This case study describes how we recently went on a journey to #discover how to create a #web3 project. It was a learning #experiment with #blockchain to explore what it takes to build something in the web3 space.
Why do this?
If you're regular visitors to Cariboo Digital, you may know we're big fans of lowcode technology for it's ability to deliver quality, robust and scalable software, at pace. So, we set out on a path to discover how easy it might be to build something useful with #blockchain and #lowcode technologies. We wanted to learn if lowcode can accelerate the delivery of blockchain based software.
⛓ Our overarching goal is to test and learn whether it is possible to build blockchain technology with low code technology.
To begin with, we wanted to establish two things :
1. How might we make it easier for people to understand and engage in blockchain technologies
2. How might we narrow the gap between those that benefit from blockchain and those that do not.
The hypotheses of this experiment was :
🔬 We believe if a charity or community group can demonstrate a compelling fundraising need, people will happily purchase NFTs as a means to raise funds for a community fundraising appeal.
Our thought process behind this hypothesis was:
1. It was coming up to Christmas time, we're facing a cost of living crisis, plenty of people will be struggling. Can we help spread some cheer?
2. NFTs were popular, though we concede the NFT market had a rough time in terms of values in 2022 compared to 2021. But can they be relevant to drive a good cause ?
3. Charities were facing an ever increasing struggle to raise funds. Could they tap into blockchain based technology to increase their fundraising potential ?
🔎 To test this hypothesis, we needed an experiment. We decided a great vehicle to deliver this experiment was to create a DAO. Now if you don't know what that is, it's an acronym for Decentralised Autonomous Organisation - or, a fancy name for a leaderless, hierarchy-less company that makes rule based decisions through software and lives on blockchain technology.
📢 Many DAOs have been created to democratise the running of a business where the purpose of the DAO is to help raise funds for a charity, a community or fundraising initiative. Given the promise of decentralised organisations we felt this was a perfect fit for a fundraising initiative.
The experiment design
🗺 We created 'Gifter' a platform for generating funds through the auction of NFTs that can contribute to fundraising or charitabe projects.
💡 Through 'Gifter', good causes (charities, community groups, fundraisers, etc) can propose a project or fundraising target. Let's say the local hospital is running a children's Christmas present appeal. Members of the Gifter community with voting rights, choose and vote for the projects they want to raise funds for through Gifter.
🖼 A set of NFTs are commissioned for the given good cause. A new unique NFT is released each day. Individuals can purchase these NFTs through auction, the proceeds of which go towards the funding target of the good cause.
🧒 WIth our initial experiment we decided to support Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity.
🌱 The seed NFTs for this round of the experiment were a collection of 'Dress Me Up Snowies' in celebration of the winter holiday season. Each 'Snowy' is made up of a combination of variable body, face, head and background items.
The experiment measure
We decided to track two measurements to gauge the success, or failure, of the experiment. These were:
- The number of NFTs sold through auction
- The amount of money raised
- Build the solution in the shortest time possible
The experiment target
With those measures in mind we felt that reasonable targets could be :
- The sale of one NFT per day
- Raise the equivalent of about £1000 over the course of the experiment (or as we'll explain below, around 1 ETH)
- Complete the build and launch within a week.
The experiment implementation
The way we did this was :
🗺 To create 'Gifter' a platform for generating funds through the auction of NFTs that can contribute to fundraising or charitable projects at https://lnkd.in/eV8GxQXC
🖼 We generated a collection of NFTs called Snowy's in celebration of the winter holiday season. A new unique NFT is released each day. You can purchase these NFTs through auction, the proceeds of which go towards the funding target of £1000 to be donated to Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity https://lnkd.in/eZsiHN5m
🖥 The Website : A simple responsive landing page on https://carrd.co/
- This provided the landing page to explain our mission and for people to find the Gifter platform
🔨 The Auction Site : A blockchain auction site launched with https://nouns.build/
- Nouns builder is a fantastic low code site that allows you to create an auction on the blockchain wrapped in a DAO
🎨 The NFTs : A collection of NFT properties created with https://www.canva.com/
- We created a series of templates using stock images in Canva. This allowed us to quickly generate a series of unique NFTs by simply combining character properties through the Nouns Builder platform
💰 The Crypto : A method to transfer raised #cryptocurrency funds to a charity through The Giving Block https://lnkd.in/dEvGPhm6
- There are few charities that are currently raising funds through crypto currency in the UK. Those that simplify the receipt of crypto currencies through the Giving Block
🥁 The Socials : LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram
- We wanted to raise awareness and news of the latest minted NFT through Twitter and Instagram and share updates to the progress of the experiment on LikedIn
Did we succeed ?
🥅 Have we met our goals ?
✅ Well yes. We've proven we can build exciting web3 products using lowcode and blockchain technology. We did it within a week and could have done so much more quickly if we'd been on the experiment 100% of the time.
❌ And no. We gave ourselves the 31 days of December to make a difference. Make an impact. It was slow. Whilst we experienced a little engagement, we didn't sell any NFTs. Which means we didn't raise any money.
What did we learn ?
Some lessons we learned from the experiment to take forward.
Engage with a charity before setting up a fund raising activity
We decided unilaterally that we'd support Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity, built the experiment and had almost launched, before we had spoken to the charity. We learnt, from the very lovely charity development lead, Cinta Esmel, that whilst crypto currency is an exciting prospect for the charity, it poses some significant challenges for them. We had to go lightly and we couldn't generate any joint messaging or collateral with the charity. Which is entirely fair and responsible.
Identify a story that will engage potential supporters
We didn't have a story. There wasn't really any public interest that we had identified that would help engagement. We should have considered earlier why people might care and feel the need to support the initiative. The choice of NFTs, whilst cute, perhaps didn't help tell the story either, they weren't relevant and didn't perhaps align with the charity - what did they mean ?
Develop a NFT collection that can help tell the story
If the 'Snowy' NFTs didn't mean anything, it was probably difficult for visitors to understand the association between them and the charity. They didn't have any utility, other than a reward for making a charitable donation. Arguably, releasing NFTs which told a story about the charity or Roald Dahl characters could have been more interesting. Had we engaged the charity earlier, it may have been possible to identify an artist that could have created a more relevant set of NFT characters and properties. The NFTs needed more utility, more reward and more engagement potential for buyers to purchase.
Bring people on the journey
This speaks to some of the other lessons, but also to carrying out more research before and during the experiment to understand from people what, why and how such an initiative would interest them. We could've tested the idea much more cheaply in the first place to figure out if anyone even cared. We might have talked to those people that engaged in social posts but didn't make a bid in a NFT auction. We could have found our community first and helped them understand how this experiment might help them meet some of their own goals.
Was a DAO the right vehicle
We chose a DAO because it was an interesting concept to test. It felt like a good representation of how an organisation could be. Especially considering the charitable context and goals. Whilst we were able to technically implement a DAO - built on the blockchain, smart contractsto to support distributed power and decision making through transparent and visible transactions. But, we really didn't meet the basic needs of a DAO. We had no community. There was only one token holder, therefore just one person making decisions.
Gas can be expensive for the end user
And, it fluctuates. Quick primer - A gas fee is a blockchain transaction fee, paid to network validators for their services to the blockchain. Without the fees, there would be no incentive for anyone to stake their ETH and help secure the network. Every time a a change is written to the blockchain, a gas fee is payable - for example, when you deploy the DAO code to the blockchain, when you make a change to a smart contract after a vote or when you purchase a NFT through nouns.builder and the NFT is minted. This last example could be off-putting to consumers if for every time they make a £10 charity donation, they have to foot the gas fee of £4/£5 too.
Until next time
So, in summary, our experiment was not as successful as we'd hoped. But it did allow us to learn, in relatively quick time and with limited cost, a lot about combining web3 technology with low code technology. It allowed us to learn more about the non-technology sides of a web3 initiative too.
We'll take this learning into our next experiment. Look out for news of what that will be soon.
In the meantime, if you're planning your own experiment with web3 and low code, drop us a line and get in touch, we'd be happy to share our experience. Happy Experimenting!