Hackernoon logoWhat Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” Can Teach Us About Blockchain Mass Adoption by@tanveerzafar

What Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” Can Teach Us About Blockchain Mass Adoption

Tanvir Zafar Hacker Noon profile picture

@tanveerzafarTanvir Zafar

The members of Outkast have parlayed their hip hop careers into decades-long endeavors that extend beyond the music industry.

Most recently, Big Boi performed 2004 №1 hit “The Way You Move” at the Super Bowl, alongside Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Sleepy Brown, the latter of whom sang on the original version.

While reading Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” recently, I learned the story of their smash hit, “Hey Ya!” This song’s unique trajectory to success could teach us about blockchain adoption, I thought.

“The Power of Habit”

“People listen to Top 40 because they want to hear their favorite songs or songs that sound like their favorite songs. When something different comes on, they’re offended. They don’t want anything unfamiliar.”

Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

In his book, “The Power of Habit,” Charles Duhigg addresses how change makes humans uncomfortable.

He describes how “Hey Ya!” by OutKast was projected to be a massive success, but fell short when initially aired. It was later discovered that it was so radically different from what listeners were used to, they changed the station upon hearing it.

Enter the “sandwich model.” This entailed radio stations playing, say, a Celine Dion song, followed by “Hey Ya!”, then another hit song. They sandwiched “Hey Ya!” with well-known and popular songs of the time. “Hey Ya!” gained traction and won many accolades. The story of “Hey Ya!” is similar to the current state of the blockchain.

Cross Border Payments & Remittances

Cross border payments and remittances amount to in excess of $20 trillion dollars in value on an annual basis. The infrastructure currently in place to move money globally is severely dated. The current leader of cross-border payments, SWIFT, subjects users to high fees and can take up to 3–5 days to settle.

Migrant workers lose on average more than 10% in fees when sending money back home, which sometimes forces them to work a second job or give up days off to make up the extra funds. These fees can put a large strain on families relying on their relatives working abroad.


Ripple addresses the issues of speed and cost that currently plague the cross border payments. “If I want to move money from here (San Francisco) to London, the fastest way is to fly there,” said Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO. “We can stream video from the space station, but I can’t move my own money from A to B, especially for international payments, but that is also true for domestic transfers.”

RippleNet transactions are completed in 3–5 seconds, and cost mere fractions of a penny. (0.00001 XRP, or 0.0000029 USD at the time of writing)

Ripple works directly with banks and financial institutions. Consumers will not have to interact directly with the technology, but they will benefit from the reductions in time and cost.

Web Browsing

Users generate valuable information when they use the apps created by technology corporations.

The Amazons, Facebooks, and Googles profit from this. Users receive no compensation. Google currently aggregates more than 1 billion monthly active users spread across seven unique products.

Brave Browser

Brave blocks ads and website trackers while paying content publishers 55% of the replaced ad revenue. Brave Software, ad partners, and browser users are to be allocated 15% of the revenue. Users would be able to donate their revenue share to content publishers through micropayments.

Brave is founded by Brendan Eich, a co-founder of Javascript. Its native ‘Basic Attention Token’ (BAT) allows users to tip websites and content creators.


Metalye, a full web 3.0 enabled browser, is creating a portal for housing and monetizing data that its browsers collect. Users can leverage the ownership of their personal data. Lyfe Coin, the native currency of Metalyfe, allows earning for attention and data users offer.

The economically incentivized browsing offered by Brave and Metalyfe leaves users with the opportunity to “Google” something and profit.

“Since our inception, we have always a human-centric approach,” said Sameer Pirani, founder of Metalyfe. “We are focused on creating a unique and customized experience for each individual user. As we move towards Web 3.0 and the advancement of AI and data science, the facilitation of augmented curated experiences will be part of the new digital world.”


The concept of decentralized applications pre-dates blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The first mainstream iterations of dapps were peer-to-peer file sharing and hosting networks such as Napster, Limewire, eDonkey and BitTorrent.

BitTorrent, acquired by the blockchain startup Tron for $140 million, is currently the largest player in the distributed computing architecture space. It claims to have 170 million users at the time of the sale, and to move approximately 40% of the world’s internet traffic on a daily basis. Tron looks to implement cryptocurrency into the already successful BitTorrent infrastructure, instantly porting the BitTorrent community onto the blockchain.

The hosting and sharing operations of BitTorrent will remain more or less the same. Users will now have the means to spend and earn cryptocurrency on the platform. The existing BitTorrent protocol requires a file to be shared to the system in order to download another file, with no incentive to keep the file there once the download is complete.

BTT will allow users to pay for a file to be sent to them and for additional bandwidth to increase the download speed. By incentivizing file hosts to keep files on the network longer, the user benefits from overall faster download speed and more files on the network.

BTT looks to use economic incentive in order to bolster the performance of the whole network. File providers are incentivized to support the network by continuing to host their files and are rewarded in BTT for doing so. The more files available on the network, the faster the overall download speed.

“The BitTorrent speed product we described in the whitepaper is about accelerating BitTorrent downloads, so if someone has a torrent, and you want to get pieces of it, you can get it more quickly with the token,” said Justin Knoll, Project Atlas Lead, which is currently working on the project to connect BitTorrent to blockchain. “Via cryptocurrency, Tron has created an economic model that permits value transfer and increased performance within the existing BitTorrent infrastructure. Users continue to seed and download files, with the added benefit of rewards and speed.”

Sandwiching the Blockchain

Blockchain has amazing potential, but it’s currently too unfamiliar for most people to adopt. Just as “Hey Ya!” was sandwiched between popular songs, blockchain needs to be presented alongside existing architecture and operations to offer familiarity.

The projects mentioned in this article target clear and relatable issues. They’re not alone. Take Flipp for instance. They’re creating a new user experience that features a vertical scroll found on social networking and dating sites (such as Tinder).

“The Flipp mobile app now features a vertical scroll experience which allows shoppers to consume the content they love in a natural and instinctive way,” the company said in a press release.

They work in the background, enabling and empowering the user to do more through blockchain, but not explicitly changing the user experience.


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