Core gap in notifications/messaging in web3
January 26th, 2022

Problem & opportunities of lack of notification/messaging

Email doesn’t seem to be a thing in web3, as web3’s native id is wallet address. However, there wasn’t any native communication methods as there is no email type of service related to an address.

Though the address is open and people can figure out who is the owner of assets, however, there is no direct way to communicate with the owner, which caused many poor UX & limitation in web3 apps. like examples below:

1. Online marketing/advertising

What crypto unlock is the whole new level of transparency in terms of people’s data, so we know exactly who the big whales are, who has been active on certain projects, and who has purchased products at certain topics. It is actually very easy for startups/companies to find the right target users, however, there is no way for them to reach those people, even though businesses are willing to pay the price.

The right messaging protocol can unlock digital marketing to a whole new level, where business doesn’t need to pay the platform to filter & deliver messages to the right people, but business can deliver messages directly to the customers with the on-chain data and give the value of advertising payment directly to customers as a way to introduce themselves.

For example, as a startup that is focusing on creator economy, we can easily get a list of initial creators who tried competitor products Roll, and can send one message to the top leads that attached with 1 SOL if they agree to see the product/chat. (instead of paying 1 SOL or more to Google/facebook)

On the other side, as a normal user, I can actually earn money by the eye-ball attention i give to each business.

2. P2P transactions

The other side of possible use cases based on the transparency of on-chain data is that it unlocks the possibility for P2P transactions.

It is easy to see who owns which assets, and if I’m interested to buy this asset from the people, there isn’t a straightforward way to do so.

For example, If I saw an NFT that I’m really interested in, and want to change one of my NFT in exchange to that NFT, there is no easy way to do so. Though there are platforms that support NFT swap, none of those platforms take off yet, and i believe one of the key reasons is the lack of ability to deliver the message to the owner.

It can also be applied to service too, if I want to connect with a big crypto collector to learn what his trading strategy is, and I’m willing to pay a good price in exchange for their time, I can message this address, attach 10 SOL for a 1-hour chat, and the other person can either accept or decline.

In the long run, if crypto allows us to clearly see 2 things: what assets are available & who is the owner, then as long as we can provide a message capability, it is possible to unlock all sorts of scenario of P2P direct transaction.

To some extent, it could be like a super open facebook marketplace where all your assets can be listed and bid by anyone.

3. Web3 app notifications

Email notification not only play a huge role in web2 app’s user experience, but also one of the most important marketing tool web2 apps have, however, on web3 there is no messaging portcol to the user about either marketing information, or delivering critical message that is important to users.

For example, people can bid on NFT from opensea marketplace, however, there is lack of a process for price negotiation, if someone offer 2 ETH for an NFT, the owner can either say Yes, or No, there is no middle group they can do the price negotiation.

Also another example is on Defi exchange, when someone is trading with leverage, it is important to deliver message to the people if their account is going to be liquidited soon.

on the other hand, many web3 app are reluctant to collect user’s email as the anon nature, and building the messaging infrastructure can be big cost that doesn’t contribute to their core business

What solutions?

1. Native messaging protocol

The problem of existing solutions:

  • EPNS has pretty poor UX, also the high gas fee on eth makes the messaging a too expensive service for only high stake messages
  • Dialect - hasn’t been released yet

2. Allow attaching email/SMS/discord to the wallet address

Not sure if this will happen. Even though it happen, the common concern is that people do want to stay anon on chain, at least for now.

On the other hand, i believe to make public message work, it can’t be just plain message, as that means they will be bombard with a lot of scam, and difficult to filter which one is important.

Each message here is more like a contract.

3. Web3 app associate email/SMS to wallet address

This satisfy the needs for website’s own notification, however the first 2 use cases are still limited

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