The world of software is constantly changing, both in ways obvious to the users at first glance, and at a level hidden from view. However, though it may seem as though the latter changes are more important, since they impact the very core of the app and the way it functions, the user experience is a hurdle every software developer must overcome if they want to attract users to their app in particular, in an ocean of similar apps.
This problem is further exacerbated by the advent and proliferation of blockchain technology. Simply put, everyone who follows tech news expects the blockchain to go mainstream and be adopted by the masses. Developers are certainly counting on that, so they are creating apps which use their own blockchain tokens as means of payment, instead of the regular old App Store model.
However, this approach is too complex for the average user, since it requires them to navigate at least three different levels and types of applications in their daily lives. The first, and most basic level is the simple native app, wherein all the information necessary for the smooth functioning of the app is contained on the user’s device. These are the typical App Store apps, which you only buy once, and never have to make a payment again.
At the next level of complexity and promise as well, are the Cloud apps, which have grown in popularity and influence over the past decade or so. These usually require the user to pay a monthly subscription to keep using the app. That sort of business model is arguably better for app developers, since it allows them to have a steady stream of income necessary to keep updating and maintaining the app.
The third type of app in terms of the payment and usage architecture involved is the new business model wherein apps issue their own tokens, administered by a blockchain, in order to charge their users for their services. Most of these apps are still closely related to the blockchain market itself, but their proliferation into other types of app is expected, and indeed, Cardstack is counting on it.
In essence, Cardstack seeks to take all three of these different approaches to app design, with three different business models, and combine them into one seamless user interface that allows a wide swath of the public, who might not be as informed about the underlying technologies as early adopters are, to take advantage of these new systems. Through Cardstack, all of the apps already in existence can be subsumed into one interface that is identical on every device, and for every app.
In fact, the interface Cardstack uses to achieve this is already known to most users. The Cards (hence the name) resemble the Tabs you can open in your browser or other apps, and it allows the user to keep track of all of the services provided by the apps. On the other hand, it manages the payments made to each of these apps by the user seamlessly, no matter which of the three different business models are used.
That way, a regular user can take advantage of the features offered by the new blockchain based apps, without having to keep track of the constantly fluctuating price of the tokens, or worrying about renewing the subscription to a cloud based service. On the developer end of the spectrum, getting a constant stream of income from all users is a fantastic improvement, because it allows them a degree of financial predictability, as well as the leeway to keep developing and improving the app.
The developers behind Cardstack are playing three dimensional chess, and looking beyond a future most of us haven’t been able to see yet. They have come up with a platform for improving a service that is only in its infancy, and bringing it to regular users. That sort of thing takes a lot of brains, and a lot of guts!
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