What are dApps

Posted on Dec 23, 2022

What are dApps
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Disclaimer: This article shares best UX practices that we’ve seen over the years in designing for crypto & Web3 products. YOU are responsible for the safety of your funds, tokens, and assets. This should not be taken as financial or custodial advice, and we recommend that you consult with a financial advisor. 

To break it down simply dApps or Decentralized Applications are applications or programs that run on blockchain technology.

Examples of dApps include: CryptoKitties, Uniswap, Pancake Swap, Aave, OpenSea, Peepeth etc. 

Apps VS dApps

So now you might be wondering “How do dApps differ from the regular apps I can get in the Apple App Store or android Google Play etc?” Web3 dApps differ from Web2 apps as they have to be tied to a Web3/crypto wallet. Web2 apps are bought or downloaded using an account/identity. To break it down, in order to access a dApp you are ‘connecting wallet’, whereas in Web2 you need to login to an account or enter your email/password combination.

Accessing dApps

Can someone download dApps from the same places I download regular apps? Not at this time. Most dApps are accessed through web browsers and then downloaded through Web3 wallets. However, it is possible You can download wallets from the App Store and then after this one can connect to dApps from a web browser. By accessing a dApp marketplace (like dapp radar or dapp.com etc) you can view many different options and then download through their home sites.

Green and white cubes with dApp images attached to a circular network on a mottled purple background

Instead of using an email login to download an app, like you might in Web2 with the app store on your iPhone, dApps are downloaded using dApp Browser Platforms like Trust Wallet, Metamask and other mobile dApp browsers. With these new Web3 versions of Web2 apps you connect or login to your Web3 wallet to access the dApp in a way that is more secure and also private.

More on how to access dApps in the article here by CoinMarketCap.

Are dApps on all Blockchains?

Not necessarily. There are many blockchains that allow dApps to be built,like Ethereum, BNB Chain, Solana etc. When accessing dapp.com or dappradar.com you can see which blockchain the dApp is built on. 

There are different layers to a blockchain. Layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3. dApps are built on layer 3, this is a more ‘surface’ level blockchain. dApps and Web3 wallets are both built on layer 3 whereas layer 2 is where overlay networks are found and layer 1 is the blockchain itself. 

Benefits of using dApps

A main advantage of dApps is that they are not controlled by a single entity. The dApp does not belong to a single controlling entity (that can control your content or assets). They are also more private because they are built on blockchain.

Are they safe? 

I don't think they are more safe per se than a Web2 App, but they are definitely more transparent, which is aligned with the nature of blockchain. For example, if you wanted to, you would be able to see the ‘transactions’ or activity that occurs between wallets or users on any blockchain. Anything on a blockchain is public record. Technically, anyone can see someone else’s wallet. An example of this in the real world is that anytime someone sends an NFT or tokens to another crypto wallet this is viewable. To view this information all you would need is a wallet address. 

web3 pandora's box with tokens, NFTs, money, btc and eth coming out of the box on a mottled green background

One thing to note is the Pseudo Anonymity of the Web3 space. While the wallets involved in any transaction are public, linking those wallets to real people is incredibly hard at best.

At Matcha Design Labs, our team is constantly sharing examples, articles, and design ideas with each other so we can grow as a Web3 UX/Product Design Agency. 

If you like the way we think and believe we could help your team, we’d love to chat! Drop us a note here :) 

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