The Expansive Community Model
Peering Into the Kaleidoscope
In today’s issue, I’ll introduce a community model I’ve been thinking about a lot this year that only recently seemed viable due to increased usage of the OP Stack.
As you know, I’m the founder of a digital-native Scout troop called Cloud Scouts. Some or most of you know what a Scout troop is either through this newsletter, my Twitter account, or familiarity with in-person scouting (learn more here). Today though, let’s get a little deeper into how I imagine the possibilities for hypercultures moving forward and how they have endless opportunities to craft vibrant, global communities not entirely based on speculation of assets.
Scouting organizations have existed for over 100 years now, and we have a ripe opportunity to innovate through onchain activities that lead to the growth and exploration of human connection in digital and IRL spaces.
The average Scout troop membership is somewhere between 15-100 members. While that low number may be shocking to a lot of current crypto communities that rely on a massive number of inconsistent, disconnected members, smaller, more niche circles that build context together are incredibly valuable.
strategically aligned crypto cultures that permissionlessly account for free-flowing boundaries marked by clearly defined Optimistic hyperchannels
This definition means that each Expansive Community is governed in some way by a layer 2 rollup of sorts, offering cheaper fees and easy, seamless onboarding that is interoperable between its sub-communities.
Note that Expansive Communities are not exclusive to digital-native Scout troops, but for the purpose of this writing, we’ll explore how that would be possible. Feel free to plug in any sort of community you’d like.
The Power of the Superchain
Now, whether you opt to build your own Layer 2 protocol as part of the OP Stack or within pre-established protocols like Optimism mainnet, Zora network, or Base, here are a few key items to note with Expansive Communities.
Self-sovereign identity: membership and login tied to verified credentials allowing members to have completely interoperable keys within the ecosystem (we talked about Disco as an option in last week’s issue)
Dynamic organizing: members who fit certain criteria elected into leadership roles allowing for greater upside in decision-making sessions through consent (or consensus) mechanisms
Infinite joy: curation of personalized activities that meet the needs of the various channels
By design, Expansive Communities would facilitate small(er) and intentional spaces that craft unique experiences for members.
For example, a protocol itself requires a certain culture and creative direction, so the use of the OP Stack to build a new L2 rollup that has a set of values resulting in a series of smaller communities would have a North Star set by the protocol.
In this instance, there could be a $SCOUT (or $OP, $BASE, etc.) token that all future Scout troops utilize for operations, governance, and value creation. This means Scouts could receive various rewards and have a sense of purpose from the outset. Just as in-person Scout troops might have a particular focus or are based on location, these new troops could utilize an Expansive model that holds the values of the organization while meeting their own aims. They would focus on skills and activities pertinent to only their members. Membership in the ecosystem is non-speculative, transparent in nature, and interoperable between various troops.
I see this as a natural progression of DAOs that doesn’t require or even encourage all members to be active participants in governance. Only those who choose to be part of those systems through elections. However, governing bodies would naturally receive a greater upside than non-governing members. They could also choose not to participate in governance at all.
Farcaster is moving to Optimism soon, and channels allow them the ability to be a prime example of an Expansive Community.
Membership into a community you really want to join should not by design, typically, have to cost thousands of dollars (or ETH), no matter how exclusive they are.
To Imaginations Running Wild
Consider the cost of this free open-edition NFT from Amber Vittoria. It’s available on ETH, Polygon, and Optimism, three flavors of crypto protocols. Here’s a breakdown of the cost:
Same price yet a significantly higher gas fee for collectors on Ethereum mainnet. I collected one on Optimism and it cost $0.17. Now imagine if this was minted on the Zora network, where creators and curators are rewarded with protocol fees for distribution. So far, this NFT has been collected over 150k times across all chains available, which would be a significant win for her AND the protocol. With the upcoming EIP-4844, aka Proto-Danksharding, aka “blobs,” this will make L2 fees 10-100x cheaper. Significantly increasing the likelihood of entry points more attractive on rollups.
This results in utilizing the same security and crypto mechanisms of Ethereum while being much more accessible to consumers and more beneficial to artists of all styles.
Imagine: a Scout troop mints an iconic edition of a guidebook that members must collect to become fully initiated members. These could be collected onchain for archival sake at a minimal cost or for free. Millions of Scouts could collect it over time rather than or complementary to printing limited paper editions.
Imagine: an EC focusing on intersectional interest groups mints luxury media, resulting in 'direct to community' distribution, and is actively supported by the protocol through curation.
Imagine: fandoms like knitting groups or superhero fans create media and physical items sold to support community offshoots like crochet, specific superheroes, and sub-communities governed by the L2 $FABRIC or $HERO (or Zora ETH) token, allowing for even greater influence among members than a regular ETH DAO.
These are all simply funding mechanisms but for community and individual support.
Next, we’ll explore why these matter to an Expansive Community model.
Power in Small But Intentional Communities
The days of 10k (or more) PFP collections may or may not come back in style, but one thing is clear, communities with intentionally small membership numbers allow for greater connection to one another.
Personally, I’m part of multiple communities because I have multiple interests. We are expansive humans, after all. However, I do not have the capacity to be part of too many communities at once. Though, I do often break my own rules and get overwhelmed… whoops 😬
Once more people are welcomed into the crypto space through safe regulation and intentional practices, tons of different communities will pop up that we have yet to imagine.
Crypto outsiders scoff at paying thousands of dollars for a membership fee (NFT ownership) because they are well aware of how fickle crypto communities can be. Maybe one day, they want to exit for some reason or another but feel an obligation due to the initial hit to their bank account or crypto wallet.
What signal does that send? Quite a poor one, if I’m being honest, especially if there is no tangible long-term result from membership (not the same as “utility).”
Members should feel comfortable exiting, and we should allow for that to happen gracefully through issuing verifiable credentials as membership.
There are plenty of mechanisms for raising startup funds, including but certainly not limited to NFT collections which I very much support. As innovation continues from protocol rewards, we’ll see more ways to support members’ financial upside beyond retroactive funding and grants.
The power of community lies in the values they support and proliferate, not particularly through a PFP collection which is speculative in nature.
At the end of the day, these Expansive Communities support the undergrowth by providing stable ground for interoperable systems.
Expansive Communities Built For Engagement
We can all contribute to experiments that build on the backs of DAO and onchain models as we move into the future of blockchain infrastructure.
For many of us, that will 1000% involve adding our expertise, curation and discoverability, and creative ingenuity to the kaleidoscope of the Superchain. Optimism (and other Optimistic rollups) present opportunities to Expansive Communities that truly facilitate values-driven communities of practice leading us into a brighter, more playful, and adventurous Internet.
In a bear market like the one we’re in now, community builders are asking each other how to increase engagement, participation, collaboration, and coordination…all the same outcome. It’s less easy to get people to actively participate in communities that aren’t speculative in nature, even if they do actually care about each other. Unless it is an established brand with a deep treasury to build with.
Working in the space as a freelancer with multiple roles or having an overload of full-time work in or outside the space leads to less “fun time” for outside activities. See: we’re all tired 😩
Funds are low across the board for the average user. See: increase in free or low-cost mints
Low interest until the “next big thing”. See: friend.tech
Sustainability in the Few
Fewer community members lead to opportunities for vulnerability and a greater sense of transparency. A network of like-minded communities acting through Expansion creates a bedrock built on trust, joy, and love for one another, no matter of location or level of anonymity.
As many in the crypto space have said, we are playing Infinite Games with Infinite Regret and infinite modes for creativity. It's up to builders to lead the way into a brighter future for one another. Where communities of caring people come together to craft luxury media and consumer products that truly value identity and sovereignty over power-hungry structures.
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