The internet, a relatively new piece of technology in itself, is constantly changing and developing. Recently, one of the biggest shifts in the digital world has been the rise of decentralization.
Decentralized technology marks the birth of a new internet, characterized by a fightback against centralized ways of doing things and a move towards more democracy, autonomy, and transparency.
At the heart of all this is blockchain technology, the ten-year-old concept that is helping shape the new online landscape. More and more people are learning about the power of blockchain and the benefits it can bring to their lives, and this is pushing the industry to grow and develop even more.
But learning on its own isn’t enough. The harsh truth is that the average person doesn’t care how much money the latest ICO made, and they aren’t interested in hearing about your project’s revolutionary consensus mechanism. They care about what blockchain can offer them, and how it can change their lives in ways they can see and understand.
This means that if we really want to spur growth, we need to make blockchain and decentralized technology more widely available to the public, so they can see for themselves what it can do.
This is what Cardstack is doing. The company is building a hub where users from all walks of life can access, play around with, and get experience using decentralized apps and software, along with traditional and cloud-based apps.
Changing how we use Dapps
A lot of the driving force behind Cardstack comes from its founder, Chris Tse. He co-founded Monegraph and dotBlockchain Media; he’s a Computer Science graduate and a man who is determined to change the face of the blockchain industry and the internet as a whole.
Tse and Cardstack’s vision is rooted in the idea that dApps, like regular apps, are too tough to manage. We all have a few apps on our phones and computers, but most of us only use a small percentage of them on a regular basis.
That’s not because the software is bad, but because it’s tough to manage a fleet of disconnected apps all at the same time. You need to juggle a number of different subscriptions, get to grips with different interfaces, and split your time between fragmented, siloed platforms.
The same applies to decentralized apps, only you’re juggling a bunch of different crypto tokens instead. In fact, with dApps things can be even more confusing, since the process of buying and holding crypto tokens is extremely daunting to the average user and requires a more complex process than just signing up to a subscription.
Tse believes user experience is a key part of blockchain’s development
Cardstack wants to simplify all this by giving users one platform, one place where they can access all the dApps (and apps) they want, easily and without the need for multiple tokens.
One of the most interesting features of Cardstack is its basis in ‘Cards’. These are, according to Tse, “smaller units of interaction than an app.” That means users can mix and match individual features of dApps, and developers can even build new apps from the bones of existing ones.
It’s all built around one token, CARD, which is the sole means of payment within the system. Users can mix and match features from different dApps and trial software. Meanwhile, developers can use the platform to share and promote their work, create new software, and get rewarded fairly for successful and popular features.
Short-term, this kind of setup can make life easier for users and developers, and encourage people to use a wider range of dApps. But what does it mean long-term?
The importance of experience
What Cardstack are aiming to build is what they call ‘the experience layer of the decentralized internet’. Essentially, it’s a way for users to really feel, first-hand, what decentralization and dApps can offer to them personally.
Blockchain has generated a massive amount of hype in the last few years, and sometimes it can feel like we’re being constantly bombarded with whitepaper after whitepaper, concept after concept, formula after formula.
What Cardstack plans to do, long-term, is build a layer on top of all that data that the average internet user can access and understand.
According to Tse himself:
“There’s an opportunity for us to think about: can we build what we call an experience layer on top of all these apps and dApps and cloud apps and SaaS apps and mobile capability, so that a regular user — not a savvy early adopter — can find a way to make sense of what’s going on on the blockchain.”
By making dApps available to the layperson, Cardstack hope to push engagement in the space and put blockchain firmly in the sights of the general public. Users will be able to navigate easily through multiple dApps, download and use a range of features, and start reaping the rewards of a decentralized internet.
This was something that, for a long time, was only really accessible to blockchain enthusiasts and tech aficionados, outside the reach of the mainstream.
By making dApps available to a much wider audience, Cardstack isn’t just increasing convenience. They’re laying the foundations for a new kind of internet, one with decentralization at its core.