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What Is SNT? Introduction to Status

Are microtransactions and freemium paywalls the future of the Internet?

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What is Status SNT?

Status is a Google Play-style dApp store to help navigate more than 1700 decentralized applications that work on the Ethereum blockchain. Messaging and peer-to-peer payments are all part of the blockchain technology that bridges the gap between media center and social platform.

An introduction to Status

Ethereum’s blockchain hosts over 1700 decentralized applications, and it can be overwhelming to navigate them all. Status acts somewhat like Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, but for Ethereum dApps. It’s a mobile platform that creates an Ethereum ecosystem where users can seamlessly browse and use dApps like SingularDTV, Firstblood, and Augur.

And that’s not all – there’s also a messaging app and you can send and request ETH. Of course, the platform is still in beta, and there’s still a ton of development to go (for example, the messaging app currently only supports text, so you can’t send pics or video). Still, the platform already has 10,000 downloads in the Play Store alone.

Swiss co-founders Carl Bennetts and Jarrad Hope launched the Status ICO in June 2017, raising nearly $100 million in Ethereum toward the project. So is the Status platform the next big thing in blockchain technology, or is it just another example of an overvalued crypto project with little chance of providing returns to early investors?

Before exploring the viability of the Status platform, let’s review its crypto token, the Status Network Token (SNT), and look at its market cap and the Status coin price.

Breakdown of SNT

Status cryptocurrency has a market cap of $272,997,278 as of July 17, 2018. This is based on a circulating supply of 3,470,483,788 SNT (out of a total supply of 6,804,870,174) and an exchange rate of $0.078663 per Status network token. So the Status price won’t worry the Bitcoin price any time soon.

Of the supply held by the Status team, 50 percent of the Status SNT cryptocurrency is allocated to core development, 15 percent to security, and 10 percent each to marketing and legal, while the founding team retained the remainder.

Status SNT cryptocurrency is an ERC-20 token that provides holders with voting rights on the Status network. It’s also used as gas to fuel transactions on Status, such as reserving a username, instead of a standard SECP256k1 public key. To participate in Status network decisions, Status SNT cryptocurrency is converted on a 1:1 ratio into decision tokens, which determine the holder’s voting power.

Although SNT can be stored in any ERC-20 compatible wallet, the project also includes the Status Hardwallet. The Status Hardwallet is open-source and supports NFC.

Status SNT is not mineable, but there is an open bounty program where you can be rewarded Status SNT for contributing specific development pieces to the Status community. There are 147 open bounties as of July 17, 2018 and the Status coin is clearly aimed at keeping people as part of the community.

SNT is tradeable on many popular exchanges, including Upbit, Binance, OKEx, Bittrex, Huobi, and Ethfinex. So Status cryptocurrency has achieved a certain, well, status on the cryptocurrency market and the Status Network Token is held in high regard. The Status price, though, reflects the fact it does not have an established userbase as yet.

The open source nature of the project breeds transparency, which is generally considered a good thing. There is real tech behind the Status price headline figures as well, which can and should influence your decision to buy Status coin and hodl Status SNT. The Status Network Coin depends as much on legislation as it does on technology, and mass adoption is difficult to predict in advance.

Making Ethereum Accessible or Bypassing Regulation?

So, the first thing we need to cover is the marketing of the Status network. Throughout both the website and mobile app, it calls itself an OS, or Operating System, which is false. It isn’t an OS – it’s an app that runs on the Android and iOS operating systems. Calling it an OS is a misnomer and cause to question much about this project as its team clearly doesn’t understand basic computing terms.

In its whitepaper, Status is described as a socio-economic network, or the next generation of social networks. It describes itself as an open-source messaging platform and web 3.0 browser that uses the Whisper V5 protocol to delegate nodes and support decentralized chat.

Misleading marketing aside, this app does support an impressive list of Ethereum dApps. So far, the Android version (which I downloaded to explore for this guide) supports the following dApps:

Exchanges:
Airswap
Bancor
ERC dEX
Kyber
Oasis Direct
DAI by MakerDAO
LocalEthereum
Eth2phone

Marketplaces:
CryptoCribs
Ethlance
OpenSea
Name Bazaar
The Bounties Network

Fun & Games:
CryptoKitties
CryptoFighters
CryptoPunks
Etherbots
Etheremon
CryptoStrikers

Social Networks:
Cent
Peepeth
Purrbook

Utilities:
Hexel
ETHLend
Smartz

Opening dApps is seamless, and the chat app works a lot like Telegram, with the ability to join public chats or start your own. The UI is quite basic and rudimentary, which is unlikely to gain much traction outside of the crypto community.

Still, it’s one of few crypto projects that has something tangible, but it’s following the freemium business model that was popularized on mobile devices. And this is where Status crosses several lines that will inevitably get it in trouble if it ever manages to scale.

Features like push notifications, messaging, moderating group chat, and claiming usernames are microtransactions and come with an SNT cost. It’s an odd choice, as push notifications, for example, are often considered the bane of people’s existence. Microtransactions in general are a divisive point, especially among gamers, as they can create paywalls.

There is a fine line between the next wave of social media and an annoying fad that is soon consigned to history. Status will need to tread carefully or the Status cryptocurrency could pay the price.

Paywalls have become commonplace in both mobile and web development. The business model was popularized by King, the developer of freemium juggernaut Candy Crush Saga. This casual game generates nearly $2 million in revenue every day, making it one of the best-selling mobile apps of all time.

The revenue generated led both Google and Apple (who receive a cut from in-app purchases) to fiercely regulate what appears in their respective mobile marketplaces. Government regulators, led by the European Union in 2014, also keep a close eye on in-app purchases to ensure strict labeling standards are adhered to.

Status currently does not label these in-app microtransactions, and it is listed as free (without in-app purchases) in both the App and Play stores. It appears to be completely bypassing the rules of both governments and the companies who run the operating systems (Android and iOS) on which the platform depends.

If Status were a true OS, this wouldn’t be an issue, but then it wouldn’t be able to run on iPhones and most Android devices without jailbreaking and risking the possibility of bricking the device. On top of this, it would need development to be compatible with mobile carriers.

Status is seemingly bypassing over a decade of hard work to ensure a fair and equitable marketplace for both consumers and businesses. The team certainly created a profitable business model, but that model goes against the terms and conditions of the marketplaces it’s offered in. And those terms and conditions were driven by government regulation.

COO Nabil Naghdy is a former Google employee who should be well-versed on these issues. We certainly hope the Status team fixes these egregious breaches of public trust and brings more transparency to its project soon.

Status Token Summary

Status touts itself as an OS (which it is not), a social network (which it kind of is), and a web 3.0 browser (although it’s more of a marketplace). Using the Ethereum network in an attempt to be everything at once seems like a safe play, but it needs to bring itself in line with consumer protection regulations before it ever sees mainstream adoption. Still, it has several key factors going for it:

  • Status is compatible with any ERC20-compatible projects. Its wallet also supports ETH and other ERC-20 tokens.
  • Status has a live beta available for both Android and iOS, and you can download it now at the Play or App store to see for yourself.
  • Status uses SNT to power microtransactions for everything from push notifications for users to ranking of dApps for developers. This freemium business model is a popular method of generating revenue, although it is a heavily scrutinized market.
  • Status lets you chat with friends or easily access over 20 Ethereum dApps seamlessly through its platform.

It isn’t vaporware, making Status a more promising project than the average crypto. However, Status has a long way to go before its ready to take the reigns as the next generation of mobile technology. Buy Status at your own risk, then, and keep an eye on the cryptocurrency news and the blockchain headlines.

 

The author is not currently invested in cryptocurrencies.

 

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