The validity of bounty campaigns has recently been called into question within the blockchain community. While some believe that bounties are an effective form of social outreach, others feel that their value to the community must be reconsidered.
How do we come together to balance the upsides of reward against the moral responsibility inherent in accurately portraying the excitement surrounding a token sale?
What Is a Bounty Campaign?
Bounty campaigns are a marketing tactic wherein potential contributors perform promotional activities on behalf of a project in return for a percentage of the project’s tokens. The benefits of this type of marketing include:
- Inexpensive advertising for the ICO
- Increase of brand awareness
- Potential increase in eventual contributions
Projects are not required to spend any money on a bounty campaign until their ICO has reached a successful conclusion. Once their sale is over, the project distributes tokens which likely would have been burnt anyway.
The Problem with Bounty Campaigns
Bounty campaigns were useful when the community was small. Such advertising was extremely efficient and became one of the default tools used by ICOs. As the number of ICOs increased over the past year, so did the number of enthusiasts interested in reaping the rewards of bounty participation. Thus, the professional “ICO bounty hunter” was born.
Most projects have bounty managers who are in charge of coordination and communication with participants, as well as the final distribution of tokens. The demand for successful bounty managers led to many identical bounty campaigns being launched. As managers were stretched thin, quality began to fade in favor of quantity. Despite initially being a tool to attract core contributors and increase the presence of the project in the media, bounties have now turned into something far more sinister.
Professional bounty hunters who care only about the reward have replaced the people who would once have been authentic influencers, participating because they sincerely believed in the project. Reposts on social networks, articles of dubious quality, and other irrelevant content on the topic of ICOs is produced by people who are unable to convey any authentic excitement to the project’s target audience. The result is that most serious projects have chosen to abandon bounty campaigns for other promotional tools.
The Future of Bounty Campaigns
Future services will refocus their time onto accumulating bounty participants who can produce high-quality content for distribution throughout the network. Thus, we will return to the practice of targeting placement amongst bloggers instead of blind attempts to work with the general public in the hope of reaching the rare individual who is genuinely interested in a project’s message.
The biggest obstacle to this transformation is the unwillingness of professional bloggers to work for the project’s tokens, preferring rewards in fiat or bitcoin instead. This preference is due to a lack of confidence in each project, or in the future utility of the tokens offered. A transition towards a new paradigm of bounty campaigns is beneficial to everyone. Projects will spend more of their tokens for fundraising activities rather than on content that fails to reach their target audience. Bloggers will write more frequently about projects they truly believe in, making their words more convincing and ultimately increasing their rewards.