POAPs, fun collectibles or just another method of tracking your every move?

During my most recent shift at NXT museum, I noticed a new display, titled “POAPs, discover and collect free NFTs around the exhibition.” Of course, I was extremely intrigued by the display and especially the “Free NFT” part. However, when I asked my supervisor for more details, they explained to me that they are an interactive way for the visitor to pay close attention to the exhibition in order to find hidden QR codes. Upon scanning these QR codes a set of questions will pop up regarding an artwork the POAP is linked to. These questions are fairly simple such as “What is the name of the main character” in order to keep them accessible to all age groups. If all questions are answered correctly, the visitor can mint their ,“free NFT”, the POAP in their crypto wallet.
So not only is the purpose of these collectibles to invite the visitor to interact with the exhibition more, but also introduce the concept of crypto currency. Furthermore, NXT museum will have access to these wallets in order to give these collectors discount codes or invites to special events at the museum.

However, neither the display advertising these POAPs nor the process of minting them, actually explain what they are and what their purpose is, which lead me to some research. From the official POAP website I found  that  “Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) is a protocol that creates digital badges or collectibles through the use of blockchain technology.[1] […] POAPs are minted through smart contracts as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain. They are tokens created to celebrate and record the attendance of an event”. Meaning that these badges can be considered NFTs because they are using the same network and every one of them has a small detail, personal to the individual that originally collected it.

The official POAP website also states that they are a way of keeping track of your life experiences, kind of like a photo album, but instead of photos, you get digital badges. I wonder how commercial POAPs will be in the future as, it is quite a new technology and had never heard of them before. My American co-worker however, mentioned she had found a couple at festivals and even one during an episode of the animated series created by Netflix, called: “Love, Death & Robots”.  

Now, this does seem like a fun activity to do, staying alert for hidden QR codes hoping to find aa POAP showing you are one of the few people that found it. However, it is concerning that there is not a lot of education regarding QR codes. Sure, the ones you scan at a restaurant to obtain the menu and scanning one advertised by a museum is safe, random QR codes on the street may contain viruses, as it is essentially like clicking a random link on your computer.[2] Furthermore, since the organizations do have access to your POAP wallet once you have minted theirs, I wonder what kind of information they would be able to access, especially since not every organization can be trusted anymore.

So what do you think? Will POAPs be the next big thing, or will these POAPs stay forgotten in our crypto wallets just like any other receipt in your wallet right now?

[1] https://poap.xyz/

[2] https://www.avast.com/c-what-is-qr-code-how-to-scan