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TABLE OF CONTENTS

TempleDAO: A memetic force to be reckoned with

by Dillon Yap

Beneath the moonless sky of a cold, November night, the !verified congregated outside the Temple Gates, their fingers hovering over their devices as they waited with bated breath for the commencement of the Opening Ceremony.

In the days that followed, aspiring Templars embarked on a journey riddled with trials and tribulations designed to test their faith and wits. The most resilient amongst them who completed The Pilgrimage earned the right to ascend and join the ranks of Templars, becoming one worthy of entering the Temple. Templars, should they wish, could then offer up the much-coveted Sandalwood alongside FRAX at the Altar of Sacrifice, in return for TEMPLE to cement their role as a member of TempleDAO.

Are you worthy of entering the Temple?
 

The Power of Memes

Take a gander at crypto Twitter and it won’t be long before you encounter GMs, WAGMIs, animal profile pictures, low-quality GIFs and other oddities of Web3 culture. The industry’s unofficial mascot is Pepe the Frog, a hideous anthropomorphic frog with lips that would make Kylie cower in envy. Two of the top-15 coins by market cap are Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB), dog mascot coins created and powered by memes, propelled to the very top of the industry by a rabid following fueled by “to-the-moon” self-fulfilling prophecies.

Instead of trying to maintain a facade of professionalism valued by traditional industries, the crypto industry has instead embraced memes, and it has become the lingua franca of the community. If you’re not well-versed in memeology, chances are you're NGMI. In the world of cryptocurrencies, memes are powerful tools that hold a cult-like sway when wielded correctly - we know this, judging by his Twitter antics, Elon Musk certainly knows this, and so does TempleDAO.
 

What is TempleDAO?

Before we dive right into the bizarre world of TempleDAO and its many rituals, let’s take a second to understand what the protocol is. 

It’s no secret that TempleDAO is inspired by OlympusDAO (OHM) and borrows heavily from its predecessor, from certain protocol mechanics to its ancient mythology / religious overtones. Although they share several similarities, TempleDAO is more than just a pure OHM fork. It sets out to create a different product with different objectives. 

For one, TempleDAO isn’t aiming to create a reserve currency for cryptocurrencies. Instead, it wants to become a “safe place for DeFi believers to shelter from volatility”. Their governance token, TEMPLE, is designed as an asset that appreciates gradually in a controlled-manner over time, with protective mechanisms such as “Unstake Queue” (a first-come-first-served queue order to unstake TEMPLE) and “Temple Defend” (a mechanism that leverages arbitrage to maintain the price of TEMPLE) to ward against bankruns or downturns. But this is just the first of TempleDAO’s many offerings. 

Further down the line, TempleDAO aims to set up multi-vault investment pools that cater to investors of various risk preferences. The goal is to offer automated, sophisticated trading strategies to DeFi users in an easy-to-use manner. For more information, you can refer to the TempleDAO roadmap here.

But you didn’t come here for the boring stuff, you came to understand the rite of passage of how you can become a full-fledged Templar. Read on, poor soul!
 

!verify

The origin of TempleDAO can be traced back to Discord, where many crypto cults and maximalist behaviours are born. The process of joining TempleDAO begins as early as getting !verified to gain access into their Discord server - usually a simple task that could normally be completed without a hitch. Not for TempleDAO. 

The dichotomy of Templars ☀️

The “challenging” process of getting !verified quickly became a meme in itself. One common theme was already !verified users deliberately misleading newcomers (AKA the filthy !unverified) into performing meaningless tasks, many of which were lengthy and elaborate. An example of this was joining the #verify-voice channel for hours or even days to !pray in the hopes of getting !verified. Many also repeatedly typed “!verify” or “!pray” in multiple futile attempts. Tsk.

The community members leaned heavily into the ritualistic theme of TempleDAO in their memes, prose and interaction, often role-playing faithfully as Templars which lent further credence to the cult-like setting that had been cultivated. The project group may have been the ones which started the soup, but the community stirred the pot and what came about was a beautiful, memetic mess.

Although there were a handful of people who found TempleDAO’s rituals to be distastefully over-the-top, the marketing strategy (whether deliberate or not) of going overboard with cult-like memes was largely successful in garnering attention. TempleDAO quickly became the topic of many water cooler conversations within the crypto community. Very soon, word got around and more starry-eyed newcomers started streaming in, many of whom inadvertently became future Templars that were first “!unverified victims”, but also eventually perpetuated the vicious cycle of trolling the !unverified. 

“I have !verify-voice over a thousand hours, Unknown to Pins, Nor known to Read”

Oh and the way to get !verified? It was just a simple task of reacting to the first message (which was also pinned) in the channel, unbeknownst and much to the chagrin of many voice verifyooors (NGMI). 

Similar to a long anti-joke building up the anticipation of the final punchline, the end of TempleDAO’s !verify saga was cruelly anti-climatic. One could equate this to a social-commentary on the knee-jerk approach of the crypto community, that is to “ape without thinking”. A little research and scrolling and becoming !verified would not have been an issue at all.

In the end, there was no complex ritual to be completed, nothing spectacular. If anything, TempleDAO and its Templars mocked us for our !verify struggles. They belittled us, humiliated us, bombarded us with N G M I, made us feel silly and stupid about ourselves. 

It made us want more.
 

The Fire Ritual

In a launch reminiscent of OlympusDAO’s Discord offering, selected Templars who contributed the most to the community were bestowed the Fire Ritualist role - essentially a whitelist opportunity to exchange FRAX for TEMPLE ahead of the flock, and buying in at an earlier, lower price.


Nothing embodies TempleDAO better than this video

“Deserving” Templars who were invited to join the Fire Ritual were supposedly the most devoted in building the Temple - the most active in Discord conversations, trolling newcomers and the !unverified, making high-effort memes, providing useful suggestions and feedback etc. It was especially heartening to see contributions from Templars being used to further cultivate the TempleDAO vibe, some evolving to become iconic marketing materials (see video above) or essential parts of the Opening Ceremony (more on this later on). 

The arbitrary whitelist-selection process is nothing new, with many other crypto projects also going down the same route.The system is neither fool-proof nor perfect, as many users would masquerade as loyalists, manufacture engagements and feign interests in the hopes of hoodwinking project admins for whitelists. However, it also gives projects the highest chance of identifying and rewarding the earliest, most loyal supporters who had been willing to contribute towards building the community, and will most probalby stay with the project through its growing pains.

But what of those not chosen to receive the Fire Ritual role? These second-rate Templars had to prove their faith through The Pilgrimage, a challenge that robbed many of their resolve…
 

Journey to the Temple

Right before the Opening Ceremony, the team had forewarned that “the pathway is shrouded in mystery…”. There were no clear-cut instructions on what needed to be done other than cryptic messages of “Whispers” and “prayers” and such. Reminiscent of The Hunt in “Ready Player One”, it was up to the Templars to decipher these breadcrumbs and work collaboratively throughout their Pilgrimage. 

For the full walkthrough of The Pilgrimage, you can refer to the Tweet by @StraightFMoney. In this article, we will only highlight certain portions of the journey.

!verify again

Never change TempleDAO, never change

The very first stage of the Pilgrimage took place where it all began - the #verify-yourself-or-ngmi channel. This time, aspiring Templars had to ascend through the ranks (and earn the respective Discord roles) by typing specific messages sequentially. A 30-minute slowmode was enabled to test the utmost patience of ritualists as they stumbled through the process through trial-and-error. In line with the project’s self-referential sense of humor, the final verification message turned out to be the frustrated rant of an !unverified member (see above), a mantra that had since been ironically adopted by the TempleDAO community and was often repeated in mockery. 
 

Of Whispers & Puzzles

Eventually, devoted Templars who became !verified would find their way to other hidden channels and ultimately https://echoingwhispers.link/, where they would be prompted to link their Discord account and Metamask wallet. Similar to text adventures of olden days, Templar had to respond to a series of text-prompts using the given options, with only one of them being the right choice.

If fate would have it, Templars would in due course come face-to-face with the Ritual’s puzzles. Short of brute-forcing through these, ritualists needed to hunt for the right combinations in CryptoVoxel worlds that had been carefully crafted by the team. For instance, one of the puzzles required Templars to explore the Hall of Ancient Scriptures, a CryptoVoxel world built as a gallery for past Temple memes,  in search of hidden tiles that were solutions to the corresponding puzzle. In typical TempleDAO fashion, your journey through the Hall would be accompanied by this melodious chant looping in the background.

The Hall of Ancient Scriptures, doubling as a gallery paying homage to Templars’ works

At one point, the team even developed a mini-game in the likeness of old Zelda games, where users could control a sword-and-shield-bearing Templar to conquer the trials of a Temple, paralleling the real-world Templars who had to complete the game before they could proceed any further on The Pilgrimage.

Pixel Temple

The Altar of Sacrifice

After toiling tirelessly on The Pilgrimage, ritualists worthy of entering the Temple would be given a piece of Sandalwood and finally arrive at the Altar of Sacrifice. This was the final leg of their journey, where only the most devoted blessed with a Sandalwood could !pray. There, Templars could choose to sacrifice up to $30,000 FRAX on the first day in return for TEMPLE, which could then be staked at 1.0% APY per day. The limit of FRAX that could be sacrificed doubled each day, up to a total limit of $2.5M FRAX by the eighth day.

After this point, Templars could rest and rejoice, knowing that they had made it safely past the Temple gates. Should they choose, they could invite up to two guests to sacrifice 10,000 FRAX at a slightly lower APY of 0.9% per day. Many Templars even returned to The Pilgrimage pathway to guide (or misguide) aspiring Templars still lost on their journey.

© Dune Analytics | TempleDAO

Over the course of the two-week long Opening Ceremony, over $180M of FRAX was sacrificed, which meant that TempleDAO managed to amass even more risk free value (RFV) than its predecessor, OlympusDAO by the end of it (on 19 November). As mentioned earlier, the Opening Ceremony (i.e. whitelist pre-sale of TEMPLE) was overall a huge success that drew in major participation from the crypto community, all while evading bots that regularly afflict pre-sale launches as hyped as TempleDAO was.
 

Closing Thoughts

In a sea of projects vying for attention, TempleDAO has managed to carve out a unique identity with its thematic play on memes. TempleDAO leaned heavily into its nonsensical religious and astrological eccentricities. It’s odd, weird, and mysterious. At times, it was also deeply frustrating and confusing, but it struck a chord with a large part of the crypto community. People started noticing, wondering. Eventually, curiosity drew in many aspirants to try out the rituals. 

The team had successfully transformed participation into a memorable, experiential process - one which formed the cornerstone of its marketing efforts. Granted, TempleDAO isn’t for everyone. There are more-than-fair criticisms of them being too over-the-top and heavy-handed with their trolling and enigmatic approach. It was an all-in gamble on role-playing that risked turning away a few, but necessary in cultivating a strong memetic vibe. Ultimately, they managed to harness the crypto community’s love for memes to foster camaraderie resembling that of a fanatic brotherhood or sisterhood.

© Dune Analytics | TempleDAO

So how are the Templars and their $TEMPLE faring now? Within days of launching their AMM and enabling Unstake Queue, Fire Ritualists and Templars were quick to renounce their faith and swarmed for the exit, causing both TEMPLE and OGTEMPLE (the rebase version of TEMPLE, similar to sOHM) to tumble by more than 70%. During its peak, the exit queue to unstake OGTEMPLE shot up to as high as 8 whole days. Since then, the Temple Masters have seemingly identified a host of issues that plagued its launch, promising a plan of action to restore the glory of TempleDAO, which aptly includes a mysterious airdrop of $FAITH. Only time will tell if TempleDAO can get back on track.

In the end, regardless of how the protocol might have turned out, TempleDAO’s take on community building will go down in crypto lore as one of the most innovative to-date. The Opening Ceremony in particular was a successful gamification of what would usually be a dull, straight-forward affair. It will be interesting to see how other projects will choose to emulate and improve in the coming days.

I for one am ready to !verify-voice for another thousand hours in a grand display of my FAITH. Who’s with me?

Tell us how much you like this article!
Dillon Yap
Dillon Yap

Dillon is an Operations Associate at CoinGecko with a weakness for 3-digit APYs. As an ex-consultant, he now finds joy in laughing at consulting memes unironically.

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