Engaging to Earn with AdLunam Co-Founder Nadja Bester鈥俠y@jackboreham

Engaging to Earn with AdLunam Co-Founder Nadja Bester

In this Slogging AMA, we chat to Nadja Bester, the cofounder of AdLunman, an IDO launchpad that uses the principles of engage to earn and a proof of attention allocation mechanism to create dynamic NFTs. Check out our conversation below!This Slogging thread by Jack Boreham, Nadja, Limarc Ambalina, M贸nica Freitas, Justin Roberti and Sara Pinto occurred in slogging's official #amas channel, and has been edited for readability.
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Jack Boreham

I'm a journalist and writer. You can check out my work on my website: https://jackboreham.com/

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In this Slogging AMA, we chat with Nadja Bester, the cofounder of AdLunam, an IDO launchpad that uses the principles of engage to earn and a proof of attention allocation mechanism to create dynamic NFTs. Check out our conversation below!

This Slogging thread by Jack Boreham, Nadja, Limarc Ambalina, M贸nica Freitas, Justin Roberti and Sara Pinto occurred in slogging's official #amas channel, and has been edited for readability.

Jack BorehamJan 17, 2022, 9:11 AM

Hey @channel, please join me in welcoming our next AMA guest, Nadja. Nadja is the co-founder at AdLunam. An Engage to Earn IDO launchpad using a proof of attention allocation mechanism that integrates investor profiles as dynamic NFTs. Please feel free to ask Nadja anything about:

  1. Engage to Earn
  2. Proof of Attention allocation mechanism
  3. Democratising crypto
  4. Crypto in general and IDO's
  5. The relationship between investors and crypto projects
NadjaJan 17, 2022, 9:13 AM

Thanks, Jack Boreham, looking forward to it :)

Jack BorehamJan 17, 2022, 9:15 AM

Hi Nadja, a pleasure to have you with us! To start off, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your inspirations for creating Adlunam?

NadjaJan 17, 2022, 9:31 AM

Sure :) I'll start with a bit of a back story so the evolution becomes apparent.

I started off my career in psychology, transitioned into marketing back when we called the new kid on the block "digital", and have ever since been making up for lost time as a teenager who rejected nerddom and didn't want to be seen near a computer 馃檮

I ran a digital marketing agency back when getting someone to say yes to a website was a hard sell, and eventually, this focus on digital led to heading up digital marketing and multimedia communication operations for the HQ of a multi-million dollar pharma. After having been in a start-up environment most all of my career, the sloth-like speed of the corporate environment shocked me into taking a career sabbatical 馃槅

I started travelling the world with my then 10yo son and although I had no intention of getting back "into" things just yet, when I crossed paths with blockchain technology in 2017, there was an irresistible pull. I'd first come across Bitcoin as far back as 2012 but concluded that it was way above my mental pay grade 馃槄 By 2017 it had been mainstreamed enough that I could take another stab at understanding it, and it's captivated my imagination ever since.

I worked as a consultant, an advisor, a CMO, started a communications agency, worked as a journalist writing for publications like http://Bitcoin.com and http://Investing.com, and generally immersed myself in this brave new world that appeared to be a type of global American dream (sans the white picket fence and 2.4 kids :)).

But over time I became disillusioned with what had started off as the cypherpunk version of organised anarchy ("We the people can build the big things differently") but what started morphing into the Wild West edition of the legacy financial system: The Have's get more while the Havent's scramble for crumbs.

AdLunam, in many ways, is the culmination of this evolution of my involvement in the industry. It was born out of the belief that crypto investing - whatever your opinion of it, it remains a reckoning force that can't be stopped - shouldn't be yet another gatekeeper that divides geographies and economic classes.

Limarc AmbalinaJan 17, 2022, 9:45 AM

Hey Nadja interesting topics you have here! What do you mean by engage to earn?

Also (as anyone in discord knows) crypto communities can quickly become filled with scammers, or fake accounts trying to drum up enthusiasm for a project and inflate the price of a coin or NFT. How can you combat these issues we're seeing in space?

NadjaJan 17, 2022, 10:32 AM

Limarc Ambalina Totally - it's not the Wild West for nothing...bandits abound! Crypto is faced with an interesting dilemma - an industry wicked problem of sorts. In any industry, regulation serves to "clean up the streets", yet in the crypto industry, a blanket ban or a top-down regulatory approach is an antithesis to its philosophical underpinnings.

There's no telling what the industry will evolve into in future, but for the moment, for many - and here legit is an important keyword :) - crypto companies there's a strong motivation to be your sibling's keeper, so to speak.

Very often, and especially when standing on the periphery of a thing, whether a movement or industry, what rises to the top is either grandiose hype (of which crypto is bountiful) or toxic fumes. So there's a whole lot of press that, while saying much, doesn't tell the public about the undercurrent that's shifting society in a certain direction.

As someone who's been in the industry for going on six years, I've seen the underbelly - which can be worse than what hits the press - and I've seen the visionary side to it, with a whole lot of useful practicality in the middle.

So as an individual and as a company, my emphasis is on being a small part of a larger whole dedicated to strengthening the industry from the inside out.

Explaining what Engage to Earn is requires a bit of a prelude in order to sat-nav the discussion on the map.

AdLunam is an IDO launchpad. IDO is short for Initial DEX Offering, and the short definition is that projects are able to launch new tokens through decentralised distribution (in the form of decentralised liquidity exchanges) rather than through a centralised crypto exchange.

(Btw, happy to further elucidate these and any of the terms I use at any time - it can be a tough topic when the terminology sounds Greek!)

A launchpad is an investment platform on which projects launch their IDOs. The key selling point in using a launchpad - from an investor perspective - is that they fulfil a due diligence role similar to that of a VC (venture capitalist). In theory, this means that investors are able to invest in top-quality projects and are shielded from scam coins. I did an interview with HackerNoon where I liken it to mangroves:

In practice, the launchpad industry has, itself, become opportunities and, by extension, exclusionary. A new launchpad pops up every week (this is not a figure of speech, it's really happening) and each new platform is two dots short of a carbon copy of its predecessors. Innovation suffers because no one wants to rock the boat while the existing formula works.

Initially, the party who pulled at the short end of the stick was the investor. New projects required marketing and community support, and this was one of the key value-adds of a launchpad. Over time, however, as new players keep entering the space, this value-add has become so diluted that projects launching on launchpads sometimes have bigger communities and stronger marketing than the launchpad itself.

So by now, investors and projects are both being underserved. I'll venture just a little into the technicalities of how a typical launchpad IDO works so the current reality - and the significance of AdLunam's Engage to Earn - is more apparent.

Let's say Project A raises a total of $500,000 during their IDO. They might split this amount between 5 different launchpads for a total of $100,000 each. In addition, there's typically a min-max investment amount, say between $50-$300 per person. Investors wishing to participate in the public sale whitelist themselves and each launchpad uses their particular allocation mechanisms in order to select investors eligible to take part in the raise.

Some of the main mechanism types include:

  1. Lotteries
  2. Auctions
  3. Guaranteed allocation (based on staking)

Lotteries, on one end of the spectrum, is entirely randomised and an investor's participation is determined by luck, the alignment of the stars, or the randomness of the universe, whatever belief the person in question ascribes to.

Guaranteed allocation, on the other hand, is a case of how much capital you're able to put down. "Staking" the launchpad token essentially means locking up a specific share of those tokens - that you own - for a set period of time.

The issue is that, especially for some of the top (i.e. most trustworthy) launchpads, the staking amount is so high that we're talking as much as tens of thousands of dollar value, in exchange for a $300 allocation.

This is not an issue when the investor has thousands upon thousands of dollars to put on pause for a while, because good projects typically give great ROI (think as high as 60X).

But for many investors, especially those in developing nations who view crypto as a way to transform their economic conditions, this is simply out of reach. Hence, in the end, it perpetuates the same cycle of Have's vs Have Not's.

This was a very long prelude 馃槄 but here's where Engage to Earn comes in.

At AdLunam, we've designed an allocation mechanism that focuses on democratising crypto investment. Rather than rely on randomness and luck (aka lotteries) or stake tokens (aka guaranteed allocation), investors are able to trade their level of engagement for allocation.

In what's essentially a highly gamified approach, investor engagement (here crypto Reddit or crypto Twitter is a good way of understanding what engagement refers to) positions investors on a leaderboard, and through AdLunam's rich data analytics, projects are able to invite the top-most engaged investors to receive allocation (as well as airdrops and other community rewards).

Thus, investors are eligible for allocation based on their value-add, and projects are able to extend their investor due diligence through to the retail round (which is when a lot of the pump 'n dumps you referred to take place).

M贸nica FreitasJan 17, 2022, 11:00 AM

Hi Nadja, great to have you here! I'm trying to get started with crypto, but it still feels a bit of a foreign subject. What would you say are the basics of understanding crypto and how it works?

NadjaJan 18, 2022, 4:18 PM

Hi M贸nica Freitas, I know the feeling! Crypto is multilayered and the required level of understanding depends on what your objectives are, so that's definitely Step 1: Determine your learning goals. Why do you learn more about it - general understanding, investment, or the technology behind it?

Whichever the case may be, a well-rounded understanding of the fundamentals is always a good place to start. And here I don't mean what DeFi is or how NFTs work. More baseline than even that, why are blockchain and crypto even a thing?

Blockchain is far more than a technology - it's a movement and a living societal shift. So a high-level understanding of its history and evolution is an important cornerstone in a self-directed crypto education.

Decentralisation, for example, is a key concept to comprehend - it's the idea on which this entire technology was built. But the economic backdrop of the time, circa 2008 when the Bitcoin whitepaper was first published, interweaves the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) *technological* narrative as we have it today.

However, this context requires an even more foundational understanding of how money works. To most people, the idea of digital money is simultaneously preposterous and fascinating. This is part of why cryptocurrency has captured the public's imagination in recent years - that and the promise of getting rich quick 馃槒

There exists - and persists - an overarching global financial illiteracy. Money isn't sexy. Going to the bank is a chore. Crypto, on the other hand, is wild 'n free, a rollercoaster you don't want to get off unless you feel sick. So new investors flock to opportunities, many of whom are legit, many that aren't - without any real understanding of investment markets in general or crypto in particular. This is why a working knowledge of Money 101 should supersede throwing money at something you don't (yet) understand. If you come into crypto completely blind, you're putting yourself at a massive disadvantage.

Next, involve yourself in the crypto industry. Follow people and projects on Twitter, lurk on Telegram groups, or hang out in the AdLunam Space Station where general crypto discussions are taking place. Get a feel for this new universe that's so unlike anything we've ever seen before. It takes time wrapping your head around how differently things are done in the industry, and while - if you're eager to invest - each opportunity you come across will be touted as the next big then, there will always be ten more of those.

馃敟 1
Jack BorehamJan 17, 2022, 11:30 AM

Nadja interesting; thank you for your detailed response. Do you believe crypto may help to reduce the inequality gap between rich and poor? Giving poorer people a decentralised and unbiased investment experience they cannot currently get with fiat?

NadjaJan 18, 2022, 4:48 PM

Jack Boreham I think this question is riddled with complexities in that crypto cannot be the answer. The income gap is a nasty phenomenon that cannot be solved by anyone solution alone. But it certainly is a contributing factor. If we differentiate between crypto investment and crypto utility, cryptocurrency as remittance is already contributing to increased financial accessibility and more cash in pocket. Crypto has, for the most part, outlived its past reputation as a criminal's best friend, but the story that's still not being told is that for the unbanked, crypto can be a game-changer.

In terms of crypto investment, things get a little murky here, especially in light of my sentiment that a crypto education should be a crucial prerequisite to investing in crypto projects.

This is partly why, at AdLunam, we place such a big emphasis on the Proof of Attention model, where investors' contributions need to provide peer-vetted value to the ecosystem in order to rank up. In a sense, our Engage to Earn system is also a Learn to Earn approach, because, through a growing understanding of all things crypto, you're contributing to a growing virtuous cycle of (self) educated investors. And this is needed both by projects and the industry as a whole.

Despite the growing pains faced in onboarding more people - especially from underprivileged economic statuses - into an industry that's like Greek to a traditional finance industry professional as it is to a first grader - I'd say that yes, crypto has the de facto potential to open up investing as a financial activity to people who would neither have the means otherwise nor the exposure to what, in the fiat world, is still for mostly a well-off person's playground.

Justin RobertiJan 17, 2022, 4:45 PM

Hi Nadja what are the mechanisms for choosing projects to back? Do you have any success stories of projects better engaging their investors on your platform? And what kind of project will benefit most from AdLunam?

NadjaJan 18, 2022, 5:10 PM

Justin Roberti As a launchpad, AdLunam is largely typology agnostic. Crypto is a trend of the moment kinda place, and one day NFTs are the rage, then it's the metaverse, and before you know it Gamefi is where it's at. So you'll find that many launchpads either follow the hype, or they niche down.

As a business, we naturally have an ear to the ground at all times to cater to what investors want to invest in, but at the same time, the primary mechanisms that determine our project selection process is similar to the approach taken by a VC firm, of which the strength of the team is of utmost importance. AdLunam is a custodian of investor confidence, and we approach our project selection with that responsibility in mind.

Re success stories, looking forward to sharing many of those once we launch our main net in Q1! Investor appetite - both institutional and retail - has been pleasantly overwhelming and there's a general opinion that AdLunam's Engage to Earn model could be a gamechanger in how IDOs are done.

Projects that will benefit from AdLunam's approach to IDO allocation are definitely those who are in it for the long haul. Community is easy to come by, especially in the Web3 space - but loyalty is a different beast. Projects are voting for attention in the same way that the internet and worldwide commercial industries are clamouring for a sliver of retail buyers' attention. We're all suffering from information overload and CTA (Call to Action) burnout. Loyalty is too demanding an ask.

At AdLunam we acknowledge this as a post-modern reality and have built a solution to meet people where they are. If you're going to fragment yourself across the cryptosphere on Twitter, Telegram, Discord, Reddit, etc., why not use this war on your attention to your advantage? So over time, investors who participate in AdLunam's Engage to Earn model build up a trackable, measurable investor profile that projects can use to determine whose contributions are most in line with their own objectives.

Do they want investors who are highly engaged? Investors who HODL (hold on to their tokens rather than sell it off as soon as they can)? A combination of both? This is when a new synergy starts emerging between projects and investors. And in a large sense, that is Web3: Win-win cooperation.

Jack BorehamJan 18, 2022, 5:24 PM

Nadja that makes sense! This might be a silly question but what is the difference between play to earn and engage to earn. Also, can you explain the proof of allocation mechanism?

NadjaJan 19, 2022, 10:30 AM

Jack Boreham Not silly at all - Play to Earn is by now a well-trodden term, while Engage to Earn is AdLunam's own terminology :)

Play to Earn is part of Gamefi, short for Game Finance, which is crypto's hottest new plaything. Popularised by Axie Infinity, there are people, many of them in developing countries (which speaks to the earlier topic about crypto broadening accessibility to finance) who turn professional gamers and - quite literally - play to earn.

Engage to Earn is what we've coined our business model.

An easy analogy is to think of AdLunam as a kind of crypto Reddit. If Reddit was 100% crypto-focused and users had the ability to invest into a project directly through the forum platform itself, that would be AdLunam.

With one big difference: Engage to Earn. AdLunam's allocation mechanism is called Proof of Attention and is a gamified (but not Gamefi :)) approach to tracking investor engagement on AdLunam, measuring and tracking data such as posts, comments, likes, content creation, polling, and referrals.

This data positions investors on a leaderboard from which projects launching their token on AdLunam can scoop the cream off the top in extending allocation slots to the top 500 investors, for example, ranked by their engagement scores. Projects can also cherry-pick investors individually based on their value-add to the project.

Suddenly, financial capital is no longer the only measuring stick. Social and relational capital is, in fact, much more important. So our allocation mechanism - engagement - is a radical but logical departure from existing allocation mechanisms, i.e. lotteries and auctions. We primed our product to speak to the current culture beat, which is by and large the Attention Economy, and set out to find an absolute win-win between projects and investors as two sides of the same coin.

M贸nica FreitasJan 18, 2022, 8:07 PM

Nadja Thank you! I can see I have a long way to go. There are so many different concepts one has to understand just to glimpse how crypto we get a bit lost.

NadjaJan 19, 2022, 10:32 AM

M贸nica Freitas What I mentioned is the ideal pathway, but in reality, most people find their way by figuring stuff out as they go along, and that's perfectly ok, too! There are also courses available online, although I'm a firm proponent of self-directed learning and immersive learning, and I'd say that post a few intro articles and videos on the topic, by hanging around crypto communities on Twitter, you'll learn a whole lot in real-time!

M贸nica FreitasJan 18, 2022, 8:09 PM

Nadja, what was the biggest challenge with building and maintaining AdLunam?

NadjaJan 19, 2022, 10:56 AM

M贸nica Freitas In crypto, doing your IDO (public sale) on a launchpad is an industry-standard, and the more top-notch the launchpad, the better. As a launchpad ourselves, though, I'd say the biggest challenge we've faced is that 9 out of 10 launchpads have a policy against launching other launchpads, so this has certainly been a challenge for us.

On a broader scale, learning the correct proprietary formula in terms of determining an investor score by looking at a combination of their wallet details and their engagement level has been both an art and a science. We expect to tweak this over time to better align with behaviours we see as positive for the community at large, but this has certainly made us stay up well into the night. And on that note - which any startup founder would say - not enough hours in a day and not enough sleep haha!

Jack BorehamJan 19, 2022, 2:28 PM

Nadja, thank you. That makes sense, and to wrap up this AMA, what do you think about the challenges facing your platform, and how do you think you will overcome them. Also, how can people engage with it and find out more?

NadjaJan 24, 2022, 8:21 PM

Jack Boreham The beauty of running a startup is that any crisis can be turned into an opportunity - all that's required is the right amount of ingenuity.

We recently re-engineered our strategy after arguably the biggest challenge of AdLunam's existence so far, the market crash led by lead trendsetter Bitcoin. Prices were nosedived right around the time of our public sale and it would've been madness to do anything but postpone the date.

However, we didn't want to leave our community high and dry with nothing but a new countdown date, so instead, we redesigned our roadmap and will now be launching our seedpad (supporting projects with pre-IDO raises), starting with our own community presale. This means that even prior to our own IDO and subsequent product launch (the usual trajectory a project would follow), we'll already be a working launchpad with a proven track record. This is a rarity for most projects in crypto, to launch even before the public sale, but for launchpads, it's entirely unheard of.

However, we see AdLunam's role in the industry not as yet another competitor in the launchpad market. We're invested in different launchpads and have signed several launchpad leaders as advisors. Our vision is for the Engage to Earn model to enrich and empower the crypto investing experience. To that end, we're partnering with other launchpads and will be making the AdLunam solution available for use to other industry players to leverage with their communities.

A non-zero-sum game approach is as important a company value as is democratising crypto, and we emulate this not only in how we've designed stakeholder relations between projects and investors but also in terms of our own standing in the market. AdLunam offers such a unique value proposition with Engage to Earn and Proof of Attention that we'd be amiss to keep it all to ourselves when it's poised to benefit the industry as a whole.

To learn more, the website http://www.adlunam.cc (which also houses the whitepaper), Twitter (https://twitter.com/AdLunamInc), and Telegram (https://t.me/adlunamchat) are all good starting points. But arguably the best way to understand what we're doing is by getting involved. We're opening up seedpad access to over 500 whitelisters who oversubscribed our community presale by 1,000%, followed by opening the testnet to more than 20k people on our product launch waiting list, before we roll out the mainnet to the public. Come join Space Station, AdLunam's Proof of Attention Grand Central (Moon) Station, and come see in real-time how engagement can be traded for allocation.

If you missed out on gaining access through the community presale, then sign up for the waiting list (https://adlunam.cc/landingpage/adlunam-waiting-list/) and come Engage to Earn with AdLunam :)

Thanks for a great AMA and for having me on!

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