What is a token gate?
A token gate is a blockchain enabled tool for enabling exclusive access to something. By adding a token gate to something, or when someone says something is "token-gated", it means that only people who hold a specific non-fungible token (NFT) or fungible token (ETH) can access what every is behind the gate. Think of it as adding password protection to something, but instead of a password, someone needs to hold a token. This makes token-gated content more secure for a lot of reasons.
How does token-gating work?
When you add a token gate to a piece of content, a web page, a Discord server, a Shopify item or store, a video, etc, anyone trying to access that content will be prompted to connect a crypto wallet containing the required token to access the content.
Token gates can be simple, i.e. they can simply require that you hold a specific NFT or any NFT from a Collection, or they can be more complex. A more complex token gate might mean that you hold a combination of tokens. So for example, the gate might require that the wallet contains a NFT or a specific quantity of social tokens representing membership to a community, and also an NFT representing access to that specific content. This is where token-gates get fun -- you can do collabs where people have to hold an NFT from three different artists, or you can gamify it where people are earning NFTs and where certain ones unlock different kinds of content.
On Tellie, we try and make it as simple as possible. You can add a token gate (we call it exclusive access) to any page with just a few clicks. You can designate up the 3 different tokens or 10 POAPs that can be used in combination to unlock a page. Read on for a how-to.
Why make a token-gated page?
If you’re selling NFTs or building value through a social token, setting up a token-gated page that your community can “unlock” should be a no-brainer.
Essentially, token gates fulfill the same functionality as a paywall on a NY Times article or a Substack newsletter subscription: They give paying members of your community exclusive access to your content. The only difference is that with a token gate, your NFT or social token is the key to unlocking whatever perks are on your exclusive page.
Beyond adding value to your community of holders, sharing exclusive content behind a token gate can also significantly increase the value of your NFT(s). We’ve seen that token gating is a great way to drive anticipation around NFT drops, too.
Who should use token gates?
Quick answer: Token gates make sense for anyone who wants to build community, increase NFT sales, and encourage deeper engagement with your content. All you need is something exciting to offer on your token-gated page, such as special offers, discounted tickets, early access, digital downloads, behind-the-scenes content, access to private chats, or anything else you can dream up.
Most of the biggest NFT communities use token gating as a way to facilitate access to their content, drops, and more. Bored Apes, CryptoPunks, Crypto Baristas, and Meebits all offer exclusive experiences for NFT holders, which is a big part of why these communities have exploded in popularity.
Beyond the character-based NFT communities mentioned above, token gating is a smart way for artists and musicians to drive engagement around releases, build anticipation for upcoming drops, and reward your most loyal (or earliest) fans.
What are some smart examples of NFT token gating?
The web3 community BFF has a token-gated perk shop.
BFF is an open-access community helping women and non-binary people learn about and get into the web3 space, with high-profile “founding BFFs” including Gwynth Paltrow, Mila Kunis, Tyra Banks, and Kate Hudson. Their inaugural NFT collection, “You,” features colorful women and non-binary characters with an array of “traits.” Different traits unlock various perks for holders, such as a moon tattoo unlocking a chance to win a session with a tattoo artist. They also have a series of friendship bracelet NFTs, which let community members claim benefits such as brand-aligned product discounts, exclusive experiences, and more. Essentially, holding a BFF NFT enables you to go on a “treasure hunt” for claimable perks within the BFF ecosystem, which is a great way of driving community engagement and interest in their growing community.
HENO.’s social badge offers fans access for life.
For an NFT release with Snoop Dogg, LA-based musician and producer HENO. created a web site with nine unique landing pages, of which just one was token gated—a nice strategy for being inclusive of all fans, while rewarding holders with something extra. For fans who purchased the NFT, the token-gated page could be unlocked to access pre-releases of tracks from his upcoming album, exclusive new merchandise, and behind-the-scenes material.
HENO. is also experimenting with a “social badge” NFT, which will grant holders “lifetime access to token-gated content and experiences…. [with the intention of providing] more accessibility to the creative world that HENO. is building,” i.e. bringing his community directly into his creative process as it continues to evolve over time.
Timbaland used a token-gated page for a music video launch.
Timbaland is one of the most influential producers of all time, with 21 Grammy nominations under his belt, and collaborations with the likes of Missy Elliott and Justin Timberlake, to name a few.
With his token-gated page, Timbaland provided added utility to fans who purchased “Has A Meaning” NFTs by enabling them to unlock a behind-the-scenes recap on the making of his music video, in addition to a download of the track (which was not available anywhere else). 57% of Timbaland’s NFT holders downloaded the track, and the “Has A Meaning” behind-the-scenes video was viewed 1.3 times per holder.