What are DApps?
Everything is a dapp now, right? Every day we see new projects being launched, all calling themselves dapps and claiming to offer a useful service. But what is a dapp, really?
Dapps is a portmanteau derived from ‘decentralized applications’. For starters, it’s important to know they aren’t exclusive to blockchain technology. The first dapps can be traced back to BitTorrent protocols and other P2P file-sharing networks created in the early days of the Internet.
The basis of a dapp is that it’s decentralized. That means that there’s no central authority and the network is executed and maintained by its users. The codebase is open-source and any participant can verify it.
The arrival of blockchain technology, with its completely decentralized infrastructure, opened a myriad of possibilities for decentralized applications to evolve. Some claim Bitcoin was the first blockchain dapp because of its decentralized nature.
However, the ecosystem had to wait for Ethereum, and its smart contract hosting abilities, to expand the definition and reach of dapps. And it was in 2017 that the term really stepped into the spotlight with the boom of initial coin offerings.
Many ICOs claimed to be solving a wide range of problems with many different services provided via Ethereum-based dapps. The most successful ones are still around, like ChainLink and Decentraland.
The ICO frenzy died down, but dapps only became more popular. The current crypto boom — DeFi protocols — is also filled with many interesting dapps, and new ones are created every other day.
How can I interact with dapps?
For the end-user, there is not much of a difference between centralized and decentralized applications. The best developers create an easy-to-use interface for their projects. The real magic happens backstage (or backend, if you want to use developers’ lingo).
What makes a dapp decentralized is that its backend code (the code that makes it function) is running on a blockchain. The frontend (which is what the user sees and interacts with) can be written in any code and stored in centralized or decentralized storage services.
In this way, users can make use of the dapp on their mobile phones, desktop computers, or any other device, usually by downloading an interface. These softwares serve the purpose of connecting the user to the decentralized code on the blockchain.
The MetaMask wallet is one the more popular services to interact with dapps. It can be used on desktop computers as a web extension, or downloaded onto a mobile device. Moreover, you can add any token you want, either from the list provided or by entering the correct smart contract address.
It’s really easy-to-use and very intuitive. After you download it you can import a wallet using your seed phrase, or create a new one. You’ll only need to create a password and that’s it!
You can use MetaMask to buy your first ETH if you don’t have some already, using your credit card or Apple Pay. Then, you can swap your ETH for KIRO on Uniswap (yes, another dapp). Once you have your KIRO in your MetaMask, you can stake it to earn up to 310% APY.
Besides MetaMask, there are other options to interact with dapps, like Trezor, and Trust Wallet. Out of these alternatives, Trezor offers an extra advantage by storing tokens offline. It connects to dapps through MetaMask.
Trust Wallet works very similarly to MetaMask. However, Trust Wallet offers support for many different networks, like Bitcoin and Litecoin, while MetaMask only supports Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain (BSC) tokens.
Users can also stake coins in the app and earn up to 130% APR. The main disadvantage, however, is that it’s only available for mobile devices.
Best dapps on Ethereum
There are thousands of dapps offering different services. From decentralized exchanges to marketplaces and video games, blockchain-based applications host as many possibilities as centralized alternatives, and maybe even more.
Let’s review some of the best dapps on Ethereum.
Launched in December 2017, this is one of the most popular dapps in the whole crypto ecosystem.
CryptoKitties quickly attracted a lot of mainstream users, causing the first case of congestion in the Ethereum network. It was one of the first projects to use the ERC-721 token standard, which are non-fungible tokens (NFT). It was also one of the first to gamify blockchain technology.
CryptoKitties lets users collect, breed, and trade digital kittens, each with unique features. The kitties can also be bred to unlock new characteristics.
This game was created in 2018 but only became popular in 2020. In February 2021, an anonymous user bought nine Genesis plots for 888.25 ETH ($2,236,613 at the time of writing).
Axie Infinity uses NFTs to create game characters that play and battle with each other. The platform uses an ERC-20 token called AXS to pay for in-game goods and to participate in governance.
This is one of the most popular dapps on Ethereum at the moment, ranked #7 in State of the Dapps. It acts as a service provider for other smart contracts and applications, like payment solutions and oracles.
ChainLink provides reliable and tamper-proof real-world data to dapps. Thus, the applications can access and make use of the information to offer a better and more trustworthy service.
While single smart contracts can’t connect to external sources, ChainLink uses an integrated oracle to draw information from APIs and other sources. DeFi protocols like Aave, Synthetic, and Ampleforth use ChainLink to ensure their prices are even with the rest of the market.
Moreover, transactions with the LINK token can be secured using Kirobo, which supports many different ERC-20 tokens. The Kirobo platform enables users to create a password before sending cryptocurrency, and the recipient needs to enter it to withdraw the funds.
If the sender submits a wrong address by mistake, they can undo the transaction and retrieve their crypto.
The article is not investment advice and must be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis. You can use KIRO for utility purposes only. Israeli, Canadian, and USA citizens cannot buy KIRO.
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