Since the launch of Dai in December 2017, we’ve worked hard to increase its adoption within and beyond the crypto community. To realize Dai’s potential as a stable global currency, we knew from the start that we would need allies and evangelists to bring something as intangible as crypto to the world stage. We also quickly recognized that industry events offer critical—and sometimes very specific—paths to adoption. By thinking creatively to draw people to events, satisfying user needs in real-life settings, testing our product and assumptions all along the way, and engaging in awesome partnerships, our efforts to increase use are succeeding—adoption is on the rise.
In Pursuit of Dappiness
To help people fully grasp the advantages of a transparent and stable digital currency, as well as the decentralized applications (Dapps) that help improve user experiences, we’ve taken a three-pronged approach that aligns our vision of Dai with mainstream needs and desires. Plainly stated, we:
Events that make using Dai simple and fun in real life, such as our popular Dappy Hours, bring people closer to the pragmatic side of the stablecoin while removing the mystique of crypto. When people can go to a pub and purchase drinks with Dai by simply scanning a QR code, the intimidating theoretical aspect of crypto takes a backseat to its ease of use and practicality.
We take the lead in using and testing Dai implementations, addressing any glitches we find along the way. Jumping through all the hoops and riding the many loops of improving the Dai user experience not only helps clear a path to wider adoption, but also serves to open doors to new ideas.
The blockchain space is one of partnerships, and allies are crucial to Dai integrations and adoption. And as the space grows, so, too, do relationship opportunities. By pooling resources with other blockchain projects, and providing one another with missing pieces of project puzzles, synergies are formed, creating solutions that strengthen the industry as a whole.
For us, true progress has been achieved thus far by walking our talk, using resources efficiently, and daring to do things differently.
En Route to Mass Adoption: Our Journey So Far
Most cryptocurrency is volatile, so the uncertainty involved in adoption can scare many would-be users. But because Dai is a stablecoin that reduces risk for users, we’ve experienced many adoption wins—large and small—and have worked with a number of unsung heroes in the process.
An important marker on our road to mass adoption was reached at ETHBerlin in 2018, the very first time we threw a Dappy Hour for hackathon participants. We provided each entrant with a bright orange, plastic Dai “token” that had a unique QR code on the back. Participants scanned the codes to receive Dai in their wallets, and then used that Dai to purchase drinks by scanning another QR code at the bar.
While the process of receiving Dai was smooth, the purchasing step proved to be a bit challenging at first. At the time, ETH was needed to complete a transaction involving Dai— many of the wallets used then didn’t contain other crypto. So, to tackle this problem, we dedicated a member of our team to act as a human ETH faucet. That solution worked great!
Shortly after that event, Igor Barinov of the POA Network created xDai, a Dai-like token that lives on a sidechain. xDai allows for fast, inexpensive, and ETH-free transactions because the transaction fees on the xDai chain are low and exchanged in the same currency. Igor has been a great xDai evangelist, often providing free xDai at events to encourage its use.
Another xDai champion, Gitcoin’s bow tie-loving Austin Griffith, built a crucial infrastructure for interacting with xDai—Burner Wallet (the mobile UI for xDai). To demonstrate how easy it is to use Burner Wallet, he created Cypherpunk Speakeasy, an xDai Dappy Hour format, which uses paper wallets and Burner Wallet as the point-of-sale (POS) solution. This inspired many people to join in the effort to help improve the tech and/or run their own local speakeasies.
Last but not least, attendees of ETHDenver last February experienced the result of very successful dogfooding. In collaboration with Austin, Gitcoin, POA Network, Wyre, Solidcoin, Quantstamp, and Status, we brought the first “local” coin —BuffiDai—to the event. The coin was an immediate hit and fueled a unique crypto economy and local marketplace. We even threw a Dappy Hour highlighting BuffiDai and xDai for event-goers, and tested several POS solutions over the course of the night!
As a result of the achievements of our Dai evangelists and the popularity of local coins at events, the number of new solutions and projects built on existing Dai solutions has grown. We’ve even seen novel approaches to solving fund distribution: KyberSwap, which uses a paper voucher to convert one ERC20 token to another; QRToken, which uses a Polaroid-like medium to distribute Dai vouchers; and Dai Card from Connext Network, which uses an in-browser, non-custodial wallet that allows users to make instant, low cost, and trust-minimized transactions.
Entering Uncharted Territory
As the popularity of Dai increases, more opportunities to introduce our stablecoin to the uninitiated present themselves. Case in point: The Dai Card, noted above, inspired a new way for us to provide the not-so-crypto-minded crowd at Money 20/20 Europe with their very first stablecoin. We faced a challenge initially, however: crowd size.
For small events, such as the MakerXMosendo Dai Hard Drinks gathering at Rooftop93 in Manhattan during the New York Blockchain Week, handing out flyers that contain unique payment links makes sense. But for Money 20/20 Europe, an event that attracted 7,000 people, that wasn’t a scalable option. So, we instead printed one dynamic QR code on each flyer, along with simple, three-step instructions for attendees to follow to claim free Dai for fast, ETH-free transactions.
Long before the event, we got in touch with Hunter Hillman, Head of Growth at Connext Network, to hatch a plan with his developers, including co-founder and dev superwoman Layne Haber, to set things in motion. After several weeks of calls and numerous design iterations and tests, our tech teams completed a custom landing page through which Money 20/20 attendees could claim Dai on their mobile devices with just one click. That hardwired request for Dai then triggered an email notification to the sender. The simple UX of the wallet made the process simple for the user, and the email notification optimized the experience for us.
While the request URL setup presented a slight delay in the arrival of the first payment (the initiation process with the payment hub requires more time compared to a linked payment setup), subsequent transfers inside the payment channel were breathtakingly instant. And that speed provided the user “WOW!” moments we and the Connext team had envisioned.
Great partnerships allow us to brainstorm with some of the smartest minds in the industry, and bring Dai to the masses in new ways. Thanks to solid teamwork and the invaluable help and availability of the Connext crew, it was a win-win solution.
We will continue to inspire partnerships and encourage future Dai evangelists, of course. We won’t stop motivating Maker community members to remain highly engaged and to challenge themselves to go beyond the comfort zone of discussing Dai usage, and to actively drive it. Anyone, anywhere can host a Maker-related meetup, and each gathering can take any number of forms. By hosting meetups and sharing their ideas and learnings, our community members encourage others to do the same.
We also encourage the builders in our community to tinker with the resources available and dissect and hack developments with others to improve the experience. Like Igor, Austin, our partners at ETHDenver, and Hunter and his team at Connext, anyone can create projects or tweak existing ones to meet new needs.
While we’ve done a lot to increase mainstream adoption of Dai through global events, and we are far from done. We will remain focused on our goal to introduce everyone to the purchasing power of Dai and the perks of decentralized finance that blockchain technology offers.
To learn first-hand about Maker and Dai in your area, see our list of events and meetups around the world.