Blockchain App Development: A Comprehensive Guide
- September 8, 2023
- 358 views
- 18 minutes
Wondering what is the latest buzzword in the technology world? Blockchain it is, for sure! Well, the craze around blockchain technology has not subsided yet because of its quintessential properties, decentralization being one of them.
Other significant characteristics of blockchain development are immutability, transparency, and security. These exemplary advantages are compelling organizations from every industry vertical to take advantage of this ingenious technological invention, Blockchain.
Blockchain promises to transform the digital world by bringing in a lot of new opportunities for businesses across the globe.
To help you open up new growth horizons, we have curated this definitive guide to blockchain app development covering all its stages, types, frameworks, and security considerations.
So, let’s get exploring them!
Table of contents
- Blockchain App Development: A Quick Overview
- DApps and Traditional Apps: What is the difference?
- Blockchain Application: Latest Trends, Statistics, and Market Overview
- Types of Blockchain Applications and Their Use Cases
- Key Components of Blockchain App Development
- Best Blockchain Development Platforms for Building Apps
- How to Build a Blockchain App: Step-by-Step Guide
- Top Languages for Blockchain App Development
- Security Considerations for Blockchain App Development
- Future of Blockchain App Development: Trends and Predictions
1. Blockchain App Development: A Quick Overview
Blockchain apps are decentralized applications (dApps) that are built using blockchain technology. These apps are completely different from traditional applications as they are developed on peer-to-peer decentralized networks.
Blockchain apps or dApps store data, exchange information, and execute transactions, on a shared distributed ledger, thus making it absolutely resistant to censorship.
From the definition, you can understand that there is no single point of control or authority on the blockchain network. Payments are automatically executed, with money and data shared transparently and securely without any intermediary.
2. DApps and Traditional Apps: What is the difference?
From the user’s endpoint, a blockchain app looks the same as that of a traditional app. The front end, which is the graphical user interface, looks familiar to the users. So they can use dApps without any trouble while enjoying all the benefits of blockchain.
DApps basically differ from regular mobile apps in the backend functionalities and features. To build traditional and ordinary apps, mobile app developers run the backend codes on a centralized server.
In contrast, the development of decentralized apps requires backend codes to run on a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) network.
Here’s one simple example to help you get a clearer understanding of their differences.
dApps are integrated with crypto wallets that allow users to trade cryptocurrencies seamlessly in seconds once the conditions of smart contracts are met. However, ordinary apps require the involvement of a trusted third party like banks, to initiate and complete financial transactions from the app.
In a nutshell, blockchain applications eliminate the need for an intermediary for making payments because it allows users to store digital currencies and assets safely in their apps.
3. Blockchain Application: Latest Trends, Statistics, and Market Overview
“The global blockchain technology market was valued at 5.85 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. This is forecast to reach 1,235.71 billion U.S. dollars by 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate of 82.8 percent.”
– Raynor de Best, Research Expert at Statista
If you don’t believe what you just read, take a look at the numbers and statistics drawn from top reliable sources in the industry to realize the unprecedented growth of blockchain technology.
- As per the State of the DApps reports, there are nearly 4,000 decentralized applications at present in the industry.
- The blockchain market which was worth $1.57 billion in 2018 is anticipated to grow to $20 billion by 2024, as per Dot Com Infoway study
- Central banks of 9 countries have launched their digital currencies.
- 71% of business leaders of various industries are of the belief that blockchain will bring tremendous benefits to their businesses.
- The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of the global blockchain market is expected to be 82.4% between the time span of 2021 and 2028.
No wonder, these figures have left you startled and you are thinking about the driving forces behind this unstoppable growth.
Well, one of the key trends of dApps is the integration of automated and self-executing smart contracts that ease transactions without the need for intermediaries. Another factor is the increasing demand for secure and transparent data sharing and payments in business operations.
4. Types of Blockchain Applications and Their Use Cases
As we already know, blockchain is a modern-day Web3 technology focusing on decentralization and user data control and ownership. It has secured its place in leading industries like banking & finance, logistics, supply chain, and corporate organizations.
Companies are hiring blockchain development companies to explore the benefits of blockchain in business by implementing futuristic solutions and gaining a competitive advantage.
So, let’s take a specific look at the areas of blockchain applications based on their types and industries.
Financial Blockchain Apps
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) applications are online platforms facilitating quick and secure cryptocurrency transactions. Other than a decentralized crypto exchange, services that you can enjoy in DeFi apps are –
- Currency Swap & Exchange – DeFi apps offer crypto investors a trusted mode of cryptocurrencies and tokens swap and exchange. Besides trading crypto coins, you can use DeFi applications to borrow and lend funds, store funds in the crypto wallet, etc.
Metasmask Swap is an ideal example of a DeFi app that gives users the privilege of accessing the largest variety of tokens at the most competitive prices.
- Prediction Markets – This functions the same way as the stock exchange market but instead of trading stocks or shares, investors bet on the results of certain events such as elections, sports, etc. The role of dApps here is to help users make predictions based on scenarios and vote on the outcomes of the events.
- Gaming – The advent of blockchain technology unravels earning opportunities for players through Play-to-earn blockchain games. Users earn tokens by trading in-game assets and also enjoy complete control over their bids. In fact, they can safely store their digital assets and tokens in their crypto wallets.
Alien Worlds is an NFT-based metaverse game where users can play using NFTs or digital collectibles. Rewards get collected in the blockchain wallet in this decentralized game where gamers compete against each other while exploring planets.
- Auctions – It allows users to create auctions, place bids in real-time, and use Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs). Auctions in DeFi apps assure the invariability of bids, eliminating the chances of bid manipulations.
Non-financial Blockchain Apps
This type of blockchain application deals with user identification and authentication and is also implemented by organizations to secure their user data.
- User Identification – Using decentralized apps, the user information can be end-to-end encrypted. To keep identities anonymous, users are provided with a unique ID or a key comprising secure codes. The users’ profiles are verified and validated on the blockchain network using those secure codes to maintain honesty and transparency in an organization.
- Data Storage – Blockchain-based applications are also used for providing disk space, data storage, or communication networks in exchange for tokens. One such example is the SAFE Network where users traded Safecoin tokens to buy decentralized storage in the network.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)
DAOs are decentralized management systems that companies form without the presence of a leader. Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) app development is powered by blockchain in which operations are executed by Smart contracts, all thanks to Ethereum.
DAO frees an organization from the responsibility of forming an administrative and management team comprising a chief or head, accountants, lawyers, and other staff. Everything is automated here which minimizes human involvement and eliminates corruption or manipulation.
One of the best real-life use cases of DAO is the Uniswap Governance which lets organizations organize voting, share proposals, discuss business-critical issues, and more, using the governance apps.
5. Key Components of Blockchain App Development
Blockchain apps are poised to reshape the way the financial and economic systems in the world. However, to build such an app, blockchain development companies need to take into account the integral factors that are elementary in the design and development of a dApp. Let’s discuss these blockchain components in more detail.
- Blockchain Platform
The selection of a blockchain platform plays a key role in ensuring the efficacy of your blockchain application. While some are single cryptocurrency-based, some use multiple tokens.
So, before anything else, you need to determine which type of platform is suitable for your purpose because this will speed up your app development process.
- Smart contract
The second most important thing that every developer needs to pay attention to is the integration of smart contracts.
As you might know, smart contracts are self-enforcing and automated virtual contracts with a set of validated protocols that participants need to adhere to before any transactions are executed and processed.
- Consensus Protocol
Since there is no central authority in a blockchain network, consensus protocol is used to reach consensus and make the environment trustworthy for the participants.
Different blockchain platforms are based on different consensus protocols such as Proof of Work (POW), Proof of Stake (POS), Proof of Authority (POA), Proof of Burn (POB), and Proof of Elapsed Time (POET). So, as per your choice of protocol you need to select the blockchain platform.
- Cryptocurrency Support
Blockchain applications are further categorized based on cryptocurrency support. You need to decide first when your dApp will be equipped with cryptocurrency support – single or multi-currency support.
Crypto-based Blockchain solutions include the integration of a crypto wallet and crypto-exchange platform for trading cryptocurrencies. It also covers Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) platform development to raise funds by creating and introducing new coins in the crypto market.
- Public or Private Network
Blockchain networks can be permissionless (public) and permissioned (private) which needs to be decided before starting off with the app development. A private blockchain is a controlled and closed blockchain ecosystem where only authorized users can join with permission.
Participants in a public blockchain network don’t require any permission or authorization to access the database or initiate transactions. Although a public shared network, data stored are immutable and user identities are also hidden, thus promoting transparency and security.
While building a high-performing blockchain application, the scalability of the platform should be given serious attention which brings us to the term – Scalability Trilemma. The scalability factor is dependent on the three core aspects of blockchain – speed, decentralization, and security.
Every blockchain developer should try to achieve at least two of these characteristics. Apart from this, the focus should be laid on the transaction capabilities of the platform.
6. Best Blockchain Development Platforms for Building Apps
While there are numerous blockchain platforms, the most popular ones that are generally considered for developing Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and dApp development are discussed in this segment of this article.
Released in 2013, this open-source and public platform is the most-liked blockchain platform of developers and the reasons are manifold. Firstly, it allows them to design their own blockchain ecosystem as well as applications with Solidity, a popular programming language for blockchain.
It is generally considered the best platform because it boasts comprehensive support for smart contract creation and is fully decentralized.
The EOS platform is beneficial for building the robust decentralized infrastructure of blockchain applications. EOS is equipped with smart contract capabilities that result in the creation of high throughput and user-oriented applications enabling seamless transition of business processes.
The major advantages of this blockchain platform are permissioned management, faster transactions, higher scalability, and quick deployment.
Multichain in private blockchain empowers blockchain professionals to craft and deploy blockchain applications in permissioned and controlled networks which are meant to be used within multiple organizations.
It is an open-source and permissioned blockchain network used for building blockchain solutions with extensible and unique architecture. For enterprise dApps based on a fully-vetted and flexible architecture, Hyperledger Fabric is the right pick.
Launched in 2016, R3 Corda is a permissioned DLT that is primarily used for blockchain app development in the supply chain, finance, and healthcare sectors.
The R3 Corda platform is designed for interoperability, privacy, and security. Moreover, this open-source platform is used for building ready-to-deploy blockchain applications by fostering interconnected private and public networks.
This blockchain platform has its own cryptocurrency called XRP. Ripple allows blockchain app development integrated with payment systems supporting faster transactions in cryptocurrencies.
The significant benefits that users of blockchain apps built with Ripple can enjoy are processing transactions in seconds, end-to-end visibility, and lower operating costs.
7. How to Build a Blockchain App: Step-by-Step Guide
Hopefully, by now, the essentials of blockchain app development are clear to you. Let’s proceed to the overview of the steps involved in the development of dApp.
This step-by-step guide will guide you through the necessary stages in blockchain app development, starting from ideation to transforming it into a well-functioning application.
Step 1: Defining Idea
The first thing you need to do is to come up with an idea for your dApp and for this, a precise understanding of the purpose of utilizing blockchain application is pivotal.
Although this sounds like a very simple task, in reality, it is quite daunting because simply having an idea is not enough. You need to ensure that it is feasible and attainable by the developers. Proper research, discovering use cases, and conducting brainstorming sessions are a few tips that you can follow to bring a successful and confident application idea.
Step 2: Choosing the ideal blockchain platform
Identifying the use case for your blockchain app development will help you choose the blockchain type and platform that caters to your project needs. As discussed earlier, the most prominent blockchain platforms are Ethereum, EOS, Hyperledger Fabric, and R3 Corda.
Each platform has its unique specialties and traits which further aid in your selection of the right platform. The choice of platform is imperative in determining the success of your blockchain app.
Step 3: Blockchain App Design
The best way to design your dApp is to find some similar references, incorporate your visual ideas, and share them with the team of professional UI/UX designers to bring your concept to life.
While designing the blockchain app architecture, the designers need to have a grasp of the complex blockchain technology. Also, to design uniform and intuitive user interfaces, every element, every screen page, navigation, and interaction should align with user needs and make them feel connected.
Step 4: Develop a Prototype
Prototype development for your blockchain solution helps blockchain engineers test the feasibility of your proposed idea on your selected blockchain platform. To be precise, it allows you to check the practicality of the application i.e. how it will actually work in real life.
In addition to this, prototype development assists in identifying the problems beforehand and finding ways to solve them before they impact the actual implementation.
Step 5: Set up your Blockchain Development Environment
The step of setting up the development environment covers multiple tasks, from installing the required software and necessary libraries to setting up a testnet to test the application without investing money initially.
A secure, robust, and scalable blockchain development environment ensures that the dApp functions properly as intended before final deployment in the mainnet.
Step 6: Building Blockchain Solution
Developing a blockchain app requires developers to write smart contract codes to run on the blockchain network, dictating the terms and conditions of how the participants will behave. The codes need to be written meticulously by keeping an eye for detail and leaving no room for errors.
The smart contract powers up the blockchain app development process because they are unbreakable and utilized for processing financial transactions faster and securely through the app.
Apart from smart contract creation and integration, the development stage includes choosing the method of consensus, nodes’ interaction with the users, and employing dialect for the app project.
Step 7: Testing the Application
Once all the aspects of the development phase are taken care of and the coding is finished, comes the role of Quality Assurance (QA) engineers. Before deploying your app, the QA team will run a complete regression test to ensure that every single facet of the app works out flawlessly.
Here, the blockchain development company you’ve hired will also ensure that the dApp abides by the guidelines, terms, and conditions of the Google Play Store or App Store to get it approved in the first place only.
Step 8: Deploy the application
Once the smart contract is written and your application is tested by QA engineers, your app is ready to deploy and release in the market. It will be now available to the public for use.
To be on the safer side, the performance and functionality of the application are cross-checked and data user analytics are also taken into consideration after the deployment process is done.
As soon as the app gets published on the app stores, your target audience starts downloading and installing it. This is when real users use and interact with your decentralized application while generating returns from your app investment.
Step 9: Monitoring, Maintenance, and Support
The blockchain development team’s job is not done yet! After releasing your app in the market, continual monitoring of the app and keeping an eye on the app’s performance is a must. This ensures that your app caters to your user’s needs and meets up to their expectations.
The support and maintenance process entails regular updating of the blockchain frameworks, libraries, and operating systems. The presence of a steady support team ensures that if your app encounters any technical glitches or bugs, it gets fixed right away.
Also, upgrading your app to the latest version, integrating additional features, and making modifications to align with the business requirements are also a part of this step.
Step 10: App Marketing & Promotion
Merely publishing your app on the app stores, Google Play and App Store, is not enough to guarantee the success of your app. You need to go out of your way to grab and retain the attention of your target audience.
Most of the time, companies rely on the services of a trusted digital marketing company to plan and adopt effective app promotion strategies. A few of them include –
- App Store Optimization
- Social media marketing
- Paid promotion
- Influencer marketing
- Email marketing
The goal is to make the most of all the promotional channels to spread awareness among users about your application.
8. Top Languages for Blockchain App Development
Like blockchain development platforms, there are myriad programming languages that a developer can choose for blockchain application development. You can either go for traditional languages like Java, C++, Rust, and Python or adopt blockchain-specific advanced programming languages like Solidity and Simplicity.
Here is a brief overview of the topmost popular languages for blockchain applications.
This is, undoubtedly, the most popular choice of programming language for blockchain developers. The reason behind its soaring popularity is that it is a statically typed programming language, specifically suitable for the development of smart contracts on Ethereum to run on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
If you are seeking a reliable solution for implementing self-regulatory and self-enforcing business logic via smart contracts on Ethereum, they trust none other than Solidity. It leads to an authoritative and non-repudiable record of transactions.
Simplicity is a low-level and blockchain-specific programming language, mostly used for writing smart contracts. The language is very easy to understand and is seen as an alternative to Bitcoin script and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
Although this language is still a work in progress or under development, it utilizes static analysis for implementation and allows you to easily verify the security and safety of the program.
If you are willing to pick a long-established and traditional programming language for your blockchain app, Java is the answer! With its vast ecosystem of developer-friendly tools and libraries and proven track record of numerous enterprise application development, it assures great scalability and reliability.
Python is another top pick among the standard and customary languages because of its comprehensibility. Also, its flexibility and readability make it ideal for smart contract development.
Being a scripted language, it makes the job of blockchain app developers easy. They do not need to write much and compile. By providing them with the option of pre-compiling smart contract codes, it simplifies the process of coding.
C++ is a very powerful and highly demanding programming language among the developers of blockchain apps. It is best suited for crafting complex and high-performing applications and hence, mostly used by larger corporations. It is also a compiled language, where codes are automatically translated into machine code before execution.
Although comparatively a newer language, it is becoming popular for blockchain app development for its concurrency features. With excellent tool and library support, Rust offers great scalability, security, and safety.
Apps built with Rust are capable of handling larger volumes of transactions and do away with runtime overheads.
9. Security Considerations for Blockchain App Development
What follows next are the areas of security controls that are considered to be requisites to protect your blockchain applications from cyber threats and breaches.
Any application that exists in a corporate setting requires strong governance models and regulatory requirements to establish trust and solid governance in the system, And when the application is blockchain-based, the need becomes more severe.
Having industry-specific regulatory requirements and compliance with GDPR-equivalent privacy measure implementation, such as data confidentiality, are necessary to protect the data privacy of the network participants.
Furthermore, third parties participating in the network, by interacting with nodes, must also adhere to the same sets of security and regulatory standards.
Application Layer Protection
Another major challenge that comes your way is the protection of your decentralized application layer. Security engineers need to have a solid understanding of blockchain technology and the intricacies of its components like smart contracts and system security.
To ensure a secure development environment for the application, routine code reviews, employing pre-approved software libraries, and patching are necessary considering the automated nature of smart contracts.
Smart contracts code scrutiny
Rigorous code scrutiny is imperative to avoid unfortunate instances like the “DAO hack” or “reentrancy attack” incident. A more thorough and incisive review of the code could have prevented the smart contract design mishap which was the main reason for the attack.
Smart contracts depend on data derived from external sources like crypto exchange rates and smart sensor measurements. Therefore, data integrity checks and robust input validation becomes vital to safeguard the system’s integrity and functionality.
Although blockchain is a new and breakthrough technology, it still relies on traditional components for its infrastructure development which makes it prone to standard hacking and malware attacks.
As a result, enforcing traditional security protection standards like patch management on all nodes and scanning vulnerabilities becomes mandatory. Additionally, deploying a dedicated Virtual Private Network (VPN) gateway can establish g inter-node connectivity while assuring secure communications among geographically dispersed nodes.
The DAO incident highlights the significance of resilience in blockchain app design. To ensure this, organizations should prioritize secure and robust key management practices.
Moreover, they should stay vigilant against cryptanalysis threats and advancements. By incorporating these considerations into their security control systems, you can mitigate risks effectively.
10. Future of Blockchain App Development: Trends and Predictions
The blockchain market overview highlighted in section three of this article indicates that the market is still far away from saturation. An obvious reason is that a bulk of mobile users either still do not have any clue about blockchain technology or have just a hazy understanding.
However, this is very typical of any modern and emerging technology. Also, the stats and rising trends imply that after a few years, picturing a life without blockchain technology will be impossible.
With its unparalleled potential, it is expected to revamp existing business models in several ways. Some of them are mentioned below.
For transactions – Digital currencies will become the new normal. It will not only be the most cost-effective option for making transactions but also be the faster and safer mode for processing payments.
Cloud storage – Secure and distributed cloud storage facilities with the help of blockchain technology will give customers an enhanced experience while storing data. They can now store data faster and conveniently on the cloud without worrying about security issues.
Notary Purpose – Blockchain-based applications are also leveraged for notary purposes like legal formalities, certifying contracts, and authentication purposes. The secure nature of blockchain technology makes it ideal for notary creation services and validation pursuits.
Logistics & Supply – Supply chain management involves tracking and exchange of information in real-time among multiple entities. A single point of failure will affect the whole chain impacting the overall process. Blockchain applications can help tackle this. It offers the stakeholders a secure, transparent, auditable, immutable, and permanent record of information that can be accessible from anywhere. SkuChain is a real-life use case where blockchain streamlines the whole process of supply chain management.
We hope this guide has been able to provide you with all the answers you need for blockchain application development.
No doubt, decentralization apps are in high demand because they have a lot to offer, from transparency to security and autonomy to saving operating costs.
With the rising popularity and transformative power of blockchain, it is completely impractical for businesses to not invest in blockchain app development.
With all the knowledge about this tech breakthrough and information about blockchain applications, get ready to imbibe the trend in your app development and let Webgen Technologies USA walk you through the process. Our blockchain experts can help you navigate your decentralized journey smoothly without any hurdles.