THE RISE OF THE bApp. When is a dApp, NOT A dApp?

By Joe Grech, Social Media and Content Manager

Since the creation of blockchain technology, the term dApp — a decentralized application that has its backend code running on a decentralized peer-to-peer network — has become a ubiquitous term. But can we really categorize every application that uses blockchain technology as a dApp? Many products use blockchain for reasons other than decentralization, and for this reason should be labelled ‘bApps’ or blockchain apps. The fundamental difference between them: to be classified as a dApp, it is thought that the application must be completely open-source, with no centralized control and with all data stored on a public blockchain. By comparison, a blockchain app (bApp) does not have to be open-source and there is usually a centralized organisation in control.

So, you are probably now asking, why use blockchain if not for pure decentralization? One reason is that blockchain enables products to be extremely transparent as everything is recorded on a public ledger, an issue that has recently come to the fore following the rise of privacy concerns from huge corporations like Facebook. Any app that involves a type of voting, for example, would benefit from blockchain technology due to the levels of transparency mentioned above. Also worth mentioning is the fact that using blockchain increases security — because it is built on what is essentially a distributed database (where not all storage devices are attached to a common processor) there is no single point of failure.

Another great example is games. Games are utilizing blockchain technology to allow players to have complete ownership of the in-game digital assets such as weapons, armour, etc; but the games are still very much controlled and developed in a centralized fashion. Online marketplaces where blockchain enables people to trade digital assets using smart contracts are not necessarily fully decentralized — for example even some exchanges are listed on dApp trackers yet still have a centralized body in control.

After researching the top fifty coins/tokens listed on CoinMarketCap, it’s clear that we have a problem of oversaturation in the blockchain industry. There are too many protocols, too many exchanges, and not enough products or platforms that are actually targeted towards the average user (the mass market). We will not reach mass adoption unless something changes. You only have to take a look at any dApp tracker website to find all you need to know about the current dApp ecosystem — Dice, Casino, Gambling (mostly unregulated). Where are the applications that will actually aid mass adoption?

We have all entertained the idea that 2019 is the year of the dApp (or bApp), and it may well be, but let’s not forget that it takes time to develop a product to not only be consumer-ready, but for the technology to be trusted. There is still some way to go but new regulatory frameworks as well as legislation is helpful in this regard. However, it is the job of all blockchain brands to educate and inform a mainstream audience. Our bApp, Socios.com, has been in development for over a year, and we are well aware of the enormity of the task ahead of us. However, we believe that our tokenized voting platform for sports fans, has a real chance of allowing blockchain to take a step towards mass adoption by uniting millions of sports fans in a global community.