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A decentralized application, or Dapp (pronounced Dee-app), refers to a software application that runs on a distributed or peer-to-peer (P2P) network of computers/nodes rather than from a single computer. That means, decentralized applications remain outside of the jurisdiction and control of one or a few central organizations.
The Zero Theft Movement, as an organization committed to principles of open data and the cryptocosm, has worked to create a Dapp to fight crony capitalism and the rigged economy. But more on that later.
The failure of hedge fund Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) reportedly cost $3.6 billion to save. Should the company have been left to fail?
What is a Dapp?
As far as what the user experiences (a.k.a. ‘the frontend’), a Dapp likely won’t feel or appear any different to any other apps. The difference rests in whether or not the application’s underlying code (a.k.a. ‘the backend code’) is running on a decentralized P2P network.
Think of any standard app you might frequently use—YouTube, Netflix, Uber, Twitter, and so on. The company that has built the application completely owns and operates it. They might ask for user feedback, but ultimately the company decides what goes.
Dapps, on the other hand, run on either a P2P or a distributed (blockchain) network. Torrenting applications, such as BitTorrent, operate on a P2P network, where users participate in downloading, ‘feeding,’ and ‘seeding’ files. An example for a Dapp operating on a blockchain network would be Bitcoin, the most famous cryptocurrency currently. Blockchain has a distributed public and permanent ledger, where each transaction appears linearly and chronologically. Every computer on the network has a complete and updated record of the blockchain.
- A Dappʼs ‘frontend’ rarely looks or feels any different to any other app.
- Its backend code operates on a decentralized P2P or blockchain network.
- In most cases, the backend is ‘Open Source.’ Meaning, anyone can access the ownerless code, build, and improve on it.
- The users govern Dapps, distributing the power among all participants. No central authority or individual has any more control over the network than anyone else. This concept can apply to a company or organization (known as decentralized autonomous organizations).
How does a Decentralized Network Operate?
For this section, we will focus on how a Dapp specifically runs on a blockchain network as that’s how we have built our voting platform.
Understanding how the backend works begin with learning about Ethereum and smart contracts. Other protocols can be used (e.g. EOS, NEO, Tron, etc.), but Ethereum remains the top choice for many developers.
The Ethereum Foundation (+ Smart Contracts)
Ethereum refers to a network protocol that enables users to create and run smart contracts over a decentralized network.
OK, one step back. What’s a network protocol?
A network protocol refers to a rule set that establishes how data transfers occur between all the different devices in a network. In short, it allows for devices, despite their individual designs, processes, and structures, to communicate with each other. Similar to how a shared language can facilitate interactions and communication between anybody who speaks it.
So, Ethereum is an established rule set that allows one device to ‘speak’ to others on the network. Then, you can perhaps think of smart contracts as the ‘words,’ the data you share.
In technical terms, a smart contract refers to code on the Ethereum blockchain that runs exactly as programmed—to be unchangeable and permanent. A smart contract can be a purchase you make with your credit card, a legal or medical record, information related to your identity. The code or logic is written into the contract, essentially acts as the middleman/central authority verifying the legitimacy of activities.
That’s how Dapps achieve secure decentralization, with carefully designed and comprehensively tested smart contracts. Thus, user protection from fraud and breaches depends on the quality of each Dapp’s smart contract, otherwise, users risk exposure without any central authority to protect them.
Megacorporations and their lobbyists could be heavily influencing legislation and regulation. Do your part and protect the U.S. economy by joining the Zero Theft Movement.
A Simple Equation
Take the frontend that likely looks and feels like any other app, combine that with a smart-contract backend, and you’ve got a Dapp.
The Benefits of Dapps
Perhaps, the fundamental benefit of Dapps is to establish a secure and equitable network for all participants. For example, in the current tech environment, tech corporations can collect and sell your personal data for extra profit. Or when you purchase something from a store and have to create an account that holds your credit card information, your personal information is getting saved on a centralized network.
These are the evils you have to accept to use some services, including necessary ones like having a bank account. If these authorities get breached, then all kinds of private information might go into the hands of bad actors.
Blockchain allows you to perform your day-to-day activities without actually having to input or expose any of your personal information. That’s all protected with the code. A hacker would have to change the code of each data block in the chain to breach the system. It’s near impossible for anyone to achieve such a thing without those on the network realizing what’s going on.
Furthermore, Ethereum eliminates the middleman in typical transactions. Therefore, you can reduce the time and monetary costs that come with purchasing property, for example. The highly structured nature of the blockchain also organizes all of your activities for you, making it easy for you to quickly access any important information when necessary.
Why the Zero Theft Movement Created a Dapp for Activism
We decided to make our activism platform a Dapp for those benefits mentioned above: the security, the permanence and immutability of data put on the blockchain, the distribution of power, and the independence the technology endows.
We deploy blockchain voting to create a permanent, verifiable record of voters, proposals, and votes that is public at all times.
What are the votes and proposals for?
Our community works together to investigate and debate specific areas of the economy where it might be rigged against the public. You decide whether (1) theft is or isn’t occurring in a specific area of the economy, and (2) how much is being stolen or possibly saved. Through direct democracy, we collectively decide where the problem areas are and start working on addressing them systematically.
Each vote or proposal gets deployed on the blockchain. Thus, if a major corporation tries to change the votes on a report exposing them, the blockchain can detect and invalidate the alterations. In the case a block gets corrupted, the data network allows for recovery.
The Zero Theft Movement is not for the privileged few; it’s truly made for everyone who wishes to participate. That’s why none of its creators have any more say than our votes, just like any other community member. To run this technology does, however, cost us, so we can only last with donations. These go straight back to running the blockchain and funding others’ proposals or votes. That’s how we can keep this movement independent from the influence of big money.
The Zero Theft Movement does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.
Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the article. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.