Building Community: The Burning Man Story and What We've Learned

January 11, 2023

One of the greatest examples of a successful community is the Burning Man Festival held in the Nevada desert every year. The first burning man event was inspired by and handful of locals who used to go down to Baker Beach in San Francisco during the beginning of the summer solstice where they would build massive bonfires and celebrate with music. This later developed into a tradition on the beach of building an effigy of a human and then burning it at the end in a symbolic gesture representing “radical self-expression”.

Today, Burning Man is celebrated in the Nevada desert and draws an audience of over 20 000 people every year, in what can be described as the world’s largest outdoor industrial arts exhibition, supported by music and partying, that goes on for a whole week.

So how exactly does one go about building a community? These are the steps we are following:


First and foremost, it is the audience. Who are your community? Who exactly are you looking to target. What are the pain points they are experiencing and how can you help improve that?

For us at Bankey LLC, that has always been the Unbanked and the underbanked. That audience has grown as we have evolved and now also encompasses the banked who are looking for alternative payments solutions that are cheaper and faster than traditional payments rails.

Our audience is made up of the following:

1. The global diaspora who send remittances and cross border payments to family and friends back home in their countries of origin.

2. The recipient unbanked who are in those countries.

3. The Gig Economy worker who is a freelancer but has no bank account.

4. Businesses who are looking for alternative payment’s solutions.


What is the platform you want to use to connect and engage with your audience? These platforms come in multiple types such as Facebook Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Discord, Slack , Khoros, Vanilla, Clubhouse and can be separated into the following types: Chat, Forum and Social.

We have chosen social media as our main community engagement platform with our other channels supporting this and of course our most important platform, is our Empowch platform which solves a massive pain point for the unbanked.

Empowch is a mobile financial services platform which acts as an interface between the blockchain and the public. Our first product offered on the platform for our community, is a self custody, sovereign blockchain wallet that is very easy to use (like sending a tweet or a WhatsApp message), that is safe and secure, using a password recovery protocol called SEP 30 to make sure users can recover their passkeys and that allows users to add value, store value and send value peer-to-peer, cross-border, day or night.

Mobile phones have an almost 100% coverage globally even in the remotest locations and it is the best tool to use to reach our audience.


This is an opportunity to invite your audience to come and test your product or service and to get feedback.

We have completed two soft launches in 2022. We soft launched our domestic wallet in the USA in May 2022 and we soft launched our International wallet in August 2022. The feedback and input we received has been invaluable and has enabled us to fine tune our final product which is our Empowch Platform V2.0 which offers a sovereign, self-custody wallet with a super easy to use interface and tools to securely protect your password and recover it if needed. This is now in soft launch too and is where we are at, at this moment in time.

During this phase we are looking for early adopters and testers who will provide feedback on the user experience and function of their sovereign wallets. We are also building a network of “Community Keys” who will replace traditional cash ATM’s and will provide both a human connection and a cash connection.


It is essential in creating a community that you engage with your audience on a daily basis and provide them with valuable services and information.

At Empowch we are embarking on a lengthy and simple to understand breakdown of mobile wallets and the technology that we use to power our platform. Education is vital to our audience as they, in most cases, will be very new to this kind of technology. Getting community feedback and engaging with our community is vital to the successful growth of Empowch.


A new startup has many different paths that it needs to travel to success. From first concept to ideation to proof of concept to functioning prototype. At the end of these processes, it is time to take the product or concept to market to see if people out there will use the product and whether it can add value to their lives and solve any pain points they may be experiencing.

Once we have completed our final soft launch, reviewed feedback and implemented changes, it is time to take Empowch to the larger market to start scaling and growing.

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