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What Is a POAP and Why Does It Matter?

What Is a POAP and Why Does It Matter?
Date Published: 08/19/2022
Date Modified: 08/20/2022

Some people store tickets as keepsakes; others hold onto other mementos, such as t-shirts, magnets, small metallic pins, or souvenirs of having visited a particular place at a particular time. A POAP NFT is similar to this concept, except that itโ€™s a digital NFT.

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What is a POAP?

POAP, meaning Proof of Attendance Protocol, refers to an NFT (non-fungible token) that is given to participants in an event, course, or activity. Essentially, it is a badge of honor or recognition for having been present or having participated in an online or in-real-life happening.

For example, the crypto platform Ethereum issues now pink-colored rosettes for having attended one of its events; CoinDesk issued a POAP for its Chinese-speaking users who participated in its activities, and VitaDAOโ€™s POAP is for community members who took part in its funding assessments.

Each POAP badge is unique to a particular event or course, giving it exclusivity. For example, imagine being a participant of a gathering at an early-stage start-up that went on to achieve unicorn status. Processing a badge from attending this event could mean industry prestige, especially if the holder participated in some way or other.

The idea behind POAP originated from a 2019 hackathon held in Denver. The ETHDenver creation was developed as a method of recognition for participants at the event and as a showcase of Ethereumโ€™s capacities, extending beyond the cryptocurrency itself.

Unlike other Ethereum-built applications, POAPs are not intended to hold monetary value, acting as more of a sentimental or status item. For example, the POAP app comes complete with aย digital leaderboard where holders can see where they place in terms of digital event participation. Like any NFT, however, POAPs can be sold or traded, even if this isnโ€™t the original intention of the technology.

Is a POAP just a status symbol?

Although its initial conception was a tool of digital recognition. POAP use cases extend beyond digital event badged. For example, a POAP can be used as a way to:

  • Share exclusive designs: collectorsโ€™ items or digital artwork can take the form of a small digital badge.
  • Give gifts: novel items, such as POAP badges, could be given as a gift, especially if attached to an online event. For example, a badge can represent a donation to charity.
  • Highlight new releases: as technology advances, such digital recognition tools could act as a symbol of having participated in, for example, closed beta events and early technology adoption.

However, it is important to note that such technology is still in its infancy, and with further developments, more use cases could emerge.

How does a POAP work?

POAPs can generally be acquired by scanning a QR code from an event, following a link, or directly in a POAP app by following a set of instructions. The badge itself can be stored in a POAP app for the holder to access at any time.

While anyone could invent a digital badge and call it a POAP, for the POAP to qualify as official, the code must originate from the Ethereum applicationโ€™s original smart contract. Numerous organizations utilize this unique technology as a way of rewarding those who contribute to their organization and as a way of building trust by showing that real-life humans are involved.

VitaDAO, for example, is a reasonably early-adopter of POAP NFT technology. The DAO issued exclusive tokens for participation in its genesis event from 2021 for participants to claim and add to their wallets. Additionally, the DAO also provides POAP NFTs for people taking part in its voting events, acting as a reward for participation and a proof of activity for the DAO. This delivers additional credibility in a novel field.


A POAP is a Proof of Attendance Protocol badge that acts as a status symbol and recognition tool noting that its holder participated in a particular event, took a course, or was otherwise engaged in an exclusive venture digital or otherwise. Itโ€™s a relatively new technology, with its initial application focused on simple creative badges built on the Ethereum network. However, it could evolve in the future, with its usage adjusting with its growth.

About the author
Maria Isabella

Maria Isabella

Maria is a writer and editor with a passion for technology, health, and lifelong learning. With over 6 years of experience in content creation for the fintech and wellness industries, and 10 years in the non-profit sector, as well as a Masters of Science in Development Management, she is passionate about combining tech and healthcare to make the world a better place.