One of the biggest challenges with the Ethereum network are the outrageous gas fees. It seems when a new project is released (and for this I’m using OpenSea), one that everyone is excited about, gas goes out of this world. I’ve seen it as high as 4000 gwei! Who can afford $3,000 EXTRA, paid to a random person somewhere, who no one knows, when all you’re trying to do is support an artist you do know and like by sending them $58?
Enter a new idea based on the ‘real world’. Futures.
Futures are a way to pay for a lot of a product at a set price, in advance.
Say the cost of wood is known to be going up. Someone may choose to buy X amount of wood in advance in order to receive it at more favorable costs. The same happens in the energy sector, the plastic sector, and the food sector. It’s common – and should also be common in the Ethereum world as well.
If there were a way to buy ‘gas’ futures, a company like OpenSea could potentially buy millions and millions of dollars worth. When the actual price of gas is high, it could then use the futures it purchased to guarantee a steady and even price – say 30 gwei.
Ahh, but the blockchain and Ethereum doesn’t work that way. Okay, I get it. However, and I’m just spit-balling here, what if it could?
Let’s say OpenSea had a huge bank of computers and those computers ‘stored’ gas purchased from miners at a set price. OpenSea could guarantee the gas you pay (the end customer) would be no more than X. If the price of gas is high, you use the OpenSea gas, if the price is below the OpenSea gas price, you use the miners.
The miners have been paid, so they aren’t losing out (much), and OpenSea charges a slight up-fee, so they’re still making a little something on the gas they purchased.
Still won’t work? Okay, let’s try this then.
Another way to essentially ‘buy’ futures would be to schedule the purchase in a que.
Let’s say I want to buy a piece of art, but at the time of my purchase, gas is 300 gwei. I could put my ‘buy’ in now, and OpenSea could simply wait to fulfil the order until the gas is low – like 30 or 40.
Sure, I’d have to agree to wait, and I could click a box that said whether it’s one day or thirty days, I’m willing to wait – and the person selling the item would also need to understand that even though their item has ‘sold’, they won’t receive the money ‘just yet’. It all depends on gas.
A simple check of a few boxes stating you understand should suffice. And the piece of art could move from ‘buy now’ to ‘pending sale’.
Sure OpenSea takes your ETH immediately. And sure, they can use it however they wish until your order is fulfilled and the artist is paid out – but it still beats getting beat up on gas prices.
One more try.
Let’s say OpenSea allows you to deposit some ETH in an account on their platform. This would mean OpenSea would essentially have their own wallet, which they could draw from, with your approval. They already hold secondary sales royalties back for one month. It’s your money they’re holding. Where’s it being held for you? In your account? Possibly. Why not make that account an actual account that you can send ETH to. Hold it there, agree to a purchase, and OpenSea watches gas until it’s low. THEN they push the ‘sell’ button and bam – you don’t overpay. Ever.
If this isn’t a new idea, it’s one I’ve never heard before, so maybe it’s just new to me. And maybe that won’t work either – but it’s worth having a conversation about.
In the end, the price of gas has to come down to a sustainable level.
Doing this will open up even more markets and the possibility even more people will pile in into the system.
In the real world people complain when they have to pay the ATM fee of $2.50 or $4.00 – but in this world, people have been trained to not even blink at a $90 upcharge for something that cost only $34.
It simply has to change.