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What is A Decentralized Application(DApp)?

BitForex Editor
Sep 24, 2020

A couple of years ago, we were all excited about the innovation of smart applications and some wanted to know how to build one. As always, developers were not satisfied with this seemingly “smart” move and they began to see loopholes in the technology. This dissatisfaction led to another innovation that we now refer to as DApps or Decentralized Application(DApp)s.

This new phase of software is not so different from the older applications we know but the features they come with are what make them stand out. Although the Blockchain industry has made DApps become a trend, DApps are in no way, synonymous with Blockchains. They have been on board before Ethereum and its counterparts came into the big picture but because most DApps run on the Blockchain technology, it is generally assumed that a *Decentralized Application(DApp) *must be linked to a Blockchain.

Technically, there is no generally recognized definition for what a Decentralized Application(DApp) is but as we mentioned, these apps come with certain features that distinguish them from any other software around. It is based on these features that people tend to define what a DApp is.

Features of Decentralized Application(DApp)s

A Decentralized Application(DApp) is one that is designed with no centralized server. One problem that the tech world encountered with using regular applications is the issue that arises with having one server that links all the networks. If for any reason, this server is down, then the application would experience problems that would cause all the users some form of delay or inconvenience. Thus, decentralized apps were introduced to help solve this issue. Besides this, some other remarkable features of the DApp include:

Open source code

If there was a synonym from decentralized apps, it would be “open source apps”. Every Decentralized Application(DApp) features an open-source code because all users of the network need to have access to the information on it without having to go through any process seeking permission. The open-source code is made available to all the users so that they can at any time, gain access to the network as this is where trust lies. Since there is no centrally trusted server, all the users must be able to see what is going on in the network and make changes whenever they think that something is not right. This is the only way that the users (also known as peers) can protect themselves from fraud and other malware.

Use of incentives

Being a network that is owned by “everybody”, there is a need for supporting the system on which the software runs. In most cases, DApps are built to run on the Blockchain technology so it is only expected that most users would support the system using tokens such as Etheruem or other cryptographic assets. This form of incentives serves as a way to build the system, motivate peers, and encourage transactions using the network. With no incentives and no central server or owner, a Decentralized Application(DApp) may experience issues and the effect would be felt by all the users on the network. So, it would be smarter to provide these incentives than risk having complications over time.

Consensus mechanism/algorithm

Consensus mechanism stemming from the fact that this new software lacks the presence of a centralized server, users are granted equal access to the network without having to depend on any entity. However, it is not possible for everyone to just log on to the network and expect to be granted access to do whatever they want to so the need for a consensus was created. Users of a particular network have to decide on which channels to trust and how to build their trusted network. All the peers in a network would therefore have access to the information stored on the software and would also be able to change the data on it without requesting permission from a central entity.

Based on these features, we can deduce that Decentralized Application(DApp)**s** are software that runs on a consensual peer to peer network and can be modified by any of the peers on the network. Whichever definition anyone comes up with, it is never far from this one because the features of a Decentralized Application(DApp) are always the same. Maybe sometime in the future, we would have a more comprehensive explanation for this term.

Use of Decentralized Application(DApp)s

Alongside carrying out transactions, DApps have been used to run several communities including freelance sites. One freelance site that has made use of DApps is Elance. The platform runs on a decentralized network and the peers on the network are largely freelancers and employers. both freelancers and employers have equal access to the site as no central API or entity runs the network. For this same reason, the platform is free to use and explore but because incentives are important in managing the system, cryptographic tokens are exchanged to support the network.  Just like many other DApps, Eflance is also supported by the Ethereum Blockchain.

Without saying, you have already figured out that one major platform where DApps are employed is in Bitcoin and Ethereum transactions.

DApps are the kingmakers in the Blockchain industry and so many people tend to think that BLockchains control DApps whereas, it is the other way around. In Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), every peer is granted equal access to the network and this is the same framework on which DApps operate. This is why Blockchains cannot do without a Decentralized Application(DApp).

Decentralized Application(DApp)s have clearly revolutionized the way things are done in not just the tech industry but the world at large. We now have firms and companies tracking their products using the smart contract and other institutions monitoring transactions on the same. Experts predict that by the end of 2025, the market size should be valued at over $21,000,000. It is expected that this innovation would keep being improved on and make its way into many more "buildings" in the future.

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