Getting Started with DApps: A Beginner's Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. What are DApps?
  2. Why DApps matter
  3. How DApps work
  4. How to use DApps
  5. Choosing the right DApp platform
  6. Building your own DApp
  7. DApp examples to get you started
  8. Security considerations for DApps
  9. Future of DApps

If you've heard the buzz about DApps and are curious to know what they are, and how you can get started with them, you've come to the right place. This guide will help you understand DApps, their importance, and how they work. We'll also walk through how to use DApps, choose the right DApp platform, and even give you a rundown on building your own DApp. So, let's unravel the mystery of DApps together.

What are DApps?

Imagine you're using an app on your phone. You're likely using a central server that's managed by a company. Now imagine, instead of that central server, the app runs on a network of computers, all working together. That's what a DApp, or Decentralized Application, is.

A DApp has its backend code running on a decentralized peer-to-peer network—think of it like a game of telephone, but everyone is talking at once and they all agree on the message. Contrast this with an app where the backend code is running on centralized servers.

Some key features of DApps include:

  • Open Source: DApps are typically open source. This means that anyone can view the app's code, contribute to it, or fork (copy) it to create their own version.
  • Decentralized: As the name suggests, DApps are decentralized. They are not owned or controlled by any single entity, which gives users more control and transparency.
  • Incentivized: DApps often use tokens or digital assets to incentivize users and secure the network. For example, Bitcoin, the first DApp, rewards miners with bitcoin tokens for securing the network.
  • Protocol: DApps follow a protocol or set of rules that govern how updates and changes are made.

Now that you have an understanding of what DApps are, you're well on your way to getting started with DApps. In the next sections, we'll dive into why DApps matter and how they work.

Why DApps matter

You might be wondering, "Why should I care about DApps?" The answer lies in the problems they solve and the new opportunities they create.

  1. Trust: With traditional centralized apps, users must trust the company that owns the app. But with DApps, the code is transparent and the network is decentralized. This means DApps are inherently more trustworthy.
  2. Control: When using a DApp, you have more control over your data. Instead of a company owning and controlling your data, you own it. This is a major step towards digital sovereignty.
  3. Innovation: DApps open up a whole new world of possibilities for developers. Since they're open-source, anyone can contribute to the project or create their own version. This encourages a culture of innovation and collaboration.
  4. Security: DApps are more resistant to hacking. Since there's no central point of failure, it's much more difficult for hackers to attack.
  5. Access: DApps can also increase accessibility. Since they run on a decentralized network, they can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, as long as they have internet access.

So, DApps matter because they can create a more transparent, secure, and accessible digital world. They're not just a novelty—they're a powerful tool that can reshape the internet as we know it. And getting started with DApps is a great way to be part of this digital revolution.

How DApps work

Getting started with DApps can seem a bit baffling at first, especially if you're not familiar with blockchain technology. But don't worry—I'm here to walk you through it, step by step.

  1. Blockchain: At their core, DApps are powered by blockchain technology. A blockchain is, in essence, a shared, immutable ledger. It's like a giant spreadsheet in the sky that anyone can access, but no one can tamper with.
  2. Decentralization: Unlike traditional apps which rely on a central server, DApps run on a network of computers—known as nodes—spread across the globe. This decentralization is what makes DApps so robust and secure.
  3. Smart Contracts: The real magic of DApps comes from Smart Contracts. These are self-executing contracts with the terms of agreement directly written into code. They automatically carry out transactions when certain conditions are met, without the need for a middleman.
  4. Consensus Mechanisms: For a DApp to function, all nodes in the network need to agree on the validity of transactions. This is achieved through consensus mechanisms, such as Proof of Work (used by Bitcoin) or Proof of Stake (used by Ethereum).
  5. Interaction: Users interact with DApps through a user interface, just like any other app. However, to use the DApps, users typically need a digital wallet to hold the cryptocurrency or tokens required for transactions within the DApp.

That's the basic rundown of how DApps work. Understanding these fundamental concepts is key to getting started with DApps. So now that you have this knowledge, are you ready to dive deeper and start using DApps?

How to Use DApps

Okay, now that we've covered how DApps work, let's move on to the juicy part—actually using DApps. Don't worry, it's easier than you might think.

  1. Get a Wallet: First things first, you're going to need a digital wallet. This wallet holds your digital currency, or tokens, which you'll use to interact with DApps. There are plenty of options out there, like MetaMask or Trust Wallet, so pick one that feels right for you.
  2. Buy Some Cryptocurrency: Once you have your wallet, you'll need to fill it with some cryptocurrency. Depending on the DApp you choose, this could be Ether (for Ethereum-based DApps), Bitcoin, or any of a myriad of other tokens. You can usually buy these on a cryptocurrency exchange.
  3. Choose Your DApp: Now comes the fun part—choosing which DApp to use! There are so many to choose from, each with its own unique features and uses. Whether you're into games, finance, social media, or something else entirely, there's likely a DApp for that.
  4. Start Using It: Once you've chosen a DApp, all that's left to do is start using it! This usually involves connecting your wallet to the DApp and following the instructions provided. Don't worry if you get stuck—most DApps have user-friendly interfaces and helpful FAQs to get you up and running.

And there you have it! You're now well on your way to getting started with DApps. Remember, the key is to take it one step at a time, and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. What DApp are you excited to try out first?

Choosing the Right DApp Platform

Alright, you've got your wallet ready and you're eager to dive into the world of DApps. But which platform should you choose? This decision can feel a little overwhelming — but don't worry, I've got your back. Let's break this down together.

  1. Consider Your Needs: First, think about why you want to use DApps. Are you interested in gaming, finance, or maybe social networking? Different platforms excel in different areas, so it's worth considering what you're looking for.
  2. Research Different Platforms: Ethereum is often the first name that comes to mind when talking about DApps, but it's not the only one out there. Other platforms like Binance Smart Chain, Tron, and EOS also offer a wide variety of DApps. Take the time to look at what each platform offers and how they align with your needs.
  3. Evaluate the Community: The community around a DApp platform can tell you a lot about it. Are the users active and engaged? Is there a strong developer community? This can give you a sense of the platform's vibrancy and potential for growth.
  4. Consider the Costs: Using DApps often incurs costs, usually in the form of transaction fees. Different platforms have different fee structures, so be sure to factor this into your decision.

Choosing the right DApp platform is a personal decision that depends on your individual needs and goals. But by considering these factors, you'll be well-equipped to make a choice that sets you up for success on your journey of getting started with DApps. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer here — the best DApp platform for you is the one that meets your unique needs.

Building Your Own DApp

The excitement of using DApps often leads to a natural curiosity: "What if I could build my own?" Good news — you absolutely can. Let's walk through some steps to get you started:

  1. Understand the Basics: Before you start coding, you need to understand how DApps work. Familiarize yourself with concepts like smart contracts, blockchain, and decentralized storage. Consider this as laying the foundation for your DApp-building journey.
  2. Choose Your Blockchain: Next, decide on which blockchain you want to build your DApp. Each has its own pros and cons, so weigh these against your needs and the needs of your intended users.
  3. Learn Solidity: If you're building on Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain, you'll need to learn Solidity, the programming language used to write smart contracts on these platforms. It might seem a bit intimidating at first glance, but with a bit of patience and persistence, you'll get the hang of it.
  4. Start Building: Once you've got the basics down, it's time to start building. Begin with a simple project to practice your new skills. Don't worry about making it perfect — the goal is to learn and improve.

Building your own DApp can be an exciting and rewarding journey. It might seem daunting at first, but remember that every expert was once a beginner. So why not give it a shot? With some determination, patience, and a sprinkle of creativity, getting started with DApps could be your gateway to creating something truly unique and impactful.

DApp Examples to Get You Started

Looking at some real-world examples of DApps is a great way to get a feel for what's possible. Here are a few that you might find interesting:

  1. CryptoKitties: Ever wanted a virtual pet? CryptoKitties lets you collect and breed digital cats. It's fun, but it's also a real-world example of how DApps can create unique digital assets that users can own.
  2. Decentraland: This is a virtual world, owned by its users. You can buy land, build on it, explore other people's creations, and even attend live events. It's a fascinating look at how DApps can create shared, interactive experiences.
  3. Compound: This DApp takes traditional banking functions like lending and borrowing, and puts them on the blockchain. It's a great example of how DApps can disrupt established industries.

These examples should give you a sense of the wide range of possibilities when it comes to DApps. Whether it's games, virtual worlds, finance, or something completely different, there's a whole world of opportunities out there. So why not dive in and start exploring?

Remember, getting started with DApps doesn't mean you have to start from scratch. By exploring what others have done, you can gather inspiration, learn from their successes and mistakes, and then put your own unique spin on things. Who knows? Your DApp could be the next big thing!

Security Considerations for DApps

When you're getting started with DApps, it's important to remember that security is a big deal. You're dealing with valuable digital assets and potentially sensitive data, so you want to make sure everything is locked down tight.

The first thing to note is that DApps, by their nature, are decentralized. This means there's no central authority that can be hacked or compromised. That's good news! However, it also means that security is largely in your hands.

  1. Smart Contract Security: Smart contracts power DApps, and they need to be secure. This involves thorough testing and auditing before deployment. After all, once a smart contract is live on the blockchain, it can't be changed.
  2. Private Key Security: Your private key is like the key to your house. If someone gets hold of it, they can access your DApp and all the assets within. So, keep it safe and secure at all times.
  3. Data Privacy: While blockchains are transparent, this doesn't mean your personal data should be. Be mindful of what data you're putting on the blockchain, as it could be there forever.

Security might seem intimidating when you're just getting started with DApps, but don't let it scare you off. Just like you'd lock your front door and keep your wallet safe, there are straightforward steps you can take to keep your DApps secure. So, keep these considerations in mind, and you'll be well on your way to mastering the world of DApps!

Future of DApps

As we wrap up our beginner’s guide to getting started with DApps, let's take a quick look into the future. What does it hold for DApps? Well, it's looking brighter than a supernova!

First of all, we expect to see more and more DApps showing up in everyday life. Think of DApps for everything from buying groceries to playing games. The key here is adoption—getting people comfortable with using DApps as part of their daily routine.

Secondly, we're likely to see improvements in the user experience. Right now, using DApps can be a bit technical. But as more people start using them, we should see DApps become as easy to use as any other app on your phone.

  1. Interoperability: This fancy word just means that DApps from different blockchains will be able to talk to each other. Imagine being able to use your Ethereum DApp to interact with a DApp on the Cardano network. That's the future we're heading towards!
  2. Scalability: As DApps gain popularity, they'll need to handle more users. That's where scalability comes in. It's all about making sure DApps can grow without slowing down or becoming too expensive to use.
  3. Regulation: Right now, the world of DApps is like the wild west. But as it grows, we can expect to see more rules and regulations. This isn't necessarily a bad thing—it can help protect users and encourage even more people to start using DApps.

So there you have it. While we can't predict the future with 100% accuracy, one thing is clear: DApps are here to stay and they're set to become a big part of our digital lives. So, why not get started with DApps now and be ahead of the curve?

If you're excited about diving into the world of decentralized applications (DApps) and want to learn more, check out the workshop 'Start Your web3 Journey' by Tom Glendinning. This workshop will provide you with the foundation you need to understand and start building your own DApps, making it a perfect companion to this beginner's guide.