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An experiment is playing out on Twitter that seeks to demonstrate the effectiveness of token-curated registries through a Crypto Twitter popularity contest.
The project is the brainchild of Gregory Rocco, a staffer at ethereum venture studio ConsenSys, who told CoinDesk that he had the idea in the shower several weeks back, leading to its Feb. 4 launch.
The TCR Party, as its dubbed, is being run by ConsenSys “spoke” Alpine, which is populated by the former token design team from Token Foundry, which has seen its fortunes shift with the winds of the token space writ-large.
By Thursday, over 250 people were participating in the token-curated registry, which aims to separate Crypto Twitter’s top influencers from its mere wannabes. Users started by tweeting “Hey @TCRPartyVIP let’s party!” and following the instructions sent to them via direct message.
Rocco, Alpine’s head of strategy, says the TCR Party experiment is a way for mainstream audiences to engage with a technology that incentivizes authoritative list-making.
Speaking to how the bot automates interactions with backend cryptocurrency wallets, Alpine’s Steve Gattuso told CoinDesk:
“Behind the scenes, any time a user registers to participate we actually generate a multisig wallet for them … you basically use the bot as the wallet.”
There are several projects working on TCRs of their own, including the ConsenSys spoke FOAM and the external advertising startup MetaX. However, both Rocco and Gattuso are skeptical about TCRs, concerned that they inevitably become plutocratic popularity contests where people amass disproportionate control through token holdings.
“My hunch was that TCRs will end up being plutocracies, where the rich get richer and control the lists,” Gattuso said.
“We’re already starting to see the benevolent cartels form.”
Although Alpine plans to continue adding features to this ongoing experiment, Gattuso said it is merely a side project built to gather data and observations. There are no plans to monetize TCR Party.
In fact, TCR Party participants can earn staked testnet tokens simply by interacting with the program. Since the abstracted tokens don’t hold any monetary value, both Alpine researchers contend this experiment isn’t perfectly comparable to projects undergone by enterprise clients.
Edwin Cheung, a software engineer at MetaX, further highlighted this point by telling CoinDesk:
“Without token economics on the Rinkeby Testnet, it is difficult to predict how people will behave on the Ethereum Mainnet.”
Even so, the Alpine team has already gleaned valuable insights.
The first testnet implementation promptly failed because an influential miner stopped contributing to the network, forcing TCR Party to migrate to another blockchain. Then, Twitter blocked their API access and the Alpine team had to wait to talk with the social media company’s support staff.
Clearly, a TCR is only as reliable as the infrastructure it lives on.
Plus, Rocco pointed out that Alpine’s goal is not to merely “jockey tokens,” but to discover where and how blockchain solutions can offer tangible value.
“Token modeling is just one small component of what the entire team is working on,” he said, adding that more experiments with technology beyond ethereum, such as bitcoin’s lightning network, could be in Alpine’s future.
Alpine isn’t the only team experimenting with TCRs, and others are taking note.
“We’re keeping a close eye on these experiments as we work towards releasing our own TCR for Messari’s disclosure registry,” Messari CEO Ryan Selkis told CoinDesk, adding:
“Most of the cool tech that’s been built in crypto wins initial awareness from the games that are built on top. Satoshi’s Place with Lightning, CryptoKitties with NFTs, even Satoshi Dice with bitcoin back in the day.”
Tempering expectations, Gattuso warned against drawing premature conclusions from this light-hearted Twitter experiment.
“We’ll learn a lot more over the next couple of weeks,” Gattuso said. “Maybe this will turn out to be a well curated registry.”
Brady Dale contributed reporting.
Twitter image via Shutterstock