What is a dApp? (Explained)

Last Updated:
August 11, 2022
What is a dapp feature image

dApp is shorthand for ‘decentralized application’. These applications often seem like regular applications, but they sit on the blockchain and operate using blockchain technology.

What is a dApp?

dApp is shorthand for ‘decentralized application’. These applications often seem like regular applications, but they sit on the blockchain and operate using blockchain technology. They make use of smart contracts to operate and any data stored by the dApp is stored in decentralized storage. 

Introduction

If you have minted NFTs using the Metacommerce Studio, you have used a dApp. Currently, more and more dApps are being created, giving users an unprecedented ability to interact with the blockchain using applications with friendly user interfaces.

dApps can enable users to complete a wide array of tasks, from managing their decentralized finances, to trading digital assets, to gaming to gambling. There are even dApps operating in the social space. There’s a high chance that, if you have a crypto wallet, you will regularly be interacting with dApps, so why not find out more about them?

In this article we will cover:

  • What is a dApp?
  • Examples of dApps 
  • How to get started using dApps

What is a dApp?

A dApp is a decentralized application, meaning that its backend (the code that tells it how to operate) runs on a decentralized network, rather than a centralized network like normal applications. 

dApps are able to run on the blockchain because they operate using smart contracts, immutable code that is deployed to the blockchain that runs based on predetermined “if this then that” logic. These are often written in Solidity or Vyper.

dApps often have frontend code and user interfaces that aren’t drastically different to web2 apps, and these can be written in any language. These user interfaces allow users to perform actions and transactions on the blockchain, for example minting an NFT collection, without knowledge of blockchain engineering.

Why are dApps important?

dApps are important as they form the user interface with the blockchain. This means that they are the medium through which the majority of people will interact with blockchain platforms, for example trading cryptocurrencies, buying and selling NFTs or playing games.

But why should you care about dApps?

  • Since dApps run using smart contracts, which are deployed on the blockchain, it means that the servers are never down. This means that dApps have no downtime. This provides consistent utility to users but also prevents denial-of-service attacks by bad actors.
  • To use a dApp, you don’t need to provide personal information linked to your real world identity. This means that you can use dApps privately.
  • Smart contracts are trustless; since they are guaranteed to operate in a specific way, you do not need to operate on a trust basis. This is different to traditional institutions, where there is a high frequence of operations being performed by corruptible third parties, so users have to trust that they will operate in good faith. Since dApps run on smart contracts, the same applies to them.
  • Your data from using dApps is stored on the blockchain, meaning that it is immutable and you have complete data integrity.

Examples of dApps

Now you know what a dApp is, it’s time to dig into some examples.

Metacommerce

Well, we are biassed, but a great example of a dApp is the Metacommerce Platform. Using our friendly interface, you are able to connect your wallet and start creating, minting and managing your own NFT collections. We store your data on IPFS, which is a decentralized storage system, so you can have peace-of-mind about the integrity of your data.

Axie Infinity

Axie infinity is a dApp that operates as a game universe, in which players operate as Axies (avatars) that can battle, breed and create kingdoms. It even has its own economy. The frontend of Axie Infinity is a bright, cartoonish world, but the backend is complex smart contracts that interact with the blockchain.

OpenSea

OpenSea is the go to dApp for people looking to research, buy or sell in the NFT marketplace. It is the largest marketplace for NFTs. It aggregates information about NFT collections and who owns them, and allows users to auction, buy and sell their NFTs.

Tips for getting started with dApps

Are you ready to start using dApps to interact with the blockchain? Then let’s go!

  1. Get yourself a wallet. A crypto wallet is your key to the metaverse - it acts as your web3 address, and holds your cryptographic assets, like cryptocurrencies and NFTs. You do not need to reveal your identity to get set up with a wallet; while your wallet represents you on the blockchain, you have the ability to decide what you want to share about yourself. It’s very normal to operate pseudonymously. We recommed Metamask as a good place to start.
  2. Buy some cryptocurrency. In order to transact on the blockchain, you will need to cover gas fees which are the network's costs of verifying transactions across a decentralized network. You can skip this step if you don’t actually intend on interacting with dApps (and just want to creep around); you can always buy cryptocurrency for the right network when you are ready.
  3. Explore dApps. There are lots of aggregators of dApps available, for example www.dappradar.com . You are able to browse by category to find dApps that interest you. Obviously, we recommend Metacommerce Studio as a great place to start playing around!
  4. Connect your wallet and get going! Once you have found a dApp you are interested in, all you need to do is connect your wallet (which is the web3 equivalent of logging in) and you can start interfacing with the dApp.

So that’s it, our rapid tour of dApps is complete. You are probably excited to get started, interacting with the blockchain through friendly applications.

Next steps…

Head over to Metacommerce Studio and connect your wallet and hey presto, you’re using a dApp. You can start building NFT collections and minting them in no time at all - and it’s free until you are ready to start minting!

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