If you regularly survey the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology ecosystem, you may have come across the term “Dapp” or “Decentralized Application”. What is a so-called decentralized application and above all, what is the use of its decentralization? We’ll see it all together, find out what a decentralized application is.
A Centralized Application (Dapp) is essentially a system with a user interface whose operation is according to certain criteria distributed between different actors. Decentralization can be defined according to different criteria, but there are no specific rules or scale for deciding on a decentralization order or not.
In line with blockchain fundamentals, the goal is to go as far as possible towards distribution roles related to the functioning of the application between a maximum of different actors while ensuring efficient operation of the latter. Decentralization therefore works at different levels which we will discover together:
- Application architecture. First of all the technique, the application must be deployed on distributed infrastructures to avoid any censorship or control of the latter.
- Application development. If the entire architecture is decentralized as deployed for example on Ethereum, but only a small team decides on its future, we are far from the standards of any decentralization.
- Operation of the application. Again if he had a lot of effort to put in place a development or a decentralized architecture during the development of the application, we must also pay attention to its operation. The users could have an influence on the latter and it is necessary to limit barriers as much as possible in order to allow as many people as possible to participate.
It is very complex for an application to launch into the world of decentralization since this very often goes hand in hand with loss of efficiency, ease of use and development speed. It is for these reasons that an application is never completely decentralized and will only naturally decentralize as it develops.
The typical architecture of a decentralized application today
It already exists today decentralized functional applications having a user community. But how do they work and how do you set up your own decentralized application? Nothing very rocket science since an application is made up of two main parts, the one who will perform all the calculations and will ensure the functioning of the application and its interface which will allow users to use it easily.
Generally it is the first part which is decentralized through smart-contracts. These algorithms deployed on blockchains allow the application to function autonomously, without anyone being able to modify them once implemented. Interfaces are rarely decentralized technically speaking today, but anyone can develop their own interface or create an application that aggregates different smart-contracts from different projects.
So we have autonomous and public smart-contracts that each user can analyze to really understand the inner workings of the algorithms. And interfaces that each can set up that can interact with these smart-contracts or only with some of them. This makes it possible to develop ecosystems through the synergy between these different actors, far from the current paradigm of GAFA and their very opaque functioning.
The dangers of using Decentralized Applications
While decentralized applications may seem to be a revolutionary alternative to the applications we use on a daily basis, we must also be particularly attentive to the dangers of their use.
Despite everything, decentralization puts in the hands of users the management of their data and sometimes the management of their cryptocurrencies. It is therefore necessary to study the functioning of an application before using it. These applications are also mainly based on smart contracts to the unchanging public code. The issue of computer security then comes into play and it is very complex today to guarantee high-level security for most decentralized applications.
Obviously these risks can be limited by the education of the users but also on the side of the teams of developers. In fact, application security is very often a priority for project leaders and different methods exist, such as appealing to the community by distributing rewards or audits produced by independent studios.
So much for this presentation of what a decentralized application is and how it works. If you have any questions or comments about this article, please let us know.