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What are decentralized applications (dApps)?

Khanh Nguyen
What are decentralized applications (dApps)?

Illustration by Lena Podobed

What are decentralized applications?

Decentralized applications (dApps) are digital apps that act just like traditional apps, but built on the Ethereum blockchain.

Unlike a regular web app monitored by the company that made it, a DApp runs on its own. That means users need to put some money into the system to keep it going. Its data and records are public and not a single person can own or control the application once it's deployed.

Why use a dApp?

  • Censorship-resistant: no one - including the app creators - can delete what’s happened on the app
  • Your data is safe: You don’t need to submit personal info. DApps use smart contracts to complete the transaction between two anonymous parties.
  • No downtime: Relying on a blockchain network of computers ensures dApps continue to work even if individual computers or parts of the network go down.
  • Open-source: Anyone can make contribution to upgrade or make necessary changes DApp

Some interesting dApps


A well-known dApp game that allows users to buy, breed and sell virtual cats. The cats represent unique NFTs - nobody can duplicate or steal them. The most expensive CryptoKitty was sold for $170,000.

What are decentralized applications (dApps) - cryptokitties

What are decentralized applications (dApps)

ENS (Ethereum Name Service)

A naming system that helps you create one simple, human-readable names (like ‘quirk.eth’) for all your public addresses, instead of an unreadable string of digits and letters that looks like gibberish for each of your crypto address.

What are decentralized applications (dApps) - ENS


A financial dApp where users can earn interests by depositing their crypto or take out loans using those deposits as collateral.

What are decentralized applications (dApps) - aave


A marketplace where you can buy, sell and create new NFTs.

What are decentralized applications (dApps) - opensea

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