DappRadar—What is the Dapp of 2019?
Skirmantas Januskas is the CEO and founder of DappRadar. He joined the crypto and decentralized applications (Dapps) space in late 2017 and found his interest peaked by the enthusiasm and kindness of those he interacted with in the community. He founded DappRadar in February 2018, a website that lists the most popular and utilized Dapps and ranks them by DAU (Daily Active Users) showing the authentic acceptance and usability of Dapps.
In the second part of our exclusive interview with Januskas, we discuss Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake, the growing Dapp ecosystem and the DeFi revolution instigated by MakerDao.
Staking and Scaling in the Dapp ecosystem
Ethereum has served as the main network for Dapps to be built upon, but since its creation, it has run on a proof-of-work consensus algorithm. With Ethereum announcing Eth2.0 with the transition to Proof-of-Stake (PoS), we asked Januskas what impact staking would have on transforming the current Dapp ecosystem. He said, “Many of the blockchains we already track such as EOS, TRON and Loom Network’s Basechain, use a Proof-of-Stake consensus so that part won’t be anything new. What may be more interesting with staking on Ethereum is how this could be integrated as a new feature into existing Dapps, or indeed create opportunities for new Dapps, especially in the DeFi category.”
Scalability of Dapps has been a well-recorded pain-point of blockchain adoption. Januskas acknowledged this point and commented, “Compared to centralized architectures, blockchains will always struggle in a relative sense with scalability. We’ve seen that regularly on Ethereum since CryptoKitties launched in late 2017 and EOS is currently struggling with similar issues because of the popularity of a single new Dapp which is incentivizing people to use their tokens in a new way. If you wanted to be philosophical about it, you could argue issues with scalability actually demonstrate the popularity of a particular blockchain. Or another analogy: building more roads encourages more people to buy cars and drive!”
State of DeFi
Decentralized finance (DeFi) has been making waves over the last several months following the surge in platforms and products offering DeFi services and applications. Januskas is particularly pleased with this development, he said, “Yes, the explosion in DeFi Dapps on Ethereum is proof Dapps can offer great utility and do so in a manner that is very hard to copy in the centralized software space. The major driver of this is MakerDAO’s DAI stablecoin, which enables developers to build increasingly complex products on top of a trusted layer. This level of composability is at the heart of DeFi and allows developers to come up with ever more sophisticated solutions to niche problems.”
Despite his positivity, Januskas offered a few words of caution for the DeFi space, he said, “Although a lot of value is being put into these new financial instruments, these products are no way near accessible to the mass market. And as all the developers point out, everything is in beta. It will be interesting to see the market reaction should any serious bugs or exploits emerge.”
Dapp Growth and Dapp of 2019
While DeFi has emerged as the most significant vector for Dapp growth in 2019, the game sector hasn’t been slacking. 2019 has seen the launch of new titles, some of which have quickly grown to become the most popular Dapps in terms of active wallets. In addition, some older games remain in contention for the top spot. Januskas said, “The result is that as we enter Q4, at least four titles are sustaining more than 2,000 daily active wallets. The blockchain game sector remains incredibly buoyant. The current games are a small subset of the total projects in various stages of development, with 2020 shaping up to be a very important period for this nascent industry.”
If forced to choose a “Dapp of the year” in 2019, Januskas was quick to comment, “There’s no question that MakerDAO has been the most impactful Dapp in 2019 in terms of number of users and token volumes, plus the opportunities it’s created for the entire DeFi ecosystem.” He added, “I also have a soft spot for Uniswap, which makes a complex thing - creating a crypto trading platform - very simple, also enabling users to provide its underlying liquidity.”
Dapps Should Focus on Users
As one of the main people aiming to grow the Dapp ecosystem, Januskas advised, “Dapp developers need to keep the user at the heart of everything they do. In its infancy the internet was similar. Programmers only cared about getting a site live and having it provide valuable info. The aesthetic and user experience were not even on their radar and as such it took quite a long time for the internet to become truly appealing to the masses, a transition that really happened once user experience and aesthetic became paramount.”
According to Januskas, Dapp developers have to make their products as accessible as possible and user-friendly to stand the best chance of discovery and retention. He said, “Providing users with understandable instructions and not assuming they are as knowledgeable as the developers is a good start, gameplay walkthroughs and advice for newbies on how to actually enter a Dapp is paramount to the long term success of Dapps in our opinion.”
DappRadar in 2020?
Januskas ended our interview by sharing DappRadar’s plans for 2020. He said, “We are using the $2.3M investment led by Naspers Ventures and Blockchain Ventures secured in September 2019 primarily for R&D, developing new functionality to help the business expand its services and reach the next stage in its growth. By the end of 2019, we aim to be the most accurate and reliable Dapp data source on earth.” He added, “This process is already well underway, alongside a host of UX updates. Moving into Q1 2020 we have some very exciting developer and user product updates and further token tracking across TRON and Ethereum, integration of additional protocols and the release of a proprietary, robust artificial traffic filter as part of our ‘Clean Data Mission’ for 2020. We see lots of evidence that demonstrates the long-term potential of the Dapp industry and are building a business that maximizes that into the future.”