Ethereum now has three years of work. Vitalik Buterin, the Russian-Canadian whizkid who co-founded the platform, hoped that the popular Dapp (decentralized applications) would become the new normality. He did not know that his intelligent contract blockchain would become a very popular way to raise capital, known as the initial offer of coins (ICO).
His vision has been somewhat distorted by a new wave of speculators betting big on cryptography. This does not mean, however, that any decentralized development is occurring on the Ethereum blockchain. Away from it. In fact, building an intelligent contract is easier than you think. And there are some astute development teams that bring new ideas to life in the way Ethereum initially intended.
With data from DappRadar, we decided to take a look at many popular people that actually attract users. Our top list is based on the volume of Ethereum but also on the uniqueness of the application.
IDEX is a popular decentralized exchange created by Aurora. The company is developing a series of blockchain-based financial services. Adoption by users via blockchain is still slow, but this bet will probably pay off as users look to cryptography for banking solutions.
Interestingly, decentralized exchanges continue to see the largest number of popular volumes across the space. Speculators are still the first to adopt them. While other types of applications bring more use cases, we hope to see things in balance a little more.
IDEX is already outperforming other decentralized exchanges like ForkDelta, with a fairly wide margin. It is impressive if you consider that it is less than a year old. Since IDEX is built on Ethereum, it focuses only on the trading of token Ethereum and ERC20. The platform fully supports MetaMask and more secure solutions such as the Ledger hardware portfolio.
Ethlance, another of our popular ones, is a decentralized market for jobs that are mostly remotely based. Online job portals are not a particularly new innovation. Companies like Upwork, 99Designs and Fiverr are regular drawcards for freelancers and employers in the new world of the Internet.
So, what is the advantage of a solution based on blockchain? Simple. Decentralization. Upwork currently charges an incredibly expensive 20 percent cost per job for most freelancers at the time of the start. Consider transfer costs in your country and you can see why many job seekers simply refuse to use this service.
Ethylene, on the other hand, is completely free. Exactly, zero commissions. However, you have to pay the gas tariffs on the Ethereum network. Right now, this is a bit tricky, but when Ethereum goes to the stake test model, the Ethlance service should be a lot easier to use.
Auctionity is a blockchain auction house for crypto-collectible. Try saying that phrase three times fast! Anyone can create a virtual auction of their favorite digital resources on the global network. A key difference here from other platforms is that resources need to be non-fungible. In other words, you can not sell Ethereum tokens. Digital resources must be unique and represent a kind of individual value, unlike tokens.
Currently, most of the auction activities include the characters from Cryptokitty and Etheremon. This may not please your taste. The positive potential, however, is quite large. Expect more artists, musicians and creators to join the platform when they begin to appreciate the value of being paid in Ethereum on USD and other legal currencies.
In 2016, the price of Ethereum took off and traders and investors really started paying attention. It is therefore not surprising that it could appear to be an alternative to LocalBitcoin. For those who do not know, LocalBitcoins is a popular Internet service that allows you to buy and sell Bitcoins all over the world without the exchange.
LocalEthereum uses smart contracts and commitment to block a seller's Ethereum until he or she confirms that it has received fiat currency (such as dollars and euros) from a buyer via cash, wire transfer, PayPal or other methods.
The traditional intermediary (exchange) has been eliminated. However, in the event of a dispute, an arbitrator should intervene. The referee can only assign Ether to either side and not to itself. For now, this referee is LocalEthereum itself, however, with time, this aspect too could be decentralized to community members.
Aragon is an incredibly ambitious project that seeks to take on the limited nature of local business management. Today, most companies are part of a country and are therefore subject to its laws and regulations. This becomes difficult to manage as more and more employees are busy working remotely to live.
Aragon is focusing its efforts on helping future entrepreneurs to create DAOs or decentralized autonomous organizations. Essentially, Aragon was built thinking of the main business functionality. A bargain tip and click if you want. Wherever you are, as long as you have access to the Internet, of course.
It remains to be seen if DAOs can completely replace a typical corporate hierarchy. It certainly makes more sense in countries where starting a business is often hampered by heavy government regulations and barriers for small business owners.
Take a look at our Aragon guide to learn more about DAO's vision.
Closing thoughts: five popular Dapps
People continue to come and go as entrepreneurs struggle to find applications that will attract the crowd for the long run. The informed readers will note that we have not included Cryptokitties in this list. While that app continues to be popular, the cryptic press has covered it until death and there are certainly more interesting projects out there that deserve a look.
There is really no comparison when it comes to highly centralized networks like Facebook, which has over a billion users. Even the most popular can not currently compete. But even Facebook took several years before the wheels started spinning. We are on the tip of the iceberg and some, if not all, of the projects we examined could turn out to be 10,000 Bitcoin-worthy companies in the next five to ten years.