Wen “One of Us” sir? Dean’s List Token Airdrop

Thoughts on Initial Distribution for Tokenized Communities

8 min readFeb 28, 2023

Lessons from Bonk and what we’re doing different

Almost everyone has heard of BONK, the community token that reinvigorated the Solana ecosystem with excitement for a new idea and a fair and wide distribution. If you held any of the popular NFTs, used Orderbook, or were part of LamportDAO, you likely received a boatload of BONK. It targeted builders instead of dumpers.

One of the big things we’re going to do different from BONK is we’re going to let everyone know how they can earn some of the new token BEFORE the airdrop.

This completely changes the way distribution happens as anyone can begin working towards earning a membership before the airdrop. If you want to have a high quorum and a highly active holder base, you need to let people show that they want to be involved instead of just airdropping them tokens!

For BONK, the developer distribution was selected by building a list with reliable developer sources. We’re going to do the same, but do this all transparently and share all selection criteria ahead of time.

The risk of all this pre-communicated selection of course is that people try to game the system and earn tokens in a mad dash of “productivity and interest”.

We’ve got 2 years of experience in identifying contributors and separating them from the airdrop hunters. Bring it on.

How you can prepare for the airdrop

Our major distribution for “core members” will go to voters in Dean’s List DAO on Realms. This helps us predict a very high quorum by specifically targeting people that have already shown they vote often AND contribute in the community.

Even if you own no $DEAN tokens and have never contributed, you can still start today.

We also want to make it more about merit and less about spending. Our DAO has had an entry as low as $0.05 and is currently $20.

Our office lobby

Selecting the “Core Members”

The “spend a little” route (going this way saves you the grind)

  • Purchase a membership by swapping $Grape for $DEAN on Strata here
  • Purchase a membership directly on our Coinable site for $50 here
  • DM me, or the Dean’s List DAO for the super secret Discord Link. Make noise and you’ll get it in no time!

The “spend no money” route — aka “Grind mindset”

This is the most likely to have airdrop hunters. Its an unfortunate reality that meritocratic entries are going to be the easiest attack vector, but we wont let that deter US, so don’t let our high barrier to entry deter YOU. This is where you earn your way to Valhalla

  • Get into the discord. Its currently super secret. To make the journey easier, here is a link that will only work for the first 100 uses. If it’s no longer valid, follow me or the Dean’s List account on Twitter where we frequently post new links.
  • Introduce yourself and start giving feedback. Every week we’re going to be giving at least 1 membership to a user that display the qualities we like seeing. This process is a minefield to airdrop hunters. Follow the templates and be authentic!

What to do once you are in

  • Once you have your membership, its time to make some money! We currently have feedback work with Backpack, Zignaly, and 5 projects in our Grizzlython Accelerator that need your input! Not to mention constant demand for design, content, and video work. All efforts are rewarded and effort is a core requirement to be part of our “Core Members”
  • Start voting! We are counting votes and proposal participation as a major factor for allocating tokens. If you manage to grind all the way into membership and dont vote, you wont receive a portion of the big allocation!

The Passive Airdrop

This is where the most action is going to take place after the initial distribution to core members. This is for those people that have shown contribution to the ecosystem but didn't have the luxury of time to get into the core group.

The core members will vote on multiple waves of selection criteria, giving out more and more tokens to the entire Solana ecosystem. It will be EXTREMELY fun and unpredictable

I’ve shared my personal preferences and will definitely be proposing these once the time comes. A few ideas are

  • Hardcore users of Realms and Squads
  • Civic Key holders
  • Dean’s List NFT holders
  • Superteam DAO membership holders
  • AthensDAO NFT holders
  • Degenerate Ape Academy Degen Service trait holders (its my favourite trait! Dont like my idea, come vote against it!)

All of this is up for discussion and we’re constantly having votes and discussions in the Dean’s List DAO. Our DAO call is every Wednesday at 7pm UTC

Brutal truths about Decentralised Communities

I learned a lot about DAOing over the last 2 years. The idea that a decentralised community could have 10,000 active members (with the current tooling and mindset) is so far from reality; its kind of funny looking in the rearview mirror and seeing how wrong I was when you read this article about reaching that community size

There are a few key takeaways that deserve their own articles to expand on. This is essential reading for anyone looking to start their own community or, potentially fix an existing one (althought extremely hard to course correct after you’ve started!).

  • Initial distribution is when a community will achieve its highest quorum
  • ”Dunbar’s number” is real, and even harder to reach in online communities
  • The quorum a community can achieve is correlated to the amount of speculation in the community’s token. The lower the quorum, the higher the market speculation
  • A governance token should be used for voting, not for speculation. Why hold a governance token if you arent voting!
  • The speed at which a community can grow is correlated to its proposal time. If discussion happens on a daily basis, decision making can happen on a daily basis.
  • Participation in voting is correlated to an individual’s contribution in a community
  • A community’s health can be judged by looking at 3 core metrics. What brings value to the community (ie more members, more money, more mission), what extracts value from the community (how do we spend our time and money), and what is discussed in the a community (what are we focused on, what do we talk about)
  • A community needs a clear vision that connects those 3 core metrics (ie what brings value is connected to what extracts value and is connected to what is focused on)
  • Rewards for contribution need to be rapid and clear; the longer it takes to settle the past, the more the confusion and disappointment from the contributor
  • Work in a community can become a centralised risk to a community if a task is not available to multiple participants; the work being finished is extremely different from having volunteers for the work
  • The vocal minority can create the illusion of disagreement. The ultimate measure of agreement is voting
  • Disputed proposals and failed proposals are healthy. Constant unanimous, successful proposals is unhealthy.

As a result, you can see that Dean’s List has

  • A quorum that routinely reaches above 50%
  • A proposal time of 24 hours
  • No claim on work; anyone can complete a task
  • Clear contribution rewards
  • No outstanding rewards

“One of us” role is a way of life

Our current role is assigned by holding 1 $DEAN token; the $Grape-bonded token that represents our membership. Once someone has this membership, they can participate in ANY of the community work. The most popular type of work today is giving feedback on Solana projects. Services are purchased on our Coinable site in USDC; those funds go directly to our DAO treasury and contributors receive USDC equal to their contribution.

There are currently 45 members who have worked and received rewards from our DAO!

Last week of our DAO sales on Coinable

What is great about this model is that anyone can get involved and at any time. Have 30 minutes on the weekend? Hop into the Backpack feedback channel and share some of your thoughts. That just earned you $5 USDC (voted on by the community). Want to dedicate 10 hours in a week? Go for it! The flexibility is made possible by sticking to the ethos; anyone can work, rewards are clear, and work cant be hoarded/claimed/reserved by someone.

This is the DAO you have been waiting for.

Why we are making a new token

The reason behind a new token stems behind our need to leave the current $DEAN token built on Strata. This decision comes down to 3 main reasons

1- Fixing initial distribution for optimal quorum and membership

We want more than anything to have a highly active group of members running our DAO. By using a selection criteria that involves merit at inception, we can distribute ownership to the people that are contributing the most. By starting a new token, we can optimise distribution for a very high quorum and active group

2-Removing volatility and giving Dean’s List more control over its membership

Originally, all services were rewarded in $DEAN token, which is backed by $Grape. Over time however, the community realised that being pegged to a different token brought on more volatility and little control over the value of our rewards! We handled that by switching to USDC for our services, but our membership still suffers from this bonding. With a new token, we can have greater control and predictability over our membership requirements

3-Strata protocol is no longer being maintained

Although I have a high confidence in Strata, the reality is we cant continue to use a tool that isn't actively maintained. It got us here, but its not going to get us to where we are going. It’s possible we will consider a bonding token using Nodia, and we’re in discussions with the team there on how to do that with something less volatile like SOL or USDC

Why should you care about having a membership?

Our new token is similar to the current token; its the only way someone can participate in our work and feedback sessions. If that sounds interesting to you, you’ll want to try and get a whole membership now because we are targetting no more than 100 members.

We’re currently at 45 people that actively contribute and we don't want to dilute that group much more. If you dont think you are interested in being part of our power user group, this isnt worth your time.

But if you DO think you want to be part of a DAO with a very straightforward goal, vision, and reward system, there is no better DAO to join and become “one of us”





Dean Pappas | Building on Solana | Ex Grape, Marlin, Ethereum Classic, Zel, Taucoin | Ex GM at Zeta Global | Hearthstone and MTG