It’s common for movie industry hotshots to thank fans on awards nights and tell them that they wouldn’t be able to do.
It happens all the time—you search for anything in Google or Apple Store and get millions of suggested results as if you had time to go one by one and find what’s really best for you. Sometimes they even get it right, provided that you are in the right country, but it may not always be the case.
Meanwhile, as the crypto-verse evolves, major search engines have become blockchain play stores as the main source for DeFi apps listings. But, is that what crypto users need? Is a generic search engine good enough to satisfy the sophisticated needs of DeFi users?
People tend to believe that search engines have all the answers. A search engine, be it a web page or an application, often leads to millions of results here and there, seemingly good enough for us to conclude that we are using the right tool—one that provides us with all the options we need.
This is enhanced by the immediacy with which we operate on a daily basis, surrounded by an infinite number of tailored ads, instilling in us the presumption that what is suggested at the top of the search results should be exactly what we are looking for.
And if it isn't, those who are navigating in the DeFi ecosystem would often assume that it's probably not worth investing much more time in finding the right dApp mobile app or tool, simply, because it most likely hasn’t been created yet.
Users should be aware that if they expect the first result to be the correct one, then they should be ready to be misled. In a way, this idea seems to corroborate Segal's law:
“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”
The problem is that when looking for a dApp, you not only want the right one but you need the perfect one—not something that is just okay.
The problem with being sure about things is not knowing whether you have asked yourself the right questions or if you have questioned yourself enough. With an ecosystem that is just evolving and becoming mainstream, how can we be sure that the dApp listing we find at first is the right one?
Search engines are designed to deliver results. That is, they deliver suggestions to you and visible monetary results to the company paying to be shown first. Not to forget the financial gains a search engine company earns through the sale of advertising positioning.
This conflict becomes even more evident when the subject of our query is very specific and not a generic search, as we meant to address in the example above. In this case, the list of results is made with the highest bidders and not the best possible results. Interesting, but probably unfair to users who are exposed mainly to paid positioning listings. Trusting a search engine, such as a dApp store, that works around a conflict of interest seems a really bad idea.
Numbers speak for themselves. The search engine industry generated $1.3 trillion dollars in 2020 alone. This amount explains why companies get remunerated for ranking results. However, justifying this to the user who receives nothing for this transaction is far more complicated.
Every click is money except for the person clicking the mouse.
Everyone knows that anyone can promote anything with enough money, and because of how unfair this is to startups, a parallel industry has emerged. We are talking about Search Engine Optimization techniques that enable projects to be featured as relevant in dApp listings even if they aren’t blessed with substantial funding.
This is very common in emerging sectors such as DeFi. And this takes us a step further—how reliable a search result is for a user looking for projects to invest in?
In this sense, no one in their right mind would let marketing campaigns or a sacrosanct algorithm drive their investments. This modus operandi cannot replace a thorough analysis made of impartial, external audits and the convincing criteria provided by like-minded, real users who endorse a project’s functionality.
It is in this scenario when lists of dApps ranked by real people become useful. This is the approach taken by MagicSquare, a crypto app store made for and by the crypto community. The MagicSquare platform aims to provide users of any level of expertise with guidance to choose projects that are tested and ranked by the community and not listed first because of the money companies can pay.
In that way, MagicSquare ensures that the marketing budget is not all a dApp can have. By allowing the community to validate the solutions dApps intend to provide, MagicSquare lets users find promising DeFi tools based on proven functionality.
The applications listed in this DeFi search engine are also verified by the platform itself, thus ensuring that they are always legit tools for users.
As a validated app store, such an initiative is likewise positive for the integral development of the DeFi ecosystem as it supports and highlights the solutions and projects that really bring value to the sector.
In a way, replacing a traditional search engine system with one based on the criteria of thousands of users might seem to complicate things. Referring to our initial analogy, it is like pretending that a person with many watches could be more sure of what time it is. In reality, a person with a thousand clocks has more sources to base his criteria on and decide what the time really is for them, whereas the person who has only a single clock is left to rely solely on the time that the clock says it is.
DeFi users, especially the new ones, shouldn’t be taken hostage by major search engines that have not yet collected all the necessary input to truly offer the best results. There’s no doubt that only a dedicated blockchain play store could do that.