June 30, 2018
With this post, I want to highlight 10 of the best decentralized applications that you can use today on the main Ethereum network. I have selected and ranked them according to my own subjective view of the value that these apps have, and by no particular metrics. These applications vary in the level that they are decentralized, but they all use Ethereum in some way to increase their decentralization.
Name Bazaar is primarily a marketplace that lets users buy and sell ENS names. In addition to that, it also provides an easy to use UI for users to register and manage ENS names. ENS is basically a system that allows people to associate an Ethereum address with a human-readable name. For example, I have registered ryanyosua.eth. I can send Ether to that address and it will go the address that I have pointed it at using NameBazaar.
CryptoKitties is a game where users can buy, sell, and breed virtual cats using Ethereum. It is notorious for causing the network fees to rise to ridiculous levels this past winter. I added it to this list because it is a good introduction to DApps for beginners to Ethereum and is very user-friendly. I have played it a bit, and don’t really find it all that fun because at this point there is not really much you can do in the game. Despite this, it is still a great introduction to Ethereum DApps and the developers raised a ton of money, so hopefully, they will add additional features that make it more fun to play in the future.
OpenSea is a marketplace that lets users buy and sell crypto assets using Ethereum. For example, if you breed some CryptoKitties you can sell them on the CryptoKitties site, but since Ethereum is an open platform you can also sell them on third-party sites like OpenSea. OpenSea supports the buying and selling of a bunch of different Ethereum based collectibles in addition to Crptokitties.
Ethlance is like Upwork on Ethereum. You can create a profile on the site and browse freelance and full-time positions. You can also post jobs and hire candidates on the platform. If you hire someone on Ethlance you can pay them directly through the site with zero fees which is a huge advantage over sites like Upwork.
Ujo Music lets artists sell their music using Ethereum. It is pretty simple and offers reduced fees for artists.
CryptoCribs aims to be a decentralized AirBnB. For now, it is still fairly centralized but has significantly lower fees than Airbnb. Users can rent property using Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Delegatecall is a StackOverflow like Q&A site where users can post and answer questions. The unique thing about DelegateCall compared to all the other DApps on this list is that it is on a Loom sidechain. Loom sidechains are a form of off-chain scaling that reduces network fees and improves the performance of the app at the cost of decentralization.
IDEX is one of many decentralized exchanges for ERC tokens. I have not used IDEX, but it seems to be one of the more popular decentralized exchanges which play a crucial role in the Ethereum ecosystem.
Gitcoin allows maintainers of open source projects to place bounties on Github issues. The site has a lot of open bounties with significant reward amounts. It also has bots that will comment on Github to provide updates on the bounties.
MakerDAO provides a stable coin called DAI, an ERC20 token which tracks the price of the US dollar. Unlike other stable coins, MakerDAO does not have USD in reserves but instead uses smart contracts and cryptoeconomics maintain the price of $1. How this works exactly is beyond my understanding, but on a basic level, the stable price is a side effect of a decentralized loan market. So MakerDAO really offers two valuable services. The first is that it allows Ethereum users to price goods and services in USD which does not fluctuate with the price of Ether. This is really useful in many DApps. For example, you could post a job on Gitcoin denominated in Ether. But if the market suddenly drops then the value of completing that job will drop as well. If the value of that job drops below the market price the creator will have to update the payout for the task so that someone wants to start it. Instead, they can set the payout using DAI which will stay stable with USD.
DAI is not really a DApp and is more of a token with an extremely useful property, so in terms of this list, the second use case of MakerDAO is more relevant. That second use case is the ability for users to take out a loan in a decentralized manner. The UI for doing this is pretty complicated, and there is a good amount of risk in doing so, so keep that in mind if you try it. I have chosen MakerDAO as the #1 DApp because it is very decentralized and the use case is extremely compelling. If you had a large amount of Ether you could use MakerDAO to take out a loan to buy a car, house, refinance high-interest debt, or leverage your Eth position with a very low-interest rate.
If you enjoyed this post, please check out the new decentralized social network that I am building at fragmented.world.
I am a full-time software engineer and part-time entrepreneur. I am currently working as a contractor at Nutrien. In my free time, I am working on Fragmented, a decentralized social network for Ethereum enthusiasts.