Leading NFT attendance badge service POAP announced Tuesday that it will soon begin charging commercial clients for access to its services, ending the company’s years-long policy of offering all users unlimited POAP minting for free.
“Our goal for the long run is to bring POAPs to humanity more broadly, and getting there will require long-term sustainability to be more of a priority,” the company said in an email sent to POAP users today.
POAP, or Proof of Attendance Protocol, is an Ethereum-based app that helps event organizers give out attendance badges in the form of NFTs, minted using the ERC-721 token standard. Those badges, called POAPs, can be used to show proof of attendance at a physical or virtual event, as well as to unlock a variety of benefits and experiences post-mint, including access to group chats, discounts, and ticketing for future events.
POAP raised $10 million in a seed funding round last year to further its development. According to the company, over 6.5 million POAPs have been minted since it launched in 2019.
POAPs will still be free for personal use, per the company. Companies and individuals who distribute POAPs at commercial events, though, may be subject to charges based on the number of POAPs they issue, beginning April 17.
According to Isabel Gonzalez, POAP’s co-founder, prices for commercial clients will likely converge around $1 per POAP issued. Current commercial users, however, will be able to opt into special pricing at one quarter that cost, for an unspecified period of time.
Not all commercial customers will be charged for their use of POAPs, though. Certain ventures that further POAP’s artistic and creative mandate may continue to be subsidized by the company on a case-by-case basis, according to Gonzalez.
“We like people creating true precious digital collectibles more than we care that they pay,” Gonzalez told Decrypt. “The efforts that go into good storytelling are worth their own weight in gold.”
Particularly in Web3, where the line between community and company is often razor-thin, determining whether an event or project is personal or commercial can pose a daunting task. POAP has released detailed guidelines outlining the telltale diferences between a personal event (a wedding with under 200 attendees where collectors know the issuer directly) versus a commercial one (a concert with thousands of attendees where a POAP unlocks financial perks).
Some factors taken into consideration in determining whether a project is personal and commercial—such as whether “an emotional connection” exists between a POAP issuer and collector (telltale sign of personal usage)—may prove harder to parse. As a general rule, according to the POAP guidelines, events requiring large amounts of POAPs (especially in an automated fashion) will most likely be considered commercial ventures.
Gonzalez, who said ideas for a commercial use tier have been floating around POAP since early last year, hopes the move will encourage its users to consider the best applications for its services, in addition to cementing the company’s staying power.
“We believe this evolution will expand the range of possibilities for how POAP can be used sustainably, in part by giving issuers tools to align their plans with POAP’s mission of creating precious digital collectibles,” she said.