Despite the best intentions of the creators/pioneers of online dating, the experience has, unfortunately, been painful for many users of these services. Online dating has some of the lowest user satisfaction scores of any service…even lower than tech support, which is notorious for low satisfaction rates. Studies have shown that couples who meet online are more likely to break up than couples that met offline. Furthermore, successful couples that eventually made it to marriage were three times more likely to get divorced.

It seems obvious that something, somewhere, has gone awry with the way couples are being matched online. Fortunately, the advent of blockchain technology is revolutionizing many services being offered today, and it seems that matchmaking is quickly becoming one of them.

Matchmaking Today – The Problem

Prior to the 2000’s, romantic partners typically met through introductions by friends and family or by social interactions at public venues such as school, clubs, bars etc. This element of human intuition has been replaced with computer algorithms to find and create appropriate matches.

Unfortunately, based on a publication by the Association for Psychological Science (APS), conducted by a group of U.S. psychology professors in 2012, there is no compelling evidence to support matchmaking sites’ claims that mathematical algorithms work. This is further grounded in mysticism as online dating sites do not share details of their algorithms with researchers.

In addition, the faulty business models of online dating sites have only served to further erode the trust of paying users. The subscription model used by many online dating sites require users pay a monthly fee regardless of failure or success. This leads to:

  • Wastage of funds as users are left waiting for “appropriate” matches.
  • A rise in unhealthy behavior such as spamming and dishonest profiles as some users seek to get their money’s worth.
  • A feeling of being ripped off as inefficient matchmaking algorithms usually result in poor compatibility.

Another payment model popular among some dating sites is the freemium model which utilizes microtransactions to access premium features. However, these transactions eventually add up and can be potentially expensive.

In the end, a service that was supposed to make matchmaking easier, ultimately leaves clients feeling rejected and despondent.

Blockchain Technology – The Solution

The fundamental elements of blockchain technology seem to be a perfect match (no pun intended), for the dating/matchmaking ecosystem. The openness of the internet combined with the security of cryptography has been identified as much needed elements to re-establish efficiency and trust in an industry suffering from such low user satisfaction rates.

Few apps, such as Luna and Matchpool have attempted to tackle the matchmaking dilemma from a variety of angles. The Ponder app, in particular, has taken a holistic approach to using blockchain to address the shortcomings of the current online dating services by using two major blockchain elements: decentralization and smart contracts.


Image by Ponder


The decentralized and distributed nature of the blockchain is utilized by the Ponder app to create a democratized and incentivized ecosystem that allows anyone to become a matchmaker. This brings a much-needed element, human intuition, back into matchmaking in preference to computer algorithms.

The secure storage of data is of also utmost importance since, in order to function effectively, dating sites and apps usually need to collect highly sensitive and personal information. Memories of the Ashley Madison hack and data leaks from other dating sites have left a negative impression on the online dating industry. Learning from past experiences, the Ponder app uses the highly secure and distributed nature of the blockchain to protect user information against hacks and data breaches.

Furthermore, decentralized ledgers provide a means of safely and fairly recording transactions of the app’s native currency, Ponder Gold, as opposed to storing it within the app.

Smart Contracts

The Ponder app will also make use of smart contracts to execute conditional-based rewards in an effort to replace the current inefficient online dating payment structures. Smart contracts are used to issue rewards for specific conditions such as successful matches while providing additional bonus incentives for relationships that are taken to the next level (marriage). The “If This Then That” (IFTTT) principle of smart contracts allows for the fair transfer of value from the client to the matchmaker based on the outcome. This way, payment is made in accordance with the value created by the matchmaker, as opposed to monthly subscriptions and premium features.

Utilizing smart contracts as a reward system eventually fosters a healthy environment that rewards helpful, intentional and insightful contributions.

Looking to the future

Blockchain, though not a one-size-fits-all solution, has promising underlying technology that can be applied to matchmaking beyond romantic relationships/dating. The gamification and decentralization of creating matches can benefit other areas such as meeting like-minded individuals, recruiting, business partnerships, babysitting etc.

Re-introducing the human element while improving trust and security bodes well for blockchain technology in the future of matchmaking.