DApp Transaction Volume in 2018 Surpassed Apple’s Early App Store Revenue

By Jack Filiba


DApps are decentralized applications that operate outside of the control of a company or centralized authority. Decisions concerning these applications are made by their users through consensus and self-governance.

In 2018, the success of the DApp market rivalled the earliest days of one of the most popular tech platforms in the world: the App Store, according to a new report published by Dapp.com.

While mobile applications have a significant head start on their decentralized rivals, the revenue generated by DApps thus far could place them on a similar trajectory.

How the “first year of the DApp movement” compared to the App Store in 2009

Apple launched its App Store on July 10, 2008, marking one of the first mainstream avenues for mobile applications. It was included natively on the iPhone 3G, which was released the following day.

2009 marked the App Store’s first full year of operation. According to information sourced from the market research firm, Gartner, iPhone users downloaded 2.5 billion apps in 2009 alone. Further, the App Store accounted for 99.4% of the year’s mobile app sales.

In many ways, the state of decentralized applications in 2018 mirrors early mobile applications back in 2009. So how are DApps performing in comparison to the early days of Apple’s flagship mobile app store?

According to Gartner, the App Store in 2009 accounted for an estimated $4.2 billion USD in revenue. In comparison, decentralized applications spread across major blockchain ecosystems in 2018 accounted for $6.7 billion USD in revenue, according to a new market report from Dapp.com.

The report called 2018 the first year of the “DApp movement.” While decentralized applications in general have existed for the last few years, they became significantly more widespread in 2018.

The App Store has come a long way since it launched in 2008. It had an estimated revenue of $22.6 billion in the first half of 2018 alone. Its competitor, Google Play, had an estimated revenue of $11.8 billion in the same period of time.   

The App Store's history could suggest a promising future for the the DApp movement. However, the factors driving DApp revenue in 2018 are somewhat different from the ones that bolstered the App Store back in 2009.

DApp revenue is largely attributed to gambling and betting apps

In its 2018 market report, Dapp.com considered data from Ethereum, EOS, TRON, and STEEM, which represent the four largest DApp ecosystems.

As the first to enter the space, Ethereum continues to hold its title as the most popular platform for decentralized applications.

The report does, however, present an argument for a possible shake-up moving forward, as the Ethereum platform has not always maintained a solid track record when it comes to scaling. This means that popular applications congested the Ethereum network in the past. The report also notes that users have to own ETH in order to engage with DApps, which could be a possible hindrance.

As for competing ecosystems, the report claims that EOS became the largest blockchain in terms of transaction amounts and volume within two quarters in 2018. Further, it found that an overwhelming majority of these transactions (97%) were from gambling, with 75% of transaction volume originating from betting games.

Across all four platforms, the report found that DApps involving betting dominated since Q4 in 2018. Nearly 44% of the quarter’s $3 billion USD transaction volume was owed to decentralized applications that fall under this category.

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