What On Earth is a Decentralised App (Dapp)?

So what is a Decentralised App?


Whenever you traverse the internet, the sad reality of how safe your information is and what data is shared without you knowing it is laid bare. The internet, as it currently exists, means that a user has no direct control over what data they share.

By comparison, blockchain, and decentralised applications pull this control back and return it to the user. It’s one of the things that makes Ethereum so unique; it’s able to make the user the sole controller of their data. Fixing some of the glaring problems that the internet still possesses.

Ethereum, as a blockchain, serves as a form of a decentralised app store. So, bearing this metaphor in mind, any company or user that wants to develop a program or app will have their system referred to as a ‘Decentralised app’ (Dapp).

So while this explains what a decentralised app is, what exactly makes it unique in comparison to an ordinary app that you’d download from the iTunes app store? The iTunes app is a three-way dynamic, with information being shared actively and passively between:

User – App developer – Apple

This means that a users information is left vulnerable if just one of these parties is subject to a security breach or hack. In comparison:

A Dapp is one that connects the user directly with the application. Meaning, that Dapps cut out the middle-man and removes some of the issues of trust and security. These are capable of being hosted by a Peer-to-peer network, examples of systems that use this form of a network include TOR, Bit torrent or PopcornTime.

This means that in a Decentralised App, the dynamic and movement of data is just between the user and the application.

More importantly, Dapps have entered vogue in a big way through using applications like cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. One previously mentioned being Ethereum and can include the lesser-known EOS.

Decentralised Applications can be defined in three distinct ways:

  • Apps that manage money: These have peer-to-peer transactions and a strong, decentralised network of active users
  • Apps where money is involved: These refer Dapps like insurance applications, where money is involved but not a direct element of the system.
  • Other Dapps: These include Dapps that do not involve money, these include applications such as medical or decentralised voting systems.

In summary, a decentralised app, hypothetically, if someone made a Twitter Dapp, a tweet or message between two users would only be accessible to those two users. Meaning that these two would have full access to their information while preventing any outside users from obtaining access.