By now you’ve probably heard of the Ethereum ecosystem and the growing list of decentralized applications built on it. Chances are you might even want to give something other than CryptoKitties a try, but you’re not quite sure how to access the decentralized web where they exist. The good news is that access to this Internet is becoming easier every day.
For Ethereum based dapps, there are a few easy places to start, which we’ll cover further down. If we didn’t list your favorite way to use Ethereum dapps, let us know below!
After you’ve picked the browser (or extension) that’s right for you, come back to App.co and click on any Ethereum dapp. Each one will be a little different in terms of how you setup an account, but with MetaMask and/or the Brave or Toshi browsers, you should be able to get started easily with a whole new world of applications.
MetaMask (Chrome or Firefox Extension)
In their own words, MetaMask is “a bridge that allows you to visit the distributed web of tomorrow in your browser today. It allows you to run Ethereum dApps right in your browser without running a full Ethereum node.” In other words, it makes it waaaay easier to use Ethereum dapps than it otherwise might be, and it does it all within a browser you’re probably already comfortable with.
MetaMask does a pretty good job of walking you through all the steps necessary to get started, but if you get tripped up, try out this step by step, including details on filling up ‘the gas tank’, so to speak.
Gas? Yep, without gas you can’t drive (see what we did there?) around the Ethereum ecosystem. You first need to load your MetaMask wallet with Ether and configure your gas settings to use Ethereum dapps (don’t worry, you can purchase Ether right from inside MetaMask if you don’t have any already). Blockgeeks offers a helpful and concise definition of gas: “Gas is a unit that measures the amount of computational effort that it will take to execute certain operations. Every single operation that takes part in Ethereum, be it a simple transaction, or a smart contract, or even an ICO takes some amount of gas. Gas is what is used to calculate the amount of fees that need to be paid to the network in order to execute an operation.”
A video here from Bitcoin for Beginners offers a really nice look into how to control your gas settings as you embark into the Ethereum dapp universe.
Learn more about MetaMask and meet the fox that never looks away from your mouse.
While not strictly a browser for the decentralized web, the Brave browser (built by former Firefox teamers) comes with some nifty privacy features and adblocking as well as the MetaMask extension pre-installed. The short of it? If you install Brave, enable the extension, and add some Ether to your wallet, you’re ready to roll with Ethereum dapps.
Here is a really great walk-through from Rados.io complete with screenshots on the entire process.
Toshi (take things mobile)
Toshi takes a slightly different focus on things, but is a strong option for using Ethereum dapps, especially because their browser is offered through native iOS and Android apps so you can take many Ethereum apps on the go with you. Billed as “an open source browser for the Ethereum network.”, Toshi takes a decidedly financial-driven look at the world with a stated mission of “provid[ing] universal access to financial services.”
Toshi thinks of itself as made of three parts:
- A private and secure messaging app
- A user controlled Ethereum wallet
- A browser for Ethereum apps
When you install Toshi, it puts you right into the dapp listings and the documentation for users just getting started is a little lacking. We put some screenshots together below to make sure you don’t miss a step in setting up your Toshi browser for seamless dapp-sploration.
The order here doesn’t matter too much after you get past the initial screens, just as long as you complete all the steps for jumping into individual dapps:
And there you have it, 3 ways to get started with Ethereum dapps today. We’ll soon be covering the Beaker Browser (accessing dat projects), the Blockstack Browser, and others so stay tuned.