on a decentralized blockchain network, they allow you to collect mementoes of great days without sharing your data with anyone else.

A unique digital fingerprint that lasts forever

And with POAPs building into a collection of badges that tell the unique story of your life, your identity can be represented in pure form, without gender, age or nationality ever being disclosed. What a beautiful way to exist, right?

On a related note, proof of attendance badges can also be leveraged by individuals to build authority within a given community. Let’s say you’re beginning a career in a new industry – a collection of POAPs showing your attendance at professional events could enhance your credibility with peers and potential employers. Similarly, a collection of badges relating to the same band or performer could allow super-fans to be rewarded for their dedication by the artists themselves.

Event-driven communities

With POAPs allowing event attendees to find and connect with each other and access event-specific discussions and group votes, they allow communities to be created around an event.

Ownership of limited edition collectibles

POAPs might well be a conduit for personal nostalgia – but they also have the potential to gain independent value. Imagine you had a POAP from Woodstock, for example – this would likely be a pretty valuable collector’s item by now.

By providing indisputable proof of attendance, POAPs give people a stake in the event and its legacy; for significant events, it’s not hard to imagine that this might translate into cold, hard crypto in the future.

This sounds good – how do I get a POAP?

If you’re going to a POAP-sponsored event, and want to receive a badge, you’ll need two things before you begin: 

  • an Ethereum address (if you pay the gas fee for migrating to mainnet)
  • the POAP app

Once you attend your event, you’ll either receive a password (this is popular for YouTube events) or else you’ll be able to scan a physical QR code, both of which can be entered on the event website to receive your unique badge directly to your POAP account.

Tada! Just like that, the digital story of your life has begun.

POAP joins the ranks of Ledger Live

The even better news is that Ledger Live has recently integrated POAP. What does that mean for you? It means you can access and visualise your POAP badges from within the Ledger platform; with all of your coins, favourite apps and POAPs in one place, Ledger Live makes it easy and safe to get the very most out of your crypto, no matter how you use it.

For many, the word crypto might conjure up connotations of finance and tech, but at its most basic, blockchain is simply a way of recording information. That being true, what could be a more worthwhile record than the story of your life?

Perhaps the most interesting thing about POAP is that, despite being a non-profit project, its creators understood what people really value – the possibility of remembering the intangible and unique moments that define who we are.

Knowledge is power.

Trust yourself and keep on learning! If you enjoy getting to grips with crypto and blockchain, check out our School of Block episode all about the Metaverse.


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