Status: The gateway to mass adoption?
Note: This article was first published on FlatOutCrypto on the 5th of June.
Status is a project I have largely ignored since ICO, mainly because the initial focus was on decentralised messaging. Their mainnet launch on the 1st June prompted me to take another look at the project — and I’m glad I did.
What is Status?
Status labelled itself at ICO as “an open source messaging platform and mobile interface to interact with decentralised applications.” Revisiting their website today the focus has shifted away from messaging and towards Status (an app available on both iOS and Android) as a gateway to the Ethereum ecosystem. In doing so, it competes with the likes of Toshi and Trust, two other DApp browsers.
DApps take a lot of effort at present to use. Even as someone reasonably involved in the space I sometimes struggle to muster the enthusiasm to load up my laptop, plug in my ledger/log into MetaMask and subsequently use a DApp such as Ethorse, AirSwap or any other part of crypto. We live in a mobile-first world. Ethereum can never achieve mass adoption without catering to phones.
Status solves this problem by allowing DApps to run on iOS/Android through the Status app. It acts as an OS for Ethereum based apps, with the likes of AirSwap, Kyber Network, Oasis DEX, CryptoKitties, PeepEth, Ethlance, and NameBazaar currently available.
Status also integrates a wallet which can store ETH and ERC20 tokens. Add that to the capability to trade on the likes of AirSwap and Kyber, and you have a very viable solution to trading from the comfort of your phone. You can also send and receive ETH/ERC20 tokens and discover other users in the nearby area offering their services for crypto.
How does Status work?
Status is very simple to use. As it is still in Alpha at present you have to either:
- iOS users: Download the TestFlight app and sign up for access here
- Android: Download Status from the PlayStore
Once you have downloaded the app, then you will have to set up an account by inputting a desired name. Before going further you should navigate to settings and back up your seed phrase. This will allow you to restore your account in the event of losing access to your phone. Then enable the ‘Advanced’ options under settings and change your network from Ropsten (a test network) to the mainnet. This affords you access to the proper versions of DApps, as well as being able to send and receive real ETH. One tip — set up an easy to remember password as you will find yourself entering it a lot (every time you want to open a DApp for the first time or sign a transaction). The below sets out the steps to setting up your account and enabling mainnet.
Using DApps on Status
To try out the DApps properly it is also worth sending yourself a small amount of ETH (as Status remains in Alpha you should not send anything more than you’re willing to lose until the platform is confirmed entirely stable). Go to Wallet, note down your address and send from your primary account.
With an account created, we can start to explore the features Status has to offer.
The Home screen allows you to start a new chat, join a public chat or open a DApp. I tried out AirSwap first, exchanging my ETH for some SNT, and was very pleasantly surprised with how simple the process was — from start to finish, perhaps 30 seconds (with most of that Ethereum network congestion).
Despite saying I would never touch it, I next tried out CryptoKitties. While I may not be the target audience, opening the DApp and being confronted by a series of endearingly drawn kittens quickly brings about the realisation as to why it has attained its success. I selected one of the cheaper kitties on offer, paying 0.0031 ETH for a slightly apprehensive looking Kitty. Less than 30 seconds later and the Kitty was in my account. Again, very quick and very simple. Switching to Telegram or Delta had no impact on Status continuing to run in the background — you don’t get kicked out of a DApp or thrown back to the main screen.
I could run through the other DApps, but all followed the same pattern. I bid for flatoutcrypto.eth on Name Bazaar and searched through the job opportunities on Ethlance. All DApps were smooth, easy to use and immediately accessible. I cannot overemphasise how swiftly Status turned DApps from a bit of a chore to fun and intuitive to use. Using Status is to enter a vision of what all DApps one day will be like — attractively designed with low to no barriers to usage from regular people. Someone doing a blind test would not be able to tell the difference between the DApps running here and a regular app — and I say that very much as a compliment. The primary friction point will likely come in funding the account initially, but I suspect this roadblock will be navigated.
As Status is in Alpha, there remains some issues. The ‘Fetching Messages’ notification remains on the screen for a rather lengthy period and messages themselves are slow in appearing when entering a group for the first time/after an absence. I struggled to find a means to create a new account on PeepEth. However, overall Status is in far better shape than I was anticipating and proved capable of coping with Ethereum network congestion.
I remain sceptical over the SNT token itself and maintain my viewpoint from the 2017 ICO that no-one is ever going to pay to receive messages. There are other value propositions, but I am equally unconvinced they justify the current valuation. However, I’m not particularly interested in discussing SNT as an investment because the DApp centric OS Status are building could end up becoming one of the pillars of the Ethereum ecosystem. The best thing DApp developers can do is to port their DApps to the likes of Status and if you have any interest in the technology behind Ethereum and blockchain then I would encourage you to try out Status — the more feedback they receive, the better the beta and final product will be.
Note: I do not, have never and do not plan to own any SNT. If you enjoyed this article please follow me @flatoutcrypto