The Ethereum platform allows developers to use it as a coding environment and distribution network for applications built on the blockchain.
The ability to create distributed applications on a blockchain is a novel idea that has gained a lot of momentum since Ethereum’s release. Developers can write and distribute their applications over the blockchain network, at little to no cost, while removing the necessity of running a website or a large server database because the blockchain satisfies these needs. The code for the application becomes part of the blockchain ledger, and users who wish to use some functionality of the decentralized application, or Ðapp as they are called, will submit requests to the Ethereum blockchain, pay the transaction fees for the distributed network to process the requests, and the network will call on the code of the Ðapp stored in the blockchain and process it using the computing power of the distributed network sometimes called the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
The EVM is code built into the Ethereum protocol that allows the network to function like a giant computer. Distributed computing is not an entirely new thing (such as the Folding project at Stanford University), but integrating it with an open-source blockchain is. Developers can release their own client software, which is the interface that users download to their home computers and use to communicate across the Ethereum network. The uses of distributed applications are many, and new ones are surfacing all the time. Some social networks have begun to launch as Ðapps, many security-related and financial programs are in development in various countries, and Ðapps for predicting markets and election outcomes, cloud storage, and identity are all examples of some of the Ðapps in development today. Ðapps are at the core of what makes Ethereum what it is.
Smart contracts, another feature of Ethereum, increase the possibilities for Ðapps to be used in advertising, licensing and ownership, and the “tokenization” of many things of value (which allows rights of ownership interest to be broken into tiny parts and transferred digitally), because the code will supplant the need for lawyers, lengthy documents, multiple copies, central databases, and signatures in many cases, all the while preserving an impeccable record of the ownership transfers that have occurred for a thing of value. Even persistent 3D game environments using the Ethereum protocol have been developed. It has been said that the possibilities are endless.
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