What is Decentralized Applications (dApps)?

Decentralized Applications (dApps) are digital applications or programs that exist and run on a decentralized network. They have been around since the advent of blockchain and cryptocurrency, but they have only recently begun to gain mainstream traction and popularity.

The code behind dApps is often open source and anyone can contribute to its development. A distinguishing advantage is that dApps are resistant to censorship and fraud, as well as being more secure and efficient than traditional centralized applications.

As it is, dApps introduced dynamism and dimension to blockchain technology. They are similar to normal apps but with the difference of being powered by blockchain. The absence of a third party fundamentally makes DApps different from normal apps. Despite that fact, it runs itself with the help of a self-executing contract on the blockchain, popularly known as a smart contract that aids in reduced costs and enables fast transactions.

Features of dApps

They are distinguished by the following:

  • DApps operate using open source code. This state means that they are completely transparent and available for company scrutiny.
  • They have no centralized authority. Decentralization means that there is no entity in control. 
  • All databases and records on DApps are public. This means that there is accessibility to all, ensuring total transparency.
  • DApps operate via a system known as cryptography. This means that its use ensures a secure network.
  • DApps run on a Peer to peer (P2P) network. This means that it connects users directly without the middleman.

What are the Advantages of dApps?

These decentralized applications have numerous advantages over traditional Apps. They are:

  • Maintaining anonymity: Users enjoy absolute anonymity as DApps don’t require in-depth signup processes. 
  • High reliability: Blockchain nodes are always be up and running with no downtime. This means that irrespective of what happens to your computer or phone, it does not affect the functionality of the app. The application it is always up 24/7, running on a p2p network. For example, there was a time Facebook had a major outage that affected its sister apps- WhatsApp and Instagram, as they were down for hours. Such can never happen to a DApps as it has been programmed to run without supervision.
  • Speed: Transacting on dApps has excellent speed as they were designed that way without any 3rd party involvement to facilitate trade.
  • Tamperproof: The decentralized nature of dApps makes records unalterable.
  • Censorship-resistant: No central authority or individual governs or controls the operation of a dApp. Censorship has been a huge problem users experience on traditional apps.

Challenges of dApps

Despite the advantages of DApps, it also has certain challenges.

  • Costs: From a developer’s point of view, developing DApps are very costly.
  • Difficult to maintain: As the network is evenly distributed amongst millions of nodes and computers, this makes maintenance, debugging, and updates hard because every peer must update their node software. 
  • Lack of acceleration: Compared to the traditional apps that have successfully secured a huge market share running into billions, dApps are struggling for market share because of technical barriers and the newness of the technology.