What are DApps?
Decentralized Applications (DApps) are open-source applications or programs that exist and run on a distributed network like a blockchain. Unlike other traditional applications, DApps are not controlled by a single entity on a centralized server. Instead, they have their backend code (smart contracts) running on a decentralized network. This means that no one person or entity will have entire control of the network.
DApps are a radical new way of building and operating applications. But from the user’s perspective, there is little to no difference between a traditional app and a decentralized app that runs on a blockchain. It could be a website or an app on a phone. What makes it different from the traditional apps is the decentralized network on which it is built.
All DApps will have smart contracts at their core. And since they are built and operated on blockchain networks, they will share all the advantages and disadvantages of a blockchain. And the most important aspects of DApps is its ability to maintain privacy, keep immutable records and bypass the middlemen.
Some of the leading DApps include the popular crypto collectible game, CryptoKitties; Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) like UniSwap and SushiSwap; and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) protocols like Compound and Aave. Today, most of the DApps run on the Ethereum blockchain. But recently more DApps are being built on other DApp platforms like Cardano, EOS and Polkadot.
What is a DApp Browser?
There are a growing number of DApps that are being developed on various DApp platforms. However, the use of these applications has always been somewhat cumbersome. Since all these DApps have a unique code, it meant that they may only work on specific platforms. And not all DApps worked on traditional browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Safari. This required the use of DApp browsers to specialize in opening various DApps.
These DApp browsers serve as a bridge between the DApps and their users. It allowed the users to use their mobile phones and desktops to interact with DApps. Some of these browsers are part of cryptocurrency wallets that can be used to receive Ethereum and ERC20 tokens and also store DeFi assets and NFT. Some of the most popular DApp browsers include MetaMask, Trust Wallet, Coinbase Wallet and Argent.
How to Open a DApp On a Desktop Computer
There are several DApp browsers that can be used to access DApps on a desktop.
MetaMask: MetaMask is one of the most popular DApp browsers. It uses a browser extension to enable easy interaction with DApps on a desktop. Browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, Brave and Edge. It is also available on browsers like Opera or Brave that are based on Chrome.
Coinbase Wallet: Coinbase Wallet also uses a browser extension to allow its customers to access DApps on a desktop. It is used as a gateway to access all the DApps through a web browser on a computer. Coinbase Wallet users also have another way to use their desktop computer for browsing DApps. This is done by linking the Wallet app to the DApp. For using this method, the user will have to scan a QR code using the Wallet app to have the DApp connected to Coinbase. The user will have to scan a QR code for each DApp that requires a wallet to proceed.
Argent: Argent does not have a browser extension like MetaMask or Coinbase. Instead, it uses WalletConnect to connect its mobile app to any desktop. The steps involved in doing this is similar to that of connecting DApps to Coinbase. When a user opens a DApp that requires a wallet, they have to look for an option to connect to a wallet. QR codes are then used to authorize the DApp to connect to the Argent wallet.
How to Open a DApp On Mobile
When it comes to using DApps on a mobile device, the user experience is much more simplified. Most of the DApp browsers are embedded in traditional Android and iOS apps that can be used to interact with Decentralized Applications. The process of accessing DApps on mobile remains the same across all DApp browsers.
- Trust Wallet: Trust Wallet mobile app has a fully functioning Web3 browser that can be used to interact with DApps. It can be used to connect to any DApp on the Binance Smart Chain and Ethereum. It also has a curated selection of DApps called DApps Marketplace.
- Argent: Argent is a smart wallet for crypto that also functions as a DApp browser. It focuses primarily on mobile. Argent makes it possible for the user to take actions on the wallet from the desktop all the while having the key and core control of the wallet on the mobile. DApps can be accessed using one of Argent’s Android or iOS app. Argent has its focus on Ethereum based DApps.
- Coinbase Wallet: It has to be noted that Coinbase Wallet is different from Coinbase.com. Coinbase Wallet is a secure wallet where all cryptos, tokens and NFTs can be stored by the user and not by the exchange. It also has a DApp browser to explore different DApps that are built on blockchains. It also has a section of curated DApps on Android.
- MetaMask: Apart from the browser extension, MetaMask also has Android and iOS apps that lets users explore blockchain applications. MetaMask enables users to store Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. Overall, the process of accessing DApps remains the same across all DApp browsers.