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Dapps (Decentralized applications) : A beginner’s guide

Decentralized applications (Dapps) are a new model that is being used massively and with a lot of success to build scalable applications. Bitcoin paved the way in the blockchain technology by having a peer-to-peer, stored ledger and scarce asset model technology. Dapps on the other hand have now provided a revolutionary way of creating software and applications on the blockchain. This is because they are more transparent, resilient, flexible and distributed.

So, what are Dapps?

Dapps Explained
What are Dapps

Dapps are layered on the existing platform enabling them to leverage the blockchain technology such as smart contracts. This means, with Dapps developers do not need to develop a new blockchain but rather embed their applications on an already existing protocol. As such, Dapps are easier to create, are less costly, time saving, and more efficient. For this reason, creating and running Dapps is very easy and fast, as there is a protocol that has been pre-installed to be followed by developers. Applications that comply to this protocol then can operate.

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Dapps can also be said to be services that enables direct interactions between providers and end users. These applications are said to be incentivized, open source, decentralized and with protocol.  The use of open source is to mean that they should be governed by autonomy, where all changes are decided by a majority of users in the platform.

Being open source makes the application truly decentralized as anybody can access and contribute to the code. Additionally, this also fastens the process for making the product development more scalable in both quality and quantity terms.

Dapps characteristics

A Dapp uses both proof of work and proof of stake to establish consensus. With the POW mechanism, decisions on changes in the platform are made based on amount of work each user has contributed to the operations of that platform. POS on the other hand is used to make decisions based on the percentage ownership that the users have over the platform.

Another characteristic of Dapps is that their records and data should be cryptographically stored in a public and decentralized blockchain. This ensures that there is no central point of control, hence no possible center of failure.

One platform that allows for the creation of Dapps is the Ethereum blockchain. This is by supporting the ‘turing complete’ programming language. With the help of the Ethereum Virtual Machine, programmers are able to create anything they like on the Ethereum platform. The Ethereum Dapps have an emphasis on security, scaling and development time.

Dapps also have an algorithm or a protocol which generates tokens. The tokens are used to run the platform and are used not only as a store of value and for transaction purposes, but to make operations of the platform to run smoothly. Tokens can also be used to attract users to the platform.

How does a Dapp function?

A Dapp functions by implementing all the functions. These are open-source, decentralized, have tokens, protocol. Therefore, a Dapp is an open-source software platform that is implemented on a decentralized blockchain and is fueled by tokens, generated by use of a protocol. Ethereum is not the only platform that allows for the creation of decentralized applications. There are others such as Waves, Neo, Omni, Qtum and Nxt.D. You can read more about decentralized marketplaces, and decentralized exchanges.


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