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In part one of our examination of Decentralized Application Platforms (dApps), we examined Ethereum, NEO, and NEM, which are the three dominant players in this space. DApp systems are excellent examples of the potential of blockchain technology, and hundreds of institutions across the globe are adopting them. In this second part we will examine other platforms that are emerging to challenge the top three. These systems have unique features that could give them a competitive edge, but they have yet to achieve widespread adoption.

Cardano (ADA) is perhaps the most popular emerging dApp platform. Launched in September, 2017, it became a top ten crypto by market cap within four weeks. Cardano had been under development since 2015, and it was one of the most anticipated blockchain systems ever created, which largely explains its rapid rise in value.

In terms of its technology, Cardano is hailed as a very advanced platform. It has a solid,dedicated team and a strong presence across the crypto space. However, it is still in the first phase of a multi-step development process that will take at least two years to fully implement. Its next phase, named “Shelly” will add a number of features such as quantum resistant signatures, more advanced wallet features, and a proprietary debit card that will enable the Cardano coin, ADA, to be used anywhere fiat is accepted. Should Cardano move forward as planned, once fully deployed it will arguably be the most comprehensive and feature-rich platform available.

Qtum, also launched in 2017, is a second platform with very advanced features and a clear path to success. Advertised as a bridge between Bitcoin and Ethereum, Qtum is based on a modified Bitcoin core, yet is able to run Ethereum-based smart contracts. A major selling point is its compatibility with mobile devices, and its heavy emphasis on the ability to execute smart contracts on lite wallets. Earlier this month Qtum placed a satellite into orbit, making it the first crypto to do so. The foundation claims that this will be the first of a network that will make Qtum nodes vastly more efficient than those of other systems.  

Often called the “Ethereum killer,” EOS has also moved very quickly in terms of market value. The platform will be built for scalability, and its team claims that once fully implemented it will be able to process millions of transactions per second. It will also be compatible with several programing languages. Another key component of EOS is the ability to use it without network fees, which, to say the least, gives it a distinct advantage among its competitors. So far, however, EOS still relies on an intermediary Ethereum token.

Each of these platforms are similar in that they are all less than one year old, and still in the very early stages of deployment. Their huge growths in market cap are thus based entirely on speculation that, in final form, they will deliver on their advertised features. Perhaps the best evidence that they will do so is the fact that they are all managed by veterans in the blockchain space. For example, Cardano’s founder is Charles Hoskins, who co-developed Ethereum and is its former CEO. EOS’s creator, Dan Larimer, also created Bitshares and Steem. Simply put, the programmers behind these systems have proven abilities, and thus investors have taken notice.

It would be wise, however, to bear in mind that the true value of dApp platforms rests not in their fiat prices, but in their adoption by those seeking to utilize the benefits of blockchain technology. In this context Ethereum is clearly in the lead, with well over one thousand tokens already active, and hundreds of institutions across the globe planning to adopt it. These newer platforms may one day be feature rich, but they will be forced to play catch up to those that are already well-established and popular.

It is also worth noting that there are many other dApp platforms that are equally impressive, such as Lisk and Stratis, and many more are being built. The extent to which all can succeed is debatable, to say the least. Also, Ethereum, and the other top platforms have planned upgrades that will seek to address shortcomings that may give lesser known platforms a competitive edge. Simply put, it is folly to assume that any up and coming platform is guaranteed to become mainstream.

Despite obvious challenges moving forward, experts agree that these newer platforms hold tremendous promise, and have a very strong chance at achieving widespread adoption. With the blockchain revolution still in its infancy, the field is wide open for any system with a team fully committed to its success, which Cardano, Qtum, and EOS certainly have. There is, nevertheless, no doubt that many more changes will take place as all dApp platforms move forward. Like every other aspect of the crypto space, future development, and volatility, are all but guaranteed.


Feature Image via BigStock.

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