What's a DApp?

Bitcoin laid the first stone with its cryptographically stored ledger, scarce-asset model, and peer-to-peer technology. Which led to a new model to help building massively scalable and profitable applications. A new type of software called decentralized applications, or DApps, require these important features to be built. The term application is which is commonly use to relate to a software, it defines a specific goal. Most of the applications that we use follow a centralized server-client model, a few are distributed and now more and more are becoming decentralized. Here bellow is a visual explaining the differences between the three types of software.

Centralized software or system are the most widespread. It is where decisions for the system goal are made in a central mechanism and then transmitted to executive components or people. All executives are dependent on the central mechanism to take actions. Most of the services found on the internet use this system. The difference between decentralized and distributed is that a distributed system is a network consisting of autonomous computers that are connected using a distribution middleware. The components interact with each other in order to achieve a common goal. Decentralized computing is the allocation of resources to each individual workstation, on hardware and software. It means no node is informing any other node as what to do.

Therefore, decentralized applications are applications which run on a P2P network of computers, instead of a one computer. They are considered to be a form of software program designed to function on the internet without being controlled by a single entity. DApps can have front-end code and user interfaces written in any language, just like a traditional application, which can make calls to its backend.

DApps on the Blockchain

For decentralized applications to be considered on the blockchain, they often must meet the following criteria:

  • Be completely open-source
  • Data and records of operation of application to be cryptographically stored
  • Use a cryptographic token
  • Generate tokens

The development process of a DApp often entails a Whitepaper and a working prototype, a token sale, an initial coin offering (ICO), its implementation and launch.

DApps on the Ethereum Platform

The Ethereum Platform created a protocol for building decentralized applications. It is an open-source public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform which features smart contracts functionality, also called scripting. It provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which executes scripts using an international network of public nodes. DApps are more flexible, transparent, distributed, and resilient and have a better incentivized structure software model.

Developers are sharing different opinions as what defines precisely DApp. Certain say that having no central point of failure is the most important attribute and others say there are more requirements to it.

The Ethereum Platform can allow anyone to write smart contracts and decentralized applications where you can choose your own ‘rules’ for ownership, transactions formats and transitions functions. Multiple kinds of types are being created, such as financial, governance, community, legal, health, education. They permit a more direct interaction between two parties.

Further Reading