At the back alleys of this decentralized, crypto fanfare are more than 1,000 blockchain startups that are technically “dead”. And it’s not like they lacked the money. In fact, statistics from the DeadCoin, another booming site for tracking projects on their knees, indicate that in between them, they raised billions of dollars in ETH, BTC and other highly liquid coins.
But surprisingly, the coin founders either cashed out or following probes by authorities were found to be scams. BitPaction, for example, was a scam and out of these projects, naïve investors who failed to do their due diligence ended up losing millions of dollars at the height of the initial coin offering craze of early 2018.
Why Community Building Should be Top Priority
But, here is the thing: time is valuable and while projects might take years before they finally launch, the presence of a vibrant community is what motivates a community. This is best exemplified by Cardano.
Cardano asserts that a coin is as valuable as its community. Updates are regular and valuable complete with a whole multilingual page on why the founder was motivated to create Cardano.
Others like Vyigrat is deceased because the community is dead. As we are seeing, the community is the silver lining of any open source project that promises to create—and perhaps capture value. But what exactly is a crypto community? Lane Rettig has an interesting definition of what it means to be part of a community.
He tweets: “Community is about ownership — feeling not just that I am part of something bigger than myself, but that I have some skin in the game. It doesn’t matter so much whether that stake is economic or not — in fact I think non-economic stake (e.g. reputation) can be a much bigger motivator.”
I was asked to define “community” in the context of Ethereum and other projects. My answer may be a little contrarian, but to me, community is about ownership – feeling not just that I am part of something bigger than myself, but that I have some skin in the game.
— Lane Rettig (@lrettig) September 6, 2018
Types of Community Members
Here, it’s clear that being in a community is not necessary because of economic incentives. Reputation matters and since open protocols are free to join, a level deeper and participants can be stratified as:
- Speculators: Investing to reap future benefits. They are liquidity creators.
- Platform users: These use the product running their day to day activities
- Builders/developers: These are the technical guys creating updates, maintaining the network as they work towards improving the user experience.
The Achilles Heel of any blockchain startup is not laying emphasis on the developer community. Without voluntary developers contributing to the network, updates will come far and in between. A recipe for “death” and the cascading effect is a mass user migration who see no value in staying around a lagging platform.
This quickly shifts from being a technical to a social problem but they can be a solution to that: Conversion of speculators to users or developers. After all, it’s not hard getting around speculators as open source project attract them. And most are participating for short-term gains—irrespective of the product.