Ethereum is Blockchain technology with a difference with its smart contract system that is now driving a burgeoning market of decentralized apps built on the Blockchain.
Ethereum can support decentralized smart contracts, which essentially are protocols that facilitate, verify or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract in a transparent and unhackable manner. It is accomplished through a Turing-complete (as in Alan Turing) programing language.
Developers are now using this technology to build apps that operate in a decentralized and transparent manner, and although they are still a new form of technology, they are boosting the legitimacy and usefulness of Blockchains beyond currency.
Here are five of the best decentralized apps (dApps) running on the Ethereum network currently:
Very much like Minecraft in look and feel, Etheria’s whole world is stored on the Ethereum Blockchain.
Each tile of the virtual world is for sale and costs a full Ether. But, once purchased, the owner can send commands to their piece of land through the smart contract protocol which enacts them.
"Unlike Minecraft, which is centralized and owned by a major company, Etheria cannot be taken down."
It exists on the Blockchain and can not be hacked or altered. Furthermore, a person’s land can never be interfered with or restricted by anyone else.
As the name suggests, EtherTweet takes its function from Twitter, but this is a dApp that is a totally uncensored Blockchain-based communication platform.
"The interactions on EtherTweet are done through adding to the Blockchain, and just like Twitter, the messages, or Blockchain contributions are public and limited to 160 characters."
Once a message is published, it cannot be altered or removed, except by the publisher, and the accounts on the Blockchain can also receive Ether donations.
Essentially Raiden Network is a high-speed asset transfer for Ethereum and hopes to operate a bit like the Lightning Network proposed for Bitcoin but it is more complicated.
There is a lot that still needs to be addressed in rolling out this dApp, such as scalability, reliability, and low transaction and the ability to keep transaction fees as close to instant as possible.
"However, if successful, it is a development for Ethereum that could make it one of the go-to’s for seamless fund transfer."
TenX is another dApp that is hoping to explore Ethereum as a currency more than it currently is. It will do this by allowing users to use Ether at almost any Point of Sale on the planet.
"By partnering with Visa and Mastercard, TenX will sell physical cards that convert Ether to the appropriate fiat currency where it is swiped. Essentially, the design is that Ether linked to the cards can be spent like normal anywhere that accepts Visa and Mastercard."
On top of physical cards, TenX users can operate their Ethereum wallets, through TenX, to purchase items through their official app.
The Gnosis platform looks to create a decentralized prediction market where users vote on anything from the weather to election results.
"It is one of the more popular dApps available on the Ethereum Blockchain, and it also has its own token, ERC20, that operates independently from Ether."
In sum, Ethereum and its smart contracts system are allowing developers to build groundbreaking dApps on its Blockchain network that are far removed from digital currency.