Are you an aspiring blockchain developer looking for ways to monetize your skills? Then you should take a closer look at decentralized applications (known as DApps) because, chances are, they will follow suit of mobile apps that have changed the IT industry over the past few years. Do you know how much money the mobile app industry brings each year?
The DApp boom is coming?
In 2017, mobile app revenue from both Google Play and the App Store was about $60 billion, marking an increase of 35% compared to 2016. The growth rate of this industry is remarkable as both revenues and the number of apps created each year has been steadily rising ever since the mobile app boom occurred on the market.
The numbers are telling. Mobile apps have revolutionized the IT and gaming industry, and in the next couple of years we are likely to see a similar boom with decentralized apps. Currently, there are a bit more than 200 DApps listed on DappRadar, and gaming DApps are a minority among them. The number is low as the industry is still in its infancy, and there are problems such as scalability that have to be solved in order to allow more rapid development. But the existing DApps are already bringing their developers money.
A good example is CryptoKitties. Since its launch, people have spent more than $23 million trading unique, digital kittens on the platform. Not bad given that the game has just around 1,000 daily active users now. Imagine how much money it is going to generate when DApps become more popular. It might happen sooner than we expect as the problems such as scalability are already being tackled now. For instance, Loom Network is launching its sidechain solution that will allow to build scalable and secure Ethereum-based DApps. Looking at the revenues that mobile apps currently bring in might give you a hint about how profitable DApp development is likely to become in the next couple of years. For example, developers of “Clash of Clans” get more than a million dollars of revenue a day!
It’s logical to assume that when the DApp industry gets more developed with more DApps coming in and attracting more users, the leading dapps will be bringing their creators similar amounts of money, quite possibly even more. If you want to join the future DApp boom, you’d better start early and begin your career as a DApp developer today while the industry is still in its infancy and you have plenty of opportunities to experiment.
Major DApp platforms
For mobile apps, the two major platforms are iOS with its AppStore and Android with its Google Play Store. You’ve surely heard about them by now. Similarly, there are platforms like this for DApps. These ones are just emerging as the industry is in its infancy, but if you want to know more about DApp-related opportunities, you should definitely learn about the major platforms.
Right now, it is the most popular platform for DApps. There are just over 200 Ethereum-based DApps listed on DappRadar right now. The number is very small compared to mobile apps, but the platform is expanding rapidly with new DApps being added every day. Back in 2010 there were only a couple of thousands apps available on the Google Play and App Store, but over the coming years the industry has grown tremendously, and now there are more than 3.5 million apps on the Google Store alone. The same exponential growth is likely to happen with DApps, so don’t let small numbers put you off just yet.
It’s arguably Ethereum’s main competitor. The number of DApps on this platform is smaller than on Ethereum, but you should nevertheless keep an eye on NEO as it has a number of technical advantages over Ethereum. NEO is using a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism while Ethereum is using proof-of-work which is more expensive and energy-heavy making Ethereum much slower than NEO. The transaction fees on Ethereum are also higher. NEO is able to handle over 10,000 transactions per second, compared to Ethereum’s 15 transactions. Besides, NEO’s smart contracts, unlike those of Ethereum, also work with fiat money, making them more user-friendly. And NEO gives dividends as holding NEO generates the gas necessary to pay for transactions. Although Ethereum is more popular than NEO with DApp developers now, the situation might change in the future.
This platform is another potential Ethereum competitor when it comes to DApps. It also makes use of Ethereum-like smart contracts, but at the same time it is considered more secure than Ethereum and addresses the problem of scalability by using a decentralized governance protocol that allows individual blockchain parameters to be modified through a special smart contract on the blockchain without any disruption to the ecosystem. Another advantage of Qtum is its mobile-oriented approach. They have even developed their own mobile application. So the platform has a great potential for hosting mobile DApps in the future But once again, it is less popular than Ethereum right now, and so it has not received as much support yet. It only has a few DApps running on Qtum.
This platform also has some potential to compete with Ethereum. Its major perks are similar to those of NEO — use of proof-of-stake instead of proof-of-work, and the ability to self-amend through the on-chain coordination of stakeholders so that fundamental changes can be made to the protocol without hard-forking. The platform has not been fully launched yet, but there are already a couple of DApps being advertised on Tezos’ website.
Number of DApps developed by platform on March 27th, 2018:
As you can see, there are a lot of things going on with DApps right now — not only are new DApps constantly emerging, but new platforms for them are being created as well. So far, Ethereum is the most popular one, and it’s worth it to start your journey as a developer from this platform. First, there is more external support and learning resources available for Ethereum than on other platforms. Second, even if some other platform in the future will overcome Ethereum, your experience will allow you to smoothly transition to that new platform. Finally, Ethereum-based DApps are simply more profitable currently.
How much money are popular DApps earning now?
To give you a clue about how much money you can potentially earn with an Ethereum DApp now, we looked at the three most popular DApps in terms of active daily visitors: ForkDelta (about 2,700 users), IDEX (2,500 users), and Cryptokitties (about 1,000).
It’s a decentralized exchange platform that was forked from the EtherDelta exchange in January 2018 after the latter one had been sold to new owners who tried to introduce new rules that put off the community. Currently, ForkDelta is the most popular DApp according to DappRadar, with around 2,700 active daily users, 30,525 ETH in total user balance, and around 2,000 ETH traded through it every day. The project is community-driven, and unfortunately its owners are currently not earning anything as the transaction fees still go to EtherDelta. They accept donations to support the project’s development.
It’s another decentralized exchange platform. It has about 2,500 active daily users and on average 15,000 transactions per day worth about 6,000 ETH (about 3 million USD as of now). IDEX charges 0.02% per transaction from market makers (those who place the orders) and 0.01% for market takers (those who find existing orders and fill them). If we assume that IDEX gets 0.03% per transaction, it would mean that on average its owners get about $90,000 per day in transaction fees.
It’s the most popular gaming DApp where users can buy and breed digital kittens. Each crypto kitty is unique and new ones are released every 15 minutes. A user can buy a new kitty, and the money for the kitty goes to the developers of the DApp. One can also trade kitties with other users or breed new ones if a user has two cats, or has one and rents another one from a different user. Then the developers receive 3.75% from each transaction. Since the game was launched in December 2017, people have spent more than $22 million on kitties, meaning that the developers have received more than $825,000 since then.
What makes DApps even more profitable is that one has to cover just the development costs. The DApp owners don’t have to pay for hosting servers, and the DApps are based on the decentralized Ethereum blockchain infrastructure, so the numbers mentioned above are very close to the actual profit numbers.
What does it take to launch a successful DApp
As you can see, DApps can be highly profitable though the industry is in the initial stage of development now. You might be wondering what it takes to make a successful DApp. The CryptoKitties’ story is the perfect illustration to answer that very question.
CryptoKitties was launched by a team at AxiomZen, a Vancouver-based venture studio. They have more than 80 employees who develop cutting-edge tech products in various areas, ranging from mobile app development to VR and blockchain development. CryptoKitties was born at the largest Ethereum hackathon, ETH Waterloo, in October 2017. That’s when the alpha version of the game was launched. A team of four employees from AxiomZen participated in the hackathon. They came prepared, wearing rainbow-colored T-shirts with cute kittens pictured on them.
The people behind CryptoKitties have a lot of experience in development. One of its co-founders, Dieter Shirley, is a chief technical architect at Axiom Zen. He is a cryptocurrency enthusiast having mined his first Bitcoin back in 2010. Dieter’s affinity for new technologies might be explained by the fact that he is a veteran of the dot com boom. He knows how new technologies can emerge and change the world quite quickly. Another person involved in CryptoKitties is Fabiano Soriani. He studied computer science in Brazil and launched his first video game making startup when he was still in college. Fabiano is a blockchain enthusiast interested in bridging the gap between the web and the blockchain. And last but not least, Nick Salloum, a full stack engineer at Axiom Zen, is working on CryptoKitties now. He comes from Trinidad and received his BA degree in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University in Canada.
As you can see, the people behind the world’s most successful blockchain-based game have very different backgrounds. Still, they are similar in having excellent development expertise and the willingness to create new products and explore new technologies. This open-mindedness and professional excellence are necessary to anyone who wants to become successful with the blockchain. But where do you start your professional development in this sphere?
How to start developing DApps on Ethereum
If you are interested in starting a career as a DApp developer, you should definitely look into CryptoZombies. It’s an educational web application that teaches you how to create your own CryptoKitties-like DApp, and it’s suitable for complete beginners. You will learn how to write smart contracts with Solidity, how to create digital zombies with it, then make an army of zombies and even make them fight each other. They also have a Telegram chat where you can talk to fellow aspiring developers and receive helpful feedback if you have problems grasping some of the concepts while learning.
Keep in mind that Loom Network, the creators of CryptoZombies, are launching a special sidechain for the app. They are developing a sidechain platform for DApps that will allow new DApps to be easily scalable and at the same time connected to the Ethereum’s main blockchain. Loom Network has recently launched DelegateCall, a Q&A service with its own sidechain, and now it’s CryptoZombies’ turn. Basically, they are doing it to illustrate that the sidechain solution is good for different kinds of services. They are planning to launch Battleground, a DApp game also based on a sidechain. So as you can see, Loom Network is expanding rapidly and they are likely to become a major platform for DApps in the coming years due to their successful scaling solution, which truly is a game changer. So it’s better to get involved with them early, and CryptoZombies is a perfect start for that.
Take note that if you complete the CryptoZombies tutorials before April 6th, you will get rewards for your hard work including Loom tokens, DelegateCall Tokens, and card packs on Battleground.
As you can see, building DApps can be highly profitable. And to start doing it you just need to get the relevant development skills which is not that difficult with the abundance of educational resources out there. If you want to go deeper into blockchain development, you might find these pieces of advice from experts in the industry useful, as well as these top 10 courses for blockchain developers. Who knows, maybe sooner or later you’ll make a game-changing DApp that will make you rich. It’s worth giving it a try.
Originally published at howtotoken.com on March 27, 2018.
About the author:
Kirill Shilov — Founder of Geekforge.io and Howtotoken.com. Interviewing the top 10,000 worldwide experts who reveal the biggest issues on the way to technological singularity. Join my #10kqachallenge: GeekForge Formula.