I didn't get what you mean by saying "or the whole model falls apart".
If there is a gas in ethereum, why should it be in other projects?
The gas fee is just a mechanism to motivate peers to do what you want them to do (and also to limit currency emission). Nobody says that you can't design your own motivation mechanism. You even can create currency out of nowhere - yes, that is not right, but who cares - and give it to peers when they perform some actions "to benefit the community". Everything is possible. It's just a program with numbers and strings. If people believe in this numbers - it will cost something.
My point is there is no reason for it unless it’s monetary. Look at steemit who tried to go that route but doesn’t work. To get the benefits of a Blockchain you either have to monetize or centralize. Then really we already do this effectively and right now much better. Just my opinion. Not trying to be combative or rude.
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