App-building is a huge industry. In 2017, app revenue grew by 35% to reach $60 billion and there were 178.1 billion app downloads worldwide. It’s a growing market full of potential.
dApps, or decentralized apps, show similar potential, although they’re newer. There are more than a thousand cryptocurrencies and ICOs now, and that number is growing fast, with more new ICOs in the first four months of 2018 than the whole of the previous year.
But both industries could be better and are held back by a number of issues. While users clearly love apps and similar software, there are several things stopping them from buying all the apps they want.
The average user has 60-90 apps installed, but they use only 30 of these in a month, and only 9 of them in a typical day. It seems like people like to download apps, but tend to regularly use only a fraction of them.
If apps required a simple one-off payment, that wouldn’t be such a big issue for developers. But the subscription model is becoming mainstream, and that means if your app isn’t getting regular usage, you’re in trouble.
What’s more, good developers can lose out if their software and features are embedded in an unpopular app.
So how do we encourage app users to use more apps and reward developers more fairly for their good work?
First, let’s find out why people aren’t using as many apps as they might.
Why people are neglecting many of their apps
In the current system, cloud-based apps and decentralized apps are in silos and isolated from one another. There’s no central point, no hub where users can draw on the best of their favorite software and access it all easily.
That means it’s tough to manage a big arsenal of apps all at the same time — it’s a lot of time and effort. When you throw subscriptions into the mix, things get even more complicated. Users don’t want to have to manage dozens of subscriptions, it’s confusing and expensive.
When it comes to decentralized apps, the problem intensifies. If they’re using a number of different dApps regularly, users will need to manage a portfolio of different crypto tokens. That’s complicated for someone who’s comfortable with the crypto space — and downright overwhelming for someone who isn’t.
These factors add up to the point where it just isn’t worth it for users to cultivate a large group of regular apps. As a result, developers lose out and users are forced to get by with less variety in their digital lives.
To solve this, we clearly need to bridge the gap between different types of apps and dApps. We need to make it easier for users to handle a large fleet of software, and also ensure developers are fairly compensated for their work.
Cardstack are building a model that aims to achieve exactly that.
Bringing apps and dApps together
Cardstack’s platform functions as a hub where users can mix and match, try out different app features, and acquire new decentralized software and dApps, all in one place.
It brings ease and convenience to the industry and encourages users to try a range of different products. They can also mix and match the best elements of individual apps without downloading the whole thing.
It works based on the CARD token, which is the key to doing anything within the platform. It works as a multi-purpose currency, or credit, which is exchanged for any app or individual app feature within the system. For CARD, the focus is on practical use rather than speculation or trading on crypto exchanges.
When users pay for apps and dApps that they like in the platform, the CARD they spend is then distributed to developers of software based on how popular their work is, ensuring they get fairly rewarded for the things they create.
This model aims to make it easier for users to manage a large collection of apps and dApps at the same time with minimal stress. This benefits developers because users will be encouraged to adopt new software and keep it, free of the burdens they currently deal with. Developers will also be rewarded for popular features, not just apps as a whole.
Chris Tse Talks About His Plans to Improve the Experience of The Decentralized Internet
Cardstack are even looking to implement things like CARD airdrops, which will allow users to free trial dApps and other software and incentivize variety.
It’s an interesting development, as the dApp industry grows and cloud-based apps continue to evolve. Making a wide range of digital products available in one location, where it’s easy to mix and match individual features, could well change the face of this booming industry.