What is EPNS and why does it matter

What is EPNS and why does it matter
Representative imageEPNS
  • EPNS stands for Ethereum Push Notification Service.
  • EPNS aims to solve the problem of sending push notifications to users, which is missing from the web3 ecosystem right now.
  • EPNS is backed by renowned web3 investors including WazirX’s Nischal Shetty, Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal and Balaji Srinivasan.
Amongst the many good things about the web3 ecosystem is one big flaw — the fact that it doesn’t have infrastructure for push notifications right now. This is the problem that homegrown firm Ethereum Push Notification Service (EPNS) has set out to solve. The company launched its own mainnet earlier this month, and has been touted to be amongst the most important early-stage web3 startups in the world right now.

EPNS has raised $1.41 million in two funding rounds so far, from investors including WazirX’s Nischal Shetty, Balaji Srinivasan, a former chief technology office (CTO) at a16z General Partners, Gitcoin co-founder Scott Moore, Mariano Conti, the founder of MakerDAO, and more. Polygon co-founder, Sandeep Nailwal, also participated in the company’s second funding round. The company also partnered with WazirX on January 27, to promote blockchain-based notifications that are chain-agnostic.

What does EPNS do?

Push notifications are at the core of most connected ecosystems today. Introduced as far back as 2008, it’s what allows apps on our iPhones and Android devices to communicate with users about offers, delivery updates, and other actions. This is a service that’s not available for web3 protocols and decentralised apps (dapps) right now.

EPNS aims to solve this by building something called ‘channels’, which allows dapps to communicate with users by sending them alerts. Essentially, the standard will allow a decentralised wallet service to send notifications to users on their devices, and tell them when the value of their non-fungible token (NFT) or cryptocurrency has changed, etc.

The EPNS communication layer is built on top of the EIP-712 standard, which is a system that’s built into the Ethereum protocol.

EPNS’ possible use-cases

As mentioned above, the protocol can be used by dapps to send notifications. This includes decentralized exchanges (DEXs), decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces and projects.

For instance, a DeFi app can send notifications to users when they’re about to be liquidated, while a DEX can send a notification when the price of a token falls. NFT marketplaces, on the other hand, can send notifications about specific items going live, or a specific rise or drop in the price of an NFT.

How does a person use EPNS?

EPNS users are split into two groups — channels and subscribers. Channels are for the companies and dapps that want to send notifications, while subscribers are the users who will get notifications.

To get channels, developers will have to use EPNS’ own dapp or the company’s javascript library. EPNS is an open source protocol, which means anyone can not only use it, but also build on top of it. Unlike web2 systems, like Android or iOS, notifications on web3 won’t be completely free, which means that dapps will need to pick and choose which notifications they should or should not send.

Why? Because everything on a blockchain system is another transaction. And that transaction requires a payment. EPNS offers open, closed and mutual channels, which are meant for different kinds of platforms.

An open channel means literally anyone will be allowed to subscribe to a platform’s notifications, while closed and mutual channels allow a greater degree of control. With a closed channel, dapps can choose to send notifications only to their users, like a wallet service sending notifications to individual holders. A mutual channel is where channel creators will be able to approve subscribers, but anyone can apply for that approval.

For subscribers, the EPNS dapp acts as a go-between for the web2 and web3 worlds, allowing the notifications to come through on Android, iOS devices or Chrome Browser extension.

EPNS’ governance token

Much like any new web3 service, EPNS also has its own cryptocurrency. However, the company’s token isn’t really one that’s meant to be traded and made money off in the short term. Instead, EPNS’ token, called $PUSH, is a governance token that was launched last year. It is listed on WazirX as well and was trading at ₹97.36 at the time of writing this report.

The holders of this token actually have a stake in the system, in the sense that they will have a say in the future of the protocol. Those holding the PUSH token will not only have governance rights about features, charges and other elements of EPNS in future, but they will also have their own rewards for the same. The fees dapps pay to EPNS’ network in future will be used to reward the holders of PUSH in future.

EPNS Mainnet

EPNS has existed for over a year, but if you troll around on the internet for a bit, you might find articles talking about EPNS ‘going live’ on January 11. That’s because January 11 is when the mainnet for EPNS went live.

Channels and subscribers will both sort of live on this mainnet. Just like most other web3 services that aim to be platforms of the future, EPNS’ mainnet is what decides how the protocol progresses in the long term. Basically, the mainnet is to EPNS what the Android Open Source Project is to Android.

The mainnet is where the company, and the community at large will innovate in the long term. In web3 terms, the mainnet is the primary blockchain platform that powers a protocol. The company’s token, its features and everything else is built through the mainnet, and rule changes too will be dictated by this platform in future.

“We’ll post more information about the post-mainnet roadmap for EPNS soon, but expect incentives, governance, multi-chain support, and more,” the company said.

EPNS Governance recently passed a $1 million worth of PUSH Grants Program to facilitate and empower building on top of the EPNS ecosystem.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in partnership with WazirX. Do your own research (DYOR) before deciding to invest in any asset, cryptocurrency or otherwise.

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