What are decentralised applications (dApps)?

Here, we take a look at dApps and how they are helping blockchain technology to become more mainstream

In this article, we will cover what dApps are and how they benefit the blockchain ecosystem.

First of all, let’s go through what this term means. dApps (decentralised applications) are applications that run on a peer-to-peer network of computers, such as a blockchain network. They were designed as a type of software that is not controlled by a single entity and that exists on the internet.

Many people are familiar with apps that can be downloaded onto a mobile phone or laptop, such as Twitter or Instagram. However, these are all centralised apps, meaning they put data and content into one main entity. These entities are normally things like data banks or servers. However, dApps are not served from one central server. Instead, they run and live on the blockchain network, meaning they are decentralised.

dApps are open source and autonomous, meaning they can only be altered by consensus and there is no single body that holds the majority of tokens on the network. They were created to connect users with one another without the need for a middleman. There is not one universal definition of a dApp, but there are many characteristics that all dApps have in common.

Common factors

All dApps are open source, allowing them to give users higher transparency than standard centralised apps. Being open source also means they are available for people to see and edit when they like. They also have the unique ability of not having a central point of failure, making them more robust and resilient to online hackers wanting to steal information.

dApps have a consensus protocol for transactions, meaning proof-of-value for a decentralised app is essential if it wants to succeed. For this to happen, a dApp needs to deploy an algorithm that can be implemented and used. Examples of these algorithms include proof-of-stake or proof-of-work used by the Ethereum blockchain.

The majority of dApps on the market incentivise users or miners with tokens. These tokens hold value or utility, allowing a user to have access to the software for free or with discounts. This reward system then encourages users to carry on using the dApp of their choice.

Ethereum dApps

Ethereum is known as a leader in the world of dApps. It hosts around 90% of the world’s dApps, with that number expected to grow. In its white paper, Ethereum stated it had the intention of creating a protocol for building decentralised applications with a large emphasis on better security, speed, and scalability. Here are some examples of Ethereum dApps that are currently on the market.


The Golem project has the goal of creating the very first global market for idle computer power. It is a decentralised supercomputer that provides shared computing power to users for free. The processing power of the supercomputer is made up of the combination of the processing power of all users signed up to the Golem network. Users can range from one person with a laptop right up to data processing centres.


CryptoKitties is the new game/app that allows users to look after digital cats. Users can then buy, sell, or breed the digital cats, also known as crypto collectibles. The app is blockchain powered and hosted on the Ethereum blockchain. The cryptokitties replicate real cats in that they cannot be replicated or copied and are unique to a user. Because they are on the Ethereum blockchain, all cryptokitties are secured and free of fraud, giving a user full trust in the game knowing their digital cat is safe.


Augur is a cryptocurrency platform that provides a decentralised predictions market for asset speculation. The platform covers a variety of prediction markets like sports and politics, all the way to ‘time of death’ markets. People can use the Augur platform to make predictions using Augur’s native token to power your guesses. If your forecast is correct, you are rewarded. What distinguishes Augur from a traditional betting market is that no centralised single party sits in the middle, meaning that users are likely to pay lower prices.

dApps conclusion

Blockchain is here to stay, meaning decentralised applications are going to carry on playing a large role in the future of all blockchains and their ecosystem. Because dApps have the ability to work across all industries, the technology will more than likely be used across a broader spectrum, allowing blockchain to become more mainstream.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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