App stores – they are used by millions every day. At any moment, you can take out a mobile device and download a game that places you in another time period fighting dragons and conquering foreign lands. The ability to download applications that help you with homework or plan your retirement. Apps that pass time on the train, or apps to meet new people. All of which at your fingertips any time or day. They can be rated and organized into categories or they can go viral in minutes to make millions in revenue but at the same time others are never used more than once. A marketplace, which can disappear at any moment in time. How you might ask? Let’s take a look.
Traditional app stores like Apple, Google Play and the Amazon Skill store as we know them today are what we call centralized marketplaces. They are owned and operated by one central (usually private) authority, which at any moment can change the rules or shut it down at the flip of the switch.
A dApp store, or a decentralized application store, is something that can be open-sourced and setup to thrive with no central command or ownership built on the blockchain. It can be improved and secured by the community or have new code proposed by 3rd parties. Over time, these centralized marketplaces retain and gather important data, learn more about you and can even sell it to others without you even realizing it.
The Hydro dApp Store:
Hydro Labs has been building a scalable – built from the ground up, decentralized marketplace for dApps built on our core protocol called Snowflake. This marketplace allows a developer to build an application and submit it to the store from anywhere in the world. We built the foundation, and it can now be up to the developer community to add features and enhancements. The power of the Ethereum blockchain makes this possible.
How We Built the Hydro dApp Store
Snowflake is our digital-identity protocol built on the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem. Think of it like this – you have a driver’s license for the United States, which works well for rules and regulations in the United States. You are now on vacation traveling to Europe or a foreign country where a United States driver’s license might not have any use. Now think about this applied to the Ethereum blockchain. With your Snowflake digital identity, you can have identity management and control across the Ethereum network carrying around information you allow to applications and 3rd parties.
The Hydro Token:
The Hydro token plays an important role in the dApp Store as the main transactional token. Developers like any app store, can set their app to be free, or at a cost. Taking the users Hydro and giving it to the developer. Fee structures are yet to be determined as the store itself will get a small cut just like other stores out there.
The On Boarding Process:
When a user arrives for the first time, they will be prompted to follow a few steps to sign up. Like other traditional websites and services, a user needs to follow some steps before they can make a transaction. We took careful consideration as to what was necessary to make on boarding as painless as possible. Since MetaMask is a requirement, cutting edge code Web3 libraries are used to detect if a user has MetaMask installed – and if not, the platform reacts and guides the user to get it installed.
User Wallets & Transactions:
A user will transact in the store with popular wallet management plugins like MetaMask. Anytime a user needs to transact or stamp data to the chain (buying a dApp, removing a dApp, signing up etc) MetaMask pops open and prompts the user to confirm the transaction. These transactions get displayed in a nice user interface, but also are also visible through the users Ethereum wallet public address.
When it comes to any mainstream application, allowing future growth is extremely important. This comes by optimized modular code, a hosting environment which can handle increased machine power to load balance traffic and planning a head with versioned releases. The dApp store one started as a prototype and since then it has gone through iterations of development to provide the necessary capacity to scale.
The Code Platform:
Design and UI/UX:
Usability and experience is important to Hydro Labs. Making things feel familiar, natural and easy are top objectives for any product we have and are currently building. Some of our products share similar features so if you know how to use one, you know how to use all. We are making blockchain easier for the masses by scrubbing clunky terminology and design patterns and putting it behind the scenes.
Open Source Code:
Allowing any developer to publicly see and contribute code was one of the most important considerations we followed from its idea stage. Anyone can create a pull request to propose changes through Github. Anyone can fork the repository and create their own version of the store.
The HCDP, or Hydro Community Developer Program has funded and created dozens of community development projects for the Hydro ecosystem. Solidity smart contracts like Randomized Lottery Dynamics, Subscription Payments, Interest were all created for use with the Hydro token and can be used with the dApp Store. We continue to encourage community development and will continue in the future.
We are working to build a growing set of developer tools and resources for dev to have all the tools they need to build their first, second or third dApp. Whether you are a seasoned Solidity and ReactJS developer, or if you are new and need to get your feet wet with some tutorials, we are adding more to the scope of material to get you going without having to reinvent the wheel.
Backlog And The Future:
What you see in its first iteration, is a set of features which gets the ball rolling and out the door. We are proud of what we have accomplished so far, but have lots more in the works using state of the art and innovative code and libraries. We are pushing other services and parties to innovate and they are pushing us.
Timothy Allard / HCDP & Development Lead
The Hydro dApp Store will be open to beta testing on Monday September 23rd.