FEATURE IDEA: Allow apps to monetize by pre-allocating storage space

Hey guys,

So I had this idea about how app developers could get paid without raising any financial barriers to participation in the network. I read this forum regularly and I’ve seen it discussed that app devs will be able to monetize by charging safecoin for the usage of the app (by hard-coding their safecoin wallet address or something like that). There is at least one drawback with that, though (which I believe others have mentioned). Namely, how can we ensure that people who have almost no money at all can still participate in the network or run apps?

A possible solution occurred to me: What if people, when they installed an app, could (optionally, in lieu of safecoin) allow the app to allocate a small extra bit of storage space on their device, which the app would then use to generate safecoins? The amount I was thinking about could be quite small.

Let’s suppose, for example, that I built a simple word-processing app. I could then allow the app to allocate some space (let’s say 10 MB, but the amount could vary) to use for it’s own farming purposes. Essentially, the app would create a miniature “internal vault” that belongs to that app, which would then be put to work storing random data just like any other vault on the network. The developer of the app could then specify where to send the safecoins which are generated through that farming process. If 100,000 people install my 10 MB app, it’s the same as if I were farming a 1 TB vault.

This is a model for developers to create applications that (if they prove to be popular) generate a continuous stream of income over time, instead of applications that charge an upfront fee. In other words, it replaces the ‘salesmanship’ paradigm (get the user to buy/install the app) with the ‘utility’ paradigm (app is free to install/ but try to get the user NOT to uninstall the app).

Basically this is exactly the same as the “free” ad-supported model that currently exists with many apps, but with one crucial difference: unlike ads, allowing the app to farm a little of your storage space for itself has zero impact on the user experience (not to mention the privacy/security implications of ads).

Another thing (just an extra idea) is that the recipient of the safecoin generated by the app does not necessarily have to be just the developer himself. There isn’t any reason I am aware of that there could not be multiple addresses that are paid out a specified percentage of the farmed safecoin. This would be good for apps with multiple devs, and it would also allow devs to, for example, divert 10% of the apps revenue to some charity or something like that.

So… 1) Have you guys already thought of this? 2) Am I ignorant in thinking that it is technically feasible? 3) What are the drawbacks to this concept that I have not considered?

What do you see a the benefit of this compared to the user farming Safecoin and using that to pay for the app?

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My understanding is that everything is chunked and distributed, therefore you don’t download apps, you access them via the Core API. If 100,000 use your app on a regular basis, you could expect a nice reward from the network I think and could program your app to distribute the rewards via a programmatic method.

I’m sure the gurus here will chip in with their wisdom :wink:

The benefit would be that even if you had just created your account and your safecoin balance was zero, you could still use apps. I remember there was a discussion a while back where you were all debating if new users should receive an initial amount of safecoin. This could be a way around that issue.


Yes, I have to admit my understanding of how apps are “installed” is a bit fuzzy. But perhaps it does not alter the underlying logic. Even if the app were distributed, I do imagine that there would need to be some event that is equivalent to installing, like “registering”. Maybe someone can clarify this.

If someone wants to utilize paid apps but does not have safecoin, they just need to install a vault and wait until they earn some. Sort of like how people used to buy things, by saving up :wink:

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I think the idea has merit. I don’t know how easy it would be to implement, but I don’t think the way apps load is an issue.

The issue is trust between you and the app which you give permission to farm. I don’t think that’s a big issue as it applies to any app we give permission to run on our machine, though it might push that a little towards risk by making it easier for the app to exploit this (e.g farm more space or do other things in the background than what you agreed).

That’s true @chrisfostertv, but as we know this creates friction, and on first run a user could choose to pay in Safecoin or space which would benefit app devs by reducing friction and increasing market size.

Whether that is enough incentive for devs too put in the extra work needed I doubt, at least in the early days.

Well that is true enough, but I’m just thinking that from a user’s standpoint it makes the whole experience more seamless if you don’t have to worry about your safecoin balance. People could still farm and pay for apps with safecoin (that could even be the primary method) but if I were an average non-technical user of SAFE I would not like feeling like I had to continually pay a subscription fee to make the computer keep working :smile:

Also, on what basis are apps going to charge safecoin? Is is the time that you spend using them? The number of times they are opened? How much data you save? It can get a little complicated, and if your just allow the app to specify how much of your space it wants to farm for itself, it simplifies this considerably. User’s can simply judge (based on how much the app is asking for and how much they have free) whether it is worth it for them to install it.


I was imagining that this feature could be implemented on the network level, so the app could not be doing anything in the background other than create a mini-vault which would be appear and be treated like any other vault on the network.

Sort of like when you publish an app on Google Play, it asks you to specify “free” or “premium”. I am not sure what kind of mechanism will exists for publishing apps on SAFE, but in any case when you published the app you would be given the option to select “free” or “premium”. Sub-options for “paid” would be safecoin and/or space".

EDIT: Also, the app should have to disclose the amount of space it requires, and that amount of space would be constant. So if an app “costs” 15MB to use, you can either accept or reject it, your choice. If at some point you run out of space on your local disk, you can pay with safecoin directly. I am just thinking that, from a network adoption standpoint, it’s not good to require safecoin ownership as a precondition for participation.

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I believe you don’t have to “install” the app, not even on your own SAFE drive, because the app will be on the public drive of the developer. He paid once to upload it, and from there on everybody can download it for free and execute it. Regarding the safecoin rewards for using apps, I don’t think the SAFE developers know yet how it is going to work (at least they don’t tell)

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The game that we’ve designed so far has a quest line which introduces the concept of farming. This way a player can have an ingame currency that can regularly arrive at their till. So the farming would be able to establish an ingame economy. The development of the game is covered by the app dev rewards; And since there is no cost to host the game for each of us to play, the huge residual expense on the developers for maintaining servers evaporates in the SAFE Network.

I think that an application that would not siphon coins would favor more greatly than one that did.


I think of it this way:

Most functionality for the general user will be provided by apps were the App Builders will be paid by the network based on usage, and not by the User directly. These will be the apps with broad appeal. The market will drive these most popular apps, and the good free ones will tend to proliferate and be well compensated by the network.

More specialized apps that may have really useful functions but not high demand will need to be “Pay directly from User” driven because the network effect won’t result in much Builder pay from the network.

For most new Users, the free category will cover what they need, out of the box. For specialized apps, a new User can either wait to accumulate safecoin by farming or acquire them some other way.

Designing a different function as proposed would require a system-level adaptation, I think, and add undesirable complexity to the system.


That is a very good argument :smile: I suppose it would add a lot of complexity.


I feel personally feel this is getting close to mining pools and centralization of groups. I feel maid safe dev team have the network perfectly designed, If the app is good then I will pay for it to be used.

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The trick I see here is overcoming a user’s need for instant gratification. If they find an app they want to use and immediately want to sign up and start using it, how many extra steps are added by buying safe coin, or how many days are waited until farming provides the coins needed to start adding their content?

I can see where an app could front a few of its own coins (which it will earn back as the user continues using their app) if a user is willing to set up some designated storage space. But that would necessitate verifiability of the farming being established. In fact, just earning the fronted coins back may negate the need to require a user to farm, but should be encouraged by the app if it’s built intending for user’s to put content into the network.