How authors can use POAPS to help their readers step into web3

Reading time: 3 mins 38 secs, 912 words 
(Read to the end for a special POAP NFT for our readers!)
Last week, we dug deep into how authors can look at reader blockchain data to gain reader insights. However, one major gap with blockchain data was that it didn’t allow authors to connect with their readers directly.  

This week, we want to highlight one way to solve this issue by exploring how authors can use Proof-of-Attendance-Protocol (POAP) NFTs.

(…and how this could be the precursor to a read-to-earn app.)

What are POAP NFTs?

The creators of POAPs describe them as “digital memories minted in celebration of life’s remarkable moments. A gift from an issuer to a collector in celebration of a special shared memory.” 

They have become increasingly common “gifts” in both in-real-life and online events, with some Dune Analytics dashboards from @greywizard showing sharp increases in usage. (IMAGE)

So, let’s say someone attends your panel discussion at a conference. You can display a QR code on your last slide, and everyone attending can scan it and get a limited edition NFT showing they were at the session.  

The digital equivalent would be if someone listens to a Twitter Spaces (or even a TikTok) and gets a secret code word at the end that allows them to download a POAP.  

The basic idea is that these are low-stakes rewards for being an active and engaged community member.  

Other “real world” examples of low-value participation rewards include the “I Voted” stickers given to voters during elections, stamps or badges given for hiking the 46 mountains in the Adirondacks, or balloons handed out to children by McDonald’s staff.

3 ways authors can use POAPs to engage with their readers

So now that we have a basic idea of what POAPs are, what can authors do with them? 

We looked through several use cases and examples and found three use cases that were really interesting for authors specifically.

1) Provide POAPs for IRL or Digital Speaking Engagements.

Whenever an author is giving a reading or a talk, offer readers the ability to download a POAP afterward. It wouldn’t be required of them but would allow you to better understand how many of your fans are crypto-enthusiastic.

2) POAPs as Lead Magnets.

While seeing who has bought your NFTs using blockchain data is great, like we talked about last week, connecting with them off-chain is not accessible if you don’t have their email addresses. By providing a sign-up form that offers a POAP in exchange for their email address, you can reach out to your on-chain readers.  

3) Proto-version of “Read to Earn.” 

Not going to lie; this is why we did this write-up. We’ve been talking about Read-to-Earn since our very first article. Full Read-to-Earn could be the key to unlocking DEMAND for on-chain books by readers. However, many obstacles still remain.

POAPs could be the first step in the direction of read-to-earn or rewarding your readers for doing what they love — reading! 

How to do it?

Place a QR code or secret password at the end of your book to download that book’s POAP and see who starts collecting them.

This would reward readers for reading in a potentially fun and new way. 

This strategy gamifies reading all of the books in a series or an author’s entire catalog of titles.

Imagine if an author like Stephen King put POAPs at the end of each of his books. Passionate readers would love to read through and show off that they have read the entire collection. 

Or if Goodreads worked with authors and instead of just clicking “read” on a new novel, readers actually received an NFT when the book was completed.  

This reminded us of passport stamps in a way because each stamp becomes a bit of a memory for the traveler. We always keep our outdated passports to look through them and reminisce about our travels. The same can be done for avid readers. 

Potential downside of POAPs

The downside is that authors are already wary of losing reader, and most prefer to place a call to action to leave a review on Amazon/Goodreads. 

If authors place a POAP instead of a request to leave a review, readers might have to choose between that and a link to write an Amazon Review. 

Lisa’s advice is for authors to stop caring about reviews on Amazon, but that’s for another day.

Get Your Gutenb3rg POAP for free! 

If you are interested in testing POAPs out with your community, does a great job explaining how it all works.

One important thing is that these are engineered from the start to be low/no cost, so there is no expense to issuers or collectors for the NFTs.

We talk a lot about testing out different technologies as we go, so we wanted to reward our Gutenb3rg readers with a POAP just for you! 

To get it, you need to:

1) Download the POAP App and follow the directions

2) Click on the MINT button in the bottom right and Select Secret Code

3) Enter: gutenb3rg_1  (all lowercase)

NOTE! We only have 50 POAPs available, and you need to mint them in the next 12 hours (they disappear at 6 pm EST today)!

Side note: As an update, we are powering down in Sweden so we can recharge in the sun and nature, and we won’t be coming out with in-depth articles until August. 

Once we are back, we look forward to digging deeper into a number of exciting projects and technologies to see how web3 can improve how stories are written and how authors are paid! 

Thanks again for reading!

Don’t miss one of our articles!

We highlight web3lit projects and creative pioneers every Friday and send a friendly email to our Gutenb3rg Readers.

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Fueled by passion, coffee, and late night conversations, we appreciate any and all donations of appreciation

Why a crypto winter shouldn’t stop you from building in web3

crypto winter meme

Reading time: 2 mins, 26 seconds

Disclaimer: We are not financial advisors and do not offer financial advice. Always do your own research. Consult a professional investment advisor before making any investment decisions. Our content is for entertainment only.

Crypto Winter 2022

Well – this has been a chilly WEEK for the crypto community with talks of a crypto winter.

When we were writing this newsletter last week, the Total Market Cap of crypto was about ~$1,2 trillion. As we write this today, it’s down to ~$0,9 trillion. We aren’t used to working in trillions, but quick math says that $300 billion of value has disappeared in the last seven days.

That’s a lot.

If you follow the crypto space much on Twitter, discord, podcasts, etc., you know that the tone has changed very quickly. Before, web3 newsletters focused on “how to best build community within your DAO.”

Now we are hearing warnings that we are approaching a “crypto winter” where everything freezes, nothing grows, and the community goes into pause mode.

crypto winter meme

We’ve survived a crypto winter before

There have been two previous crypto winters — in 2014, 2018, and potentially, now again in 2022 (Bloomberg 2022: The Crypto Winter is Here). Where traditional markets have “bear” cycles, crypto seems to have four-year cycles of winters.

What’s different about this time versus previous crypto winters was that people worried that the fundamentals of blockchain were flawed. We are already 8-10 years past that worry. 

This winter reflects the general financial issues we are seeing in high-interest rates, inflation, and market hesitation. 

Still, this does not reflect problems with the functionalities of blockchain or crypto itself, implying that the concepts are sound, but the market is tough for everyone, everywhere.

Without a crystal ball, we don’t know what will happen and wouldn’t want to hazard a guess.

Cryptocurrencies are highly variable, and while Bitcoin has crashed to the lowest value seen since July 2021, we’ve also seen it rise just as quickly.

We believe web3 is still relevant, necessary, and revolutionary

This downturn has caused us to think deeply about why we are so interested in the overall crypto space and, even more importantly, why we are interested enough to put out this weekly newsletter.

1) We still believe that web3 enables new ways for authors to get fairly compensated for their work.

2) We still believe that web3 makes it easier for books and authors that mainstream publishers have traditionally overlooked (i.e., due to audience size, not having the right network, etc.) to be published.

3) We still believe that web3 allows new ways for authors and readers to connect and for communities around stories.

4) We still believe that web3 unlocks new ways to write stories- through community engagement, integration with NFTs, and more.

5) We still believe that both authors and readers will value all of the above.

6) We still believe that the billions of dollars that Venture Capital funds have invested in this space improved web3 technologies, tools, and experiences. We all know that these things take time to launch.

7) Overall, we still believe that we are just beginning to see traditional firms (i.e., banks, consumer-facing companies, etc.) put money in the space by launching NFT projects, investing in companies, and making crypto available to the broader public, etc.

Passionate communities will always prevail

So while we have NO IDEA what will happen in the crypto/web3 markets in the future, we feel comfortable with these core beliefs.

We’ve been around long enough to know that anything built by determined, passionate groups of people won’t disappear with a little tumult and hardship. 

The people who continue to explore and build in the space are the ones who will hit the ground running when crypto resurfaces again.

We will keep those beliefs in mind and get inspiration from the amazing project’s building and growing within the web3lit community.

So whenever we get too bummed out about our portfolio value, we’ll look at what we see from Sitka World, SolType, Readl, Jenkins the Valet, Page DAO, StoryPrima, and so many more and realize that we’re in good hands.

Until next week!

Jon and Lisa Ferland

Don’t miss one of our articles!

We highlight web3lit projects and creative pioneers every Friday and send a friendly email to our Gutenb3rg Readers.

Click here to add us to your inbox!

Fueled by passion, coffee, and late night conversations, we appreciate any and all donations of appreciation

How Tales of Elatora uses Dynamic NFTs and Gaming to Keep Readers Engaged

illustration of a polar bear holding a spear NFT in tales of elatora

By: Jonathan Ferland | Estimated reading time 7 minutes

Web3Lit Deep Dive of the Week
Tales of Elatora

Imagine the creative possibilities if your readers could own artwork that changes over time.

What if one of your characters starts off as a beautiful princess living in a castle on a hill. As the reader progresses through the story, the princess gets drawn into battle and she becomes a fierce warrior.

She trades her jeweled crown for a messy braid and mud-smeared face. Her smile turns grim as she defends her kingdom on the battlefield.

Your reader who buys the artwork at the beginning of the story refreshes their OpenSea account and watches the artwork transform over time. The beautiful princess is now the battle-tested warrior.

Not only is this possible, but that’s what is currently happening in Web3Lit with dynamic (programmable) NFT artwork.

Writers are customizing their character artwork, cover designs, and more based on seasons, time of day, and story progression.

In our Deep Dive of the Week, we explore how Tales of Elatora (ToE) uses dynamic NFT artwork AND gaming to keep their readers engaged with the story and one another.

The possibilities are endless and only available through Web3Lit.

In their words, “Tales of Elatora is an NFT story and RPG that launched April 2022. Featuring 22 different animals, each part of a Faction (Buntai or Gundan), carrying unique traits and a specific role.”

Overall, we believe that Tales of Elatora provides a wide range of inspiration for people new to the space and those trying to understand what makes Web3Lit different from Web2 (or even Web1!).

The Story

visual categories of content creation in web3lit

ToE is a “story-led NFT” project with a well-thought out lore, including maps of the Elatora world and deep dives of their factions and spirits that are central to the story. 

They have also made the first three chapters of the book freely available on the site so anyone interested can check out the story before collecting one of the NFTs. 

In addition to the written story, they are also coming out with audiobook options.

cartoon illustration of a wolf-like creature holding a skull in a tree staff

Cool Stuff that they offer that wouldn’t be possible without Web3

Side note: When people first started hearing about NFTs, the majority were static image/art NFT.

Over time, Web3 projects released Dynamic NFTs to keep collectors engaged over time. These dynamic NFTs are programmable and can change appearance based on the season, time of day, or any situation to reflect what is happening in the story. 

Imagine if your ebook cover design changed from a daytime scene to a nighttime scene based on the time of day? This technology allows for artists to be even more creative with their digital work. 

ToE uses programmable/dynamic NFTs to enhance the reader experience and provide utility in both the story and role-playing game.

Vince Macmahon meme about swappable NFTs

Programmable Art NFTs

illustration of a polar bear holding a spear NFT in tales of elatora

When you first mint your NFT you get “2 for the price of 1” (except for transaction fees) with both a character NFT and a weapon NFT.  

Because they are split into two distinct NFTs, users can swap or trade with other members to switch their features and further customize their characters.  

So, if you started off with the Polar Bear with a Spear, you could trade with your Otter friend to get a battle ax.

This leads to more personalization and community engagement overall.

illustrated otter with a battle axe

So while the great Otter image above shows the character in the daytime, by refreshing the metadata (easily done on OpenSea), the art will update to show “Elatora time” (i.e. shifting from day to sunset to night views).   

That’s fun! 

Both of these dynamic strategies are really creative ways of customizing your NFTs that we haven’t seen in many other projects, while also adding a lot of “wow” factor.  

This type of dynamic art could be used in really innovative ways – potentially changing hair, makeup, clothing, character age or anything else that ties in with the story.

Maybe the art could change based on how far the reader has gotten into the book?  

As further reading if you are technical and/or really interested in the space, I’d highly recommend this article by Unlock Protocol. 

Unlock Protocol is an amazing team (honestly – so impressive!) that offers open-source technology “designed to streamline membership benefits for online communities” and was used by ToE to build out their Dynamic NFTs. 

In the article, they go deep into the how the logic works for everything. It confused us, but was really well-written and thorough! 

Co-Creation and Gaming

In addition to the NFT technology they used, they also created multiple ways to USE the NFTs.  

The first is one of our favorites Web3Lit use cases – allowing NFT holders to co-create the story.

With ToE, anyone with an NFT can “vote on the storyline at the end of each chapter as it’s being written.”

While we were pretty familiar with the story co-creation idea, this next idea was something we had never seen from any other project and really caught our eye. 

This unique feature is a “text & image” based Role Playing Game (RPG) run through Discord.

As they describe it, “our game allows all NFT holders to explore Elatora in a fun, different way. The game checks your crypto wallet and sees which NFTs you have. You will then play the Faction and Class that your avatar has. Besides getting to know our world better, the game also allows us to give away fun prizes and rewards.”

We love the story+game idea for three reasons: 

  1. ToE understands their target community and delivers interesting ways for readers to interact with the characters in an immersive setting.


  2. This project provides both reason and incentive to purchase multiple NFTs since they can be used in the game.

    The Dynamic NFT technology uses your character avatar and (interchangeable) weapon NFTs. This enables you to use your NFTs in new and fun ways as you go (assuming we understood everything correctly).


  3. The project keeps the community engaged while the story is being written. Writing a story like this can’t be rushed too much – quality is essential!

    But this means that chapters (and voting) can take weeks or months before the next update. In most projects, this means that community members don’t really have a reason to login to the Discord Channel and communicate with each other.

    But like having a pool table in a basement when teenagers live in the house – the interactive game means that there is still something for them to do and a reason for them to engage and build a really tight-knit community.

Stuff that could be done without Web3

Community Building

As always, community building is the hardest and most important part of any project.

ToE has a few unique ways that they are trying to create a passionate community and opportunities for co-creation. 

The first is the “buy more, get more” bundle strategy. While most people will start with the one NFT option (which gives the benefits we’ve talked through today), they’ve also outlined 3 other premium bundles.

Based on how many NFTs a collector acquires, they can get:

  • Minted Artwork
  • Character role in the Book (*note, this is interesting and something we will touch on in future weeks for other projects)
  • A “house” in Elatora that would be included in the book/game
  • A town named after you in the book/game!

Similar to tiered crowdfunding rewards, this allows more passionate investors to invest more and receive additional value-add.  

NFT tiers of tales of elatora

The also build community by acknowledging new collectors on Twitter.

While this will be tough to maintain as the community grows and eventually sells out, it’s a really nice, welcoming feature now. 

Lastly, as part of our research for this deep dive, we’ve recently joined the Discord Channel, and it appears to be a very positive, energetic and passionate group. A fun community is exactly what you would want to see in a project like this!


Overall, Tales of Elatora provides a wide range of inspiration for people new to the space and trying to understand what makes Web3Lit different than its predecessors.

They do a great job of combining some “traditional” literature tools (i.e. reward tiers) with some really innovative and effective ways of utilizing new Web3 technologies.  

Even compared to the majority of Web3-native projects, their usage of Unlock Protocol’s dynamic NFT technologies and the game they created really sets them apart from the crowd. 

All-in-all, this project provides a roadmap for how innovative, independent, and story-led NFT projects can launch.

We are very impressed with their ability to take on high-quality story writing AND game development simultaneously. 

We also acknowledge that it takes a lot of grace to turn over creative decisions to your community.

Not many writers want to put too many creative decisions in the hands of their readers, and we are impressed that ToE is so engaged with their community.

We are really excited to see where the project goes in the future!

Important links:


High-level Summary of Tales of Elatora

Tales of Elatora is a story-led NFT project that allows for extensive community engagement and co-creation. Not only can NFT holders trade weapons and characters that are part of the world, but they can also direct the storyline and interact with fellow community members in both story and role-playing game.

ToE is unique in that by using Unlock Protocol as their technological platform, the NFTs are programmable, making them customizable for the NFT holder. Similar to outfitting a character in a game, you can swap out their weapons based on the NFTs you hold, which grants them different powers in the game.

Who Might Be Interested in This Model

A story with a broad universe of characters and elements that readers might want to swap/exchange. This could be anything from changing clothing, weapons, hairstyles, makeup, you name it! If you have a world of characters or features that you want to program into your NFTs, you have a lot of options.

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