Can Ethereum Classic cut it as a platform for dapps?

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A road ahead for Studio

Whatever you think about Jimmy Song and Joe Lubin’s bet on dapp usage bu 2023, few would disagree the dapp ecosystem is buoyant in terms of developer activity and innovation.

All manner of experiments are being undertaken in categories ranging from DeFi to games, gambling, NFT marketplaces and social networks.

For example, DappRadar — your most trusted source for dapp data — is tracking over 2,500 decentralized dapps deployed across six different blockchains (and counting).

And this is the context to consider the announcement of the Studio program from Ethereum Classic Labs.

It’s a move to better promote the Ethereum Classic blockchain as a competitive dapp platform by rolling out a formal program that provides technical expertise and marketing support for developers looking to raise investment and launch dapps on Ethereum Classic.

After all, Ethereum remains by-far the broadest and deepest dapp ecosystem with over 1,500 dapps tracked by DappRadar. If nothing else that gives Ethereum Classic Labs some valuable technical compatibility and mindshare

What’s my motivation again?

As can already be seen, however, in the development of supposed ‘Ethereum-killers’ such as EOS and TRON, however, even when the technical aspects of deploying a blockchain are overcome, nurturing a developer community is a much more complex and long term task.

For example, at time of writing, DappRadar is tracking 462 dapps running on EOS, of which 66% are based around gambling, whereas 82% of TRON’s 405 dapps are gambling-related. Gambling dapps are always the easiest dapps to deploy.

More significantly, only 57 EOS dapps and 23 TRON dapps have more than 100 daily active wallets.

(The figure for Ethereum is 27 dapps, but given UX issues arising from its proof of work consensus compared to EOS/TRON’s delegated proof of stake, that’s not surprising.)

Similarly, emerging blockchains tracked by DappRadar such as IOST and Ontology have less than 100 dapps between them.

“Built it and they will come” clearly isn’t a sufficient argument when it comes to blockchain — or dapp — usage.

That’s something of which forthcoming dapp platforms such as Klatyn, Hedera, Cardano, NEAR, Algorand, Komodo, WAX etc should be aware.

Pick your target

So where does this leave Ethereum Classic and its Studio program?

The first thing to underline is this needs to be a long term commitment to have any chance of success. The second would be the need for Ethereum Classic Labs to be highly selective in terms of its focus.

One approach — not recommended — would be to try to persuade developers of existing Ethereum dapps to also support Ethereum Classic.

FTo some extent, this has already been attempted with initiatives such as TRON Arcade, which funds developers to make games on TRON, including porting Ethereum games. A handful of games including EtherGoo, Lordless and Blockchain Cuties have made the transition, but none has been particularly successful.

A better approach, perhaps, would be to think deeply about the existing Ethereum Classic community; How is it different to other blockchain communities? Are there any specific niche use cases that chime with this audience? What differentiates it?

One obvious answer would be the “Code is Law” mantra that underpinned the hard fork that created the Ethereum-Ethereum Classic bifurcation.

Maybe “Ethereum Classic Maximalism” is a meme too far but positioning Ethereum Classic as a playground for the sort of white or bad hat testing of smart contracts and blockchain components that could provide valuable insights to the wider dapp community has legs, at least conceptually.

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