There are many products and services within crypto that are free to use and that most of us definitely take for granted. As I note in my tweet below, one of those is Etherscan which goes way beyond being a normal block explorer by providing a plethora of quality of life features for every user - all completely free. Of course, people will say its not “free” because there are ads, but the fact that none of us have to pay a subscription fee to use the service is incredible.
Etherscan isn’t the only free service we all enjoy in crypto - MetaMask is another example of a product that has onboarded millions of people into Ethereum while also being free. They also didn’t monetize at all until recently and now they simply just take a fee from their swap feature (which is optional to use) and also have an institutional arm which they make revenue from. Related to MetaMask is Infura which is infrastructure that allows users to reliably get their transactions into the public mempool without being required to run their own full node - something that most users aren’t even aware that they are using!
There are also plenty of other free or mostly-free products and services that end-users may not use but groups like developers definitely do. Examples here include developer tooling, bootcamps for developers, equipment/hardware for them and more. All of this is either funded by large organisations or the community comes together to donate funds to various people (more on that at the end of this piece). I hope to see this sort of stuff continue because we should make it as easy as possible for developers to onboard into the ecosystem - they end up creating far more value than most people after all!
Lastly, and in my opinion most importantly, so much of the education in the crypto space is completely free. You don’t need to go do an expensive university course, you don’t need to pay some “guru” to teach you about crypto, you don’t need to buy expensive textbooks - you can simply access all the information you need online for free. Hell, even Twitter itself is an amazing educational tool if you find the right accounts to follow and interact with. Then throw in Discord communities, newsletters, podcasts, blog posts, video content etc and you’ve got yourself all the educational material you need to find success in crypto.
Of course, we can’t expect everyone to do all of this stuff for free forever, and this is where something like Gitcoin comes in. Gitcoin has been an absolute champion in the arena of funding public goods for quite a while now - getting millions of dollars into the hands of projects and individuals that really need it. They aren’t the only ones doing this either - Optimism is currently in the process of giving away $1 million to public goods and many projects and organisations in the ecosystem have grants programs that have given out tens of millions of dollars in aggregate.
It’s pretty wild to see how far the ecosystem has come in terms of funding for products and services. In the bear market (particularly late 2018 and all of 2019) there wasn’t much money floating around and many teams were basically just running on fumes. Once the bull market got going again in early-mid 2020, the money started flowing and hasn’t really stopped since which has allowed for an explosion in funding of both public goods and for-profit ventures - something that we all benefit from.
Have a great day everyone,
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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.