5 min read

Where Are All The Users?

Today's newsletter was authored by Kui He, my co-founder of BurnKoin and KAP. It's about 3x longer than usual at 1000 words. If you like (or hate) this format, please hit reply to let us know! If we get some positive feedback, this may turn into a weekly series. Enjoy! -Luke

Back in 2018, it was the blockchain frenzy when everyone was glued to their coinbase app as BTC soared up to $18,000 for the first time. Everywhere you looked, someone was talking about and actively trading BTC. Coinbase had consistent outages due to overwhelming demand and it seemed like Blockchain had suddenly taken over the world. Spoiler alert, it didn't, but this was the first time for many of us that it felt like everyone was using blockchain.

It's now 2023 and it no longer feels like everyone is using blockchain. But we read reports from dozens of blockchain projects that claim to have thousands if not HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of users and all the TPS needed to support them. So whats going on, did we miss the blockchain revolution train?

The simple answer is no. The train never arrived. We've been lied to. Here's the simple truth:

Its really hard to start using blockchain PERIOD.

This means that the #1 goal of any blockchain should be to make it easy for both dApps and users to go from zero to one.  

It's easy to fake transactions and daily active users. It's easy to look at big numbers and ignore the real information behind them. Once you understand how to interpret these numbers, you'll understand exactly why ETH is still the #1 fee-based smart contract development platform and what is actually necessary to onboard the next 1,000,000 REAL users. So, where are all the users? Lets begin by looking at some data.

Impressive Data


Below is a chart of Daily Active Users (DAU) as reported by token terminal. To the far right is the infamous TRON blockchain which shows 7.5x more DAU than ETH.

Daily active users | Token Terminal
Compare blockchains and decentralized applications based on the amount of users using the platform.

While this seems impressive, nothing seems to corroborate these stats. Below is a screen shot from dApp radar which reports that the top TRON dApps are all DeFi and Exchanges, but we can't even tally up 100,000 DAUs. Many of the reported 2.4M transactions from token terminal do not show up on dApp radar. It's likely that they are transactions produced by bots that are running MEV scripts or acting as market makers. Obviously some data is being fed to token terminal that doesn't come from a dApp. What do your senses tell you? Let's dig further.

Lets look at the TRON block explorer for more information.  As it turns out, most of the transactions are USDT transfers. There's a lot of value moving around, but it's not clear what the purpose of all these transfers is. Regardless, it's clear that Tron's numbers are mostly thanks to USDT. Very few people are actually onboarding to use dApps on Tron. It should be clear that Tron has no interest in onboarding the next 1,000,000 users, unless those users are interested in moving large amounts of money around.


Most transactions on Ethereum are for DeFi in general and Uniswap in particular. While there are many more dApps on ETH, the entire blockchain is dominated by token trading. Most people would agree that dApps on ETH aren't useable for average people because of gas fees. Thus the only types of transactions that are viable on ETH are ones that generate more value than the gas cost to process them.

This isn't news to most of us, but we've confirmed that by simply looking at data aggregators.


I know it seems ridiculous to hear, but chances are that you needed to see the proof with your own eyes to believe me.

We're used to seeing web2 apps like instagram, fb or twitter which have millions of DAUs. However, once you get past ETH, the DAU begins to dramatically drop off. You only need 55k DAU to be in the top 3 blockchains. Only 5k to be in the top 10.

The bar isn't all that high because all of these L1 blockchains utilize gas fees which create a barrier to entry and prevents the user from experiencing everything blockchain has to offer. How would a blockchain like Koinos fair since it has no gas fees and offers tokenless access through dApps like KAP?

Could Koinos capture 5,000 users and surpass polkadot? What about 42k to take the top 5 spot from Avax? It seems reasonable if the barriers to entry were brought down and new-to-blockchain users could simply use the blockchain without KYC, without interacting with an exchange and most importantly, without getting rekt because they mismanage their private keys.

Everything depends on going from zero to one

Blockchain critically depends on easily onboarding users and helping new-to-blockchain users go from zero to one. If a blockchain doesn't have a primary mission of onboarding the next 1,000,000 users then it's going to be really hard for them to reach their potential.

This is because over 99% of transactions on existing blockchains are finance focused which means the overwhelming majority of existing users are FOCUSED on making money and they were motivated to overcome the initial barrier to entry since the reward was worth more than their effort.

But not everyone is focused on making money and not everyone believes the benefits of blockchain are worth the effort. If only they could TRY crypto RISK-FREE! Thanks to tokenless access, this is now possible and exactly how we plan on on-boarding the next 1,000,000 users.

Solving the Onboarding Problem with TOKENLESS ACCESS

Some of you already experienced tokenless access when you claimed the FIRST NFT on Koinos, the Koin Press Badges! If you bought the limited edition Press Badge Merch Bundle, you were able to claim the Press Badge for FREE, meaning you didnt have to pay a gas fee and started off with a wallet that had 0 balance.

Those of you who paid 500 $KOIN for the press badges may not have the tokenless access, but the model of paying mana for users so they can use dApps for free is already proven on Koinos mainnet.

These are basic tools that you will be seeing a lot more of as they'll be used again in KAP to help us on-board the next 1,000,000 users!


P.S. (Luke here) so, how'd you like that? I get excited reading about blockchain accessibility, and I think Kui did a great job highlighting why we belive in Koinos. Hit reply or tweet @lukemwillis and @kuixihe to let us know what you thought!