GoalGorilla retreat: a weekend of reflection in Bucharest
It’s the 10th anniverssary of GoalGorilla, which had to be celebrated! And wow, what an amazing trip it was! On Friday afternoon we arrived in Romania, where we spent three wonderful sunny days in the heart of Bucharest. It’s a city full of beautiful buildings, welcoming people, and amazing food. However, we didn’t only admire the city (as you can see in the photos below) 😉.
The future of decentralized communities
The company had already ‘warned’ use beforehand that this trip was not only going to be about fun, but also about taking some time to think about GoalGorilla. Mieszko Czyzyk previously wrote about the future of Web 3.0 and decentralized communities, which is the direction we want to go with our Open Social software. We plan on developing these ideas further over the next few years. That's why we experienced a ‘real retreat’ on Saturday morning and afternoon. We literally retired to the meeting room and took the time to reflect and to dive into future plans.
Appreciate your community members
Everyone has heard of the recent uproar about Facebook. More people are calling for open, safe, and unique communities, but without an invasion of privacy and the distraction of ads. For these reasons, we recognize that decentralized communities offer some great opportunities for the online social world.
Taco Potze and Mieszko Czyzyk shared their vision for GoalGorilla on Saturday morning with us. There are two common problems in online communities that stand in the way of an optimal online community:
- We see problems from the user perspective: moderating the community, ensuring quality of content, and stimulating engagement.
- We see problems from the organizational side: a community doesn’t always have a clear business model and therefore, often only has a limited budget for building and managing a community.
These two problems are often the reason why communities are hardly used and therefore, often cease to exist. A sustainable solution is missing. In order to survive, an online community needs qualitative content, active users, and long-term users. But how can organizations prevent the slow death of their community 🤔?
According to us, the sustainable solution must allow organizations to create value for their community members. But how does appreciation for community members work? And how can organizations show appreciatation in a safe, open way and without the intervention of a third-party such as Facebook or LinkedIn? This is where blockchain comes in 🔗
A workshop with a real Crypto Queen
What is Distributed Ledger Technology? What is blockchain? How can it be applied to communities? This is what we learnt in the afternoon during a workshop with Ioana Frincu. She is the Chief Operations Officer at Under Development Office, and is known as a Crypto Queen and Blockchain expert. Last year, she was listed in Forbes’ 30 under 30. She’s a true specialist that flies all over the world to talk about blockchain.
Many people have heard of the well-known example of blockchain, Bitcoin. Blockchain can be compared to a ledger in which a list of data is recorded. A lot of software makes use of databases (an organized collection of information / data) that function as a ledger. You actually have three ways that information can be shared in a system:
- Centralized: The database is connected to others systems. But it is shielded and updated in a central location. This means that use of the database can only be done with the permission of the administrators in the central location. There must also be sufficient trust in the administrators to keep everything safe and accurate.
- Decentralized: There is no central system here, but rather multiple systems that are connected with each other. These systems provide data to the users, and the trust still falls on a central system or a group of systems to ensure that data is properly stored and communicated.
- Distributed: Blockchain is a form of Distributed Ledger Technology. We’ll explain this further below.
Blockchain is different ❗
Blockchain is decentralized and open. There is not a single body or company owner. Instead it’s defined as a peer-to-peer network, in which everyone can participate. It is a kind of spreadsheet, a general ledger, or rather a distributed ledger. This means that anyone can set up the system, a so-called 'node', that will store an exact copy of the spreadsheet. And anyone with that spreadsheet can also make changes. When a change is made, a copy of the ledger is sent to each node in the system for a check. What’s unique about blockchain is that only new blocks of information can be added to the spreadsheet. It can not change the information that was added previously. This is because a newly added block will always contain it’s own information and a representation of the information in the block that came before it. Therfore, if a hacker wants to modify data in an existing line, the reference to that line will no longer be correct and the chain will be broken. This is executed using cryptographic software.
With Bitcoin, for example, this means you can’t change anything that’s already on the balance sheet, you can only add new transactions by transferring an amount to someone else. These transactions are continuously added as a new line at the bottom of the ledger. You therefore no longer need any ‘middleman’ intervention or confidence in administrators and managers.
How is blockchain a solution for communities?
Organizations that own communities can purchase a certain amount of tokens (this is the same as coins). Organizations can sell these tokens to community members. Organizations that don’t buy tokens can also ask their members to buy the tokens themselves. The tokens can be used to reward valuable behavior within the community. But what is valuable and worthy of appreciation? Community members can vote on this themselves.This can include specific recurring actions of members that keep the community 'healthy', such as writing articles, moderating messages, or participating in an event. This way, enagement is stimulated, the quality and value of community content improves, and the community is able to survive. In other words, a sustainable community is created.
Community members receive their tokens in a digital wallet. These tokens represent a final value in euros or dollars, but you can also exchange it for valuable promotions within the community itself. For example, you can use tokens to participate in events or purchase certain marchandise. If you receive appreciation from other community members, you also build up a good reputation. Imagine being able to carry this reuputation with you to another community? You could even require new members of your community to have a certain reputation before being able to join. In this way, you can ensure community quality and survival.
In short: we reocgnize an enormous potential for Open Social with blockchain, cryptocurrency, and online communities. We believe that exchanging value is a sustainable solution for communities. We are currently experimenting with decentralized technologies to see how we can improve community experiences. Hopefully, we can share more about this later!
We look back fondly on an eye-opening day. The weekend gave us a lot of food for thought. An above that, it was an incredibly fun weekend with the team! Is there a better way to encourage inspiration by laughing a lot, making nice memories and enjoying some good food and drinks together? We don’t think so! Thank you GoalGorilla, it was unforgettable ❤️!