How to Develop Blockchain Apps

A closer look at blockchain-based app development cycle and industries benefiting from blockchain.

How to Develop Blockchain Apps

Online payments, e-banking and virtual currencies seemed incredible 15 years ago, but now they are a routine part of our daily lives. Day by day, blockchain is following the same trajectory.

Through the usage of decentralized applications (dapps) come many benefits in the financial sphere:

  • Cheaper and faster international money transfers.
  • The use of smart contracts, which are programs that automatically verify and facilitate the implementation of agreements.
  • More reliable user identification. Network members enter personal information about themselves, which is used to enhance transaction security.
  • Revolutionized stock trading. In the long run, technology can replace brokers and decentralize the stock exchange.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at blockchain-based apps, sort out how Dapp development cycle looks like, and decide which industries will benefit from using blockchain.

Industries That Should Implement Blockchain

Photo from unsplash.com At first glance, it may seem that blockchain is the silver bullet needed to propel many industries to the next technological level. However, everything is not so simple.

If your industry, for the most part, isn’t connected with money transactions and/or data security, then blockchain architecture can be a waste of money. Judge for yourself — you hire a blockchain developer, along with a tester or an agency, pay quite a good deal of money, and… nothing changes. On the other hand, companies with a big foothold in the aforementioned industries and use cases can benefit enormously from the use of blockchain technology.

Authorship and Ownership

Artists and creative people are those that need to confirm and maintain the rights of authorship. Blockchain is great at facilitating this process. Here smart contracts can come in handy as well as digital certificates. Moreover, blockchain-based applications for artists can provide a mechanism for transferring ownership (and all the legal aspects it entails) from an artist or author to a buyer or collector. Some of the services that specialize in this include Binded, Verisart, Monegraph, and Proofofexistence.

Operations with Goods and Raw Materials

A blockchain-based application created for this field allows private parties all over the world to buy gold and silver bars safely and efficiently. The ability to “tie” every gram of gold or other raw materials to a digital cryptocurrency will help it to be once again seen as a trusted asset. An example of a company involved in this niche is The Real Asset Company.

Data Management

The use of distributed registers outside the financial sector is also especially effective in the field of data management. Businesses, governments, and non-profit organizations use blockchain-based applications to simplify recordkeeping procedures and record information about business processes. Such solutions allow business to be conducted in accordance with the security and regulatory requirements of a certain market. For instance, more and more everyday objects function with the help of IoT connectivity. And it is extremely important to de-risk IoT data. The use of blockchain can provide data integrity and the needed level of security.

Digital Identity, Authentication and Proof of Access

Photo from unsplash.com A number of companies use distributed register technology in solutions designed to identify and confirm access rights. Here, blockchain is not only used for the purposes of transferring funds. Decentralized distributed registries can be used to store any type of data and perform various transactions in an open and safe way. Moreover, the creation of an identity in a blockchain can provide individuals with greater control over who accesses their personal data; they can even modify how much information is shared, depending on the group viewing the data.

E-voting

The possibility of holding elections without fraud has always been a problem, with sometimes lax or faulty systems giving credence to cries of fraud from the losing side. Blockchain eliminates the possibility of manipulating results. We can see an example of this process in Estonia, where in February 2016, the government announced that the state platform e-Residency would be used to simplify the blockchain-voting process at company shareholder meetings.

Gambling and video games

Blockchain has also found fans in the gambling and video game industries. Numerous games offer the ability to plunge into virtual worlds while mining blockchain blocks (without explicitly calling it that). This gamification makes an otherwise long task enjoyable. Among other advantages, all data about the in-game world, as well as all players’ actions are stored in the decentralized blockchain database. This eliminates the possibility of a player’s merchandise being stolen.

Healthcare

Photo from pexels.com Medicine is one of the most significant pillars of the national economy and, at the same time, one of the most underdeveloped. Obsolete processes and outdated infrastructure are the main obstacles. This is especially noticeable in the developing countries. However, blockchain is what can be a gamechanger, modernizing legacy systems and ensuring the safe and fast exchange of confidential medical information of every patient between institutions.

What’s a DApp?

DApp is the abbreviation of decentralized application. The main feature of such an app is that its backend code runs on a decentralized peer-to-peer network. Dapps are developed with the help of special decentralized platforms that provide their unique code to other developers. The most renowned is the Bitcoin platform, yet with the appearance of new options, it is no longer the front-runner when considering technical and functional aspects. Here are three alternatives to Bitcoin:

Ethereum

Without question, first place goes to the Ethereum platform. Created by Vitalik Buterin in 2015, it is one of the most popular open source platforms, providing all the functions needed to seamlessly introduce blockchain. In 2017, out of the top cryptocurrencies, more than 30 were based on Ethereum’s platform. UNICEF, Lufthansa, Sberbank, and BTB Bank also expressed their interest in the platform.

Cardano

Cardano is like Ethereum but way better. This is due to the fact that the co-founder of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson, created it. Because of this, Cardano is often called “Ethereum-Killer”. In reality, Charles simply took the best parts of Ethereum and improved the less desirable parts. In some circles, it is said that Cardano offers the best white paper because of this. One of the most positive features of Cardano is that it allows transaction information to be separated into two layers.

NEO

NEO, of Chinese origin, is another of Ethereum’s competitors. Its creator Da Hongfei is supported by the Chinese government even though there has been a massive clampdown on cryptocurrencies. Taking into account the fact that the Chinese audience is the biggest one, NEO has every chance to succeed in the nearest future. In the meantime, developers all over the world rejoice in the fact that all they need to know to adopt NEO is Java and C#, which are among the most often used programming languages.

Lifecycle of Blockchain App Development

Photo from unsplash.com If you have read up until this point and are convinced that you need a blockchain-based application for your product or service, then we believe you’re ready to proceed with creation. But where to begin? What are the different stages of creation? If you don’t have answers to these questions, no need to worry. We’ve prepared a detailed roadmap for you, explaining exactly what you need to do, and how.

Specify the Pain Solved and the Goal

Any development process begins with the answer to the question "why?", that is, what problem the application solves, how it will be useful to certain people. Sometimes in the course of such analysis, it may even become clear that blockchain services are not needed in this particular case. Thus, we advise you to devote as much time as possible to this crucial stage.

Don’t forget to define success criteria - how you’re going to measure the end result. For this purpose, a proof-of-concept approach can come in handy.

Define an Appropriate Consensus Mechanism

To ensure orchestrated blockchain functioning, where people reach an agreement easily considering the validity of transactions, you need to choose the type of consensus mechanism. There are many of them. Proof-of-Stake and Proof-of-Work may sound familiar to you. However, you can safely choose another one if you want, for instance, Byzantine Fault Tolerance, Directed Acyclic Graph, Distributed Hash Table, Proof of Location, Proof of Activity, and more. Find a detailed list here.

Choose a platform

The choice of a platform for a blockchain is incredibly important. It should be taken as seriously as the type of foundation used when building a house. Therefore, you should always pay attention to the quality of the white paper, the common pros and cons, as well as the quality of the support team. The names of the most popular platforms have already been named in this article, but we advise you to expand your horizons and read about BigChainDB, Hyperledger Fabric, and Quorum as well.

Choose the Type of Architecture

Photo from unsplash.com The choice of architecture defines potential future scalability. There are three options when we choose architecture: cloud-based, in-house or a hybrid model. If you are striving for agility, we advise you to choose a cloud model.

Plan the App Configuration Process

The smooth operation of a blockchain-based application lies in the careful configuration of the platform the app is based on. It’s better to think ahead regarding such things as user permissions, asset issuance and reissuance mechanism, atomic exchanges, consensus, key management and structure, parameters, signatures, hand-shaking and address formats. Giving this considerable thought can significantly save you time and resources in the long run. If you feel that you do not understand this stage, it is better to consult a specialist.

Develop APIs

When creating an application, regardless of whether it’s an iOS app or Android app, ready-to-use APIs are utilized in most cases. Yet, developing a blockchain-based app, be ready to create separate APIs depending on the required functions of your future application.

Think about the Admin and User Interface

Now it’s time to decide how users will interact with your application and how it will be managed in general. For this, you need to develop admin and user interfaces. At this point, you have to choose a frontend programming language, servers, and a database.

Proof-of-Concept Scaling and Problem Determination

74% of high growth startups fail because of ill-conceived scaling. Those that scale correctly succeed 20 times faster. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate and validate the idea of your app before. After that, allow your target audience to use your app according to the MVproo(minimal viable product) model. This will give you an opportunity to see what you need to change, omit, or add.

We believe that the blockchain technology is rapidly changing how we do economy and business today. And it is a high time for everyone to consider the opportunity to use it. We hope that this article has been useful for you and maybe even inspired you to introduce blockchain into your product or service.

The Exyte team has developed several Ethereum-based projects ranging from ICOs to DAO-like apps, games, and auctions, implementing custom pseudo-random number generators, integration with oracles (Oraclize.it), multiple initial coin offering contracts, and many others. If you’re ready to create your high-end blockchain-application, contact us personally!

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