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User Retention: The Holy Grail for DApps Moving Beyond Buzzword Status

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Decentralized apps (DApp) continue to be a major focus point for developers in the crypto space. However, 2019 ended with DApps still far off from reaching their much-touted potential of being the “future of the internet.”

DApp projects in 2019 continued to suffer from their usual issues like poor user retention and the difficulties of navigating user interfaces (UI), among others. While some projects boast market capitalizations north of $100 million, they fail to attract more than a handful of daily users.

In the early weeks of 2020, some analytics firms dedicated to monitoring the DApp ecosystem have released reports summarizing the performances of DApp developers and projects in 2019. These reports paint a similar picture for the decentralized apps ecosystem with significant increases in on-chain transactions and new projects without any corresponding improvement in user statistics.

Also troubling is the trend of the high DApp turnover rate with as many new projects appearing as those being decommissioned. While such trends might appear common for nascent technologies, DApps will require some staying power to present themselves as viable applications of the emerging blockchain narrative.

However, the 2019 DApp market performance did throw up some positives with decentralized finance (DeFi)-focused platforms and non-fungible tokens (NFT) rising to some prominence within the broader ecosystem.

2019 DApp market review

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, both DApp aggregator DappReview and DApp analytics platform Dapps.com have published detailed reviews of the performance of decentralized apps in 2019. The following is a summary roundup of the information gleaned from both reports.

According to DappReview, on-chain DApp transactions in 2019 amounted to $23 billion with more than 1,900 newly added applications. Dapp.com, however, puts the number of newly added DApps for 2019 at about 1,450, a slight decrease from the 1,500 recorded in 2018.

Figures from Dapp.com show that more than 1,300 DApps were abandoned in 2019. According to the analytics platform, an abandoned DApp is one with no transactions occurring within 30 days.

DApp market overview for 2019

Despite Ethereum leading the way in several categories, the EIDOS launch in November 2019 skewed the results of Dapp.com’s market report, with EOS accounting for the largest transaction count and volume. Transactions on the EOS blockchain dwarfed all other DApp platforms put together.

Such was the extent of EIDOS’s popularity that transactions on the DApp caused congestion on the EOS blockchain. With EIDOS accounting for nearly 95% of all transactions on the EOS network, nodes with significantly smaller staked CPU resources experienced difficulty sending transactions across the blockchain.

Setting the EIDOS figures aside, the number of active users of EOS DApps declined during 2019. Before its launch, EOS boasted the highest number of daily active users, however, the EIDOS launch saw its average user statistics fall by about 80% from 80,000 per day to 15,000 users per day. The drop in EOS user stats meant TRON became the second-largest DApp platform behind Ethereum.

Concerning user retention

User retention remains one of the major problems for DApp platforms. An excerpt from the Dapp.com 2019 report reads:

“The number of active dapp users in 2019 has doubled compared to 2018, from 1.48M to 3.11M. There are 2.77M new users who experienced decentralized apps. User retention is still a problem for dapps — there are only 348K old users remaining active in 2019, accounting for 11% of all active users.”

For mainstream centralized apps, the existing reality is that users never have to pay for computation. If the app requires a data connection, as long as customers have an active internet subscription, they can make use of the application.

For Ethereum-based DApps, the situation is different with developers not covering gas fees, pushing that cost to the end-user. Gas on the Ethereum network refers to the unit of measure used up to execute a transaction on the blockchain. During periods of high network stress caused by such congestions, these costs can become impractical for DApp users causing a significant outflow.

One probable solution to this issue is the use of DApp sidechains — DAppChains. Instead of running DApps on the main blockchain, decentralized apps can be executed on layer 2 protocols, which can provide efficiency and cost-saving advantages.

Alternatively, DApp creators can move the more computationally heavy activities to layer 2 platforms, leaving only smart contract updating protocols on the main chain. By doing so, only a hash of the DApp data is kept on the main blockchain with the bulk of the work happening on DAppChains.

Such protocols are already being employed by developers of gaming DApps. These hybrid-blockchain games have their core decentralized token economy residing within the main blockchain, while game assets that take up the main bulk of the computing potential are domiciled on sidechains.

Simon Schwerin, founder of fintech consultancy firm Scalewonder, identified some of the major challenges impacting user retention for DApps for Cointelegraph. Commenting on the major problems affecting DApp retention, Schwerin remarked:

“[The] largest problem is the challenge of providing true value to the users (look at apps that you use in your daily life and why you stay there) beyond monetary incentives that are often only possible for a limited time. Additionally, the users still have too often maneuver through a complex setup regarding their wallet and key management.”

Ease of use hampering mainstream adoption for DApps

Ease of use is thus a major issue that negatively affects user retention for DApps. Taking exchanges as examples, centralized platforms still see more users than their decentralized counterparts owing largely to the difficulty in navigating decentralized exchange (DEX) services.

The issues surrounding the ease of use not only affect user retention but also constitutes a roadblock to bringing DApps to the masses. DApp developers need to design user interfaces that do not contain unfamiliar and sometimes technical features, thereby making the learning curve for their programs even steeper than necessary.

DApps and web3 programs, in general, also have compatibility issues with smartphones whose browsers account for the greater percentage of web traffic. Unlike for desktops, smartphone browsers for Android and iOS do not readily have access to suitable web3 upgrades like extensions and plugins. In a conversation with Cointelegraph, Benjamin Cheng, a senior executive at algorithmic stablecoin issuer Timvi, highlighted the need for easier-to-use DApps. According to Cheng:

“Users deal with technology issues such as waiting for transaction processing, chain reorganization, etc. Blockchain technologies are at the ‘geek’ stage, still not for the mass user, hopefully, this will change with the advent of Level 2 solutions (Layer 2 solutions). Tools for interacting with blockchain are also not user-friendly. We need people like Steve Jobs to make the technology convenient and easy for the user.”

The user environment for DApps needs to become familiar for everyday people, which means focusing effort on simplifying the UIs of these decentralized apps. DApps cannot achieve scale if their user base consists of a micro-niche dominated only by blockchain and web3 enthusiasts.

The role of DeFi in the future of decentralized apps

DeFi became a major aspect of the DApps’s narrative in 2019. Simply put, DeFi is a decentralized monetary and financial system built on public blockchains. DeFi encompasses lending, payments, DEX and crypto derivatives, among others.

DeFi proponents say the system aims to create easy onramps for the economically disenfranchised and underbanked, for example, to have access to global financial services using censorship-resistant blockchain protocols.

DeFi DApps, in theory, should allow users to have plug-and-play access to a plethora of financial services using blockchain technology. By leveraging the advantages of decentralized technology, DeFi DApps should allow users to participate in the financial market as a fraction of the fees charged by mainstream actors like stockbrokers and mortgage providers.

According to Dapp.com’s report, DeFi-focused applications, like lending DApps, experienced significant user growth in 2019. Another excerpt from the Dapp.com report reads:

“Financial services (e.g. lending DApps) have the most impressive user growth in 2019. The number of financial DApp users has increased by 610%, and the transaction volume has increased by 251%.”

DeFi DApp market growth since 2018

Data from DeFi Pulse, an analytics hub for DeFi-focused DApps, shows a 100% growth in the total value of locked funds within the DeFi market. In a blog post published earlier in January 2020, DeFi identified the expansion of lending markets and the emergence of interoperability as the major growth areas for DeFi in 2020. Schwerin echoed similar sentiments in private correspondence with Cointelegraph. According to him, the DeFi market will make significant strides in 2020, remarking:

“Most definitely, DeFi will be part of making DApps interoperable to exchange the unique values between DApps in a P2P fashion. Automated markets running in the backend, backed by collaterals of the DApps producers.”

2020 DApp outlook

For DApp proponents, decentralized app developers should focus efforts on solving usability and interoperability issues, like developing frameworks, that would allow values already existing from previous setups to be imported to a new DApp platform. For Schwerin, such frameworks could even lead to the emergence of “killer DApps” — decentralized apps that gain widespread adoption:

“Using a unique way of interoperable infrastructure in the backend will allow you to swap value and KYC/AML Credentials in the background without having to worry about it. Imagine you set yourself up once and then never have to worry about sign ins/ SSO again.”

According to Schwerin, the existence of such a framework will enable cross-platform transactions, on which, for example, gamers can exchange items in one game for desired items in another game directly from their smartphones. Cross-platform interoperability also creates avenues for further financialization of DApps, especially those not directly related to activities in the financial market.

Commentators like Schwerin say DeFi appears primed to drive the actualization of such goals. The expansion of the DeFi market could see robust payment gateways for a wide variety of DApps. Delivering his 2020 DApp market outlook, Schwerin predicted:

“My forecast would be that we will see the first DApps with large user numbers on Blockstacks or other new blockchains that will then eventually move to Ethereum. These DApps will be mostly gaming related with probably DAUs of up to 100,000 if we are lucky.”

Timvi’s Cheng also tips DeFi to lead the charge for DApps in 2020, predicting a major capital flow into the market. DeFi proponents will be hoping that such inflows will positively impact the scale and scope of the market.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/user-retention-the-holy-grail-for-dapps-moving-beyond-buzzword-status

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Lawyers Duke it Out Over Who Gets To Lead the Class Action Suit Against Tether

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In a U.S. courthouse for the Southern District of New York, Judge Katherine Failla heard this afternoon from three plaintiff teams suing iFinex et. al. and vying to serve as lead counsel in the emerging class action with potentially tens of thousands of injured members.

IFinex’s Tether (USDT) stablecoin firm and its Bitfinex subsidiary are charged with manipulating the Bitcoin market in 2017 — something the firm strenuously denies.

Kyle Roche, representing plaintiffs Leibowitz et. al., argued that his firm Roche Cyrulnik Freedman LLP was the first to investigate the alleged market manipulation, the first to file a complaint, and also possessed the top cryptocurrency expertise. “Cryptocurrency is unique,” said Roche, “the law is new, and this case presents difficult definitional issues.”

The case should not be limited to Bitcoin issues alone, he argued; it should include other cryptocurrencies like Ether that may have been harmed by the alleged pump-and-dump scheme.

“Cryptocurrency really works as one market. People who purchase one cryptocurrency often buy many, especially in a bubble” as occurred  in the summer of 2017, said Roche. He referenced page 43 of the so-called Griffin paper, introducing it into evidence.

That academic paper, Is Bitcoin Really Un-tethered? by John M. Griffin And Amin Shams, was posted in June 2018 and later updated. It investigated whether Tether influenced Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices during the 2017 boom. The authors found that that purchases with Tether were timed following market downturns and resulted in “sizable increases in Bitcoin prices.” This paper became a foundational piece of research for all four subsequent lawsuits.

Many in the crypto community have long been skeptical that Tether is actually backed by the U.S. dollar at a one-to one ratio as claimed. The Griffin paper also found “insufficient Tether reserves before month-ends.”

The Griffin paper showed, said Roche, that the price of Bitcoin was going down before Tether’s issuance, but after Tether was issued the price of Bitcoin went up — and this happened with six other crypto currencies as well.

Attorneys pit research against experience

Karen Lerner of Kirby Mcinerney LLP, representing plaintiffs’ Young, Kurtz, Crystal et. al., argued that a different kind of experience was more important in an action of this kind. “We are class action lawyers, and we are antitrust and commodities lawyers.” And, she contended, that even though they weren’t the first to file a complaint, their work was the most original, with an extensive regression analysis that identified 115 specific dates when market manipulation occurred and 256 actual transactions. Their firm’s proprietary algorithm would show “a lockstep pricing relationship between spot Bitcoin and Bitcoin futures,” she argued.

Brian Cochran, an attorney with Robbins Geller, representing plaintiff Ebanks et. al., questioned the Roche firm’s unique crypto expertise. “He says his one crypto case in Florida gives them more expertise than my two crypto cases — which were class actions.”

Who gets to sue Tether?

More significant, perhaps, Cochran criticized the class size proposed by the other law firms. “Roche defined it as anyone who owned crypto over the last six years. That’s overwrought — much too broad. Bitcoin and Bitcoin futures are closer to my definition of the class. Not all cryptos should be included.” That would simply be taking money from real victims and giving it to others.

As might be gathered, there were many lawyers in attendance for the oral arguments: 12 attorneys represented the four plaintiffs, while the defense team sent three attorneys just to observe — with space at a premium, several lawyers had to take seats in the jury box. As the session neared conclusion, Judge Failla said, “I had hoped to decide the motion today, but you made my decision very difficult.” She promised a decision on Thursday at 4pm EST.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/lawyers-duke-it-out-over-who-gets-to-lead-the-class-action-suit-against-tether

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taraxa-py added to PyPI

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Taraxa RPC client in python.

taraxa-py pypi address: taraxa-py

Taraxa official website: taraxa.io

install

git clone https://github.com/Taraxa-project/taraxa-py
cd taraxa-py
python setup.py install

or

pip install taraxa-py

config

default parameters:

config={ "ip":"127.0.0.1", "port":7777, "jsonrpc":2.0, "id":1
}

for all methods, if no parameter given, default will be used.

  1. package level config set and reset.
    any of below config will influence the whole packge.
import taraxa.jsonrpc as rpc
import taraxa.eth as eth
import taraxa.taraxa as taraxa
import taraxa.net as net rpc.set({ "ip":"127.0.0.1", "port":7777, "jsonrpc":2.0, "id":1 }) eth.set({ "ip":"35.224.183.106", })
taraxa.set({ "ip":"35.224.183.106", })
net.set({ "ip":"35.224.183.106", }) rpc.reset()
eth.reset()
taraxa.reset()
net.reset()
  1. function level config set
    function level config set only influence the function it self once.
import taraxa.eth as eth
r=eth.blockNumber(ip='127.0.0.1' ,port=7777)
print(r)

usage

  • low level use
import taraxa.jsonrpc as rpc
data = '{"jsonrpc":"2.0","method":"eth_blockNumber","params":[],"id":1}'
r = rpc.send(data)
print(r) data = {"jsonrpc":"2.0","method":"eth_blockNumber","params":[],"id":1}
r = rpc.send(data)
print(r)

data can be json string or dict. response is json string.

  • middle level use
from taraxa.jsonrpc import *
r = eth_blockNumber()
print(r)

response is json string.

  • high level use
import taraxa.eth as eth
r = eth.blockNumber()
print(r)

response is parsed to python types.

  • ethereum web3 like use
from taraxa.web3 import Web3
w3 = Web3(ip="35.224.183.106" ,port=7777)
r = w3.blockNumber()
print(r) w3.ip = "35.224.183.106"
w3.port = 7778
r = w3.blockNumber()
print(r)

Web3 object w3 will hold the ip and port once you set.
w3 method will use the ip and port you set until you reset it.

sub packages

  • jsonrpc
  • eth
  • web3
  • net
    TODO
  • admin
    TODO
  • admmin_net
    TODO
  • debug
    TODO
  • test
    TODO

Source: https://pypi.org/project/taraxa-py/

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Justin Sun Bought Steemit. Steem Moved to Limit His Power

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The people who run the Steem blockchain executed a reversible soft fork Sunday, stopping one of the largest piles of tokens from voting. The move comes days after Justin Sun’s Tron Foundation acquired Steemit, the blockchain’s most prominent app.

The protective measure is a striking one in the cryptocurrency space and illustrates some of the thought-provoking realities of delegated governance.

The blog post describing the fork describes the involvement of a well-resourced entity as potentially very exciting. But its authors were quick to qualify:

“In these early stages the most important task for witnesses [Steem’s version of bitcoin miners or EOS block producers] is to ensure the security of the Steem blockchain. To this end, we have updated to a temporary protective protocol to maintain the status quo currently established in regards to Steemit Inc’s stake and its intended usage.”

Steem is a delegated proof-of-stake blockchain (DPoS), much like EOS, which means a smaller number of decisionmakers are needed to coordinate in order to counter a major new stakeholder. The community deemed action necessary because Steemit owns a giant pile of tokens that could be used to take over the blockchain, though the pool has never previously voted. It is believed that Sun, a savvy marketer and controversial figure in the industry, now owns that giant pile.

From here out, things start to get pretty confusing. 

When the soft fork was executed, the network’s validators, called witnesses, blocked STEEM held by a limited set of accounts from voting on who governs the network and participating in other ways that might allow it to seize control. Within the community, this pool of tokens is known as the “Steemit Inc ninja-mined stake.”

As far as we can tell, the fund amounts to something like a founders reward or pre-mine on most other similar blockchains. Sources tell CoinDesk the ninja stake could potentially represent something like 20 percent of the current supply, which would apparently make it a decisive voting bloc.

As the post about the soft fork notes, “There have been a lot of uncertainties around [Steemit Inc] and its continued use of the assets it controls.”

Steemit’s holdings have always been a source of tension between Steem and Steemit, but as long as co-founder Ned Scott ran Steemit, the community felt relatively comfortable that he would not intervene in governance. The ninja stake was meant to be used to grow the network. With a new owner, the group is less sure.

The move prompted a response from Sun, who wrote Sunday night, “We have so much to work to do to make Steemit.com the power that it really can be.” He went on to list plans for incorporating Tron’s various cryptocurrencies, getting STEEM tokens onto more exchanges and getting influencers onto the blogging site. 

Sun is organizing a summit called STEEMit 2.0 Town Hall for March 6, inviting the top 50 witnesses to take part, according to the post. A key question for that meeting will no doubt be what Tron intends to offer in terms of a token swap between STEEM and TRX, a question that has only been floated abstractly so far.

Ned Scott and the Tron Foundation did not reply to a request for comment from CoinDesk. 

The announcement of Steemit’s acquisition did not specifically address the company’s holdings of cryptocurrency, so it is as yet unknown if all of it went to Tron in the deal. 

How Steem works

Steemit, a blogging site that works somewhat like a cross between Reddit and Medium, is the most well-known app on the Steem blockchain.

Besides Steemit, there are many more decentralized apps that run on the blockchain. Steemit Inc only owns Steemit, but it is the most influential.

Steemit relies on Steem to track its users and also assess their clout on its network. Content that does well on Steemit shares in a small portion of the blockchain’s new emission of tokens. 

The current supply of STEEM, as of this writing, is 373,442,235, according to Steemd.com, a block explorer. 

Steem has three different tokens: Steem, Steem Power and Steem Dollars. Steem is the core token. Steem Power is created when users agree to lock up Steem, and it functions sort of like an ownership stake on the network. Steem Dollars is a stablecoin.

What makes Steem challenging is that you never really know how much Steem Power there is in the world. It shrinks very slowly but it can increase quickly. 

According to a longtime Steem community member, James Reidy, there are 210 million Steem Power in existence that could potential govern the chain. There could be as much as 340 million, if all STEEM were staked to vote. 

Reidy estimated that Steemit controls something like 68 million in Steem Power, “but exact numbers are not known because they could have Steem and Steem Power in any number of unknown accounts,” he told CoinDesk. 

There are several times more witness candidates than there are witness slots available.

Reidy, who serves as a witness candidate but does not hold one of the top 20 spots (there are several times more witness candidates than there are witness slots available), told CoinDesk:

“What the witnesses did I believe is best for the chain during this uncertain time. There were promises from SteemIt Inc that the stake in question would be used for certain purposes to grow the ecosystem but more importantly that it would be non-voting stake. This was never enshrined in code. It’s highly unlikely those promises transferred in the sale (why would they) so the witnesses moved to protect the chain until details can be agreed upon.”

Disclosure Read More

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/justin-sun-bought-steemit-steem-moved-to-limit-his-power

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