A community can be described as a social unit that shares certain attitudes or interests, and a forum is a meeting place where ideas and views on a particular issue are exchanged. Crypto communities and forums can both wow you and make you roll your eyes in disbelief as people trade opinions, promote their chosen projects, troll each other, educate and amaze in this nascent space.
Crazy Gains and the Crypto Zoo
Whether your social media weapon of choice is Telegram, Twitter, Discord, YouTube, Medium or any other outlet, there is no shortage of information and entertainment within crypto as projects vie for your attention and your investment. It is a place where genius and stupidity do digital chest bumps and people caress each other’s egos for making the right investment at the same time, talking about riding the train to epic financial gains together.
Crypto is not an exclusive club however. It does not differentiate between investors based on experience, intelligence, age or wallet size. Gains are gains no matter how much you invest, and you don’t need to wear a suit and tie to trade. If you do your research well enough, ask the right questions and trade at the right time, there’s no doubt that impressive profits can sometimes be made from a small investment.
Scam or The Next Big Thing?
Crypto is still in its infancy, and many companies are still just considered startups. The companies are looking to spread the word about their exciting new blockchain project, while many individuals are searching for “gems” to invest in based on their perceived future potential.
There is a constantly ongoing war of information and misinformation where it can be extremely challenging to separate the legitimate projects from the money grabs. Often the prospective investor will have few to no sources besides the publications released by the project itself, and more often than not there will be no actual product that can be test driven or reviewed.
Considering the financial risks involved in making the wrong choices, once you find a project that really pulls you in it makes complete sense to immerse yourself in it. After all — it’s your investment, and you should do what you can to protect it. There are those who will simply throw random sums of cash at 20 different projects and hope that one succeeds, without even knowing how the projects work or what they do. These people are called gamblers, and many of them go bust with time.
That’s not to say that the startup you invest in won’t fail, but it makes a case for doing proper research before making financial decisions — even if traditional tools cannot be used in this sphere. By researching a project in-depth you can learn what’s under the hood and behind the scenes. Armed with this knowledge you will be able to make informed decisions as to the probable success of your potential investment.
This is where communities in crypto can be invaluable. Investors need dedicated places where they can go to learn all they can about a project. Communities should be free to join, and should be moderated by knowledgeable people who can answer technical questions, dispel FUD and provide relevant articles with information about past and current project development.
With crypto being as diverse as it is, crypto communities can take vastly different shapes. In some communities the only focus will be on the price performance of a crypto asset, in others there will be a complete lack of essential information — while some will make you and your inquisitive questions feel welcome and at home. If you experience anything but the latter, you may want to think twice before investing.
A crypto community can be a joyous and vibrant place when the core team announces impressive partnerships. Likewise the excitement can be palpable when an important upgrade is implemented that introduces new functionality, marking another step towards the project’s ultimate goals. Unexpected surges in value is another happening that is guaranteed to draw positive reactions.
On the flip side however, a crypto community can quickly turn toxic when development is slow or project milestones encounter delays. During such periods you will often see a marked increase in negativity, and the atmosphere of a community can turn dark and uncomfortable. One of the most powerful triggers however are declining token values, which can stir up malicious rumours and cause speculations about the team’s integrity and intentions.
Sometimes these negative feelings are well founded, as evidenced by the plentiful straight up exit scams in crypto, where the project team runs off with people’s money. Other times these feelings just serve to showcase the emotional nature of many investors in this space, and even Bitcoin is not immune to these shifting sentiments.
A Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Crypto communities will make you laugh, we can assure you of that. Memes and funny GIFs are commonplace, banter is encouraged during the quiet times, and bans or mutes occur regularly within some groups. However, besides the superficial entertainment there are also far more profound things to be found in some crypto communities.
Being a long term member of a crypto community means you are likely to find fellowship with other members. You know each other — you learn each other’s behaviour, patterns and reactions. When you log on and check the group it can be a bit like Norm entering the bar of the 80s sitcom Cheers.
Some of us have formed long-lasting friendships, others have become part of project teams. Some become so immersed in, and fascinated by, their favourite projects that they brush up on their coding skills and become code contributors. Others again start outreach efforts, connecting their favourite crypto project to their real life friends and connections.
And not to be forgotten; How many of us haven’t at some point agreed to a big party on a private island once our coins “moon” and we’re all rich?
It is crucial for crypto projects to understand the power of the community they serve. A community, when run properly, allows the project team to harness the unique qualities and skill sets of their members. You need a graphic designer, a developer, a writer, legal advice or a media influencer? There is probably a community member with the necessary skills, and if you have taken good care of them they will likely be happy to contribute their time and expertise. Never underestimate the power of networking.
Project teams and community managers need to get to know the people that make up their community. Who are they — what drives them — what do they need to be happy with your performance? And not least, who among them have the drive necessary to dedicate some of their time to furthering your common goals?
Members, when treated with respect and transparency, will often happily help promote their investment. To paraphrase the late American president John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your coin can do for you — ask what you can do for your coin.”
After all — if the project succeeds the way the team and community hopes, then that island party may become a reality.
The Good, The Bad and The FUDly
A core parameter to judge a project and its community on, is how it handles constructive criticism and challenging questions. Objectively, such input should always be welcomed and given consideration. For the die hard fans of a project any critical voice can be perceived as an enemy attacking, but patience and understanding is a hallmark of a healthy community. And if, on occasion, a community member falls prey to his or her own impatience with the “ignorant newbie”, it is the responsible community manager’s duty to step in and calmly take over.
A good community manager knows his or her peers and how to reason with them, knows how to gently calm them down when necessary, and when to let them freely speak their mind even if their words may seem hurtful. There are, however, in all communities some voices that will never offer anything of substance — and some can be downright harmful for the health and atmosphere of the community. Sometimes these voices come from bad actors attempting to manipulate the masses, but most often they are the voices of those who simply do not understand what they are a part of.
This last group has similarities with the gamblers mentioned earlier, but they have often overexposed themselves financially, and they are prone to emotional outbursts. They lack basic understanding about the project — the vision, the state of development, the value proposition. And without such an understanding, all that is left to focus on is the $ value in their portfolio. If the 24h change is red you will frequently see these people complain about seemingly random things — or about nothing in particular, merely voicing their general discontent. Such members must be identified, both by their fellow community members and by the community managers. Some can be educated and will mature — others will need to be removed for the sake of the harmony of the group.
Underpromise, Overdeliver — or Die
Crypto communities can thrive on structure, organization and transparency from their core teams. In this developing tech environment being able to keep to roadmaps and hit targets on time will always give reassurance that a project is being run professionally and can excel in the future. This will inevitably bring more attention to a project, which in turn can result in more token holders. Delivering everything in accordance with a preset deadline is however notoriously difficult, and an ambitious team may often find themselves stuck sorting out unexpected bugs as the deadline for delivery approaches.
There is a big difference, however, between an occasional misstep and a pattern of failures. A project team that constantly overpromises and underdelivers, misses deadlines and overhypes announcements, will quickly see community sentiment turning their backs against them. Unless rectified, their track record of broken promises will cause the community to disintegrate as people pass judgment and move on to other projects. Despite being only a few years old, the crypto space is an unforgiving one for those not pulling their weight.
How to Grow and Nurture a Community
Over at Phantasma, a blockchain platform focusing on Smart NFTs, gaming and dApps, everyone from the core team to regular community members take a radically different approach.
In an often cloak and dagger business where teams and community management hide behind elusive AMAs and opaque statements, Phantasma has chosen a different approach.
Core team members and developers engage with the community on a daily basis, and a central tenet of the Phantasma philosophy is transparency. Coming from a place of honest appreciation for the importance of cultivating a strong, knowledgeable community, you will find that even many of the most probing questions get honest and thorough answers.
Quality Breeds Quality
Phantasma spent a lot of time and effort on making sure that community managers and others interacting with both new and existing community members are fully stocked on up to date knowledge about the platform. On the rare occasions where you may not immediately find a team member or community manager online immediately, chances are good that a seasoned community member will jump in to help you with your questions.
The main developers are in the Telegram community on a daily basis, and are incredibly approachable for tech related questions. On top of this, the operations director will personally invite community members into smaller initiative groups to listen to ideas and format ways to enhance the project.
Both the team and the community actively encourages community participation from Phantasma OGs as well as newcomers — and constructive criticism is welcomed, not shunned. All newcomers should be well aware, however, that common human decency is a minimum requirement for everyone — bad language and aggressive behaviour is not, and never will be, tolerated. The community is intelligent, patient and mindful as their level of knowledge and maturity has armed them with the understanding that revolutionary new tech takes time.
Explore the Future
Phantasma has — and we are proud to make this claim — developed next generation tech that will contribute massively to the NFT space. With the Phantasma mantra of “We connect — You Create and Control”, Phantasma aims to help artists, musicians, gamers and content creators reach a far wider audience and take back control of their content. However strange and unfamiliar it may seem to those who are experienced participants in the crypto sphere, the Phantasma team prefers to deliver groundbreaking tech instead of dreaming about what that tech could achieve if it had existed. Throughout 2020, an influx of new amazing and creative contributors shows that the members of the Phantasma community can rest assured they are in safe hands — and that all newcomers will get a warm welcome from both the Phantasma team and community.