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Netscape For Crypto: Is a Marketplace For Decentralized Apps Needed?

Elph, a decentralized blockchain platform founded by Tanooj Luthra, former Coinbase senior engineer and Y Combinator-backed startup Stream, is planning to improve the accessibility of decentralized applications for casual users.

Decentralized App Store

Over the past year, triggered by the emergence of CryptoKitties, a popular digital collectibles platform, decentralized applications launched on public blockchain protocols such as Ethereum have increased in popularity.

However, as of current, it is difficult for casual users to access decentralized applications and platforms, as there exists no distribution platforms users can rely on. For instance, mobile users on the Apple iOS and Android OS can utilize the Apple App Store and Play Store to find and download apps and games.

With blockchain applications, the sole method users can download applications is directly through developers in a peer-to-peer manner, which makes a difficult ecosystem for new and emerging applications to gain popularity and accessibility.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Luthra noted that the public beta platform of Elph will allow users to find decentralized applications that are being built on the Ethereum network by category, like Netscape in its early days and the Android Play Store in the modern era.

“It’s an app store. You log-in, you see a bunch of decentralized apps, you click them and they open up. We’ve handled all the interfacing with the blockchain and done the heavy lifting in the background for you,” Luthra said.

During his stay at Coinbase, Luthra found that the current state of the cryptocurrency market and blockchain sector is comparable to the early days of the Internet in 1994, echoing the sentiment of billionaire investor and former Goldman Sachs executive Mike Novogratz. Luthra noted:

“This huge boom of new, decentralized apps coming out that are hard for anyone to access or use who isn’t fairly technical.” It’s “kind of like the internet in 1994 right now. So we decided to simplify it.”

Previously, at the Bloomberg Invest Summit in New York, Novogratz emphasized that the dot com bubble in the 1990s and early 2000s was fueled by a limited group of investors in the US, and investors in the global market were left out of the industry.

Essentially, the vision of platforms like Elph, Coinbase’s Toshi, and Status is to eliminate the boundary between the blockchain and casual users, and ease the process of using cryptocurrency-based applications.

“[Cryptocurrency] is a global revolution. The internet bubble was only a US thing. It was rich US people participating. [Cryptocurrency] is global. There are kids in Bangladesh buying coins. It is monstrous in Tokyo, in South Korea, in China, in India, and in Russia. We’ve got a global market and a global mania. This will feel like a bubble when we’re at $20 trillion,” Novogratz emphasized, explaining that the cryptocurrency market can only grow at a rapid rate in the long-term if it can reach global mainstream adoption.


Toshi, an Ethereum mobile app built by Coinbase, the second biggest cryptocurrency business behind the $12 billion company Bitmain, and Status, the $270 million blockchain app, are the closest alternatives to Elph, and all of these platforms have a similar vision to create one platform to support a variety of decentralized applications.

Joseph Young

Joseph is an experienced finance and cryptocurrency analyst / writer who offers unique insights to various aspects of this new digital world. As a well-known member within the blockchain community, he writes for numerous high profile news outlets such as Cointelegraph, BinaryDistrict, LiveCoinWatch and our very own Cryptocurrency365 to provide the latest articles.