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The blockchain space has been exploding, as evidenced by the exponential growth in the number of users, revenue, and services. Despite this growth, blockchain services such as dApps and smart contracts still lack an organic and genuine communication medium with their users. They are forced to use social platforms like Telegram, Twitter, and sometimes emails.
Protocols often expect users to come to them. We are not in the early 2000s when users were expected to perform a function and then come back to check results later. Most Web 2 platforms, such as Facebook, will send notifications when someone likes/comments on your post in the modern world. You can enable a notification message to be alerted whenever a new email arrives on your Gmail or Telegram.
We are already ushering in Web 3, but communication channels such as Telegram and Twitter are incompatible with Web 3 logic. The Web 3 world lacks a reliable notification mechanism that notifies wallet addresses (users) of important updates, notices, or events.
The following are some of the problems with modern blockchain setups:
- If a trader places an order on a DEX, they are expected to manually check their wallet to see if the trade is complete or not.
- Users don’t learn about loan liquidations on Compound, Aave, and other DeFi protocols unless they check manually.
- Users don’t learn when their governance tokens can be used in important proposals or even learn time left for active governance proposals.
- PoolTogether lottery winners usually wait for a Tweet to inform them they have won.
- ENS domain expiration is usually put on Twitter, hoping that the domain user will see it.
Enter Ethereum Push Notification Service
Push notifications have been with us for more than a decade. Users can get push notifications on new offers, new releases, and delivery updates right from their smartphones. The Ethereum Push Notification Service (EPNS), built on Ethereum, has been dubbed the communication layer for Web 3.0. EPNS solves both notification and communication problems. Notifications are sent to decentralized and centralized platforms like tablets, mobile phones, cryptocurrency wallets, and web browsers.
The service has created ‘channels’ that allow dApps to communicate with users by sending them notifications. A decentralized wallet service sends notifications to the users’ devices about changes in their fungible and non-fungible tokens’ portfolios through this standard.
EPNS ensures a user-centric, opt-in, spam-free, and transparent environment for the users and services to communicate as a middleware layer. $PUSH is the native token on this protocol.
There are different roles in the ecosystem:
- Service: Any smart contract, dApp, or centralized service that wishes to send a notification.
- Channel: Any service that has activated itself on the protocol and sends notifications to subscribers.
- Users: Any user who is present on the protocol.
- Subscriber: Someone who has subscribed to a particular channel.
EPNS Contract V2 features
Incentivized notifications for users
Users who want to send notifications to subscribers must stake 50 $PUSH. This is unlike EPNS Contract V1, where users used to deposit $DAI. The usage of $PUSH for channel creation gives the PUSH token more utility within the ecosystem. A portion of the fees charged for channel creation is added to the fee pool and is claimable by every $PUSH holder.
EPNS allows retrievable information, either plain or encrypted, in each notification. Currently, most of the payload is stored on IFPS with the possibility of alternative storage options, centralized or decentralized, for different types of payloads. The platform supports universal notification delivery to mobile apps, web browsers, crypto wallets, or dApps.
Spam score and throttling
A typical channel has a spam score ranging from 0 to 1. If a channel has a score of 1, it is considered unhealthy. A channel with a score of 0 is healthy. The score will adjust based on the number of subscribers and unsubscribers.
User-centric and opt-in notifications
Users are in direct control of the nature of notifications they get. The protocol imposes rules on services, provides spam protection for users, and limits the ability to add wallets as subscribers.
How dApps implement EPNS
EPNS allows users to create channels and send notifications to all subscribers. These messages can be sent either off-chain through EIP-712 or on-chain, where gas fees are incurred. There is a frontend SDK that performs three functions:
- Parsing fetched notifications
- Fetching notifications from the EPNS backend
- Rendering parsed notifications on a browser or mobile
EPNS also features a backend SDK that allows developers to send notifications and construct the payload based on individualized needs using custom logic.
Ethereum Push Notification Service recently raised $10.1 million at a $131 million valuation. The funds will be used to continue building the communication infrastructure for the decentralized future. Institutional investors such as Jump Capital are the biggest believers of EPNS, with others such as Tiger Global, Momentum 6, A. Capital, ParaFi, Harmony Foundation, and Polygon Studios investing as well.
$PUSH Grants Program
The PIP-01: Push Grants Program (PGP) was a success where 12% of the circulating supply of $PUSH took place in the voting. With a total budget of $1,000,000, PGP is now fully approved to run for two quarters. The EPNS Governance Forum has all the information on submission and consideration.
An application will only be accepted once approved on Snapshot. The requirements to advance to a Snapshot vote are:
- The proposal is live for at least seven days on the forum.
- The proposal post has at least three comments and likes in favor within those seven days.
- The EPNS governance puts a poll within three days either against or for moving to Snapshot vote.
- A poll gets at least ten votes.
- FOR: The proposal advances to Snapshot within three days, and voting is open for another seven days.
- AGAINST: Failed proposals are notified and encouraged to reapply after analyzing the feedback.
- At least 4% of the circulating $PUSH supply with a positive result is the minimum needed after the proposal reaches the Snapshot level.
Even though EPNS first launched on Ethereum, it extends to other chains. The protocol submitted a grant proposal in December 2021 to Harmony Foundation, which was reviewed and granted $100K early this year. The team will be rolling out EPNS on the Harmony mainnet in Q2 2022. Harmony Foundation was also one of the investors in the $10.1 million round that EPNS raised.
Harmony Ecosystem Fund Approved 17 New Grants in December 2021
Harmony, an open platform for collectibles, assets, governance, and identity, supports promising projects building on its blockchain through its fund and grants. 2021 was a great year for the overall blockchain space and Harmony ecosystem. The protocol received hundreds of proposals from various projects.
Even though push notifications have been with us for over a decade, EPNS is the first protocol to bring them to the Web 3.0 world. The protocol already has a mechanism to reduce spam and a sound roadmap. Web 3.0 will involve a lot of things, and such a service will be essential for the infrastructure of the emerging industry.