Membership for All

January 23, 2021

Overlay communities define our lives and our identities, but these communities lack edges. What does it mean to be a member? Who qualifies and how can I prove I belong?

Answering these questions formalizes overlay communities and turns a vague social graph of an audience into concrete members.

Creators are already taking advantage of this today by building Patreons and membership programs that codify their core subscribers.

The formal relationship between the author and their audience provides a sense of security for the creator and a sense of belonging for the audience member.

But how does this community building scale to communities defined not by singular creators, but by large amorphous groups?

We need a universal proof-of-membership system.

This project screams for crypto.

Each community membership could be a non-fungible token. Proof of YOUR membership, but non-transferable, so no one can cut the line.

How does one join a community? Every community that wants to formalize should define what it means to be a member and choose an oracle that can determine if membership criteria are met.

If the community is organized around a single Youtube channel or a group of content creators, proof-of-watching their videos seems like a natural entry point. An alternative would be validating a subscription to their Patreon or membership program.

For using a tool like Roam, having a subscription for a few months should do the trick.

Once community membership is well-defined, overlay communities can provide real benefits specifically for members. The larger the community, the better the perks. Over time, these benefits will eclipse those provided by our geographic communities.


© 2020 Connor Daly