What are Distributed Applications (dApps)?

A distributed app, commonly referred to as a dApp, is a piece of software that does not run on a single server but rather makes use of a distributed /cloud computing framework for facilitating its internal processes.

The concept of distributed applications (dApps) has fast gained traction across the global digital landscape over the last decade or so, primarily because these pieces of unique software code can be deployed via the use of cloud computing platforms, allowing them to be executed across a number of systems at the same time (i.e. simultaneously) without any drop in operational efficiency. Furthermore, since distributed apps operate within a singular network, they are able to seamlessly communicate and work in conjunction with one another so as to complete a particular task in a quick, efficient manner.

Another way of looking at distributed applications is that they enable users operating within a specific network to come together so as to co-ordinate on specific tasks, gain access to unified data sets through the use of a singular ecosystem. Additionally, while these apps are traditionally employed within a client-server framework they can also be used within highly decentralized settings as well.

Distributed Applications (dApps) and their relationship with blockchains

It is no secret that all cryptocurrencies in existence today make use of blockchains. In this regard, most of these blockchain ecosystems, in order to streamline their internal processes, make use of dApps to maintain the functional balance of their associated platforms, allowing them to run efficiently without any functional issues.

Furthermore, it should be pointed out that unlike most client-server ecosystems that are centralized in nature, dApps running within blockchain environments are governed in a peer-to-peer fashion. What this means is that the nodes present within a particular network are able to function independently, i.e. without the need of a central authority (so as to oversee the platform’s native governance protocols).

Additionally, distributed applications operating within a blockchain framework are able to transact data between each another in a highly seamless manner, allowing for any transmitted information to be relayed in a manner that is not only secure but also totally immutable in nature. 

Why distributed applications (dApp)?

Distributed applications that run on a blockchain, peer-to-peer (P2P) network provide developers all over the world with an open-source software framework that is not only secure but also quite highly utilitarian in nature. To further elucidate on this point, one can see that dApps allow users to pool their resources together across a number of machines globally, thus allowing for the deployment of novel platforms that are community-driven in their function and overall design.

Another underrated facet of distributed applications is that if one node or computer running such an app gets compromised for some reason (i.e. operational malfunction, etc) or the other, then other computers running the same software can pick up the slack and resume business as usual.

Lastly, owing to the fact that dApps are able to seamlessly interact with smart contracts — ala automated pieces of self-executing code — they are able to mitigate a number of overhead admin costs. Not only that, as a result of their unique design, the framework underlying distributed applications can be applied within the context of digital asset exchanges, gambling platforms as well as games.

Where are distributed apps most commonly used? 

Depending on their utility, dApps can be used by small, medium as well as large organizations alike for a variety of different purposes. For example, they can be used by global supply chain enterprises for the tracking of large business consignments, goods, etc all with the touch of a button.

Not only that, distributed apps are also frequently employed by a number of financial service providers since they enable seamless cross-border payments as well as cut out the need for any middleman. In this vein, dApps are also used by a number of companies for streamlining their internal transaction verification processes as well as simplifying their AML and KYC protocols — thus allowing for the creation of high quality open-banking ecosystems.

Key Takeaways

  • A distributed app, commonly referred to as a dApp, is a piece of software that does not run on a single server but rather makes use of a distributed /cloud computing framework for facilitating its internal processes.
  • Distributed applications are largely decentralized and when operating within the context of a blockchain are able to prevent third-party attacks with ease, since they do not feature a single point of failure.
  • While distributed apps are commonly used in relation to blockchain-based platforms, they can also be employed atop other digital architectures such as cloud networks, back-end server systems, etc.

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