March 13, 2023
Building Fast, Free, and Invisible Blockchain Experiences
Do you know what your most-used websites and apps are built on? As you log in to your favorite social media site, buy products on an ecommerce site, or send money through an app, do you ever ask: wow, what cloud service is this hosted on?
For most of us, the answer is no. We don’t know whether those sites are using Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure, and frankly, we don’t care — as long as the service works.
Businesses considering the benefits of the blockchain should view it similarly. Yes, there are benefits to advertising your use of blockchain technology, including accessing a new set of customers (particularly devoted web3 enthusiasts) and highlighting the innovative approach of your brand, your IP, and your products.
However, businesses can benefit from creating seamless blockchain experiences in which your customers may not even know that they are interacting with the blockchain … and some of the top enterprises in the world are already doing so, incorporating web3 tech into their underlying architecture, and reaping the benefits regardless of how they advertise it.
In this piece, we explore how businesses can create new revenue streams and engagement channels by building fast, free, and invisible experiences on the blockchain.
Discovering your biggest fans, and offering them even more value
How much would you pay to know your brand’s 10,000 most devoted fans? How about the top 1,000 or top 100?
Fireside Chat is a company that connects creators with their ‘super fans,’ already including major names such as Jay Leno, Melissa Rivers, Craig Kilborn and ‘Entourage.’ Co-founded by Mark Cuban and Falon Fatemi, the platform allows for multiple monetization methods while streaming content across Amazon Fire TV, Roku and other connected TV devices.
Through Fireside, fans can purchase tiers of membership to get a more intimate, direct experience with their favorite creators. Consider ‘Hollywood Medium’ Tyler Henry, a popular reality show persona with millions of followers across various social media channels. A $139.95 membership to the Tyler Henry Collective allows fans to interact with the clairvoyant live, with access to private 1-on-1 reading giveaways, monthly virtual group readings, regular hour-long Q&A sessions, and other benefits.
Each of these memberships is actually an NFT on the blockchain, although using the membership doesn’t require blockchain knowledge or cryptowallet usage.
Whether a specific app like Fireside exists or not, the fan now has irrevocable proof of their direct relationship to their favorite creator that persists on the blockchain. They are able to be identified and given first access to tickets to shows or live events, and receive even more exclusive content and other rewards — and that proof of fandom can also be recorded, so that their reputation within that community evolves as they contribute more to it.
That use of the blockchain is valuable for the creator (or business, or IP owner, etc) as well, because now they have direct insight into who their biggest fans are, and that information is accessible for them to turn back to regardless of what app they’re on. They can get deeper insight into their fandom, understanding what events their biggest supporters are attending, and potentially what content they are consuming most or what digital or physical merchandise they have purchased in the past.
Now imagine a similar program for a superstar musician like Taylor Swift or a major IP brand like Disney. Swift could sell 10,000 “golden tickets' which immediately airdrop a commemorative ticket into the digital wallets of the most dedicated Swifties.
It could come with perks, like the ability to buy future show tickets three days earlier than the general public, live streams of her working on her next single, or a giveaway where 10 of those 10,000 get to meet Swift in person. And because Swift’s team now has their blockchain wallet addresses, they could promise even more to-be-determined perks over time, making the ticket even more valuable.
Perpetual recurring revenue through smart-contract royalties
A major asset of NFTs built on the blockchain is their ability to incorporate smart contracts that are automatically enforced on the blockchain. This can create massive recurring revenue potential for top companies and brands.
Consider what would happen if the ‘golden tickets’ in the previous example had a smart contract attached to them that included a programmatic 10% royalty on every re-sale. The ticket may gain or lose value, but either way, a percentage will go back to the business or brand every time it is resold.
The Swifties benefit because their membership can grow in value far beyond what they originally paid for it, as their favorite celebrity’s star power grows even more. Let’s say the $10K NFT collection sells for $1k each: If those tickets were resold even at just their initial price, that would be $100 in royalties for every single re-sale in perpetuity.
Structuring the golden tickets this way also allows the business or brand to keep tabs on who their most active current fans are — rather than just having a list of who initially bought the tickets, they are aware when those tickets change hands, and which fans are perhaps most actively engaged in that moment (while still having documentation of the previous ticket holders, again, thanks to the transaction being recorded on the blockchain).
How brands can build free, fast, and invisible
To create seamless blockchain experiences, businesses need to build on web3 networks that are capable of scaling to include millions of potential customers while also enabling a relatively smooth user experience — as SKALE CEO and co-founder Jack O’Holleran used to say: “The blockchain will have won when we have applications with millions of daily users that don’t even know they’re using the blockchain.”
He used to say it because, now, a number of companies are already making that vision a reality.
Starbucks Odyssey uses the blockchain to give its loyalty program members collectible “journey stamps” that are actually NFTs, which they can earn by playing interactive games and solving challenges on their apps. Rare stamp holders may earn special rewards, such as a trip to its coffee farm in Costa Rica, as we featured in another piece.
Reddit has experimented with building a Community Points reputation system — the way community members are rewarded for posting, commenting and, in general, adding quality content to the platform — on the Ethereum blockchain. These points allow each user to “own a piece” of their community, including the ability to vote on decisions made by moderators on the subreddit, for example. Reddit mentions that these points live on the blockchain, but, outside of setting up a cryptowallet called a “Vault,” the user doesn’t actually have to change the way they act or communicate on the platform.
These “invisible” methods of incorporating the blockchain only work though if blockchain-related transactions are able to be made at scale without interupting user experience. By using SKALE, end users can interact with blockchain apps without having to pay gas fees or wade through long transaction times — in fact, a 2023 Dartmouth University study found that SKALE has the fastest transaction speed of any network, a full 30X faster than Ethereum.
It’s able to achieve such low-cost performance due to its unique modular infrastructure, which combines the security of Ethereum with the speed and savings of a scalable multichain network. The end result is an invisible blockchain experience for the end user much like one experiences when using a traditional application powered by Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure.
Want to learn more? Reach out to our team to discuss how your business can benefit from building on the blockchain.