For the impatient ones, this video should suffice:
Facebook? Nope. I am more of a ‘Meta’ person. Rebranding is one of the oldest tricks in the book to signal a strategic shift in focus. For example, Dunkin Donuts changed to Dunkin’ to showcase that they’re equally good in other segments. But this one is NOT about food. It is about a web3 protocol. Yes. Our beloved EPNS or Ethereum Push Notification Service has evolved to Push Protocol.
What does this change signify though? More importantly, what is the future of this protocol given this change? And finally, I would touch upon a debated theory I have been chasing for a while: Fat App Thesis and how this move by Push Protocol, just proves my point. But first, let us bring you onboard on what is (was) EPNS after all.
What is EPNS?
What is the one thing that drives you toward your phone? Something so inevitable that its absence might render a lot of apps plain useless? I am sure you would have been taking it for granted so far. Yes. It’s the notifications. The plain old <Ding> on your phone that craves your attention.
Try to imagine your life without notifications. You post a photo on Instagram in a bid to get social validation (read likes). What if you’d only know about it when you open the app? I am sure a lot of you would have been stuck on the app forever. A more serious use case? What if you take a trade and your target price is hit? If there were no notifications, you’d probably never know!
From reminding you to drink water to driving your engagement, notifications have changed the world that we live in.
But as there’s a yin to a yang, these notifications are centralized. This means Apple or Android takes a call on what kind of notifications can be delivered to you. To top it all, they are purely a mobile play. Have you ever got notifications from a ‘desktop-only’ app?
And the current state of web3 is hovering on laptops alone. There are little to no decentralized platforms that live on your cellphone.
To solve this legitimate problem, we have EPNS. EPNS is a decentralized communication protocol for Web3! Using which any dApps, smart contracts, backends or protocols can send comm (starting with on-chain / off-chain / gasless notifs) tied to user wallet in an open, gasless, multichain and platform-agnostic fashion. The open comm layer allows any crypto wallet/frontend to tap into the network and get the comm across.
Too jargony? Think of EPNS as a one-stop application that ties the web2 mobile interface with the web3 decentralized world. Any dapp can now integrate with EPNS and send notifications to you on your phone via EPNS app so that you stay informed.
What’s worse than getting rekt? Not knowing that you got rekt!
What is Push Protocol then?
Now that explanation is out of the way, let us move to the new Avatar of EPNS aka Push Protocol. Why do brands change their name anyway? Well, it is often when they outgrow their previous proposition. And this is best defined by Push Protocol. The Push protocol stands out from the former EPNS in two ways:
A. Moving beyond Ethereum to other L1s and L2s
B. Moving beyond push notifications to other forms of communication.
Communication has always been the backbone of human evolution. We as a society have yearned for novel ways to connect with each other. Push protocol believes that this evolution will continue until the existence of mankind and they are preparing themselves to be ready for this.
Push protocol enables flexible and decentralized middleware that serves as a public good to solve the communication problem of web3 protocols.
Key Features of Push Protocol:
Yeah. We just discussed how EPNS has decided to go cross-chain. But what does it mean for the protocol and general audience? What features can you expect?
Get it? Why isn’t it ETHEREUM push notification system anymore?
We are definitely heading towards a multi-chain universe and it is prudent for a protocol to cater to audience across the bandwagon.
B. Different Modes of Communication:
Ever transferred funds to the wrong address? While there is no guarantee of retrieving them, a fair opportunity to at least talk to the receiver might be a game changer. Currently, web3 has no user-friendly way of doing this.
So, with this shift, Push protocol should be able to add a lot more tools to enable communication in web3. This is not restricted to push notifications alone.
In fact, this version will encapsulate an entire stack of communication which will enable decentralized brands to interact with their users in ways that never existed before. Think chat, streaming and instant messaging etc.
The Universal Language for Web3:
Okay. I admit. The entire Blockchain and Crypto realm have made me a lot more philosophical. In an attempt to rub that in your face, let us understand the significance of push protocol through a cartoon.
Remember Phineas and Ferb? No? So its a story of two brothers (child prodigies) who make groundbreaking inventions. While the plot heavily revolves around the fact that they are always able to get away while building in stealth and their parents never know, that is not relevant here.
So in one of the episodes, while trying to help their friend, they come up with a universal talking machine. Bring any pet you have, they make some noises in a microphone and you could understand it in human language on the other side. One could talk back as well.
I don’t want you to imagine a world where this would be possible. But imagine a world where humans face this problem of interaction. Everything that you want to communicate must be decoded in a human-readable format before it reaches your ears.
Yup. You guessed it right. That is exactly what Push Protocol aims to do for Web3 folks!
Fat App Thesis:
You see, the internet is built on protocols like SMTP, HTTPS etc. These protocols are a set of rules or standards on which apps like Facebook/Gmail are build. If you look closely, these protocols haven’t accrued much value for the investors. It is rather these apps which are extremely valuable.
They say that web3 or Blockchains can flip this completely. Why? Two main reasons:
A. Shared data
You cannot move your assets from Zerodha to Groww because both these apps work in siloes with their walled data sets. Same goes between Facebook and say Snapchat.
However, since Blockchain enables ownership, it is easy to move your assets between WazirX and CoinDCX.
Therefore, building on the same protocol (Blockchain) has its own merits and makes the protocol layer valuable.
Conventional protocols were boring. Most of us didn’t even know that the web is running on them. However, web3 protocols have a native token attached to them. This gives them a speculatory significance. If more dApps are built on a protocol, higher the value of a network. Higher the value, it attracts even more dApps.
Therefore, the value of an app can never exceed that of a protocol.
Now there are some downsides to this theory as well.
In fact, a bang opposite of this is called the fat app thesis where people believe that the application layer >>> the protocol layer.
Since Push Protocol now starts to go cross-chain, it is definitely an opportunity for them to generate more revenue, appreciate $PUSH and extract the most out of web3. Hence validating my belief that Fat App Thesis will have the final laugh.
To the New Beginnings?
This isn’t the end. It is the beginning of something new, something bigger, better, bolder and beautiful. I am a big fan of Push Protocol. Because quite often, you would find projects that are existing for the sake of it. This one’s something that has a real problem at hand to solve.
How would it perform in the future? Only time will tell. Until then, what do you think about this transition?
Let me know in the comments section below. If this article adds value to your life, please consider sharing it with your friends using the links below.
Until next time..
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