Crypto Torches Shed Light On Blockchain Tech
But are they really worth the trouble?
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Crypto adoption is a challenge, and torch campaigns are one way of attracting attention. These campaigns work just like the Olympic relay: participants pass the flame to other users, or they keep an unbroken chain of transactions alive. This allows blockchain platforms to show off their true potential.
This sort of campaign is feasible because many blockchain platforms offer low fees and fast transactions. But there’s an element of trust as well: participants must pass the torch onto people they trust to keep the train of transactions alive. This means that many participants are high-profile, trustworthy figures or celebrities.
Eventually, the torch relay ends, and someone gets to keep the torch and hold onto its monetary value, if it has any. So far, several blockchain communities have tried to build a viral campaign on this model, with some success.
Here are the biggest torch campaigns so far.
The Lightning Torch
The Lightning Torch was the first and most popular campaign of its kind. It was designed to promote the Lightning Network, a second-layer payment network for Bitcoin transactions. This campaign involved a series of small Bitcoin transactions, which ultimately added up to 0.41 BTC (worth $2000 at the time, or $4700 now).
Hodlonaut, an online cryptocurrency personality, began the campaign on January 19th, and in the following months, the torch was passed between 282 different people, including Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey. On April 13th, the campaign ended, and the accumulated value was donated to a humanitarian group called Bitcoin Venezuela.
The Monero Torch
Now, it’s time for a newer torch: this week, the Monero community began a torch campaign in order to show that Monero transactions are hundreds of times cheaper than Bitcoin. These advantages come from Monero’s bulletproofs upgrade, which dramatically reduced Monero fees and transaction times last October.
Monero is a privacy coin whose ledger doesn’t reveal much. But the path of the invisible torch is thoroughly recorded on Twitter. Judging by user comments, the torch has been moving quickly: about 20 people passed the torch on the first day, and most transactions have added about 0.001 XMR (~$0.08) to the transaction chain, so value is adding up gradually.
The Stellar Torch
On June 26, the Stellar community began its own torch campaign. Similar to the Monero and Lightning torch campaigns, each participant is being asked to add a small amount with each transaction that they make. The goal is to have the torch pass through the hands of 100,000 users – a very ambitious goal, to say the least.
It’s not clear whether the campaign is succeeding. In fact, it’s hard to say just how many people are involved in the campaign: the Stellar Torch’s website appears to update in real time, but it actually resets to zero when the page is refreshed. Twitter, however, reveals that the torch is indeed still moving on a regular basis.
The EOS Torch
EOS also has its own torch. In this campaign, there is just one non-divisible token, and it doesn’t accumulate value. The campaign was initiated by a group called EOSTORCH in March, and a block producer called EOS Nation became a major proponent of the campaign just after that. It passed the token between its 32 team members in just one hour.
The campaign seems to have died off quietly: after 161 passes, the last transaction took place on May 31st. Since the non-divisible token only has sentimental value, it’s unlikely that the current holder can sell it to make a profit. Perhaps the campaign will start up again, but given two months of inactivity, it seems unlikely.
Bitcoin Cash’s SLP Torch
Bitcoin Cash supporters began their own torch campaign in March. Much like the EOS Torch, this campaign involved a non-divisible token with no real value. The so-called SLP Torch was built on the Simple Ledger Protocol, a system that allows developers to issue custom Bitcoin Cash tokens, such as stablecoins and other special digital assets.
Participants passed the torch between several developers, projects, and key figures. Even Roger Ver, the ever-controversial Bitcoin Cash proponent and Bitcoin.com figurehead, held the torch at one point. At the time of writing, the SLP Torch appears to have moved 71 times. The link was broken on June 14th – though the campaign never officially concluded.
Are Torches Worth Your Time?
Some torch campaigns do seem to raise awareness for crypto projects. William Shatner, for example, noticed Lightning thanks to the torch’s movements- a big win for the campaign, even though he never actually held the torch. On the other hand, many small torch campaigns don’t attract very much attention, and they never really get noticed beyond the crypto community.
There’s another problem: torch campaigns aren’t terribly original. They’re cookie-cutter projects, more or less. This isn’t a bad thing on its own, but there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies in existence. Perhaps there is room for another torch or two, but will anyone care after the tenth one is created? Probably not.
Still, credit must be given where it is due: these campaigns do pretty much everything they set out to do—they transfer tokens quickly and inexpensively, and they create long-running transaction chains. They might not attract much attention, but they may win over a few users who are still undecided.