From the mists of ideation, a first wave of Ethereum Dapps is starting to emerge.
Launched by developers in 2015 with the promise that could use its technology as a “secure backbone” for a new kind of software application, Ethereum has long held the promise of having such innovations, all without any possibility of downtime, censorship or third-party interference.
The given Dapps have a few things in common. The top five – Idex, ForkDelta, Bancor, and CryptoKitties – all facilitate trades of crypto assets in one way or another, although they have a range of business models, from exchange to game to market maker.
Successful projects also tend to have a comparatively intuitive user experience, something Dapps cannot easily deal with.
Bancor’s director of communications Nate Hindman stated that the Dapp was “built with simplicity in mind.” Bryce Bladon, a co-founder of CryptoKitties, applied that Dapp’s success to the fact that it “managed to introduce consumers to the blockchain in a way that was fun, interesting, and accessible.”
Bladon said that “centralized solutions are difficult to outperform in terms of convenience. They’re faster, familiar, and entrenched. Compared to Amazon Web Services, processing on Ethereum is 150 million times more expensive.”
So far, here are the top four Ethereum Dapps by number of daily active users, with data sourced from DappRadar.
Currently the most-used Ethereum Dapp is the Idex. Idex is “publicly verifiable” compared to Ethereum smart contract. In its current form, though, Idex is not entirely decentralized, as Aurora’s white paper explains. Idex’s centralized server is used at various steps of the process, like queueing transactions in the order book. A planned “fully decentralized version” of the platform is the white paper references.
As with Idex, ForkDelta’s order book is centralized, even though decentralizing that aspect of the exchange, as well as its hosting, is listed on the project’s roadmap. ForkDelta still uses EtherDelta’s smart contract for now, meaning that fees on the ForkDelta platform continues to go to EtherDelta.
Bancor is a market maker that enables users to exchange ether and a growing number of ERC-20 tokens – 100 as of this week – but unlike a traditional exchange, it does not match buyers and sellers. Thus, Bancor’s protocol aspires to provide liquidity between different ethereum-based assets using “smart tokens,” which Bancor says build a “built-in liquidity mechanism” through smart contracts.
Selling the first of these smart tokens, BNT, in an ICO, Bancor raised $150 million last year.
CryptoKitties, which spun out of Axiom Zen in March, has uncertainly attracted more attention than any other dapp, from media, investors, players, imitators, and non-users who felt the effects of CryptoKitties’ popularity due to expanded congestion on the Ethereum network. CryptoKitties’ daily userbase (measured by distinct senders) has fallen by around 97 percent since its peak in December according to estimates by Bloxy.
CoinDesk reported in December, “the game is run within a centralized database, and mostly operates from one internet portal – the CryptoKitties website itself.”
The Ethereum ecosystem will continue to expand as Ethereum gets under the mainstream radar. The recent rise in the price of Ether have brought along a new wave of interest in blockchain application.