CCN spoke to Taylor Monahan of MyCrypto.com, a company with a laser-focus on crypto usability. The conversation ranged from alternative smart contract platforms to the pitiful state of decentralized applications (dApps) on Ethereum and other blockchains.
Why DApps are a 'Hot Mess'
DApps are a major concern of Monahan’s:
"One of the biggest problems with the Ethereum ecosystem right now is everything is really fragmented -- from using Metamask to using a dApp. So if you want to send your CryptoKitties or create a Maker CDP, you go to the specific dApp. Then it’s like it sends this crazy transaction on Metamask. It’s really kind of intimidating and fragmented."
"Or let’s say you are a user who does these things. You have some predictions markets open on Augur or you’ve lent some ETH on Compound. You have to go to each individual app to see where you stand. As I’m actually starting to use these protocols more and more, it’s becoming wildly apparent that this is a hot mess."
MyCrypto To Educate Users on Token Usage
MyCrypto.com is primarily a wallet service, but they have other pursuits. Monahan says that judging by blockchain data from MyCrypto users, the majority are exchanging tokens rather than using them. When asked what her firm is doing to rectify this situation, she says:
"Everyone’s invested in these tokens. But it’s 100% speculative. So every action that people are taking on our platform is basically like either buying tokens, swapping tokens for ETH. Or holding their ETH and doing absolutely nothing with it. Those types of things."
Monahan agreed with this reporter that the prevalence of speculative holdings in the token/ICO market is an existential risk in terms of SEC enforcement. Even Kik isn’t too big to prosecute, it seems.
"The reality of it is a lot of these token creators want the speculation. If they’re keeping 20% of all the tokens in existence to fund their project, then they need people speculating on it."
The tokenized world will never really take off without masterful user experiences. Industry experts agree that usability and security are the two biggest downsides for newcomers in crypto. MyCrypto is doing its part, building a user-friendly service that will helpfully educate people on the actual utility of tokens available to them.
Ethereum Needs More Business-Minded People
Monahan feels that very often the discussions of the Ethereum ecosystem are too technical in nature. Many investors simply wondered if the ideas were technically possible. This led to a lot of rough ideas becoming multi-million dollar businesses.
Monahan says that there is still a lot of money for blockchain available in traditional venture funds. But blockchain companies need to become more serious about product development and user growth.
"When I sit down with my team or even when I sit down with myself and I ask what I want Ethereum to be, the biggest thing is that I want to see these tokens and these products being used. Like, predictions markets could be really, really amazing for the entire ecosystem. But if we’re solely reliant on the user experience that the Augur team has delivered, then we’re going to be limited to people that are really familiar with predictions markets."
In short, the experience is just too confusing for the layman at this point. Few products have worked to change this situation.
She says that some platforms like NEO are impressive because people actually think about the business aspect of the space.
“Ethereum feels very much like it’s focused more on the technology than it is on the end product,” she says. “Which is obviously very appealing for developers. It’s probably why Ethereum has such a great developer community. But at the same, time if you think about end-users and companies being successful or profitable, it does take a bit more than companies having the best talent.”
Why Ethereum Will [Probably] Remain the King of Smart Contracts
Despite reservations that other communities may have a more realistic approach to growing their ecosystems, Monahan describes herself as an “Ethereum gal.” She doesn’t see the utility in some of the alternatives that have popped up, but she is impressed by others which are more focused on developing business adoption and usable products.
"We will see more business-oriented people entering this space because it’s needed. In order to remain valuable and viable, we’re going to have to invest in the business side of things and the user side of things. I’m really interested in seeing how these other blockchains evolve and find their place, and find their communities and find their strengths, but I’m still personally an Ethereum gal. I think time will tell whether Ethereum sort of wins the smart contract battle or it’s the best at something, and it turns out that Tron or NEO is the best at something else and wins another segment."
MyCrypto.com is a quick way for people to create a non-custodial Ethereum wallet. In the future, it might become an important launchpad for people to learn about the realistic value of blockchain tokens.
The odds of user-friendly dApps are increased when people like Monahan and David Gold put their efforts toward solving usability. All the same, the dApp industry has a long way to go.
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