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Elph wants to be the Netscape for cryptocurrency (techcrunch.com)
59 points by saratgr8 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 46 comments

After reading this, I feel the founders of Elph and myself have radically different ideas about what "Netscape" means.

I see Coinbase as "the Netscape of crypto". They're the company that is making it easy for ordinary people to get involved with trading or holding crypto assets, basically the on-ramp to the cryptocurrency world.

Ironically, Coinbase sees themselves as "the Google of crypto". Having worked at Google, this seems nonsensical to me. Google was built at a much later time in the dot-com boom, when the Internet had expanded so much that you couldn't have a single on-ramp to it, you needed a satellite overview (in this particular case, literally) to make sense of it all. IMHO the Google of crypto hasn't been invented, because the market for it doesn't exist yet. (Conventional wisdom is that currency is a winner-take-all market, in which case the market for "the Google of crypto" will never exist, because the industry will never get complex enough that you'd need one. I'm not entirely sure that conventional wisdom is correct in this case, though.)

Elph sounds much more like "The Macintosh of crypto" - both because of the app store they're building, and because their focus is on making things that are currently complicated point-and-click.

It is interesting to me when these X for Y comparisons land for various folks. I have to conclude it worked for Elph or at least didn't substantially hinder them since they picked up investors. I find it very surprising that Coinbase would see themselves as the "Google of crypto" and not the "Paypal of crypto". Considering they are so highly curated, they could stretch it to the "Yahoo of crypto" but that sounds worse :)

My view of Netscape was that it was a fantastic browser, and it was quite a bit better than NCSA Mosaic that it replaced. That said at the time, I think the majority of internet users problems were much more fundamental, like "How do I get this stupid modem thing to send me the internet". I think it could be argued that the "getting connected to the internet" piece is an analog to 'getting connected to ethereum / blockchain", but its unclear to me how the winners translate over.

EDIT: I reserve the right to be completely missing the point. Feel free to call me out in 5-10 years.

I'm pretty sure cryptokitties are teh Google of cryto. They kind of have a product that makes sense in the cryptocurrency universe.

> I see Coinbase as "the Netscape of crypto".

That's just... I don't have words to describe this. You realize Netscape invented SSL? This "crypto" term you and a bunch of other people already existed and has a conflicting meaning since it is one the core functionalities of what your term uses. You and your gang need to figure out a different term. I suggest the term cryptocurrency or digitulips.

After reading this, I feel the founders of Elph and myself have radically different ideas about what "Crypto" means.


Isn't OpenSSL the Netscape of Crypto?

Netscape is the Netscape of crypto, since they developed SSL and NSS.

Yeah, NSS is the crypto(graphy library) of Netscape/Firefox and lots of other things :-)

what do you think netscape means?

I realize over time Netscape did quite a few things, but to me it is a company that made a web browser. They weren't a portal or an app store. Maybe if you accept that ethereum is somehow equivalent to the web...

Netscape launched a doomed portal in 1997 and relaunched in 1998 after they started losing significant browser share to IE. There were already plenty of better portals at the time (Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, Infoseek, Compuserve, Prodigy, AOL, etc) and Netcenter's only real traffic came via Netscape Navigator users because it was the default home page.

I don't understand the comparison to Netscape either. When Netscape was in it's prime, Elph's founder was 5 years old.

Agreed, makes no sense to me either. So they want to be a first mover with the right idea, but poor execution and eventually lose out to all other competition? Sounds like a great business philosophy.

They could probably be the literal Netscape if they made Verizon the right offer for the brand.

I see what they are trying to do but I don’t see why staking a coin is necessary. You should be able to figure out what is a scam and what is sovereign through data.

Further, I don’t understand why Coinbase doesn’t leverage its flagship app instead of owning Toshi, Cipher, and funding this. How often does one use Coinbase? If you are a serious trader you are using their web site. You should be able to buy crypto and apply crypto to dapps in the same place.

"You should be able to figure out what is a scam and what is sovereign through data." Right but wouldn't a tool to help people learn this help?

Doesn't Toshi have a reputation system already (I presume that's the tool you're referencing)?

This is a no brainer. Should be huge in 5 years if it becomes THE destination for dApps.

How do you see them succeeding?

what other apps do this?

"My startup is the first to make parachutes out of concrete!"

Not every "first" idea is going to succeed.

Dunno but I would probably try it out cause using dApps isn't straight forward. I can only imagine how many more people would try this out. Convenience is worth a lot especially if you're profitting off dApps.

Well, it also helps if the idea they're tackling is a burning need, which one would think it is. Being first doesn't guarantee anything, but it doesn't hurt.

Nobody needs dapps. That's the problem you need to solve first.

This is a web browser with W3 tools built-in. It's nothing you can't do without Chrome/Firefox + Metamask (or Coinbase's future Metamask competitor). I do think it's a good idea, because you can reduce friction and polish the UI by integrating everything, but in the long run, if crypto is successful, I really think Firefox and Chrome will just adopt all these W3 technologies natively. It will be hard to compete.

Brave already comes preinstalled with MetaMask. Still, I think there will always be demand for third party key management like Elph provides.

What does that even mean

I took it as they want to be irrelevant and outpaced by all of their competitors in the next 5 years.

Everyone wants to be some analogy. "The Netscape of Crypto"? "The Macintosh of Crypto"? That's all marketing and it should mean nothing.

How about the Amazon of reviews?

> The ELPH token is used in conjunction with the Elph Protocol to approve and rank dApps in the dApp store.

It looks like the system can be gamed for profit.

I bet they're not the only ones working on this.

Brendan Eich is working on something similar - https://brave.com/

You almost got me scared there! I was going to switch to Brave on my tablet to get better power saving / faster experience via adblocking. However, having blockchain in the browser would defeat the whole thing, making everything much slower instead.

Luckily, they only seem to incorporate BAT, which is fully opt-in, and seems to have no overhead for regular users.

FYI - using the Metamask plugin with Chrome/Firefox (which allows you to use DApps; Elph is basically just combining the two) does not slow anything down. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but it is definitely not the same thing as keeping a Bitcoin or Ethereum node running.

Not really, Brave is quite different. Not sure if you read the article, but what they mean by "Netscape for crypto" is more like "the first mass accessible way to use crypto" instead of "Chrome for crypto"

Yep and it definitely makes sense for this type of product to start as regular browser like Brave and slowly incorporate both

somebody is already doing this = https://status.im

I'd say this is actually more similar to https://mobius.network/

Also the Brave browser, which comes preinstalled with MetaMask.

yes but I don't think it's just a web browser + features that they're trying to do

Does https://www.elph.com work for anyone?

Yes works for me, Singapore VPN IP.

Everyone needs to stop using "crypto" to mean "cryptocurrency".

I thought this article was going to be about cryptography, not more hype for dunning-krugerrands.

Yeah, I found the title very confusingly ambiguous. While we can't force the world to use language a certain way, can we at least have non-ambiguous title for HN posts?

Thanks for changing the title!

yeah its not going to happen

and you'll need to learn what "context" means, because there isn't anything binary about a word's ability to be used for multiple purposes in different subjects

I'm with you, but I fear the ship has sailed on this one :(

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