Creating Better dApps

A lot of my focus this week has been following the Augur launch. Besides Crypto Kitties, it's one of the few dApps that have gained some "traction" on the Ethereum blockchain. Launching a dApp is difficult. No matter what blockchain you start on, you have to deal with high fees, slow on-chain transactions, and other issues. However, that still shouldn't prevent the founders from trying to build a good product. When a product is first launched, the idea is to create a minimal viable product. According to Wikipedia:

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.

The MVP process is intended to prove out a product hypothesis with minimal resources. The key word here is minimal resources. If you do an ICO and raise $25MM+, you are expected to launch a good product. EOS raises $4B+, and people in the community think the user experience was acceptable even though multiple accounts were arbitrarily frozen and the founder attempts to change the constitution. 

Does anyone remember Clinkle? They raised $25MM+ and it took 17 months to launch their "MVP". Most of the tech community ridiculed the launch and the product. In the blockchain community, this would've been cheered as a success! 

I hate people that complain and then don't propose a solution. Here are some suggestions for what I expect out of a good dApp:

  1. Have a hosted application either on the web or as a desktop application. I understand there are decentralization tradeoffs, but most people don't know how to run their own node.
  2. The core features should work with little to no bugs. I know there will be bugs, but the core features of the product should work when launched.
  3. If you have a token, make sure the MVP utilizes the token. It'll disappoint token holders if the token doesn't play a prominent role. Token holders should be your most prominent evangelists for your product. (If they aren't, why do an ICO?)
  4. Take into account infrastructure issues such as high gas fees and make sure they interfere with the user experience as little as possible
  5. Lastly, if you raise $25MM+, your product should be above, and beyond the requirements, I laid out above. 

I hope the community begins to hold dApp creators to higher standards. Take pride in what's built! It could be the next Google.

Thanks to Eric Pelnik for reviewing drafts of this!