Introducing Token Valley: a dApp discovery platform.
Today we announce a platform that will serve as your guide as you discover the world of Decentralized APPlications. We provide in-depth reviews of dApps, complete with ratings, screenshots, instructions, links, metrics, and commentary. An encyclopedia of dApps, if you will.
The site is still clunky, but the foundation is set! This is our soft Alpha Launch.
Those watching have now seen a complete hype cycle around the Initial Coin Offering. While some watched from the sidelines, many crypto enthusiasts participated by investing in, working for, or even launching an ICO. In January 2014 I invested $15 in NEM, which was perhaps the very first ICO. Looking back it is funny to recall selling out 1.5 years in for about $3,000 (a 20,000% return) when the peak in early 2018 would have brought me profits of $9,500,000; a 4-year return of 63,000,000%.
Seeing the hype about to take off in early 2017, I abandoned my plans for graduate school and founded Token Valley to serve as a reliable evaluation platform and ‘encyclopedia’ of all digital currencies. We identified that there was no single place to look up an ICO and find basic verifiable information about its background, founders, or technical metrics. We received seed funding from a fan of my book Encyclopedia of Physical Bitcoins and Crypto-Currencies and began building a comprehensive platform supporting ICO profile pages, analyst & user ratings, citing, charting, and more. To fund our growth, we provided advisory services to ICO’s around the world. Particularly notable was our involvement with a project that aimed to tokenize carbon emission reductions related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Working with client projects ranging from Dubai real estate to Canadian natural resources, the team found itself in the UK, USA, UAE, Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, and cities across China in the space of a year.
As things go, the ICO market cooled down and competitors entered the market before our platform was fully developed. Things looked dire until we realized that while history may not repeat itself, it does rhyme. I believe we are now at the dawn of the next blockchain craze.
Decentralized Applications. dApps.
Allow me to explain. As we know, blockchain is a technology that allows computers around the world to sign off on information to create a decentralized ledger. Satoshi invented blockchain to allow Bitcoin to function as it does; a decentralized currency. Innovators like Vitalik Buterin created new blockchain protocols like Ethereum which made it possible to create custom tokens with transparent rules representing things like equity, profit shares, US dollars, or simply custom scarcity.
But where do dApps come in?
Right here and right now! Just as blockchain technology allowed the emergence of decentralized currencies and tokens, it is now allowing the creation of decentralized applications. These DAPPs are to Blockchain what Software was to Windows. As it turns out, using ‘blockchain technology’ only as a way to track units of account is like using ‘personal computing technology’ exclusively for word processing.
Woah. So what exactly do these Decentralized Applications do?
Anything you want, eventually. If you look at your smartphone you will see dozens of apps, each of which is designed by some corporation which oversees its back-end workings and data (including your personal data!) on a closed server they control. Using newly developed blockchain protocols like EOS and TRON, we can now build applications that are run entirely on the blockchain with no hidden back-end. It’s like Open Source 2.0. When comparing them to ‘legacy’ apps, DAPPs have a number of potential advantages that I believe will disrupt the current application market.
- Enabled Interoperability: Different UX/Frontend of dApps will share the same underlying blockchain protocol. This will reduce arbitrage and bring greater price efficiency to relevant services. Imagine a single uniform back-end for dozens of ride-share apps.
- Trustless: Today, users need to trust that their applications are secure. This ‘trust’ is priced-in through fees. An example of this is the transaction fees on PayPal. With blockchain, the value proposition of trust becomes obsolete and thereby enables cheaper financial applications. Many (most) modern apps are vulnerable to data leaks at best, and intentionally selling your private information at worst. This can all go away with dApps.
- Open Data: Today’s big data companies (e.g. social networks and search engines) don’t let users opt out of data-collection, and then keep that data on closed servers for their own benefit. They do not pay their users for their data. With blockchain applications, users can have control over their data, potentially get paid for the data they allow to be shared, and startups will be able to access public data without compromising the privacy of individuals.
- Cost Savings: Through a native integration of payments inside applications (e.g. for in-dApp purchases) the number of intermediaries will be reduced. Further, the entire backend can be hosted on the blockchain (e.g. with WASM) which reduces the cost for cloud server providers like AWS.
- Increased Developer Confidence: Today, developers face several risks when they decide to develop on a specific platform. This is because their app could be rejected by the likes of Apple or Facebook, leaving their work to waste. With blockchain platforms there is no single controlling entity.
- Platform Sovereignty: dApps are permissionless, inclusive for everyone, and no single state or platform can shut them down. This ensures that basic requirements like access to information, communication, and payment are independent of things like location, credit, or ethnicity and thus accessible to everyone everywhere.
So it looks like these dApps might become a big deal..
That’s how I see it, along with the rest of the passionate team at Token Valley. According to dappradar.com there are currently around 220,000 daily users across about 2,000 dApps. By comparison, the Apple App store has 2 million apps in 2019, up from a mere 800 at launch in 2008. The DAPP world is just entering this stage now. Only about 300 dApps existed a year ago in April 2017, 10x growth year-on-year. I believe 2020 will be the year of the dApp.
Most of us remember the early days of apps, and I’m not alone in seeing the similarities from 10 years ago. Take dfurie on Twitter, who noticed that “if you look at what apps were the first ones to get a lot of attention, it was in the games category (in the likes of angry birds and others). In #crypto I feel like we’re going to experience something similar. We probably have some early stage examples like @CryptoKitties”. Indeed, my own first memories of apps involve drinking gyroscopic beers out of my friends iPod Touch at the back of a school bus and then waving the same around to produce light-saber sounds. How quaint.
Considering this, it looks like dApps are in perfect rhyme with the past. Someone on Twitter explained it well: “Top three dapp platforms are ETH, EOS & NEO. I hear Tron has a few games. Currently EOS has most users ATM. ETH has largest community of devs. NEO has lots of Chinese focused blockchain games.” (Original source lost)
Are dApps the next ICOs?
I believe so. Virtually every dApp utilizes a token; either a native token designed specifically for the dApp, or the token of a dApp platform such as ETH, EOS, NEO, or TRON. More dApp platforms such as these are likely to be released in the years to come, just as we saw a boom of hundreds of crypto-currencies after the success of the first few. It would not surprise me to see 10,000+ different dApp-tokens trading on decentralized exchanges around the world by the year 2029. With all this brewing, I can’t help but wonder how many obscure NEM-tier opportunities might be being released at this very moment.
In all this, there is a serious problem.
With the industry moving so fast, users, investors, and developers are overwhelmed! We identified a few specific needs:
- Users need clear instructions and guidance on how to use this new breed of applications
- Users need professional dApp testers who can help them filter the signals from the noise
- Users need reviews and rankings, comparable to Product Hunt, CNET or the App Store in the ‘legacy’ app/software world
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is where Token Valley’s pivot has led.
Token Valley is now a multi-blockchain dApp discovery platform.
We are launching our MVP today, with the sole focus of providing the community with useful and reliable information about dApps. This platform provides comprehensive in-depth reviews of popular dApp’s along with ratings, detailed commentary, relevant links, and several metrics. In addition, instructions on how to use the dApp are provided along with helpful screenshots. These are compiled by a team of analysts we have sourced directly from the community. The first dApp ‘profile pages’ are now live.
To start, we are rating dApps on a 1–5 scale across five categories: User Experience, Token Integration, Team, Community, and Security. Soon, we hope to add a few more metrics. We are still tweaking the evaluation system, and we welcome feedback. Our ‘grading rubric’ will be finalized pending community feedback,. We strive to arrive at a reasonably objective, balanced, and fair outcome.
Our next steps involve the additions of dApp Discovery and eventually a dApp API to the platform.
With dApp Discovery, new dApps will be presented to the public (and investors/developers) in a way comparable to Product Hunt. The dApp API will offer API access for our unique content and metrics for wallet apps and websites.
We are currently still in the bootstrapping phase, but we hope to fund our continued research and development through a mix of traditional means (reasonable banner ads & sponsored posts) and more novel fundraising methods relevant to the blockchain world.