The next project on the Crypto Countdown series is an endeavour called Status. I personally didn’t know that much about this project until I did a bit of research earlier this week; however, compared to a lot of abstract concepts in the crypto space, this is relatively relatable.
Status is a mobile operating system built for Ethereum that enables your mobile device to become a light client node on the Ethereum network.
Breaking it all down
This is not an official definition provided by the Status team but, it outlines the core premise of the Status project — in somewhat more technical terms! As this is an education process, let’s break down the main concepts.
Mobile operating system: an operating system, or OS, is very familiar to us all. iOS updates on your iPhone anyone? Simply put, it is software on your device (laptop/phone) that allows it to run things like applications or programmes. In the same way that our phones have apps, decentralised networks like Ethereum have decentralised apps — or dApps. So with that in mind, it makes a lot of sense for users to interact with an operating system to discover and access their dApps.
Ethereum: Ethereum is an open source (not privately guarded code) platform based on blockchain that allows people to build and deploy dApps. It is the infrastructure layer upon which a lot of dApps are built.
Light client node: as blockchains are mostly decentralised, you are relying on a network of people to always be up to date, and agree, on everything. This requires a lot of data to be passed around. When you end up with loads of cool dApps, your phone may not be able to process all of the information flying around the network.
Thus in short, Status allows you to discover and interact with cool Ethereum dApps, without making your phone download huge amounts of data — or as the Status team describe it:
A mobile, Ethereum, OS
What is the goal of Status?
Status aims to give you access to all of Ethereum’s decentralised applications through an app on your smartphone. In theory, by giving you, as users, an experience comparable to iOS or Android, Status can speed up the mass adoption of Ethereum based dApps by putting them at your fingertips (or on your smartphone).
As per the mantra of the blockchain world, Status is open source! In this instance, open source means that everyone can contribute to Status as well as having their fair say in how the network is governed.
What are we waiting for?
The Status team are spinning up collaborations left, right and centre which, for their specific project makes a lot of sense! You can keep track of their progress on Twitter. At the moment the project is only in beta (meaning: not quite ready and being tested to see what problems there are). Any interested parties can sign up for the beta on iPhone and Android as well as contributing their thoughts and feedback. This would be a useful way of getting to learn more about both Status and the blockchain space, so I would highly recommend it!
Status has already got some interesting dApps and projects listed on their website. A few of these projects will be explored in detail as part of the Crypto Countdown series; however, as a quick overview we have:
uPort: A blockchain identity system that allows you to govern your own identity.
Gnosis: A crowdsourced prediction market.
Oasis Exchange: Trading Ethereum-based tokens between parties without a centralised party to facilitate the transaction.
How will we interact with Status in the future?
The Status website lists a few interesting ways in which you can interact with the Status app. To give an overview of how useful this app could be, in the context of the blockchain dApp space, I have given a quick overview:
Make payments: users of the Status apps can send, receive and store their cryptocurrencies in a secure way. As this is designed as a network of people who can trade with each other, Status allows you to find people nearby in order to trade assets, services and even ideas!
Browse dApps: as previously mentioned, Status is designed to give you fast access to find and use dApps. The Ethereum ecosystem could, in theory, become as large as the app stores of today.
Chat securely: Status has its own messenger within the app, which is always convenient. However, in a similar vein to popular apps over in China, Status is integrating payments and other cool features into chats. The fundamental difference is that the Status app, by default, encrypts your messages (jumbles them up so no one else can read them) and sends them directly between you and another person within relying on a centralised server — thus your information is not stored in one place, controlled by a single entity.
And there we have it — the future messenger/app store/payment enabler? As with many projects in the blockchain space, Status is not quite ready, but it is worth keeping an eye on. An interesting point from my side, that stands Status apart from the majority of projects on the crypto Top100, is the fantastic user interface. Decentralisation shouldn’t need to force users to adopt a new interaction pattern and, from what Status have shown, their design team is doing a great job of merging a great user experience with some new features.