Paris-based startup and DApp studio Sharpn has a vision. And that vision is a decentralized world where the general public uses blockchain without even knowing it.
“Ninety-five percent of Internet users don’t know how TCP/IP works, but they still benefit from the Internet,” says team member Lucas Lareginie. “We want to do the same with blockchain.”
Sharpn brings that vision to the P-Rep campaign, where they hope to contribute their perspective and experience to the governing of the ICON network. “We have a unique selling point,” says Lareginie. “We care about the usability and affordability of a project.”
A world of “invisible DApps”
As DApp builders, the Sharpn team is deeply concerned with blockchain’s user experience… such as it is. Blockchain technology might be making impressive technical gains, but the ungainly UX turns off many potential users, especially amongst the non-crypto masses. Lareginie says, “[I]n the blockchain world, there are lots of good technological improvements, but they’re not very user friendly at the moment.”
Sharpn wants to build “invisible DApps,” decentralized applications that people can use even without an understanding of blockchain’s myriad subtleties, just as they use the Internet today.
Indeed, this is why the team was drawn to ICON. “We fell in love with ICON for one reason,” says Lareginie. “It’s because their framework is quite similar to our philosophy.” By way of example, he points to ICON’s recently released Fee 2.0, which allows ordinary people to use DApps sans hassles such as buying cryptocurrency or creating a wallet.
Audit for growth
Sharpn’s P-Rep campaign focuses on block production, ICON growth and adoption, governance and DApp affordability. As developers, they are especially concerned about the challenges faced by developers and users. The team hopes to use their expertise to optimize ICON in this regard.
In particular, Sharpn pledges to conduct regular audits of ICON, scrutinizing the network’s processes and exploring all its possible uses. Among the things the team would audit are the experience and affordability of smart contracts, quality and fluidity of token integration and project management, and partnership and ecosystem health.
Again, the goal is to make building on and using the network as painless as can be.
“We want to make the process of developing on ICON as easy and affordable as possible,” says Lareginie. “We want to make it easy for [developers] to jump into ICON.”
He stresses the importance of building a developer community. No matter how good a network is technically, it doesn’t mean a thing if there are no developers building on it. He praises another P-Rep candidate team for recently releasing an online course. He says, “This is exactly the kind of initiative we approve of because it’s really important for the developers’ network in ICON.”
Sharpn also hopes to improve public perception of blockchain, another stumbling block to adoption. It’s a problem of which the team is all-too-keenly aware. “There are two problems when we have to sell a DApp to a no-coiner customer,” says Lareginie. “First, most of them tend to have a negative bias towards blockchain because of things such as media coverage. Secondly, they have difficulty seeing blockchain as a tool rather than a product.”
“They immediately think that we are selling them a blockchain, not a service that uses it,” he adds. “But that’s wrong – it’s a platform that uses blockchain as a feature.”
Potential to be so much more
Sharpn wants to see blockchain expand beyond its current uses. To represent of blockchain’s state of play, Lareginie points to TRON, where he estimates that 95% of the DApps are gambling applications. “That’s not a bad thing,” he says. “At Sharpn we like blockchain games, too. But it’s like the Internet in its early days. We believe it can be so much more.”
He adds, “We find ICON to be the project that has the most potential to become something more.”
Sharpn’s first product, Certiv, is a decentralized certification service that allows institutions, universities and training centers to easily issue professional certifications on blockchain. The team has migrated the DApp to ICON and released a demo. “We believe our education system is migrating to something that is far more decentralized,” says Lareginie. “A single piece of paper, a diploma, is not enough to capture the value of a profile.”
Lareginie notes the presence of some big players in the P-Rep campaign. He encourages voters to diversify their votes to reduce risk and diversify the network. He says, “The whole idea of DPoC is to have very active P-Reps with many points of view in order to make the network go forward.”