What is POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol)?
June 13, 2023

Proof of attendance protocol (POAP) is the infrastructure that facilitates the creation of POAP NFTs. POAP NFTs are non-fungible tokens typically created to commemorate a milestone or verify attendance at a special event.

What is POAP, the protocol?

POAP, Inc. is a company, established in 2021, that created the proof of attendance protocol that allows POAP NFTs to exist.


We’ll talk more about POAP NFTs below, but POAP, the protocol, is the infrastructure that enables POAP NFTs to be reserved and minted in the first place. 

Established in 2019, the protocol allows collectible NFTs to be minted, dropped, and gifted to commemorate milestones or attendance at special events. The protocol uses token standard ERC-721 as the standard for POAP NFTs. POAP’s website created a user-friendly interface that allows anyone to create their own POAP drop.

What are POAP NFTs?

A non-fungible token, or NFT, is a unique digital item stored on a blockchain. NFTs serve as a digital record of ownership and can represent almost anything — think of everything from artwork to virtual land or, in POAP’s case, a commemorative token for a special day or event. 

POAP NFTs are collectible NFTs issued to celebrate a specific event, whether personal (a birthday party) or professional (a networking event) or something like a project’s major milestones. Creators or event holders can decide to drop POAP NFTs through QR codes, specific URLs, direct delivery, or by using a secret code. Issuers will typically consider an event audience’s size and privacy expectations before deciding how to distribute the NFTs.

While POAP NFTs are compatible with Ethereum wallets, they may be first minted on Gnosis Chain, an Ethereum-based sidechain. Every POAP has a unique serial number that cannot be changed, and once a user receives a POAP, they have the option to either reserve it with their email address or to mint and store it on their crypto wallet. The first options makes it possible to receive a POAP NFT without having a crypto wallet

What are the use cases for POAP NFTs? 

POAP NFTs can commemorate a special moment or milestone. For some, these NFTs can help celebrate more intimate moments, for instance, a birthday or a podcast launch. 

In other cases, POAPs are an easy way to reward a community for attending a conference, a concert, or a virtual event. A POAP NFT’s main purpose is to honor or verify someone’s participation in a specific moment and unite a community. They can also be used for token-gating or to create a loyalty program because it allows a brand or entity to understand who has interacted with them or attended their events in the past.

POAPs are similar to physical swag bags you would get at the end of a conference or event except that a POAP NFT is virtual and may have added utility beyond being commemorative.

Notable POAP NFTs

The first POAP was created in 2019 and given to those participating in ETHDenver’s hackathon. To mint the POAP, attendees were instructed to go to a special link that was only accessible over the hackathon’s wifi.

In October 2019, the POAP team tested a new way of distributing POAP NFTs. During DevCon 2019, they partnered with a software company and agreed that when each attendee walked into the DevCon event space, they would receive a luggage tag that had a unique QR code on the back. The QR code would then take each attendee to a special link where they would be able to redeem their POAP NFT.

Since 2019 the use of POAPs across industries, events, and community-building experiences has only grown. During the holiday season in 2021, One37PM (a media company) hosted 25 days of POAPs for their community. Each day, they would share hints across their social media platforms that, when cracked, would unlock a certain amount of POAPs. 

During NFT NYC 2023, Wrangler partnered with artist Jeremy Booth. Booth and Wrangler designed a jacket that doubled as a chip-enabled wearable with a patch that allowed those who ran into him at the conference to collect a POAP NFT.

Are POAP NFTs soulbound (non-transferrable)? 

Soulbound NFTs are non-transferrable NFTs that are bound to a single person or wallet. While POAP NFTs are meant to verify attendance only for the individual who participated in the event, the majority of POAP NFTs are not actually soulbound, which means they can be sold or transferred if the holder chooses. Some POAP NFTs grant holders access or benefits beyond proof of attendance, which is why those who didn’t attend the event may want to purchase one.

Can I create my own POAP NFT?

Yes, anyone can create their own POAP NFTs. All you need is an image or design for your collectible and to follow the steps on POAP’s website

You can also buy and sell your POAP NFTs using OpenSea once you’ve migrated them from Gnosis to your Ethereum-compatible crypto wallet. 

🧠 Q&A

So, POAP can refer to the company and the protocol and the NFT?

Yes! POAP Inc. created the proof of attendance protocol (POAP). The NFTs made using the protocol are also commonly referred to as POAPs.

How are NFTs connected to blockchain technology?

NFTs operate on blockchain technology, making it possible to verify their ownership and easily transfer them from one owner to the next. Ethereum, Solana, and Klaytn are three examples of blockchains that store NFTs. 

A blockchain is a digitally distributed ledger that records transactions and information across a decentralized network. Most blockchains are verified by many nodes (read: computers), which is why you’ll hear them described as “decentralized.” Different blockchains may verify their transactions using different methods but ultimately operate similarly. 

Blockchain technology allows users to easily transfer, collect, and verify their NFTs. The provenance of an NFT is one of its biggest advantages.

How do I properly vet an NFT before buying it?

Web3 technology is still new and constantly evolving, so while no single action guarantees protection, there are best practices that can help. The best rule of thumb is that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Never share your wallet’s seed phrase, be careful when taking actions using your wallet, and make sure to thoroughly evaluate NFTs before buying.

OpenSea also has an icon visible via a blue checkmark badge on a collection or account. A blue checkmark badge on an account means that account has been verified. A blue checkmark badge on a collection means the collection belongs to a verified account and has significant interest or sales. (OpenSea does not endorse verified accounts or badged collections, and OpenSea makes no representations regarding the NFTs in a verified account or badged collection.)

OpenSea makes no representations or guarantees regarding the collections highlighted in this article.  Users must do their own research and use their own judgment before buying any NFT, including those included in the collections highlighted in this article.  The descriptions of the collections highlighted in this article were adapted from descriptions provided by the NFT creators, not OpenSea.