As the web is mostly free today (I mean the old web, the one < 3), most people won't agree in beeing asked for fuel to run sites, apps, even if the gain in terms of safety and trust are so much more that what they could pay as fee to use Ethereum.

So what are the possible economic models to make Ethereum contracts free for use to user ?

I can imagine refunding but user would have to give fuel first even if they are refunded after they use it. I doubt that ads would be welcome on this sort of network, at least on its begining. I didn't see any way for the developper to preload contracts with fuel to make it free for the user (but I'm not sure it's not possible).

So I wonder how to achieve this goal. Perhaps I'm thinking the wrong way, so if anyone have tips to understand this part of the Ethereum.

EDIT: I know how to interact with contracts, I know about fuel fees, but my question is more about the economic model. I read about some model proposal on a blog post (I forgot where, sorry) that proposed refund and ads models. I also read about other crypto-currencies that implement fuel preload, but Ethereum don"t look to be this kind.

The only thing I know is that user (regular users, not geeks) will never accept to pay for something new even if better.

So what's possible to make Ethereum accepted by everyone as the web 3.0 ?


  • 2
    Possible duplicate of How interact with Ethereum without (gas) ether?
    – q9f
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 1:25
  • 3
    If focused on economic models, this could be a good question and won't be a duplicate.
    – eth
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 2:24
  • 1
    I confirm the economic point of view, see my edit. Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 8:51

2 Answers 2


There could be several possible ways:

  1. For Serenity version, there are plans to allow contracts themselves to pay for transactions, if, let's say, the owners of the contract monetise it indirectly. Something approximate can already be implemented now - contract can refund the caller because it knows the callers address (this, however, still requires some ether to begin with).

  2. If cost of contract calls is very low, but not free, it might be appropriate for most users. Especially if they can earn bit of ether (or other fuel) by sharing their phone's WiFi or helping some random AIs struggling to do their jobs :). It is interesting to watch how people's behaviour has suddenly changed when all supermarkets started charging 5 pence per plastic bag - the waste has gone down massively, even for people routinely spending >50 pounds on a shop.

  3. People might be prepared to give up some of their data in exchange for a privilege of using some service. Many do it even today, without really thinking about it too much. In a smart-contract crypto-world, you might imagine getting some usage tokens in exchange for submitting some (encrypted) data to the contract, so that the contract owners can pick it up and use for whatever purposes... With some slick client-side technology, this act of surrendering your data might be as painlessly looking and inviting as today...

  • Thanks for your answer. I agree about the fact that people are ready to sell private data, we just have to look at how "old" web works. But perhaps knowing the fee and then the value of their private data will change things and educate about privacy... Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 12:05

Expose your Ethereum functionality via server code, such as a web service.

Your server will act as a proxy between an Ethereum node (probably running on the same machine) and the browser. Gas costs are then handled by the server, and the user does not even need to know that they are running an Ethereum Dapp.

  • I meant how to make it free without service being degraded. Your proposal forces the user to trust the web server, it forces the developer to have a webserver, this is not decentralized anymore. Even if the final goal is reached and the use is made free, this breaks the Ethereum trustless paradigm and will add more problems than it solves. Sorry. Commented May 22, 2016 at 21:04

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