▦ 8 → Faucets
by: Shahruz Shaukat
Something fun that exists in the Ethereum ecosystem is the concept of a "Faucet".
A Faucet is an interactive utility on the web that rewards you with currency for free by sending it to your Ethereum address.
Ethereum has a few "testnets" that are operated for developers wanting to stage and test their code before deploying it to the "mainnet", which is permanent and expensive.
These testnets provide the same architecture but use more efficient validation mechanisms at the cost of decentralization (and by extension, security) ("proof of authority" vs "proof of work/stake").
To deploy something on a testnet, you need some Ether to pay for gas fees. To get that Ether to get started, you use a faucet.
Here's a faucet for "Rinkeby", Ethereum's most popular testnet.
You can get 18.75 Ethers up to once every 3 days, roughly a $56,000 value at the equivalent rate on the mainnet.
But because testnets aren't secure, and because you can just get it for free anytime this way, they hold no value outside of letting you use the testnet systems as much as you want.
Outside of developer uses, some faucets exist for "layer 2 blockchains" or "sidechains", where running transactions are much cheaper.
Here's a faucet for the Polygon mainnet.
You can get 0.0005 up to 3 times a day, roughly a $0.000835 value.
This mainnet is secure, and all $0.000835 of your funds are real. That amount will let you run something like 50 - 100 transactions on Polygon on average, depending on their complexity.
These funds are deposited by the community who are interested in making sure Polygon is relatively easy for anyone to get started on, or move things around if they've run out of funds somehow.
You can see the transaction history here: https://explorer-mainnet.maticvigil.com/address/0x8C5a6C767Ee7084a8C656Acd457Da9561163aE7E/transactions.
While I'm writing this post, the contract for the faucet holds around $29 in value. Not a significant amount by any means in this space, but a massive treasury for anyone wanting to start using the blockchain easily.
If dealing with a blockchain like Polygon where transactions are so inexpensive that even $30 of funding makes something more than sustainable, is it possible to extend the concept of a faucet to more personal use cases?
What does a faucet look like as a mechanism for cultivating a community or a fandom?
Could we set faucets up easily in Markdown with something like this, customizing rewards for the type of interaction we're looking for?
<Faucet onVisit="10" />
<Faucet onLike="100" onComment="100" onRepost="150" />
<Faucet style="button" text="Play this game!" href="https://externally-hosted-game.com" onSuccessCallback="100" />
Some more questions:
Should one limit the total supply of their currency or make it unlimited? How important is invoiding inflation if it's not meant to be traded as a currency?
What systems can be developed to utilize the currencies earned from a author/creator/publisher faucet? Systems for leveling within a fandom, systems for automating moderation, systems for enabling more direct access, ...
How do you detach the concept of a cryptocurrency from the concept of speculative financial investments? How do you distinguish "Monopoly money" from real money in a digital environment where they're built using the same things?
🕊 Where to next?