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What are Decentralized Apps (dApps)? 

The launch of Bitcoin more than a decade ago sparked a great deal of innovation regarding blockchain technology. Today, blockchain protocols are constantly being developed and tuned to unleash new functionalities and uses. The demand for decentralized services seems to grow with each passing day, and the development of dApps is a testament to this. Building apps with the blockchain is becoming increasingly common, and these applications are used across myriad industries, from gaming to finance. But what are dApps, and why are they revolutionary?

The Basics

dApps are a new breed of applications that utilize and run on the top of blockchain networks. These applications may seem similar to other apps or websites on the surface in terms of their design and user experience but differ significantly in their back-end processes. The demand for decentralized services that are not under the control of any one party is constantly increasing, and dApps represent a novel innovation to cater to this.

If you were wondering about dApps you have probably considered what is a dao too, as they are used interchangeably sometimes. The primary difference is the word Autonomous. DAO could be viewed as one type of DApp – the fully autonomous DApp. However, DApp is not necessarily DAO.

Most dApps are built with Ethereum, a decentralized blockchain that also incorporates its native cryptocurrency. Most dApps are fueled and consume Ethereum so one must buy Ethereum to operate a dApp.

They use the blockchain to process data and fulfill transactions using smart contracts. These automated, self-fulfilling contracts enable seamless, fast, and automatic transactions between parties. Smart contracts are a critical aspect of dApp development, and the combination of these has enabled the creation of powerful and diverse software. 

What Sets them Apart From Traditional Web Applications?

Well-known apps like Twitter or Slack are good examples of traditional, web-based applications. For you to use these services, software on centralized web servers is employed on the back-end. Your devices communicate with these servers using HTTP protocols. Overall, this means that the front-end information you see on your screen when using such apps comes from centralized servers and isn’t processed locally on your device. 

Rather than using centralized servers, blockchain technology allows hundreds or thousands of machines working simultaneously to share the transactional workload over a network. The front-end result is much the same as you might expect from web apps, and the same technology is used to render pages and display information. The main difference is in the back-end processes. dApps communicate with blockchain networks using wallets that connect the software to the blockchain. 

HTTP protocols are replaced by these wallets in dApps. They manage the blockchain address as well as the crypto keys that are used for identification and authentication. Wallets trigger smart contracts and enable the execution of transactions through the blockchain.

Ultimately, there isn’t a huge difference between a well-designed dApp and a conventional web app in terms of user experience. The front-end display is much the same, but under the hood is where the two differ significantly. dApps do not utilize servers, HTTP protocols and are more resistant to censorship or external control, which is one of the main reasons for their popularity.  

In Summary

On the whole, dApps are another innovative technology that has been made possible using the blockchain. In reality, these applications deliver much the same experience that users have become accustomed to, but they provide decentralized services, which more and more people are beginning to value.