Academy Series #14: A Guide on How to Build A Crypto Tribe

Overview:

1. Narrative
2. Crypto-Tribalism
3. WAGMI (Adoption)

A narrative is all about the story, or “mythos” of your brand and company, why it exists, its special sauce, vision, and where it is going. It is the tagline, the one-liner that describes the project in a nutshell, while also encapsulating its unique value proposition. For example, Bitcoin is “Digital Gold”, Ethereum is “World Computer”. The narrative is also the ultimate goal, as we’ll see in the end.


How can you identify your own narrative?

During the early days of Bepro, we were known as BetProtocol, and our mythos narrative was to be the Shopify for Betting Apps. That was cool, and during that time, blockchain gaming and Esports were just taking off, so we were riding that wave.

Turns out that that model didn’t scale, so we had to pivot towards Bepro Network. The narrative with that pivot and rebrand changed, of course, to something else: Codebase for Web3.

But what does that mean, specifically? Unlike “digital gold” or “world computer”, defining a narrative around being a codebase for web3 (two of those three words are more or less industry-specific jargon) is quite difficult. You have to get over the education barrier for these esoteric terms and get right to the point of what it actually is.

I think it’s a good time to, as Nietzsche once said, “revalue all values” — in the sense that we have to question the basics and the fundamentals of our long-held assumptions. We have assumed that since we are in the industry, others also understand our terms.

The reality is that they may not. We have assumed that when we say “codebase for web3”, people actually understand what we are saying. But do they really?

Since the merger with TAIKAI will bring significant web2 players into Bepro Network’s suite of technologies, it is imperative that we redefine the narrative around Bepro to avoid jargon and to avoid the results of our own assumptions.We have to start from the basic axioms that:

  1. Non-crypto people and new entrants probably don’t understand crypto-jargon.
  2. There’s a very high learning curve to getting into the industry and understanding the jargon.
  3. People are often drawn to crypto/blockchain for financial reasons.
  4. Projects need to deeply understand Axioms 1–3 and their implications if they are to have any sort of success building a community.
  5. The amount of capital in the entire crypto-market for investment & speculation grows slower than the growth of old and new projects competing for that capital, leading to crypto-tribalism and a hunter-gatherer mindset.

With these 5 axioms, you will find the goalposts of building the proper and successful narrative for your own project.


Am I being too cynical?

Perhaps. But it does lead me to my next point about a very real and persistent phenomenon in crypto, which is Crypto-Tribalism.

Crypto-Tribalism is the phenomenon of “us vs. them” mentalities that crypto-communities create, given a project’s community’s place among the other competitors and non-competitors in the market.

Truth be told, there are no “non-competitors” in the crypto market. Every project is vying for a larger slice of the market. There is a fixed amount of capital in the crypto community at any given time, and this pool of capital only grows when new entrants with new capital buy-in.

This rate of new capital growth is always smaller than the rate that new projects launch plus the rate at which old projects want to grow. Hence, Axiom 5.

Crypto-Tribalism is a necessary result of Axiom 5 and the zero-sum attitude that it creates. Smart projects in crypto understand this tribalism and learn how to harness it. They do this through various incentivisation programs, gamification schemes, memes, and specific missions.

Actually, thinking of your crypto community as a tribe of hunter-gatherers out in the wilderness, hunting for an ever-smaller flock of prey in an ever-increasingly hostile environment, does in fact help to crystallize the situation we are dealing with here.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain are very, very recent. It can be described as being in the hunter-gatherer phase of its life cycle. There is still not an adequate amount of capital, stability, or infrastructure to enable crypto to get to the Agricultural era.

Early yield-farming and staking incentives are gaining a foothold, but vast swaths of the crypto-world are still the untamed wilderness, where the great monster Volatility and the darkness of FUD reign supreme.

Who shall be like Prometheus, and light a fire unto these dark realms?

The leaders of the crypto-tribe, the founders, the executive team, most visible community managers, need to assure their tribe of several things:

  1. The tribe is growing.
  2. There’s enough food for everyone.
  3. We are better than other tribes (whoever they may be).
  4. There is a clear hierarchy in the tribe and clear ways to distinguish oneself as a good tribesperson by doing supporting actions to Points 1–3, and by adhering to the Tribal Laws.
  5. These actions are publicly rewarded/punished for all the rest of the tribe to see.
  6. WAGMI — We All Gonna Make It (Adoption)

Specifically, crypto-tribe leaders should:

The tribe is growing:

  • Focus on outreach, marketing efforts, PR stunts (within reason) partnerships, word of mouth.
  • Prove to the tribe that these things are happening through cyclical reports and blog posts.
  • Get older members of the tribe to help newcomers to the tribe through incentives and outreach programs — this is super, super important!

There’s enough food for everyone:

  • The project team achieves roadmap objectives.
  • There are regular and relevant updates and communication from the team to the community.
  • Community rewards, gamification, outreach opportunities, memes, and generally feel-good vibes are to be had by one and all.

We are better than other tribes:

  • Clearly state competitors and your advantages, use this as part of your narrative.
  • Have a clear value proposition and prove that it is working through sales numbers or TVL.
  • Use competitors as a way to define your tribe as well. We are not X so we are Y.

Important note:
I don’t mean this section to be a sort of excuse or license for trolling other projects or hating on any certain crypto-tribe. I simply mean it as a form of self-definition of your tribe in order to see how your unique selling proposition is highlighted against the greater market. This helps to define the narrative and spread it.


Hierarchy and Distinction in the Tribe:

  • Incentivised outreach programs.
  • Ambassador programs.
  • User-generated content.
  • MemesNFT rewards.
  • Staking, prizes.
  • AMAs.
  • Webinars

WAGMI (Adoption)

This brings me to my final point, WAGMI, which stands for “We All Gonna Make It”.

WAGMI is an important concept for intra-tribe cohesion, and for preventing attrition and tribal member loss. Remember the importance of Point 1 in Crypto-Tribalism: The Tribe & Adoption is Growing.

Crypto-tribe members that join a tribe need to feel that:

  • They belong, and are cared for and cared about. They are valuable and wanted.
  • They are “early”, hence need to see others join after them, the more the better.
  • Because they were “early”, they have some sort of privileged status and this is cultivated by incentivising them to help newcomers.
  • The Tribal Leaders listen to them and care about them.
  • There is a clear tribal hierarchy (Crypto-Tribalism Point 4) and a set of Tribal Laws that members are rewarded for following and punished (or ultimately banished) for breaking them. These tribal laws are clear and made to be understood by the Tribal Leaders.

And most importantly, as tribal members, if they see that Points 1–4 are satisfied and they abide by Point 5, they feel they are all going to “make it”.


What is then, “making it” and growing adoption?

That goes back to your Narrative!

The narrative that you create is not only the definition of the story that you tell to your tribe, but it is also the ostensible metric by which the success of your tribe is measured.

For example, the Bitcoin Tribe will know that they have made it when Bitcoin is truly accepted globally as “digital gold”; the Ethereum Tribe will know that they have made it when Ethereum is truly used as the World Computer.

That’s why picking your narrative and thinking about it deeply, in the light of what has been discussed, is so critical to success in crypto.


Summary

Knowing the psychology of crypto-tribes and how to build a narrative to leverage it won’t automatically grant you success in this industry, (you still have to actually know how to build technology) but it will take you a long way.

If you have the means and the know-how to pair good technology with actual use-case, along with strong tribe psychology building and reinforcement mechanisms, the sky’s the limit.

Step by step, you’ll start building your own narrative and your own crypto tribe. Just like us.

Good luck!

This document represents the view of TAIKAI on developing a community around the concept of understanding the product, the value proposition as well as its total decentralization of not only the technology but the community, with the motto on why to do it in a sustainable and long term vision of adoption and self-growth.

Carlos Mendes
Carlos Mendes
blockchaincommunity
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