Introduction to Hashtag Protocol

Greetings E/C’ers,

At the urging of my new old friend @robertDouglass, I’m introducing myself and our startup/project Hashtag Protocol.

A bit about me. Web developer for 22+ years. Refugee from the Drupal/LAMP world making inroads into web3 (web3 being shorthand for crypto/blockchain/decentralized/incentivized technology). Before HTP, I co-founded, built and ran the tech stack for a web2 enabled solar equipment distributor called CivicSolar. That platform was largely built on Drupal and apache solr (hence the old friend reference to Robert who’s a Drupal OG) with many integrations, including heavy ones with Salesforce. A modest exit in 2019 and a burgeoning obsession for all things crypto provided the means and direction for my current venture, Hashtag Protocol.

On to HTP. Hashtag Protocol is tagging infrastructure for the decentralized web. We aim to do for content tagging what ENS, Unstoppable Domains and Handshake are doing for DNS.

Our protocol starts with the assumption that there is inherent value in tagging data and by extension the tags themselves. And that value (both social & monetary) is overly siloed, gated and centralized. We hope to insert web3 dynamics right into that value stream.

To do this, we are creating a crypto-incentivized tagging standard and associated primitives that will be composable building blocks for other web3 projects.

Practically speaking, HTP is a set of EVM compatible smart contracts running on Ethereum Mainnet and being migrated to Polygon. The centerpiece is a tagging contract that takes as arguments a digital artifact identifier, what we call the “target” (currently NFT contract, token id & chain id), a hashtag string (currently one tag, multi-tag coming soon), the wallet address of the platform hosting the tagging event (“Publisher”) and the wallet address paying the gas and the tagging fee(“Tagger”).

When submitted, the tagging contract checks to see if the hashtag string exists as a HASHTAG token (itself an HTP NFT containing, among other things, a single, unique hashtag string). If so, a record of the HASHTAG and the target is saved to the blockchain and indexed by The Graph. If not, a new HASHTAG is minted prior to recording the tagging event.

Inside the newly minted HASHTAG token are recorded the hashtag string, the Publisher, and the Tagger (referred to therein as the “Creator”). Ownership of the HASHTAG is retained by the Protocol until it is released to the market for auction. If purchased at auction, the auction proceeds are divided among the Publisher, the Creator and the Protocol.

Once minted, HASHTAG tokens can be used by any whitelisted publisher to tag any target (lot’s of potential discussion around targets). When used, the tagging contract splits the fee (paid by the tagger) among the Protocol, the original HASHTAG Publisher and either the Creator or the Owner if it’s been purchased.

And that’s really it in a nutshell. Obviously, there’s many dynamics at play and what is relatively simple at the moment, could get more nuanced with additional roles and participants, which we have identified in our roadmap.

We had a working demo of the entire suite up and running on Mainnet (launched in March 2021 prior to any real viable L2s) – though we’ve stopped promoting that instance because tagging costs something like $100/tag.

In response, we retraced and are in the process of redeploying to Polygon (where tagging fee will be sub penny), currently running a sandbox on Mumbai as we twiddle some dials, reach out to potential partners & customers and re-evaluate the critical path, especially around funding.

Extremely grateful for the invite to this forum and hope to use it as an opportunity to punch up this project from all angles. Looking forward to getting into things here, or if you would prefer, please feel free to join our discord and hit us up over there!

1 Like

Hi @mpaler! Sorry I thought I responded to this -/ time passes quickly in crypto land!

Welcome and thanks for the extended introduction and explanation.

When @robertDouglass told me about this, I immediately thought of one of the classic Web2 services, Technorati.

You might want to look at Dev.To as an accessible interface of “owned” tags. Not a Web3 service, just looking at UI and usage in the wild.

@expede and I worked on some EIPs a long time ago around multi lingual strings on chain that could be interesting

I think a “flat” namespace can have challenges. I’d like to have “bmann.eth/MyTag” and potentially point / stake it at different tags.

On my list to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!

And: what are you looking for? What do you need? What do you want people to do?

@boris really appreciate you getting back. Totally get the time thing.

Very interested in the mult-lingual thing. Will definitely have a closer look at your article.

For our use case the angle we’re looking at what Handshake is doing, namely

Here you can see examples in handshake.

As far as our needs, we’re battling on so many fronts. Funding, product development, PR, etc. If I could pick one it’s product market research. Talking to potential customers to learn how they are doing the things (essentially tagging content) we think we can improve on.

The target market for our product is any project that is minting or handling NFTs for a living and currently are or thinking about tagging them. Think NFT market places, Uniswap Liquidity Pools, Alchemist Crucibles.

If anyone here has any connection to one of these, we’d like to meet them.


Just had a look at FISSION Codes - FISSION

Nice. Looks really straight forward to implement – I wonder if anyone is using it or there’s been any uptake?

Mostly not. It’s an English — or Chinese — centric world.

Probably some basic contracts that do something like mint an NFT with custom error messages around whether a mint is open or you need a mint pass or something like that, that is generally applicable, with the whole app localized into like 3 languages, would be needed to get people to understand this.