There’s very little difference between a centralized web, mobile, and desktop application and a decentralized one to an observer. Their interfaces, functionality, and their use-cases may resemble each other, but the one major difference is how they are built ground-up.
Centralized applications are built with centralized servers. When you interact with them, such as when creating an account on a centralized social networking platform, your data is stored in a data centre run by the company.
What does this mean for the end-user?
Your data is under the control of the companies that run and maintain these platforms. Since they’re centralized, they possess the risk of a central point of failure when under attack. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data leak is a prime example of centralized systems undermining user privacy and security.
Are decentralized apps secure?
Decentralized systems do not have a central point of failure. They possess a distributed architecture and are supported by open-source blockchains. Your data is not under the control of one single entity. Instead, they are stored on distributed nodes on the network.
Thus, even if a few nodes were to lose your information, you can still recover it if at least one node holds the full copy of the blockchain. At the same time, it is virtually impossible to hack or censor your data.
So then, what is a decentralized application?
For an application to be considered DApp, it should be
- Decentralized: It should be supported by a blockchain network. A few examples are DApps developed on the Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain ecosystem.
- Open-Source: The source code of decentralized applications are usually open-source and publicly accessible.
- Secure: DApps run on blockchains, thus they are generally more secure than centralized apps. The capital and hardware requirements to attack a DApp is also significantly higher (51% attack).
- Smart Contracts: Any smart contract based application can be surmised to be a DApp. Smart contracts aid the execution of tasks for a DApp.
- Censorship resistant: DApps are not ‘owned’ by any single entity, thus, they are resistant to censorship.
Beldex is developing several decentralized applications that protect user privacy.
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