In 2017, several Ethereum-based decentralized application (dapp) browsers gained significant popularity, primarily due to the rise of dapps like CryptoKitties. During its peak, CryptoKitties, the digital cartoon collectibles game, was responsible for more than 20 percent of the entire Ethereum network’s daily transaction volume.
CryptoKitties in particular was praised by some of the cryptocurrency sector’s experts like Andreessen Horowitz partner Balaji Srinivasan. Srinivasan noted that CryptoKitties has demonstrated the potential of the Ethereum network to process digital asset trading in a decentralized manner, without the involvement of intermediaries. According to Srinivasan:
“It's one of the first examples of what people have been talking about for years: frictionless international trading of digital assets (not just cash) on a Blockchain.”
Difficult to replicate
But CryptoKitties was a one-time success story of a decentralized application that reached large-scale commercial success. It did so through extensive mainstream media coverage triggered by a sudden increase in demand. It is extremely rare for an app on the Ethereum protocol to achieve the level of success that CryptoKitties did.
Lessons from the past
To imagine the current structure of Ethereum’s decentralized application market, one has to consider the mobile app era prior to the existence of Google Play Store and Apple App Store. At that time, users had to download apps from websites directly from the distributors and developers. The process was highly inefficient and for apps to gain popularity, a significant amount of capital had to be allocated to marketing.
Over the past few months, Ethereum-based browsers have provided a better platform for users to search for innovative decentralized applications. These browsers are essentially operating similarly to the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store in terms of aggregating decentralized apps for users to peruse.
Bringing together dapps and users
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong explained in a blog post that in the future, Ethereum-based browsers could increase the accessibility of decentralized applications and potentially introduce them to a larger user and consumer base. Armstrong wrote:
“Our theory is that the smartphone + Ethereum + dapps offer an unprecedented opportunity to bring this to people all over the world. We’re attempting to increase the economic freedom of the world, and clean up some bad behavior in the lowest scoring countries. It can be easy to take the above tools for granted if you’ve only ever lived in developed countries. But for the majority of people living in the world today, those tools are inaccessible.”
Decentralized applications launched on top of the Ethereum protocol utilize the ERC20 token standard and operate with native tokens compatible with Ether. Consequently, the trading of digital tokens can be processed seamlessly on decentralized trading platforms. Still, experts like Armstrong believe that the adoption of Ethereum browsers and decentralized applications could take many months to achieve commercial success. Once they do, however, they are poised to revolutionize the dapps market.