The fundamentals of decentralization: dApps
Over the last few years, the world has become engrossed in the crypto craze. According to CoinDesk, the global cryptocurrency market will increase 3x by 2030, which will translate into around $5 billion. And decentralized applications are one of the driving forces behind the peaked adoption of crypto and decentralized finance.
According to State Of The Dapps, there are currently roughly 3,500 Dapps in the industry. And their number is shooting up every day. Today, we’ll have a closer look at decentralized applications and their differentiators compared to traditional mobile apps.
Basics of dApps
Decentralized applications or DApps are a new breed of solutions that run on the internet without being controlled by any one entity. So what is a dApp in blockchain?
As such, it is a computer application that relies on a distributed computing system. It can be built on a decentralized network such as a blockchain or a P2P network.
These applications are designed to be open, censorship-resistant, and secure. Unlike traditional applications, which are centrally hosted and controlled by a single entity, dApps are distributed and powered by a network of users.
There are a growing number of dApps being built on a variety of platforms, including Ethereum, EOS, and Bitcoin. While most dApps are still in the early stages of development and adoption, there are a few that have already made a dent in the market. PancakeSwap, OpenSea, Uniswap, and others have won the hearts and minds of crypto enthusiasts and are among the leading dApps in the market.
The state of dApps in the DeFi universe
Peer-to-peer money, made possible by decentralized technology built on the Ethereum blockchain, is referred to as “decentralized finance” (DeFi). Traditional, centralized financial systems have been replaced by this type of peer-to-peer banking.
Anyone with an Ethereum address can utilize DeFi applications, which are built on Ethereum smart contracts. This makes it possible to develop a wide range of new financial services and applications, such as lending platforms, stablecoins, and tokenized BTC.
It means that blockchain apps are the interface between blockchain (or DeFi) and the user that allows individuals to access other DeFi services, such as decentralized exchanges or lending platforms.
What is so special about dApps?
Decentralized applications are hailed as a pinnacle of decentralization. According to public opinion, they are poised to topple traditional applications and unlock a whole wealth of unmatched benefits.
Here are the defining characteristics of a DApp that make it so popular:
- it is open source – dApps can have their code visible to the public;
- it has no central point of control – no single entity gets hold of all the tokens;
- its data is stored on a distributed network;
- its consensus mechanism is decentralized – updates to the protocol must be verified by consensus;
- its code is executed on a decentralized virtual machine.
What are the benefits of decentralized applications?
The differentiators of dApps flow into a bag of benefits that add to the favorable image of dApps.
The blockchain nature of dApps offers a higher level of security. Decentralized applications cannot be hacked because there is no central point for hackers to attack. Decentralization also enables developers to create innovative solutions that are not possible with centralized systems.
Since there is no need for third-party validators, transactions can be processed more quickly and at a much lower cost than they would be in a traditional system. A lack of fees also means that more people can use the system without being excluded by the high costs associated with traditional financial institutions.
Users have complete control over their data and can decide who will access it and how it will be used. Companies don’t have access to your private information unless you give it to them willingly, which makes it harder for them to sell your data or share it with other companies without your consent.
All data on a decentralized application is stored in the blockchain, which means that no single entity owns or controls it. This helps ensure transparency and limits the potential for fraud, corruption, and censorship.
Decentralization makes it possible for users to interact directly with each other without trusting any third-party intermediary like banks or government agencies. This fosters trust among people in different countries and cultures who may not have much experience working together before.
The code base of decentralized applications is open source, meaning developers can view it to determine if it’s secure or not. With centralized applications, there’s no way for users to know if the software is secure unless they trust its developer.
DApps vs traditional applications: who does it better?
Centralized applications have been the industry standard for delivering services right into the users’ phones. However, as dApps entered the mainstream, both users and developers flocked to dApps. So the question remains – are dApps better than traditional applications?
DApps have many advantages over traditional applications:
- They’re censorship-resistant — because they aren’t hosted on a central server, DApps can’t be shut down by anyone.
- They’re more secure — because every user has their own copy of the application, there’s no single point of failure. If one node goes down, it doesn’t affect the entire network.
- They’re cheaper — because there’s no need for servers or centralized infrastructure, running a decentralized application costs next to nothing compared to traditional apps.
Overall, dApps beat regular mobile apps in terms of transparency, reliability, and costs. These benefits promote the global dApps market and contribute to wider adoption of decentralized services. However, dApps are tricky to maintain, scale, and design. Performance overhead and network congestion are also among the common issues that plague dApps.
DApps have been gaining in popularity over the past year. Being resistant to censorship and fraud, dApps have become a much-need alternative to centralized services controlled by a single entity. dApps also have the potential to provide users with a better user experience because they can be designed to run more efficiently than traditional centralized applications.
However, due to their young age, decentralized applications are still inundated with some disadvantages that stall their full adoption.