Digital Marketing

Token Gating: Membership has Its Privileges

July 21, 2022
Digital Surgeons

As Web3 threads are woven tighter into the fabric of our culture, community, and commerce, I am seeing a proliferation of blockchain-based solutions designed to improve the world we share.

The key word above is “improve” and is defined as an innovation that adds value or creates value for us in the future.

The above premise is the basis for why I am excited about Token gating. For those not familiar with this term, the idea is that you must hold a Non Fungible Token (NFT) in order to gain access to exclusive content and/or experiences. And the NFT is validated on the blockchain; Ethereum and Solana are popular chains you may have heard of.

Token gating is a repeating pattern in the exchange of goods and services. 🔁

Quick question… any of you have an unredeemed free movie punch card from Blockbuster? :-) Since then, other brands have piled onto this older trend. We are seeing Domino’s, Starbucks and other eCommerce brands evolve the shopping experience to drive trial, purchase and increased LTV. Notice, I don’t call them restaurants; 25% of Sbux $$$ is brewed on the app and a smoke’n 42% of Domino's $$$ is on their app.

A primary reason to deploy a Token gate is to confirm with 100% certainty that someone is a member of a club. And nobody can take that membership away from the holder. It’s an exclusive club that goes beyond the conventional idea from our past (e.g. a club could go bankrupt and your membership has no value).

Let’s unpack why “Membership has its privileges.” 🧳

Token gating goes much deeper, and with the recent launch of Shopthru on Shopify I expect adoption from the 3.9 Million websites using the platform to elevate their eCommerce solution and expand their 31% market share of eCommerce websites. It only takes one big brand (e.g. Allbirds, Hyatt, Gymshark & Kylie Cosmetics) to drop an NFT, create major FOMO and connect access to exclusive content through a minted NFT. Imagine the next McDonald’s Monopoly game had a series of unique NFTs tied into their mobile app!

If you are a challenger brand, like Masterbuilt or Kamado Joe (you should read this case study), it’s only a matter of time before a brand experiments with an NFT drop to engage an illusive audience shaping the culture of tomorrow. And with that NFT, imagine unlocking early access to a new feature set (umm, anyone need heated seats?), a cooking show, or even a VIP IRL experience hosted by a celebrity chef.

When you use Token gating (Single is another solution) you leverage the underlying technology built for developers to build useful NFT-based Web3 communities. This is a unique approach for Shopify — which is known for intuitive interfaces — because they did not focus on the user interface (UI), they chose a tech first approach.

First mover advantage is real! ⚡️

There is a wealth of information coming out about Token gating and I firmly believe that this holiday season will have some big NFT drops. Shopify rolled out this blog last month: A Retailer’s Guide to Token gating and NFTs. I’ve read it a few times and you should too.

Want to experience some early adopters, check: Doodles, Bored Ape, Okay Bears and Invisible Friends. Even the entertainment industry is getting in on using NFTs to exchange music: Kings of Leon NFT album release. These are great examples to study and reverse engineer. Start by engaging in their discord channel as means to learn best how to best introduce your own strategy.


Still curious? Want to learn more? I'm friendly, reach out and lets discuss more.

Thanks for reading.
Digital Surgeons
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