DApp vs. Smart Contract: What’s the Difference?

Smart contracts are the logic layer in Decentralized application programming. In this article, we compare DApps and Smart contracts.
By 

Anderson Ezie

 on April 8, 2022. 
Reviewed by 

Marcel Deer

What Are Dapps?

Decentralized applications (DApps), are automated programs or applications like Android and iOS apps. The difference is that they interact with smart contracts on the blockchain. Anyone can launch DApps using Web 3.0 enabled wallets from a browser or applications on mobile and desktop devices built to interact with the blockchain. An excellent example of such an application is Metamask, an everyday utility in the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem.

What Are Smart Contracts?

A smart contract is technically a code written on the blockchain that an external account can trigger. You can think about this as an immutable set of instructions representing agreements between individuals who intend to follow the rules written in the contract code. Upon fulfilling the requirements in the contract, anyone can send a request showing their fulfillment of these criteria to trigger the contract code. After the smart contract is started, the new state is published on the network of decentralized computers for nodes to add copies of the transaction to the network of computers that form the blockchain.

Difference Between Dapps and Smart Contracts

  • Compared with smart contracts, DApps are broader and often include smart contracts which define the logic of DApps, and what happens when requests are sent to the blockchain.
  • Smart contracts are by themselves meaningless to end-users, which is why DApps are necessary to sever as a layer that everyone can interact with.
  • While users need DApps to understand and interact with smart contracts, the virtual machine environment needs smart contracts to understand, record, update, and store requests from end-users.
  • DApps can be used by simply downloading a web app on mobile devices and moving funds to the respective wallet. To compile smart contracts you need an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) such as Remix.
  • Smart contracts are codes written in a Turing complete language like JavaScript. DApps are like everyday applications used to navigate and execute the logic defined in smart contracts.
  • The learning curve for DApps is not so steep. With time, nearly everyone should be able to use DApps. Smart contracts are much more complex, with knowledge about programming language essential for those wishing to create/deploy one.
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