AppCoins and Aptoide

Problem

The excessive concentration of the distribution of mobile apps into just two entities – Google Play and the iOS App Store – has led to an undesirable situation for developers and consumers.

The duopoly of app stores can make or break developers by allowing or not allowing their apps to be listed, and the approval process is not transparent. Furthermore, the dominant third-party app stores control distribution and monetization, leaving developers at their mercy.

An adjacent problem in the mobile apps ecosystem is that advertising in mobile apps is inefficient.  There are several intermediaries between the developer and user. Further, advertising is possibly fraudulent; it can be unclear if the advertisement has actually been viewed. Both of these factors drive up the cost of apps for users.

Another adjacent problem in the mobile apps ecosystem is that in app payments (IAPs) go through intermediaries (credit card companies, Paypal, etc.) driving up transaction costs. In the status quo model, app developers are typically reimbursed for in-app payments 30-60 days after payments are made.

Finally, in app payments are still not accessible to many users, particularly the unbanked. Note that unbanked is not necessarily “poor” people in “developing countries.” It also includes children.

Solution

AppCoins and the Aptoide App Store attempt to solve the above problems.

The offering attempts to attract app developers by simplifying distribution of their apps while at the same time decentralizing control of distribution. By integrating AppCoins technology once, developers can distribute their app in app stores, APK (Android Package Kit) websites, and in their own private distribution channels (developer’s websites).

A key component of the offering is a method for reducing or eliminating fraudulent traffic, which is a big problem for determining payouts for advertisements. The method is called the “proof-of-attention” mechanism. Not unlike the Basic Attention Token, it integrates blockchain to prove that an advertisement has been seen. For example, if a developer wishes to promote (advertise) their new app in an app-store, they can fund a campaign using APPC coins. When users download the app, the mechanism pays out APPC to each party only when the required attention has been paid by the user. In AppCoins model, the user is rewarded with 85% of the APPC that has funded for the campaign, while 10% is given to the app store, and the remaining 5% is given to the device manufacturer (as a reward for preloading a given app-store onto the device). Note that by earning APPC for giving their attention to advertisements, unbanked app users can participate in the app economy by using earned APPC to make IAPs.

Crucially, with APPC as the currency for IAPs, transaction costs can be also reduced (by eliminating intermediaries).

AppCoins claims that using this model, developers can increase their revenue share from advertising featured in their apps. AppCoins claims that developers can get a minimum of 81% of total revenue from IAB transactions (the Interactive Advertising Bureau is the body that sets standards for online and interactive advertisements) up to a maximum of 96%. This is significantly above the industry standard.

AppCoins suggests that this model is also advantageous for app stores because it creates an app economy with a new universal language that ensures trust without intermediaries.

Progress

AppCoins is currently integrated in the app stores of two small mobile device manufacturers (Cherry Mobile and Multilaser). More significantly, AppCoins has been adopted by the Aptoide App Store where it is being used as the primary billing system. Aptoide is developed by the same people behind AppCoins.

Aptoide is an alternative marketplace for mobile applications which runs on Android. It is one of the largest third-party Android marketplaces, with over 900,000 apps and 200 million users, primarily in Latin America, Africa, and South Asia. In Aptoide, unlike the default Google Play Store, there is not a unique and centralized store; instead, each user manages their own store.

In recent months, according to the APPC Explorer, there appears to be real organic growth in transactions using APPC. This growth is driven by apps listed in Aptoide.

A little over 59,000 APPC were used for IAPs in March 2019, that’s the equivalent of about USD 5900 at today’s APPC price (approximately USD 0.10).

In-app purchases using APPC:

Source: https://appcexplorer.io/

In recent months, there also appears to be traction on the number of distinct apps integrating APPC.

Distinct Apps Integrating APPC:

Source: https://appcexplorer.io/

The most notable addition to APPC integration is the “Lords mobile: War Kingdom” app developed by IGG. The game has at least 4 million downloads, and ranks as a top strategy game in several markets. In SE Asia, Lords Mobile has been advertised heavily, including in major retail outlets such as Indomaret in Indonesia.

According to APPC Explorer, Lords Mobile did about USD 2200 in IAP revenue over the last seven days (May 21-27, 2019). Considering that the entire APPC ecosystem turned over about USD 3500 in IAP over the same period, the addition of Lords Mobile is a major boost for APPC.

Prospects

AppsCoin’s success or failure hinges upon convincing stakeholders (developers, consumers, other app stores, and device manufacturers) that its solution is mutually beneficial.

Recent developments in the world of mobile devices have the potential to boost AppCoins prospects in this regard. The ousting of Huawei – the third biggest mobile device manufacturer after Samsung and Apple – from the Google Play Store opens the real possibility for disruption in the space. With Huawei users soon unable to access the Google Play Store, the giant is in need of an alternative.

According to a report by Portuguese news outlet Dinheiro Vivo, Huawei and Aptoide are in talks to offer an alternative to the Google Play Store. A translation of a quote from Aptoide CEO Paulo Trezentos reads:

We see this news as an interesting market opportunity to create a partnership with Huawei and solve this problem that has arisen for them. The contacts were alive, we exchanged emails, we had meetings and they have shown interest,

While it’s a long-shot that Huawei would actually integrate Aptoide, and by extension AppsCoin, into its phones, such a move – or even further discussion of such a move  – would bode extremely well for APPC.

Price Action

AppsCoin conducted its ICO at the height of the ICO bubble, raising its hardcap of USD 15.3 million on 13 December, 2017. The token price at the time was 0.00033389 ETH or $0.10 per 1 APPC (based on an ETH price of USD 299 at the time). AppCoins value bottomed out at about 3.5 cents in late 2018 and has since rebounded slightly. Note that APPCs current price (May 29, 2019) is almost exactly its ICO price.

At current levels AppsCoin may be undervalued. It is ranked in the mid-300s in terms of marketcap but, being listed on Binance, has much higher daily trade volume than most coins in its cohort.

Conclusion

Considering that usage of APPC and adoption of the protocol has shown organic growth over the last several months, it’s safe to say that the project is far from dead – despite the depressed price of APPC. While its certainly possible that APPC will continue its downward spiral, the potential for asymmetrical gains from an investment in APPC at current levels is significant. Such gains would surely be realized if a partnership or buyout from Huawei were to materialize.

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