The Missing Piece of Web3 UX: Wallet Notifications & Messaging | Jaffet Sandi
Gm Web3 Academy DOers!
Think about this… What is the communication layer for web3? 🤔
If you’re saying Discord or Telegram, you’re not wrong but neither are you right.
Right now, there is no way to communicate with fellow Web3 users through Web3 tools. We are forced to use Web2 applications to build engagement and keep each other updated. But more importantly, there is no infrastructure in place to communicate with your customers or asset holders in web3. Because we connect and purchase with our wallets, we don’t need to share a means of communication.
It makes for a lot of gaps in the customer journey and just overall communication across the ecosystem. We desperately need to be able to communicate with each other exclusively through Web3 tools!
How do we get there?
One of the projects that aims to fix web3 communication is EPNS (Ethereum Push Notification Service)… And today, we sat down with their BizDev lead, Jaf to discuss what EPNS strives to do in web3.
In short, EPNS aims to enable wallet to wallet messaging and notifications to keep the user updated on everything that’s going on with their preferred applications, their web3 interests and everything in between. More on this later.
So, keep reading 😄
Want to interact with Jaf?
Join us to discuss the future of wallet notifications and messaging together with our special guest, Jaf from EPNS who will be sharing insights about this foundational protocol and will be open to questions!
The Communication Problem In Web3
As you might be aware, the blockchain keeps everyone anonymous behind a public address. Therefore, communication is impossible unless the user comes to you…
Let me put this in context. At Web3 Academy, we once tried to token gate our community by giving away a free NFT which grants you access in our Discord. A complete failure… Why?
Because after users claimed their NFT, there was no way for us to communicate with that user and tell them what to do next. We found that only a tiny fraction of everybody that claimed the NFT actually went all the way into our Discord for next steps. Mind blowing, I know… And a huge problem.
Same problem occurs for a creator who has an NFT collection. After the user buys his/her NFT, the communication stops right there and then. Right now, it’s totally up to the user to seek communication by joining Discord servers or frequently checking different Web3 applications.
Compare that with Web2 applications, when you purchase a product or sign up to content or a community, you immediately receive an email with onboarding instructions. You might also receive a notification directly to your phone with a receipt or a message from someone in the app.
This is the communication layer which is required to help customers and users navigate the internet. It’s why Web2 is so easy to use and what enables my grandma to communicate via Facebook. Web3 however simply doesn’t have this. It has no communication whatsoever right now.
EPNS aims to fix this problem. But more on this in the third section!
What Is EPNS (Ethereum Push Notifications Service) And How Does It Work?
EPNS is a push notification service which operates wallet to wallet. Basically, they enable Web3 protocols to communicate with the user through sending messages through their native wallets.
Essentially. EPNS is a protocol (not a service like their name says) that allows other Dapps, protocols or projects the ability to send messages to the users that connect to their webpage or hold their assets. You could think of EPNS as the Web3 version of a CRM and automation tool like ActiveCampaign or Hubspot, however without the storage of user emails or data.
Currently, they have an app and browser extension where users can receive their notifications (such as onboarding msgs after an NFT purchase or notifications of an incoming liquidation for a loan).
However the plan is to integrate across wallets and other infrastructure across the Web3 ecosystem
If you’re wondering why this is essential, think about the amount of time you have to spend to keep up with the applications you use and the assets you own in Web3.
Onto the next section… 👇
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What Is The Practical Problem That EPNS Aims To Solve?
As I briefly mentioned in the last section, right now, you have to spend significant time to keep up with all of your moves in Web3. You need to go to your Opensea to check your NFT floor price, you have to go to Curve to check on your DeFi plays and have to check Aave so your loan doesn’t get liquidated. Not to mention if you operate on multiple chains… It’s tiring!
Imagine if there was an app through which you received notifications every time something that interests you in web3 occurred.
You’d get notifications that your loan is about to get liquidated (maybe something that 3AC needed), you’d get notifications about your NFTs mooning and so on, without having to frequently check each application in particular.
Would be convenient, no?
How Will Brands Communicate To Users In Web3?
What EPNS aims to implement is enabling brands, dapps and web3 projects (NFT collections for example) the ability to send notifications to each of their users with updates, offers or new launches.
This will happen through wallet to wallet communication. Essentially, this application will gather the addresses of the wallets meeting certain criterias and will send out notifications to their wallets or phones
You’ll be able to keep up with everything that’s going on without checking Discord or Telegram!
IMAGINE THE SCENES 😍
However, this ain’t all sunshine and rainbows… Because of the openness of the blockchain, anyone could send anything to everyone. Something that would lead to spam…
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Will Web3 Solve The Spam Issues?
We couldn’t help but think of spam, something that’s extremely frustrating with all communication tools… So how is web3 aiming to solve this issue?
We cannot speak generally but EPNS has developed an algorithm that discourages companies / brands from sending out too many notifications. Basically, if companies are too spammy, they will be restricted in the amount of notifications they send out.
Furthermore, anyone would be able to send anything to let’s say BAYC holders. However, unless that someone is a verified company or brand, the messages would arrive in the spam inbox.
Finally, EPNS requires the user to Opt-in to receive notifications, rather than it just being automatic when you create an account in your typical Web2 application. Users also have the ability to turn off notifications or types of notification from any application they opt into. Essentially, users have a lot more control here versus email or twitter DMs.
We could go into this more but until this algorithm is put to real test, we cannot say for sure so it’s better to leave it here.
The bottomline is that people are working on it, which is somewhat reassuring.
What’s Next For EPNS?
What’s to stop EPNS from acting like a web2 company which pushes the notifications of those that pay the most? (taking a piece of out the advertising playbook of most web2 platforms)
Right now, there isn’t anything stopping them. However, their main focus is to build a governance process. Basically to make EPNS a DAO where each token holder of $PUSH can vote on anything.
If at some point, there is a bad actor, then the community can vote to shut that bad actor down or improve the protocol/algorithm.
However, this is a very complicated thing to achieve because you desperately need an educated community which would take rational decisions at all times.
Decentralization is a progressive process and not something that happens overnight!
Regardless, Web3 communication is coming! Something this ecosystem desperately needs to improve the overall UX of interacting within Web3.
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