What are dApps?

Crypto basics
What are dApps?

What are dApps and why do they matter?

dApps is short hand for ‘decentralised applications’. These are run on a network of computers, typically called ‘nodes’ rather than a single computer. By running on a network, dApps can be more resilient than applications run by a single authority, and are less likely to be vulnerable to a single point of failure.

Advantages of dApps

As Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become increasingly popular, it is clear the dApps are filled with advantages that even banks or physical cash cannot compete. This includes:

  • The use of the blockchain. This clever network removes the possibility of one single point or node causing total network failure. The interconnectedness of the blockchain means that it cannot be shut down from an authoritative source and instead, is stabilised by the nodes of the peer-to-peer (P2P) network.
  • The most secure paper trail. The blockchain is infamous for its infallible data integrity – meaning that once something is added, it cannot be changed, reversed or deleted without permission.
  • Updated in real-time. Completely changing the game is the public ledger within DApps, a ledger that is accountable and only editable with consensus from all involved. In January 2009, with the creation of Bitcoin, we saw for the first time a P2P network that was able to not only host but also maintain a public ledger in real-time through consensus.

How did Bitcoin made dApps possible?

As early as the 1980s, innovators tried to find a way to secure value expressed in digital form and to achieve Byzantine fault tolerance, or the ability of independent nodes to coordinate and form consensus in distributed systems. In essence, these individuals were showing the beginnings of concepts similar to Bitcoin. While they described a public ledger for tracking transactions, they were unable to imagine designs that worked without a trusted central authority. In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto found a genius solution to almost every technical obstacle that stood in the way of DApps. To protect the system from attacks, Satoshi designed a solution that included game theory, a consensus protocol, and a mechanism to incentivise participants.

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