The Power of Forcing Functions and Token Incentives in Bootstrapping Networks


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 25, 2023

4 min read


The Power of Forcing Functions and Token Incentives in Bootstrapping Networks


In our journey towards personal growth and success, we often find ourselves struggling to stay motivated and disciplined. However, there are two powerful concepts that can help us overcome these challenges and achieve our goals: forcing functions and token incentives. By understanding how these concepts work and incorporating them into our lives, we can level-up and create meaningful change.

Forcing Functions: Harnessing the Fear of Letting Ourselves Down

A forcing function is a powerful tool that can drive us to take action and achieve our desired outcomes. It operates on the principle of leveraging our fear of letting ourselves down. When we set up a forcing function, we create an external stimulus that compels us to do what we need to do, even when we lack motivation or discipline.

For example, if you want to develop a daily writing habit, you can set a forcing function by joining a writing group that holds you accountable for submitting a piece of writing every week. The fear of disappointing your peers becomes the driving force that keeps you committed to your writing practice.

The Web3 Playbook: Token Incentives for Bootstrapping Networks

In the digital age, networks are becoming increasingly valuable with more participants. However, bootstrapping a network from scratch poses a significant challenge. Many potential networks that could enhance our collective well-being remain unrealized because no one has figured out how to effectively bootstrap them.

Enter token incentives. The concept behind token incentives is to provide users with financial utility through token rewards during the early stages of network bootstrapping when native utility is limited. By offering these rewards, networks can attract users and incentivize them to participate and contribute to the growth of the network.

Token incentives not only help in the initial stages of network development but also address the fairness issue prevalent in centralized Web2 models. By giving users the opportunity to own a meaningful share of the network they helped build, token incentives create a more equitable distribution of value.

Transitioning from Financial to Utility Motivation

While token incentives are effective in driving early adoption and participation, it is crucial to consider how users can transition from a financial motivation to a pure utility motivation as their incentives diminish. Users need to perceive the value and utility of the service beyond the financial rewards.

To achieve this transition, service providers must focus on creating a seamless user experience that highlights the practical benefits and value-add of the network. By showcasing the network's native utility and demonstrating how it can enhance users' lives, the intrinsic motivation for continued engagement can replace the diminishing financial incentives.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Implement a Personal Forcing Function: Identify an area in your life where you want to make progress and create a forcing function to support your goals. This could involve finding an accountability partner, joining a group, or using technology to set reminders and deadlines.
  • 2. Explore Token Incentives in Your Industry: If you are involved in a field that could benefit from network effects, consider exploring the concept of token incentives. Research existing projects and platforms that have successfully implemented token incentives and analyze how they can be applied to your industry.
  • 3. Emphasize Native Utility: If you are developing a network or service that relies on token incentives, prioritize the creation of native utility. Ensure that users see the value and benefits of your offering beyond financial rewards. Focus on delivering a seamless user experience that addresses their needs and pain points.


Forcing functions and token incentives have the power to drive personal growth and revolutionize the way we bootstrap networks. By leveraging the fear of letting ourselves down and providing financial utility through token rewards, we can achieve our goals and create fairer, more valuable networks. Emphasizing the transition from financial to utility motivation is crucial for the long-term success of these networks. Incorporating these concepts into our lives and businesses can propel us towards a future of growth, collaboration, and meaningful change.

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