How to create a decentralized application (dApp)

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Have you ever used a decentralized application? You probably answered “No”. You may have used one and probably didn’t know it was a decentralized application (dApp). Differentiating a dApp from other applications can be confusing even for advanced users. So what’s the deal with dApps? Can anyone create a dApp?

DApps are simply applications that run on blockchains. The growing popularity of blockchain products like cryptocurrencies and NFTs has put dApps on the map. Just like their name, dApps are new applications that offer a decentralized way of doing things.

Even with the many dApps on the market today, you can build apps for almost any operation. To make your dApp stand out, you need to build a robust infrastructure that delivers problem-solving functionality with top-notch user experience (UX). And the creation of such applications is not complex. Read this simplified guide to get started.

Differentiate dApps from conventional apps

Conventional apps are everywhere – we use them to browse the internet, access social media, make cashless payments and even check the time and weather. These applications rely on data stored on servers to operate efficiently. And these servers are often managed by companies that provide application services.

Rather, dApps operate on peer-to-peer networks powered by blockchain technology. Application servers have no central governance institution. Instead, users collectively manage dApps through the decentralized network. Blockchains ensure that all data stored on servers is secured by encryption and publicly distributed to network participants.

Arguably, dApps are at the heart of the Web3 revolution, which aims to revamp our conventional centralized infrastructure with a decentralized architecture. The main advantage of dApps over these traditional apps is that they give users full control. Traditional apps often monetize users by selling their personal data or using it for marketing purposes, making you the product.

Externally, dApps and conventional applications may look alike. However, underneath the user interface (UI), dApps run on blockchains. Most, if not all, dApps have digital tokens that facilitate app operations.

dApp Industry Overview

Data from dApp tracker, DappRadar, indicates that there are over 12,000 dApps on over 50 blockchains. Notably, most dApps provide financial services, games, e-commerce and social networks. These services are popular in dApps because they largely depend on processing requests and transactions, which blockchains can help speed up. Decentralized finance (DeFi) and gaming apps remain the most popular dApps in the industry.

The most popular blockchain for building apps is Ethereum. He was the first to introduce smart contracts – self-executing contracts that run securely on the blockchain. Other popular blockchains supporting dApps are BNB Chain, TRON, EOS, Neo, Polygon, Avalanche, and Solana. When creating your dApp, it can be confusing to select a favorite channel. Alternatively, you can deploy a multi-chain blockchain API that allows your dApp to run on multiple chains.

What are the advantages of dApps over conventional apps?

Are dApps really necessary when we already have apps that can perform just about any function well? Here’s why dApps have an edge over traditional apps:

  • Decentralized: dApps do not have a central authority, which means that users interact directly (P2P). Since there are no intermediaries, trading in dApps is not profit driven. Thus, the fees paid to facilitate transactions are minimal – often to incentivize network users to secure the network. Additionally, dApps enable open source development, ensuring applications are secure and transparent.
  • Quick: Smart contracts are the cornerstone of dApp operations. These protocols execute transactions automatically, ensuring zero downtime and seamless continuity.
  • Access to DeFi products: Financial services in the decentralized economy are gaining traction among traditional businesses. These dApps offer new ways to earn money by staking tokens, providing liquidity to token trading pools, and earning interest on token loans.
  • Secured: Primarily, blockchain technology has no central point of failure. Thus, it is practically impossible to breach a dApp because more than half of the nodes in the network must be breached simultaneously.

Even with the pros, dApps also have a few cons, including:

  • Scalability: Some blockchains have scalability issues and during peak traffic, network congestion can slow down the functionality of other dApps.
  • Poor UX/UI designs: Most dApp developers don’t create intuitive apps with improved UX. Thus, users can opt for conventional applications.

Fortunately, you can compensate for these disadvantages. To overcome the scalability issues, make sure to adopt a highly scalable blockchain for building the dApp. Alternatively, you can deploy a blockchain API that works with multiple blockchains to leverage the best features for your dApp.

How to build a dApp

Decentralized applications have three main functionalities: crypto wallets, tokens and smart contracts. The crypto wallet allows users to manage digital assets such as NFTs and send or receive cryptos. Tokens are the dApp powerhouse, executing transactions and allowing users to transfer value. Smart contracts make transactions possible on the dApp, automatically executing commands when specific conditions are met.

To create a dApp that stands out, make sure your UX/UI design is as good or better than other conventional apps. At the back, deploy a versatile blockchain API that will fetch the data needed for your dApp. Here are the steps to create a dApp:

1. Generate a smart contract

For an application to work without an intermediary control, you must use a smart contract. This self-executing contract will perform actions securely, transparently and without control from a central authority. The smart contract you create will operate according to the underlying architecture of the blockchain.

Whatever tasks you assign to the dApp, a smart contract will be the tool that powers transactions and user requests. Ethereum is the most popular blockchain for creating dApps. Other blockchains like Solana feature high scalability and minimal gas fees. Ethereum is the most preferred as it has many users, giving your dApp extra reach.

2. Build the UI (Front-end)

The front end of your dApp is a decisive feature. When creating the app’s UI, make sure it looks like other apps in its class and is easy to use – without too many instructions on how to use the app .

Create an exciting user experience by refining the app based on user feedback on testing. Continuous improvement will help you create a robust, simple, responsive and versatile user interface. Allow users to connect their wallets and experience your dApp during the development phase and gather feedback on improving the protocol.

3. Build the backend

The back-end is the interface that connects your application to the blockchain. For your dApp to work properly, you will need to mine massive amounts of blockchain data. To simplify your back-end build, integrate a blockchain API that will reliably provide blockchain information for the dApp. In this way, the application works optimally with secure, verifiable and real-time data from the blockchain.

4. Test the dApp thoroughly

Before a live release, test the dApp thoroughly to ensure that any critical bugs or flaws are fixed. Make sure your smart contracts are protected against common vulnerabilities and exposures that can be exploited by hackers.

5. Release and perform regular maintenance

After confirming that the dApp is suitable for a general release, launch it for users. Then, schedule regular maintenance to identify, fix, and resolve issues. This way, the dApp maintains peak performance, providing users with an unparalleled UX.

Take away key

Decentralized applications are rethinking the way users access financial products, games, e-commerce and many other products. Although the architecture of the blockchain that runs dApps is quite different from that of centralized applications, the front-end of dApps should provide a similar, if not better, experience. Adopting the simple and powerful UI design of conventional apps and harnessing the power of blockchains through a blockchain API is a recipe for creating the ultimate dApp.