There is an inherent problem with applications that are hosted on the traditional internet. Usually, modern applications require closed-source server-side backends in order to maintain security, privacy, and functional efficiency. This leads to an inherent lack of transparency. End-users have no insight into what happens to their personal data nor any control over how it is used. This situation is being taken advantage of by corporations and applications of all sizes, who can implement intrusive data tracking methods for purposes of e.g. unauthorized monetization of user data or influencing political campaigns.
Blockchain technology introduces a new ability for projects to make key elements of their applications’ server-side backend code truly transparent, giving end-users complete insight into what happens to their data. Applications can also take advantage of new technologies that are provided by blockchain, such as smart contracts, verification of data legitimacy, self-sovereign digital identity, and tokenized digital assets. Applications that deeply integrate with blockchain technology are often referred to as decentralized applications, or dApps.
Modern public blockchain platforms (such as NEO and Ethereum) are currently witnessing a sharp increase in development and distribution of new, ambitious dApps.
To facilitate the anticipated growth in consumer-level adoption, dApps need to be as
user-friendly as “traditional” internet services that regular consumers are familiar with. Currently this not the case:
- dApps may introduce their own crypto-currency token (e.g. based on the NEO NEP-5 Standard or the Ethereum ERC-20 Standard) which often play an essential role in application functionalities. Therefore, users who wish to interact with multiple dApps must acquire different tokens through means of trading on crypto-currency exchanges. The activities required to purchase and manage these tokens are far too complicated for consumer-level end-users, and therefore act as a roadblock to mainstream adoption of decentralized applications.
- Many consumers are not aware of the various security considerations when using dApps. Many applications require interaction with user-owned crypto-currency wallets, which are secured by a private key. A typical phishing approach by hackers is to hijack the domain names of such applications. In these instances, a user may unknowingly give bad actors access to their crypto-currency wallet, leading to a loss of funds. Browser plug-ins such as Metamask  provide far more secure methods of interacting with web-based decentralized applications. However, as the EtherDelta and MyEtherWallet domain hijackings have shown, a substantial amount of dApp users remain sensitive to unknowingly authorizing malicious transactions, even when using such browser plug-ins.
- Discoverability remains limited for dApps, creating a barrier to widespread adoption. The existing high difficulty of dApp development withholds many projects from achieving production-readiness.