Juncheng Zhang

@junchengzhang

Lessons from the Most Popular Crypto-Based Application

A force for mass adoption is here, but it’s not a Dapp.

Everyone is talking about ways to achieve mass adoption for cryptocurrency and blockchain these days, but not many are making it. If we look at the “most popular” — you will see why they’re in quotes in a sec — blockchain-based applications, none of them have more than 500 daily active users. This is nuts. Way to go for blockchain mass adoption.

But you know what, he is right. By he I mean, Jon Choi, who recently gave a “hype-minimized” talk on blockchain development and adoption in Korea. I finished watching the talk, and even though the idea that blockchain is not a panacea is never new, this kind of hype-minimized talk is very refreshing. Imagine if all of us just buckle down and start building stuff that reflect the amount of money we are raising and provide real social value to millions and solve pressing issues with blockchain and crypto.

After all this time studying blockchain and the economic design of crypto, in both Chinese and western side, there’s only several crypto-based projects that I found truly resonating with the mass adoption goal of crypto. At the top of that short list is: Brave.

So let’s be Brave and see what it’s all about. After careful study, I think there’s a lot we can learn from it.

Solving a Real-World Problem

Unlike most other applications based on blockchain and crypto, this one has actually made into the mainstream. On the outside, it’s just like an usual browser with ad-blocking functionalities, which is what earned its favor among current browser user demographic in the first place. So just for this, it’s a score for Brave —while most DApps conjure up functionalities just for the sake of its cryptocurrency application, the Brave browser actually solves a problem.

In his 2016 TED talk, CEO of Brave Software, creator of Javascript, spoke in layman’s term on the inefficiency and insecurity of the currency digital advertising and online tracking business. This is the business that’s made a living for the likes of Google search engine and Youtube, and hundreds of middlemen that operate in between, with the cost of user data security and privacy.

Brave browser solves this issue. It protects user data and user privacy, and ensures efficient online browsing experience by reducing 3rd party interference. If it scales, it is going to disrupt the currency online advertising and user data collection model. And this is a billion-dollar business.

You get paid in direct proportion to the difficulty of problems you solve.
Elon Musk

Now Brave browser has had over 10 millions Google downloads and over 3 millions monthly active users. In this sense, the problem it’s solving has paid off well.

Lesson here: When you develop a blockchain-based application, do it to solve a problem that exists in the real world, not some self-reinforced error created by blockchain itself.

Leveraging the Existing Market

Many blockchain projects start out by aiming to disrupt current industries even though they know well enough themselves that the existing giants are hard to beat, and one needs to fight like hell to earn just a tiny bit of market share from these seasoned competitors. Why not start small? Or better, use what’s already available and go from there?

You would think that Brave browser’s directly competing against Google Chrome or Firefox, but rather its unique functionalities that reward user’s attention and publisher sets itself rather in the field of social marketing and content creation, similar to what Patreon and Twitch are doing. With BAT token (Basic Attention Token) that Brave browser is based on, ordinary browser users can directly send payment supports to their favorite Youtubers and Twitch streamers, without any 3rd party cutting a share.

Browser embedded wallet enables users to send microtransactions to publishers directly.

By early July, Brave browser has successfully migrated over 4,500 websites and 13,500 YouTube and Twitch streamers to its payment services, totalling more than 110 million subscribers.

With that many blockchain projects that aim to reduce commissions and 3rd party fees for content creators, we now need to ask the question: are we focusing our energy building the right thing?

Lessons here:

  1. Mass adopted application makes cryptocurrency mainstream, having a cryptocurrency functionality alone does not.
  2. Spend money where your mouth is, disrupting alone is a useless goal.

Many cryptocurrencies have huge market caps, yet few are able to justify the boom with solid user adoption and problem-solving. Brave started in the year of 2017, since when there have been several ups and downs in the market, yet every time, despite how public opinion on blockchain and crypto changes, its popularity and actual usage are only increasing. And however many cryptocurrencies are higher in market cap, few achieve the same mainstream validation as Brave. This is the reward of solving a real world problem. If you craft your product well enough, adoption will come. The case of Brave makes an industry leader I think we all ought to learn from. I hope this miniature case study gives many of us the hope and direction we will continue on. Have faith!

Note: the above views do not act as financial advice nor do I have any vested interested associated with Brave Softwar or BAT platform. The views are purely my own.

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Who am I?

My name is Juncheng Zhang, I went to the U.S. for two years, in KY to be specific, to study compSci and dropped out in 2017. Now I’m fully in the blockchain and crypto space. I started a blockchain community called HN Blockchain with my partners at the end of last year, and now it’s one of the biggest blockchain communities in China and we manage communities for multiple blockchain projects such as Popchain and Ulord. Please feel free to check out our linked in page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/hunan-blockchain-alliance/

Feel free to connect with me on Twitter: @jc_zhang_

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