Since the dawn of the internet, people have found groups they can connect and share similar interests.
In many ways, this was the defining descriptor of the initial spread of the web: people debating, arguing, sharing outrageous stories, and spreading ideas, whether under their real name or a username personification, underneath lengthy blog posts or bizarre forums hidden in the digital corners of the internet.
Today you can find Facebook groups for everything from community yard sales to political affiliations, and Discords or subreddits for any video game, sports team, meme page, or hobby you could conceive of.
What powers these online communities (besides the cables plugged into the servers) are the people who passionately participate and breathe digital life into the worlds created from wires and screens.
Through comments and messages that trade ideas from finance tips to hidden bosses of a favorite video game, these communities form into unique entities.
The people who actively engage here are doing so almost entirely because they want to, seeking and receiving nothing in return beyond the right to participate in their interests. Web3 changes that.
The backbone of Web3 is decentralized networks that verify transactions on the blockchain. Every day, it seems like more and more cryptocurrencies are being created, for even more specific applications.
And that’s the beauty of communities built using Web3 architecture: these new currencies are a specialized and tangible means to provide value for participating in the community.
By minting, using, and trading unique NFTs that are stored as a unique coin on the blockchain, community members now feel as if they are getting something back beyond the joy of participation. Rather than replace what’s so great about these online communities, Web3 applications enhance them and add to the possibilities.
For example, imagine an online forum that gives a user a small amount of unique digital currency (call it “ForumCoin”) each time they make a comment.
Not only would that user feel like they are gaining something beyond the discussion, but they could then use some accumulated amount of ForumCoin to buy a cool, one-of-a-kind animation NFT for their username to dance across the screen above their comments. All for just participating in something they enjoy!
Adding these unique varieties of NFTs and digital currencies could help members of an online community to feel as though they are getting rewarded for participating in the digital spaces we all spend so much of our lives in. There are already a number of real-life online spaces utilizing these tools.
A rapidly rising branch of Web3 and digital currencies is the idea of Play To Earn(P2E) gaming.
Particularly in the developing world and global south, where opportunities to make a worthwhile wage are harder to come by than in the West, P2E gaming has taken off as a way for people to make a living while playing video games.
Gaming is typically thought of as a leisure activity, a way to relax. But that didn’t stop hordes of people from dedicating countless hours of their time to playing and discussing every aspect of games they love.
Enter Web3 and gaming on the blockchain. Similar to the forum example above, players can now be rewarded simply for playing a game they love and have access to unique NFTs in the form of usable in-game items or cosmetics.
These NFTs are digital assets and can be traded on an online market for real fiat or digital currency (which can often then be converted into national currencies).
Players can earn these crypto rewards for progressing, and even be treated with a stake in the future direction of the game (in the form of a vote on proposed changes for parts of the community).
The biggest example of P2E gaming today is a Pokemon-esque game called Axie Infinity, which has a current player base of nearly 3 million. Many players hail from the Philippines and Indonesia, supplementing income by playing and trading digital assets used within Axie Infinity.
One big problem that some P2e games have is a barrier to entry for many new players, as they require the purchase of an NFT character to begin playing. The cost of these can run into thousands of dollars.
Platforms are sprouting up to change this. Whole P2E gaming libraries like Rainmaker Games contain tons of exciting P2E games that have already been rated and reviewed by a team of analysts for players to try out by borrowing or buying the NFTs required to play.
These companies can personalize the recommendations and libraries for players, lend out the NFTs needed to join the “guilds” that dictate who can play certain P2E games, and reward players with their unique cryptocurrencies that give them a voice in community decisions, just for active participation.
These types of marketplaces are also a platform for game makers to easily host their games. In essence, a gaming community that works for you!
In light of the pandemic, many of us were forced to isolate away from our usual activities and move online instead.
Places like the Metaverse are novel spaces invented for the purpose of bringing people together regardless of physical distance. Connections in the digital world have never been more personal and realized.
Even as the pandemic eventually subsides, the need for cool new digital worlds has already been created. Can’t go to the club because you’re sick, or tickets to a show were sold out? VR creations will be there for you to explore, hang out with friends, and meet new people.
One such exclusive new digital avenue is Metaclub, a unique and limited social venture in the metaverse with an emphasis on “Party-to-earn”.
Acting like a real social club in a VR world, members of the Metaclub can link up with one another in exclusive networking events, purchase and sell NFT outfits and avatars to express themselves in a digital club, and have access to real live entertainment like concerts in the metaverse.
And just like P2E gaming, members of these types of communities are paid in crypto just to be there and participate.
So how are these new digital communities founded? While one might assume these are built by coding wizards (and that often is the case), many companies like Ankr are popping up to assist the less tech-savvy with development on the blockchain.
By allowing anyone to easily stake nodes onto the blockchains they want to develop on, these companies are providing solutions to build any kind of Web3 environment that can be dreamed up. Simple deployment of these applications can go much smoother when third-party professionals help to put things into place.
By taking advantage of these new tools and deployment companies, just about anyone can start to build a community around the things they are passionate about.