Reddit Waves Goodbye to Community Points
- Reddit is discontinuing its blockchain-based “Community Points” program due to scalability challenges.
- The program aimed to reward users for positive engagement in subreddits and allowed them to own and use tokens as part of their communities.
- Scaling issues arose when the program used Ethereum, leading Reddit to explore alternative solutions.
- Reddit introduced new incentive programs, such as the Contributor Program, allowing users to convert Reddit gold and karma into cash.
- The discontinuation of Community Points aims to prioritize more scalable rewards programs, while the benefits of Community Points have already been integrated into the platform.
In a surprising move, Reddit has decided to discontinue its blockchain-based “Community Points” program, citing scalability issues.
The decision comes as a pivot toward prioritizing more scalable rewards programs, as stated by Reddit’s director of consumer and product communications, Tim Rathschmidt.
While the concept of Community Points aimed to empower Redditors by allowing them to “own” a piece of their community, the challenges associated with scaling this initiative have led to its discontinuation by early November.
The Rise and Fall of Community Points
The concept of Community Points emerged in 2020, as Reddit’s attempt to reward users positively engaging in select subreddits to foster better content and conversation.
These Community Points, essentially Ethereum tokens, were stored in Reddit’s Vault, functioning as a cryptocurrency wallet.
Once awarded, these points were beyond the reach of Reddit and moderators, ensuring the ownership and utility of users.
They could be employed to access special features, such as memberships, unique badges, and animated emojis. However, once spent, these points were “burned”, no longer in circulation.
Moreover, Community Points, regarded as a measure of “reputation”, were displayed alongside usernames in participating subreddits, highlighting the most significant contributors within the community.
Being on the blockchain, Community Points were meant to be portable, usable on other websites or apps. Even if a user were banned from Reddit, their points remained secure on the blockchain.
Blockchain Scaling Woes
The scalability challenge arose from Reddit’s choice to employ the Ethereum blockchain, which suffered from high transaction fees and limited bandwidth.
The Community Points page acknowledged the impracticality of placing all Reddit users on the Ethereum network, considering the feasibility and cost. Reddit sought decentralized, secure, and scalable solutions.
In 2022, Reddit migrated Community Points to Arbitrum Nova, which operates atop Ethereum, benefiting from advanced scaling technologies. Despite this effort, scaling challenges persisted.
Alternative Incentive Programs
In response to the scaling difficulties, Reddit introduced various community incentive programs, including the moderator rewards program and the Contributor Program.
The latter program allows users to convert Reddit gold and karma into cash.
To be eligible for a monthly withdrawal under the Contributor Program, Redditors must earn at least ten gold within 30 days.
Users with over 5,000 karma (total upvotes) can earn $1 per gold.
Tim Rathschmidt, Reddit’s director, emphasized the company’s ongoing efforts to improve community governance and support contributions.
Reddit is actively investing in products that aim to achieve the objectives set by the Community Points program while being easier to adopt and understand.
Once Community Points are fully phased out, beta participants will no longer see their points in their Vaults and will cease earning points in their communities.
While Rathschmidt did not specify the exact number of subreddits affected, he indicated that the impact would be minimal.
Reddit’s decision to discontinue Community Points follows its decision to end the coin system earlier this year, which allowed users to purchase Gold and other currencies for rewarding other users.
This change was met with dissatisfaction from Reddit’s user base, which was already critical of the platform’s API changes.
Rathschmidt clarified that the discontinuation of Community Points is not intended to make way for the Contributor Program but to focus on more scalable programs that can benefit a wider user base.