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Proof of Attendance is a growing aspect of web3 technology that live events are implementing more and more. But what exactly is POA?
Since their beginnings on this planet, humans have always sought to have more than their counterparts. It's a natural urge driven by basic survival instincts to own more than the person next to you.
Thankfully, humans have evolved and created societies, bringing civilisation and a slightly less barbaric sense of ownership of physical items. Yet the desire to demonstrate superiority remains, albeit confined to a more subtle game of one-upmanship.
In the modern world, this translates to individuals showing off their status. Nothing new here, as heritage monuments like the pyramids of Egypt and countless castles and palaces built for fallen rulers can attest to. But the pre-internet era allowed only a select few of genuine wealth to flaunt their superiority over others. Fast-forward to the current era, sprinkle in the addition of social media, and it's become standard practice for many people to show their accomplishments to the world.
Every day, hundreds of thousands of people "check-in" on social media at various airports, bars, tourist attractions and beaches. Some even go as far as to broadcast their location when they head to the supermarket for milk.
The internet has irreversibly changed how we operate as humans, giving us a way of communicating with one another across the globe. Unfortunately, our current iteration (known as Web2) comes with some snags, as we are beginning to discover.
The social proof that social media provides also involves handing over vast quantities of data to a small handful of extremely powerful companies and leaves users somewhat over-exposed to those viewing their content.
The next generation of the internet, referred to as Web3, promises to change that, with decentralised networks giving users more privacy and control over their data. Amongst the chaos of cryptocurrency market fluctuations and NFT frenzies, a new method of social proof has emerged, powered by blockchain technology in the form of Proof of Attendance, often abbreviated to POA.
Well, they provide a way for people to prove their attendance at a certain event or location as a digital badge. They function as an upgrade to the Web2 "check-in", in the sense that a POA NFT is verifiable proof that a person has attended an event or place, without them having to reveal sensitive information about themselves, such as a real-time location. This is possible because of how blockchains record the information on them.
To understand this in more detail, we need to talk about the technology around them, non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The Ethereum blockchain introduced the world to NFTs in 2017, giving early adopters online games like Crypto Kitties, profile picture (PFP) projects like Crypto Punks and digital collectable platforms like the NBA's Top Shot.
As you're probably aware, a great deal has happened in the crypto space since then. As a result, there has been a substantial evolution of NFTs, not only in the blockchain networks they operate on but also in how they are used and the potential additional utility they can provide for those who hold them.
New technologies have emerged that have addressed the issues with high gas fees (transaction fees) from which the Ethereum blockchain suffered. The continued adoption of the technology from all corners of the globe has changed how NFT technology is viewed.
The digital assets are hosted on blockchain networks that provide proof of ownership for NFTs that simply wasn't possible with centralised networks and Web2. The boom for NFT art that saw some crazy prices being paid for some arguably fairly basic digital images was probably more a demonstration of interest in this proof of ownership concept for digital items than it was a testament to the artistic value of some pieces.
As the novelty wore off, the prices of NFT projects took a substantial dive, which led to the exploration of more practical and new use cases for NFTs. There is finally utility for NFTs, as well as their newly emerging use as Proof of Attendance badges.
Want to know more? Read this article about NFTs.
With a little history under our belts, it's time to examine how NFTs have begun to cross over from the niche world of PFP collections to the better-known world of social media proofing.
It's important to understand at this stage that even the early NFT PFP projects were partly a social flex for those that owned one (or several). After all, it's in their name; those early projects were always designed as digital art that could be used as a profile picture for the holder's social media account.
Like their PFP project forefathers, POA NFTs provide social clout for their holders by proving their attendance at particular events or places. Users can earn POA badges by scanning QR codes or NFC tags at events or locations, which will airdrop them an NFT POA badge via the blockchain network the asset is hosted on.
This is all possible thanks to how blockchain networks record the data that they hold.
In traditional networks and Web2 data is held in a centralised server, stored in tables as it has been in the computing world for years. By contrast, blockchain networks store their data in chronological order, in blocks distributed amongst network nodes. All transactions are timestamped, and when a block is full of data, it is securely encrypted and chained onto the previous block in the chain, hence the name!
This protocol for data storage has several advantages over traditional networks, namely that the data held on them is secure yet transparent. For POA badges, this translates to users being able to prove their attendance at an event or place without having to reveal their real-time location or other information.
POA badges are issued as NFTs, the authenticity of which is provided by the blockchain networks that host them.
Since the badges are non-fungible tokens, they give the owner a unique digital asset, proving where they have been. NFT POA badges allow for social clout, but they can also become collectable items and provide additional utility for their holders.
POA badges can be stored in a user's digital wallet on the blockchain, giving them a chance to collect multiple NFT POA badges that they can show to their social circle. Additionally, as certain collectable items of past generations have gained value thanks to their rarity, the same will apply to NFT POA badges.
Let's take, for example, a physical ticket stub to one of the first ever Beatles concerts. Such an item would be valuable for a collector so long as the authenticity is assured. While the original owner may just have gone to a local concert to see an up-and-coming band, the wild global popularity of The Beatles means that their once generic ticket stub has potentially become worth a substantial amount of money.
The same thing applies to POA NFTs. Users can collect these items at minimal cost to themselves and display them for social clout. Should one of the events a holder has attended become famous or notable for some reason, their collectable POA NFT might be a quite valuable asset.
Fortuitously, blockchains allow for transactions, meaning users can list their NFTs for sale on secondary marketplaces. This allows them to cash in on their attendance at potentially famous events if they wish to do so.
For event organisers, it's also worth noting that NFTs can be governed by royalty splits, which allows those creating the NFTs to direct a percentage of revenue from secondary sales back to pre-defined wallets. This means that holders of popular POA NFTs could sell them, and the original creator of the asset would receive a percentage of the revenue generated by the sale.
Alternatively, for a completely unique experience, event organisers could make soulbound NFTs as POA badges, meaning that they were non-transferable. The ultimate way to definitively prove your attendance at an exclusive event!
As mentioned above, NFTs can now also come with an additional utility for their holders. This means that the holder of an NFT might also be eligible for discount vouchers, early access passes, free merchandise or any other perk the creator of the NFT wishes to assign to it.
Of course, this also applies in the case of POA NFTs, which means that event organisers can reward fans who have collected these NFT badges for POA events.
With the potential for additional revenue for both fans and event organisers, and the ability to reward fan loyalty, it's becoming clear why we're hearing more and more about POA in the events world.
Web3 is changing the live event landscape, and we are seeing more and more POA examples pop up at various events, both in the crypto world and increasingly outside it as well.
POA NFTs offer fans a safer way of "checking in" at events and also give them a potentially valuable asset for their collection. Additionally, the opportunity for loyalty to be rewarded is something which is currently missing from the live event industry, where fan programmes are clunky and difficult to manage.
We have already seen many ways in which NFTs are creating a more immersive experience for fans, and Proof of Attendance mechanisms will certainly add to this emerging avenue of live entertainment.
At SeatlabNFT, we're decentralising the ticketing industry by building an NFT ticketing platform which allows event creators and artists to capitalise on this new technology with the opportunity to mint NFT tickets and collectables, POA NFTs and airdrop collectables to reward fan loyalty.
We're excited to be redefining event ticketing and look forward to the future of live events.
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