A dAPP is the short form for a decentralized application. It is a distributed (or decentralized) application that runs its back-end code on a distributed ledger network. dAPPs can be considered as applications, tools or programs that work on the decentralized networks like Ethereum. A dAPP is run by many users on a decentralized network with trustless protocols. They are designed to avoid any single point of failure. They typically have tokens to reward users for providing computing power.
Differences Between Traditional Web Apps and dAPPs
The traditional web apps are hosted on a hosting service that uses a centralized architecture which leads to a single point of failure in case of a malicious attack. Moreover, taking down an application through a centralized server only requires the hacker to interrupt with the hosting service. These make them more vulnerable to attacks.
When it comes to using a dAPP, it is very difficult to bring any application down as it requires to take down all the distributed hosting nodes which are practically not possible.
Popular web applications like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram currently function on a centralized server model. The data of these applications is controlled by singular authorities and can be manipulated or changed according to need.
To the contrary, a dApp is distributed in nature and involves the participation of all the elements of the network in order to modify or take control of any information. dAPPs can run on both, peer-to-peer as well as blockchain network. No one has the authority to manipulate or change anything in dAPPs.
Currently, we put our trust, data and vital information in hands of centralized applications that function through typical servers, databanks or standalone computers. This approach allows one single authority to have control over everything we do on these applications thus, putting our privacy at risk. On the other hand, the decentralized networks like Ethereum run on a community-based model which operates in a distributed model.
Although dAPPs were introduced recently, they have become popular and have some common features that make decentralized applications noticeable.
The first one is that they are open source meaning that they are governed by autonomy and all changes must be decided by consensus or a majority of its users. Their code base should be available for scrutiny.
Secondly, they are decentralized meaning that all records of the application’s operations must be stored on a public and decentralized blockchain to avoid pitfalls of centralization.
Thirdly, dAPPs are incentivized which means that validators of the blockchain are rewarded using tokens.
Examples of Functioning dAPPs
Golem is one of the popular dAPPs that aims to create a global market for utilizing idle computing power. The concept of the project is to utilize the power of PCs and data centers to create a rentable supercomputer that can be used by anyone across the world.
Augur is also a dAPP project which is based on the concept of combining prediction markets with the power of a decentralized network. It can be thought of as a decentralized market platform or a forecasting tool that allows you to make predictions for potential trading gains.
The other one is Status which is based on the Ethereum network, it allows you to chat, browse and make your payments safely on the decentralized web. The DApp also enables you to access the entire Ethereum ecosystem from anywhere.
Gnosis is also a popular dAPP that is similar to Augur and aims at allowing people to make accurate predictions about real-world events like elections, market prices, etc. Users of the platform are rewarded for making accurate predictions by Gnosis in the form of GNO token.