We talked yesterday about the new role of software development for corporations and the businesses that were being created as a result. Dapps is another possibility for the future, but just a little slower in getting off the ground.
It’s compelling to think that there might be a possibility for a blockchain-based version of the World Wide Web connecting people directly without being controlled, censored or snooped on by Google’s Android or Apple’s IOS or Facebook. To date, investors have poured billions of dollars into decentralized apps, or Dapps. A number of Dapps have been developed but continue to be largely inaccessible to the average internet user. The creation of Dapps, similar to smartphone apps, has been one of the most hotly anticipated developments of blockchain (ref WSJ). Using them at the present time, however, requires learning the blockchain-based operating system. Dapps come in just as many versions as the smartphone apps, from social media to gaming to finance. Proponents of these platforms have said that they have the potential to change the way the internet works, bypassing gatekeepers and allowing users to connect to each other directly. Yet, the drawback at present is that users must first download and learn an entirely new blockchain-based operating system, which is a far more cumbersome process than downloading an app on a smartphone. The blockchain developers have created around 2,700 dapps that have enough data to be trackable, but only 3 of them have more than 10,000 daily active users. The most active dapp observed recently was a gambling dapp on the EOS platform that had 28,000 active users. The problem seems to be a lack of compelling daaps, to date. About 30 of the top 50, by volume, are gambling dapps, with EOSJacks, on the EOS platform, having 26 active users when viewed. Benny Giang was co-creator of a game called CrytoKitties that launched on the Ethereum platform in 2017. CryptoKitties allows users to create and trade digital kitties (a fad that fed into the lure of crypto currency and Japan’s popular “kawaii” culture of cuteness). The fad has faded and the dapp counts only a few hundred daily users. Giang has said of the blockchain platforms that “the present state of the network is not there for accommodating billions of people.” Ethereum, EOS, Tezos, Telegram and other blockchain developers have lured thousands of volunteer developers in recent years with the promise of alternatives to the current web. “Currently the blochain platforms are dealing with so many ethnical issues that not much is left for the user experience, resulting in networks essentially impossible for a nonprogrammer to use,” according to Paul Vigna. However, he sums up, “A platform like Ethereum may some day change the way we use the Internet.” Sooner rather than later would be my vote.