Does Anybody Have a Deposit Notification For Me?
TLDR: My crypto wallet’s browser extension won’t give me a deposit notification. Any third-party app that I find to try to supplement this, is either too complicated to use, isn’t chain-agnostic, or requires me to sign up for services I don’t want.
As a freelance writer, I recently picked up a writing assignment with a company that’s entering the Web3 space and is offering cryptocurrency as payment.
I’m getting more comfortable with staking, exchanges, buying more cryptocurrency on my own, and learning about DAOs. I might even buy an NFT. I’m even thinking about offering my skills to DAOs that need content. I mean, I’m not decentralized because the majority of my life runs on Web2, but I’m already part of a distributed team and working autonomously, so it makes sense.
For this purpose, I’m using a MetaMask wallet. I don’t need anything complex, just something to easily receive and hang onto the digital funds that are being sent my way, just as easy as a direct deposit with fiat. Metamask is popular and widely used because it’s so easy to use.
But, if you’ve read my previous blog, then you know I found an inconvenient hiccup - push notifications in my browser upon a deposit of funds. I wasn’t seeing any, and I wanted to. Constantly and actively checking my phone for notifications is really hampering my productivity and creative flow.
Therefore, I need to look beyond the wallet, to something that can complement my wallet, or any wallet, really, that can give me what I need. Someone’s probably already thought of this, and I’m just not savvy enough to know about it yet.
Writer Seeking a Connection
It wasn’t long after I started searching for third-party solutions, as well as asking around, hopping onto Discord chats, and the like, before I started to feel out of my depth. Deciding on a wallet and setting it up was relatively painless. But the dApps, programs, and workflows that I’m finding that can detect a blockchain event and tell my browser about it seem to require more of a commitment than I’m looking for, as well as more skills than I currently have.
None of them are simple integrations that will give me a basic push notification to my browser. I’m not interested in getting DMs from Slack, Telegram, or Discord, nor am I looking to start fresh with a new, crypto-native browser. I’m still a Web2-first kind of guy, and I like the tools and software that I like, and I want the notification solution to respect that. I’m all into Web3 these days, but I’m not all in, if you know what I mean.
If I was going to be hanging up my shingle as a Web3 expert/crypto journalist and promoting myself as such, then I’d be willing to invest time and effort into finding the right solution, and moving everything relevant on-chain. But I’m not there yet. I’ve still got assignments (and payments for them) via the traditional Web2 tools. I’m still very much rooted in the here and now.
So while I’m not afraid of learning how to use new tools, I’m not looking for anything complicated or long-term. Just an easy solution for a simple ask. Something that plays nice with Web 2, while keeping the principles behind Web3 intact.
Getting Any Crypto Alerts
Time to see what else I can find online; extensions, apps I can install, etc… I’ve already downloaded a handful from the Chrome store; what’s one more? I started googling things like “Detecting blockchain events, Wallet blockchain notification, blockchain deposit notifications, blockchain to <discord, browser, Slack>, etc…” Anything around those words that popped into my head.
As it turns out, there are dApps and protocols that offer push notifications. This might be it, the holy grail of digital wallet browser notifications. I can’t play with them all, so of the list that showed up, in no particular order or any definable criteria, I picked a handful: epns.io, hal.xyz, Dagger for Ethereum, and other Zapier integrations.
While on one hand, it’s great that these things exist, I’m confused as to why I have to search around for this functionality, that it’s not natively built into a desktop wallet extension. Time to do some experimentation.
EPNS.IO: requires a browser switch
Starting off with epns.io - Ethereum Push Notification Service. It says it is chain-agnostic, the “missing piece of Web3 infra,” is platform-independent, and also offers incentives. Sounds like my kind of thing. And there’s a Chrome browser extension, great. Except, it’s not. Once I connected my Metamask wallet to the extension, it didn’t work.
I ran into trouble. The extension on my Chrome browser told me I needed to access it on a Web3 Enabled Browser to get the notifications. Switching over to Brave, I had to do the whole process again, adding the Chrome extension here (as that’s the extension that Brave incorporates), and then it hung. The dApp works fine, but the extension wasn’t cooperating with me.
My verdict: I don’t want to switch browsers, I want a notification in Chrome. Also, I’m not entirely sure it works. It’s too soon to have to call support.
HAL.XYZ: too much work
Looking at hal.xyz, there’s a simple logic to how it works. It’s a basic task setup and monitor workflow for on-chain events. All you need is a trigger and an action. I set the trigger to “a specific transaction made on Polygon,” the specific transaction involving my wallet address. As an action, you can choose to post a message on Discord, Slack, Twitter, Telegram, call a webhook, or send an email.
I don’t want a message on my socials, but an email might work.
Still, it’s a pretty roundabout way of getting a notification to appear in my browser, and I still have to open the email, and check that the funds have been deposited. Still too many steps.
My verdict: It’s too much work to get a notification, and If you’re not on the 8 chains they support, you’re out of luck. I’ll pass.
Dagger for Ethereum: too much email dependence
Similar to this, is Dagger for Ethereum, and other Zapier integrations for Xooa and Kaleido. You build your workflow, or Zap in Zapier parlance, by defining a trigger and an action, no different from any other Zapier integration. But, this means you need to sign up for Zapier first and build your workflow. Another sign-up; another ‘welcome to’ email and followed all the steps and triggered an email.
Because I had to sign up for Zapier to create a workflow that will add to my cluttered inbox, only to get an email notification from Gmail, it’s a hard pass here too.
There are also a couple of others that appeared in my Googling, but they’re too complicated to set up. I’m not a programmer, I can’t write or debug shit. At this point in my Web3 knowledge, toggling notifications on, or making a simple workflow, I can handle.
Connecting the Webs
My initial conclusion still stands - it’s MetaMask for life, I guess. And repeatedly checking my app.
It’s clearly obvious that I’m not super technically inclined. If it requires any programming or development, I’m not interested. For something as simple as a deposit notification, something that is already an included feature in any Web2 app/browser and mobile app, the effort of making this work is exhausting. I get it, there’s a challenge involved. Keeping things decentralized, anonymous, and private on one end and also connecting to the Web2 world that isn’t exactly privacy friendly, requires some coding gymnastics, and a lot of logins to a lot of different tools. Doesn’t really help with anonymity and decentralization.
In this delicate balancing act between what I do in Web2 and Web3, I think that the indicator of progress would be if I’m able to transition more and more of myself away from my Web2 identity and create one around my wallet address only. I don’t want to sign up for more Web2 accounts and apps, I want to work myself away from them, and have tools and dApps that help me bridge the two for now. Until I’m ready to work on Web3 full-time.
Whoever’s going to create that bridge, I’ll be waiting for you.