The crypto world is full of innovative new applications, but you’ll need much more than a great idea to achieve mass adoption. No matter how innovative your new project may be, it will only succeed if you can build a fanatical community that supports it. Communities are vital to the growth of any new crypto project, as they provide valuable feedback, build trust and transparency, and play a big role in promoting it to the wider world.
Crypto communities are also where many projects source their initial contributors, developers, and users. Quite simply, if your project lacks a strong community, it will face an uphill struggle to get noticed by the world.
The Role Of Crypto Communities
It may seem cliche, but it’s true that a project is only as big as its community. With a strong community, the project builders can obtain valuable feedback from users that helps to improve the application or service they’re building.
A diehard community will also prove invaluable when it comes to marketing and promoting a project, as they will essentially work for free, going to other forums and chats and spreading the word about it. Communities serve as a sounding board for new ideas, provide support during a crisis (such as a hack), and can help to identify possible partnerships with other projects and communities.
At the same time, a strong community will help to influence the evolution of crypto projects.
Tim Shreve, a community member of Web3 metaverse and virtual property game Upland, explained that the community plays a critical role in shaping the direction and growth of the platform. “Through their feedback, ideas and contributions, they help to drive innovation and ensure the platform remains relevant and engaging to users,” he said.
Crypto communities help in other ways too, providing the benefit of strong network effects that are invaluable to any project’s growth. The more users a project accumulates, the more value it’s able to provide to its user base. For instance, if a new cryptocurrency token gains more users, its value will likely increase and it will become accepted by more platforms and services. That makes it more desirable to others, creating a virtuous cycle as more people will inevitably hear about it and want to take a look. As an added benefit, more developers will become aware of the project, and they may be willing to contribute their own skills and ideas.
If a project has a strong community, many members will likely become advocates on social media platforms, helping spread the word about its goals. An active community will also provide support for new users, explaining how things work and offering tips and advice on social channels. This all helps in expanding the project’s user base.
“Community members in Upland serve as ambassadors for the platform, sharing their experiences with friends and family, as well as through social media and other channels,” Shreve said. “This word-of-mouth marketing is an important factor in the growth of the platform, as it helps to attract new users who are interested in the unique features and community-driven culture of Upland.”
Community-Focused Projects Drive Innovation
Many blockchain projects stick to the original ethos of Bitcoin, meaning they are decentralized without any single entity that makes all of the decisions. Because there’s no centralized leadership, such projects are inevitably community-led, with the most important decisions made according to the community’s consensus.
Community-led projects are seen as democratic and transparent, characterized by a free flow of information and an open roadmap. Everyone knows where the project is headed and how it intends to get there, and every member is free to make suggestions on what to do next. Moreover, the project’s resources can be directed towards whatever features and capabilities the community deems to be most important.
There are dozens of examples of community-led projects succeeding in crypto. For instance, Bitfinex is a community-led crypto exchange that has emerged as one of the most advanced and liquid in the industry. Polkadot is a community-led blockchain project that has emerged as a powerful alternative to Ethereum. Of course, Ethereum itself has become much faster and more environmentally friendly after its community voted to implement the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade that saw it transition from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to proof-of-stake.
Community-led projects can succeed anywhere. In the metaverse, Upland grew rapidly in 2022 to end the year with more than three million players. In its end-of-year report, Upland reported having an impressive 290,000 unique landowners – five times more than The Sandbox, Decentraland, and TheOtherSide combined – thanks to the strength of its community and outreach.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of community-led projects is the innovation that comes out of them. By listening to the community and its suggestions, projects can rapidly implement new ideas and accelerate their development, helping them to penetrate new markets much more rapidly.
Another valued member of Upland’s community, Lucas Mucida Costa, said the influence of the game’s players has grown progressively stronger over time, gaining influence and helping to guide its direction. “This is what it means to be a decentralized Web3 app; it’s about giving power to the community,” he said. “While achieving complete decentralization can be challenging, and may not be what we want, I believe that the community is the key to Upland’s future. We’ll increasingly see the platform evolve and grow based on the inputs and needs of its community members.”
Building A Crypto Community
For new projects, the most important thing is to start community building as early as possible. This means being active on social media, creating dedicated forums on Telegram, Discord, and other channels, creating mailing lists, and so on to keep the initial audience up to date with the project and its developments. Transparency and trust are key to building a strong community, which means open and honest communication at all levels. As the project grows, it’s wise to appoint community managers and moderators who can help to nurture a growing community and ensure that everyone gets to have their say.
Crypto projects can benefit from setting milestones and sharing these with the community. This will ensure the community has something to look forward to and get excited about when each milestone is met. Never forget that community building is an ongoing process. Be sure to invite feedback and establish goals that you can work towards together, just as any community should.
Projects can also look to incentivize their communities with rewards programs and other initiatives. Offering community members an incentive such as token rewards or NFT, will encourage them to engage and evangelize on other social media platforms. The community will feel more appreciated and repay those efforts in kind.
“Upland has been successful in fostering a sense of community among its users through several initiatives that aim to connect and engage members,” Shreve said. “For instance, the platform regularly hosts events and challenges, such as treasure hunts and building contests, that encourage members to work together and showcase their creativity.”
Crypto Communities Are Everything
If your project fails to build a loyal community, there’s simply no hope of it succeeding. Founders must do everything they can to create a loyal and thriving community, and that means regular outreach to keep followers informed and engaged.
Building a community means being honest and open in all communications, setting milestones, and encouraging everyone to work together. It’s a democratic process and the only way to achieve your project’s long-term goals in this new and decentralized world. You may have a good idea, but remember that is just the start. In order to win the race, you’ll need to build up a strong community to carry you across the finish line.
“Upland has done a great job in creating a strong community,” Costa said. “[The team] is using all of the best parts of Web3 technology. They knew that Web3 could change how online work and they gave us, the users, a chance to be part of that change. By letting us help build our community, Upland has made us feel connected and involved.”