Valentine’s Day is here! And many people are on the search for love.

In earlier times, people would find a partner through the traditional way – asking the person out on a date and hoping that it would lead to something special.

In the 21st century, modern dating has taken on an entirely new look. Millions of people have resorted to using the internet to find true love – with the peak season starting from December 26 right through to Valentine’s Day.

Online dating service Match sees 50 million messages exchanged and 1 million dates taking place during this peak season. At one point, it was considered taboo to find a partner online. But today, it’s the preferred option – despite the many flaws present in the system.

I reached out to Manshu Agarwal, CEO and Co-Founder of Ponder, to discuss the current online dating scene, the challenges consumers face, and how the system can be improved. Agarwal has over a decade of experience in building and growing technology products, and the matchmaking industry, allowing him to offer key insights into the modern dating scene today.

According to Agarwal, there are two types of models in the existing industry – Paid applications and applications that offer “free” services.

Applications like JapanCupid, and Floh require users to subscribe to paid plans in order to make use of the match-making platform. Some of these applications try to target top-end users with their subscription system – a lengthy application and the paid requirement.

Low conversions occur on these platforms because of the already limited pool of users. As a result, users end up feeling ripped off by the services and cancel their subscriptions. Most accounts are not active on these platforms for longer than four months.

The other model, Agarwal explained, are the “Freemium” or free applications. These models often consist of a swipe-type system. While applications like this allow a larger number of users to sign up, limited exposure and limited matching are common problems that consumers face on the platforms.

Applications such as Tinder, OkCupid and TanTan are great for finding matches but genuine conversations, dates, and successful relationships rarely come from them.

Low conversion rates and the presence of harassment on online dating platforms are part of a major problem that is present in the online dating system – a lack of security and trust.

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Though most online dating apps will require users to fill in lengthy applications, security is still not guaranteed on the application. The lack of transparency allows many users to lie on their applications. According to cybersecurity giant Kaspersky, four out of nine apps allow potential criminals to decipher the identity of a person behind their online profile.

In summary, all these problems lead to one – poor user experience. Users often complain about online dating sites, with many female users reporting harassment and abuse in their inboxes. Instead of enjoying the prospects of finding a partner, users are filled with worry and dissatisfaction with the current system.

Why do people keep using these platforms despite their flaws? It’s because they are in search of love and companionship.

However, due to the poor algorithms and problematic flaws in the system, many users are left despondent due to their unsuccessful attempts. While these algorithms might not be the solution, personal matchmaking could be.

A survey conducted by Mic revealed that most 18 to 34 year-olds met their partners through mutual friends as opposed to dating apps. Agarwal explained how people tend to be more comfortable with a matchmaker assisting them with their relationship pursuits, as opposed to relying on an online algorithm.

Duo, which is said to be the largest dating agency in Korea, boasts of a membership of 31,000 users and over 33,000 successful matches that led to marriages in the last two decades. The problem with matchmaking services, Agarwal mentioned, is their pricing. In other countries, seeking the help of a matchmaker will cost a lot of money – making it an unviable option for most young adults today.

An ideal online dating platform would be one that would be able to combine the large exposure modern dating applications offer, with the transparency and reliability matchmaking services provide. Members would be able to trust the matches, after viewing genuine reviews from other authentic users.

A platform like this would successfully erase the issue of user security in the online dating system. If users are given an opportunity to serve as matchmakers, and receive rewards for their successful attempts, the online dating platform will become a much more enjoyable place.

Enter the Blockchain

Blockchain technology offers the best opportunity for a platform like this exist. Security on the blockchain is guaranteed far more than security on a common online dating application.

Transparency and efficiency would also become a reality with the use of blockchain because of its sophistication and in-depth technology. A reward system is also easier to generate and maintain on the blockchain, thus making it easier for a user-based matchmaking platform to be created.

User experience will be improved because users will feel safer sharing their information, they will be matched with people they will enjoy talking to, and the likelihood of cultivating a genuine relationship increases.

The presence of such a consumer app on the blockchain is still in the works. There are companies that are working on it.

One of them being Ponder. The Ponder application combines game mechanics and a reward system to encourage users to be matchmakers and help other people find love. Agarwal mentioned how he hopes for the application to become one of the go-to apps for users when they think about looking for a partner.

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Applications built for consumer interaction are gradually making their way onto the blockchain scene, highlighting the versatility of the platform.

This technology is filling a much needed gap in the world – offering security, trust, and efficiency where many centralised platforms has failed. The future is an exciting one as we are exposed to more ways in which blockchain technology can make the world a better place.

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