The blockchain space is filled with different systems aiming to lower entry barriers and break major problems impeding growth. One similar design is Ethereum Push Notification Service (EPNS).
EPNS has a motive of minimizing the gap between decentralized apps (dApps) and their users through an incentivized push notification system, which is missing in the web3 ecosystem in the current times.
EPNS stands for Ethereum Push Notification Service. EPNS communication layer is built on top of the EIP-712 standard, which is a system that’s built into the Ethereum network. To summarise, any dApps, smart contracts, or services can use the protocol to send notifications to users via their wallet addresses in a platform-centric way. The protocol’s Defi nature makes sure that users earn from the notifications.
Blockchain networks still behaved like the 2000s era of the internet until EPNS decided to take the matter into their own hands. Services/dApps required users to come to them on their own. We have become so dependent on notifications that we don’t even notice a major feature change in an app until it is notified to us.
Even though blockchain services don’t hold our data for custody in exchange for services, we won’t shift to web3 till they make us understand why is their model superior to the current centralized systems. This is where Blockchain comes to play.
Let me tell you an interesting fact- EPNS is backed by renowned investors in the crypto space including Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal and WazirX’s Nischal Shetty.
A clear incentive structure
In the DeFi space, entry to the ecosystem is driven by incentivised game theory. The brains behind EPNS wanted to make sure that it had a clear incentive structure to encourage people to use their notification services, regardless of the gas fees it will cost them.
During a time when Ethereum (ETH) is facing a lot of high gas fee issues, asking users to spend gas to subscribe to channels in order to receive notifications, seems counter-intuitive and not sustainable.
Hence, an interesting incentive mechanism was devised to create a product that not only delivered notifications to users but also allowed them to earn from them too.
The concept is a bit similar to how the market giants like Amazon brought services like Amazon prime to offer additional offers and entertainment services for a minimal cost. It hooked the customers to the Amazon ecosystem, leading to exponential growth in sales.
In EPNS, the minimal cost is that of the gas fees. Benefits provided in exchange for that are paramount.
Say, you want to trade on DEX. Notifications of your favorite crypto’s price going up and down will make your life a lot easier. Earlier, you needed to check manually every time. If you want to tell your users that your protocol got compromised, earlier you had to seek the help of other social media sites. EPNS saves you from this trouble too.
The other thing that EPNS can do for you is get notified when gas prices are too high. It can notify you to renew your ENS address before its expiry. It can alert you when new governance proposals are listed for your favorite DeFi dApps. EPNS will be your savior to these problems. They will let the service come to the user instead of users going back to service.
EPNS and security
Now you may think cyber-attacks are widespread in the crypto space. Is there any measure that EPNS has taken against it?
Let me answer you.
EPNS is a decentralized notifications middleman protocol, and hence, all notifications that users receive are sent by the services/channels that users have consensually opted-in for. Eventually, the power lies with the user, who can conclude out of unsubscribing notifications at any point at the click of a button.
A spam score is attributed to each service so that it doesn’t turn out corrupt later. This score is affected by both positive (higher number of subscribers, the passage of time, etc.) and negative (unusual number of notifications, a higher number of unsubscribes, etc.) actions.
To create a distinction between spam and relevant notification channels, EPNS will also use verified badges similar to what you see on Twitter and Instagram to remove fake/malicious content.
EPNS claims to be content-independent. But that doesn’t mean that the responsibility of security is given to dApps or any service. The protocol handles the security while content independence ensures that the service can be creative and send all types of notifications, whatever fits their needs, including videotape, image, CTA, translated textbook, or further.
Web 2.0 relies on notifications heavily. Only a few people know that even the WhatsApp messages we receive, online payments, deliveries on Flipkart, social networks, or anything sent to users are more likely to be triggered by notifications.
This means that the message protocol must be flexible and content-aware to ensure that it does not impose any rules on what a particular service can or cannot send. This means that even off-chain communications like security audits, new version releases are now an established security capability.
Like any infrastructure tool, message security is built into the protocol, while its content/creativity is left on the service. Privacy is a common topic these days and EPNS takes it very seriously. Even the login process never sends personal credentials anywhere. Confidential messages follow the same strict standards, so only users who own the private key can view messages sent to them even if they are indirectly on the channel.
Push notifications and the Web 3.0 revolution
Push notifications are now so ingrained in our everyday mobile experiences that it’s hard to remember exactly what our digital experiences were a decade ago when functionality was virtually non-existent. We rely on them so much that we don’t necessarily realize their intrinsic value.
We even take them for granted and sometimes it really becomes a headache to us. We rarely remember how they fundamentally changed our digital behavior and our relationship with businesses.
Currently, there is no notification system for the services. communicate with their consumers in real-time. user experience has been neglected for too long. The lack of user experience is clearly defined in Web 3.0 as it delays widespread adoption, especially as everyone feels comfortable in their centralized Web 2.0 bubble.
Consumers are accustomed to push notifications and the value they deliver on the Web. 2.0 that today’s services don’t expect the user to come and see an action item or event. Instead, the services come to you.
Imagine if Amazon didn’t notify you that your product was about to be delivered, and you should double-check the time and date to see the delivery status of the notifications to get creative. This allows them to send not only text notifications, but also images, videos, and more.
One aspect of push notifications that EPNS also brings to the table, as mentioned earlier, is the ability to not receive notifications only by subscribing but also to receive offers from them.
EPNS is decentralized and blockchain agnostic.
Of course, EPNS can work on other chains by simply bridging other blockchains to enable notifications there. it can also be sent as a notification on Chrome or Firefox, readable on our dApp and hopefully, in the future, it can also reach everyone’s favorite wallet. Users control where they want to see notifications and from which services they want to receive notifications.
The brains behind EPNS have a business model that involves charging for future service infrastructure (this is a pure service selection process using our protocol). They are clear that for the users the service is still free and that they will in fact benefit from it.
It’s time for the globe, especially Gen-Z to see what decentralization can achieve. EPNS will be one of the key stepping stones for the widespread and mainstream adoption of Web3.0 and blockchain technologies.
We must try not to lose the functionality and user experience we have developed with the centralized systems over the past decade in Web 2.0 that people now know and love. EPNS decentralized Push Notifications in a platform-centric way in recent years, something that has never been seen before.
History is in the making and EPNS wants you to be a part of it!