The Ethereum DApps ecosystem is thriving, and the potential for decentralized applications (DApps) is immense. Who wouldn’t want to participate?
Developers can now build applications with their own native coins or nonfungible tokens (NFTs) on secure blockchain networks to serve any purpose — from financial and industrial use cases to social media sites and, of course, for gaming.
Let’s look at some questions developers might have and how they can get started on an Ethereum DApp project.
What are DApps?
DApps are blockchain-based versions of the applications and software we use daily. They are powered with smart contract technology and built on smart contract-enabled blockchains like Ethereum.
The main benefits of DApps are that they can run on decentralized blockchains controlled by technology or community methods of governance rather than single corporate entities. With blockchain networks, DApp data doesn’t live in a single place, so there’s higher network security. DApps use cryptocurrencies, which makes allocating and transferring value, or making payments, far easier and less costly than fiat currency transactions.
Can you build DApps on Ethereum without experience?
For those who are already software or web developers, Ethereum DApp development might come naturally with an understanding of blockchain technology, smart contracts, Solidity programming language and cryptocurrencies.
There are also platforms in development that will allow developers to build DApps with less blockchain, programming and smart contract knowledge, but it’s helpful to have some development experience.
Which blockchain is best to create a DApp?
Ethereum’s longevity in the crypto space and its popularity often make it the preferred blockchain for DApp building. The network is still innovating; it is tried and tested and has an established ecosystem for DApp development. However, one may consider the transaction or Ethereum gas fees a crucial factor to weigh against other networks before embarking on any development initiatives.
Other smart contract blockchain networks include Solana, Polkadot, BNB Smart Chain, Eos, Tron and Cardano; each has its strengths and weaknesses compared to Ethereum.
The network chosen may have implications for the interoperability, scalability, security and cost of the DApp development, as well as dictate the community of DApp users that can be reached when launched.
To decide which blockchain is best to create a DApp, developers can begin by analyzing a DApp’s requirements and goals, as well as looking at the development expertise within the existing team or the team hired.
How many DApps run on Ethereum?
Over 3,000 DApps are running on Ethereum, with more in development. DappRadar is a popular site to check out the DApps on Ethereum and its competitor networks, as well as how many users each DApp has and how many transactions are processed.
Why build a DApp on Ethereum?
There are a number of smart contract blockchains to consider for those planning to build a DApp, but Ethereum is arguably the most popular and has the highest decentralized security.
Ethereum was the first smart contract blockchain, and it has a large developer community and repositories of open-source code available for new developers. It’s also a common choice for business developers looking to develop their own enterprise-level blockchain initiatives.
What are Ethereum DApps examples?
There are hundreds of popular Ethereum DApps and many more that are just building their user bases; here are a few established and well-used examples:
One of the most-used Ethereum DApps is the decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap, which has now seen over $1 trillion traded on the platform.
The OpenSea platform is one of the largest NFT marketplaces, with over 2 million NFT collections and 80 million individual NFTs for sale.
Both a cryptocurrency wallet and a gateway, or browser, for accessing blockchain-based applications, MetaMask is known as a user-friendly crypto tool.
This NFT-based game is a great example of an in-play virtual economy in action, and it’s one of the most popular DApp games.
How to build an Ethereum DApp
Aspiring developers can begin an Ethereum DApp development by considering what a DApp needs and its purpose. Then, the next step is to start researching Ethereum DApp development tools and processes.
DApp and smart contract development can be complex, and it’s certainly different from conventional web or software development. A sensible place to begin in-depth research is Ethereum’s Developer Resources, which is “a builders manual for Ethereum.” As a decentralized application tutorial, it’s one of the most comprehensive.
Five elements to consider while building an Ethereum DApp
An Ethereum DApp development project will need to be planned in detail, just like any business or project. To map out how to build a DApp on Ethereum, here are a few more components to research first:
1. Development environment, tools and smart contracts
Once a development team is finalized, a DApp will need a development environment, usually a blockchain-based testnet, where Ethereum DApp architecture can be built and tested using applicable development tools. Smart contracts also have to be expertly designed and written.
Blockchain networks can be more secure for financial transactions than traditional systems, but it’s not feasible to skimp on Ethereum DApp security. Cryptographic security is complex, and it needs to be understood well or expert-driven, remembering that blockchain networks and cryptocurrencies are frequently targeted by hackers and scammers.
3. Front-end development and user experience
Front-end DApp development usually happens after the DApp architecture and smart contract build. A front-end web or Web3 application might use more conventional development tools, but the user experience will need to be designed in detail, too, to ensure a project’s success.
4. Ethereum DApp testing and debugging
Developers planning to build on Ethereum benefit from blockchain technology that has been used and tested, as well as open-source code repositories to help with new projects. However, developers must also test and debug new DApp builds, smart contracts and UI/UX, as there’s nothing worse than launching software that doesn’t work!
5. DApp deployment
An Ethereum DApp deployment will be the last element of a project and probably the most exciting. Once testing and debugging is complete, a DApp is taken out of its testnet and deployed to the Ethereum mainnet, where it can be used by customers. At this stage, a project’s sales and marketing will begin in earnest.
How much does it cost to build a DApp on Ethereum?
Developers with experience who build their own DApps using the Ethereum development tools available may experience lower build costs. For developers or entrepreneurs looking to hire a DApp developer or an Ethereum DApp development team, estimates can run from $15,000 and upward for a simple DApp to $30,000 and upward for a more complex DApp or to hire a more experienced developer.
Challenges associated with DApp development on the Ethereum blockchain
Building a DApp on Ethereum or any other blockchain will be without its challenges. Here are a few that might need to be anticipated:
There are already over 3,000 DApps built on Ethereum, so any new DApp development must compete, at least within the Ethereum community, for attention.
Scalability, speed, security, interoperability and decentralization
Every smart contract blockchain is still working on sufficiently answering blockchain’s promises and the inherent challenge of delivering the ability of projects to scale for mainstream use and become interoperable with other projects and technologies while retaining security and decentralization.
Transaction or gas fees and crypto price volatility
Every transaction within a DApp generates transaction fees — in Ethereum’s case, gas fees — which are usually passed on to DApp users. Crypto coins or tokens associated with DApps will also experience the price volatility felt by the broader market.
Availability of expertise/smart contract complexity
Blockchain development is still a very new profession, so there’s a real shortage of seasoned experts, and smart contracts still have their technological limitations for developers to navigate.
Lack of sector regulation
As crypto coins and tokens, including those used in DApps, have yet to be comprehensively regulated, there’s much uncertainty when developing these digital currencies.
Outside of the crypto community, DApp functionalities can be difficult for consumers used to conventional apps to get to grips with, and many consumers are still unsure about using cryptocurrencies.