When we talk about a revolutionary technology like blockchain, we should make the distinction between public and private. The former regulates mass-access virtual services, while entities or companies control the latter. It’s important to become familiar with the concept of Ðapps, distributed applications that directly interact with a blockchain, that are coming to more and more industries.
Since the release of Emule, peer-to-peer applications have provoked a lot of interest from developers, since they are the only applications that can’t be shut down by force nor by law. Since 2014, we’ve seen many interesting distributed applications come to life, such as InterPlanetary File System (2014), Tox (2014), or ZeroNet (2015).
Since blockchain’s arrival, distributed apps can interact and take advantage of a shared and secured database’s benefits and start to manage money and sensitive information.
But it was Ethereum and its language for smart contracts, Solidity, that opened the door for Dapps. Its development also enabled the first Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO), virtual associations that comprehensively regulate themselves using intelligent contracts. Ethereum also allows to create private blockchains, and the banks and governments that are already testing and using them are not few. Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is a very clear example of interest for this technology in the industry.
But before choosing a framework, it’s important to understand the differences between private and public blockchains.
|Public blockchain||Private blockchain|
|Also called..||Permissionless blockchain||Permissioned blockchain|
|Who can run it?||Anyone||Only the designated nodes|
|Who can write to it? (modify data)||Anyone||Only the designated nodes, or the designated nodes and a group of users designated by such nodes|
|Who can read it?||Anyone||Anyone, or only designated nodes, depending on the configuration. It is also possible to reveal only a subset of the database to only specific users|
|Where are stored the data?||Massively distributed around the world||On central servers or distributed among the designated nodes|
|Cons:||Not useful against censorship|
|Application fields:||Mostly business-to-business services|
How can I find a Ðapp for my business?
Although the Ðapps phenomenon started with payment methods and data certification (for which there already are blockchain standards), its influence and reach are hitting a multitude of industrial sectors. In the following table, we can see the investment Ðapps developers have received. What is most striking is the fact that the bulk of this money has gone to companies founded between 2012 and 2014, which notes a certain degree of consolidation.
The following is a detailed list of the most notable current Ðapps and initiatives.
For more about blockchain, read the study “Blockchain: building trust” from Rebel Thinking.