As viewed through the lens of dapp data
Whatever happened to EOS?
Since its mainnet went live in June 2018, the smart contract platform has come under criticism for issues ranging from hacks and assertions about its level of centralization to its governance model and even whether it’s technically a blockchain.
Yet — pragmatically — its defenders can point to over 400 live dapps and a steady accumulation in the USD value of the EOS token during 2019; up over 120%, although as with everything that’s not Bitcoin, its value is down 74% from peak.
You pays your money and you takes your choice.
In the article, however, we’re going to take a different approach. As your most trusted source of dapp data, at DappRadar we’re fascinated by dapp adoption and so our take on this question will be viewed through a dapp-centric lens.
In other words, we’ll modify the question to ask — Whatever happened to EOS dapps?
Not just gambling anymore
It’s something of a truism that gambling dominates the EOS ecosystem, and to some extent this remains true if you rank using the volume of EOS tokens spent.
At time of writing, the current top 10 of EOS dapps ranked by volume features six gambling dapps. But there are now also four exchanges — Newdex at #3, DEXEOS #5, EOSDAQ #7 and WhaleEx #9.
So according to tokens spent, EOS dapps isn’t just about gambling. Ranking by number of users highlights another trend.
The top two EOS dapps are games (EOS Knights and EOS Dynasty), which are followed by an exchange (Newdex at #3) and Lumeos, a social polling app, at #4. The remaining six slots are — yes — filled by gambling dapps.
In this regard then, it seems that — as is happening with TRON — EOS is slowly becoming a more mature ecosystem than many give it credit.
If nothing else, its most popular dapps aren’t gambling dapps.
What are the trends?
We can explore this in more detail by considering the medium term performance of some top non-gambling EOS dapps.
For the purpose of this article, we’ve selected 10 of the most popular EOS dapps; five games; three exchanges and two dapps categorized as ‘other’.
For each, we’ve downloaded the raw data from DappRadar and imported and combined it into a single spreadsheet.
If we look at how the number of users — we’re using the accumulated user total of these 10 dapps — has changed over time, we can see some broad trends.
(N.B. Yes, this will be an overestimate as we’ll be double counting some users, but we assume this to have a small impact and one that doesn’t change significantly over time.)
As more dapps were released on EOS during late 2018 and early 2019, there’s a strong rise in users of non-gambling EOS dapps, peaking at over 14,000 in February. This declines into March and April to under 10,000, stabilizes in May, and starts growing again in late June.
Obviously such trends are less about what’s happening with EOS generally and more about the individual trends of the dapps being tracked.
In that respect, what’s interesting to see is how the user base of the current top 3 EOS dapps has changed during 2019.
The most obvious impact comes from mobile game EOS Knights, which peaked at almost 7,000 DAUs in March, before a steady decline that’s taken it to around 3,000 DAUs. The reason isn’t clear but it is likely to be a combination of the developer more actively filtering for bots, and users getting bored of a game that lacks long term goals.
Until recently, Newdex was the second most popular EOS dapp, peaking at around 2,000 DAUs at the end of 2018. But it’s seen a steady decline since, now regularly attracting 1,000 DAUs.
Clearly the performance of these two dapps — down 5,000 DAUs from their peaks — has had a strong influence of the accumulated user base of the 10 dapps we’re considering. And in this context, the recent uptick in users has been generated by the successful launch of EOS Dynasty.
Similar in style to EOS Knights, it’s a mobile game, although the Chinese-developed title isn’t available through Google Play and App Store but via direct downloads from its website.
Nevertheless, since it launched in May, it’s built up to around 2,000 DAUs, and that’s been enough to take the total usebase for these 10 dapps back into growth territory.
Now, in the big scheme of things — such as Jimmy Song and Joe Lubin’s bet about whether m/any dapps will sustain 10,000 DAUs and 100,000 MAUs by 2023 — these are not large numbers.
Cynics will point to the failure of any of these dapps to grow five digits audiences as demonstrative of the wider issues such as dapps’s lack of appeal outside of the insular dapps sector.
Conversely, those of a more positive bent will retort that given issues such as onboarding — something especially complex on EOS — you have to start somewhere.
It’s also worth noting there are some technical issues with tracking users on EOS-based projects that are using the EOSIO protocol but not EOS itself. Examples include popular game streaming reward platform Azarus, which uses an EOS sidechain, and isn’t tracked by DappRadar.
In conclusion, the following would seem to be broadly truthful statements.
- The EOS ecosystem isn’t just about gambling anymore
- A (small) number of non-gambling EOS dapps have maintained audiences of +1,000 DAUs for months
- As with Ethereum and TRON, no EOS dapps have sustained audiences of +5,000 DAUs
So, whatever happened to EOS dapps?
The answer is they’re maturing — slowly. As we’d expect given its age relative to Ethereum, the EOS ecosystem isn’t wide or deep. There are a lot of inexperienced teams working on copycat projects.
But there are experienced teams with significant projects in development too, particularly in the game space. Example include Mythical Games’ much anticipated Blankos Block Party, item marketplace WAX, and game distribution platform Ultra.
And, of course, there’s Block.One’s social network — Voice.
Plenty to look forward to, whether you’re an EOS lover or a hater.
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