As of 2018, the blockchain industry is valued at $548 million. Two years prior, it was only $210 million. It has more than doubled within that time and is expected to continue its exponential growth. This is because blockchain isn’t just used for cryptocurrency as many people think; it has many other uses, such as decentralized apps.
Decentralized apps or dapps for short, are open source applications that run on of peer-to-peer networks. They don’t have any downtime nor can be shut down. Bitcoin is an example of a decentralized financial app.
Businesses should especially stay aware of this developing technology. It is creating opportunities for accepting payments, cloud storage, crowd-sourcing, and more.
What are decentralized apps
To be considered a dapp, applications must meet specific criteria. They first must be open source. This means that it must be freely available and capable of being modified or redistributed.
Second, the app must be decentralized. It has to use blockchain and cryptographic technology in its development. Similarly, the application requires a form of cryptocurrency or tokens to act as incentives for users.
Third, decentralized apps have consensus mechanisms built into them for security. If an application meets this criteria, it is considered a dapp.
Three use cases of decentralized apps
1. Alternative to expensive cloud storage
Businesses looking for an alternative to more expensive cloud storage services should look to dapps. For example, Sia is a blockchain cloud storage app that combines unused hard drive space around the world to create storage centers. There are approximately 1.8 billion individuals worldwide that use cloud storage. These decentralized servers cost 90% less than other cloud storage providers with one terabyte of space only costing $2/month.
All of a user’s files are encrypted, and they have full control over their encryption keys. Third party companies cannot access their data, giving them utmost privacy. A unique cryptocurrency called Siacoin can be mined and traded for more storage.
2. Security and identity protection
In 2016, 66% of all fraud-related complaints to the FFC were related to identity theft. This is a problem that dapps can help with. For example, Civic provides a secure identity platform that uses blockchain technology to protect people’s identity. Their solutions include multi-factor authentication, secure login, initial coin offering protection, and document verification.
This kind of dapp is beneficial for businesses as it can be used to protect the identity of employees. It can also be useful for verifying freelancers or contract workers if services are outsourced to third parties. A secure login and registration will ensure that only the correct individuals have access to web or mobile apps. Programs like customer relationship management software can contain sensitive information that must be kept private, for example.
3. Business intelligence and invoicing
Decentralized applications can even help in the world of invoicing. Populous is just one example of a decentralized blockchain app that offers business intelligence and invoicing services for its users. The invoicing system reduces the amount of time it takes to get paid by offering funding until a customer pays. This helps businesses manage their expenses better as they do not have to wait extensive periods to have invoices paid any more.
Populous business intelligence platform gives users access to large amounts of data sets and tools to analyze them. With this, it’s possible to do performance benchmarking, analyzing scenarios, identifying trends and more. All data is recorded through blockchain, maximizing accuracy and security.
The bottom line on dapps
Blockchain technology is continually innovating and being used to offer new services. Decentralized apps are the largest bi-product of this, creating open source and secure software for everyday users and businesses. While still an emerging technology, dapps have high amounts of potential and should be considered by any modern company.