DESK Is Back: CoinDesk Relaunches Social Token Into the Wild

After beta testing it last year, we’re rolling out DESK as an integral part of the experience at Consensus 2022 – and beyond.

AccessTimeIconMay 23, 2022 at 2:49 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:19 p.m. UTC
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CoinDesk is fully launching its social token, DESK, and making it an integral part of the experience at Consensus 2022, our first in-person event since before the coronavirus pandemic.

Attendees of the June 9-12 festival in Austin, Texas, will be able to earn DESK by doing such things as picking up their badges at registration, visiting exhibitor booths or joining CoinDesk’s rebooted Discord server. The token will be redeemable at the event for merchandise (e.g., T-shirts or hoodies), food or beverages from Austin vendors that have partnered with us, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other rewards.

The big idea is to use tokenomics to build a loyal, engaged community by providing the audience with incentives to interact with CoinDesk’s content – and with one another. It will also give attendees who are new to crypto a way to learn about blockchain technology, including the experience of setting up and maintaining a wallet, with a relatively low-stakes, nonfinancial asset.

From testnet to mainnet

CoinDesk beta-tested DESK a year ago at Consensus 2021, a virtual event. At the time, the token ran on Rinkeby, a testnet, or experimental environment for software under development, for the Ethereum blockchain.

It was a hit with attendees, who created hundreds of wallets, claimed thousands of tokens for participating in the conference and redeemed them for NFTs and other rewards. A community spontaneously formed around the product with an unofficial Discord chat and even a nickname: the piranhas.

Now, CoinDesk is relaunching DESK into the wild, with the help of partners Coinvise, Flexa, and NFTify.

The new DESK is an ERC-20 standard token on the mainnet, or live version, of the blockchain. However, to avoid congestion on Ethereum, the revamped DESK runs on Polygon. This is a sidechain, or parallel network, to Ethereum that allows more and cheaper transactions by keeping them off the primary chain. CoinDesk will cover the cost of gas, or on-chain computation fees, for DESK transactions on Polygon.

Not a financial product

Importantly, DESK is not a currency, nor is it a financial asset or investment product of any kind. CoinDesk is not using DESK to raise funds; we are not selling the tokens for money. DESK is a reward token, analogous to airline frequent-flier miles, hotel guest points and the like.

Neither does DESK purport to be fully decentralized. As the creator of the token contract, CoinDesk may adjust the supply of DESK in order to encourage spending and discourage speculation or hoarding. The company reserves the right to delete the CoinDesk account and/or blacklist addresses of users that try to list the token on exchanges or otherwise undermine the purpose of DESK.

That said, DESK is a blockchain token. Users will need to set up a crypto wallet that works with Polygon (MetaMask is a beginner-friendly option) to claim and redeem it. Subject to the possible restrictions mentioned above, users will maintain full control of their DESK and can transfer it to whomever they want.

What’s next?

After Consensus 2022, CoinDesk intends to expand DESK as an engagement rewards program for our broader audience, including future event attendees, readers of our flagship news service and research reports, newsletter subscribers, TV viewers and podcast listeners.

In coming weeks, CoinDesk will publish more information about DESK, including the full backstory of how and why we created it.


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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

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