In the spirit of their mission to empower technical practitioners of all backgrounds, Microsoft established Azure Heroes to inspire developers to learn, coach, and build on Azure and promote healthy, inclusive communities.
A collaborative program between Microsoft Western Europe and Enjin, Azure Heroes rewards developers with blockchain-based digital badges—styled as badgers—for various achievements, verifiable acts of impact, and meaningful contributions in the developer community.
Since launching as a pilot in December 2019, the program has expanded globally, being used at various major events, such as Microsoft Ignite and Create: Frontend.
"Our cloud developer community is growing fast, and we see many enthusiasts and passionate Azure practitioners routinely sharing their knowledge and contributing to a strong and sustainable community. So we wanted to create a meaningful and unique way to engage with and recognize them for their contributions. To do that, we needed the capability to offer something authentic and provably limited."
— Alex Solomon, Azure Product Marketing Lead, Western Europe
Digital badgers take normal badges to a whole new level—they're cute, fun, and demonstrate recognition in a way that can't be faked.
Unlike typical digital assets, Azure Heroes are created as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the blockchain. With verifiable scarcity, maximum circulation caps, provable provenance, and unique IDs, each badger is a one-of-a-kind digital collectible that proves its recipient was hand-picked based on their achievements.
To provide recipients with a seamless, Microsoft-branded experience, Azure Heroes tokens can be viewed on a custom blockchain explorer powered by EnjinX, and linked to the Azure Heroes Showcase map built by Enjin.
"A new and fun way to earn digital collectibles for inclusive behavior and meaningful impact in the technical community."
Badgers are awarded to nominated individuals who work to improve the Azure developer community and their own development skills in a variety of ways, from coaching and creating demos to organizing events, building sample code, and blogging about Azure.
Contributions are recognized with badges across a number of categories:
- Inclusive Leader badgers are awarded to those who actively support inclusive, diverse events and communities.
- Content Hero badgers highlight developers who document their experiences, share lessons learned, and create original content like sample code and learning resources to help others build on Azure.
- Community Hero badgers can be earned by active members of the community who help organize and share knowledge at conferences, meetups, and other relevant events.
- Mentor badgers recognize those who help the career development and skill-building of others by routinely sharing their knowledge and empowering more junior members of the community through guidance and coaching.
- Maker badgers recognize those who are a source of innovation, embody the maker spirit, and demonstrate tech intensity by using digital tools for problem solving and societal improvement.
- Builder badgers can be earned by completing specific challenges at OpenHacks, bootcamps, hackathons, and workshops, and doing hands-on, unguided work with Azure.
- Kudos badgers recognize those who demonstrate great community spirit, passion, and commitment to teamwork.
- Learner badgers are given to those who seek to improve their knowledge by attending Azure technical seminars, meetups, and conferences.
To reward event attendees, badgers have also been distributed via Enjin Beam at Microsoft developer events across the globe, allowing participants to seamlessly receive their special badger by scanning a QR code.
Each of these recognitions has a limited supply that can be verified on the Ethereum blockchain, with the potential to create new badger designs and categories across different seasons as Azure and its development community continue to grow and evolve.
Badgers > Badges.