The reality is that State Channels are here now, and work great, today. We can ship commercial quality dapps that use them NOW — JezSan FunFair
The quote above was from a Reddit post highlighted in the November issue of Week In Ethereum. It confirmed something that I didn’t really appreciate until I went to Devcon IV — scaling isn’t the issue that is preventing main stream adoption of Ethereum. It’s the fact that the dApps out there don’t really offer any real improvement over the existing solutions for the main stream user.
As Jez says further down the post — State Channels are a useful and immediate form of scaling and they work today.
Both FunFair and SpankChain already have products that can scale and that in look and feel matches what’s already out there. But that’s the problem—to a normal user they are the same as what’s out there already, they’re not actually any better. In fact by the time you add in all the hassle of dealing with ‘crypto’ it’s actually worse.
It’s Just Not Good Enough
I actually experienced this first hand at the FunFair DevCon party. I took a non-crypto friend along and I explained the concept to him while we watched a demo on a big screen. He appreciated the look and quality of the demo but asked why should he chose this over any other?
One of the FunFair developers actually tried to answer – ‘it’s provably fair’. My friend answered, quite fairly, with how can he, himself, verify that it’s fair? (I have to admit I’m fairly ok with code but I would find it hard and he has no experience) The FunFair guy admitted this is a problem.
Next suggestion was that he would always have control over his funds so there’s no issue with an operator delaying or withholding them. To my friend this just wasn’t a problem he had ever experienced so he didn’t really see it as a benefit.
I need what tokens to use it? Ok, lets just leave it there! Basically it came down to the fact that for my friend there was no real improvement and actually the whole thing was a bit of a pain in the ass to use.
It was a an eye opener for me as I’ve always been a big fan of FunFair and I really like the tech — but I guess I’m not a mainstream customer, in fact I’m not actually a customer at all! (I still reckon FunFair will crack it though 😄) When I think about in general the stuff I have used isn’t very user friendly and it’s normally just my enthusiasm for the tech that pushes me to use it.
BUIDL To The Rescue
So what to do? Well at Devcon there was a lot of focus on design and user experience so obviously smarter people realised this issue a good while before me! And smart people are experimenting and building. Universal Logins are super cool. Week In Ethereum also linked to some details about the work of Austin Griffith at Gitcoin labs. I think this is the kind of thing that’s going to drives things forward and there’s a lot of room to get involved.
Check out some of the stuff below, dive in and experiment.