Attractive incentive design is arguably the most important factor standing between cryptocurrency networks and mainstream adoption. What good are fee-less transfers, Turing complete smart contracts, or NFTs if the incentives for user adoption aren’t there?
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Countless cryptocurrency networks have launched to great acclaim, only to dwindle and disappear into obscurity; unused, unloved, forgotten. So what can developers do to bootstrap network adoption and increase their chances of survival? The answer lies with decentralized financial incentives.
Financial incentives are nothing new. Whether 0% APR on your car loan, store credit or air miles – consumers are regularly enticed to use products and services in exchange for redeemable value. The more generous the rewards, the more loyal the customer base. Issues often arise when redeem-ability (say, cashing in your air miles) is unfairly restricted. Centralized enterprises have complete control over how valuable their rewards are, often changing their terms and conditions.
Incentive strategies have also been adopted by digital platforms. Free Ebooks, newsletters and other loyalty programs aim to entice visitors onto websites and into sales funnels. Despite the success of this tried and tested strategy, short attention spans and clogged social feeds means that the attraction of ‘free’ rewards for clicks is quickly losing its luster for many readers.
Thanks to blockchain and distributed technology, it is now possible to financially reward viewers for visiting websites and using applications. By opting in to Gather’s hardware layer, visitors can loan their spare computing power whilst on the website/app. As the user spends time on the website/app, value is generated through the network’s application layer, with payouts in Bitcoin, GTH or local fiat currency.
The powerful effect of this tangible level of incentivization cannot be overstated. By simply visiting a website or using an app, opting-in, and reading or viewing content, the reader is compensated with money. Not points. Not e-books. Cold, hard (digital) cash. It gets better. The more time you spend relaxing and reading your favorite Gather-compatible websites, the more money you make. Paid to surf. The dream.
Despite petty Twitter arguments of how important decentralization is to cryptocurrency networks, the above example of financial incentivization is dramatically improved with the inclusion of decentralized network architecture. Within the Gather network ecosystem, users, publishers, businesses and cryptocurrency developers all benefit from the symbiotic relationship of computational resource sharing.
Decentralization magnifies the meritocratic nature of profit sharing within the network – rewarding stakeholders by compounding value accrual. It is within everyone’s interests to contribute to the Gather network, as the potential financial rewards will increase the more the ecosystem is used. Unlike a centralized business, the mechanisms of the ‘rewards program’ cannot be changed at a whim. Open, fair and transparent – just as blockchain technology was intended to be.
Democratizing the Internet
The effects of Gather’s digital incentivization solution for the internet remains to be seen. It’s not hard to picture a more utopian virtual world, with visitors, publishers and businesses all rewarded for sharing collective resources. With content freed from the shackles of paid advertising, unique and insightful pieces could take precedent over trashy, lowest common denominator click-bait.
Early adopters seem to agree. 200 registered businesses already leverage the network to generate income, including a $4 billion dollar mega corporation. Combined with leading venture capital investment and an oversubscribed private sale, and it’s easy to imagine how transformative Gather’s combined DLT solution could be for the incentivization of the internet.
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