#308: 3 Themes to Learn from Blast's TGE (Token Generation Event)

🧹 And a couple of housekeeping items

2 housekeeping items

I’ve changed my PFP

Earlier today, I changed my PFP from my beloved Cool Cat to my Pudgy Penguin. This was a change I’ve considered for the better part of a year and the day has finally come.

Why make the switch considering my online brand over the past 3 years has been associated with the Cool Cat?

For some people, changing profile pictures isn’t a big deal and oftentimes shouldn’t be. However, my PFP was a Cool Cat in the first place because the CC community helped me understand the concept of community (beyond the basic stuff) in this industry, leading to multiple a-ha moments. All of these moments added up little by little, leading me to dedicate the current arc of my career to this industry. My Cool Cat PFP was a nod to that series of moments, growing from curiosity to passion, and I’ll always be grateful for that.

As the initial hype of 2021 transitioned into the lulls of 2022 and 2023, the industry experienced a serious hangover from multiple fronts. Promising projects faded into the background or blew up. Brands dipped their toes into the warm water and as they waded deeper, that water became colder than they expected. Companies and projects that raised VC rounds balled out without considering runway.

Despite all this, there were several projects that weathered the storm and added pages to the industry playbook around what world-class growth and marketing could look like, inspired by established best practices and putting their own twist on them. This created a flywheel effect, inspiring other builders and operators. One of them is Pudgy Penguins.

Since this publication started, I’ve written about Pudgy Penguins 15 times (~5% of my pieces so far), documenting their growth journey from their successful GIF strategy, launching Pudgy Toys on Amazon, continued retail expansion, and more. Many times, I didn’t want to write about them. They just kept delivering and doing it in a way that added more plays and pages to that proverbial playbook, leaving me no choice but to write about them. To me, that means they’re doing something right, and changing my PFP is a nod to what the brand, team, and community have done to achieve their success so far.

TPan the person won’t change. Web3 with TPan won’t change. TPan the animal PFP JPEG has though, from one cute animal to another 🐧

Chat with TPan

I’ve been humbled at how much the Web3 with TPan readership has grown over the past two years, with numerous anecdotes meeting readers online and IRL experiences of ‘I’ve been reading your stuff for a long time’ or ‘Oh YOU’RE TPan?!’ 😂

Those moments make me all warm and fuzzy inside, knowing that I’m not writing into the void. That said, I’ve done a lackluster job at connecting with my reader community.

I’m not ready to create an exclusive Discord or Telegram group, but I want to make myself available to you to learn more about what you’re working on, help provide feedback, or be an ideation partner, regardless of what stage you’re at. I consider it a public good and a nice way to put a face to the name for both sides.

So if you want to connect and chat, fill out this form and I’ll get back to you. Moving forward, I’ll plug the form in the ‘Other interesting things’ section.

Alrighty then, let’s get on with it and talk about Blast 💥

Blast's TGE (Token Generation Event)

Over the past several months, we’ve seen multiple high-profile projects conduct their TGE event (for those less familiar, think of it like an IPO). These moments are like Christmas for users farmers, who receive an airdrop of the token and make money. And just like Christmas, some of these ‘presents’ make the airdrop holiday the best day ever, or a disappointing one based on the number of tokens they receive or the price of the token at launch or the following days/weeks/months after.

As someone who has participated in a few of the recent TGEs, I’ve been more interested in how the event itself has been conducted, and Blast’s TGE event was the most interesting so far. What did the team do?

Similar to other TGEs, Blast announced the event on X and Discord (which was a link that led to the announcement on X).

But one very important detail was missing…

Compare this with ZKsync’s TGE announcement last week with the link to claim in the first line. Front and center, the star of the show.

So, where was the link to claim?! It was buried under the thread, the 9th post to be specific. Why?

Blast took the TGE event as an opportunity to provide more context around what the chain has accomplished, what was next, and introduce a new term and new slogan. If a user came from Discord, they saw it three times (Discord announcement text, X post preview, X post)

Have you clicked on a link before? If so, click one of the links below to share or subscribe!

The claim process

Alright, the degens jumped through the hoop of finding the claim link (which was actually just blast.io lol) what was next? Users started off by watching a non-skippable video featuring Pacman (founder), explaining what the chain has accomplished, what was next, and introduce a new term and new slogan. Wait a second…

After watching the video, users had to install the Blast app on their mobile device, and the desktop screen redirected to a Blast blog post sharing the team’s vision for the chain (I’ll let you guess what the blog post was about).

The Blast app

The Blast app isn’t a full-blown mobile app, but a PWA (progressive web app, popularized by friendtech). After installing the app, users could finally claim their airdrop after waiting in a queue (I waited about 5 minutes. Others waited longer, possibly because they had a larger allocation).

But hey, don’t be bored while you wait. You can watch a video titled ‘Blast: THE FULLSTACK CHAIN’.

Golden Tickets and the Blast Wallet

After claiming the $BLAST token, the app reveals a dashboard similar to the original version on desktop, with one new mobile-exclusive feature: Golden Ticket.

Golden Tickets are basically lotto scratchers except in this case, it seems like every ticket (out of the 4 I’ve scratched so far) is a winner. The value of each win varies, and some of the prizes are physical items, including merch and a Cybertruck (they certainly know the audience, ha). The amount of assets bridged and app usage determines how many tickets are earned each week. Every wallet that claimed the airdrop got at least 1 golden ticket to start off to get that dopamine hit and understand how the mini-game works.

The last section of the app is the wallet tab, where Blast shares that the mobile wallet will come in Q4.

Themes from Blast’s TGE

Price and airdrop complaints aside (there will always be unhappy folks), this is another impressive performance by the Blast team.

TGE: Token Generation Event Token Generation Experience

Historically, the TGE has been an event (it’s in the acronym after all), but hasn’t quite been treated as an event. Blast capitalized on the rare moment where a project could command captive attention from the user:

  • Announcement with the claim link buried within the thread

  • Incorporated an unskippable video

  • When users switched from desktop to mobile, the desktop page auto-redirected to a Blast blog post, maximizing every piece of digital real estate

  • Required users download the Blast mobile app in order to claim

Off the top of my head, this type of experience has some parallels to Azuki’s ‘check your wallets’ moment during an IRL event, live airdropping NFTs to Azuki holders. Not as flashy of course, but it was an experience of sorts.

Sure, users could mute the video or rush through the steps, and almost all of them did. However, this behavior was countered with the repetition of two themes Blast wanted to hammer home:

  1. Fullstack chain

  2. Unbank the banked

If you aren’t consciously acknowledging it, your brain is doing it unconsciously for you. Take a look at their updated X profile.

Claim moments are becoming more complex

Gone are the days of the simple airdrop token claim. It’s now X to claim and claim and X, which are variations of the X-to-mint concept I introduced in the past. We’re seeing this with other projects that have had recent TGE events:

  • Pirate Nation, a web3 game incorporated a ‘claim and stake’ mechanic. The earlier you staked your airdrop, the larger your multiplier would be for future rewards

  • LayerZero introduced the ‘donate to claim’ concept

  • Blast brought us ‘download to claim’ with the introduction of the mobile app

Future TGE events will follow this theme and potentially be even more demanding. As a far-fetched hypothetical example, Blast could have even forced users to give mic access and repeat ‘Blast is the best’ 100 times in order to proceed to the next claim step.

Would people get upset? Yes (I would find it hilarious though)

Would people do it? Absolutely, this is the fullstack chain we’re talking about! 😉

Projects and teams will start to shift their thinking around TGEs from a moment into an experience in which they will have significant attention leverage. The part to be careful with is balancing how far to push users while making it a fresh experience vs. another ‘quest’ with more hoops to jump through. Blast threaded this needle well, with the pleasant surprise of Golden Tickets waiting for users who completed the claim journey.

TGE is an opportunity to seed new behavioral loops

Instead of being a one-and-done moment, Blast introduced a mobile app and a new mobile-specific behavioral loop with Golden Tickets. As a result, Blast has become a multi-platform Layer 2 blockchain besides Coinbase + Base (which is a sorta comparing apples and oranges).

On the note of mobile, even though the Blast app is a PWA, the team is treating it as a full-fledged mobile app, using the terms ‘download’, ‘app,’ and ‘install’. The app even has an update screen with copy and UI similar to apps when forcing updates.

When the Blast wallet comes out, there will be less friction for adoption as it will be treated more as a new feature instead of a new onboarding experience since much of the heavy lifting has been done.

So there you have it folks, Blast and Pacman have done it again. We’ll see if their approach inspires other teams to take a page from this TGE playbook and expand upon it in the coming months.

Other interesting things

See you next week!

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