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This article has been brought to you by DappRadar, a dapp data aggregator and analysis firm.
At DappRadar, we track over 2,700 dapps across nine blockchains.
That’s a lot of dapps.
And this means it can be daunting knowing where to start if you want to experience the advantages of using dapps. That’s where this handy guide comes into play.
We’ll highlight 10 of the best dapps across a range of categories and blockchains so you can take your first steps into the world of ‘decentralized applications’.
Launched in late 2017, CryptoKitties was the first high profile dapp and two years on, it continues to be a great entry point.
One reason is its extreme simplicity. Once you’ve worked out how to use a wallet (MetaMask and Dapper are recommended) and bought some ETH, you can buy your first CryptoKitty very cheaply.
Then you can breed your first blockchain kitty, either by buying another one and breeding the pair together, or by paying to use another player’s kitty. From then on, it’s up to you. You can try to sell your kitties, collect different types, or just enjoy being part of a strong community of blockchain enthusiasts who love owning and breeding these ugly-beautiful digital assets.
Blockchain Cuties (Ethereum, TRON, EOS, NEO)
The next level up from CryptoKitties comes Blockchain Cuties. It has the same collectible and breeding elements but also adds more ‘game’ in the shape of RPG-style missions, levelling up and gear.
It’s also the most accessible blockchain game in terms of supporting players across the Ethereum, TRON, EOS and NEO blockchains, and - most importantly - it has a free-to-play element so you can experience the basic game without needing a wallet or any cryptocurrency.
Many dapp games struggle to match the fun and interactivity of ‘normal’ games, but using the OpenSea marketplace for non-fungible tokens allows you to invest without playing.
Currently supporting most Ethereum games and collectible dapps, OpenSea is the most liquid trading platform, giving the best prices for those players looking to acquire higher quality in-game items to speed their progress, or for speculators hoping to buy low and sell high.
There are thousands of gambling dapps, especially on the EOS and TRON blockchains, but WINk (previously TRONBET) is one of the most popular.
Offering a range of different activities ranging from traditional table games such as dice, poker and slots to live sports betting, players also gain the benefits of staking the WIN cryptocurrency to gain more liquid tokens such as TRON and the BitTorrent’s BTT.
WINk recommends using the TRONlink or GuildWallet Chrome extensions.
There are plenty of stablecoins - cryptocurrencies that are pegged to fiat currencies; usually the US dollar - but only MakerDAO DAI token can claim to be decentralized.
The background is complex but simply put, people lock some ETH into a smart contract for a defined period of time and get a proportion of its value as DAI in return. They can then use their DAI to get more crypto or perhaps buy NFTs etc. When it comes time to pay back their loan (and get back their ETH), users pay back the DAI they borrowed, as well as the interest due on the loan, using the Maker (MKR) token.
So far so good. But the really clever thing about MakerDAO is that the interest rate required for these loans is controlled by holders of the MKR token, who get to vote on changing the interest rate up or down through its DAO or decentralized autonomous organisation, through a web interface.
In this way, MakerDAO hopes to - and so has - balanced out the supply of DAI tokens through the control of demand i.e. the interest rate, keeping the value of 1 DAI at $1.
Of course, the details are much more complex than this explanation, but so far, the system is working. Indeed, the DAI stablecoin is the heart of the exploding DeFi category of dapps on Ethereum.
Newdex (EOS, TRON)
While the majority of token trading occurs on Ethereum, dapps such as Newdex are slowly bringing this activity to the EOS and TRON blockchains.
In terms of their functionality, such decentralized exchanges (dexes) simply provide the opportunity for buyers and selling to come together and make trades in a trustless environment.
But enabling such activity is vital for dapp developers on these blockchains to create their own tokens as such dexes provide the liquidity required for investors and speculators to enter and exit positions in a fast and transparent manner.
Taking decentralized exchanges to the next level comes Uniswap.
Technically it’s a protocol for automatic token exchanges but it’s simpler to think of it as a website you can use to simply exchange popular ERC20 tokens (using a wallet like MetaMask) without dealing with the more sophisticated trading features such as setting prices or leveraged trading.
But, if you do want to get more complex, you can actually become part of a token’s liquidity pool by staking that token and some ETH, and getting a cut of Uniswap’s trading margin as a reward.
Basechain Staking (LOOM)
When it comes to delegated proof of stake blockchains such as EOS and TRON, staking your tokens to help secure the blockchain should be a key part of what the community does. One reason that’s not the case is because it’s too complex to understand and accomplish.
Loom Network makes this much easier however. LOOM is an ERC20 token so you’ll need an Ethereum wallet like MetaMask to stake, but the process is fairly straightforward.
You transfer your LOOM tokens from the Ethereum mainnet to Loom’s Basechain, and then you can select with validator node you want to stake with. You can set how long you want to stake for. The longer, the more LOOM rewards you get.
Crypto Sword & Magic (EOS)
There are plenty of good games on the EOS blockchain, but thanks to its original release as a Facebook game, Crypto Sword & Magic offers a strong gamer component. A role-playing game, you choose your hero and venture out to fight enemies, gaining the gear and runes that ensure you can level up.
Significantly, it’s a free-to-play game, so if you already have an EOS wallet (we recommend Scatter), you can play without paying, although there is an inbuilt exchange for buying and selling gear and materials if you want.
My Crypto Heroes (ETH)
Despite being the most popular blockchain game during most of 2019, My Crypto Heroes isn’t the easiest game to play. That’s partly because it’s developed out of Japan and most of its players are Japanese. That makes it great if you’re into Japanese RPGs but harder for the rest of us.
The good news is developer Double.Jump has been working hard in recent months to make the game more international. It also has a guest account, which you can use to experience the game without any payment, crypto or a wallet.
However, if you want to play the My Crypto Heroes seriously - owning high powered characters, collecting gear, and levelling them up as fast as possible - you’ll want to spend 0.1 ETH a month to access the Prime VIP system.
The better news is that the game also has one of the best and most active ecosystems in terms of the value of its hero NFTs, which regularly sell for thousands of dollars.