Welcome back to the Tribe! In this post we take a look at Ethereum and strive to answer the question of – What Are Ethereum Dapps? Obviously this tags along with Ethereum and smart contracts, so we discuss those too!
Nothing should be considered investment or financial advice. Enjoy the ride!
Although, we need to back up just a bit to make sure everyone is with us. What is Ethereum?
Ethereum’s programmable blockchain is the basis of the new internet, and it is going to change everything about this current world of ours. This includes:
- How we interact online
- How we use computers
- The applications we use
- And the software behind almost everything in the financial, tech, health, and governance industries
Every single thing is going to change. Smart contracts and decentralized applications will be at the heart of it all.
What are Smart Contracts
The next piece of the puzzle we need to understand before we can get to decentralized applications are smart contracts.
As their name shows, smart contracts are digital next-generation contracts predicted to be the successors of conventional paper contracts. Nick Szabo first introduced the idea of smart contracts in his paper in 1996.
The basic concept of smart contracts is that all the different clauses and conditions can be converted and written as code compatible with today’s hardware and software.
The concept of smart contracts can be applied to virtually anything, be it health, education, finance, or any other field. But writing these contracts is not a simple task.
All the text and steps of contracts have to be first converted into logical code, then the code can be used in smart contracts. Since the development of smart contracts is still in the early stage, at the moment smart contracts are only suitable for basic operations where the needs of both parties can be met by a basic code.
Ethereum has its programming language called Solidity that was mentioned above. Currently, all of the working smart contracts are coded in Solidity. The language isn’t too complex, however, the immutability and self-executing nature of smart contracts lend to the fact that once they are recorded in the blockchain, any error correction or modification in the contract is impossible to change which makes the entire process extremely delicate.
This demands knowing the practicalities of real-world contract writing and legal knowledge rather than just knowing Solidity and basic programming.
Simply put, smart contracts are codes that not only explain the rules and requirements of the contract but also implement the contract by enforcing it among the two parties.
What are Ethereum DApps?
With Ethereum and smart contracts under our belt, we can finally take a look at decentralized applications.
Decentralized applications (DApps) are software that use blockchain technology and smart contracts to attain the ability to function in a decentralized manner. Now, before you start questioning, let us explain why decentralized apps are better than traditional ones.
When a DApp is written on the blockchain, it becomes immutable; no changes can be made to it by a malicious figure as no single machine, person or authority has control over it.
Let’s take an example of Instagram. All the data from your viewing history to comments, likes, and followers, etc. – everything is saved on the servers somewhere to censor and tailor custom content for you. This data can be sold commercially or provided to any authority on request.
DApps give users control over their data. This is the core problem that decentralized applications intend to solve. DApps must fulfil the three essential requirements to make sure this core problem is solved. These requirements are as follows:
- Decentralized: All the data must be stored on a decentralized blockchain that is open for public view.
- Immutability: Once the application is added to the blockchain, any information or the data related to the application cannot be changed or edited by any single entity. For example, the major difference between Twitter and its decentralized rival Ether tweet is that the latter is based on blockchain, offers the same functions, and is not liable to any kind of censorship.
- Open Source: All the DApss should have their source code available for the public to review. This way, the curious users can see how their data is being used and stored on the blockchain.
Building Blocks Of DApps
Now let’s have a look at the role smart contracts play in DApps.
Just like any other software, DApps consist of a back-end and a front-end. DApss have a complex back-end based on blockchain technology that uses smart contracts.
The front-end is just like all the other countless applications available to us today that use standard web or application development tools. The real magic of DApps lies in the complex back-end.
DApps are, simply put, smart contracts interacting with each other in a pre-defined sequential manner to perform the desired functions of the application.
Therefore, smart contracts are the rudimentary building blocks for DApps.
For instance, let’s look at a simple DApp that’ll receive a payment from the user, verify it, and send a specific web address as a reply. All of it based on, at least, one smart contract.
- Smart Contract will validate the users’ account info, match the public and private keys and check the amount required.
- Then the smart contract will transfer the amount from the user’s wallet and verify that it has been deposited in the receiver’s account.
- Record the transactional details on the blockchain.
- Send the aforementioned web address to the user as a reply.
This smart contract, with simple variations, can be used for other purposes as well. Let’s say an online giveaway.
Finally, how would people know that it’s alright to take part in it?
To know the answer, participants just have to take a look at the publicly available smart contract to know what sequence of steps will be followed for the giveaway.
This is really the beauty of the blockchain technology that completely eradicates the need for trusting any central authority. Users will get what they are shown once written on the blockchain since smart contracts are immutable.
Moreover, the code used in the smart contracts is also available for the Ethereum community to review. This ensures contracts perform the task as advertised.
What Are Ethereum Dapps Post
In conclusion, DApps are a decentralized, unambiguous, and open substitute for the normal apps that are peer-reviewed, and cannot be controlled by the original developers or any other authority all because of the blockchain technology.
Thanks for reading this post on What Are Ethereum Dapps!