What are dApps?
On the surface, decentralised applications seem identical to traditional apps. Their user interfaces are similar and you can easily use them on any number of your devices. However, there are several key distinctions that set dApps apart from your average app.
The most important difference is that dApps are built on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network (like a blockchain network), which means the control is distributed across multiple devices — rather than one single server or entity. It’s this feature that allows dApps to be decentralised.
It also enables dApps to address some of the biggest problems that arise from traditional apps’ reliance on data collection and central servers, like privacy infringements, global network failures, and censorship.
5 dApps You Should Know About
Because dApps are built on smart contracts, it’s a lot easier for them to integrate blockchain-based applications like cryptocurrencies and NFTs into their core functions. Some of the most promising uses for dApps lie in how they can support the development of other blockchain-based products like NFTs, DAOs, and cryptocurrencies.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular dApps, and how they are built to support blockchain products.
1. Uniswap — Ethereum
Top of our list is Uniswap, a leading decentralised cryptocurrency exchange that was built on the Ethereum blockchain back in 2018. Decentralised finance (DeFi) is an important emerging financial technology and is based on secure distributed ledgers (like blockchains), eliminating the need for the central control of banks, institutions, and other financial services.
Currently, the majority of crypto trading takes place on centralised platforms like Binance and Coinbase. What makes Uniswap so unique — and successful — is that it’s a fully decentralised exchange (DEX). This means that, unlike a centralised exchange, it isn’t owned and operated by a single entity.
One of Uniswap’s most admirable qualities is the fact that it’s completely open-source. This democratising approach allows anyone to access and copy Uniswap’s code and create a new decentralised exchange. They even allow users to list tokens on the exchange for free. This is significant, especially when you consider that normal centralised exchanges are profit-driven and charge high fees for anyone looking to list new coins.
Uniswap is currently the fourth-largest decentralised finance (DeFi) platform in the world and is estimated to have over USD 3 billion worth of crypto operating within its protocol.
2. Pegaxy — Polygon
Pegaxy (Pegasus Galaxy) is quickly becoming one of the most noteworthy play-to-earn (P2E) games on the market. The game is built on Polygon, a scaling solution and interoperability framework that allows users to build blockchains that are compatible with Ethereum (while bypassing some of Ethereum’s most frustrating drawbacks).
Polygon is designed to address some of Ethereum’s most pressing limitations and scalability issues, like delayed transactions, high fees, and a lack of community governance. By implementing a semi-dependent blockchain that works in conjunction with the ‘main chain’, it is able to improve crucial functions, like speed and transaction fees.
Pegaxy is a beautifully designed racing game that marries a futuristic aesthetic with the ancient mythology of Pegasus. The game has a player versus player (PvP) format, and rewards winners in VIS (Vigorous), its native utility token.
Players/investors can purchase Pegas, which are virtual horse NFTs - essentially NFTs needed to play the game. These horses compete in races in the quest to earn VIS. Only the top three in the race are eligible to earn VIS.
Pegas can also breed. This is done by combining two Pegas and a fair amount of VIS. The more Pegas you own, the more races can be attended and the greater potential for you to earn VIS. Needless to say, but VIS can be traded on several cryptocurrency exchanges.
Pegaxy also has a governance token, namely Pegaxy (PGX).
P2E games are another important emerging industry that is built on blockchain technology. Its innovative business model allows its players to earn profits through gameplay by leveraging its blockchain technology. Both NFTs and gaming are a match made in heaven!
3. Raydium — Solana
Raydium is one of the top-rated DeFi dApps on Solana, which is consistently billed as the fastest blockchain in the world. Solana is an increasingly popular choice for dApps, boasting a rapidly growing crypto ecosystem that includes thousands of projects, spanning DeFi, NFTs, Web3, and more.
Currently, the majority of decentralised exchanges operate through the Ethereum blockchain, which lacks Solana’s speed and often experiences network congestion. Consequently, transactions are often slow and come with steep gas fees. That being said - Solana also has it’s issues with network congestion.
One of the key features of Raydium is that it’s a decentralised AMM (automated market maker). AMMs essentially make decentralised finance available to the general public. Raydium relies on Serum, Solana’s largest decentralised exchange (DEX), to run its system.
Since Raydium was launched in February of 2021, it’s gained significant popularity, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is it cheaper and faster than its competitors, but it also has an intuitive trading interface that enables users to view their trading charts to help them control their trades and set limits.
4. Brave Browser — Solana
Brave Software has produced an innovative new blockchain browser called Brave Browser that implements an unusual business model. It clears adverts from the websites you visit and replaces them with a fresh selection of ads, allowing users to send money or BATs (Basic Attention Tokens) to the sites they want to support.
Blockchain browsers (also known as crypto browsers) are yet another product in a wave of blockchain innovations. Notably, they are equipped to successfully bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and the decentralised internet, providing a familiar interface and a useful entry point into the decentralised ecosystem.
The Brave browser is built on Chromium, an open-source project that is maintained primarily by Google. In November of 2021, Brave Software announced that they will be partnering with Solana and integrating them into their browser, making Solana the default blockchain for dApp support. This is a big deal for Brave Software.
While Brave’s browser has changed how people use the internet, these changes have been controversial, eliciting intense responses from a range of online publishers who rely on online advertising for their livelihood. The browser has been described as ‘parasitic’ and received a cease-and-desist letter from 17 publishers in 2016. At the same time, many users have praised Brave for giving them more control over their online experiences.
The Brave browser prioritises speed, security, and privacy. It incorporates ad-blocking features that disable advertisements and tracking. Whether you’re a fan of this controversial software or not, blockchain browsers have an important role to play in the future of decentralisation online and Web3.
5. Momint — Gnosis
Momint is a social media marketplace powered by NFTs. Ever since starting in November 2021, Momint has made the NFT space more inclusive for both creators and collectors.
Unlike other NFT marketplaces, which can be quite intimidating for creators looking to sell their work on-chain, Momint provides a user-friendly platform with no cost required to mint and sell projects. The social aspect of Momint is also different from other marketplaces out there. Creators and collectors can follow their favourite creators, friends, and fellow NFT enthusiasts.
In terms of price accessibility, the average price of digital collectibles on the platform is $6.67 and as mentioned, minting (creating) an NFT is completely free. Momint also has a Pay-What-You-Want mechanic for buying NFTs. This is where buyers can pay what they can or want for the NFT, giving everyone the ability to build own NFT portfolio.
The marketplace is built on the Gnosis chain, a layer 2 of Ethereum which is designed for fast and inexpensive transactions. The Gnosis chain uses a proof of stake protocol, making it a more environmentally-friendly blockchain.
Momint's aims to make the NFT space more accessible and safe for all, providing a bridge for those looking to immerse themselves in blockchain technology and the future of Web 3.0.
What You Can Expect From DApps in the Future
DApps are still in their infancy, but they are steadily evolving and have already contributed toward a more decentralised internet. There’s no way to tell which dApps will stand the test of time, but these pioneering examples provide an idea of the direction that DApps are heading in.