The NFTY News tracks the ever-evolving narrative of how the mainstream will enter crypto through user applications. In each edition I explore non-fungible tokens, dApps, and the ecosystem affecting consumer crypto applications.
My startup in college was called Grabbit. The idea was simple: users can start a group order to pickup from a retailer and friends can place orders. The user picking up the items (called the grabber) will receive a discount on their order based upon how much business was brought into the store.
The goal was to increase human relationships through the use of technology. Incentives for the grabber were double-sided: financial & social. Grabbit gave people an excuse to be social.
Retail stores used Grabbit as a way to lower customer acquisition cost and determine which customers had a higher LTV. Unfortunately, because it had to be sold to every individual retailer coupled with payment processing difficulties, we had to shut it down.
Now Facebook might be up to something similar with its own stablecoin. It was reported by Wired this week that Facebook has been talking to multiple payment processors in an effort to give its stablecoin some utility. Facebook has been trying to push for real meaningful interaction between friends for years but still hasn’t found the killer product. With Facebook’s stablecoin, friends might be able to pay for retail goods (and maybe digital goods with Oculus) using point-of-sale systems. Third-party developers could build a Grabbit-like application directly inside of Messenger.
If Facebook wants to earn back trust with its customers, there’s no better way than strengthening relationships between friends through the alignment of incentives. It’s worth nothing that Apple Cash is also positioned to do this and it already has the point-of-sale network. The tipping point between both Apple Cash and Facebook’s coin will be the ability to create an ecosystem.
Questions remain: Can Facebook create an ecosystem of developers with its stablecoin, similar to how MakerDAO created an ecosystem of projects building on top of it? Will third-party developers have incentives to create markets using FaceCoin and open programmability in Facebook’s products (WhatsApp & Oculus) or will they be drawn to creating entirely new platforms with censorship-resistant money?
Questions that made me think
Overwhelmingly, people responded that it was a bad user experience holding dApps back from usage. But I want to challenge that line of thinking. Coinbase had a really great user experience for first time users in 2017 but the real money was made on exchanges which had a worse user experience. The killer app was the ability to create new markets, rather than stick to quality. Similarly today, even if gas & public keys were abstracted, what would be the incentive for non-crypto users to use dApps? They can already gamble without crypto. They can already get loans without crypto.
I don’t think a user experience is the real issue here. Either we haven’t found the killer app yet, or the decentralized ecosystem is still broken into pieces and hasn’t had the compounding benefits yet to make it better than what exists today.
The price of Ethereum is a compounding benefit of knowing the top dApp on Ethereum. Since dApps are also considered markets, the volatility (and thus potential upside) on dApps are greater knowledge than the price of Ethereum. To put this in perspective: Would you rather have known that NFTs were going to be a thing in late 2017, or that the price of Ethereum was going to be $1300? The inverse is true as well. If the top dApp in Ethereum is nonexistent (meaning everything has moved to a different protocol) you would know that nothing has been built.
Disclaimer: I work on helping create a world of infinite possibility at Dapper Labs. All opinions are my own and don’t represent the opinions of Dapper Labs.