DECENT 101: 7 Essentials for dApps

February 25, 2019

Decentralized Applications (dApps) are the key to unlocking the potential of blockchain and achieving mass-adoption around the world. While the core technical properties are complicated for the average person, the overall functionality for a dApp is meant to be the bridge that transforms these technical properties into user-friendly, accessible products.

Unfortunately, most dApps today have gained very little traction and struggle to be adopted. The most consistent dApp on Ethereum (which is probably the most popular blockchain protocol outside of bitcoin) is IPEX – having a weekly average user rate of only 2,000 people. This is paltry, compared to centralized apps like Facebook or Snapchat.

The good news is that the majority of the problems are being addressed as a whole by the industry, and early returns on potential solutions are promising. In the meantime, here are 7 things that can help you increase the adoption rate of your dApp.

1. Better UI/UX

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an important piece that most dApps overlook. A lot of dApp founders tend to be engineers, which means that the attention goes mostly into the technology and not the User Interface (UI) or User Experience (UX). With the way the industry works at the moment, it is arguably even more important to have good UI/UX because of the low amount of total users within the market. Bottom line: Make it easier for your users to use the actual app. Fewer steps for signups. More free content.

2. Build an Exchange – For Free

Can’t build your own exchange? There are tools out there that can give you a hint or two. The idea, however, stays the same. Allow any crypto holder to use your dApps, not just the ones who own your token. This point almost relays back to the first one, which emphasizes the simplicity for your users. Don’t make them have to go through multiple masks or other portals in order to exchange for your token – do it all within your dApp.   

3. Make It Relatable for Your Users

Sometimes, there’s a difference in communication between what you think people want to hear and what people actually want to hear. For example, when your dApp says something like: “Our gaming platform charges 20 times less compared to industry standards,” game developers don’t find that information relatable.

Instead, try saying something along the lines of “Steam takes 30% off each in-game purchase, whereas we only charge 3%. If you sold a $1,000,000 worth of purchases, you would make approximately $270,000 more through us – or enough to buy you a brand new Lamborghini.”

4. Don’t Fully Decentralize…Not Right Away, Anyway

Most of you have surely heard of Cryptokitties, the Tamagotchi-like dApp which blew up in 2017 and crashed the Ethereum network (…affecting us, too! But that’s a story for another time). However, there were only 27,000 users at its peak. The reality is that decentralized networks are not stable enough yet to handle a seamless experience for massive amounts of users, so slowly move your way there to avoid crashes.

5. “Traditional” Digital Marketing

Affiliate/referral models are proven to work, not just within crypto but for digital growth in general. There’s a reason that everything from online casinos to Airbnb uses a referral bonus to attract users. Offer a bonus or find a partner dApp that makes sense and offer a free trial there.

6. Understand the Stigma Around “Crypto”

Call a spade a spade. Unfortunately, the crypto terminology we use daily is not perceived to be the most trustworthy these days. Do your best to avoid heavy industry terms and try switching words like “crypto/coins” with “credits” or “rewards”.

7. Don’t Launch Everything At Once

Once again, the industry is still confusing for the majority of people out there. Don’t make it super difficult for your users by telling them they can do “everything” within your dApp. Start simple, focus on one feature like transactions, data storage or a wallet. Once you see user adoption, then introduce new features.

That’s all for now! If you have any other ideas on how people can increase their user adoption, please let us know and maybe we’ll publish another version later down the road!

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