Smart contract-enabled, decentralized applications (dApps) are still in their early stages of development. At present, Ethereum (ETH)-based dApps have almost no transaction volume.

This, according to data from DAppRadar – which was pointed out by Twitter user Kevin Rooke on February 9th, 2019. As Rooks explains in his tweet, 86% of ETH-based dApps had zero users last Saturday, while 93% did not record any transactions. Although there are reportedly around 40 times more developers focused on creating software for Ethereum (when compared to its closest competitors such as EOS and Tron), ETH-based dApps don’t appear to have lived up to expectations.

There are about 1,375 “live” dApps built on the Ethereum blockchain, however the number of active users have remained consistently low. According to data from DAppRadar (referenced by Rooke), there are around 1,828 “live” dApps “across all platforms”, but 77% of them had “0 users” and 85% of them “had 0 TX (transaction) volume” (on February 9th).

Do We Need DApps?

Out of the total 1,375 Ethereum-powered dApps identified, there were only 200 that actually had (one or more) users last Saturday. Meanwhile, 426 dApps out of a total of 1,828 dApps developed across all platforms had users on February 9th. As Rooke mentioned: “Among the 426 dApps that actually had users, there were 157k active addresses today.”

Commenting on the relatively low dApp usage, prominent bitcoin advocate and author, Saifedean Ammous, remarked:

A brief look at them suggests all of these would be better run as apps. I'm curious if you could give me an exception, a dApp that benefits from being distributed?

In response to Ammous’ question, Rooke said that “perhaps some gambling dApps will see traction” and that distributed apps could potentially see more adoption because they are “much more difficult for governments to regulate [and/or] shut … down.”

Interestingly, Vortex (@theonevortex), a well-known bitcoin enthusiast and popular commentator on Twitter, remarked: 

Gambling and dark markets are essentially the only use case currently for dApps.

EOS & Tron Already Have Greater “On-Chain USD Volume” Than Ethereum

As explained, dApps are in their preliminary stages of development and during their first few years (of being introduced), cryptocurrencies had also been associated with the dark web and mainly thought of as a means to help engage in illicit activities. Since then, bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets have been more widely adopted. Cryptocurrencies also have a supportive and growing ecosystem.

It’s possible that more legitimate use cases for dApps could be developed in the foreseeable future. In late January 2019, researchers at Diar released a report in which they mentioned that: 

EOS dApps are [currently] accounting for 55%, Tron 38% leaving Ethereum applications with a mere 6% of total on-chain USD volume.

While on-chain transaction value might not be the best way to measure the performance or usefulness of dApps, the introduction of newer platforms for developing distributed applications indicates that a significant amount of development work is being done to improve the underlying technology.