Decentralized application

A decentralized application (DApp[1], dApp, Dapp, or dapp) is a computer application that runs on a distributed computing system. DApps have been popularized by distributed ledger technologies (DLT) such as the Ethereum Blockchain, where DApps are often referred to as smart contracts.

DApps can be browsed on centralized marketplaces such as State of the DApps,, Holdex, DAppRadar and CoinGecko.


DApps have their backend code running on a decentralized peer-to-peer network, as opposed to typical applications where the backend code is running on centralized servers. A DApp can have frontend code and user interfaces written in any language that can make calls to its backend. Furthermore, its frontend can be hosted on decentralized storage such as Swarm or IPFS.

DApps are typically open source, decentralized, incentivized through providing tokens to those who validate the DApp, and in compliance with a specific protocol agreed upon within the community.


DApps may run on top of distributed computing systems such as Ethereum or Bitcoin. Decentralized applications are stored on and executed by a blockchain system. Steem created a well-established ecosystem that leads to the widespread adoption of DApp development. There are large number of DApps that are serving well in various industries. Examples are Steem Monsters, dMania, Steemblr, Musing and SteemHunt etc.


There have been criticisms of DApps surrounding their inaccessibility to the average user. Many DApps struggle to attract users, particularly in their founding stages, and even those that attract widespread initial popularity struggle to retain it. A notable example was the DApp CryptoKitties, which crashed the Ethereum network at the height of its popularity [2]. CryptoKitties and another similar gaming-based DApp, Dice Games, have failed to attract similar traction since.[3]

However, there remains optimism in the cryptography community that DApps will achieve better adoption rates in coming years. A report by UK-based market intelligence Juniper Research stated that the DApps most likely to first gain mass adoption would deal with verifying digital identities or tracking products through supply chains.[citation needed]


  • Cryptokitties - Game based on the Ethereum. It slowed Ethereum down due to insufficient transaction processing and exposed the scaling limitations of public blockchains.[4]
  • Blockstack - a platform for developing decentralized applications.[6]


  1. ^ "CVC Money Transmission Services Provided Through Decentralized Applications (DApps)" (PDF). FinCEN. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
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  4. ^ Kharif, Olga (2017-12-05). "CryptoKitties Mania Overwhelms Ethereum Network's Processing". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  5. ^ Leising, Matthew (July 26, 2018). "As Crypto Meets Prediction Markets, Regulators Take Notice". Bloomberg.
  6. ^ Corbyn, Zoë (2018-09-08). "Decentralisation: the next big step for the world wide web". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2019-10-06.