10 Things You Need To Know About Dapps

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Experts predicted that 2018 would be the year for Dapps — decentralized applications — in the crypto and blockchain tech space.

The term is so new that no one seems sure exactly how to spell or pronounce it. Is it Dapp? dapp? DApp? D-App?

“Dapps are all about the new internet, where apps are decentralized and users own their data,” tweeted Ryan Shea, who this week announced the launch of app.co, marketed as the first universal app store for DApps.

Since the Dapp concept of decentralized applications is still in its infancy, so are efforts to define it — or at least to come up with a single universally accepted definition. However, there are noticeable common features of DApps, according to Blockgeeks.

1. To be a Dapp, an app must be all these

  1. Open Source – Source code of app is available to all.
  2. Decentralized – Uses a blockchain-like cryptographic technology.
  3. Incentive – App has crypto-tokens/digital assets for fueling itself.
  4. Algorithm/Protocol – Generates tokens and has an inbuilt consensus mechanism.

2. Dapps are often defined by what they’re not

Here’s a definition from Coinsutra: Dapps (decentralized applications) are a new breed of applications that are not owned by anyone, can’t be shut down, and can’t have downtime. The blockchain is the technology underlying Dapps. Bitcoin, which has decentralized all aspects of money, is an example of a Dapp.

3. What a world running on Dapps could look like

To imagine a world running on decentralized applications — Dapps — it helps to imagine a world where …

… your car is transporting passengers and making money for you while you’re at work, according to Blockgeeks. “Imagine having your computer utilizing its spare capacity to serve businesses and people across the globe. Imagine being paid for browsing the web and taking ownership of your, arguably invaluable, attention. Imagine the world like that — a world running on decentralized applications (Dapps). These distributed, resilient, transparent and incentivized applications will prove themselves to the world by remapping the technological landscape.”

4. Growth prospect for Dapps

Ryan Shea is the co-founder of Blockstack. He says he’s helping to build the new internet where apps are decentralized and users own their data. Shea announced this week the launch of app.co, which he describes as the first universal app store for Dapps. Users can find apps on Ethereum, Blockstack, IPFS, Steem, EOS and more. Responses by twitter followers have been mostly positive — “Great news” and “wonderful” to “very necessary part of the ecosystem” and “Can help w/ that :).” There were also suggestions on how to improve the product, along with some skepticism, and questions:

5. The right way to spell and pronounce Dapp is not settled yet

Is it dApp? DApp? D-App? Dapp? dapp? Who gets to decide? Wikipedia lists them all, but not much else. I’ve seen them spelled several different ways in Medium articles. StateOfTheApp turned the D in Dapp into a kind of dappy dollar sign, like this: ÐApp

“Dapps is pronounced in the same way that Email is, where the “D” in Dapps means ‘decentralized’ (i.e. D-Apps),” according to Coinsutra. Um. Wait, what?

https://twitter.com/MissHon73983988/status/996769299363647488

Many of the more popular Dapps were built on the Ethereum blockchain

Part of the reason why it’s hard to define DApps is explained in this Medium post:

“It is correct to say Bitcoin is a Dapp, albeit not a sophisticated one as it requires a lot of protocol layering in order to offer robust Dapp functionalities. Also, Ethereum can also be classified as a Dapp, although this would be a gross oversimplification of what it truly is. Ethereum is more of a platform that allows developers to build their own Dapps. As a result, many of the more popular Dapps like Augur, Golem, and Aragon were built on the Ethereum network.”

6. How Dapps could impact the world

Dapps in 2018 could begin offering the world improved data ownership rights, IoT integration and enhanced digital security, according to FundYourselfNow, a platform that lets project creators/promoters raise funds using crypto without needing technical knowledge:

“Improved data ownership rights: Dapps will create an environment where ownership of data will be transferred back from internet corporations to the hands of those who actually create and post them. Instead of data monetization being the exclusive preserve of the big internet companies, the average user of the internet will be able to make money from his/her internet usage.

IoT integration: Blockchains have no central servers and data transfer requires connection to the nearest peer node. With such a fast and efficient protocol, DApps will play a leading role in the actualisation of the IoT.

Enhanced digital security: The blockchain is theoretically immutable and as it grows in size, this immutability becomes even (more) secured. DApps will provide the building blocks for a safer, more secure internet where user data is protected from hackers and digital spies.” (Medium)

7. Top Ethereum Dapps and tokens by market capitalization

From NewGenApps:

1. EOS

By market capitalization, EOS is the most powerful Ethereum-based token – roughly $6 billion. EOS is a platform that can be used by developers to create scalable Dapps. It is similar to the Ethereum blockchain, only a lot better. Like Ethereum it also uses smart contracts for running and hosting decentralized apps and is based on the Ethereum token.

2. VeChain Thor (VET and THOR)

VeChain aims to create a trustless and transparent supply chain management solution for industries. Vechain manufactures smart chips that can be used to track the item and automatically maintain its record in the blockchain. Using this, consumers can ensure the authenticity of the item while manufacturers can manage transit and distribution. VeChain was rebranded as VeChain Thor on Feb. 26, 2018. With this change, the company aims to shift from a logistics solution to a dapp platform.

3. Tron (TRX)
Tron is a decentralized content platform that aims to remove intermediaries in the consumption and distribution of content. Currently, the distribution of content is largely dependent on centralized platforms like Apple, Google, Facebook, Alibaba etc. Using TRX (Tron’s currency) users can directly connect to content creators and consume content.

4. OmiseGo (OMG)
OmiseGo is a white-label payment and banking platform that uses smart contracts and ERC-20 token (Ethereum code standard). The vision of OmiseGo is “Unbank the Banked”. With this platform, they’ll offer decentralized banking services across the globe without the need for a bank account. The pre-sale of OmiseGo’s token held in July 2017 was successful enough – raising $60 million – that the company didn’t actually go for an ICO.

5. ICON (ICX)
The ICON project aims to connect distinct blockchains without them having to go through a centralized system. The Korean blockchain startup uses a unique “loopchain” concept that allows the connected blockchain to maintain their individual affairs to themselves and vote on matters affecting the entire ICON community of blockchains.

8. Ethereum is the leading Dapp platform

There are 1,485 Dapps, according to StateOfTheDapps, a registry of Dapp projects.

9. Main difference between traditional app and Dapp development

The biggest difference between Dapp development and traditional app development is the level of rigor by which code must be scrutinized before it’s pushed to production, writes Richard Chen, a blockchain analyst at 1confirmation:

“dApp development is actually more like hardware development than software development in that respect,” Chen writes:

In hardware development, rigorous testing and prototyping needs to be done before the product is offered to the public. A hardware recall costs lots of money, takes a long time to fix, and tarnishes the reputation of the manufacturer. Likewise, in dApp development, a smart contract can’t be changed once it’s launched on the mainnet. A bug in the smart contract loses users’ funds and tarnishes the reputation of the dApp developers.

Traditional app development, in contrast, tends to emphasize fast iteration cycles as best practice. As a developer, you want to build a minimum viable product, get people testing the product, and release updated versions as quickly as possible. Traditional apps like Facebook have the motto of “move fast and break things,” which isn’t exactly the best motto for dApp development.”

10. The Dapp development process

This is the Dapp development process, according to BlockChainHub:

  • Whitepaper & Prototype
    A whitepaper is published describing the dApp and its features. This whitepaper can outline the idea for Dapp development but also entail a working prototype.
  • Token Sale
    Initial tokens sale is set up
  • ICO – Initial Coin Offering
    The ownership stake of the dApp is spread
  • Implementation & Launch
    Funds are invested into building the dApp and deploying it.

 

Dapps
Dapp illustration: Maria Kuznetsov