What is Unlock Protocol
Unlock Protocol is, as its name suggests, a protocol, although I would say that it is rather a set of web tools that allow integrating cryptocurrency-related technologies into websites. To create memberships, premium content, sales, etc. Being wallet users.
This project is funded by some industry giants such as Coinbase.
One thing I have to mention is that I follow the track of this project and years ago it was dead, in the sense that nobody used it. And today, years later, it is still dead, it is true that there are a few people who use it, but very few. And to my surprise, even so, they continue with its development, they have improved the web and have released new features.
If it is dead why am I writing about them? Because it is interesting and illustrative. Regardless of whether it is adopted a lot or a little.
What is Unlock Protocol for?
How it works
Well, this set of tools are nothing more than code snippets to integrate into our website, these snippets interact with the company’s servers, and these in turn interact with the different blockchains. It is available to integrate with Ethereum, Binance, Avalanche, Celo and some Ethereum layer two as Polygon or Arbitrium.
So if we create a premium content that has to be unlocked by payment or simply log in with a wallet of a particular blockchain, it will be the code of our website who call the servers and this to the blockchain and connect the user’s wallet with it.
Does it provide anything that a normal membership program doesn’t already provide?
In my opinion no. If we have a program, like for example a plugin in WordPress or Shopify that blocks premium content and you have to pay to see it, it’s the same thing, and also most people prefer to pay in fiat money rather than cryptocurrencies. That’s why Unlock Protocol has that option as well.
But it does bring something to the table: your users can remain anonymous in front of you and you in front of them, plus it is more convenient to log in with a wallet than with email and password. We also save the nonsense of personal data except for the IP, or not even that if you want.
In addition, it also has integration with NFT’s which can lead to games, privileged users, etc.
To the point: Functionalities
You can create flexible memberships on different platforms or by integrating them into different programs, as we will see in the next point. This means that the membership can be punctual or recurring, that is, pay only once or recurring: if it is not renewed every x amount of time, it is lost. In addition a membership can block a specific content or all the content you want to block under the same membership. It is also possible to use NFT’s, that is, instead of paying and that’s it, you can buy a NFT or just get it, as if they were credentials that unlock content, and can become like a game. All these functionalities can be done for Ethereum and other blockchains I mentioned above.
Depending on the blockchain we use we will be able to pay with some tokens or others besides the Ether cryptocurrency obviously, some of them are USDC, USDT, DAI, UNI, MATIC, etc.
In addition, so that there is less friction as I said before, it can be integrated with Stripe, who do not know it is a card payment solution, that is, if you have an online store or a business, Stripe allows you to easily and safely charge your customers by debit card. This way, those who don’t want to pay by crypto for membership, will be able to do it the normal way with their card. They will still need a wallet though.
It has integrations with many other technologies such as:
- WordPress: WordPress is a CMS, almost half of the world’s websites are made with this free and open source software. There is an Unlock Protocol plugin for WordPress.
- Notion: A note-taking platform and much more, with millions of users.
- Webflow: It is a website platform.
- Cal: I didn’t know it, it looks like a kind of calendar.
- Decentraland: A game I already wrote about on doortoblockchain, it runs over server networks and has tokenization and integrations with Ethereum so it is an open online game/world where characters and items are stored on the blockchain. Similar to Binance’s Sand.
- Drupal: It is a CMS like WordPress but more oriented to the business world, although even in that niche WordPress is used more.
- Telegram: the famous messaging app alternative to Whatsapp, Signal and Line.
Unlock Protocol token: UDT
The UDT token (Unlock Discount Token) is the official token of Unlock Protocol. What is it for? For two things:
- Governance: Those who own it can vote on company decisions. This is not a DAO that works in an incensurable way or anything like that, as almost none, by the way, it is simply that the company will allow voting and has a commitment to the proposals and votes of the participants. The more tokens the more votes logically.
- Discount: People who purchase memberships through Unlock Protocol, either in your project or anyone else’s, will get UDT tokens, these tokens can be redeemed for discounts on any other membership using Unlock Protocol.
It is an interesting project, which although it does not bring great innovations from a technical point of view, really in practice when creating premium or vip content through membership, if that makes it very educational, especially if we have content related to cryptocurrencies, plus the friction will not be very high when paying because those users who do not want, can pay by card directly.
And although it is not functionally disruptive, it certainly brings interesting functionalities when interacting with our audience, after all, logging into a content website as if it were the website of a protocol such as Uniswap or Compound, being able to pay in crypto, being able to organize games in the content and levels with NFTs, being able to pay with crypto, etc. These are functionalities that can be “cool” for certain audiences.