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Reddit Shifts Gears, Community Points Program Makes Way for Scalability

Reddit is gracefully retiring its "internet points" initiative known as Community Points
By Josefina Dipaolo
October 19, 2023

In a strategic shift, Reddit is bidding farewell to its blockchain-based "internet points" program, known as Community Points. The move is driven by Reddit's desire to streamline and prioritize rewards programs that are more adaptable and scalable. What was once hailed as a chance for Redditors to stake a claim in their community will soon make way for innovative approaches.

Reddit's Director of Consumer and Product Communications, Tim Rathschmidt, explained the rationale behind the decision. He acknowledged the initial promise of Community Points but cited the growing resource requirements that eventually outweighed the benefits. Regulatory complexities further compounded the challenges. Rathschmidt noted the remarkable support from moderators and communities but concluded that the program had outgrown its capacity to scale.

Launched in 2020, Community Points aimed to reward users for positive engagement in select subreddits, fostering richer content and discussions. These points were Ethereum-based tokens stored in Reddit's Vault, functioning as a unique cryptocurrency wallet. Once awarded, Community Points were beyond Reddit's and moderators' control, adding a layer of ownership for users.

These tokens could be employed to access special features, such as memberships with exclusive badges and animated emojis. Notably, once utilized, the points were "burned." To enhance user reputation, Community Points were prominently displayed next to usernames in participating subreddits, acknowledging the community's top contributors. Since these points existed on the blockchain, they could be showcased anywhere on the internet and embedded in other platforms. However, if a user faced a Reddit ban, their points remained on the blockchain but were inaccessible without their Vault.

Scaling Community Points turned out to be a formidable obstacle for Reddit. The program initially relied on Ethereum, which came with high transaction costs and limited bandwidth. The process of integrating all Reddit users into the primary Ethereum network proved infeasible and financially impractical. This led to an exploration of alternative, decentralized, secure, and scalable solutions. In 2022, Reddit transitioned Community Points to Arbitrum Nova, a framework built on top of Ethereum. This transition allowed for cost-effective transactions, heightened energy efficiency, and robust security assurances.

As Reddit sunsets its Community Points program, it reflects the tech giant's commitment to adapt to the evolving landscape of online communities. The move to streamline and make rewards more scalable is part of Reddit's ongoing efforts to enhance user experiences.

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