Web3 CMO Stories

Push Protocol and Unstoppable Domains: A New Era of Messaging – with Harsh Rajat | S4 E16

June 21, 2024 Joeri Billast & Harsh Rajat Season 4
Push Protocol and Unstoppable Domains: A New Era of Messaging – with Harsh Rajat | S4 E16
Web3 CMO Stories
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Web3 CMO Stories
Push Protocol and Unstoppable Domains: A New Era of Messaging – with Harsh Rajat | S4 E16
Jun 21, 2024 Season 4
Joeri Billast & Harsh Rajat

Send us a Text Message.

Can decentralized communication be the key to unlocking the true potential of Web3?  In our conversation with Harsh Rajat, we explore the evolution and impact of decentralized communication in Web3.

Harsh  is the founder and project lead of Push Protocol, formerly known as EPNS, which emerged from an ETH Global hackathon in 2020. Push Protocol is the most widely adopted Web3 communication platform, having powered over 75 million notifications to over 100,000 users since its launch in January 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • The necessity of a communication layer in Web3 and how Push Protocol addresses this gap
  • How Push Protocol enables decentralized notifications and messaging, including wallet-to-wallet communication
  • The concept of token-gated group messaging and its implementation with Unstoppable Domains
  • Harsh's journey from Web2 to Web3 and his entrepreneurial experiences
  • The importance of interoperability and how Push Protocol ensures secure, cross-platform communication
  • Future developments in Push Protocol, including the upcoming V3 and decentralized node network
  • How Push Protocol contributes to the mass adoption of Web3 by enhancing user experience and reducing friction
  • The role of Unstoppable Domains in fostering innovative communication solutions in Web3


This episode was recorded through a Podcastle call on May 17, 2024. Read the blog article and show notes here: https://webdrie.net/push-protocol-and-unstoppable-domains-a-new-era-of-messaging-with-harsh-rajat/

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Can decentralized communication be the key to unlocking the true potential of Web3?  In our conversation with Harsh Rajat, we explore the evolution and impact of decentralized communication in Web3.

Harsh  is the founder and project lead of Push Protocol, formerly known as EPNS, which emerged from an ETH Global hackathon in 2020. Push Protocol is the most widely adopted Web3 communication platform, having powered over 75 million notifications to over 100,000 users since its launch in January 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • The necessity of a communication layer in Web3 and how Push Protocol addresses this gap
  • How Push Protocol enables decentralized notifications and messaging, including wallet-to-wallet communication
  • The concept of token-gated group messaging and its implementation with Unstoppable Domains
  • Harsh's journey from Web2 to Web3 and his entrepreneurial experiences
  • The importance of interoperability and how Push Protocol ensures secure, cross-platform communication
  • Future developments in Push Protocol, including the upcoming V3 and decentralized node network
  • How Push Protocol contributes to the mass adoption of Web3 by enhancing user experience and reducing friction
  • The role of Unstoppable Domains in fostering innovative communication solutions in Web3


This episode was recorded through a Podcastle call on May 17, 2024. Read the blog article and show notes here: https://webdrie.net/push-protocol-and-unstoppable-domains-a-new-era-of-messaging-with-harsh-rajat/

Harsh:

And that's what Unstoppable Domain did with Push. Now Push enables around 400 plus communities. If you are a Polygon holder or ENS holder or Web3 or Unstoppable Domain, you can only join those groups using the gated constant and because of that, whatever conversation is happening over there, it's happening among people who have a like-minded interest.

Joeri:

Hello everyone and welcome to the Web3 CMO Stories podcast. My name is Joe ri Billast and I'm your podcast host, and today I'm joined by Harsh Rajat. Hello, H arsh, how are you doing?

Joeri:

Hey, hi, Joe ri, I'm doing great, really excited to be here, happy to have you guys. If you don't know, P hush, he's the founder and the project lead of Push Protocol, formerly EPNS. Founded in 2020 from an ETH global hackathon, push Protocol is the most widely adopted Web3 communication platform and in January 2021, push launched Web3 native notifications and to date, has powered over 75 P million notifications to 200,000 users. It's amazing, but I guess, for people listening and that don't know Push yet, maybe explain a bit. Huh, harsh. By the way, welcome to the show, of course, but yeah, give us an overview about. W W

Harsh:

Welcome to the show, of course, but yeah, give us an overview about Push Protocol and what it's all about For sure, push Protocol is this decentralized communication protocol for Web3. What do we mean by that? Before that, let me tell you why it's needed. Because why is really important in the Web3 space? It basically emerged from the fact that three didn't had a communication layer before push, and let me give you an example like why was important? What's the first thing that we do when we get up in the morning? We get up, we take a look at our phone and what we're seeing are notifications from all the apps that we like and love, whether it's amazon sending you a delivery, whether it's PayPal payments or Venmo payments, whether it's important emails, whether it's Slack, whether it's anything that we do on social, like Twitter, if your Twitter is going viral, whether it's any game that you play let's say you play Antica Shai Dodo you send me notifications when the lives run out. In general, we don't realize, but notification is so weaved in our day-to-day lives that everything that we do now on the internet is probably driven by notification, that it will send you notification about important stuff and then you make up your mind whether you want to go and reply or not. Slack or email you will get emails from friends or workforce and then you'll make up your mind whether you want to reply or not. Any product that you use, as well, any and every product that will send you a notification. In fact, this podcast was a notification sent to me on Google and on Twitter that I have to be here, and that's how I realized that I have to be somewhere In general. How I realized that I have to be somewhere In general apps. They know and they send users that, hey, something of importance might have occurred for you and please go and check it out if you want. But that is Web 2. W

Harsh:

Like now, when we come to Web 3, or at least in 2020, we realized that this thing was really missing. And it was missing for two reasons. One, when you are interacting with anything on webc, you are interacting with a smart contract or a protocol, and when you are interacting with that, the only way you are interacting with it is your wallet. So your webc username is actually your wallet and that protocol or the smart contract only knows about this wallet address. So if you buy an ENS domain, you are not buying. Your Web3 username is buying If you're taking a DeFi loan, if you're doing governance. If you're doing L2 to L1 or any other L2 transfer, you're doing it from your wallet and the protocol only knows that this wallet wants through something. By that extension it now becomes very clear that the wallets they need to have a communication layer built right inside them so that the protocols can communicate to these wallets and say, hey, your ENS domain is about to expire, or hey, your DeFi loan is about to be accredited. Or hey, your yield farming is ready and please come and claim it. Or your governance is going to go, or your L2 to L1 challenge is now done and your points are available, your limit order completed. It goes on for almost anything.

Harsh:

If you're going for, let's say, web3 socials, it becomes even that more important that someone has commented or has received so many replies and that is a why for push. That is what the genesis of push was. We realized that this decentralized protocol is needed to enable communication for entire Web3. And the best way to do that was to enable first notification for WIP3 and then messaging, which can be wallet to wallet, and that is the basis of what push does. It basically enables any app, any smart contract, any protocol to send communication, including on-chain or off-chain notification or messaging or even audio video calls, which are now tied directly to your wallet address. Think about it like how ethereum ties your account data to your finances. Push ties your account to the communication data in an interoperable way. On the other side, any crypto wallet can now tap into this network and can show you all these notifications. They're solving the communication problem of Web3.

Joeri:

Interesting all these possibilities and I really see the problem that you're solving, but maybe one step back. So of course, you have two solutions. You talked about notifications, Web3. But from where came your interest in Web3 and in blockchain? Had it to do with your previous jobs or something else?

Harsh:

Oh, yeah, so that's a really funny story.

Harsh:

I have a decade worth of entrepreneur experience. I started in Web2. I started in iOS apps and games and that was full circle, because when I started, ios had just launched notifications and I saw through my own eyes, like, what notification architecture was. And then whatsapp came and messaging was built, and then facetime and video calls. But in 2010, we were doing really well with some of the apps that we had created. We created a power browser that went on to become the top 10 in the US app store, and that is when my entrepreneur journey took. But then came to 2014 and I was like I've been lucky enough to be an entrepreneur and to be a little bit successful in what I'm doing, and you only live once. So I decided that 2014 let me set aside at least four, five years of my life and see if I want to do something else as well, because I was getting bored with only creating games and apps. So at that point of time I took a break and this was the time I went on to explore a lot of things went on to explore machine learning, ai, went on to explore SaaS based product, went on to explore marketing, even design, whatever I wanted to do or at least I thought I had a talent for. I thought, let me go and try it out. So that was the start of the journey.

Harsh:

And then came 2016. The coin basically went to thousand dollars and it became the talk of town. At that point I was in India, everyone was talking about it and I was like, oh, amazing, free internet, free magic internet money. Right, let me get some. And I bought a little bit of Bitcoin and, as luck would have it, next week it crashed to $200. Then I was like, okay, how do I make my money back? And that was the point, actually, when I started looking into Bitcoin. And then I started looking into or realized that there are other coins as well, and I also realized that when they go to exchanges, the value they go up or down depending on what exchanges. So at that point I didn't realize, but I created a bot which used to do arbitrage and used to send me daily reports, and that was 2017. It did really well for a year or so and then I think everyone else figured it out.

Harsh:

So, 2018, it started. But, yeah, in 2018, it started sending me a lot of reports about these ERC-20 coins and that piqued my interest about ERC-20. What is ERC-20? What is erc20? And then I realized that there's this thing called ethereum. So before then I was like, okay, this is the future of money because it's so much better than the current system. But with ethereum I kind of realized, okay, this is the future of programmable money and that is very huge.

Harsh:

Like at that point of time I realized that that this thing, or Ethereum, enabled millions of users, or millions of W people who are just sitting at home, who just have an internet connection. Now they can create a global DeFi bank or they can create so much more on top of it. And that was the time when I got fascinated by ethereum and I got fascinated by a blockchain. So from then on, I because I knew from my entrepreneurship that you know, you have to be in the game to learn and understand how everything operates. So around 2018 or so, I joined this fintech company that was building meta transactions just on ethereum and activity type entities. Was there the land of 2019 to understand how p5 operates, to understand smart contracts and to learn more about it.

Harsh:

And then, yeah, on around 2019, the later part of 2019 I thought, let me have a crack at what I can do in Web3. That was the time I played around with a lot of dabs and the idea was that compare everything with the Web2 experience, because I believe that this is a progression Web1, web2 and Web3. So everything that is changing. It's not like reinventing the wheel or we are not reinventing the wheel most of the time. We only have to build on features and innovativeness on top. So because of that, I was trying to see and play around with a lot of dApps and very quickly I realized that notifications, which is kind of thing that drives the entire internet that was missing in webc and the entire internet that was missing in Web3. And the entire communication was missing, because after notification only you can build other form of communication. So that was my journey, like I would say, 2018, I went into Web3. Before that, I was probably at Vado.

Joeri:

Well, yeah, everyone has his journey and it's like you said, make your feet wet, just do it. You learn, like with my podcast, too, been inviting a lot of guests, learning from my guests. One of my guests already some time ago was sandy carter of unstoppable domains, which is also a really amazing company, what they are doing and I read that push protocol that, yeah, that you launched a web3 token-gated group messaging for unstoppable domains and I think we have about like almost 4 million users. Can you explain a bit how this feature works and benefits the users? For sure? W

Harsh:

So, first of all, I love Sandy, I love unstoppable domain. A lot of protocols in Web3 say that they want innovativeness and say that they want to adopt innovativeness, but some of the protocols they actually do it, and Unstoppable is one of them, apart from, of course, uniswap and so many other cooler ones that adopted notification when we just started. So just because of them, I love Unstoppable. But we also have this partnership with them now, and then this gated group chat of ours is empowering over 4 million users of Unstoppable domain and we don't count them as our users, but kind of, they are our users because whenever you're using group chat on Unstoppable, you are using it, but yeah, why was it needed? On unstoppable, you are using for it, but yeah, why was it needed? So what we realized, like when we were building messaging, that it's a different problem altogether. Like when you are talking notifications, there is no way for protocol to interact with the wallet. So notifications native notifications on web3 is given, but when we are talking about messaging, you have to realize that messaging happens between people that already know each other, and then why would they leave telegram and come and use our web3 messaging tool? And that was basically the gist, or the thesis on which we started building push chat, and what we realized was that just messaging is not powerful enough to get the users out of Telegram and to Web3 messaging. What you need to do is you need to provide a little bit more, or a lot more on the Web3 native side of things for people to actually be excited about it.

Harsh:

And over there we came up with this concept of gated group chats. The idea was that the wallets already has on-chain history, like whatever po-apps you have or whatever tokens you have or whatever nfts you have or whatever NFTs you have, and till how long you had those NFTs and till how long you had those tokens. All of this history is actually very, very cool to know and very cool to create a community around. And that was the idea which we started working on and then Unstoppable also came on board and we worked very closely to deliver this gated group experience. But the idea was that let's create groups and communities that can derive information from your on-chain wallet history and your wallet characteristics. So, for example, now you can create a gated group which is only for Ethereum whales, so people who have just bought a lot of Ethereum only they can become a part of the group, or you can have a group of only people who have ENS domains, or you can have a group of only people or only wallets that have Boat Apes, or you can have a group of only people that have 20 or so PoE apps, which is developer oriented.

Harsh:

And now, all of a sudden, you have unlocked this new paradigm wherein you can create gated groups that are focused on loyalty or that are focused on community and community talking among themselves, and that's very cool in itself, and that's what unstoppable domain did with push. Now, push enables around 400 plus community members of there, or 400 plus communities which can be if you're a polygon holder or ens holder or web3 veil or unstoppable domain ot. You can only join those groups using the gated functionality and because of that, whatever conversation is happening over there, it's happening among people who have a like-minded interest. So it's like this revolution where you have created the subreddit, but the subreddit is now getting driven by your wallet history and your wallet characteristics and it enables a lot of cool things, and that is why Unstoppable was also very excited to basically integrate that.

Harsh:

And, yeah, they just went ahead and did just that. But yeah, that is the new form of communication that we are looking at, where, then, you can have communities that can negotiate with BOTAPES you already know that these people have BOTAPES or you can have communities that can negotiate with BOTAPES you already know that these people have BOTAPES or you can have communities that are basically DAOs coming together and talking in this group, and the beauty of this group is we Web3 working towards this decentralized, autonomous group wherein even the owner is defined by the wallet characteristics and even the admins can be defined by the wallet characteristics, and that the admins can be defined by the wallet characteristics, and that becomes like a really cool way to interact, and it builds on top of Web2, because this is not something you can do on Web2 messaging, and that's why I think PushHat is getting, or gaining, a lot of traction.

Joeri:

You said a lot of interesting things about the community building that you can do there. Like the aspect because it's gated, it looks at the history, so in terms of privacy and security, it's also important. Yeah, a lot of communities or messaging is now taking place on Telegram, but also on Discord, so I see that there's really some opportunities and interoperability is also really important. That's actually amazing. Can you talk a bit about that? And integrations, maybe with other WebTree projects?

Harsh:

Sure, interoperability, like when we were building this protocol, it was always clear to us if F3E usernames are wallet addresses, then wallet addresses can be imported to any other wallet and your data is tied to your wallet. That is the narrative of F3E Not your keys, not your coin, not your keys, not your communication. Your keys, not your communication. So because of that, the architecture was evolved in a way that we or Push doesn't own any of the data. Like it's interoperable. Anyone who indicates Push, they basically can show you this communication. And it's also secure because we use cryptography to make sure that the encrypted conversation can only be decrypted by someone who holds the keys of that phone. So that is where the interoperability come in. And it's also very strong because all of a sudden, you don't have to go to a single wallet or you don't even have to be just on unstoppable domain to get access to your messages, to get access to or to reply to those messages or conversations.

Harsh:

For the community, practically any protocol or any project can integrate that, and we also have a cool game theory wherein if you integrate which protocol early, you do get rewarded for it. Wallets more than the protocols, because protocols are already winning by making this feature for their users. But you do have this game theory setup. So that's one thing. On the community gating side, of course there's unstoppable domain, but there are a lot of other protocols that are trying to build something cool out of it. There's perks, which is trying to build a loyalty program. There's socially, which is trying to build on lens on top of lens and trying to build a loyalty program. There's socially, which is trying to build on lens on top of lens and trying to crack this Web3 social problem or Web3 SOFI problem. So yeah, a lot of projects are coming together and working on push chat in general Great.

Joeri:

A lot of people talk a lot about mass adoption. When is it coming? How it is over? So how do you see the role of push protocol, maybe to win in this whole story? Yeah, so I have this huge thank about Web3 UX and, of course, why push is important. We recently switched to this narrative of having a billion users in Web3, right, and I keep on telling people now W that we need to realize that a billion users, they do not equal a million devs. So before that, the narrative was getting a million devs out. And why do we need to realize like this statement is important? We need to realize, because we need to understand, that devs, they are actually in it for the tech, so they will go and see documentation, no matter how arbitrary it becomes. They will try to integrate or figure things out. That's their job. Right, that's my job as well. So I will go and try to see how a cool thing cocrates, but users they. But users, they are not like devs, right, they are not in it for the tech, they are in it for the features. Let's say, we are using PodCastle and PodCastle would have said figure out seed words, distribute to friends, get on the exchange, do an on and off ramp, deposit money in my protocol and only then you can come and talk. We are not going to do that. It's going to take three, four hours just to do that. So we need to realize that users they are in it for the features and those features are important and should have a 10x experience for them Because they have their own job. They will just get like a few hours in a day to try things out and we need to make sure that when they're trying a new product out, it's not that it's the future. We need to tell them it's the future and because it's the future, it's 10x more intuitive to use. And that is what Web3 was missing. Basically, when we were talking people to create their directory wallet, one action was 10 interactions. Now we are trying to solve it with account abstraction. When we were telling them to come and do certain things or buy certain nfts, we were not even assisting them in what is a nft and what transaction and are they doing, and we were saying that you have to read smart contract code. That is not possible, like a billion users cannot be a smart contract developer. So we need to make that easy and I think AI is coming to make that easy. Then we had this problem of communication, where then, whenever a user comes in, there's no form of engagement, W no W form of them socializing or even opening a support ticket W talking to the protocol about it. W And that is where push came in, wherein we said that this communication is so intrinsic in web 3, web 2, that we need to have it in web 3, and these are like the three pillars that I see that is the key to approaching that billion users, which is easing user friction.

Harsh:

Account abstraction is working towards that, making usage any seamless. Ai and new tools and new wallets are trying to do that by making sure that either user doesn't know that it's a wallet or trying AI to tell them like this is what is going on when you are sending something, and so on. Tenderly and risk protocols are also coming up which basically tell them that when you are doing this action, before you do it, this is what is going to happen with your wallet. And then, of course, for communication pushers trying to fill up that gap, wherein protocols can now re-engage the user. They can tell that something of importance is coming up and you might want to check it out. All of these three things combined, I think, enable us to have, if not better than an equal experience of what a web2 app would be, and and that is what is essentially cracking this problem of getting 1 billion users to web3.

Joeri:

Sounds exciting. The future, and I always like to ask that in my podcast episodes. So what are you now today? What are you now the most excited about, maybe for Push or for the market in general? I'm curious to hear that For sure, for.

Harsh:

Push. We are very excited about essentially three things that's coming up. One is this push protocol V3 that is going into audit. What does it solve? What more things it enables? It basically enables omni-chain experience, which is very great. Right now, when you want to send a notification, you have to be on evm, but that gets subtracted of it. You can be on any chain. You don't have to come on ethereum. You can create a channel. You can start sending notifications a very cool feature. We are very excited about it. It took us a lot of research to get this right because it's omni chain, which means it can be on solana, it can be on Bitcoin, it can be on Ethereum and any other non-EVM as well as EVM. Another thing we are excited about V3 is, for the first time, we are introducing fees for wallet, which will be governed by on-chain governance. So what it means is that whatever fees push protocol will accrue, a part of it will go to the wallet. That integrates push, which is, of course, something very cool for the wallets, and the sooner they adopt this, the more fee they will get. That's again something very cool that's coming up. And the last thing that's coming up, which is is amazing, is this vision of ours, that not only push needs to be omni chain and all across web3. We also realize that the user is just not a wallet. As a web3 user, I will have several wallets on ethereum, on polygon, on arbitrum, on even bitcoin or on solano, and I am a user of those wallets. So there needs to be a way by which I can combine those wallets and get my communication on that combined, which is also something that's coming in weekly, so very excited about that.

Harsh:

Right after that, we have something called Push Network, which is this decentralized network of nodes that will go live. We already did a poc. All of the community, like back in q1 idea is that push right now it's it's basically yeah, push right now it's basically immutable, which basically means that any notification, any chat you send, you sign it. So there's no way by which push can change it. But there is a possibility of censorship. That can happen if, let's say, amazon starts dropping your communication packet. But when you get into this push network and decentralized node, that also goes away, because decentralized nodes mean that every node is talking to each other and that is coming and that's very exciting for us. We actually took two years to build the entire network out, because it's going to be nailed, which is something that was not done, and it's a blockless, stateless network, which makes it very fast as well. So something very cool, not something that other networks have done. So you're very excited about that.

Harsh:

And, of course, with v3 and push nodes, we had this tokenomics v2. That's upcoming. I will. We are just going through final touches on the white paper. There are a lot of very cool surprises for all the push holders in tokenomics v2. Idea is that when you go omni-chain and when you have so many features like, how do you combine everything? So everything is a net positive for some. Uh, and that is what tokenomics v2 is doing. So, yeah, three things very excited about the team doesn't team has stopped sleeping at night because of those things, but, yeah, very excited for those to be released soon I love to see and hear your passion about all this.

Joeri:

You gave a lot of information. A lot of people have a lot to digest. They know, or, if you don't, I always have a blog article show notes that you can find. You can read everything in there, everything that Harsh has mentioned. But maybe, harsh, there are some other things we can mention, like how can people know more? Where can they go to learn more about Push? How can they connect with you? Feel free to mention that.

Harsh:

Of course. So best way to know more about P push, go to push. org and over there, if you just scroll all the way down, you will have links on twitter discord, so you know you remain safe. Go to just push. org and you can follow all the links from there. You can find the dap out. App push. org it's an interoperable dap. Appbushorg it's an interoperable Dapp, but apppush. org is like the super Dapp which combines all the experience of notification, chat and so on. If you want to try it out, try it. It's a very cool experience and, of course, with any Web3 project, you never know what surprises we might roll out for you guys if you try it out. As for following me, twitter is the best. Just head to twitter. com, slash Harish Rajat H-A-R-S-H-R-A-J-A-T and we can be sweet friends.

Joeri:

Like we already are, I put the links in the show notes. Harsh, it was really a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you so much. Thank you so much, yuri.

Harsh:

I really enjoyed this conversation.

Joeri:

If you enjoyed the conversation too, guys, you know what to do. Share it with your friends, with other entrepreneurs. Maybe other people interested more about Web3 and everything that is happening on the messaging front, the notification front. If you are not yet subscribed to the show, this is a really good moment to do this. I would also love for you if you could give me a five-star review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. It really helps me to get even more reach and, of course, I would like to see you back next time. Take care.

Could you give us an overview of Push Protocol for those who aren’t familiar with it yet?
Could you give us an overview of Push Protocol for those who aren’t familiar with it yet?
Could you explain how the Web3 token-gated group messaging feature for Unstoppable Domains works and its benefits?
Can you discuss the opportunities in community messaging on platforms like Telegram and Discord, and how interoperability and integrations with other Web3 projects play a role?
How do you envision Push Protocol contributing to achieving mass adoption in blockchain technology?
What currently excites you the most about Push Protocol or the broader market?
What currently excites you the most about Push Protocol or the broader market?