AIP-124: Thank APE: Rewarding ApeCoin Members for DAO Contributions!

Proposal Name: Thank APE

Proposal Category: Ecosystem Fund Allocation

Abstract

ApeCoin DAO members deserve to be thanked for their contributions to the DAO. Doing so should enormously increase appreciation, engagement, and value for APE holders.

We propose thanking all contributions to our ApeCoin DAO with APE, charitable donations, and an on-chain thank you note.

Motivation

APE is a governance token, yet the current governance engagement of our contributors is far from where it could be:

  • Less than 7% of APE holders have accounts on our forum
  • Less than 2% view the average AIP Draft post (with < 0.03% commenting on average)
  • Only about 1% of voting-eligible accounts actually vote on any given Snapshot proposal.

The low engagement is due to a number of likely factors:

  1. Members don’t know: Most APE holders don’t know how or what to contribute to our DAO.
  2. Members aren’t thanked: Our contributions on Discourse, Snapshot, and Twitter aren’t thanked (rewarded and recognized). So, in the aggregate, we contribute less.
  3. Members’ contributions don’t feel meaningful: It often isn’t clear how small contributions help the greater ApeCoin DAO. So we are less likely to make them.

Thank APE wants to help rocket engagement in the ApeCoin DAO:

  1. We want to show all the ways APE holders can contribute - and optimize our contributions - on Discourse, Snapshot, Twitter, and future platforms and tools.
  2. We want to thank all contributions with APE, a charitable donation - if desired, and a thank you note that lives forever on-chain.

The team behind this proposal includes Bored Ape OGs and community engagement OGs.

Four of us have been there from the beginning of Bored Ape and ApeCoin, and the rest of us have held leadership roles at CoinMarketCap, Crypto.com, BitFinex, and other significant DAO / NFT communities.

Additionally, we’ve worked together building and scaling community engagement tech for brands including Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Citi, and more.

Rationale

ApeCoin serves as a decentralized protocol layer for community-led initiatives that drive culture forward into the metaverse.

The most important ingredient for driving culture forward into the metaverse is a highly engaged, thriving community. We can create this by thanking valuable ApeCoin DAO contributions with APE and charitable donations.

Examples of endless contribution-types we can thank (with systems in place to address fraud):

  • Following Twitter handle @ApeCoin
  • Replying to a Tweet with #ApeCoin
  • Attending Twitter Spaces
  • Claiming POAPs for attendance
  • Sharing proposals on Discourse
  • Replying to proposals on Discourse
  • Earning Discourse badges
  • Voting on proposals on Snapshot
  • And much, much more…

Thanking all APE holder contributions should create enormously positive impact:

  • APE holders should feel more valued for contributions to our community
  • APE holders should want to contribute more and in more ways
  • APE holders should notice the impact their contributions have on ApeCoin DAO
  • Prospective APE holders should be more likely to join and contribute value
  • With a bigger, more robust community, the power of our APE token should increase

Specifications

For the initial implementation, we recommend rewarding contributions on platforms central to ApeCoin DAO’s governance and community participation:

  • Discourse
  • Snapshot
  • Twitter
  • POAPs

We recommend using the ThriveCoin technology to:

Auto-validate ApeCoin DAO contributions:

  • Auto-validation of activities across all relevant platforms (e.g. Twitter, Discourse, Snapshot, etc)
  • Granular control over specifically what activity to reward
  • Platform-specific quality control filters to greatly reduce fraud risk

Auto-thank ApeCoin DAO contributions on-chain:

  • Auto-validated contributions are automatically recorded on the Mumbai network, Polygon chain
  • All contribution details are logged in an IPFS file (blockchain storage) referenced in the on-chain record

Auto-reward ApeCoin DAO contributions with APE and charitable contributions:

  • At the conclusion of “Seasons”, contributors will receive APE as rewards for their contributions.
  • If their APE earned is above a certain threshold (likely average gas fees) they can keep their reward OR donate their reward to charity.
  • If their APE earned is below that threshold, their rewards will automatically be allocated to a charity.

Steps to Implement

Since we’re proposing to use existing technology to cover the heavy lifting, implementation needs are light and dramatically less expensive.

We recommend appointing a small Advisory Board (“board”) to administer the initiative. The board would be a group of trusted OG Apes and ApeCoin DAO contributors.

Four OG Apes have volunteered for the board: @ap3father, @BoredApeG, @foxslightly, and @PumaJawNFT. Board members would serve an initial 6-12 month term. They would be empowered to make decisions regarding:

  1. Definition and review of community participation (“Season”) goals
  2. Decisions around which contributions to reward
  3. Specific rewards allocated to each contribution type
  4. Details around charitable contribution opportunities.
  5. Spreading awareness of the initiative and encouraging participation

The ThriveCoin team (doxxed above!) will provide expert staff support with all of the above, but all reward and charity allocation decisions would be made by the board [additional detail in a comment below].

When we launch Thank APE, contributors must simply complete a one-time identity verification (e.g. sign a read-only message to verify their wallet address and auto-verify Snapshot contributions).

The identity verification enables all future auto-verification of their contributions on that network (including historical contributions, if desired), auto-recording on-chain of those contributions, and the auto-distribution of rewards.

Timeline

The required technology tools and deployment processes are already built.

We anticipate launching for usage by ApeCoin DAO members upon final funding approval (i.e. approximately mid-Nov of this year).

Overall Cost

We recommend an initial allocation of 260,000 APE for a 6-month pilot of the Thank APE initiative. As adoption and excitement grow, we can make subsequent proposals to “top up” allocated APE.

Of the 260,000 APE:

  • 200,000 APE would be available as rewards for contributors on Twitter, Discourse, Discord, and other platforms desired ApeCoin members. These rewards would thank APE holder contributions as the community sees fit. The APE would be held in a treasury with a Multisig wallet with board members as fail-safe signers.
  • 60,000 APE allocated to ThriveCoin to cover costs of technology service provisions, including: dedicated development and support team, setup, servers, support, maintenance, development, community support, and data analytics.

Overall Cost

Ultimately, this is a low-risk, high-reward proposition. ApeCoin DAO members deserve to be thanked for their contributions to the DAO - and doing so should enormously increase appreciation, engagement, and value for APE holders.

This pilot proposal allocates ~0.04% of the treasury, with funds circulating back into the community or into causes the community supports. If we see the immense value we desire, we can ramp up this initiative and support an endless loop of thanking APE in our ApeCoin DAO!

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Hi, I’m Daniel, the co-author of this proposal. I am so excited for your thoughts, questions, feedback, and co-creation! Also please ping me if you have deeper questions or suggestions that go beyond a reply. I’d love to chat, connect, go deep, and together create truly epic impact for ApeCoin!

14 Likes

Congrats Daniel,

Great proposal. I too am looking forward to the community’s feedback. Just a couple of quick thoughts:

  • Should we make space for Discord activity? The ApeComms proposal, should it pass, has an Official Discord Server as part of timely community communications, might be cool to integrate rewards in there somewhere.

  • Who handled your (info) graphics? Once the data from the IRL Events Survey has been gathered, would love to collab on getting some cool (info) graphics out to the community

Thanks - SSP :v:t4:

10 Likes

@ssp1111 Thanks for the nice words and thoughtful reply. Answers below:

  • Yes! We can support dozens of possible types of Discord contributions - we’ve built the tech with creativity and flexibility in mind.

  • Thanks for the compliment on our infographics. It was done by our Creative Director! (… and we’re happy to collab on cool graphics :slightly_smiling_face:).

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This is an amazing proposal! I’m very excited to see this go to a vote! Great job @ap3father, @BoredApeG, @foxslightly, @PumaJawNFT & @thrivegiraffe (ThriveCoin Team!) :slight_smile:

This is the first thing that popped into my mind and I’m glad you addressed that right away. I trust it’s fairly easy to tell if a contribution is meaningful or spam. Haha

This is really really cool! I love that this is sort of building up an on-chain history/resume of contributions, I would love to see more DAO’s do this!

I couldn’t agree more. :slight_smile: I’m excited to see the DAO grow and become more active thanks to all the work you guys have been doing! Stoked to vote on this! :heart:

-Amplify

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Thank you @Amplify! We’re super pumped and excited too.

Yes! We’ve built the tech to be flexible in how contributions are validated across platforms. This allows quality control filters to be ramped up or down as appropriate / needed!

Thanks for noticing this piece. The blockchain can transform the way we understand ourselves, each other, and our community. We want to show off more of its power! :star_struck:

Yes! ApeCoin has a big, important web3 vision - and a community immensely capable of seeing it through. We’re excited to play the role of thanking, honoring, rewarding, and lifting up every ApeCoin member for their important and meaningful contributions! :rocket:

11 Likes

Well put together proposal!

I am going to play devil’s advocate and point out that financially incentivizing participation in DAOs is risky. I’m not trying to be negative; I do support proposals that increase participation, rather I want to share my perspective based on experience.

I will start with a question specific to NFTs: Do NFT projects that reward participation, for example Discord points or Twitter tags to get allowlist, do well?

My doxxed self has founded and serves in bigger DAOs (non NFT), as well as advising others. I basically focused fully on DAOs and decentralized coordination for a year. I have had the pleasure of working with some great DAO thinkers. I don’t want to publicly dox or drop names, but I will privately with anyone that has a trusted reputation.

The heart of the issue is that once you introduce financial incentives it tends to outweighs all other incentives. I have seen the experiment of pay to participate play out different ways but in general noise increases, quality falls off a cliff, and real contributor are drowned out.

Every stadium DAO (med/large public token governed) struggles with participation. This bleeds into another broader topic around democratic governance, but in short it’s a common belief in web3 that higher participation is better. Many hyped DAOs, like ApeCoin, also have a surplus of capital. So it makes logical sense to want to use that resource to increase participation. DAOs that head down this path tend to make these mistakes:

  • They grossly underestimate the level of governance and oversight needed. This is crypto, if you reward an action you will have hundreds of thousands of bots to sift through. I will bet big that whatever clever mechanic anyone can dream up will be defeated immediately if money is at stake. This is a fatal mistake continually repeated in web3. Even in web2 this is one of the biggest design challenges.
  • Quantity increases but quality doesn’t. The most precious resource a DAO has isn’t capital, but minds. Talented people motivated by ideals that align with the DAOs mission are gems. When you award participation you get flooded with noise that only has the intention of farming rewards. You are essentially funding a program that rewards greed rather than the core mission. This causes the gems to either move out or form a clique and shadow DAO. For every good intended member there is thousands of degens that will compete to pick the carcass of a DAO clean.
  • Infighting - Running a program like this is very hands on, you end up with very loud opinions on who should get what (or not). Egos and tempers run hot and often the DAO finds itself focusing solely on how to reward the engagement about rewarding the engagement. This has ripped some great DAOs apart, one that comes to mind is the Commons Stack.
  • Gamified voting that distorts consensus. This applies to rewarding the proposal and voting (snapshot) process. It ends with exponentially more things going to vote, coupled with voters randomly voting without reading. Again the noise fatigues real participation.
  • Damage to public reputation. I would argue ApeCoin DAO has one of the best public images. It comes across as professional, legitimate, and realistic. Having people spamming Twitter or Discourse will only tarnish that.

I strongly advise against any mechanics that reward low-effort participation. I would encourage the DAO to think about applying incentives to reward quality of participation. I believe there are better ways to meet the goals of incentivizing and attracting the right kind of new members. I am happy to have a conversation with any of the proposers if it would help. Thanks for taking the time to focus on growing ApeCoin :pray:

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gm gm @nix.eth,

Thanks for such a detailed post – I was actually wondering about this myself since my last reply and feel inclined to lean more towards your point of view.

I’ve mostly been in Social DAOs and have flirted on the edges of TokenDAOs and totally agree with your observation that…

…and also agree with your suggestion for an alternative path forward, something I could totally get behind:

Thanks again for sharing your experience and for surfacing this vital nuance. I got some homework to do

Cheers – SSP :v:t4:

(ps love the hood beta)

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@nix.eth thanks for such a comprehensive response - I experienced it as thoughtful, smart, an important perspective, and incorporating valuable experience. And yes, I’d love to take you up on that offer to talk anytime! I do draw different conclusions - likely based on a different set of experiences and data.

My experience is based on data, analysis, and 15+ years building technology that has supported behavior change at scale in distributed communities, as well as for many of the top brands in the world (e.g. Google, Facebook, KPMG, Citi, Kaiser, etc.).

Rather than address your feedback piece by piece, I think it’ll be helpful to just go to what you call “the heart of the issue” and see where we get from there!

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. More no than yes.

You probably wouldn’t go to work if you weren’t paid. But, also, regardless of how much people are paid, the #1 reason people leave work is because of bad bosses - not bad pay. Additionally, the #1 reason companies retain their employees is because of good culture - not extravagant pay. In other words, there is loads of research that shows that financial incentives often do not, in your words, “outweigh all other incentives.”

But you are definitely onto something - because financial incentives can outweigh all other incentives. When communities focus on giving out extrinsic rewards to cover up shi–y culture - then yes, the demise of the community can appear to happen alongside giving extrinsic rewards. But the reward isn’t the reason for the demise; shi–y culture is the reason for the demise. (This is a great example of correlation and not causation.)

When, in contrast, communities believe in real equity - when they notice that, often, only a few people in the community are being rewarded for contributions to their community (often with massively outsized rewards)… then those communities can choose to imagine into how they might reward their community differently, more fairly.

[I believe, largely, that is the reason web3 exists: because the world is massively fu–ing unfair and a bunch of smart people got together and decided to do something about it.]

When we notice the world is unfair, we usually notice there is a theoretically simple way to fix it: Reward people equitably for the contributions they make to their communities. The contributions may be big or small, but reward them equitably - both in terms of how they feel and what they get.

When communities approach rewards with a mindset of equity and fairness… when they don’t distinguish between big and small… extrinsic rewards do not degrade the quality of a community. I’ve never seen it. Instead, they uplift communities; they remind us who we are; they remind us what we stand for.

ApeCoin’s vision is about driving culture forward into the metaverse. It’s a massive and important vision. I believe, strongly, that driving culture forward into the metaverse starts with honoring, rewarding, and recognizing all community members who are helping drive that culture forward. When we do that, there are no limits to the impact we can create. - Daniel

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Great proposal. Few quick reactions.

“Those are rookie numbers.” This provides a good foundation to measure improvement. The biggest concern for me is lack of infrastructure and core team to drive awareness and engagement. This is a productive step-forward.

In terms of discourse participation, we should consider rewarding productive AIPs more heavily than general activity. I generally believe Aavegotchi’s model works really well, summarized here. May be interesting to translate xp concepts there to gamification here.

In terms of discourse badges, do we have a complete list and the requirements? There are some that clearly signal productive content while others are more reflective of a “grind”.

So incentivization can scale up: make a profile, productive participation, voting, and authoring a proposal that is approved.

What chain will this live on? Should $ape rewards be opt-in / claim with a window, but program otherwise defaults to charitable? Can you provide a list of initial charities you have in mind?

Offered some suggestions here. In summary

Prefer a longer term as supporting infra that compounds messaging is probably 6-months away still. Plus, 200k for 6-months just feels like too much too fast. By the time people figure out their participation yields rewards the funds may be gone.

There is a lot of discretion in here that should be more precise. Some ideas proposed within this thread and the aavegotchi documentation may prove useful. Other things to consider: is snapshot vote singular or weighted $APE? Consider quadratic allocations. Retroactive rewards to drive awareness of proposed ‘seasons’, which is a good concept: how long are seasons?

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@Marklar thanks for the kind words - love this reply! I’ll do my best to respond. I’m sure I’ll miss a bit, and would love to follow up via DM or a call if you’d like. Here goes:

Yes, agreed on the opportunity to drive awareness and engagement, and thank you!

Love this insight - and there’s a ton of alignment with the intention here.

Ultimately what we want is to thank deep, meaningful community engagement. The intention is to create opportunities for all ApeCoin members to start with little steps (get thanked!) and scale up to bigger and bigger steps.

The value of rewards should reflect the value of contributions. In your words, rewards that “clearly signal productive content” should clearly be valued higher than those that don’t.

  1. Thank you notes are currently built to live on Polygon.
  2. $APE rewards will have a 7-day claim window to be claimed or donated to a specific charity at the end of a Season. If they aren’t claimed in the 7-day window, they will auto-default to the “default” charity of the community’s choosing (via vote).
  3. We recommend that each “Season”, the advisory board will provide a list of charity categories and charities to be voted on. ApeCoin members can vote on their preferred charity, and the top 5 will be chosen. If members choose to donate the APE they’ve earned, they can assign their earned APE to any of the 5 charities.
  4. We recommend Seasons are no longer than 90 days. For this 6-month pilot, our current thinking is that we should have 3 seasons - 30 days, then 60 days, then 90 days. This will allow us to learn from usage and adjust to the needs of community more quickly.
  5. Thank you for the great suggestions!
  1. I understand your preference for a longer term. The 6 months is aligned with the 6-month pilot. Our goal is to create immense value for ApeCoin in the pilot, so we can justify a longer term :slight_smile:
  2. The purpose of having 3 seasons during the pilot (30 days, 60 days, 90 days) is to ensure that rewards are allocated in line with our learning and the needs of the DAO.

I hear you on the desire for more details. For us, the purpose of being in the “AIP ideas” category is to get additional community feedback that can help us to ensure proposal details are fully aligned with community needs and desires. In other words, it’s to get responses like this!

Our team is excited to spend time with the aavegotchi documentation, I’d love to talk more with you about your other ideas - which appear quite aligned, and I’m personally excited to integrate every ApeCoin DAO member voice possible into this initiative!

Okay, I think this covers almost everything. Again, thanks for your time and thoughtfulness - I look forward to more of it. And I am so excited for Thank APE to reflect, honor, and amplify the best of ApeCoin culture! - Daniel

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Thanks for the quick reply.

Easier read than gotchi docs: Aavegotchi Governance: Voting as a Member of the World’s Most Active DAO | The Curve

5-most active DAOs. Possible reference points to learn from. https://twitter.com/asvanevik/status/1554742710527217664?s=46&t=jLGt1QzHmxWs0D1FYntSXw

Will buffer on additional comments and reply before idea phase lapses.

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Great proposal! I really love this idea!

I do have some concerns and questions.

I’m very concerned about people figuring out a way to abuse the system. Especially on Twitter. If there’s money to be made, people will set up bots to follow and comment. Do you have a way to filter them out?

What’s to stop bad actors in the space from associating the hashtag with negative things and making money off it? Or people just using the hashtag to make money, even though their content is unrelated?

I’m concerned that people will make low effort comments just to make money. Is there a way to prevent that?

What type of threshold do you have in mind? How hard will it be to meet it? What happens when the market recovers and gas fees become expensive again?

Is there a way people could choose to have their APE earned roll-over if they are below the certain threshold? I’m concerned some people may get frustrated if they are just shy of it and it is automatically donated to charity

Overall, I think what you’re doing is amazing and I wish you great success!

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@adventurousape, thank you for your kind words and thoughtful reply. Also, it’s nice to meet you!

I’m excited to address your helpful feedback here:

We are also concerned about abuse (everyone should be!). We’ve been planning for it - from a tech architecture standpoint - from the beginning. And yes, we’ve built the tech to flexibly “filter” bots with a variety of approaches, that - we believe - can actively address the problem.

We have built various ways for ApeCoin to decipher low-impact and high-impact comments (effort is a personal experience and impossible to discern). We believe it is important to leverage this capability for the reasons you mention!

We believe the threshold should be related to gas fees. So if gas fees are .2 APE, anything at or below that is auto-donated to charity. Anything above, people can elect to receive or donate. We can choose the threshold at the end of a season so that it is relatively in line with gas fees at the time.

Thank you for this idea! We’ll chat about it and see what appears possible (or not possible). The hope is that if people are just shy of the threshold and want to keep their APE, they will make more contributions. But happy to investigate how additional optionality can be supportive too!

Thank you! Your words mean a lot to me and us. I’d love to chat sometime and hear more thoughts. I believe in our ability to create a truly extraordinary ApeCoin DAO culture together!

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Hey @thrivegiraffe and team, this seems like a great initiative and a thoughtful way to gamify charity while also stimulating the APE ecosystem. That said, I am curious what are the plans for the end of the 6 month pilot period? Will the initiative somehow become self sustaining or require a continued investment from the DAO to cover refilling rewards and continued platform support?

You’ve got a solid team of Apes supporting the project here, looking forward to seeing you succeed.

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Hi @thrivegiraffe,

Your topic will be automatically closing in less than 24 hours. Are you content with the feedback received, or do you wish to extend community discussion for a further 7 days?

If we do not hear from you within 48 hours after your topic closes, your topic will be moved straight to the AIP Draft process.

We look forward to hearing from you.

-Pearson

1 Like

@Lost, thanks so much for the kind words, and I appreciate your question. I’ll do my best to address both :slight_smile:

I love the way you frame / simplify this proposal. Yes, I agree!

First, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We want to create extraordinary value in the six month pilot so that we can justify our next steps!

When it’s clear we’ve created immense value together, the community can decide what it means to sustain Thank APE as a part of our culture moving forward. Yes, that’ll mean some kind of continued investment in ongoing rewards and infrastructure - but our intention is for that to be an easy decision: if together we are creating outsized value for our community, culture, and vision, then we’ll want to continue creating more of it!

Thank you - and I agree! I feel immense gratitude for our team and community. Now I’m excited to turn that gratitude into action and value for ApeCoin DAO! :rocket:

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Thanks for the quick and clear response here as the suggestion phase comes to a close.

I have little doubt the community will be largely in favor of supporting this initiative. There seems to be a lot of opportunity to learn going forward here.

Thanks again !

-Lost

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It has been such a pleasure to work with the ThriveCoin team and our fellow apes on this proposal! Daniel & the ThriveCoin team are professionals, they are coming with proven technical backgrounds, and best of all, they have a sincere passion for supporting behavioral change at scale.

Thank you all for the terrific feedback, especially understanding much of them are largely centered around mitigating the risk of fraud. It will certainly be an iterative process to address these issues, but what attracted me the most about this proposal was that we have such a dedicated team along with the technical capabilities behind it to take on the challenge.

Another item that particularly excites me is that this AIP will potentially lay the foundation for a mechanism to keep APE distributed and circulated amongst those who want to be involved in contributing to the ApeCoin ecosystem. This can provide an avenue for continued funding whether from the ecosystem fund and/or from other sources who may choose to contribute to the rewards pool (e.g. marketplace fees) knowing that APE is going directly to individuals who have a proven vested interest in the long-term health of APE/ApeCoin DAO.

I am very hopeful to see the positive impact this can have for ApeCoin.

Cheers,

-G

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Thanks to everyone for all the valuable insights and comments. The Thrive team as well as some of our fellow apes have spent a lot of time putting this together and I am confident that Thrive has the experience and technical knowhow to deliver this through to a state where all involved will feel and see the value.

To reiterate, the goal is to increase participation and engagement with ApeCoin DAO by rewarding participants with micro incentives and on-chain thank you notes. I for one think this proposal is an easy win for the DAO as the marketing optics on the charity donation/allocation piece alone is a net positive for the organization and the space.

Slightly off topic but I somewhat disagree with the statement that, “once you introduce financial incentives it tends to outweigh all other incentives” - as I think there is a huge population out there who would relish to have the ability to be able to flex participation in the form of a thank you note. I personally believe that once we see some known and respected names doing it, this will trickle down and feed into the loop. In this space, people value recognition oftentimes more than financial incentives.

There will be challenges ahead, such as (and as we all know), it being an arms race when dealing with individuals and bots when it comes to “gaming the system,” but I am confident that the team has the experience to make the necessary pivots to tackle these challenges.

Really excited to see what becomes of this.

Cheers all,
-FS

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