When Apple popularized the concept of “apps” among consumers, it didn’t take long before there was an app available for pretty much everything. Likewise, the decentralized applications (dapps) populating the Web3 landscape cater to an ever-increasing number of use cases. However, dapp utility is a high priority for Web3 users. As such, many of the top dapps have multiple use cases and provide users with a range of different features. Furthermore, some dapps are relatively modest in their feature set but provide a foundational layer for the broader DeFi community.
In this article, we’re going to explore the top dapps with the most utility in 2022. We’ll discuss some of the different types of dapp utility and what makes a dapp useful. Plus, we’ll look at some of the ways developers can make their dapps multi-functional and what features can be combined in a single platform.
What are Dapps?
Decentralized applications (dapps) are smart contract-based applications that run on public blockchain networks. Unlike regular apps, dapps are not under the control of a single entity, nor do they have a single point of failure. Instead, dapps rely on a decentralized network of computers maintaining a blockchain.
Another defining characteristic of dapps is that they are community-governed. Many dapps use a native governance token to facilitate this by allowing holders to vote on proposals to make changes to the underlying protocol. Additionally, dapps are largely borderless, permissionless, and censorship-resistant. As such, anyone with an internet connection can use them.
Also, many financial dapps are helping to bank the unbanked by lowering the barrier-to-entry for financial instruments globally. That said, dapps are not limited to finance. Other prominent dapps include blockchain gaming platforms, social media, non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces, and lifestyle and fitness apps.
What Gives a Dapp Utility?
When we refer to “dapp utility”, we’re talking about the extended use cases of a decentralized application. For example, some dapps are like Swiss Army Knives, with multiple tools and features. On the other hand, some dapps offer relatively simple features that provide significant utility throughout the Web3 landscape.
Furthermore, a small handful of dapps provide unique, or innovative features that solve real-world problems and can be applied to several contexts. Accordingly, the scope for dapp utility is broad. However, any dapp that can solve multiple problems at once, make tasks more secure, or simply make life easier for users, is one we might consider a “high-utility” dapp. Below, we take a look at the top utility-friendly dapps available in 2022.
PancakeSwap is the number-one decentralized exchange (DEX) on BNB Smart Chain with more than $3.5 billion in total value locked (TVL) and 2.4 million active monthly users. The platform uses an automated market maker (AMM) model to facilitate peer-to-peer token swaps without the need for a centralized order book. Also, users can stake the native PancakeSwap token (CAKE) and various other crypto assets to earn competitive staking rewards. Plus, PancakeSwap users can earn farming rewards by providing liquidity to the protocol and staking their liquidity provider (LP) tokens.
Although these features are fairly commonplace throughout the world of decentralized finance (DeFi), PancakeSwap boasts several additional features that set it aside from many other DEXs. For example, the platform features a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, prediction markets, trading competitions, and a lottery. Also, PancakeSwap offers limit orders, perpetual futures contracts, and a token launchpad service.
On the surface, PancakeSwap may appear to be just another DEX. However, if you scratch the surface, it’s easy to understand why the platform has become so popular. When it comes to dapp utility, few applications match the dexterity of PancakeSwap, which is why the platform makes it onto our top utility-friendly dapps list.
Hivemapper is a decentralized, open-source global map network. It enables contributors to earn the native HONEY token for providing dashcam footage and uploading it to the network. Also, Hivemapper works just like a decentralized Google Maps. There is no single point of authority. Plus, protocol governance takes place on-chain using smart contracts on Solana. This allows contributors to vote on proposals to make changes to the platform.
When it comes to dapp utility, few other projects provide such a universally-essential service. Hivemapper provides nearly all of the functions of Google Maps. However, one of the key differences is that Hivemapper contributors are incentivized to keep the map up-to-date. On the other hand, Google maps is often inaccurate or out of date.
Furthermore, Hivemapper uses the Helium decentralized wireless network of 70,000 nodes for vehicle authentication. The underlying architecture and incentive structure of the Hivemapper network mirrors that of the Helium network. However, given the unique global scope for a decentralized mapping service and the number of telecommunications alternatives available, Hivemapper makes it onto our list.
Router Protocol is a cross-chain communications protocol that facilitates frictionless asset bridging between multiple layer-1 and layer-2 blockchain networks. To keep asset transfers as accurate as possible, Router Protocol uses stablecoins as a medium of exchange. Also, Router Protocol allows arbitrary messages to flow securely across multiple networks.
Additionally, Router Protocol provides extensive composability for developers across all of the top smart contract blockchains and layer-2 networks. Also, the CrossTalk software development kit (SDK) and cross-chain widget allow developers to create decentralized applications (dapps) that seamlessly integrate with multiple blockchains. Plus, the cross-chain settlement engine prevents funds from being blocked or frozen.
While there are multiple token bridges available for multiple networks, Router Protocol uses a “modular mesh” of bridges rather than a single one-to-one bridge for each transfer. Accordingly, the platform offers flexible fees that can be paid in numerous currencies. Moreover, Router Protocol is quickly becoming one of the most utility-friendly dapps on the market by minimizing the friction associated with cross-chain decentralized finance (DeFi).
Lido is a multi-chain liquid staking service that allows users to stake several major cryptocurrencies and earn staking rewards without locking up their assets or running a node. The platform aims to address the issues of illiquidity and inaccessibility associated with most staking services. It achieves this by issuing representative “liquid staking” tokens at a 1:1 ratio for all staked assets.
For example, if Alice were to stake 10 ETH, she would receive 10 stETH in return, which she could use in other decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols to earn yields or lending rewards. Liquid staking token balances update daily as stakers daily rewards. Also, the platform boasts no lock-up periods or minimum deposits.
Furthermore, Lido offers real-time staking rewards for Ethereum, Solana, Kusama, Polygon, and Polkadot. Plus, the platform allows crypto holders to earn a passive income by securing these networks, while removing many of the technical risks associated with traditional staking methods.
To learn how to interact with the top DeFi protocols on Ethereum safely, check out the DeFi 101 course at Moralis Academy!
AtomicHub is a web interface and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace on WAX and EOS. It enables users to create, buy, and sell NFTs using the interoperable AtomicAssets standard. Also, users can create NFTs with no technical knowledge. The platform aims to promote the mass adoption of NFTs by making them more accessible and affordable. Users can participate in NFT auctions, or trade NFTs with other users.
Furthermore, the AtomicBridge is a novel tool that allows users to convert NFTs to the AtomicAssets standard and back again. This makes it ideal for tokenizing any type of real-world asset on the blockchain. The platform also features a wealth of developer tools to facilitate seamless integrations with external applications and websites.
Moreover, AtomicAssets allow game developers to integrate NFTs into blockchain gaming platforms as dynamic features rather than static images. As such, the platform is a one-stop shop for creating, buying, selling, and integrating NFTs using a high-utility common standard.
Instadapp is a developer-first smart wallet middleware that allows users to aggregate several DeFi protocols into a single “upgradeable smart contract layer”. The platform provides developers with a sleek user interface for building on top of leading DeFi protocols like Maker, Compound, and Uniswap. Also, Instadapp enables users to view all of their DeFi positions in one convenient location. This allows traders to execute complex strategies with ease. Plus, users save time because they don’t need to jump between protocols.
Furthermore, Instadapp works on multiple prominent blockchains and layer-2 networks. It provides users with the best prices for token swaps by aggregating data from leading decentralized exchanges (DEXs). Additionally, the Instadapp Bridge allows users to transfer debts between platforms.
Instadapp enables users to optimize their DeFi experience by conducting activities on multiple protocols and blockchains with minimal effort. What’s more, you don’t need to be a tech wizard to use it. That said, the open-source community is packed full of tech wizards helping to streamline the DeFi landscape for everyone.
Curve Finance is a decentralized exchange (DEX) and liquidity protocol on Ethereum. It enables users to make “extremely efficient” stablecoin trades using various dollar-pegged crypto assets with minimal price slippage. There are seven liquidity pools within the Curve Finance platform. Also, these liquidity pools supply other popular decentralized finance (Defi) protocols like Compound and Yearn Finance.
Swapping stablecoins in high volumes can be problematic on some DEXs with low liquidity. However, Curve Finance is the go-to platform for DeFi investors looking to switch between stablecoin quickly with little price impact. Also, the Curve Finance protocol encourages stability and composability, despite many other protocols encouraging speculation and volatility. Plus, users benefit from some of the lowest fees on Ethereum.
Additionally, liquidity providers can earn a passive income. Plus, Curve’s interoperable tokens can be used on various other prominent DeFi protocols. This provides a second layer of utility for liquid staking assets like Compound’s cTokens.
Ren is an open-source, community-driven protocol that facilitates value transfer between blockchain networks. The platform enables users to bridge crypto assets throughout the multi-chain DeFi ecosystem. For example, if you hold Bitcoin (BTC) and want to use it with an Ethereum-based DeFi protocol, you could deposit your BTC into the RenVM protocol. Ren holds your BTC and issues an equivalent amount of the renBTC ERC-20 token.
Furthermore, Ren supports several prominent crypto assets. This includes Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, ZCash, and Filecoin. Plus, users can bridge assets on Solana, Avalanche, BNB Smart Chain, Polygon, Fantom, and various other leading blockchain and layer-2 networks.
While other token wrapping protocols exist, Ren has one of the most expansive and decentralized communities of any competitor. Plus, the platform is highly-scalable and provides an “optimal” user experience.
Top Utility-Friendly Dapps: Summary
As the adoption of cross-chain DeFi continues to rise, the number of high-utility dapps on the market is becoming difficult to ignore. Smart contract-based applications allow developers to create decentralized alternatives to some of the most popular Web2 applications available. However, the DeFi landscape is also full of open, inclusive financial applications that help users to preserve their wealth.
As this technology matures, we can expect to see blockchain-based applications and protocols serve more complex and varied use cases industry-wide. If you want to learn how to build dapps, check out the Ethereum Dapp Programming course at Moralis Academy. This course teaches students how to safely build, test, and deploy smart contracts on Ethereum using Web3.js, MetaMask, Truffle, and Ganache. Plus, we show you how to build an NFT marketplace from scratch. Take your programming game to the next level with Moralis Academy!
Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @MoralisAcademy! We’d love to hear your thoughts about dapp utility! Additionally, see our “Understanding Crypto Crashes” and “How to Invest During a Crypto Bear Market” articles to learn how to safeguard your portfolio during market downturns!