Reddit announced the discontinuation of its Community Points program. The initiative, based on blockchain technology, was originally designed to incentivize high-quality content and engagement within select subreddits. Tim Rathschmidt, Reddit’s director of consumer and product communications, attributed the move to scalability challenges and a more complicated regulatory environment. Moreover, the program will be officially phased out by early November.
Community Points: A Brief Overview
Launched in 2020, Community Points were Ethereum tokens stored in Reddit’s Vault, a dedicated cryptocurrency wallet. They were designed to act not only as incentives but also as markers of reputation within Reddit communities. Once earned, these points were irrevocable, remaining with the users and offering them special features like unique badges and animated emojis. Additionally, the points had a wider internet applicability; users could display them across various platforms, thanks to the decentralized nature of blockchain.
However, the primary challenge came with scaling this feature. Initially utilizing the Ethereum network, Reddit soon faced limitations in transaction fees and bandwidth. This led the company to migrate the Community Points system to Arbitrum Nova, an alternative built on top of Ethereum in 2022, with promises of ultra-low-cost transactions and robust security. Despite this migration, scalability remained an insurmountable hurdle for Reddit.
Shifting Focus to Alternative Incentive Programs
Hence, Reddit has been exploring other avenues for community rewards and incentives. The Contributor Program is one such recent launch that allows users to convert Reddit gold and karma into cash. According to Rathschmidt, a user needs to earn at least 10 gold within a month to be eligible for a monthly withdrawal. Moreover, Reddit users with a total of over 5,000 karma can earn $1 per gold. Rathschmidt emphasized that the decision to discontinue Community Points is not aimed at making room for the Contributor Program. Instead, the focus is on scaling products that are more accessible and beneficial to a broader user base.
While the Community Points program is being phased out, Reddit is not withdrawing from the concept of rewarding its user base. Existing rewards programs like the moderator rewards program will continue. Rathschmidt noted that features purchasable through Community Points, such as gifs, should be available to any community, signaling Reddit’s ongoing commitment to community governance and user engagement.
Despite the pivot away from blockchain-based rewards, Reddit remains invested in evolving its platform. The end of the Community Points program signifies a transition, not a step back. As the platform continues to adapt, users can expect to see more scalable and accessible rewards systems that aim to enrich the Reddit experience. Significantly, while Community Points may be making an exit, Reddit’s pursuit of community-driven engagement remains steadfast.