Sins of Web 1
Here’s a thing about an average Generation X consumer: They’ve got no time to waste. Unfortunately, they are described by insults and referred to as the Zombie Generation, the phone clunking type with attention deficit. But who cares. They are the future, and the gulf between them and the Baby Boomers is that they are tech-savvy and Snap Chat loving. And that means UX designer must tailor make solutions meshing with their needs should they want conversion. Generation X consumers may be holding tight on their cell phones but it’s a guarantee that any clunky designs introducing unnecessary friction–say during payment, will be dropped like it’s hot—Remember Snoop?
The Original Sins
Everything else constant, the world is transitioning, and history is repeating itself. During the print to Web 1.0 switch, media companies were urged to make content free and instead of users paying for content, advertisers—they said, would fill in and pay for lost revenue. Instead what happened was the rise of social media companies as Google and Facebook who filled in and monopolized advertising. That was not all. Since the internet was a new “tech” and global, useful content was finally substituted by attention-grabbing fake news, and reams of clickbait articles were the order of the day. The impact was visible for everyone: media companies were forced to downsize to the detriment of the hard-working and honest journalist. Unfortunately, the race of rapidly onboarding new users in this free content strategy, stakeholders forgot to lay the ground for proper incentives and to build sustainable business models undermining the very sector that was tasked with content production. Advertisement, as we saw, became the original sin of the internet. However, the dawn of the blockchain and web 3.0 hold the keys of readjustment but at the expense of convenience.
To Pay Up or Cede Control
While we have yet to correct this error, the question is whether the cost of running blockchain dApp(s), that is, Gas, will be settled by developers or the end users. The topic is recurrent in the blockchain development corridors. Remember, to correct this disastrous strategic error, a choice must be made and of course, if Gas costs are completely abandoned, then dApp user base will grow. No doubt, it’s a catch-22 scenario and user base growth is the network effect that the blockchain community is desirous off especially now when asset prices are falling off the clip, disillusioning dApp creators.
As it has proven to be, paying Gas payment, though useful in keeping decentralized app going, is a nightmare and a real obstacle when onboarding new users. Besides, for platforms built on Ethereum, most users might not even know what Gwei is. Cumulatively, the very task of paying gas, although vital, introduce roadblocks and other hassles that discourage widespread adoption.
Paying Gas is Freedom
Therefore, from an economic perspective, the topic of riding Gas payment may look like a novel idea, but I don’t see it as a sustainable business model. These dApps will have to operate, and if the end users aren’t going to pay for use, then costs will be heaped on to developers. In the early days of the project, the cost of running these dApps may be low and even insignificant but assuming they take off then Gas costs will shoot off the roof. The fact that they will be forced to cover these costs out of their funds makes this model unsustainable.
That is why, in spite of the challenges and pressures of heaping gas payment to developers availing them for free to content users may be a quick fix, end users must be habituated to “pay” for gas even if it means turning off good dApp traffic. Otherwise, it will be impossible to sway them to revert from free to pay up once the free to use mentality is entrenched. Then again, there is an opportunity to market the inconvenience of paying for dApps as an unexpected plus point distinguishing them from common apps where user data can be trawled and sold—without their consent to third parties.