Creating a ‘Killer’ Blockchain App
The blockchain is disrupting many sectors including finance, healthcare, and manufacturing. However, in most countries, if you asked a person on the street to name a single token, they would struggle. This is because no blockchain-based consumer apps have achieved any kind of market penetration. Without a ‘killer’ blockchain-based consumer app, understanding of the sector will be limited, impacting long-term innovation. By tackling an everyday problem faced by most people, the blockchain can get wider recognition and understanding across society. We want 10-year-old kids to want to learn about the blockchain in the same way that a generation ago kids wanted to learn HTML to create websites.
Why is there no blockbuster blockchain app?
If you look at the entire blockchain ecosystem, you can see that many projects are focused on transactions and payment services. Similarly, there are great projects happening in the enterprise sector. However, in the consumer sector there are few well known projects. The ones that have some recognition are primarily focused in the gaming world.
Large Entrenched Entities Dominate
Many of the most popular consumer application segments have two characteristics that make them difficult to penetrate. The first is that consumers typically only rely on a single application for the vast majority of their needs within that segment. This is true in messaging, one of the most popular application categories, where a handful of apps dominate the entire global landscape – Whatsapp, Facebook, WeChat (China), Line (Japan), and KakauTalk in Korea.
However, this tendency to rely on one service is also true with social media, video consumption, ride sharing, weather, health, etc. The second constraint and a result of the first, is that these markets become dominated by global technology companies – Facebook, Google, Tencent, Amazon, Alibaba etc. These characteristics make it extremely difficult for upstarts to come in and really gain traction.
Rays of Hope
However, there are certain consumer sectors that are open to disruption from startups. One of these is the online dating sector. Over the last five years the stigma of online dating has been removed globally so that it’s now one of the top five consumer mobile categories that people spend time on. Furthermore, users typically use a number of dating apps at the same time. No single dating app has complete dominance.
Another consumer sector is job related apps. Although there are large global players like Linkedin, Indeed, Monster, there are typically several large local players in each country. Another such sector is travel booking. There is Expedia as a large global player, but market share tends to be distributed among a number of players in each country.
Choosing vs Transacting
One way of understanding this is to look at the need for choice within each category. For certain categories like weather, ride sharing, and messaging, there is no need to have a choice of options. I want to know the weather, to get a cheap ride, and to message friends – having several different apps doesn’t provide much value. However, with dating, jobs, and travel, I want to see all the options that are out there. Therefore, even new sites/apps can gain traction if they offer a different approach or provide options that aren’t found elsewhere.
Ponder’s Approach is Unique
Ponder is focused entirely on areas where choice is important. The existing Ponder app is focused on dating and is now being expanded into jobs. In each of these two sectors, and the future target sector, business matchmaking, choice is important, and this allows Ponder a chance of breaking into the market even if there are strong incumbent players.
Secondly, Ponder is taking a uniquely differentiated approach compared to existing players. It is a platform for finding and giving referrals. Such an approach is as unique for finding jobs and business opportunities, as it is for dating. Therefore, even those people that already use specific dating apps or job boards might well be interested in signing up for Ponder since they will have a different way to solve the problem. Everyone knows that a referral from a mutual friend or contact is always a far better way of meeting a date, getting that job, or grabbing a new customer.
Whether Ponder becomes that elusive blockchain ‘killer’ app or not remains to be seen, but it’s clear that a consumer-facing app that tackles everyday problems for the general public is desperately needed.