A deluge of consumer-facing, blockchain-based applications are currently in the production pipeline, and most share a common thread — consumers must already own some form of cryptocurrency in order to use or try them. From the standpoint of mainstream customer acquisition, this is a significant point of friction that demands addressing.
Fellow crypto enthusiasts — bear with me, flex your imagination, and place yourself in the shoes of a mainstream consumer one year from now.
You’ve heard about Bitcoin. You may have heard about Ethereum. You may have read about ICOs in the news, but none of those things particularly concern or interest you in your day-to-day life.
But you’ve heard about a cool app called Augur that let’s you place bets on the future, and you have some particularly hot, contrarian take on a sporting event next week that you’re willing to put money on. And so you head to Augur with guts and gumption, only to find that, in lieu of the usual fiat pay-walls you’re accustomed to, you’re prompted to scrape google, figure out how to buy Ether online, and wait a week for that Ether to be deposited in your account before you can even get your foot in the door. Even if you were motivated and patient enough to overcome the cognitive friction associated with that experience, your effort will have been expended in vain — the sporting event, having turned out just as you’d predicted, already passed.
Internet consumers are notoriously impatient. Four out of ten American consumers will leave a mobile e-commerce site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Competence, or a lack thereof, in optimizing user acquisition funnels has made kings and paupers of many web 2.o consumer companies. When we live in a world where page load times and the specific hue of blue used on a site materially affect customer conversion, forcing users to leave an app in order to purchase crypto before they can even get a margin of utility from it is clunky and unacceptable. If we, the crypto community, are serious about mainstream consumer adoption, we need to start thinking hard about how to make every mainstream user’s first experience with decentralized applications seamless, fast, and delightful.
In this spirit, we are excited to announce our newest release.
Dharma is building the protocol for decentralized peer-to-peer lending, and, today, in partnership with Metamask, we are excited to roll out our first consumer-facing product —Dharma Credit.
Dharma Credit is a suite of tools that make it easy to plug a line of credit into any decentralized application. In lieu of forcing your first-time users to purchase crypto at a brokerage or exchange, a Dharma Credit integration will give your users a button that they can click and get a small cryptocurrency loan within your app in under 5 minutes. And you can try it today on the Kovan Testnet using the Metamask Chrome Extension:
For the time being, we’re rolling out Dharma Credit with a select group of partner projects in the space, starting with Metamask. Shortly, though, we’ll be open-sourcing Dharma Credit and making it freely available for any enterprising dapp developer to integrate with.
Give it a try, and please send any feedback you have to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Our goal is to integrate easily accessible lines of credit into every consumer-facing dapp and wallet. If you’re interested in learning more about the specific mechanics of peer-to-peer lending in Dharma, give our white paper a read, check out our website, or try out the Dharma Testnet CLI . And if you want to help us iron out the kinks in Dharma Credit before we open-source it to the general public, join our slack and say hey — we’ll be rolling out a beta developer program in the coming weeks, and we’d love for you to participate.
Disclaimer: I’ve specifically referenced Augur not as a point of derision, but rather because I’m a fan of the project and think it will likely be one of the first mainstream consumer apps in the space. I’m confident the Augur team will deliver a first-class user experience when they go to market.
Nadav Hollander is the Founder and CEO of Dharma Labs. Nadav previously worked as an engineer at Coinbase and Google, and recently graduated from Stanford University.